Monday, May 22, 2023

Q&A: W.L. Brooks, Author of Crossing a Fine Line: The McKay Series Book 5 #Q&A #Interview

 

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Today we have the lovely and talented W.L. Brooks with us. W.L. was born with an active imagination. When characters come into her mind, she has to give them a life - a chance to tell their stories. With a coffee cup in her hand and a cat by her side, she spends her days letting the ideas flow onto paper. A voracious reader, she draws her inspiration from mystery, romance, suspense and a dash of paranormal. A native of Virginia Beach, she is currently living in Western North Carolina. Pick up her latest novel, Crossing a Fine Line - available now!
 

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Thanks for this interview, W.L. Brooks. Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing? 

This book will conclude an interesting twenty-year journey.  

Can you tell us about your journey? 

I first came up with the characters for the McKay series for a creative writing class in 2002, and from there, the journey began. 

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun? 

Reading, hiking, shopping, and having lunch with friends.

What makes your book stand out from the rest? 

All of my female characters are strong, independent, and flawed, but Fletcher, who is the MC of this book, is the fiercest of all my McKay girls. She is the most beloved character of my series, and her story will be the darkest yet. 

Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?

Chapter One 

Noah Reed grimaced and set the mug down; the coffee was cold. How long had he been standing here, staring? He leaned his muscled shoulder against the wall and continued to study the woman on the other side of the two-way mirror. 

At twenty-five, his suspect could easily be mistaken for a teenager. She was young, brash, and bewitching. Her long, tawny hair was in twin braids on either side of her head, her overalls were frayed, and her boots were muddy. By all appearances she was dismissible, but underestimating her would be absolute folly.

 Not only was this woman intelligent and resourceful, but she was also his nemesis, and he had charges that would stick. Murder in the first degree; he had her dead to rights. And he hated it. Her gaze landed on him through the glass. She couldn’t see him, but that didn’t stop Noah’s gut from clenching at the ice in her blue-green gaze. 

Fletcher McKay didn’t try to disguise her feelings. No, her hatred of him radiated off her slender form like a plume of smoke. Noah straightened from the wall and rolled his neck. There was no doubt he would be walking on dangerous ground. He had given up being a homicide detective in the city, a job he’d loved, to take over as interim sheriff when Jasper Hart asked him to. Noah had been honored. But that was before this.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why? 

Maybe Independence Day because Fletcher is freeing herself of her trauma. 

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done? 

This is the fifth and final book of my McKay series. 

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession? 

I don’t know that I saw it as a profession until I was in my late teens, but I have always loved telling stories. 

What’s next for you? 

Writing the next book. 

 




Crossing a Fine Line: The McKay Series Book 5
W.L. Brooks
The Wild Rose Press
314
Romantic Suspense

Fletcher J. McKay has been shot, driven insane, and tortured by a madman, so what’s one more psycho coming after her? But this foe’s disturbing attempts to extinguish Fletch’s light leave her shaken. Running out of options, she must consort with the enemy.

Fletcher is undoubtedly Sheriff Noah Reed’s nemesis. Their discord began with an irrevocable outcome of an unforeseeable trauma, but duty demands he keeps her safe. The closer he gets, the more his loathing turns to lust.

Devastated by loss, Fletcher agrees to go into Noah’s protective custody. Passion takes them across the boundaries of their animosity, but is their tentative bond enough? Or is the line between love and hate, as with life and death, fixed.

Pre-order eBook on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3TD6x4a 

Amazon (paperback): https://amzn.to/3FJd33G

 



Friday, May 12, 2023

Cover Reveal! All That Glitters by Mike Martin


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We invite you to Mike Martin's ALL THAT GLITTERS Cover Reveal! Please leave a comment to let Mike know you stopped by and don't forget to order your copy!
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Title: ALL THAT GLITTERS
Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Ottawa Press and Publishing
Pages: 282
Genre: Mystery 

Sergeant Winston Windflower is moving on to a new chapter of his life, no longer an RCMP officer but now a Community Safety Officer in his home of Grand Bank, Newfoundland.

But when a body is found in the bed and breakfast he co-owns, diamonds are found in the body’s digestive system, and then Windflower’s friend Dr. Sanjay, who was given the diamonds for safekeeping, is kidnapped, it’s clear that crime has returned once more to Grand Bank.

Windflower finds himself back in the thick of it, helping his newly promoted friend, RCMP Corporal Eddie Tizzard, track down a ruthless diamond smuggler who will stop at nothing — kidnapping, even murder — to pull off his dirty business.

This is another finely spun Windflower mystery that contrasts suspense and tension with the joys of friendship, family, and gratitude.

Ottawa Press and Publishing | Amazon U.S. | Amazon CAN

 

 

Mike Martin was born in St. John’s, NL on the east coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand.

He is the award-winning and best-selling author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mystery series set in beautiful Grand Bank. There are now 13 books in this light mystery series with the publication of All That Glitters

A Tangled Web was shortlisted in 2017 for the best light mystery of the year, and Darkest Before the Dawn won the 2019 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. 

Some Sgt. Windflower Mysteries are now available as audiobooks and the latest A Tangled Web was released as an audiobook in 2023. All audiobooks are available from Audible in Canada and around the world.

Mike is Past Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers and a member of the Newfoundland Writers’ Guild and Capital Crime Writers.

Website: https://sgtwindflowermysteries.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mike54martin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkerOnTheCapeReviewsAndMore


Sponsored By:

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Q&A: Rev. Terry Allan Christian, Author of What Did Jesus Say: The Seven Messages From the Master #Q&A #Interview

Since dedicating his life to Jesus at the age of 23, Terry Allan Christian has been reading the red lettered version of the 4 Gospels as recorded in the KJV Bible. Even though Terry reads the whole Bible, his primary focus is on the words of Jesus and the example of His actions.

Terry grew up in a violent dysfunctional family where he quit school at 16 and left home. He stuttered so bad he could only say 3-5 words in a row. His family and friends mocked him and that caused much stress in his early life.

At the age of 23, he had a near death experience and in which he had a dream. In this dream, he was told that one day he would be a teacher for Jesus. Needless to say, he was scared at first because of his stuttering and lack of structured education however, he always had a child-like faith and trust in Jesus as Lord.

After the dream, he was soon hired by the Dale Carnegie Organization and trained in sales and public speaking, where he met a man who taught him how to visually read. During the next few years Terry read several hundred books on the subject of personal growth.

At the age of 30, Terry became a professional Motivational Speaker and Executive Trainer and over the next 20 years he would deliver more than 2,500 presentations to private and public audiences across America and Canada.

Several years ago, Terry retired as a public speaker after feeling the Holy Spirit redirecting his life. He was led to do what Jesus told him many years earlier. After researching the 4 Gospels he composed the book What Did Jesus Say: The Seven Messages from the Master, using only the Words spoken by Jesus as recorded in the 4 Gospels, without adding any personal comments or opinions.

As in all God called missions it took longer, cost more and challenged him to the edge of his faith. He would later say, he had to read the Book of Job just to understand why this was happening to him and was he being tested or penalized. In the end, he was being tested and by the grace of God, he prevailed.

Now after 12 years of study, obedience, difficulty and struggle, this book is now available in Paperback, eBook, Audio Book and Kindle.

Today, Author, Teacher and Counselor, Rev. Terry Christian is founder of Foundations for Life ‘Online’ Ministries and he presently lives Negril Jamaica where he does local missionary work in schools and churches while counseling Christians worldwide online thru his program Christian Helping Christians.

Negril, Jamaica is where Rev. Christian went to fast & pray while seeking divine healing for Bladder Cancer. His doctors gave him 3yrs to live so he created a healing sabbatical and after fasting & praying, and walking the beach for 21 days, he returned to his Doctors and they released him ‘cancer free’.

Terry calls this program: The Life Walk –aka- The Miracle Walk and now offers this ‘restoration’ program online or in Negril, for Christians seeking Life, Health or Marriage Restoration.

Rev. Christian believes: WITH GOD, all things are possible, all the time, wherever we live and at every given moment, when we pray, believing.

Website: WWW.WDJBOOK.COM

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RevTChristian

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/revchristian

Book Website: www.whatdidjesussay.world




Thanks for this interview, Terry Allan Christian. Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards to getting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing?  Can you tell us about your journey?

I would say it was like ‘living’ the Book of Job. If I didn’t know of the story I would have given up however I knew God was allowing me to be tested and it appears, I’ve past the test because the book is now being released worldwide online in Paperback, eBook, Kindle and Audio Book formats. Amen to that too! 

To give you an idea about my journey. The day I got up to do what I thought was the last book edit, my dad had a stroke and died 30 days later. I then spent the next 3 years with my mother helping her before she died. I came from a violent dysfunctional family so I wasn’t able to visit my mother’s home for 18 years before my dad died. He was a very manipulative man.

After my mother died, and I was about to finish my book, I was diagnosed with a severe case of bladder cancer and given 3 years to live. My book is now on hold and I traveled to Negril Jamaica where I created a 21 Day Sabbatical called the Life Walk –aka- The Miracle Walk and I walked over 100 miles up and down the 7 mile Beach while praying & fasting and reading ‘everything’ Jesus said in the 4 Gospels about healing. I then returned to my doctors and they released me cancer free. I would later write a blog story about the experience and here’s the link: http://bit.ly/1WPQBHi 

Once the book was printed and all things looked good, I had to have emergency throat surgery and it took away my natural smile and kept me from talking publicly for 3 years. I was struggling financially and my friends and family distanced themselves from me like they did to Job but I never took it personally. I knew God knew, and that was good enough for me.

In the end, today, I’m 71, feel 51 and living my dream while helping people worldwide online. God is Good, especially to the obedient.  

When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?

Personally, I like to walk the beach, meet people and catch as many sunrises and sunsets as possible. 

What makes your book stand out from the rest?

It’s the only book available that presents Seven Messages containing over 500 Scriptures spoken only by Jesus to those who loved and followed Him and there’s no added comments or opinions from me. Just the pure Words from Jesus so it deeply impacts the reader unlike any other book about Jesus. It’s in full color, easy read, with big print and at the bottom of each page is the scripture location in the Bible for more reading. 

Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?

Message #1- The Christ: (Opening) I AM the Christ, I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. / Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light. 

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

It would be in both the Christmas and Easter section because its all about what Jesus Said and as we know, Jesus spoke for God as His Son.  

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

Yes. I believe, What Did Jesus Say: The Seven Messages from the Master, would make a great 7 segment series on TV or Podcast. 

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

I dropped out of school at 16 and left my violently dysfunctional home, I never imagined anything for my life as I was a stutterer too and couldn’t talk. After my experience with Jesus at age 23, I would read over 500 books on personal development and become a Professional Motivational Speaker giving over 2,500 speeches throughout the USA and Canada before being called away to compose this special book: What Did Jesus Say: 

What’s next for you?

I’m preparing to launch a Podcast called Walking with the Master. It’s also the name of my next book outlining my 48 year walk with Jesus. And, God willing, I expect the Podcast to be live by September and my book to be available online, before Christmas. 


What Did Jesus Say: The Seven Messages From The Master

Terry Allan Christian

Divine Publication

157 pp.

Christian/Gospel

Imagine you’re walking down the beach, and you come across a crowd waiting for Jesus to appear and teach them. What would he say? Would he talk about current religious and political conflicts, or would he speak about Love, Light, and Truth? Join us as we go for a walk with Jesus, and listen to his words as he shares with us the Seven Messages from the Master. Each spiritual message reveals His teachings that will strengthen and guide you to a most peaceful life in Christ.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/404q0fA 

Audible: https://www.audible.com/search?searchNarrator=Terry+Allan+Christian 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/13827563 

YouTube: https://bit.ly/3KseiWj

 

 


 




 

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Q&A: Peter J. White, Author of Ghost Hunter Series #Q&A #Interview

Peter J. White was born in Colorado and raised in SE Alaska. He has degrees in Education, French, and an MFA in Creative Writing. He taught ELL in Bangkok, Thailand for six years, and currently teaches high school English in Washington State. Hobbies, past and present, include writing, bicycling, mountain climbing, kickboxing, MMA, and yoga.

Website: https://peterjwhite.weebly.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100088706454075



Thanks for this interview, Peter. Would you say it’s been a rocky road for you in regards togetting your book written and published or pretty much smooth sailing? Can you tell us about your journey?


Publishing? Rocky. Writing? Once I got going, a constant joy. The best moment in every day.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but somehow just couldn’t get myself to do it. Then I signed
up for an MFA in Creative Writing as way of climbing the salary schedule (I teach high school
English).


That opened the door: screenplays are a delight to write. A blast. I churned out a dozen
screenplays, entered contests, and although I did OK (quarterfinals, most of the time), nothing
kept happening. I finally decided to write novels: I can market those myself.


Now that I’m doing that, I’m going back over the screenplays and novelizing them. The first
screenplay I wrote is the basis for The Ghost Hunter Series.


When not writing, what do you like to do for relaxation and/or fun?


Workout. Kayak. Spend time with my kids. Go for long drives.


What makes your book stand out from the rest?


You don’t see a lot of Paranormal Vigilante Thrillers. From those I have seen, I think mine are
the best.


Can you give us the very first page of your book so that we can get a glimpse inside?

Max killed the big Kawasaki Ninja.
A hot wind whistled, blowing sand and dust cross-wise. A tumbleweed the size of a large
dog scratched its way across the road and into the desert.
He stepped up onto the old fashioned boardwalk, his boots clomping on the weathered
wood, and made his way into Riker’s Bar.
Inside, the room was dim and smoky, despite laws to the contrary.
A few scattered cowpoke-looking men sat at tables with varying amounts of empty beer
bottles in front of them, three men at the bar.
No one looked.
Max strode to the bar and threw a leg over a stool.
“Bushmill’s. Beer back,” he said.
The bartender gave him a long look, nodded, and turned to serve up the drinks.
Max put his elbows on the bar and used the mirror to scope out the room.
Just as he thought.
He’d counted eight men at the assorted tables on his way in.
Now there were nine. And a woman in a red dress.
“A goddamn red dress,” Max said. “Shit.”
What the hell is it with dead women and red? Do women attracted to danger and bad
men like red? Did their men dress them before they killed them?
“Excuse me?” said the bartender.
Max looked away from the mirror.
“Nothing,” he said. “Thinking out loud.”
The bartender gave him another look.
“I seen you before?” he asked.
“Doubt it,” Max said. “Never been here.”
“Huh,” said the bartender, “I would’ve sworn….”
“I get that a lot,” Max said. “Common type: Bald guy, goatee.”
“Huh,” said the bartender again.
Max looked around the bar: booths against the wall, tables scattered at the periphery of a
dance floor, some pool tables and actual pinball machines in the back. Standard. He
didn’t imagine there was much need for anything to draw in customers: those who drank
would come.
“Bar’s been here a while?” Max said.
The bartender leaned back and crossed his arms.
“Yup. Big times here in the old days.”
“It goes back that far? Oil boom days?”
“Yup. Black Callahan’s place, originally.”
Max frowned.
“Black Callahan. He the one that got himself hanged?”
Max scrutinized the man next to the woman in the red dress in the mirror.
Big fellow. Old-fashioned fancy, shirt with a string tie, black leather vest, cowboy hat. Jet
black hair, beady eyes, five o-clock shadow like sandpaper on his face.

If your book was put in the holiday section of the store, what holiday would that be and why?

Halloween. Of course. My books are filled with ghosts and very, very unpleasant people. 

Would you consider turning your book into a series or has that already been done?

I’m hard at work on book six. Book five is releasing this month.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

I always wanted to be a writer. I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to actually work toward this goal.

What’s next for you?

Like I said, I’m releasing book five this month, working on book six, and also several horror novels coming out. The first one (these are not a series, but independent works) is already out on Amazon. Click here to check it out. 

I have another free giveaway for those of you who are interested:

If you sign up for my mailing list, I am offering you book two of the Ghost Hunter Series, Slouching Toward Tenancingo. Click here to redeem that offer.


Title: The Hollow Men
Author: Peter J. White
Publisher: Self/English Unlimited LLC
Pages: 496
Genre: Paranormal Vigilante Justice Thrillers / Classic Horror

When the ghostly victims of a small-town crime lord find him, ex-special forces soldier Max Sinclair realizes the only road to peace is to serve them the justice they crave.

But the Bannister clan has tentacles that reach from Eastern Washington into Mexico, trafficking women across the border and into their brothels. Haunted by visions of the dead, Max burns a swath through the Bannister empire, doing his best to set the dead free, but odds are he’ll be joining them before he’s done.

The Hollow Men is the first novel in the Ghost Hunter series about a vigilante who sees the dead—Max Sinclair. Haunted by visions and longing for justice and redemption, Max hunts down evil incarnate—his soul hanging in the balance as he walks the line between the dark and the light.

“Peter J. White and his Ghost Hunter: The Hollow Men should be at the top of that list and profiled on library book recommendation lists as a standout.” —D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review/Editor, Donovan’s Literary Services.

★★★★★ “Gripping and Timely Page Turner: From the first line, this tale grabs you and draws you in. Human trafficking is the dark side of our civilization, the modern, brutal form of slavery. Mr. White takes this subject on with a hard punch and a supernatural twist that keeps you on the edge of your seat.“—Amazon Reader

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3MUrlCK 


Title: Slouching Toward Tenancingo
Author: Peter J. White
Publisher: Self/English Unlimited LLC
Pages: 547
Genre: Paranormal Vigilante Justice Thrillers/Classic Horror

Max Sinclair is heading straight into the heart of evil: Tenancingo—center of the Mexican human trafficking industry. There’s a man down there that’s done someone he loves wrong, and Max aims at setting things straight.

On the way, he’s accumulated some powerful enemies—of the cartel variety—and attracted the attention of the Black Queen: Mexico’s most prominent priestess to Santa Muerte.

Hunted by the Queen, haunted by the dead, fueled by a fierce desire for justice, Max wages war against the evil that blackens the land. But with the Barrera cartel’s five million dollar bounty on his head, odds are he won’t make it to his final reckoning.

Slouching Toward Tenancingo is the second novel in the Ghost Hunter series about a vigilante who sees the dead—Max Sinclair. Haunted by visions and longing for justice and redemption, Max hunts down evil incarnate—his soul hanging in the balance as he walks the line between the dark and the light.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3mFTFyh 


Title: Bangkok Redemption
Author: Peter J. White
Publisher: Self/English Unlimited LLC
Pages: 656
Genre: Paranormal Vigilante Justice Thrillers / Classic Horror

Back in Thailand, Max Sinclair is hot on the trail of a Thai gangster who killed the one he loved. But when a street child he’s befriended is snatched up by a ring of pedophiles, Max diverts his mission of vengeance to save her.

Max is thrust into a world of Black Magic, Spirit Doctors, human sacrifice, and The Ancient Ones: forces older than mankind who work to extinguish the light.

Meanwhile, he’s stepped right in the middle of a power struggle between a Thai Mafia kingpin and his counterpart in the Russian Mafia.

Caught in the middle of a triangle of powers seeking to dominate the land, Max doesn’t stand a chance of surviving.

But he will not be denied, no matter the cost.

And maybe, along the way, he’ll find the balance he seeks, and ultimately, redemption.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/40hqZJr 


Title: The Bad Beginning
Author: Peter J. White
Publisher: Self/English Unlimited LLC
Pages: 614
Genre: Paranormal Vigilante Justice Thrillers / Classic Horror

Go back to the beginning of the highly-rated Ghost Hunter series with this prequel:

Max Sinclair, a former special forces officer, thought he could leave his violent past behind when he resigned his commission and moved to Thailand to train in Muay Thai.

But when the powerful and dangerous Amnat Meut, the Thai mafia, begins enlarging their grip on the world of Muay Thai boxing, Max’s peaceful retreat becomes a fight for survival.

As he battles to protect his beloved camp and the people he’s grown to care for, Max discovers a hidden ability to see the dead. But will his newfound gift be enough to save him from losing everything, including his very soul?

Ghost Hunter: The Bad Beginning is the gripping prequel to the series, delving into the dark past and supernatural powers of one man’s quest for redemption.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/40kGCQr

 

 

 


 

Monday, May 8, 2023

Book Spotlight: Blake's Folly Romance Trilogy by J. Arlene Culiner

 

 


Blake’s Folly, a former silver boomtown in Nevada, has become a semi-ghost town. The people who live there are originals, but that doesn’t stop them from finding love…
 

Title: Blake's Folly Romance Trilogy
Author: W.L. Brooks
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Pages: App. 214 pp. each
Genre: Historical / Contemporary Romance

By 2023, the silver boomtown of Blake’s Folly, once notorious for saloons, brothels, speakeasies, and divorce ranches, has become a semi-ghost town of abandoned shacks and weedy dirt roads. But unusual settings attract unusual people, those forced to adapt to new circumstances in order to survive, and those who have never really fit into mainstream society. But none are humdrum. All have dreams and a chance to fall in love.

A Room In Blake’s Folly

In 1889, when Blake’s Folly boasted silver mines, saloons, and brothels, the adventurer, Westley Cranston, fell in love with Sookie Lacey a former prostitute. Their romance was doomed but never forgotten, and these six stories tell the tale.

All About Charming Alice

Alice Treemont cooks vegetarian meals, rescues unwanted dogs, and protects the most unloved creatures on earth: snakes. What man would share those interests?

Jace Constant is in Nevada, doing research, but he won’t be staying long. He hates desert dust, dog hair and snakes terrify him. Even if the air sizzles each time Alice and Jace meet, any romance seems doomed.

Desert Rose

Rose Badger is the local flirt, and settling down is the last thing she intends to do. Geologist Jonah Livingstone is intriguing, but with his complicated life, he’s off limits for anything other than friendship.

Jonah Livingstone is fascinated by the sparkling and lovely Rose Badger, but she doesn’t seem inclined to choose a favorite, so why fret? Jonah’s secret life keeps him busy.

https://books2read.com/BlakesFollyRomance

https://books2read.com/Charming-Alice

Desert Rose has no links yet. To be added.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt3VkYUTVNk 

Book Excerpt  


Excerpt from A Room in Blake’s Folly

“You trust Big Jim?” Resentment rippled down Westley Cranston’s spine, meshed with scorn. “A lousy cad who jilted you when you were carrying his child? Who knew your bigoted family would kill you?”

Seemingly unperturbed, Sookie Lacey dipped her forefinger into the oily pot of carmine on her dressing table, spread the rosy salve over her lips. Turned, met Westley’s eyes squarely. “Jim didn’t have a choice. He was on the lam. He had to keep moving.”

“Because he was wanted for a violent robbery! Why the hell are you making excuses for an unscrupulous criminal who forced himself on an impoverished family?” 

“You weren’t out in this part of the world back then. You can’t even imagine that winter when cattle froze to death on the prairie. How could anyone, good or bad, have survived in the open?” 

“And while hiding out with your family, he seduced you.”

“Seduced!” Her nostrils flared. “Being with Jim protected me from my vicious brother, my depraved father, I told you that. They both tried to have their way with me.”

It was an old argument, one they’d had many times. Why couldn’t Sookie see that Big Jim’s perfidy could have ruined her life—would have ruined her life if she’d been a weaker woman? A pregnant fifteen-year-old runaway when she arrived in Blake’s Folly, Sassy Sookie had gone to work as a prostitute in the Red Nag Saloon. It wasn’t the lowest sort of brothel, but it wasn’t a classy parlor house either. Yet, clever, lighthearted, and a favorite with the men, she soon realized her own worth. Never succumbing to the temptations of alcohol or laudanum, she’d left the Red Nag, come to the Mizpah, and as a saloon girl, made such excellent money selling dance tickets, encouraging men to buy alcohol, and to gamble, she no longer needed to sell herself.

“So, four years after jilting you, Jim walks into the Mizpah, sees you’ve become successful, and decides to stake his claim. That makes him a decent man?”

“He’s changed. Jim has become a respectable businessman, and he wants to marry me. He’s building us a big fine house where we can live together with our little son.”

“Where? Where will this wonderful fine house be?”

“In Virginia City.”

“Have you ever been there? Seen what he’s building?” 

“You know I haven’t. Jim’s been on the road for the last five months. He sends me letters from Denver, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Phoenix.”

How can she be so blind? Westley took a deep breath, forced himself to sound steady and reasonable, not like a man hopelessly in love with the woman he would soon lose. “And what about us? What about what we shared? The nights you spent in my arms?” Nights when she had given herself without reticence but with warmth, tenderness.

Sookie stood, shook out the short, ruffled skirt and colorful petticoats floating just below her shapely calves. Her golden beauty, caught in the lamp’s uneven flicker, made his heart ache. How desirable she was in the low-cut sequined bodice that barely hid the sweetness of her breasts.

“Westley, what you and I shared is our secret. A delicious secret that no one else can know about or even suspect, particularly since Jim has sent Doug Lazy here to protect me.”

“To spy on you, you mean.”

Sookie’s chin tilted defiantly. “Think what you’d like. Just don’t forget I’m marrying Jim in September.”

Pushing past him, she swept out of her boudoir and into the long dark corridor. The tapping of her tasseled kid boots on the stair held a note of finality.

Excerpt from All About Charming Alice


The back seat of Jace’s car looked like it needed a shave. “Can’t you dogs keep your hair on?”

The shaggy black animal wagged its tail, a look of simple adoration in its eyes. Jace sighed. His day was going all wrong. He didn’t like dogs, didn’t like dog hair, and didn’t like being late. Yet here he was, late for his appointment and busy driving a shedding mutt around a ramshackle agglomeration no one could call a village or a community. A semi-ghost town? Yes, that was the right word for this jumble of shacks, run-down frame houses, beat-up trailers, and car wrecks strewn along weed-choked lanes.

Hard to imagine that a hundred years ago Blake’s Folly had been a wild town, a Gomorrah, a name that had brought terror into the hearts of honest men and women but also a refuge in a harsh, hostile wasteland. Times had changed, all right. Nowadays there was nothing appealing, nothing welcoming, and nothing threatening about the place. It was definitely a has-been.

“Jeez!” Jace muttered. “Why would anyone choose to live in a mess like this?” As if in response to the question, which was, of course, merely rhetorical, the dog shifted forward and licked his cheek.

Jace jerked away, threw the creature a sour look in the rearview mirror. “The last thing I need is a dog with all the answers.”

The dog was large—very large. Its bulbous head seemed to sway on a sagging neck. Its legs were long, knotted, and spindly, and its ribs wanted to punch through a dull, ratty-looking coat. Yet, ugly though it was, the damn thing had a strange appeal.

But was that a reason to talk to it? Jace had never had a conversation with an animal in his life—folks who did were either nuts or absolute fools. “And there’s no way I’m sliding into one of those categories!” he stated with definite emphasis. The animal’s tail thumped a mocking denial on the seat.

Jace groaned. It was all the fault of the dry Nevada air. “Doing strange things to my brain. I need the city, with big city dirt, pollution, and noise. Spend a few more hours in the desert with this beast, I’ll find myself explaining the theory of relativity to it.” He turned again. The amount of dog hair on the back seat had now reached disaster proportions. He had to get rid of this animal and fast.

Suddenly, the rutted track came to an abrupt end. Jace slammed his foot down on the brake, and the car skidded to a dusty stop. Now what? Ahead of him, the countryside stretched out in beige desert monotony: endless, lifeless, treeless. The man at the gas station had told him to take this dog to the last house in town: a yellow mansion. One belonging to a woman called Alice Treemont—how was that for a moniker? Certainly seemed appropriate for someone who lived in the desert and took in stray dogs. He could picture her, too, hair dyed ruby red, cigarette hanging out of a corner of her mouth, her body molded by leopard-print latex. Or else a mean-lipped witch, one who hated every male on Earth.

Jace stared at the structure on his right. High, ancient, rickety, made out of wood, it looked nothing like a mansion and more like the typical haunted house found in amusement parks. Could this be what he was looking for? Impossible. He peered out at the landscape: left, right, behind, ahead. Nothing else. Just this.

“And the locals call that yellow?” Sure, it must have been yellow once…around a hundred years ago. Back then it might have been regal.

Opening the car door, he stepped out onto the soft, brown dust that, to his annoyance, instantly covered the fine Italian leather of his boot. Hell on Earth, that’s what this part of the world was. He was really looking forward to getting back to Chicago with its art galleries, concerts, and theater performances and to meeting up with the good-looking, sophisticated women he knew. But for the next month or so, he was stuck out here, doing research. It was his own fault: sometimes he had crazy ideas.


Excerpt Desert Rose


When the bell above the shop door tinkled, Rose’s well-practiced welcome smile was almost in place. Almost…then it stopped in mid-stretch. Stunned, she stared, swallowed, stared some more. My goodness: wasn’t he gorgeous. Her interest increased, and her heart did a pitter-patter tippy-toe dance as she took him in: tallish—but anyone would be tall when compared to her tiny size—rangy, with tousled hair so black it appeared blue under the lights, an explorer’s bone structure and weather-honed skin, deep brown eyes. And here she was, acting like a complete idiot, frozen into place, gawking at him as if he were of another species, or something totally new-fangled dropped down from a distant stretch of the Milky Way.

Not that he seemed to be faring any better, not moving, staring at her, his gaze unwavering, the wide-open door letting in frosty air and plump snowflakes. What was that gaze of his telling her? That he was surprised? Pleased? Oh yes. He liked what he saw, all right—and men did like her, she knew that. She was used to their admiration. They liked naturally golden curls, slanting blue eyes, and the broad, flat cheekbones of the Russian steppe. But wasn’t it especially nice to be admired by such a gorgeous specimen? Yes, indeed.

Mentally, Rose shook herself, forced herself out of her stupor—somebody had to do something. This was a store, a business, not a blind date. If a man suddenly showed up in a ladies’ dress shop, that meant there was already a woman in his life. Unless he was a cross-dresser. Or was lost and needed directions out of this half-a-horse hellhole.

“Hello.” She forced the formerly incomplete smile into something more fulsome and professional.

“Hello,” he answered. Smiled back. Not a forced smile, though. A wonderful one that softened the craggy angles of his face, crinkled into deep lines around his mouth and eyes.

Rose swallowed. Stared for another few seconds, then ordered herself to stop thinking about his smile, his lips, the bristly, salty way his skin would taste if she licked it, right there, at the corner of his mouth. The thought made her knees tremble. A bad case of lust at first sight? With a great effort of willpower, she corralled the lusty thoughts until they were more manageable, somewhat closer to normality. Heard her own voice, calm, practical: “Can I help you with something?”

He blinked, once, twice, as if waking from a trance. Then, laugh lines and crinkles disappeared, gave way to a more business-like expression. “Yes, of course.” Stepping into what was left of the warmth in the shop, he turned, closed the door behind him. Stared at her again. Cleared his throat. “I’m looking for a present.”

“For your wife?” Rose held her breath.

His mouth tightened. “Not quite.”

“Ah.” Hope faded. Not quite a wife wasn’t nearly as bad as a snuggled-in official wife, but it was close enough.

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About the Author

Writer, photographer, social critical artist, and storyteller, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.

Website:

http://www.j-arleneculiner.com

Blog:

http://j-arleneculiner.over-blog.com

All sites: https://linktr.ee/j.arleneculiner

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/jarlene.culiner/

Storytelling Podcast: https://soundcloud.com/j-arlene-culiner


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Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Book Spotlight: Ascension: Book Two of the Berserker Chronicles by Kevn D. Miller

 

Ascension is the action-packed  sequel to Awakening that follows Leif’s journey to master the Berserker and Prevent Hel from  plunging the nine realms into a period of blood and darkness…

Title: Ascension: Book Two of the Berserker Chronicles
Author: Kevin D. Miller
Publisher: Bifrost Books
Pages: 318
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy

After his fateful fight in the bowls of an Asgardian prison, Leif returns to Midgard for  some much needed rest and recuperation. Unfortunately, his reprieve is interrupted when he is  unexpectedly attacked and once again pulled into a civil war between the gods. As he wrestles  with his past, Leif quickly learns his Berserker strength is no match when his enemies are the  gods themselves. In an attempt to grow stronger and control the rage within, Leif sets out to  track down a surviving Berserker clan that may hold the secret to mastering the gold-like  power the Berserker promises. Will Leif learn the secret and ascend?

Ascension is the action-packed sequel to Awakening that follows Leif’s journey to  master the Berserker and prevent Hel from plunging the nine realms into a period of blood and  darkness.

You can pick up your copy at Amazon → https://a.co/d/eSiJz


Book Excerpt  


Chapter 4  

The electrical storm crashed around Leif in a terrifying staccato, burning his  retinas in the process. A wave of static energy washed over him, tingling his skin as the earth  shook from the cascade of lightning bolts that slammed into the ground, terrifyingly close.  Then, as quickly as the storm appeared, it was gone. Bright yellow sunlight spilled over Leif as  his nose was filled with the thick smell of ozone. He blinked to clear the flashing spots from his  vision; he nearly jumped out of his skin at the sight of Thor standing not two feet away from  him. The mountain of a god was dressed for war. His body was encased from shoulder to  boots in gleaming silver-plated armor. His trusty war hammer, Mjolnir, was held firm in his right  hand. Glancing at Leif, the thunder god gave him a quick smile before returning his focus to  Fenrir and Ra. Following his gaze, Leif was shocked to see, unlike him, the two dark gods had  not come out of the storm unscathed.  

A look of pure hatred wafted from Ra; the ancient god seethed in anger so palpable Leif  thought he could taste it. The god’s simmering orange eyes flared like the fires of Duat, causing  the berserked Leif to take an involuntary step backward. Ra’s shirtless torso was covered in  forked electrical burns, and his leather pants had been ripped to shreds from repeated  lightning strikes.  

Likewise, Fenrir appeared to have fared no better. His fur cloak was gone, probably  disintegrated in the attack, while his shirt and pants were in tatters. He too had a look of  outrage on his face, but hiding behind that fa├žade, Leif saw true fear. With Ra at his side, Leif  knew the damned wolf couldn’t back down, not when he talked such a big game moments  ago.  

Bolstered by Thor’s presence, Leif let out a war cry, swinging his axes in a complex  pattern, warming up for the fight. He prepared himself to charge the battered gods, but a  gauntleted hand clamped down on Leif’s shoulder, giving him pause.  

“No, my friend,” Thor said in his thundering baritone. “You are in no condition to fight. I  know your blood boils, but you must know you are outclassed. Let me deal with them,” Thor  said, taking a meaningful step forward. As if to accentuate his point, lightning burst from the  Aesir’s armor, momentarily encasing the god before flickering out. 

Leif desperately wished to join the fight, but a tiny part of him knew he wasn’t strong  enough. If he were to fight, he would just get in Thor’s way or, gods forbid, get himself killed.  Gritting his teeth, Leif remembered his vow to not let his weakness be the cause of his  comrades’ deaths. So, he held himself back. The sheer rationality of his control surprised him.  When he had first awakened to his powers, the only thought he could muster while berserked  was who to fight next. Now, he was capable of at least a modicum of rational thought while  maintaining his berserked state. If he survived Ragnarok, he will be a much more deadly  warrior.  

Leif stepped back to give Thor some space, while Ra and Fenrir looked at each other  for a silent second. Ra unsheathed his strange sickle-shaped sword, and it glowed with the  same amber orange of a sunrise, perfectly matching his smoldering eyes. Fenrir bared his teeth  in a snarl as he soundlessly unsheathed his blade.  

The atmosphere grew still, as if the very weather was holding its breath. Then the trio  moved. It was then that Leif fully understood why Thor had restrained him. As the gods moved  back and forth on the street, minor sonic booms rang out as all three warriors cut loose. Even  berserked, Leif could barely follow their movements, let alone comprehend what they were  doing. The air and ground around them shook with their fearsome power.  

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About the Author

 

 

Kevin D. Miller is an attorney in Southern California who spends his two hours a day  commuting to work either listening to sci-fi/fantasy books on Audible or plotting out the  storylines for his future books. When he isn’t working, Kevin can be found spending time  with his girlfriend Amy and their dog, Riley. Kevin enjoys writing, ceramics, playing  video games, kayaking in Big Bear and enjoying the ocean air in Newport Beach.

Website: www.BifrostBooks.com  

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bifrost_books  

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bifrost_books