Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Magical Christmas Do Over Book Blast!



Title: THE MAGICAL CHRISTMAS DO OVER
Author: Linda West
Publisher: Morningmayan Publishing
Pages: 320
Genre: Holiday

BOOK BLURB:

Three women, thrown together by fate, get a second chance to go back in time and change their lives forever.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

    It was a cold December eve, some say the coldest in decades, and a blizzard warning was in effect. It was the Friday before Christmas and most of the other workers of Kennedy and Crane had already left for the Christmas holiday weekend.

      Samantha looked at the clock and groaned inwardly. It was after 8 o’clock and her boss was in an extra foul mood even for her.
    “Shouldn’t you be getting home to put on that awesome Chanel dress you bought for the big night?” She asked.

     Macy spun around enraged, and Samantha sunk back.
     Macy’s dark brows knit together and her brown eyes looked nearly black with the size of her pupils. She ran her hands through her short dark hair and then stared at Samantha with disbelief on her face.

     “I got a text from Todd an hour ago. He’s gone off to LA with some friends for Christmas!”
Samantha’s mouth fell open. “What, why?” She stopped herself. “I’m sure he has a good reason Macy.”
     Macy snorted. “Yeah, good reasons usually don’t come in a text. I’m losing him Sam.”

     Macy plopped down in her chair and stared out the large picture window of her sleek office, and tapped her long manicured nails on her desk like a woodpecker.
     “Says he’ll call me when he gets back…in a month.”
     Samantha’s groaned inwardly. Poor Macy, it looked like she was getting the ultimate big let down. Broken up with at Christmas. No engagement celebration after all.

    “Here’s a piece of mail you didn’t get.” Sam offered up happily as she placed it on Macy’s desk.

    “Send it back.” Macy said dully without turning.

     Samantha continued hopefully. “It’s not the annual Christmas invite from your mother Macy, that one is always in a red envelope. I always send that back. This is something different.”
    Samantha looked at the pretty Tiffany blue colored envelope.
     “It’s addressed to you personally, not the company.”
    Macy cocked her head to the side intrigued.
    Sam rushed on eager to bring some sort of happiness to her boss. “Maybe it’s a love letter from Todd with two tickets to Paris for when he gets back?”
    Macy let out a big huff and gazed out the window at the oncoming storm. They both knew that wasn’t the case. Todd’s last minute text was just a breakup in disguise.
     But if not Todd then who? Macy really didn’t have any close friends that would send her a Christmas card. Anyone that did know her at all, knew she abhorred Christmas. Too much money being spent in the name of sentimentality and tricky marketers as her father always said.

     Macy waved her hand without looking back at Samantha as if she were a servant.
     “Read it.”
     Samantha scanned the letter, then suddenly, caught her breath and brought her hand to her heart.
     “Macy.”
     Something in Samantha’s tone made Macy spin her chair around.
    “What?”
      “Its from a friend of your mothers, a Ms. Carol Landers.”
      “You have got to be kidding me!” Macy threw her hands up in the air.
Now my mother is having her friends beg me to come home and visit her? How utterly selfish!”
      She shook her head in disbelief. “What is it with my mother? She ruins my life and then she stalks me! Can’t she see no matter how many times she begs me to come home for Christmas - I’m not going to Kissing Bridge to see her?”
      Samantha swallowed uncomfortably and croaked out, “I’m so sorry Macy. But this letter says that your mother passed away yesterday, and you’re the only relative left to claim her body.”
      She looked up sadly and met Macy’s stunned eyes.
     “You have to go home to Kissing Bridge.”



 






Linda West is an Amazon best seller and author of the best selling series ‘Christmas Kisses and Cookies.’ She writes books that feature food and fun and includes her own recipes from her quaint beach cafĂ© in Malibu.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK


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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Just in time for the holidays! SLAY BELLS by T.C. Wescott


SLAY BELLS by T.C. Wescott, Mystery, 230 pp., $4.99 (kindle)


Title: SLAY BELLS (A CHRISTMAS VILLAGE MYSTERY)
Author: T.C. Wescott
Publisher: Better Mousetrap Books
Pages: 230
Genre: Cozy Mystery

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the village, the night settled in over swirling-smoke chimneys; the air was alive with pine and holly, with sugar and cinnamon and cider, by golly!

Along snowy lanes and through shadows it crept, past windows behind which each villager slept, where sleeping dogs lie and cats rest a’purring-

Tonight, in Christmas Village, a killer is stirring.

Welcome to Christmas Village, a magical hamlet where even in December the roses hold their luster and bees buzz among the bluebells. Nestled betwixt an opulent garden with meandering footpaths and an ancient grove of plum trees, Rose Willoughby’s boarding house is plum-full with lodgers. There are no vacancies, but just wait. Soon there will be one…and another…and another.

When the Inn’s guests begin dying in inexplicable ways, some villagers believe a beast from old village lore is the culprit. The sheriff knows better, but he’s just as helpless to catch the invisible killer as are the town folk with their eyes to the sky in search of a flying creature. But our mysterious murderer hasn’t counted on yet another lodger coming to the cottage: Maribel Claus.

Short as a stump, round as a wheel, sweet as a candy cane, and a sharp as a whip, Maribel loves a good puzzle. But can she unmask the phantom killer in time and save Christmas?

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon







PROLOGUE

Night settles in over smoking chimneys and snow-capped rooftops.

A potpourri of pine, holly, and cinnamon swirls in the breeze over white pastures and along sleepy lanes as festive decorations left hanging on each street lamp and along every thoroughfare dance upon its passing.

Winter birds offer up their sing-song as the rows of cottage windows blink out their goodnights.

But for many in the happy hamlet of Christmas Village, the night will be a short one, made restless with excitement for the morning when they will rise early to prepare for the inaugural day of the annual Christmas Festival.

The festival, running the full week before Christmas Eve, is the last great hurrah of the year, barring the ringing of the new year bells. It is no exaggeration to say that the best hope one has of experiencing something more glorious is to return the following year for the next Festival.

So, it is with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts that every soul in the village, farmer and squire alike, closes their eyes in anticipation of sunrise.

One among them will not live to see the sun.

Something moves among the birds, along the snowy lanes, skirting the light in favor of shadow.

In Christmas Village, this night, a creature is stirring.




T.C. Wescott was born in Missouri but has lived in Oklahoma most of his life. Like pretty much every author who has ever breathed, he is an avid reader. His favorites are classic mysteries from the Golden Age, as well as just before or just after that period (which is widely considered the period between the two World Wars). His first mystery novel, Running from Scissors, was published in July 2018 and will be the first of at least three books in the Running Store Mystery series.

The Christmas Village Mystery series launched in November of the same year with the debut title Slay Bells. The formula for his books is simple – mixing the classic, traditional detective fiction standards with all the trappings of the modern cozy mystery.

Wescott is also (under another name) the author of two award-winning non-fiction books as well as many essays and articles.

His latest book is the cozy mystery, Slay Bells (A Christmas Village Mystery).

Website Address: www.tcwescott.com
Twitter Address: www.twitter.com/MousetrapBooks
Facebook Address: www.facebook.com/BetterMousetrapBooks
http://www.pumpupyourbook.com
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Book Feature: The Sheltering Palms by Preston Howard


THE SHELTERING PALMS by Preston Howard, Fictional Autobiography/Historical Fiction/Satire, 519 pp., $19.99 (paperback) $3.99 (kindle)


Title: THE SHELTERING PALMS
Author:
Preston Howard
Publisher:
Preston Howard Press
Pages: 519
Genre:
Fictional Autobiography/Historical Fiction/Satire



Renowned police labor lawyer, Preston Howard, reached a watershed in his life—a forced retirement from the firm he built from the ground up and a cancer diagnosis. These two events made him take a step back and reflect over a life that had at times been hilarious, irreverent, self-mocking, eerie and even a bit, make that, quite lewd.

A family of unique characters guided the lawyer’s formative years: a bourbon-swilling, brilliant yet flawed grandfather who mentored the young lad in matters of religion, politics and the quest for knowledge; a psychic mother; an oversexed nanny; an aunt and uncle who fought on the front lines of integration; and a fire-balling uncle who got his fifteen minutes of fame in The Show.

Preston Howard first made his mark as a crime-fighting attorney representing the Tucson Police Department. Then he spent over forty illustrious years as a labor lawyer working with police officers and union leaders and handling the gamut of fascinating, high-profile cases across the country and even in other countries.

His many tall yarns might be viewed by some with the greatest suspicion, but his story-telling is undeniably first-class, witty, and absorbing.

PRAISE:

“The best book I’ve ever read about lawyers, cops, and unions.” Bob Helpert, Tucson, Arizona

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Link to book on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Sheltering-Palms-Preston-Howard-ebook/dp/B07HS2317W/
Link to B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sheltering-palms-preston-howard/1129662142
Link to Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-sheltering-palms
Link to Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1437685823

I USED TO BE SOMEBODY—when Preston Howard walked down the street, kings and queens would move off to the curb. Okay, so that bit of paraphrased hyperbole, courtesy of George Thorogood, might qualify as excessive, but for sure, when I rode into town, mayors, city managers, and police chiefs became more than a little queasy over what kind of wrath I might bring down on their community.
As senior partner at the highly successful Austin labor law firm of Howard, Diamond, and McGowan, I was invariably the oldest person in any meeting. My partners and co-workers would refer to me as “gramps” or “pappy;” one of them commented that I surely must have been around to vote for Hoover in 1928. If I had actually been alive back then, my vote likely would have been for Al Smith, not that my ballot would have been of any benefit to the man.
I did have the satisfaction that sometimes when my colleagues were not trying to get my goat with the “old man” references, they would call me “Obi-Wan.” At least my long and productive career had earned me Alec Guinness status as an all-knowing legal Jedi knight.
A few years back, I began to acknowledge that the passage of time had worn me down. My work ethic started to diminish; my instincts, always on target before, sometimes failed me; and to their considerable annoyance, I became increasingly testy with colleagues. My partners urged—tactfully at first and then more impolitely—that I go out to pasture. What an irony: I hired this bunch of ungrateful bastards, and then they had the gall to start pushing me aside.
So as I began to seriously consider retirement two years back, The Fates turned my life upside down and made the decision easier to finish up my career. The cancer diagnosis and Social Security eligibility hit me in the gut less than two weeks apart.













Preston Howard spent his entire career working on behalf of police officers, representing them under adverse circumstances, negotiating contracts to improve officers’ benefits and working conditions, and training police union officials in the art of leadership. He has written numerous books and lectured not only in this country but abroad as well.

His latest book is the fictional autobiography/historical fiction/satire, The Sheltering Palms

Website Address:  http://www.prestonhowardauthor.com
Facebook Address: Preston Howard – Author



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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Blog Tour - You Can't Force Love - Excerpt #4



Title: YOU CAN’T FORCE LOVE
Author: Marie Drake  
Publisher: RedBird Books
Pages: 286  
Genre: Realistic Fiction

“A battered butterfly, he’d build Kimberly up, nurture her strength and watch her return to flight. He repressed the visions dancing in the back of his mind; her naked body brandished red flags and spurred him to stampede. Bulls and butterflies did not mix.”

Jordan Fry’s obsession is born in “You Can’t Force Love” by Marie Drake, Book I in the Locked Hearts Series.

From different towns and social backgrounds, Jordan Fry and Kimberly Orvine experience life-altering abuse, lose a parent and land in the same foster home. Angry, and self-deprecating, fiery redheaded Kimberly is deadset on lousy behavior and suffering the consequences, punishing herself for former sins. Scared by his inner darkness, pyromaniac Jordan has vowed to change for the better. He focuses on Kimberly as the key to his success, but she intends to make him break his promises. Unaware of Jordan’s atrocious actions in the past, she’s dangerously close to unleashing the evil he struggles to contain during their epic battle of wills. Can they both survive?

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon



Book Excerpt #11 -

Chapter 3

Jordan folded cardboard flaps together and carried his final box of belongings to their red station wagon. Crescent Hollow Park’s manager inspected the mobile home and confirmed the existence of furniture and appliances included with their rental. Satisfied, he hung a For Rent sign in the kitchen window; Debbie exchanged her keys for her security deposit.

Jordan opened the passenger door. “No, kiddo; we’re taking Paul’s car; he’s driving mine to the dump and unloading the junk. He’ll meet us at Noreen’s,” his mother said.
“The house of many cats,” Jordan said.








 



Follow rest of tour here!


Award-winning author, Marie Drake lives in a small town near Lake Ontario with her husband, four sons, and three rescue pups. With many years of experience in the Foster Care community and advocating for other victims and survivors, she specializes in realistic and psychological fiction depicting the lives of abuse sufferers; their obstacles, their triumphs, and their downfalls.


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Interview with Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure Author John Paul Tucker #fantasy #amazon #interview




John Paul Tucker holds degrees in Theatre and Theology and has many years experience as an Ontario Certified English Language Teacher, in addition to teaching mime, puppetry and Drama to teens and children. His unique journey has furnished him with an eclectic head of ideas.
                            
He is currently celebrating his 50th article on www.thewriterslessonbook.com, an educational website he created for writers, featuring writing tips and techniques harvested from the books we love to read. He has published poems in the Toronto Sun, Little Trinity Print Magazine and Imago Arts e-magazine. His poem City Sidewalks won first prize in a Toronto wide poetry contest. Two of his short stories, The Crooked Tree and The Debt Collector have each won a prize awarded by The Word Guild and The Prescott Journal respectively. You will find one of his fantasy stories recently published in the popular Hot Apple Cider anthology Christmas with Hot Apple Cider. JP has been busy polishing up The Rooster and the Raven King & The Rise of the Crimson King, Books II & III of The Song of Fridorfold trilogy, pursuing Cary, Clarisse and Gregory on their fantastic adventures.

John Paul is excited to be putting the final touches to his fourth novel, a YA fantasy inspired by the remarkable storyteller, George MacDonald. Gather the latest news about JP’s upcoming novels, enjoy a book trailer, dive into some free stories and poems, contribute some art work, take a peek at some photos, or for no other reason drop by to say hello at his official author website www.johnpaultucker.com.

John’s latest book is the middle grade fantasy adventure, Shelter Island.







Title: SHELTER ISLAND
Author: John Paul Tucker
Publisher: Brownridge Publishing
Pages: 224
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure

BOOK BLURB:
Thirteen-year-old Cary and his sister Clarisse must return home every day after school to mind their eight year old brother, Gregory. “It’s a non-negotiable,” insist their work-obsessed parents. There is another problem. Clarisse and Gregory don’t like Cary much, and Cary doesn’t much like anything, especially being tagged with his gummy-fingered little brother. But their troubles are about to grow talons.

While bickering over the contents of a small, intricately embroidered pouch, the siblings unintentionally summon three mail-clad birds, who hasten their three young conscripts to Shelter Island, refuge to a long divided realm hidden from the children’s homeland for hundreds of years. Spotted above enemy territory, the small company is attacked. Clarisse and Gregory escape to the caves of Husgard. Cary’s captors dispatch him to Vangorfold, a centuries old stronghold sworn to Husgard’s destruction. Entangled in a centuries old conflict, the children’s own blur of problems comes into sharp focus, hastening the fortunes, for good or ill, not only of a forgotten civilization of birds, but of the children’s homeland.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon



Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

Perhaps a little background first — I trained professionally for a career in theatre as an actor. The mounds of script study, rehearsals, and play watching come in handy for writing dialogue, standing a story on its feet, setting a stage, and chugging the plot along. I like action, suspenseful plot development and drama! What else? I studied dance and sword fighting. These days, I like to play chess, swim and walk my dog. I also like to make bread and bake cakes. When I can afford it, I love to share dinner out with friends and family, followed by a play or the ballet. Creating book trailers is high on my list – it’s like creating mini movies! Did I mention drawing? Oh, it’ll make you cringe, but I can crack my jaw!

When did you start writing?

According to my mother, my kindergarten teacher told her that one day I would be an author. Where the teacher got that from, I haven’t a clue, and that ‘one day’ ended up a long way down a winding road. But I’ve always enjoyed stories, particularly fantasy or fairy tales. The natural world has always struck me as a magical place, infiltrated by presences we cannot see. Perhaps, my kindergarten teacher saw how much I loved to listen to or tell stories. She also reported that I liked to take long naps. Which should mean I can write in my sleep, right? Getting back to answering the question, at seventeen years of age I started off in a professional career in theatre and pursued writing on the side. Eventually, writing stories got promoted from a side dish to the main course.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

I have always found stories compelling. Books opened up new worlds and introduced peculiar characters I would have liked to have had as friends. Stories taught me profound truths which I could not have grasped any other way. But it was Ernest Hemmingway’s Old Man and the Sea and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a novella by Richard Bach which had the greatest impact on my young and impressionable imagination. I wept for Hemmingway’s old fisherman. But my very young self refused to accept that the old man’s experience, which read like a sad, almost nihilistic parable, was the inevitable outcome of every enthusiastic pursuit. Jonathan Seagull, in contrast, swept alongside a fledgling artist and promised much, much more than meets the eye. I was astounded that stories could wield so much power. Perhaps, those novels were the grand impetus, from which there would be no turning back.


If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

If it has survived, I would pull up a chair at his old desk (I think it had secret drawers) in the study of George Macdonald (Author of The Princess and the Goblin & numerous outstanding fairy tales). Who knows? I may uncover a lost manuscript, or perhaps share the honor of shouldering the mantle of the prolific storyteller as I write.

Second choice? Within walking distance of a wind-swept ocean coastline. I love long walks to take a break from writing and I can think of no better place to blow out the cobwebs and rekindle the imagination.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

All expenses paid? Dinner for four followed by a play or the ballet.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

A pond.

Back to your present book, Shelter Island, how did you publish it?

I found Brownridge Publishing with a little detective work. I was thumbing through the results of a writing contest, taking note of publishers which publish in my genre and found Brownridge beside a winning entry. I visited the publisher’s site, discovered Brownridge was a small, yet growing traditional publisher with shared ideals, so I submitted. The editor liked my submission, but declined. The manuscript was a picture book, which she wasn’t publishing at the time. I replied to her email: As it so happens, I have just finished, and am currently editing a middle grade fantasy novel, the first of a trilogy titled The Song Of Fridorfold. She read it. Liked it. Her daughter read it. Liked it. She offered to publish it.


In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

Back and forth from study to kitchen.

Why was writing Shelter Island so important to you?

After submitting my manuscript to an editor, he commented, You know you are bucking the trend here. I thought, I hope so. Shelter Island is a story for readers, like the book’s protagonists Cary, Clarisse, and Gregory, who must look somewhere other than their own troubled hearts to find the courage they need to face extraordinary circumstances and enemies older, stronger and more cunning. A lot of children’s books beat the same feeble drum. Their message? Just dig deep enough, take charge of yourself, and everything will work out. Simply reach into your heart and you will find everything you need. That advice seems a naive sort of cure-all. What if one’s ‘heart’ should fail? What if he reaches into his heart and finds nothing but the ashes of regret and loneliness? Exploring the possibilities that arose from such questions made a strong contribution to Shelter Island.


Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

For one, I have a overactive imagination. I remember my Mom got a call from my junior grade school teacher. The teacher asked my bewildered mother why my older brother ‘John’ wasn’t attending school. “He doesn’t have an older brother,” she answered. Apparently, I talked about him at school sometimes. I also love art, fine art, theatre art and literature because in good art invisible things (the corporeal), like love, hope and their enemies, and material things (the temporal), get all tangled up. Art has the capacity to reflect the ‘whole’ world and to reach into deeper places. I also happen to bother God a lot in prayer, gathering crumbs that fall from the master’s table. 

Any final words?

On Shelter Island you can fly, but you can never run!



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