#GuestDayTuesday – #A.M.Reade – #NewRelease – #ATraitorAmongUs

Today, please help me welcome Amy Reade to The Write Stuff. Amy has a brand new book coming out (already up for pre-order) and she’d like to tell you more . Amy, the floor is yours!


Thank you, Marcia, for giving me the opportunity to talk to your readers about my upcoming release, A Traitor Among Us. It is the second book in my Cape May Historical Mystery Collection (the first book, Cape Menace, was released in 2020).

I have lived in Cape May County, New Jersey, since 2003. Cape May County is at the southern tip of the Jersey Shore, which you may be familiar with because of a certain, ahem, television reality show. Cape May County is nothing like the Jersey Shore portrayed on the small screen. My Jersey Shore is quiet, peaceful, and almost rural. We’re just 65 miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and not far from the Washington, DC-New York City corridor, but you’d never know it.

If you’ve ever heard of Cape May, it’s very likely because the entire city is a National Historic Landmark. It was America’s first seaside resort and even today, beautiful Victorian homes line the streets of town. It was a summer getaway spot for at least five US Presidents: Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Ulysses S. Grant, Chester Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison.

It was at my husband’s urging that I wrote my first book set in Cape May. As I researched the book, though, digging deep into the history of the area, it became clear that I couldn’t stop at one novel; the seed of an idea started to take root.

What I needed to do was write a group of novels set throughout the history of Cape May, and so the Cape May Historical Mystery Collection was born. The first book, Cape Menace, is set in 1714. Book Two, A Traitor Among Us, is set in 1777, during the American Revolution. The books are not a series—there is no character or plot thread that continues from one book to another. The only thing the novels have in common is their setting in Cape May County.

Very soon I’ll be starting Book Three, which is as yet untitled. I’ve got some ideas percolating for the mystery…but you’ll have to stay tuned for that.

I’m sharing with you the first chapter of A Traitor Among Us.  I hope you enjoy it.

 


September 24, 1777

It was long before dawn and I had not yet slept. There were so many thoughts tumbling through my anxious mind. I did not want to wake my sister with my tossing and turning, so I rose to start my chores for the day. I dressed quickly without the aid of the oil lamp, closed the bedroom door behind me with a soft thud, and hurried to the kitchen. I reached for my apron where it hung on a hook next to the back door and tied it over my skirts as I slipped outside.

I stood near the door for several moments, listening. The only sound was the occasional far-above rustling of bird wings as they flew toward the south in great flocks. Cold weather would be here soon. The bird songs I enjoyed in the daylight were absent, lending an unsettling hush to the darkness.

It was not unusual for me to be out-of-doors in the early morning, but this time was different. This time, not far away, I knew a stranger shared the darkness with me. A stranger who did not belong here. I hoped he was still asleep and that I could retrieve my washing tub without waking him. Something in my abdomen flipped over and twisted, reminding me to be quick and silent.

Fog swirled low above the ground. I hurried past the storehouse, which we were filling every day now with more bounty from the late summer’s crop of fruits and vegetables, and on toward the barn. The fog shifted, its wisps pulling apart and forming again as my shoes padded along the damp ground. I held my lantern aloft to dispel both the darkness and my relentless worries as I approached the barn that stood nestled against the woods that separated our home from the waters of the bay.

I set my lantern down to retrieve the heavy iron key from my pocket, before realizing with a start that the door was slightly ajar. I whirled around and peered into the darkness that had crept behind and surrounded me, but I heard nothing. Saw nothing.

I shook my head, chiding myself for my silly fears. Of course my brother, Jesse, had forgotten to lock the door.

It was Jesse’s job to take the animals out every morning and return them to the barn every evening. It was also his job to make sure the door was locked when the animals were inside the barn. I would not tell Mother or Father of this carelessness, but I would have to mention it to Jesse. For all we knew, a party of British soldiers might come foraging for supplies and livestock in the barn. I wondered if the stranger—Oliver Doolittle was his name, though speaking it left a sour taste behind—was inside. I presumed he was. He was lazy, so he was unlikely to be awake and moving about at such an early hour.

I placed the key back into my pocket and stooped to pick up the lantern again. I stepped gingerly into the gloom of the barn, taking care to be as quiet as possible. I listened for the snufflings and snortings of the animals and was relieved to hear their comforting murmurings. I approached the stalls and small pens, trying to count the animals in the darkness to make sure they were all there, but I abandoned my task after just a few moments. The animals, annoyed that I had awakened them, were making known their displeasure with a series of loud grunts, clucking, and lowing. I moved away as quickly as I dared, hoping their sounds had not awakened Oliver, whom I suspected—I hoped—was still asleep toward the rear of the barn. 

I did not relish being alone in the barn in daylight, let alone in the grim darkness of predawn and with the knowledge that Oliver slept nearby, so I made haste, as quietly as possible, to retrieve the washtub I had come for. It hung on the back wall. As I made my way toward it my skirts swished against rough-hewn boards, tendrils of hay that protruded from wooden mangers, and the large crates of corn husks that Prissy and I would soon use to make floor mats and stuff the mattresses in the guest rooms of the inn.

I stumbled as I reached the back wall. My lantern swung wildly in my hand and cast long, grotesque shadows on everything the dim light touched. I very nearly exclaimed aloud, but I caught myself in time and pressed my lips closed.

I reached for the washtub and set it down on the ground with a hushed thump as the lantern flame stabilized. I knew there was no hope that Oliver would remain asleep now.

Whatever had tripped me needed to be put away, since I knew I would be blamed if Mother came out and tripped, too. I picked up my skirts and searched the floor for the thing that had tripped me.

Looking down, a glance was all I needed.

A man lay at my feet.

When I saw his head cocked at a strange angle, his shirt front slashed in several places, and his eyes staring at me with a glassy emptiness, my horrified scream broke the morning stillness, reaching through the woods and echoing over the waters of Great Egg Harbor Bay.


BLURB:

September, 1777.

 The war for American independence rages just seventy miles away from the country inn and tavern owned by the Rutledge family in southern New Jersey. Tensions are running high between those who support the Continental Army and those who remain loyal to the English crown.

When Etta Rutledge stumbles upon the body of a ne’er-do-well British sympathizer on her family’s property, unsettling questions regarding her older brother, Jesse, begin to arise. What was his connection to the victim and why was he keen to keep it hidden?

Another shocking death, this time much closer to the heart of the family, draws Etta ever closer to unlocking the secrets swirling around her—secrets that someone will go to any length to protect…

Will Etta survive the discovery of the traitor in their midst?


You Can Buy A Traitor Among Us HERE


One final note…

I am pleased and honored to be part of Authors for Ukraine, a charity auction featuring books from 150+ authors. I invite you to visit https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsforUkraine and like the page.

From 8 a.m. on March 29th until 11 p.m. on April 12th, you’ll be able to bid on signed books from great writers. ALL PROCEEDS will benefit CARE’s Ukraine Crisis Fund.

Thank you!

(NOTE from TWS: Most of you know I don’t allow politics to come visiting here at The Write Stuff, but I believe helping these people in crisis to be a completely apolitical subject, and hope you’ll consider visiting the link Amy has provided above.)


Author Amy M. Reade

Amy M. Reade is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of cozy, historical, and Gothic mysteries.

A former practicing attorney, Amy discovered a passion for fiction writing and has never looked back. She has so far penned fourteen novels, including three standalone Gothic mysteries, the Malice series of Gothic novels, the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series, and the Cape May Historical Mystery collection. In addition to writing, she loves to read, cook and travel. Amy lives in New Jersey and is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

You can find out more on her website at www.amymreade.com.


You Can Buy Amy’s Books HERE:

Cape May Historical Mystery Collection
Cape Menace: https://books2read.com/u/mv5ao6

A Traitor Among Us: https://books2read.com/u/3Ly6gw

Juniper Junction Cozy Holiday Mystery Series
The Worst Noel: https://books2read.com/u/brvGne
Dead, White, and Blue: https://books2read.com/u/bQR9Le
Be My Valencrime: https://books2read.com/u/bwvjjO
Ghouls’ Night Out: https://books2read.com/u/m2ZB86
MayDay!: https://books2read.com/u/mZeqBE

The Malice Series (Gothic)
The House on Candlewick Lane: https://www.amazon.com/House-Candlewick-Lane-Malice-Novel-ebook/dp/B01FBZXR3K/
Highland Peril: https://www.amazon.com/Highland-Peril-Malice-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B01N9GF9WF/
Murder in Thistlecross: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Thistlecross-Malice-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B071L5C6C7/ 

Standalone Novels
Secrets of Hallstead House: https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Hallstead-House-Amy-Reade-ebook/dp/B00IO3QR70/

The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor: https://www.amazon.com/Ghosts-Peppernell-Manor-Amy-Reade-ebook/dp/B00OEW5SR0/
House of the Hanging Jade: https://www.amazon.com/House-Hanging-Jade-Amy-Reade-ebook/dp/B0138NHCMO/
Trudy’s Diary: https://books2read.com/u/3k1rMO


You can reach Amy on Social Media HERE:
Website: www.amymreade.com
Blog: https://amreade.wordpress.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor
Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/AmyMReadesGothicFictionFans
Twitter: www.twitter.com/readeandwrite
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amreade
Instagram: www.instagram.com/amymreade
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade

#GuestDayTuesday – The Prince’s Heir by Deborah Jay

Today, please welcome back a long-time friend and fellow author, Deborah Jay. Deborah writes some absolutely terrific epic fantasy, and today is a Red Letter day in her Five Kingdom Series. But I should let her tell you all about that, so … take it away, Debby!


RELEASE DAY

It’s here at last!

Today sees the culmination of a dream turned reality with the release of the final instalment in The Five Kingdoms series.

I set out to write a trilogy, but my characters had other ideas, and THE PRINCE’S HEIR is the concluding novel of what became a quartet.

                          

BLURB

King Marten’s reign balances on a blade’s edge. Chel’s Casket, symbol of his right to rule, is missing. Can master spies, Rustam and Risada, recover it before someone notices its absence and challenges Marten’s sovereignty? Or is there a more sinister motive behind the disappearance of the casket—a relic that could be used to raise the demon god, Charin.

As a series of natural disasters besets the kingdoms, evidence points towards interference by the meddlesome deity, and the terrifying prospect of war between its two opposing aspects.

When Marten’s beloved wife, Betha, and their infant daughter vanish, Marten faces a stark choice: save his family, or try to save his kingdom from a conflict that threatens all humanity.


Here’s a brief taster:

A loud ‘pop’ interrupted them, and the barbarous figure of a gemeye materialised in the middle of the office’s open floorspace. It took a moment for Rustam to recognise Cat beneath the dirt and blood. Her usually straight brown hair was tangled and matted with leaves, the silver stripe proclaiming the goddess’s favour barely discernible beneath the muck. Dark circles shadowed sunken eyes, and great, bloody scores raked one bare thigh beneath her gem-laden girdle. Her posture twisted to one side, as though she protected an injury, and Rustam barely made it to her side before she staggered towards the nearest chair. He caught her elbow and eased her down.

“What happened?”

Cat blinked up at him and his breath caught at the depth of hopelessness reflected in her unique, brown-marbled eyes. Her chest rose and fell quickly, drawing his gaze to the heavy collar of Cat’s Eye gemstones, each one a perfect match with her eye colour, as were those set in the broad girdle around her waist.

She clutched his arm. “We need your help, Rusty.”

Buy The Prince’s Heir HERE


The Five Kingdoms Series

The series tagline – Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings – came about from my frustration with the Bond writers, who never allowed the character to develop. Thus, Rustam Chalice was born – a shallow, womanising, spy who would have everything he believed in challenged and turned upside down, forcing him to change and adapt. My love of Lord of the Rings helped me choose fantasy as my genre, and boy, am I happy that I did. You can throw so much more at your cast than you can in a contemporary setting!

So, for those of you who haven’t yet taken the plunge, to celebrate the release of the final book in the set, Book #1, THE PRINCE’S MAN, is on sale for a limited time at just 99c – go grab yourself the starter book of a series about which people are saying:

“Randomly browsing thru newer ebooks and came across this gem. Was delightfully surprised after reading the description “Think James Bond meets Lord of the Rings” which intrigued me to no end, to find that this was exactly how I perceived the book.”
R Lewis

“Reminiscent of Game of Thrones, this delightful fantasy will hold your attention from beginning to end.”
Rhoda D’Ettore

“Jay paints a vivid world, that we are treated to in this dangerous adventure that tests our heroes to every limit. Including having them question everything they had ever taken for granted.”
Miss K Marsden

“Firstly let me say, if you have enjoyed books by Tolkien, Christopher Paolini, or Robin Hobb – you will absolutely enjoy this book.”
Rachel Braithwaite

Buy The Prince’s Man HERE 


Author Deborah Jay

Deborah Jay writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Fortunate enough to live near Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found lurking in secluded glens and forests, researching locations for her books.

She has a dream day job riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her first published novel is epic fantasy, THE PRINCE’S MAN, first in the Five Kingdoms series, and winner of a UK Arts Council award. #2, THE PRINCE’S SON and #3, THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE are both available with the newly released concluding book in the quartet, THE PRINCE’S HEIR.

Her first urban fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, about a Scottish water sprite, is the opening novel of the CALEDONIAN SPRITE SERIES. The companion short story, SPRITE NIGHT is available FREE on most ebook retailers.

Newsletter sign up and FREE short story HERE
Deborah’s Amazon Author Page

Reach Deborah on Social Media here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#BonusGuestDay – Hype by Yvette M. Calleiro #NewRelease #YAFiction

Happy Tewe’s Day, Everyone. Today, I’d like you to welcome Yvette Calleiro back to The Write Stuff for a Bonus Guest Post. Yvette has a brand new release she’d like to share with you, and I know you’ll enjoy reading about it!


The Difference of a Decade

How much of a difference does a decade make? When it comes to technology, quite a bit! I wrote the first version of HYPE ten years ago. After I wrote it, I started writing the first book in my Diasodz series, so I decided to leave HYPE on the shelf for a bit. My Diasodz kept me busy for the next ten years. Actually, I’m still writing one of the books, but when the pandemic hit, I rediscovered HYPE and focused on polishing it up.

I can’t tell you how many cringes I experienced as I read through the story. It’s amazing how much my writing has progressed since then. HYPE was the second novel I had ever written (the first is still on that shelf). It was a blessing I didn’t publish it because the new version is much more powerful.

The mention of technology gave me many chuckles. For example, I plug in my iPod and play the music we are using for the competition routine. Who uses an iPod anymore?

Here’s another scene: Ryan parks his car, turns off all the lights, slips in his CD of favorite love songs for us, and leans over to kiss me. Ah, the days of shuffling through CDs to find the perfect one to insert into the CD player in the car!

Or this one: I pull my digital camera out of my purse and plop down on the bed. Okay, I still own a digital camera, but I don’t use it anymore. My phone takes better pictures, so why would I?

I’m sure ten years from now, I’ll look back on this book and laugh at the technology once again because I have no doubt there will be newer and greater tech toys. Until then, I’m happy in knowing this story is current and powerful just the way it is.

BLURB:

Cici’s junior year in high school is going to be the best year ever. Popular co-captain of the varsity cheerleading team, she’s dating the starting quarterback. Even her jealous co-captain’s attempts to steal her boyfriend can’t curb her enthusiasm.

When her mom moves in with her fiancé, a handsome, wealthy man, only one small detail threatens Cici’s perfect life. The school’s social pariah is about to become her stepsister, and Cici wants nothing to do with her.

Everything changes when someone Cici cares about throws her life into a tailspin, and the one person Cici couldn’t stand becomes her only ally.

Warning: This story contains scenes of sexual assault.

Buy Hype Here:
Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords


Author Yvette M. Calleiro

Yvette M. Calleiro is a heavily addicted reader of both young adult and adult novels. She spends most of her time pseudo-living in paranormal worlds with her fictional friends (and boyfriends). When she’s living among real people, Yvette M. Calleiro is a middle school Reading and Language Arts teacher. She’s been sharing her love of literature with her students for over twenty years. Besides writing about the various characters that whisper (and sometimes scream) in her head, she enjoys traveling, watching movies, spending quality time with family and friends, and enjoying the beauty of the ocean.

Yvette lives in Miami, Florida, with her incredible son who has embraced her love for paranormal and adventurous stories. She also shares her space with an assortment of crazy saltwater animals in her 300-gallon tank.

Amazon Links:

Hype
The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 1)
The One Enlightened (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 2)
The One Betrayed (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 3)
The One Revealed (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 4)
The One Awakened (Chronicles of the Diasodz, Book 5)
The One Chosen – A Diasodz Short Story
Breathless – A Short Story
Amazon Author Page

Visit Yvette on Social Media here:

Author Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

 

 

 

#GuestDayTuesday – Tinsel and Tea Cakes by Jill Piscitello

Today, I have the pleasure of introducing Jill Piscitello for her first (but hopefully not her last) visit to The Write Stuff. Please help me welcome Jill as she shares her latest book with you. Your turn now,  Jill–take it away!

~~~00~~~

Hello everyone!  Many thanks to Marcia for hosting me as a guest author today.  I now have a new favorite place to visit for Monday memes!

My new release, Tinsel and Tea Cakes, is a sweet, holiday novella.  The story offers a second chance romance, a mini mystery, and a touch of the past with an unforgettable Victorian themed Christmas wedding.  I had so much fun getting to know my characters that saying good-bye was harder than expected.  Cue visions of a sequel swirling through my mind.  Imagine my delight when my editor encouraged a follow up.

But there’s a problem.  Most romances wrap up the endings of main characters in pretty packages tied with a bow.  I struggled with deciding whether to find a new story arc for Scarlett or to focus on a supporting character.  I’ve seen authors go in both directions.  Which is the path best taken?

After much consideration, I’ve decided to write a full-length novel centered around a staff member from The Timeless Manor.  This will allow my reigning heroine and hero to pop in now and again with bite sized updates.  I’m excited to see where this new book takes me but would love to hear perspectives on sequels from other authors and readers.

BLURB:

Hair stylist Scarlett Kerrigan lost her job and her apartment. To alleviate a touch of self-pity, she succumbs to her stepmom’s pressure to attend a wedding in the New Hampshire White Mountains. Unfortunately, she runs into the vacation fling who promised the moon but disappeared without an explanation. Months have passed, but she is not ready to forgive and forget.

After a chaotic year, executive Wes Harley settles into his family’s event venue, The Timeless Manor. His carefully structured world is shaken to its core when Scarlett arrives for the Victorian Christmas wedding weekend. The feelings he never quite erased flood to the surface.

When secrets are revealed, will a magical chateau and a sprinkle of tinsel be enough to charm Scarlett?

Buy Tinsel and Tea Cakes HERE:
Amazon           Nook

~~~00~~~

Author Jill Piscitello

Jill Piscitello is a teacher, author, and an avid fan of multiple literary genres. Although she divides her reading hours among several books at a time, a lighthearted story offering an escape from the real world can always be found on her nightstand.

A native of New England, Jill lives with her family and three well-loved cats. When not planning lessons or reading and writing, she can be found spending time with her family, trying out new restaurants, traveling, and going on light hikes.

Visit Jill on Social Media here:
Website ~ Twitter  ~ Facebook
Instagram

Visit Jill’s Amazon Author Page here.

 

BONUS #GuestDayTuesday – #NewRelease – #Things Old and Forgotten by #MaeClair

Today is a BONUS #GuestDayTuesday, folks, and I’m so happy to have my good friend, Mae Clair, here today to tell us about her brand new release, Things Old and Forgotten.  I can’t wait to read this one, and know you’re gonna feel the same way, so let’s get right to it. Mae, take it away!

*****

Hi, Marcia! Thanks for hosting me today and allowing me to share my newest release with your readers. Things Old and Forgotten is a collection of short fiction that includes stories in several genres—magical realism, fantasy, speculative, even two that touch on mild horror.

But not all the tales are mystical or eerie. Miss Lily Makes a Wish is a light-hearted piece about a genteel southern lady who gets the better of a powerful order of genies. I had a lot of fun with this one.

In the excerpt below, Miss Lily is visited by Kaliq, a genie. He arrives to grant her the three wishes he’s promised for freeing him from captivity.

EXCERPT

Miss Lily smiled politely when Kaliq appeared the next day in a mushrooming puff of green.

He folded an arm over his waist and performed a courtly bow. Such a gentleman! “Have you chosen your three wishes, Miss Lily?”

She nibbled her lip as she studied the rear lawn from her porch spring. Sad state of affairs, her yard. The bushes needed to be trimmed, and the flowerbeds sprouted with an overabundance of weeds. Not just a few, but whole parties of the pesky things. Betty Nelbrecker would point out the shortcomings the next time she visited.

The place is starting to look run down, don’t you think, Miss Lily?

A pox on the old biddy.

It was hard for a single woman to get by on her own, especially when the years were creeping up and finances were tight. The house was getting old, the only bright spot the rear porch with its rickety wooden swing, white wicker furniture, and pots of geraniums. Sipping a tall glass of lemonade, she fingered the handle of her flyswatter. The mosquitos weren’t nearly as bothersome tonight.

“It’s fearful hot, don’t you think?” She used a dog-eared copy of International Living to fan herself. She’d spent the afternoon reading up on Naples, fantasizing about a coastal home within walking distance of cafes and museums. “Daddy used to say it was just like the Devil himself spit on the Mississippi River and boiled the water. A cool breeze would be nice, but just my house, mind. It wouldn’t be right if I chose for other folks. Betty Nelbrecker likes it hot.”

Kaliq blinked. “Pardon?”

“I’d like a cool breeze, please.”

She wondered if it was possible for a genie to look dumbfounded. This one certainly did.

“Miss Lily, is that a wish?”

Thwack!

She nailed the mosquito in midair before it could land on her polka dot sundress. “Bothersome pests! Yes, Kaliq, that is a wish.”

He scratched his chin. “It’s not in my place to question, Miss Lily, but you do understand you’d be using one of your three wishes.”

“I do.”

“And you still wish to proceed?”

“I do.”

The genie sighed. Raising his hands, he spoke a few words in a language she didn’t understand. The tattoos on his forearms flared to life in a spectrum of sunset colors before fading to antique gold. A cool breeze frolicked through the open porch, blissful and refreshing as a dip in Peddler’s Pond.

She closed her eyes. “Ah, that’s nice.”

*****

BLURB

A man keeping King Arthur’s dream of Camelot alive.
A Robin Hood battling in a drastically different Sherwood.
A young man facing eternity in the desert.
A genteel southern lady besting a powerful order of genies.
A woman meeting her father decades after his death.

These are but a few of the intriguing tales waiting to be discovered in Things Old and Forgotten. Prepare to be transported to realms of folklore and legend, where magic and wonder linger around every corner, and fantastic possibilities are limited only by imagination.

Buy Things Old and Forgotten in the U.S. HERE
And in the U.K. HERE
*****

Thanks again for hosting me today, Marcia. In honor of my love for autumn—a fantastic time to curl up with a book—Things Old and Forgotten will be on sale for .99c through October 31st.

*****

And thank you again for being here, Mae. Congratulations on this new book, and I can’t wait to read it.  May I also say that the cover is absolutely stunning! One of the prettiest I’ve seen, and very eye-catching, too! Already downloaded my copy, folks, and I highly recommend you grab yours too while it’s still available at this terrific price!

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

AmazonBookBubNewsletter Sign-Up
Website | BlogTwitterGoodreadsAll Social Media

 

#GuestDayTuesday – The Shadows We Breathe #Anthology – #SarahBrentyn

#GuestDayTuesday Banner

NOTE: This post was actually supposed to run NEXT Tuesday, and somehow, I messed up the date, hence the missing link some of you will have noticed. I apologize to Sarah (who may or may not be around to visit today) and to you guys, too. This is the first time in all my blogging years I’ve done this, I think, and I do hope it will be the last! Blame it on COVID madness here at our house. Please enjoy the post, anyway, and I promise to share the link when Sarah has it, in another post!! *slinking away in embarrassment now*
****

Today, I’m very happy to welcome author and friend Sarah Brentyn back to share her latest project/release. The Shadows We Breathe is an anthology Sarah compiled and edited, featuring her own work along with that of several other terrific writers. I know you’ll love learning more about this collection, so without further ado, take it away, Sarah!

~~~

Kiwi, Junior Mint, Raisin?

Anthologies are a delightful mix of chocolates. You’ve got caramel, crisped rice crunch, fruit-filled, nougat, and nuts. But they’re all still chocolate. An assortment is great but you wouldn’t want to open your box of Cadbury and find a sea salt caramel, a chunk of pizza, a piece of sushi, and a bit of broccoli. Or maybe you would. I don’t know. But most people probably would not.

So, in this way, you want variety but, also, consistency to make sure your box of treats doesn’t surprise you in a bad way. You’ve got to choose a palate.

I’m a huge fan of obsessed with The Good Place. (If you haven’t seen this yet, go watch it. You’re welcome.) Anyway, one of the characters, Chidi, had a panic attack at a make-your-own-sundae bar. His whole thing is that he’s indecisive but, in fairness to him…well, I’ll let the quote speak for itself:

“There were too many toppings. And very early in the process you had to commit to a chocolate palate or a fruit palate and if you couldn’t decide, you wound up with kiwi, junior mint, raisin, and it just ruins everyone’s night.”

Right on, Chidi. Right on.

While I wanted this anthology to have a mixture of stories, I also wanted it to have a uniform feel, with all the pieces working together to provide a smooth experience for readers.

I told my friend, when I first began, creating an anthology was much like choosing a color scheme. When redecorating your kitchen or bedroom, you might want lots of colors. That’s great. Go for it. Paint a rainbow, my friend. Get that red, purple, and blue in there. But make sure they’re all similar in tone and finish. You don’t want pastel pink in matte, neon green in gloss, and muted yellow in eggshell. Honestly, and this is just my opinion, that would be hideous. I don’t think I could sleep or eat surrounded by that colorful mish-mash of clown puke. Keep it all neon, if that’s your jam, or pastels or whatever.

So that’s what I did. Or tried to do. The theme is relationships, the tone is dark, emotional, poignant. I compiled the stories and worked with contributors to make sure they loved their work and that it fit well with the other pieces. I am genuinely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such wonderful, talented authors. 

Each one of these authors brings her own style and voice to the anthology, which is lovely (and kind of the whole point), but there is (hopefully) a uniformity that keeps the flow of reading pleasant. Like cruising in a sailboat on a sunny day instead of paddling in a dinghy during a hurricane. I am so proud of this collection. I adore everything about it. The title, the cover, and, of course, the writing. I hope you love it as much as I do.

The Shadows We Breathe

BLURB:

WE ARE ALL PART SHADOW

Life promises joy and sorrow. Alongside the light, there will always be traces of darkness. It is the nature of being human.

In this anthology of short fiction, we explore relationships—how they sculpt us, hurt us, help us, and reveal our deepest desires.

Eight artists, whose words paint worlds, bring you stories of heartache, loss, hope, and forgiveness. They unveil the intimacy and complexity of relationships.

Whether family, friend, or lover, connections to others can hold us up or break us down.

Within these pages, beautiful words are spun into tales threaded with darkness.

Explore the shadows we breathe. 

THE SHADOWS WE BREATHE COMING SOON!

CONTRIBUTORS:

Georgia Bell is the author of Unbound, a young adult paranormal romance about love, fear, and immortality. She was raised on a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy and began writing the stories she wanted to read over a decade ago.

Author Page | Twitter

Maria Carvalho is a multi-genre writer whose short stories have appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, including Under the Full Moon’s Light and Cabinet of Curiosities (both by Owl Hollow Press).

Author Page | Twitter

Reena Dobson began pursuing her creative writing with a vengeance when she realised the world was never going to stop and give her time to write. She now writes at the edges, in sunshine and under cover of darkness.

Author Page | Twitter

Ali Isaac is a writer and blogger living in Co. Cavan, Ireland.

In 2020, she was awarded a writing mentorship by Words Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland, working under the guidance of author, Sara Baume. Her writing has been published in The Stinging Fly, Sonder, and Paper Lanterns.

Author Page | Twitter

D. Wallace Peach, best-selling fantasy author, started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked.

Author Page | Twitter

Allie Potts lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, two children, and spoiled dog.

When not finding ways to squeeze in 72 hours into a 24 day, Allie consumes and creates science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic quests, cozy mysteries, and contemporary fiction.

Author Page | Twitter

Mary Smith, author and poet, is based in Scotland. Her memoir Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women focusses on her work in Afghanistan, which also provides the setting for her novel No More Mulberries.

Author Page | Twitter

Author Sarah Brentyn

Sarah Brentyn is an introvert who believes anything can be made better with soy sauce and wasabi.

She loves words and has been writing stories since she was nine years old. She talks to trees and apologizes to inanimate objects when she bumps into them.

When she’s not writing, you can find her strolling through cemeteries or searching for fairies.

She hopes to build a vacation home in Narnia someday. In the meantime, she lives with her family and a rainbow-colored, wooden cat who is secretly a Guardian.

Books: Hinting at Shadows | On the Edge of a Raindrop

Website: Sarah Brentyn

Blog: Lemon Shark | Lemon Shark Reef

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#GuestDayTuesday – I Am Mayhem by Sue Coletta

#GuestDayTuesday Banner

Today, please give a warm welcome to author Sue Coletta who is here to talk about her latest release, I Am Mayhem. Sue is even going to share an excerpt with us, which I know you’ll find as exciting as I did. So, without further ado, I’m turning the floor over to her. Take it away, Sue!

***

Thanks for having me back on The Write Stuff, Marcia!

I haven’t been sharing excerpts of I AM MAYHEM during my blog tour because the story twists and turns so much it’s tough not to give away spoilers. On my site I created a video reading of a fun scene (dark humor). This time, I’ll share a sneak peek of one of the many nemeses Shawnee Daniels must battle in this story. Enjoy!

Rather than enter through the front door, I clicked my flashlight app and hustled around the side of the house, into the backyard. Halfway to the deck, a twig snapped to my left, and I whirled toward the tree line.

Icy tingles shimmied down my spine. “Mister Mayhem?” Though I couldn’t find him in the pre-dawn darkness, my voice still cracked, pitched. “Please let me explain before you—” Mid-sentence, my mouth gaped open.

Into my light beam stepped the same enormous dog I’d encountered weeks ago. On hind legs, he towered over me. Piercing yellow eyes narrowed to thin slits as it cocked its head, spit dripping off razor-sharp canines, a low rumble growling in its throat. Frozen in place, our gazes locked. His wolf-like stare held me hostage, his overpowering presence weakening my resolve.

A yenaldlooshi—better known to the world as a skinwalker—stood within striking distance. Gigantic, distorted, uncharacteristically canine, its ear-splitting screech fissured cracks across my skull. I couldn’t move. As much as I longed to resist, its spell rooted my boots to the grass, my muscles limp, my mind fuzzy.

Without provocation, the beast lunged toward me, its fangs on full display. Hot breath blew back my bangs, poison huffed in my face. Blinded, my fingers clawed at my eyes, and I folded in half, bent at the waist, choking, coughing, spitting, trying everything to clear the powdery grit off my tongue.

Nadine’s high-pitched shrill shattered the silence.

In a flash, I straightened. Through the haze I could barely make out her silhouette in the porch light’s glow. I choked out, “Help,” and staggered toward the deck stairs. The backyard whirled faster than a carnival ride, and I fell face-first on the grass.

“Shawnee!” Nadine’s footsteps pounded down the stairs. She reached for me, but I flashed a flat palm.

“Don’t touch me. I’m covered in poison.”

“Oh-my-God, you must’ve hit your head. Okay.” Her frantic tone eased. “Time for a quick trip to the emergency room.” She squatted, ready to sling my arm over her shoulder to help me up.

“No, Nay.” I rolled on to my back and angled the cell phone toward my face. “Look.”

“Whoa.” Her finely waxed eyebrows V’d, an intense stare as though I’d sprouted a unicorn horn. “What is that stuff?” She leaned closer. “Looks like some sorta gray powder. It’s all over your face, neck, and chest y’know.”

“Thank you, Nancy Drew. I’m aware.” I shooed her away, not unlike the way one might stave off a hungry mosquito. “Stand back. This shit’s lethal.”

“Alrighty then.” As I crawled to my feet, Nadine took a half-step backward. “How pray tell, did you get covered in poison?”

“Why? You never believe a word I say anyway.”

“Try me.”

Hands stuffed in my front pockets, I sloughed off a half-shrug. “What the hell? Got nothin’ to lose at this point. You want the truth? Fine. An evil dog—wolf?—whatever the hell it is, just huffed the shit in my face.”

“A what?”

“See? Told ya, you wouldn’t believe me.”

She quailed back, full lashes fluttering like butterfly wings. But not without reason. Even I could barely grasp the words rolling off my tongue.

“Lemme see if I’ve got this straight.” Her lips smoothed, almost as rigid as her spine. “Crows deliver body parts, and dogs—or wolves—carry around vials of poison. And to top it off, both species are out to get you. Nobody else. Just you.”

“Why do I even waste my breath? You only see what you wanna see.” I slogged toward the stairs, muttering, “And she wonders why I don’t tell her squat.” With one hand on the railing, I turned back. “There are things in this world that defy reason, defy comprehension, but that doesn’t make them any less real.” Oy. Now I’m quoting Mr. Mayhem. “For someone who devours multiple books per week, one might think you’d have an open mind.”

“Y’know what?” She pushed past me, her slippers pounding each tread of the stairs, and tossed “I’m done listening to your lies” over her shoulder.

The moment Nadine slipped through the sliders, two crows rocketed toward me from a nearby tree, screeching at decibels unfit for human ears. Their talons each held the end of a rope, an identifiable object dangling between them. As I raised my cell phone’s flashlight, my eyes widened in disbelief. Are those—?

***

And…you’ll have to read the book to find out what Poe and Edgar delivered. LOL Sorry! #notsorry 😉

As bloody, severed body parts show up on her doorstep, Shawnee Daniels must stop the serial killer who wants her dead before she becomes the next victim.

But can she solve his cryptic clues before it’s too late? Or will she be the next to die a slow, agonizing death?

With crows stalking her every move, Shawnee can barely function. Things worsen when body parts show up on her doorstep. An unstoppable serial killer wants her dead. Mr. Mayhem threatens to murder everyone she loves, sending Shawnee a piece at a time.

As Mr. Mayhem sits in judgement, his cryptic clues must be solved before the final gavel drops. The game rules are simple—win the unwinnable or submit to a slow, agonizing death.

When Shawnee tries to fight back, she discovers her very existence is based on lies. But the full impact of the truth might become the headstone on Shawnee’s grave.

Released today! Since I AM MAYHEM starts where SILENT MAYHEM leaves off, my publisher put both books on sale for 99c. Ends soon.

Author Sue Coletta Photo
Author Sue Coletta

Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and Expertido.org named her Murder Blog as one of the “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net” (Murder Blog sits at #5). Sue also blogs at the Kill Zone, a multi-award-winning writing blog. 

Sue lives in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and writers two psychological thriller series (Tirgearr Publishing) and true crime (Rowman & Littlefield Group). And recently, she appeared on an Emmy award-winning true crime show. Learn more about Sue and her books at: https://suecoletta.com 

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon
Goodreads
Tirgearr Publishing
Globe Pequot(Rowman & Littlefield)

~~~~~

Thanks again for being here with us today, Sue, and best of luck with I Am Mayhem! Hope it sells millions for ya! 🙂

~~~~~

(All images above were either created by me, used with permission,
or obtained from 
Pixabay.) 

#NewRelease – The Emissary Trilogy by … ME!

I’m happy to announce that all three of my Emissary novellas are now available in one eBook, cleverly entitled The Emissary Trilogy. If you’ve been planning to read these novellas, you can now get the three of them in one $3.99 download, essentially getting one novella free. Such a deal, right? 😀 

 Azrael thinks you really should add this one to your collection. (Just sayin’… ) 😀

Download The Emissary Trilogy HERE

#GuestDayTuesday – #GwenMPlano – The Culmination, A New Beginning

Hi, Everybody! Please help me welcome our first guest of 2021, my friend and author, Gwen Plano. Gwen is here to share her latest release, The Culmination, a new beginning with us. I know you’ll be excited to learn about this one, so without further ado, take it away, Gwen!

 

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Marcia, and for helping me launch The Culmination, a new beginning. With the New Year upon us, this is a perfect time to focus on the book.

 

 

***

What’s it about? The Culmination can best be described as a military thriller. It tackles difficult topics such as denuclearization, the power struggles over oil in the Middle East, as well as the ever-present danger of war. Readers will find themselves sitting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walking in the historic Red Square, and laughing with children in an orphanage in Turkey. They will glimpse the horror of war and watch the give and take of a negotiated peace. Readers will also meet the two Heads of State who fall in love and subsequently commit themselves to creating a world in which all are family.

I never expected to write this book, but in some ways, I had no choice. The characters crowded into my office and insisted that I listen to them. In a very real way, they wrote the book. I simply tapped the keys and through the process, I learned intensely..

To celebrate the New Year, the Kindle edition will remain on sale through this week and then will return to its full price of $2.99.  

BLURB:

The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope. 

EXCERPT:

In his hospital suite, Admiral Parker sits by the wall of windows. Since the second attempt on his life, he’s found himself unable to sleep. Parker keeps hearing gunshots and has flashes of scenes from his service in Vietnam.

Drowsy, his head grows heavy and falls to his chest. His mind takes him back to Vietnam. Grisly scenes flash before him of mangled bodies, thundering missile explosions, and shrill screams. He shudders and recoils. Then he startles when someone touches his shoulder. When he opens his eyes, he finds the base chaplain stands next to him.

“Hello, Admiral. I’m told you might appreciate a friend to talk to. I’d like to be that friend if it’s okay with you.”

Parker shrugs his acceptance. “I suspect you’re here because I’m remembering things. I, ah … I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I keep having flashes of Vietnam. It’s like I’m reliving it, but why? Why now?”

“My understanding is that the sniper’s bullet came within a hair of your heart. One centimeter more, and we wouldn’t be talking right now.”

“That’s true, but still …”

“And, it was the Medal of Honor that protected you.”

“Yes …”

“Awarded because of your extraordinary valor in Vietnam, right?”

“Correct.”

“Maybe it’s time to remember your experience there and make your peace.”

“Some things are best to forget, chaplain.”

“And yet, you’ve discovered that you haven’t forgotten. The experience lives and haunts you with its devastation.”

“I don’t understand it. After all these years, it feels like it happened yesterday. I keep seeing the same scenes over and over.”

“Tell me about what you see.”

Parker looks away, his eyes welling, and his jaw tightening. “Marines got trapped at the Delta. They needed help, badly. The sub Commander asked for volunteers to go ashore, and I offered. The sub got as close to land as possible, and I swam to shore and found mayhem. I could barely see through the smoke. The thumping sound of the Hueys mixed with desperate cries for help. It was a scene from hell. Bodies strewn everywhere. Torsos without arms. Without legs. Arms and legs without bodies. Hell.”

Parker stops and wipes his eyes. “I arrived too late. Yet I searched for any injured. There were none. It was a graveyard. I decided to go back to the sub, and when I drew close to the shoreline, I heard a moan. It turns out that I’d stepped on a Marine’s arm and broken it. The Marine lay buried in the mud but was alive. That man was Samuel Williams.” 

“As in President Samuel Williams?”

“Yes. I called in for a patrol boat and got Williams into the craft. Though I did what I could, I was too late, except for Williams.” Parker slumps, and his head falls.

The chaplain breaks the silence with a question, “Do you pray, Parker?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you mind telling me how you pray?”

“I say the Lord’s Prayer, and usually, I hold my mom’s beads.” He raises his hand and shows the chaplain an old wooden rosary.

“Do you bring that prayer into your memories?”

“Not really. The past is past. Until recently, I thought I’d moved on.”

“Time isn’t linear. We can be a young child one moment, and an old man the next. The past is as real as the present through our memories.” 

***

Buy The Culmination HERE


Contact Gwen:

Blog:  https://www.gwenplano.com/blog-reflections
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/GMPlano
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmplano
Amazon Author’s page:  https://amzn.to/3eAU2Bt 

Book links:

Letting Go into Perfect Love https://amzn.to/3bToO7t
The Contract between heaven and earth https://amzn.to/2U2Lgmv
The Choice: the unexpected heroes https://amzn.to/3lcz8eA
The Culmination, a new beginning https://amzn.to/3eEWkj9

 

#GuestDayTuesday – Ghostly Interference by Jan Sikes

 

Hi, Everybody! Today, I’d like you to help me welcome our special guest, Jan Sikes. Jan is sharing her latest release, Ghostly Interference, and I know this one is going to appeal to a lot of folks, myself included! (Just look at this great cover!)

So, without further ado, let’s get to it! Take it away, Jan!

~~~

Hi, Marcia! Thank you SO much for allowing me to borrow your blog platform to talk about my new book!

It is not unusual for authors to use some form of Astrology in their stories. In Ghostly Interference, Jag Peters had been raised by a mother who incorporated all sorts of metaphysical knowledge into his upbringing, Astrology being one of those things.

Jag is a Libra. That sun sign fit his character perfectly. Rena Jett is a Taurus.

At one point, Jag is compelled to try to track down any living relatives that Rena might have. She craves family and it has always just been her and her brother, Sam. Now that he is gone, she is completely alone.

But how can Jag get the information he needs from her? At the suggestion of his mother, he decides to use astrology as an ice-breaker and to learn more about Rena.

EXCERPT:

“Let’s play a game. When were you born?”

She shot him a look of panic. “Why do you want to know?”

“It’s how we play the game. I want to know you better.”

“I was born May 1, 1979.”

“I knew it! You’re a Taurus. I woulda’ bet money on it.”

“Is that bad?” Rena sucked on her bottom lip

“Oh goodness no. Taurus people are born under the sign of the bull. Most often they are stubborn, determined, practical and down to earth, but have an eye for beauty. And they are brave.” He kneaded the arch of her foot. “And you are the bravest warrior woman I’ve ever met.”

“Hmmm, I like that phrase. And I love what you are doing to my feet.”

He continued. “I was born right here in Cedar Springs. Where were you born?”

“My birth certificate says I was born in Austin. I don’t remember anything except being in foster homes.”

“What was your mother’s name?”

She narrowed her eyes. “I don’t see as that has anything to do with us getting to know each other.”

“Call it curiosity. My mother’s name is Charlotte Grace Peters.”

“Marjorie Irene Jett is the name on my birth certificate.” She spat out the words like a bitter pill.

Jag rubbed her ankle and moved up her leg. “It’s okay, Rena. I was just curious, that’s all. Any other siblings besides Sam?”

“Not that I know of. It’s always been just me and Sam. I don’t think I like this game. Your turn.”

“Okay. One more question and then I’ll take a turn. What do you want to do with your life? I know your ambition isn’t to work at Meg’s diner forever. What does Rena Jett want?”

She paused a long minute. “I used to talk with Sam about what we’d be when we grew up. He said when he finished his tour in the military, he wanted to go to school and be a child psychologist. I think about it a lot. I never had his ambition, but I would like to do something to help kids stuck in situations like we were.”

“There are all sorts of things you could do. You could be a caseworker, but I can’t see you having the patience to put up with the bureaucracy.”

“That’s for damned sure. I’ve seen too much of the bullshit that goes on to ever play that game. I think I’d like to be a police woman.”

Jag let out a whistle. “That’s perfect for you, Rena. You’d make a great police woman and you could ride one of their Harleys.”

She grinned. “It’s just a thought. Your turn to play this game.” 

He grinned. “Okay. I was born October 8, 1975, and that makes me a Libra.”

“And what are Libras like?” She took a sip of her wine.

“Libras are usually kind.”

Rena nodded. “What else?”

“We like peace and harmony and will walk a mile around a fight. We love all things of beauty and have a hard time saying no sometimes.”

“Those all fit you.”

“I’ve lived in Cedar Springs all my life, except when I went away to college. My father’s name was Arthur.” He reached for his wine and took a sip.

***

Using tools like astrology is also a great way for the author to reveal more character depth to the reader without telling or doing a big info dump that the reader finds boring.

I’m a Leo. I was born on August 21st, the cusp of Leo/Virgo, and have some qualities from both signs. How about you? What is your sun sign? Have you ever used astrology in character development or in your storyline?

BOOK BLURB:

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?


BOOK TRAILER LINK:
https://youtu.be/NHaLVSe_flI


Buy Ghostly Interference  Here:

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Ghostly-Interference-White-Rune-Sikes-ebook/dp/B08KW1KFMW/

BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghostly-interference-jan-sikes/1137871003?

Jan Sikes is an award-winning Texas author who has been called a wordsmith by her peers. She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. You simply can’t make this stuff up. It all happened. She chose to create fictitious characters to tell the story through, and they bring the intricately woven tale to life in an entertaining way. She released a series of music CDs to accompany the four biographical fiction books and then published a book of poetry and art to complete the story circle.

And now that the story is told, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published many short stories with a series of novels waiting in the wings. She is a member of The Author’s Marketing Guild, Writer’s League of Texas, RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC), RAVE WRITER’S INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHOR (RWISA), and sits on the RWISA Executive Council.

JAN SIKES
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

http://www.jansikes.com
https://jansikesblog.com/
https://www.twitter.com/jansikes3
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks
http://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CS9K8D (Author Page)
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sik