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

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

#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

 

#GuestDayTuesday – She Made It Matter – Chiara Talluto

Today, I’d like to welcome Chiara Talluto. Chiara is going to tell us a bit about herself and share an excerpt from her book, She Made It Matter.  I feel certain you’ll enjoy it!

Author Chiara Talluto

“I’m not a bestselling author, I’m just a ‘nobody’ who uses storytelling to encourage others to find their purpose and save their souls.”

Hello, my name is Chiara Talluto. I’m a wife, busy mom, author, and a woman after God’s heart. As I ponder this declaration, I find it more appropriate to claim that I am a woman after God’s heart first. He has given me a gift of writing, and I honor Him through my written works. So, pull up a chair and stay awhile.

People often ask what kind of writing I do. I tell them… I write Inspirational/Christian drama empowering women to discover their faith, use perseverance to overcome adversity, and become heroes of their own destinies. I also write middle-grade fantasy-fairy tales to encourage girls in developing strong morals and values, and to always stand up for what is right.

My first books were the Nancy Drew series and Hardy Boys books. The library was a couple miles away and I rode my bike to and from almost every day, I couldn’t get enough of the stories. I began keeping a journal at the age of eleven. Soon, I began writing poems. My love for the written word was sparked by all that reading. It wasn’t until my late teens that I discovered Danielle Steele novels and began to pen stories of my own. I continued writing longer prose as much as I could during a prosperous career as a Human Resources Recruiter, and then as an Instructional Designer. I received many awards and accolades for my accomplishments, and my work responsibilities grew, but there was something missing. I began to devote less and less time to my joy of writing. And soon, my creativity began to suffer. It wasn’t until after much soul-searching and some tough decision-making that I finally left the corporate world to start writing full-time. That was fifteen years ago.

Today, I am the CEO of my home, practicing wife to my husband, mommy to our two daughters, and writer of all things that need to be put on paper. My family often tells me that I am the Master Storyteller in our household because I have a passion for writing about people who struggle with decisions and conflicts that arise in their lives.

In the last six years, I’ve been blessed to have published four books:  A Christian Romance, Love’s Perfect Surrender, two middle-grade fantasy-fairy tales: Petrella, the Gillian Princess and A Tribute to Tulipia, and an Inspirational fiction, She Made It Matter.

All of my writings contain an element of Christianity and faith. I never set out to be a writer, or a Christian writer for that matter, it just happened. It’s who I am and who I was meant to be. Writing is my outlet, a spilling of emotions, random thoughts, and imaginary characters that consume my mind twenty-four hours a day. I need to write, just like I need to eat, exercise, and breathe.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She Made It Matter
Can she forgive her past and make her life right again?
 

Chicago, Illinois – From the three-time Five Star Readers’ Favorite REVIEW RECIPIENT, Chiara Talluto, author of Love’s Perfect  Surrender, Petrella, the Gillian Princess, and A Tribute To Tulipia, comes the highly anticipated release of She Made It Matter, an inspirational fiction SLATED TO BE IN bookstores everywhere on November, 2nd 2020, and Ebook on all online retailers, October 27th, 2020.

She Made It Matter is a compelling tale of one woman’s fight to regain sobriety, find salvation, and earn forgiveness after years of guilt from being abandoned by her mother and then losing her brother to cancer, a struggle to vanquish the demons of her past and make her life right again.

This story tackles the difficult subjects of family abandonment, alcohol abuse, and food dependencies; compulsions and addictions caused by the trauma of one’s past.

Amanda Reynolds is vulnerable. Like most humans we err and make mistakes, and harbor grudges and secrets that can create huge reservoirs of pain if not addressed. Amanda is stuck in the past, and stuck in the pain, and the only way to cope with it is alcohol.

WHILE WRITING the story, Chiara thought about her own idols and addictions and how she could break them. She thought about how a person with a perfect life is able to throw it all away over something that consumes their mind and body. She thought about a person who cannot move forward because of horrible past experiences. She pondered the ongoing domestic abuse and abandonment of children in our society. Most importantly, Ms. Talluto thought about the human condition, and the temptations that can lure one in the wrong direction.

Ms. Reynolds has to face her fears and QUASH the demons of her past so that she can live again. It is a daring attempt to confront things head on. But, we are encouraged to know that tough situations don’t last long; BUT tough people do.

… The work ABOUT addiction is heart-breakingly accurate, delivering a realistic emotional quality which both endears Amanda to us as a character and also teaches important real life lessons about the judgments we often place on people who are alcohol dependent… (K.C. Finn from Readers’ Favorite)

… Author Chiara Talluto gives the reader a realistic tale of someone searching for a purpose, for validation that they mean something, that they are worth more than just being left or abandoned… (Michelle Randall from Readers’ Favorite)

She Made It Matter is available in print and electronic editions everywhere books are sold. More information on the author and all her writings can be found at www.chiaratalluto.com

BACK JACKET BLURB:
Don’t turn back. Begin anew.

Thirty-six-year-old Amanda Reynolds has it all. She has a loving, successful husband, two beautiful daughters and a perfect, manicured home in a quaint suburb of Chicago.

But demons hide where no one looks and Amanda’s past is full of them—she’s addicted to alcohol. The reasons for her addiction have been buried for years.

One horrifying day, suppressed memories resurface and Amanda drinks herself into a stupor in front of her daughters. Waking up in the hospital, the realization is clear: get clean or lose everything.

Amanda sets off on a daring journey taking her across the US in an attempt to vanquish the demons that have plagued her life.

Will Amanda defeat her alcohol addiction?

Will her family forgive her?

Can she break away from her past, find her self-worth, and restart again?

BUY SHE MADE IT MATTER HERE:

Barnes and Noble
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/she-made-it-matter-chiara-talluto/1137747331?ean=9781734823707 

Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/She-Made-Matter-Chiara-Talluto/dp/1734823704/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1602518270&sr=1-1 

Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1044555

Kobo
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/she-made-it-matter

Reach Chiara on Social Media Links HERE:

Website: www.chiaratalluto.com
amazon.com/author/chiaratalluto
http://www.facebook.com/ChiaraTallutoAuthor
Twitter: @ChiaraTalluto
#ReadLocalAuthor –https://hometownreads.com
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Chiara+Talluto
Readers’ Favorite: https://readersfavorite.com/rfreviews/search?search=chiara+talluto
Authorsden: http://www.authorsden.com/chiaratalluto

Contact Info
ctalluto18@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

#SpecialGuest – Sue Coletta – #PrettyEvilNewEngland

Hi, Everybody! Today, I am very pleased to welcome special guest Sue Coletta, sharing her latest book, a non-fiction work entitled Pretty Evil New England. 

Many of you are familiar with Sue’s fictional thriller/murder/crime novels, but I think you’ll enjoy finding out more about how
her new, non-fiction book came to be.

NOTE: To win a free paperback copy of Pretty Evil New England, all you have to do is leave a comment below. I will be drawing names from a hat at the end of the day, and the winner will be posted tomorrow. Good luck!

Now, without further ado, here’s, Sue!

~~~

Thanks, Marcia. Nice to be visiting you today.

Writing true crime has many moving parts. My background as a thriller writer helped, but I also needed to maintain a factual narrative. Thankfully, I’ve always been a research junkie, so that wasn’t a problem. Combining the two was a little trickier. I can’t tell you how many times I feared blowing the opportunity. For those who don’t know me, in May 2019 a large publishing house reached out to me to write true crime. Not just any true crime book. They asked for historical true crime about female serial killers of New England prior to 1950.

Sounds like a dream opportunity, right? I mean, c’mon, it’s not every day a publisher seeks out a writer. It’s usually the other way around.

ONE PROBLEM

I wrote fiction. Not historical fiction, either. Contemporary psychological thrillers/serial killer thrillers. See why I panicked?

To my credit I’d written true crime stories on my blog — still do — but never an entire book. What that means is, I didn’t have a signature style for true crime. I’m not the type to travel Easy Street, so while writing I also had to develop a unique style to attract readers within my core audience and beyond.

During those early weeks of my deadline, I’d rip my hair out, totally convinced that I could never pull this off, that I “fake it till you make it” my way right down an endless pit. Every time I panicked my husband reminded me that I do the same thing with every book. Why should Pretty Evil New England be any different? He’s right, of course. Part of my process is to convince myself that I’ll never be able to outdo my previous book. Why do writers do that? We’re our own worst critics.

POST-PANIC

Once I’d moved past the self-doubt stage, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed writing in this genre. And now, I’m hooked! The same day I submitted the full manuscript of Pretty Evil New England to my publisher, I searched for an exciting new female serial killer to feature in my next true crime book. I even created a tagline for my true crime persona: Breathing new life into dead serial killers. 😊

EXHILARATION

Did all my worry and frustration work out in the end? Well, I made my deadline, and the publisher couldn’t be more thrilled. Early reader reactions are also encouraging, but only you can judge whether Pretty Evil New England is right for you. I will say, some readers might find the book frightening, creepy, or both — cough, Marcia — because whenever possible I wrote from the killer’s perspective.

Living inside the mind of female serial killer isn’t for everyone. Try living inside five at once. David Attenborough became my savior. Whenever I felt overwhelmed by murderous thoughts and actions I flipped on Netflix and sank into one of his amazing nature documentaries. Still do.

EXCERPT

Before boarding with Mr. and Mrs. Beedle, Jane Toppan lived down the road at 19 Wendell Street, the home of Israel and Lovey Dunham. “Mr. Dunham was getting pretty old—about seventy-seven—and was feeble and fussy,” she would later confess. “I thought a little morphia would do him good, but I gave him too much and he never woke up. It was just as well for him.”

Israel Dunham died on May 26, 1895. The doctors misdiagnosed the cause of death as heart failure.

I continued to live in the same place, and two years later I found Mrs. Dunham rather troublesome. She was old and cranky, so I gave her the same dose as her husband, and she passed away [on] September 19, 1897.

After murdering the Dunhams, Jane moved in with Mr. and Mrs. Beedle. They, however, employed a live-in housekeeper named Mary Sullivan. As far as Jane was concerned, Mary’s services were no longer required. So, she drugged the young woman into a stupor with morphia. When Jane beckoned Mrs. Beedle up to Mary’s room on the second floor, the housekeeper lay spread-eagle on the bed. Jane insisted Mary had a drinking problem, probably sneaking alcohol during work hours, too. Mrs. Beedle fired her housekeeper on the spot.

Jane sniggered. The plan had worked better than expected.

Now with full control of the household, Jane poisoned the Beedles on a whim. She only gave enough of her deadly cocktail to cause gastrointestinal upset. Perhaps this was her way of reminding Mr. and Mrs. Beedle just how helpful and convenient a live-in nurse could be, thereby securing a warm place to sleep without the threat of eviction hanging over her head.

As Mattie Davis knocked at the Beedles’ front door that June evening, the family was just sitting down to dinner. Eliza Beedle insisted that Mattie join them. Jane hustled into the kitchen and returned to the dining room with a glass of Hunyadi (a medicinal mineral water) for her friend.

“You must be very thirsty after your trip,” she said as she passed Mattie the glass.

During dinner, Mattie told the embarrassing story of falling in full view of everyone on the train. By the end of the meal she’d drained the last drop of mineral water. Jane suggested they walk to the bank so she could withdraw the funds to pay her overdue balance. Since Mattie needed to deposit cash anyway, she agreed. But when she rose from the table, the room spun off its axis. Woozy, Mattie slapped a hand on the back of her chair.

“Perhaps it was that fall,” suggested Jane. “Should we wait for a while?”

“No, no, I’m fine.” Mattie couldn’t let her condition stand in her way, not with being so close to achieving her goal. After all, collecting the money from Jane was the main reason she’d traveled to Cambridge in the first place. Her family had waited long enough for payment.

Once Mattie stepped outside into the sultry night air, she let out a groan and crumbled to the street.

With no one else around, Jane bent down to wrangle Mattie to her feet. Perhaps she added too much morphia to the Hunyadi water. Now she had to practically carry Mattie into the house. Thank goodness she hadn’t gotten far before she collapsed.

Grunting, Jane heaved the lethargic woman back inside. Melvin Beedle jogged over to assist in carrying a limp Mattie Davis up the stairs to the guest bedroom. When Melvin dashed back down the stairs to fetch a cold glass of water for Mattie, who looked like she’d fainted from the heat, Jane darted into her own bedroom and swiped a hypodermic needle from her bag. Back in the guest room, low whimpers escaped Mattie’s lips.

So I gave her another small dose of morphia. And that quieted her.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

For four centuries, New England has been a cradle of crime and murder—from the Salem witch trials to the modern-day mafia. Nineteenth century New England was the hunting ground of five female serial killers: Jane Toppan, Lydia Sherman, Nellie Webb, Harriet E. Nason, and Sarah Jane Robinson.

Female killers are often portrayed as caricatures: Black Widows, Angels of Death, or Femme Fatales. But the real stories of these women are much more complex. In Pretty Evil New England, true crime author Sue Coletta tells the story of these five women, from broken childhoods, to first brushes with death, and she examines the overwhelming urges that propelled these women to take the lives of a combined total of more than one-hundred innocent victims.

The murders, investigations, trials, and ultimate verdicts will stun and surprise readers as they live vicariously through the killers and the would-be victims that lived to tell their stories.

BUY Pretty Evil New England here:

Amazon (all countries, Kindle & paperback)
Barnes & Noble (NOOK & paperback)
Books-A-Million (ebook & paperback)
IndieBound (paperback)
BookShop (paperback pre-order sale)
Globe Pequot
Rowman & Littlefield

Author Sue Coletta

Sue Coletta is 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 “Top 100 Crime Blogs on the Net” (Murder Blog sits at #5) for four years in a row. She also blogs at the Kill Zone, a multi-award-winning writing blog, and writes two serial killer thriller series (Tirgearr Publishing) and narrative nonfiction/true crime for Globe Pequot, trade division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group.

You can reach Sue on Social Media here:

Website / FacebookTwitter / Amazon  / Goodreads /

TigearrPublishing / Globe Pequot (Rowman & Littlefield/ 

#GuestDayTuesday – The Case of the Babbling Sphinx by Bob Nailor

Hi, Everybody! Please help me welcome Bob Nailor to The Write Stuff today. Bob is here to share his newest book, The Case of the Babbling Sphinx, and I think you’ll agree it sounds like a winner! 

BLURB:

Gregory Eggers, a multi-billionaire, is missing; then he is found dead. Not only dead, but mummified. His third wife claims she is the reincarnation of Cleopatra and he is Marc Antony. Detective Barry Hargrove is called to figure it all out with the assistance of his old police partner, Williamson. What he uncovers is an ancient Chinese sword, a vendetta, and an Egyptian curse with a Chinese secret—a mystery so strange that even Hargrove can’t believe it. What is the secret of the curse on the obelisk? Hargrove searches the mansion and life-sized replica sphinx to learn the answers. But is the sphinx willing to babble its secrets?

BUY The Case of the Babbling Sphinx HERE


Author Bob Nailor

My name is Robert S. Nailor, but many people know me as Bob Nailor Author. I live on a quaint wooded acre in the NW corner of Ohio. I’ve retired and now spend most of my time puttering around the house, working in the yard, spoiling the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and writing – not always in that order. Seems I have less time for writing than when I worked full time, but, still, I shove my butt into the chair and force myself to put words to the screen. I write fantasy, Amish Christian, adventure, mystery, and what I call “light” horror. I have written several books and have been included in multiple anthologies. I also do speaking engagements and editing for other writers. There’s several corners to me and many of them can be found at my webpage: www.bobnailor.com

Social Media Links:
Webpage
Facebook
Email: bob@bobnailor.com

 

 

#GuestDayTuesday – Astral Conspiracy by Staci Troilo


Today, please welcome Staci Troilo, my friend and fellow Story Empire author, who would like to share her latest releases (yes, plural!) with us today. I’ve read Book  1 in this series and can attest to just how good it is, so I know you’re going to enjoy finding out more about all five books! Take it away, Staci! 


Ciao, Marcia. I’m so glad to be back here today. And greetings to all your readers.

I’m here today to talk about my Astral Conspiracy series. It’s technically science fiction, as it’s part of the acclaimed Platt and Truant Invasion Universe, but my saga is as much thriller as it is sci-fi, so I thought I’d have a little fun with my marketing and include pages from the top-secret government files on my main characters.

Today, I’m sharing info on Dev Chandra.


DOSSIER

Name: Dev Chandra

Occupation: Agent for US Government AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program)

Of Note: Hired to debunk rumors of alien sightings and unaware of the existence of aliens before Astral Day.

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW BETWEEN AUTHOR (Staci Troilo a.k.a. D.L. Cross) AND CHARACTER (Agent Dev Chandra) ON ASTRAL DAY (the day the world is alerted to the approach of alien ships) via video conference. (Video is eyes-only, file #6221940-V, director’s approval required.)

Subject photo available, file #6221940-G

Staci: Hi, Dev. How’s it going?

Dev: How’s it going? Don’t you have the Astral app? Have you checked any news feeds today?

Staci: I do and I have. I know you work at AATIP. I thought you might have some insider information to share about the aliens on their way here.

Dev: Well, you’re going to get a kick out of this. I didn’t even know aliens existed until Rysoft sounded the alarm. This was as much a surprise to me as it is to you.

Staci: And now that you’ve had some time to process everything? What about your bosses? Aren’t they sharing info with you?

Dev: (he sighs) Tasha and Nadia are too busy trading insults and hostile glares to relay anything useful. And the director…

Staci: What about him?

Dev: (shrugging) Beck is Beck. It’s obvious he knows a lot more than he’s sharing. But I won’t know what that is until he shares it.

Staci: You can’t tell me anything?

Dev: Well, there has been talk. I thought it was just a rumor, but now…

Staci: What kind of talk?

Dev: There’s something going on at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Staci: Wright-Patt? What?

Dev: Like I said, it’s just a rumor right now. But it’s a juicy one. And now that I know aliens exist, I suspect it’s true. Especially since Tasha wants to go there.

Staci: Landon Thorne told me everything he knew.

Dev: The ancient astronaut kook? (he frowns) Well, I guess he’s not as “out there” as I thought.

Staci: He told me everything he’s thinking.

Dev: I doubt that.

Staci: He told me more than you did.

Dev: He’s a civilian. I’m a government agent. And because of that, I need to cut this short. Take care, Staci.

Staci: Wait! (but he left before another question could be posed)


Dev makes his debut in the Astral Conspiracy series in book one, The Gate. You can read a brief synopsis of all five books below, and each one has links to its product page and a purchase link.


The Gate: When the hypotheses of disgraced ancient alien theorist Landon Thorne prove to be true, he travels across the globe in search of a way to communicate with—and perhaps stop—the approaching alien armada.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Stones: The invasion couldn’t be prevented, but there is a chance the Astrals can be driven away… if Landon Thorne can reach the Georgia Guidestones, unearth its secrets, and decode the mystery before the aliens stop him.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Nine: Landon Thorne and his team of resistance fighters seek a cipher to decode the message accompanying a cache of alien artifacts they’ve unearthed, but the government, a clandestine cabal, and the Astrals themselves stand in their way and might not only put an end to their plans—they might put an end to their lives.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Twins: When all factions converge for a human-versus-alien showdown, resistance fighter Reverie Sterling gets help from the least likely source. But even then, it may be too late for everyone she loves to make it out alive.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Lab: In the final showdown between Earthlings and Astrals, twins Asha and Vonn insist their long-lost grandfather has a plan to save humanity. It’s a long-shot, but the resistance takes it—and no one is prepared for the consequences.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link

About Staci Troilo/D.L. Cross

D.L. Cross has loved science fiction ever since she was a young girl and fell for Major Don West on television’s Lost in Space. To this day, she still quotes the show, though her favorite lines were spoken by the robot and the antagonist. Parallel universes or alternate realities, aliens or dinosaurs, superpowers or super viruses, time travel or AI… no sci-fi theme is off limits and all of them fascinate her. D.L. Cross also writes other genre fiction under the name Staci Troilo, and you can find more information about all her identities and all her work at her website: https://stacitroilo.com.

Connect online:

Website | Blog | Troilo Amazon | Cross Amazon
Troilo BookBub | Cross BookBub | Troilo Goodreads | Cross Goodreads
Social Media


Let me wrap-up by once again thanking you, Marcia. And all of your visitors. This post was as fun to write as the stories were, and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Grazie!

 

#GuestDayTuesday – Mae Clair Introduces the Murder They Wrote Anthology

So happy to have Mae Clair visiting us today to talk about the Murder They Wrote anthology. I can’t wait to grab a cup of tea, plop down in the Comfy Chair, and get going on this one. I think you’ll feel the same way when you read about all the goodies it contains, so let’s make Mae feel welcome here this morning as she gives us the details. Take it away, Mae! 


Thanks for hosting me today, Marcia! I’m super excited to be here sharing news of an anthology in which I have a short story.  Murder They Wrote brings together seven authors writing in various sub genres of whodunits.

You Can See the Variety by the Blurb:

Murder comes in 7 different genres. By 7 different authors.

Are you a fan of courtroom drama? In the anthology’s first story, Abraham Lincoln defends a friend’s son against a charge of murder.

For lovers of speculative fiction, Jason Fogg dissolves into mist to sneak through open windows and snoop for clues.

How about a cozy? Jazzi, Jerod, and Ansel discover a dead body while renovating a kitchen, dining room, and half bath.

Have a craving for a Regency? Lord Peregrine and his wife, Elizabeth, use their sharp minds and quick wit to solve a murder at a garden party.

Need a bit of literary fiction? A young, lonely widow must deal with the theft of a valuable butterfly collection.

And what about a little psychological horror? Twin sisters discover that their attic is haunted by not one, but two ghosts.

Last, but never least, the anthology concludes with a historical mystery. A young, newly married knight is accused of murdering his obnoxious host at a holiday gathering in his castle.

______________________________________________________________________________

If you’re wondering which one of those stories is mine, it’s the last one.  🙂 

Normally, when I write a mystery, there is an old legend, or a paranormal element involved. Readers know me as a writer who loves creatures, but I wandered in a different direction this time. My story, A Winter Reckoning, is a straight murder mystery with a sizable group of suspects, an isolated location (a snow-bound castle), and—of course—a dead body. <cue theatrical music>

I chose a Medieval setting to tell a tale that I hope will keep readers guessing as they consider and discard suspects. There is a chivalrous romanticism attached to knighthood, and a courtly type of cunning that comes with intrigue. In many ways it is like a chess match.

My father first taught me how to play chess when I was in grade school. I like to think that strategy of manipulating pieces on a gameboard, transferred into manipulating characters in my story. And unless my lead, Sir Richard Essex, discovers who murdered a deceitful nobleman, his own life will end in checkmate.

A Winter Reckoning is just one of seven stories contained in Murder They Wrote, and I think you’ll enjoy the variety. I wish you happy reading and happy sleuthing!

Buy Murder They Wrote HERE


Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

AmazonBookBubNewsletter Sign-Up
Website | BlogTwitterGoodreadsAll Social Media


 

#GuestAuthor Teri Polen on Her #NewBook Subject A36

Happy Thor’s Day, everybody! I’m pleased to announce we have a guest blogger today on The Write Stuff, and I know you’ll all help me welcome author Teri Polen. Teri’s going to share a bit about her soon-to-be-released book, Subject A36, and I know you’ll be intrigued, and will want to let all your friends on social media know about this one. Thanks!

I love her skin tone. 

What I wouldn’t give to have hair that color.

I always wanted blue eyes the color of the ocean.

Most of us have coveted physical attributes possessed by others and have made similar statements.  It’s rare to come across someone who wouldn’t change something about their physical appearance if given the opportunity.  But what if there was a way? 

Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genes using biotechnology.  Most of us know our food is genetically modified.  One source I found estimated that more than 75% of processed foods in supermarkets contain genetically engineered ingredients.  That’s kind of scary to think about. 

But what about people?  Gene-editing trials involving terminally ill adults are ongoing.  In 2015, doctors received permission to use an experimental form of gene therapy on a one-year-old girl using genetically engineered immune cells from a donor after all conventional treatments failed. Within a month, the cells had killed off all the cancerous cells in her bone marrow.  What a miracle!

In 2019, a Chinese scientist revealed he’d secretly altered the genes of twin girl embryos in an attempt to make them resistant to their father’s HIV infection.  This sent the scientific community into an uproar, the scientist’s experiments were declared illegal, and he was sentenced to prison for three years. 

Ironically, this scientist’s illegal actions came to light more than a year after I’d started writing my new book, Subject A36 (The Colony Series #1) releasing February 13th, 2020.  Reading about that scientist gave me goosebumps.  Most countries have laws against certain types of gene editing, but in the world of Subject A36, there are none.  Genetic engineering to obtain desirable physical attributes or characteristics is commonplace for wealthy citizens of The Colony.  And a potential death sentence for people who live outside those walls. 

Subject A36 is a sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian novel—but the actions of the Chinese scientist make me wonder if something similar to this scenario will really be sci-fi in the not too distant future.  Do you have goosebumps now? 

BLURB:

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

Pre-Order Subject A36 HERE


Author Teri Polen

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

Contact Links:
Website:  https://teripolen.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TeriPolenAuthor/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TPolen6
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16114393.Teri_Polen
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/tpolen6/
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/teripolen/
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/teri-polen

#NewRelease – #Eventide by Mae Clair

So happy to welcome Mae Clair to The Write Stuff today with news of the release of her latest novel, Eventide. I’ve already got this one on my Kindle and after enjoying Books 1 and 2 so much, I can’t wait to read it. And just look at this fabulous cover! 

So without further ado, let’s get right to it. Take it away, Mae! 

~~~~~~

Hi, Marcia. Many thanks for having me as a guest today! I’m delighted to be here today promoting my upcoming release, Eventide, the final book in my Hode’s Hill series of novels. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Eventide is an archaic way of saying “evening” or “twilight.” All three books in the series play off this theme:
Cusp of Night
End of Day
Eventide

Each refers to that moment when daylight fades and twilight encroaches. I’ve always considered these “betwixt times,” never fully anchored in one period, but gradually transitioning into the next. From the time I was a child, I was fascinated by the idea. I’ve also always loved the word eventide, but when it came to choosing titles for my Hode’s Hill series, I initially headed down a different path.

The original title for Cusp of Night was The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill after one of the characters in the book. I had planned to use color in all three titles, but my publisher wanted something short and mysterious. I must have gone through three dozen suggestions before I came up with Cusp of Night. It was the last on a long list I sent to my publisher—tossed on as an afterthought—but the one they ended up choosing. After that, the two successive titles were easy, and the theme was born.

I think it works well for books that are part mystery and part supernatural suspense. There’s even a little bit of cozy in each given the sleuthing my female characters undertake.

In this short excerpt Madison Hewitt is digging for information about an old home she purchased. She talking to a co-worker, Karen, who seems to know something about the home’s previous owner.

~~~~~

Madison sighed. “The house is really old, and I’m trying to find out whatever I can about the place. If you know something—”

 “Like what?”

 “I don’t know.” After several unusual experiences, she needed Karen to be forthcoming. “It’s just…an odd place. You mentioned rumors. Said there were things that happened there.”

 “Yeah.” Karen’s hands stilled. She stared at the letters in front of her as if debating something. After a moment, she closed her eyes, drew a breath, then shifted her attention to Madison.“You remember I told you I had a cleaning business? Vera Halsey was one of my clients.”

 “The woman who owned the house?” Madison had never made direct contact with her during the sale. “I understand she passed away in a nursing home.”

 “That’s what I heard, too. But she stopped my services months before she got sick. She was only in her early sixties, but something happened, and she started wasting away.”

 Madison had always assumed she was up in years, eighty or more. “That’s horrible.”

 “Strange is how I see it.” Karen smoothed an envelope between her fingers. “Everything about her was odd. The house, too.”

 “What do you mean?”

 “I wish I could explain it better. I had two people working for me. Both said they’d quit before going back again. I was the one who ended up cleaning for Vera. After a while, I got used to”—she looked away—“things.”

 Madison’s pulse ticked higher. “What do you mean?”

 “I don’t want to scare you.”

 Madison held her gaze.

 “Okay.” Karen leaned forward and lowered her voice as if sharing a secret. “It was just a sense of something always there…like being watched. The girls I had working for me said they heard people arguing when no one was around.”

 Madison’s fingers tightened on her coffee cup. “Did you?”

 “Once. Maybe twice. There were other things, too. Doors that shut on their own, cold spots, rancid odors. Sometimes I’d see someone from the corner of my eye and turn, but no one was there. Occasionally, some of my supplies would go missing only to show up in another room. The last week I was there, I swear someone tried to shove me down the steps.”

~~~~~

Sound a little creepy? There’s much more to the history of this house. You can discover the complete story by reading Eventide and discovering the secrets that lie within. Thank you in advance for your consideration! 🙂

Universal Purchase Link

BLURB:

The darkness is coming . . .  

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?
 
Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

Order Eventide HERE

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

AmazonBookBubNewsletter Sign-Up
Website | BlogTwitterGoodreadsAll Social Media