Author Interview: Sheila Dubell!

Interviewing Sheila Dubell author of Mona’s Wings
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Blurb:

Mona is one creative mama!
Join Mona and her ducklings on their adventure to Paris.Watch Mona’s love for her children, art and adventure come to life as they all head out on a journey to Paris. Henri, Pierre, and Coco show off their unique clothes and personalities as they dance, waddle, cook, and ponder.Follow the ducklings as they study famous works of art and explore the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and more.Watch Mona’s wings slowly turn purple and the magic of each scene come to life with every page turn as she paints the stunning sites of the City of Light.
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Book Review:

Mona’s Wings is an illustrated children’s book written by Sheila Dubell and illustrated by Sheri Gillett about family, culture, art, fun, and dreams come true. It’s an adorable little take that allows children to learn a lot more about Paris (and France overall) while adding a fun element to it. The inclusion of famous people from France by naming the ducklings after them was adorable. (Look at me gushing over cute characters in a book. 😂)
While reading it I kept thinking that this would be such a great inclusion in schools because of the education purposes it serves (and also for the kids currently studying from home).
I’m really looking forward to see what trips the cute little ducklings take in the future (possibly one to India? 😉)
Overall, really good children’s book that I would highly recommend.
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Interview:

1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.

Answer: Hi! My name is Sheila Dubell and I have been a children’s product development specialist for 30 years. Currently I work for Little Partner’s, a Montessori children’s product company. I have a great passion for writing and recently published my first book titled Mona’s Wings. I grew up in the small town of Portsmouth, RI and currently reside in Pennsylvania. I love brainstorming new product ideas and solutions that help make it easier for parents to care for their children. I also love traveling, art, riding around in my VW bug and spending time with family in Cape Cod. A funny quirk I have is that I love everything Christmas! My friends and family have fondly nicknamed me the “Crazy Christmas Chick”, but I like to refer to myself as the “Bringing Christmas Joy Broadcaster”.

2. How did the idea for your book, come about?

Answer: Growing up I had always dreamed of traveling and seeing things I heard about in songs, read about in books, or saw on TV. I loved to read about places near and far, letting my mind get lost in their stories. Times were difficult for me and my family with the unexpected loss of my dad and I wasn’t sure if those dreams would ever come true. Then something amazing happened and I was given the gift of a lifetime. My Aunt Sheila gave me a full education to Salve Regina University, in Newport RI. This changed my life forever. My senior year I studied abroad in Ireland and started on my travel journey. Mona’s Wings was inspired by the idea that dreams can come true. I thought many children probably have similar dreams, so I decided to write about my visit to Paris through the eyes of a mama duck and her ducklings for them to enjoy. Having had experience as an elementary teacher early in my career, I thought it would be a fun way to introduce children to Paris and give them a beginner lesson on famous impressionist artists and their works.


3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?

Answer: The most enjoyable part of writing Mona’s Wings was bringing the story to life with my illustrator Sheri Gillet. Sheri and I worked together designing children’s products for many years. She is a dear friend who is incredibly talented. Having the opportunity to work together on this personal project was so fun! Everytime a painted page was sent over for review it brought me so much joy. During a year of uncertainty with Covid there were also some stressful times that put Mona’s Wings on hold. I lost my job just as we started working on the book and my passion sadly plummeted. Luckily, I was one of the fortunate ones that found another job. A former colleague and friend offered me a position at his company, Little Partners. I work with a great team and having the opportunity to continue creating at work brought my desire back to creating something for myself. I found my spark again and Sheri and I finished Mona’s Wings a year after we began. We launched the book last month. I’m so grateful and excited!



4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?

Answer: The first person to read Mona’s Wings was my dearest and closest friend, Liz. I chose her because she was with me through the journey from idea to publication. Often I would bounce ideas off her and we would talk about different ways to incorporate them into the story. Liz and I took a trip to Paris with friends in 2018. Having just been there together, she would often remind me of little details I may have forgotten. She is my most honest and trusted friend and has no problem telling me when something is great and when something is not so great. That’s the kind of friend I needed on this journey.


5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?

Answer: On the last page of my book, Mona asks the ducklings “where shall we visit next?” Coco, Henri, and Pierri all respond with different answers, leading the reader to believe there will be many more family adventures. I have started to write again and am anxious to release the next story. I’m loving every minute of it because it takes my mind back to a place I once was and makes me dream of going back again. It’s funny how things always come full circle. As a teenager I imagined traveling and now as an adult still being cautious with Covid concerns I am imagining again.


6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write on?

Answer: I would love to write something that is based on historical fiction, perhaps a story within a story. So often when I’m traveling and seeing things for the first time, I think about who stood there and what happened in that spot before me.


7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?

Answer: I’ve always loved writing. I enjoy journaling, writing poems and stories for friends, and just generally love how words look “and feel” on paper (or screen lol). When I write my mind is focused on that moment and brings me into a different world for a short time. It feels like meditation in some way. I always wanted to write and publish a book, but I didn’t think it would be a children’s book. Something struck me though during the pandemic as I thought about my nieces and nephews. Normal everyday life stopped for them for a while as they could no longer go to class, be with their friends, go to pool parties, dances, or reading circles at the library. I decided during this time to write something for them so they could get lost in an adventure and realize the potential they have to make their own dreams come true. That’s how Mona made her debut. 🙂


8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?

Answer: I loved Maeve Binchy and still do. I have some of the best memories of being in Ireland that senior year. I still have friends today I met on that journey. Maeve’s stories in Ireland kept my memories alive and for that I will always be grateful.


9. I’ve always talked about this, but if your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

Answer: This question made me smile as I thought about who could play a duck! If Mona’s Wings was turned into an animated film I would recommend Tea Leoni play her part in a similar role as Madam Secretary. She would have her ducklings waddling around Paris with fervor and a determination to learn and embrace life confidently.


10. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?

Answer: Oh wow, I’d have to say keep at it and it will happen. Believe in yourself and the words you have to share. It’s an amazing feeling to finish something you started.
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Thank you Sheila for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄

Author Interview: Rayner Ye

Interviewing Rayner Ye, author of Five Light-Years to the Firesnake.
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Book Blurb:

Aedre’s mum died two years ago.

When her boyfriend breaks her heart, all she wants to do is escape her planet to start a new life elsewhere. Her only option is to travel five light-years to the planet Kuanja, to teach in its poorest geographical area, the Firesnake.

Faced with corruption, slavery, and murder, can she become a saviour of slaves?

Meanwhile, YuFu earns a good living fishing for diamonds in a gas giant’s atmosphere. All he wants now is to retire peacefully with his wife and children.

When his vessel gets hijacked by space pirates, he needs to decide what to do. Desperate to protect his employer’s secret, will he have to wipe his memory? Or will he be able to escape before these villains view his memory chip?
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Book Review:

Five Light-Years to the Firesnake is the first book in the Plan8 Slaves, an adult space fantasy series by Rayner Ye.
The most fascinating element about this story is the world building because the story covers various planets and journeying space itself. The author has a great imagination and attention to detail when it comes to the little things. We’re introduced to different types of characters that have various backgrounds and we also get to view the story from different perspectives because of this. (I never thought I’d see the word pirates in the story but yup we have pirates!)
Striping back the space fantasy part of the story, as a character Aedre shows a lot of care for others but she also knows that she’s different from those around her and her goals differ from general standards. In the beginning we see how her father comparing her to her sister does waiver her from what SHE wants to do momentarily, but she’s adamant in her decision. The only question is, is her decision the right one? (Read to find out!)
We are introduced to a few more entities but for the sake of not spoiling anything: 🤐
Overall, I did enjoy the story but I did get a bit confused in certain areas with so much going on.
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Interview:

1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.

Answer: My name’s Rayner Ye, and I write space opera with different sub-genres of sci-fi and fantasy for different series. Most of my books are set in a galaxy I created called the Plan8 Alliance, though a new book I’ve started writing is set in South America, on planet Earth. Rayner Ye is a weird name, I know, but it’s real. My first name–Rayner–is taken from a great aunt’s middle name, and Ye is my Chinese husband’s family name, which means green leaf in Mandarin. I lived and worked in Indonesia, China, and South Korea for over five years, and I miss the cultures and food. I am from Oxford in England, originally, and no, I’m not really posh or rich as some assume. Think of Lyra from His Dark Materials, I’m more like her.
My husband and I live in a little village in Surrey, UK, and it’s perfect for bringing up our son and daughter. He must be the only Chinese in the village, though, and we feel ashamed my kids cannot speak Mandarin, but we don’t want to pressurise them in an environment which is not multi-cultural. I taught myself yoga and the age of twenty, and have been doing it daily since, except for my two periods of pregnancy and breastfeeding. I’m a hippie at heart and love magic and science.


2. How did the idea for your book, come about?

Answer: Before I started writing my first space fantasy time travel series, I researched for about five months on NASA. From what I found out about kepler and Goldilocks Zones on exoplanets, I worlbuilt Plan8 and its eight habitable worlds. I’ve written fifteen books so far, but my first book–Five Light-Years to the Firesnake–was inspired by my time living and working in Indonesia. My main character is called Aedre, and she was very much based on myself as a twenty-three year old. She does yoga (union,) Shaolin (feigong,) and astral projection, and she worships the elements, nature spirits, and Gods and Goddesses. She even learns feigong in a feili temple which is based on the time I learned Shaolin Kung Fu in a little Buddhist temple around the corner from my home in Jakarta.

Unlike Aedre, though, I’m not grieving for my mum–as she is still alive–and during my time in Indonesia, I didn’t get involved with any mafias or a handsome secret agent. I hate slavery and human trafficking, and I think I made Aedre rescue the sex slaves and bring down interstellar human trafficking rings, because in real life, I cannot do that. I want to remind people about this terrible stuff going on on Earth as well as my fictional planets of Plan8, so, just maybe, someone can help the victims of crime.



3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?
Answer:

Answer: The most stressful part of writing my first book was all of the negative critique I got when I posted my first chapters on thenextbigwriter.com. But I was a new writer and was sharing my stuff to other authors so I could learn where I was going wrong. I quickly discovered I was going wrong everywhere. It was the best thing I could have done, because some very experienced writers helped me more than you could ever imagine. I learned more than I would have learned from books or a university course through trial and error. While it was heart-breaking, I absorbed the negative comments and advice with an open and eager heart. I beta read other authors’ chapters and stories to get enough points to post up my chapters for other writers to read, and I worked hard on rewriting and editing until all the feedback became 95% positive. It took time and work, but I learned more than I ever could have any other way for that stage in my life.



4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?

Answer: About twenty people reviewed my chapters, though six read the five books in that series all the way through, and, of course, I returned the favour. They were a mixture of sci-fi, speculative fiction, and thriller authors. A couple of them, I am still friends with today.



5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?

Answer: On 4th March 2021, I’ll publish a box set of a pre-published trilogy–Red Star. I try to publish something every month so I can stay in higher ranks on Amazon algorithms. this is one of the reasons my books are only 40k each. At times, I can write and publish a whole new 40k book every month, but it’s just been too hard to do that in the latest UK lockdown, with home-schooling the kids. It’s good to virtually box things up, though, so I can create more freebie and kindle countdown deals with the same content. Apart from that, I have two books complete and ready to edit and publish. They don’t have any magic or time travel and are military space opera books–YuFu’s Run 5 and Cyborg Assassin 1. I’ll publish one in the beginning of April and one in the beginning of May.



6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write on?

Answer: I want to stick to writing space fiction until I actually start making an income from all this hard but much-loved work. My space opera already tilts in two direction–fantasy and military sci-fi, so already, I have two different types of fans. I need to try to keep the niche as narrow as possible so I can write to market. It’s so surprising to me that I love writing military sci-fi and dark stuff, as most people who know me call me a ‘forest fairy.’ But, you know what? People have so many aspects to themselves. It is nice to write crazy supernatural and occult stuff too, though, which can be called metaphysical science fiction, but I’ll keep labelling those other series ‘space fantasy time travel.’



7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?

Answer: I wanted to write since I was little. I wrote a fairy story for kids during my journey travelling alone around New Zealand as a twenty-one year old. I never published that, but realised I could write and self-publish and found the faith to aim at doing that when I was thirty-six.



8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?

Answer: I loved female fantasy writers more than male as a teenager and young adult. I wasn’t being sexist, but just found I enjoyed reading from a female’s perspective more. I used to search for female names in the fantasy section of the library. Two authors I particularly remember are Mercedes Lackey and Sarah Ash. As a kid, I loved point horror books and spent all my birthday and Christmas money on them. I remember enjoying R. L. Stein and Caroline. B. Cooney. But, as a mother with a baby and toddler, it was George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series which really inspired me to write. I was blown away by how he writes from different points of view, and I thought, ‘I can do this.’



9. I’ve always talked about this, but if your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

Answer: My first series had a few protagonists because it had so many characters and story lines all going on at once (something I try not to do anymore.) I would choose Will Smith to be my futuristic secret agent–Akachi. That would be so cool.



10. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?

Answer: Words of wisdom? Don’t be afraid of what others think. There will always be readers who love your work and readers who hate it. However, I would recommend a younger me to subscribe to thenextbigwriter.com, as it helped me and increased my confidence in writing so very very much.
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Thank you Rayner for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄

Author Interview: Cooper Harrison!

Interviewing Cooper Harrison, author of The Good and the Evil.
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Book Review:

The Good and the Evil by Cooper Harrison is a collection of poetry and prose about surviving society’s evils while striving to obtain the necessary virtuous aspects of life.
The book is divided into three parts; the Good, the Evil and Balance. It’s clear from the author’s words that although good and evil are viewed as two separate ideals, there’s always going to be a morally grey area and one cannot live without the other and if one tries to power the other, the meaning of life becomes a blurry concept.
The author talks about how topics like body image and the influences around us are topics that have the world divided because there’s no right answer. But one will always try to say that they are right and even though disagreements do occur, there’s always a need to feel superior.
At the end remember that everyone has a different view in life, different priorities, different goals, just because they’re different from yours does not make them less valid.
This is definitely a book you need to read to get an understanding of how one person’s perception of good and evil may change the way you think.
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Interview:

1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.

Answer: I am Cooper Harrison from St. Louis, Missouri. I am a poet, entrepreneur, and sports enthusiast (played sports throughout high school and college). My quirk I should say is that I am Star Wars and Marvel nerd. I did read comic books growing up and just had an immense fandom for superheroes and science fiction.


2. How did the idea for your book, come about?

Answer: The idea for my book came from the continuation of my first one. I could always write poetry best. What inspired me was that writing became a release of emotion. I always loved listening to music, especially hip/hop. Poetry and music can go hand in hand with melody and rhyme scheme. I felt like writing was my creative voice. I just went through a lot of struggles mentally and spiritually in college. I wanted to express those emotions on paper.


3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?

Answer: The most enjoyable part of my book writing was the finishing touches and looking at it completed. It takes so much time to write and publish. The completion feels so rewarding. The most stressful part is worrying about how this could look from a wide lens of opinions. I had to let go of the fact not every page is going to resonate with someone. Not every page is going to be agreed upon by the reader. However, that is okay.


4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?

Answer: The first person I asked to read my book after completion was my mother. I chose her because she will give me her honest scope and edits. I also reached out to other poets my age. I wanted to hear the opinions of my audience.


5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?

Answer: I do plan to release another book in a couple of years. It could be a children’s book or a final poetry book. We will see where the success of this one takes me.


6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write on?

Answer: If I ventured into another genre, I think I would choose autobiography or children’s picture books.


7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?

Answer: It did not honestly hit me till college to be a published author. My English teacher in middle school said I was not a great writer. So that deterred me until I wanted to prove my teacher wrong. It turned to motivational fuel.


8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?

Answer: I looked up to Shel Silverstein, Rupi Kaur, and T.S. Elliot. Rupi inspired my writing style the most though. She is an iconic person in the industry right now. Same situation with Amanda Gorman as well.


9. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?

Answer: My final piece of advice is put in 10,000 hours… become the master of your craft. Have fun with it too and do not make it a chore. Writing should be a fun release and not an outlet to try and make money. Write because you love to write. I also recommend getting into more styles of writing. Do poetry, prose, fiction, nonfiction, and anything else you could write about in life.
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Thank you Cooper for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄

Author Interview: Francoise H. W. Krull

Interviewing Francoise H. W. Krull, author of Azeron: Beyond the Veil
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Book Blurb:

When a school minibus transporting a group of troubled children back to boarding school crashes in mysterious circumstances, Lilly Slater and five of her friends find themselves in another world, Azeron. A land ruled by the despotic queen Mordrel, and divided by internecine power struggles between the various matriarchal clans, Azeron has been mired in civil war for generations.

Hunted by forces she doesn’t quite understand, Lilly soon learns she is the key to uniting the warring Azeronian clans and overthrowing Mordrel–if she can stay alive until her 16th birthday.
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Book Review:

Azeron: Beyond the Veil is the first book in the Azeron series by Francoise H. W. Krull, with illustrations by the author.
The story is very confusing when we begin, it’s clear that Lily is in the centre of whatever is going on, however there are a lot of characters and different POVs that had my mind boggled for a while.
The plot is good and I liked the conceptualisation and worldbuilding, however there’s to much unnecessary information that make it boring at time and is what I call ‘skimmable content’.
But the content that does matter, the adventure, the romance, the mystrey is put forth in a brilliant manner that sucks you in once you get a grip on the story and where it’s leading. It’s got decent plot twists that aren’t necessarily ‘shocking’ but the build-up is good.
The main characters are well written and I’m hoping that the next book sheds a little more light on their character arcs.
Lily, has a typical role that we find in many of these kinds of novels, but I do like her. She started as someone who was considered troublesome to something extraordinary (again, it’s a plot point we see often but I enjoyed it) and there’s another character, who shall not be named because #spoilers who may have stolen a teensy bit of my heart.
So for the most part, I did enjoy this book. It’s not perfect but it’s good and given that this is the author’s first book it’s a great start. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel!
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Interview:

1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.

Answer: Where to start when I am quirks all the way down? Well I guess a major thing people can’t know from looking at me is my Dad is a white Irishman, yes I am full Black – and proud of it but I also love my dad’s country and his people and will always consider myself part Irish. Creatively writing is my first love, but at some point in the last decade I became a professional artist of the visual kind, and as well as now teaching painting classes my art sells globally through a POD online. The art-life kind of snuck up on me, having studied to work with children I actually spent most my adult life doing so until I moved to the USA at age 28 with my then fiancé and realised my qualifications stood for naught. As a result, I threw myself even more into my writing and planning to self-publish but knowing I’d never be able to afford an artist for the cover, set about teaching myself to draw. The other illustrations just sort of happened and by the time we returned to live in the UK, ten years later, I was dabbling in many arts and now it has so thoroughly taken over my life that writing time has to be squeezed into the schedule. Other quirks, well, I’ve always slept with an E.T plush in my bed – replaced several times over the years. I absolutely abhor silence, am terrified of zombies and butterflies, have suffered from Alice in Wonderland syndrome since I was a nipper (lots of fun, look it up) and trypophobia has been an issue for me since long before it was given a name.


2. How did the idea for your book, come about?

Answer: I had writer’s block working on, let’s call it my magnum opus, which is huge, dismal, and will most likely never see the light of day. So I decided to write something completely different: a children’s book which would sate my own curiosity of what happens next to the prophesied child in all those fantasy movies I loved growing up. By the end of the first page, I realised I’d failed at a children’s book because my characters simply wouldn’t stop swearing!


3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?

Answer: For me just getting into the zone, or dancing with my muse as I often call it because I must have music, is the utmost relaxing experience. I’m an organic writer which means I merely plant a few seeds, then document their growth, so every twist and turn of the story is as much of a revelation for me to write as it is for the reader to read. What’s most stressful is a trickier one, but I’d say it’s a toss-up between: getting lost in research only to realise most of my writing time has gone into it for the day, or punctuation, because I have a learning disability, Dyscalculia – known as dyslexia for numbers – which doesn’t at all impede my love of the written word but absolutely makes keeping any kind of symbol/digit straight in my head. This obviously makes editing a nightmare affair as I can intrinsically know a rule one day yet be incapable of fathoming it the next. Hence despite my diligently cross-referencing every comma and colon against their rules, my editor hubby still has to go through it all with a fine-tooth comb.


4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?

Answer: Honestly, I’m not entirely certain if it was my daughter or my husband as both would have read significant portions before I was done. Though he was an ocean away and still just a good online friend when I was first working on it, so I would at a guess I would say she probably read more first, but given she was quite the nipper, hubby’s was definitely the first adult feedback I received.


5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?

Answer: I released the sequel for Christmas 2020, it was an early ebook release while I finished up the illustrations, which people can currently see on my social media or by subscribing to my patreon. Now I have them done I’ll be working on the full edition over the next couple of weeks, and the ebook will be updated in line with the paperback to include all the illustrations. I’m also already well stuck into book three but couldn’t possibly say when I’ll finish.


6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write on?

Answer: The other book I mentioned is set very much in the real world, no magic or fantastical beasts. I also have the beginnings of a sci-fi rattling around my hard-drive which I started at some point when blocked on Beyond the Veil. I had completely forgotten about it until my daughter reminded me very recently, because she’s apparently still waiting to read more, so I’ll probably dig that out next time my muse stops dancing.


7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?

Answer: Absolutely! I have always lived, breathed, and slept literature. English was my all-time favourite lesson in school and to this day I still resent the school librarian telling me to put a book back because it was too big for me.


8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?

Answer: Honestly, I could give you an endless list here with a wide array of reasons, covering many genres. Instead let’s just say, when it comes to reading, horror has always been my go-to, as such I consider Stephen King to be one of my Gods and On Writing my holy book.


9. I’ve always talked about this, but if your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

Answer: Ah, the fan-casting game, my family seem to do this a lot more with my characters than I do because honestly, I think I’d want mostly unknowns playing them because. Possibly because we dyscalculics are awful at putting names to faces. So when I watch a movie with big-name actors I literally have no clue who was who by the end of it. Still, I do occasionally spot someone on screen who just seems to emulate my characters, like Robert Sheehan in Misfits, who is so Baxter to me that I based my book 2 illustration off him or Luke Goss in Hellboy 2 and Henry Cavill as the Whitcher, both of whom just have big Kyrel Vibes. Another actor I encountered here on the gram who has since appeared in several of my fave shows, @KaiserJohnson has reminded me of Arteth since he first hit like on one of my posts. So I was thrilled he and his beautiful actress wife @KeeleyBright were both up for being sketched into book 2. The family favour John Boyega as the Emerson twins but I’d prefer they were separate actors as they mature because they lead such different lives that the physical differences would be significant. Narrowing down the women is more difficult because I’m literally eyeing up potentials for them in everything I watch and that’s always at the end of a long day meaning I fall asleep to whatever I’m viewing. Suffice it to say if you watch any sci-fi/fantasy or historical fiction on Netflix or Amazon and there were badass babes in it then you’ve most certainly seen many of the female actors I’d pick for my lead roles. Heck if you’ve watched Vikings or The Last Kingdom then you’re probably quite familiar with at least a third of my female cast.


10. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?

Answer: On Writing by Stephen King, read it.
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Thank you Francoise for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄

Author Interview: Travis J.

Interviewing Travis J, author of the poetry book, Shattered Thoughts Of An Addict’s Mind.
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Book Review:

Shattered Thoughts Of An Addict’s Mind is a poetry book by Travis Sturtevant Jr. about addiction and how it affects a person at various stages. These poems have been written from his own personal experience and talks about how addiction changes a person, physically, mentally and emotionally.
It was difficult to read so many of the poems because there are times when the dread of being an addict makes it emotional. But, there’s also hope because in the end the addict wants to break free from the chains of their addiction for want of a better life.
Overall, this was a heart touching, emotional book that I would recommend.
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Interview:

1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.

Answer: My name is Travis A Sturtevant Jr a.k.a Travis J the Poet, I am an ex-meth user that spent a few years using before my first marriage, in which I cleaned up for a while until that ended and hurt my pride. Struggled off and on with hard drugs until the last 2 years, where no I have met my soul mate had a calling to write poetry and make music. This is just a noticeably short summary of how “Shattered Thoughts of an Addicts Mind” came to be and why I am where I am at now.


2. How did the idea for your book, come about?

Answer: Well having been a hardcore drug user, having made it out of that life. I wanted to write a novel of my story, but I don’t feel the ending is there yet so, I got drawn to poetry because of my love for music. 2 years ago, music came to me that had meaning, started hitting my head waves which inspired me to pay more attention. Then I did and realized I could touch more peoples lives with poetry because I mean most drug addicts don’t read novels, but you make it short version and make it into music they are more likely to listen.


3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?

Answer: The most enjoyable part of the making of the book is the simple fact that it has always been a dream to publish a book because I grew up in a time that self-publishing was either nonexistent or very slim. The most stressful part was figuring out how to go about while trying to take advice from people or finding someone that was willing to give me the right advice. Overall, this was one of my most satisfying accomplishments.


4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?

Answer: Honestly the only person I had read it was my lovely fiancé because I was to scared to let anyone read it before it was released. When I started this process, I was very prideful and protective over my work because its my heart, sweat and blood.


5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?

Answer: Yes if all works out between June and August my second poem book should be out!!!


6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write on?

Answer: I like how you ask if because with me its not a matter of but when I write in different genres because my and my love are working on a children’s book as well. Sometime in the future I will have many different works.


7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?

Answer: I have always had a passion deep down in my soul to write… when I was younger, I was told that it doesn’t pay the bills unless your lucky… so my soul always knew I would make it down this path but I was not aware until about a year ago that I would be a published poet/writer.


8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?

Answer: Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allen Poe


9. I’ve always talked about this, but if your book was made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?

Answer: Honestly, I know most people think this is a poetry book how could it be made a movie. Like you said in the review it tells a story and this story is just a vague explanation of what I have yet to come. This character the Shattered Addict could and will go deeper over the years. I would say Hale Appleman would be the best actor to fulfill this part. Plus, I freaking love that guy!!!


10. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?

Answer: To anyone who reads this book, that is either on drugs, off drugs, or never even tried them. That our past does not define us, and we can do anything we want, we just get a later start then everyone else. If you have a story that needs to be told, or you just want to put it out there and see what happens… Well Follow your dreams and do it, you never know!! I did and now I couldn’t be happier.
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Thank you Travis for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄

Author Interview: Nicole Coventry 💖

Interviewing Nicole Coventry, author of the poetry book, The Chaos of Letting Go.
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Book Review:

The Chaos of Letting Go is a poetry collection by Nicole Coventry that is about the pain that is endured from letting go of your past, the journey of self-discovery, coping with addiction, and forgiving yourself for your mistakes.
They tell a story, in bits and pieces, of how hard it is to move on from something that was blatantly wrong for you, but the hope you had that everything would get better was the reason you held on. Be it love or drugs, the thought of holding on to what’s portrayed as ‘happiness’ sometimes clouds are sight from the true happiness waiting for us across the horizon.
The poems are difficult to read because of the intense emotions that flow from the simple words written on the pages.

there are times
when I find myself

inside the empty spaces,

and there are times
when I find the empty spaces

inside of me.

Overall, a great set of poems that I would highly recommend if you’re looking for something simplistic yet powerful.
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Interview:

1. Tell me (and the readers) a little bit about yourself, including a quirk that you have.

Answer: I have a seven year old daughter who I had when I was sixteen. I have a one and a half year old golden retriever named Willow. I love hiking, I love nature, and I have a passion for helping people. I am going on six years sober from heroin. One of my quirks would have to be that I am very picky when it comes to cleaning and I am very stubborn!


2. How did the idea for your book come about?

Answer: I have been writing poetry for years now, mostly just thoughts typed out into the notes app on my phone or jotted down into notebooks. I had friends who read my poetry and suggested that I turn it into a book, but I was always hesitant to. My poetry contains my deepest thoughts and feelings and I was afraid to share them with the world. But then I realized that my poems could help people feel less alone. That I could essentially turn my pain into something greater, something beautiful, so that’s when I decided to publish them.


3. What was the most enjoyable and stressful part about writing this book?

Answer: The most enjoyable part was the feeling that I was doing something that would help tons of people, that I was creating a book that people could look to in times of struggle, that I was stringing words together that could be someone’s lifeline, their sources of hope. The most stressful part of it was getting over my fear of sharing all of my thoughts and emotions, the fear of judgement and rejection.


4. Who was the first person you asked to read your book after it was ready and why them?

Answer: I believe it was my ex boyfriend. I chose him because he was the closest to me and one of my biggest supporters at the time. (He never read it).


5. Are you planning to release another book anytime soon?

Answer: Yes! I am going to be releasing another poetry book by the end of this year, which I am extremely excited about. And then I am going to be writing a novel at some point, as well, and releasing that.


6. If you could venture into a different genre, which would you choose to write about?

Answer: It would have to be either true crime, crime fiction, or horror!!


7. Did you always know you wanted to be a published author/poet?

Answer: Since I was old enough to hold a pen or type on a typewriter, I have been writing. I wrote short stories, poems, and then when I was about thirteen I was working on a novel. I’ve always wanted to be published.


8. Did you look up to any author or poet while growing up?

Answer: I used to read Goosebumps books a lot when I was little. R.L. Stine was the author that got me into writing. When I got older, in my teenage years, it was Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I’ve always had a dark side to me.


9. Lastly, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring writers out there?

Answer: If you’re second guessing yourself and whether or not you should publish your work, DON’T! Take the leap, put yourself out there, and get published! It’s so worth it. When I was younger, someone told me, “Everything has been done before, but NOT BY YOU.”
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Thank you Nicole for a chance to interview you. I’m looking forward to reading more works from you in the future!
Melina L. 🦄

Road to Breaking Tour!

Road to the Breaking

Welcome to the blog tour for Road to Breaking by Chris Bennett! Read on to learn more about this riveting historical fiction and enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Road to the Breaking - PaperbackRoad to Breaking (The Breaking Saga #1)

Publication Date: October 19, 2019

Publisher: CPB Publishing

Nothing survived ‘The Breaking’ unchanged; lives and fortunes, love and hate, freedom and slavery …
It’s early 1860, and war hero Captain Nathaniel Chambers, commander U.S. Army Fort Davis in the west Texas wilderness, has received shocking news – his father is dead. He must return home to Virginia and claim his inheritance before a maniacal neighbor can murder his widowed mother and seize the family plantation.
But he’s torn by a terrible dilemma – to stay in the army and turn his back on his fortune, his mother and his beloved childhood home, or become the thing he despises; a slave master! Is there no other choice?
Meanwhile, a woman desperate to redeem her family’s fortunes schemes to marry her beautiful but troubled daughter to the handsome young heir. But will Evelyn’s own plans break his heart instead?
An epic journey across a young nation seething with debauchery, brutality, corruption, and political intrigue, unwittingly on the brink of an unimaginable disaster; the American Civil War. Nathan Chambers has left the violent army life behind in Texas, never imaging he’s on the very ‘Road to The Breaking’.

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Excerpt

“Hey, Billy. Why is it the Comanche hate the Tonkawa so much?” he called out. The Captain’s bowed head looked up, startled by the sudden noise.

“What … the Comanche? Oh, it is a very long, old tale. Would you like to hear it, Sergeant Clark?”

A long tale, Tom thought. Just the medicine the Captain needs.

“Yes, Billy, if you please.”

The other men started to perk up. Billy rarely spoke much, but when he did his stories tended toward the bizarre and supernatural, with plenty of his own special brand of odd, dry humor thrown in. This typically made for highly entertaining stories.

“There once was a time, very long, and long, ago. Back before the grandfathers of our grandfathers were even conceived by their grandfathers’ grandfathers. So long ago, in fact, it is said it was almost the very beginning of time—whenever that was.” He shrugged his shoulders and grinned.

“Anyway … in that long-ago time it was different between the Comanche and the People, those of us you white men now call Tonkawa. Back then we did not hate each other and fight always, the way we do now. We didn’t love each other either, of course; there is no amount of time going that far back, ha!

“In that time the People and the Comanche knew each other, but lived apart, sometimes seeing each other when they shared the hunting grounds. The land was not dry as now. It was filled with a great greenness. It is said the water was abundant, and fell from the sky so often, it flowed carelessly, wandering across the land, heedless of its proper places in rivers and lakes.

“And so, the land was filled with so many animals the People did not have to hunt long or hard for their daily meat. And never did they give thought to saving anything for tomorrow. Both the People and the Comanche were wasteful in their excess, never having known want.

“But there came a time when the People were led by a great and wise man. His name was Tchezse—um … Tchezselkeizl … well, it would mean nothing in your language, anyway. You would say something like ‘Sun-and-Moon-in-Sky-Together-and-Wind-in-Stars,’ but that is not quite right either. For my story, I will just be calling him ‘Sun-Moon’ and you will know who I’m talking about.

“Sun-Moon was very wise, as I have already said. One day he called the People together saying, ‘I have had a mighty dream of the gods, and they have made my eyes to see many great and terrible things.’ And the People listened as Sun-Moon told his seeing—of a time to come when water would stop falling from the sky and would no longer flow heedless across the land. It would return to its ancestral home in a few, shallow rivers and lakes or sink deep into the ground. And the land would change from green to brown, and the animals that once provided the People with their daily meat would hide away in far-off lands.

“Then the People were afraid, and asked Sun-Moon what would become of their children, and their children’s children, if there were no greenness and no meat. But Sun-Moon said, ‘You needn’t worry about your children’s children, or even your own children; this time the gods have shown me is coming even unto the lives of you who sit before me. If the People do not prepare to face the evil time coming, all will perish from the earth.’
“And so, Sun-Moon led the men high into the hills, or deep into caves under the Earth. There the animals were few and fierce, so the men must become great hunters and trackers. And he taught the women and children to cure the extra meat they did not eat daily, with salt and different herbs growing in the earth. In this way their meat might be saved for many months in time of want. And he showed them where to find roots growing under the ground, for water, and food, at greatest need in time of dryness.

“But the Comanche had no great leader like Sun-Moon. They laughed at the People for making their hunts so difficult when meat was so plentiful. And they mocked them for digging in the earth for roots when food and water were so easily had on the open earth.

“But Sun-Moon was not angered by the cruel laughter of the Comanche. You see, he was a truly great and wise man—but I think I have already said that. So he went to them and told them also of his dreams, by way of warning they should prepare for the evil days to come. But still they would take no heed and sent him away with great scorn.

“And so, you will not be surprised to hear there came a day when the water stopped falling from the skies. And then the land turned all to brown, even as Sun-Moon had foretold. And though the People had been warned, and had prepared as best they could, still the greatness of this evil time was even greater than any had imagined. So although they had practiced hard to become mighty hunters, and great trackers of animals, still, bringing home the meat was hard. Though they ate little, and salted and kept back what they could, still many, and many died. And all suffered great want.

“This story was told me by a wise, old man when I was just a young boy, and he called this terrible time The Breaking.”

“The Breaking?” Nathan asked, having become absorbed in the tale. “What does that mean?”

“He said it was called that because it was a time of such suffering and death, it caused the breaking of all the old ways. Some for the good, and some for the worse. Nothing came through The Breaking unchanged, and all that once was, even to the greenness of the earth, was broken during that time, and was never again the same.

“Well … it is said while the People suffered greatly in The Breaking, the Comanche suffered more. They had not heeded the words of Sun-Moon, of course. So they had never learned the skills to hunt the few animals remaining, and to dig the roots from the earth. Their need was great, and they became desperate, and dangerous.

“They saw the People still had the meat they had preserved, and a store of the roots they had pulled from the ground. And they became angry the People had food, and they had none. So they came to the People and demanded they be given the food the People had saved.

“But Sun-Moon took pity on them. He said, ‘There is not enough of the salted meat and roots for both the People and the Comanche, so we cannot give it to you. But we will teach you to hunt that you may bring home your own meat. And we will teach you to save your meat by salting, and how to find roots living under the ground that you might dig them up.’

“But the Comanche were hungry and did not want to wait to learn these things. Instead they decided they would take the food from the People by war. So they returned to their village, put on their war paint, and collected their hunting spears. By the time they had made ready for war it was becoming dark. They lit torches and carried them to see their way back to the camp of the People.

“But Sun-Moon had foreseen this as well and made ready the People for the war that was coming. The Comanche came, carrying their torches. They have always been larger, stronger, and more fearsome than the People, so they carried their deadly spears with confidence of easy victory. They could already taste the precious food that would soon be theirs.

“But they had forgotten the men of the People had become great hunters. Because their prey had been more fierce and cunning, the People had learned to use the bow, and shoot arrows with deadly aim. And they had learned to use lightweight throwing spears to hit prey from a distance, rather than short, heavy spears the Comanche used to butcher their easy kills.

“Many Comanche were killed, and the rest fled in fear. But those who fell, and those who fled, all dropped their torches, and the dry earth was set afire. It burned all that night with a great flame that lit the sky.

“When the sun rose in the morning, the People found all their food had been destroyed by fire. They were hungry but were also very tired from the fighting and the fire and had no strength left to hunt. Also, all the animals they might have hunted had been driven far away by fear of the flames.

“And so the People did the only thing left for them to do. They ate the Comanche they had killed.”

“They … ate them?” Georgie asked.

“Yes. Sun-Moon told them it was the only sensible thing the People could do so they would not all starve and die. And so that is what they did.

“It is said the great flames of the fire sent smoke high into the sky. It climbed so high it mingled with the scant clouds, and caused the water to start falling again, though never so much as before.

“The war with the Comanche, you see, was the end of The Breaking, but it was the beginning of the hatred of the Comanche for the People.”

“Well, I don’t see why the Comanche should hate the Tonkawa. Sounds like they lost the war fair and square, and after they started it!” Jamie said, and Georgie nodded in agreement.

But Billy shrugged his shoulders and said, “Guess Comanche don’t like being eaten. Ha!”

The men chuckled and even the Captain smiled.

“I’ve heard people say the Tonkawa still eat their enemies,” William said.

Billy turned toward him and grinned, “Then best hope I never have to kill you, William!”

William shook his head “No,” emphatically.

Billy continued, “I have heard of it being done. When the enemy is not of the People and is killed in man-to-man battle. Some say it is to honor those who fought the war of The Breaking. Others say the fighting spirit of the dead is taken into the living that way. I don’t know … seems to me the one left alive had more fighting spirit than the dead one! Ha!”

Though he seemed more alert after Billy’s tale, by the time they’d made camp that evening Nathan was already laid down and asleep, as if from utter exhaustion. Tom was still concerned and sat up long into the night watching over his Captain. At first, Nathan tossed in his sleep and seemed to moan as if in pain. But then at some point, it seemed to Tom he began to rest more at ease and sleep more at peace.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Bennett Author Photo

Chris Bennett grew up on the shores of Klamath Lake in southeastern Oregon. For a young boy it was a dream world of water, hills, forests and abundant wildlife. His love for action and adventure morphed into a lifelong love for books when his Mom read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to the family on a long road trip.

It was routine and normal for the family dinner table discussions to involve history, politics, and anything interesting going on in the world. So, when he attended the University of Oregon it seemed perfectly natural (and easy) to study history and political science. But everyone said you couldn’t make a living in those fields, so he decided to try his hand at Computer Science. He’s been writing professionally, in the software development business for more than 35 years now.

However, Chris’s thirst for adventure never faded and he began to live out his love of history onto the pages of his first book, The Road to the Breaking. Once he started writing he just couldn’t stop and the result is The Road to the Breaking series; an epic journey across a young nation seething with debauchery, brutality, corruption, and political intrigue, unwittingly on the brink of an unimaginable disaster; the American Civil War.

Chris Bennett | Facebook | Instagram

International Giveaway: $25 Amazon E-Gift Card!

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Unchosen Book Tour!

Book Tour in collaboration with @
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For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice.
The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister.
The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.
Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse.
When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner.
The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found.
But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world.
Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning.
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Unchosen is a fantasy novel by Katharyn Blair that has permanently left me worried about being attacked by zombies. 🙃
The plot of the story is supercharged and overrun with a lot chaos. Seriously! It’s like with every turn taken there’s more intensity and as much as I’d like to say I prefer clean cut novels, I LOVED THE CHAOS!
I received an uncorrected e-proof via netgalley, so there were quite a few grammatical errors but I’m presuming those were corrected before the final copy was published. (Can someone who’s read the final copy let me know?).
The main character, Charlotte reminded me if myself in so many ways. I’ve always blamed myself for things I do not have control over and to see her struggle with the same thoughts made me sink into the story deeper and wish that she can get out of that headspace because with all her flaws, she is capable.
We get a love square for the romance angle but I’m not quite convinced with how things ended with the ‘square’ the main character still seems to have unresolved issues with love and in a way even though I wasn’t satisfied, it felt realistic.
The ending was a bit to abrupt and uncut that left me questioning a few things.
There were times the plot didn’t have the best flow with things happening all of a sudden but overall the book was a great read and given its length, it took me less than a day to complete it.
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Rated 8/10
Melina L.


About the Author

I live in LA, drink way too much coffee, and write all day long — because I’m crazy blessed to do what I’ve been doing for fun since I was a kid hiding in my garage loft writing terrible, terrible vampire stories. Glitter enthusiast. Bethyl shipper. Pluviophile. Ask me about my Dean Winchester obsession. John 1:5.

I’m wife to Ross and mom to Aryn, Liam, and River Grace. Also, mom to Cricket (a dog, not an insect), Maximus Dogimus Meridius (a ferocious cuddlebug) Maggie Rhee (cat, not the bad ass from The Walking Dead), and Kovacs (no parenthetical needed for him).


Author Links
https://www.katharynblair.com/
https://twitter.com/Katharyn_Blair?s=20
https://www.instagram.com/katharyn_blair/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17937982.Katharyn_Blair


Giveaway Information

Enter to win one of two (2) signed finished copies of Unchosen by Katharyn Blair! Open USA only. There will be 2 winners.

Giveaway starts: Monday, January 25, 2021

Giveaway ends: Monday, February 1, 2021 at 12:00 a.m. CST

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1e4a114d20/

#unchosenbooktour, #turnthepagetours, #unchosen, #bookstagramtour, #katharynblair #katherinetegenbooks

Shame Of It All!

<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-9425″ src=”https://rrbooktoursblog.files.wordpress.com/2021/01/shame-of-it-all.jpg&#8221; alt=”Shame of it All” width=”851″ height=”315″ /></p>
<p><strong>Welcome to the blog tour for new Psychological Thriller, <span style=”color: #800000;”>Shame of It All</span> by K.T. Grant! Today I have an excerpt for you to read and a chance to win 1 of 3 digital copies of the book!</strong></p>
<p><strong><img class=”size-full wp-image-8415 alignleft” src=”https://rrbooktoursblog.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/55850991._sy475_.jpg&#8221; alt=”55850991._SY475_” width=”297″ height=”475″ />Shame of It All</strong></p>
<p><strong>Publication Date:</strong> December 6th, 2020</p>
<p><strong>Genre:</strong> Psychological Thriller</p>
<p>*Trigger Warning : Violence/ Sexual Assault</p>
<p>Revenge is a dish best served cold. But for Mercy Pryce her revenge will scald one’s soul and leave behind a burnt-out husk if she has her way.</p>
<p>Mercy has returned to her hometown of Cartleigh, New York after twenty years. The lakeside community is the perfect location for Yakim Zeldovich, her Russian billionaire employer’s state of the art manufacturing facility. Acting as a consultant for Zeldovich, she’s on an undercover mission, not as an angel of mercy, but one of mischief, deceit and torture. Her ultimate goal is to ruin Cartleigh because of a horrible trauma she suffered in high school. The one responsible for her wrath is Colton Hahn, Cartleigh’s beloved mayor, and the object of her retaliation. The town’s golden boy, who she once adored as an impressionable teenager, brutally raped her and left her for dead at seventeen.</p>
<p>Consumed by years of grief and growing rage, she has targeted Colton, who may also be responsible for the death of her best friend, Marina, his fiancé. She will avenge Marina and finally take down the monster who tried to ruin her life.</p>
<p>Her success may come at a horrible price. But it will all be worth it if she can take away everything Colton holds dear, including him surrendering his heart and soul to her in the process.</p>
<p><strong>Add to <span style=”color: #800000;”><a style=”color: #800000;” href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55850991-shame-of-it-all?from_search=true&amp;from_srp=true&amp;qid=4n4uw0W2xN&amp;rank=1&#8243; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Goodreads</a></span></strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Excerpt</strong></p>
<blockquote>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>The Grand Oaks was a well-known venue for sophisticated affairs. Valet parking was a given, which Ari didn’t complain about, although he acted a bit embarrassed by his eight-year-old sedan. I didn’t mind because the make and model didn’t prove the worth of the individual driving it. Most of those who drove luxury cars were trying to make up for something they lacked. Yakim had many cars at his disposal, but he always stuck to his Lincoln Navigator, since the car reminded him of his grandfather. His father had the same fondness for that type of car but mainly used chauffeurs to get around.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“You’re probably used to all this glitz and glamour,” Ari said as we walked up the short flight of stairs into the foyer.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“I’ve attended my share of swanky parties and balls but they can be exhausting. Unless you want to, we don’t have to stay until it ends. We could always have a nightcap at one of our houses.”</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“We’ll see how the night goes.” He twined our fingers together as we moved toward the banquet hall. “The only type of event I’ve been to that compares to this was my sister’s wedding, and there were a hundred guests, give or take.”</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>I laughed and rubbed his arm, wishing if only for the next few hours, we were an actual couple. But I wasn’t here to engage in that fantasy for either one of us. I had to find my mark and entice him in more than just conversation.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>Most of the men wore tuxedos like Ari’s. The women showed off their attributes with their dresses and hair, much like I had done. The room swelled with so many people, it made me wonder if it was a safety hazard even though the majority of the guests remained at the bars on each side or surrounded servers passing trays of food. A few occupied the small dance floor near the bandstand. Based on attendance, I would say the event was a success. Yakim would be pleased because not everything would be fake when he pulled out of the negotiations. I would be long gone when the deal collapsed and those in this room realizing they had been conned.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“Are your feet hurting? Want to sit down, and I’ll get us some drinks?” Aril led me to a table and pulled out a chair.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“That would be nice.” I accepted the seat and glanced around while he did, finding Karine and her husband nearby, along with Agnes. Not surprising, Colt was next to them. They had formed their own intimate circle near the corner of the bar. I leaned into Ari so I could stare at the group over his shoulder.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“Get me a cabernet.” I kissed his cheek and hugged him at the exact moment Colt turned his face toward me. He stiffened.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“You got it.” He kissed me back and walked to the bar where Colt stood. Ari stopped near two men who shook hands with him. Since he might spend some time talking, I decided to disappear for a few minutes. But before I did, I posed for Colt’s benefit. He moved in my direction, and I backed away and left the room.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>I strolled down to the lower level where a sign on the wall pointed me in the direction of another set of restrooms. I glanced behind to see Colt stopped by some people. I kept moving because the only reason anyone would venture here was to use the toilets. He would eventually find me.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>I entered the restroom consisting of a small sitting area that led to three stalls and a sink. The light automatically came on when I entered, but it could also be turned off manually. I sat on a love seat and waited all of three minutes before the door opened and Colt entered, shutting it behind him.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>He blocked the door but didn’t lock it. I wasn’t worried because for him to attack me again would be monumentally stupid on his part. The camera in the hallway had recorded him entering after me. I could bring it up as an extra layer of protection but only if necessary. Plus, I would be taking control of this situation, not him.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“Nice dress. It suits you.” He leaned on the door with his hands in his coat pocket.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>He was dressed in an almost-identical tuxedo to most of the men here. Other than his good looks, nothing would make him stand out in this crowd. But I would be nice and play along with the compliments.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“You look good in a tuxedo, but you already know it.” I stood, laying my clutch on the seat next to me.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“In my line of work, wearing a tux or a suit is a given.” His sad sort of smile didn’t move me in any way.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“Why did you follow me here?” The answer would be obvious, but I wanted to hear him say it.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“You wanted me to.”</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>The lack of accusation in his voice annoyed me. He was stating a fact, but his words had a huge underlying meaning because of our past. A man accusing a woman of wanting something from him was beyond insulting. Because it was Colt, I assumed it would be sexual in nature. What I would give freely, he would take.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“You assume I want many things from you. Have you thought I just want you to notice me and nothing else? You used to do the same in high school, before and during our hidden affair.” I used air quotes around the word affair and approached him.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“Did you ever tell Ari about us?” He took his hands out of his pocket and lowered his arms to his sides.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“Why would he care about something twenty years ago that doesn’t concern him?” I folded my arms behind back.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“He doesn’t know anything?” He shifted closer.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“What is the anything you’re worried I’ll tell him about?” I tapped my chin with a lacquered nail. “Perhaps the same anything you didn’t share with your dead fiancée?”</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>He grabbed me by the arms and spun around, shoving me into the door. He breathed heavily, and his grip tightened to the point he might leave marks.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“Have I triggered you without saying the actual words? What if I say them?” I wanted to snarl and hit him but remained impassive, as if he wasn’t manhandling me.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>He closed his eyes and inhaled through his nose, ending with a short rattle. “I can’t do this with you. It’s…shit.”</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>I should be impressed I had such power to affect him in such a way he was torn up inside. If only I had the same power when we were teenagers. It was going to be easier than I thought. I relaxed into the door. “You want me.”</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>He opened his eyes and mouth but didn’t make a sound until he groaned and knelt in front of me and clutched my hips. He pressed his face in my stomach, making me spread my legs open so I wouldn’t join him on the floor.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>If he expected me to rub his head and hold him while he was wracked with guilt, he would be horribly disappointed. Any sympathy would be a mockery. Any intimacy acted upon was a means to an end for me. This time, I would have all the power.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“You want me to forgive you for raping me?” Finally saying to him directly what he did to me should have been cathartic, but I wanted to be cruel. I tugged on his hair, making him stare up at me as vindication swept through my body. For the first time since Marina died, I felt so alive.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“I don’t know.” He fell back on his heels. “What I did was wrong but it was so long ago, so if you’re thinking of—”</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“Hush.” I tapped his nose and stepped around him to sit on the love seat. “You can make it up to me, and no, I’m not going to blackmail you.” Yet. “What I want from you will be enjoyable for us both.”</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>I wanted to cackle, not that I had ever done anything like it, but the astonishment on Colt’s face was beyond comedic. He must think I was crazy since it was beyond comprehension his victim would proposition him for some type of sexual act after he violated her violently years ago.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>If he had dropped to the floor in shock, I wouldn’t have been surprised. But he remained standing, just staring like one would do if they saw a car accident.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“What do you want from me?” His voice cracked, but the front of his pants tented with his penis.</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>“You owe me gratification because you took it away from me so long ago.” I hiked up my skirt to my thighs and then checked my watch. “You have less than eight minutes to make me come. I’ve been in here long enough, and Ari will start to worry.”</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”><em>Either mentioning the time restraint or Ari’s name forced Colt to act. He took a huge step toward me, bent down, and braced his hands behind me. It was the closest we had been to each other since that night at the lake. Back then, I was terrified. Now, I was calm and collected because I held all the power. He couldn’t hurt me even if he wanted to because he was transfixed, under my spell.</em></p>
</blockquote>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><span style=”color: #800000;”><strong> <a style=”color: #800000;” href=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MWSNFGC/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&amp;keywords=kt+grant&amp;sr=8-4&#8243; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Amazon</a> | <a style=”color: #800000;” href=”https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/shame-of-it-all&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Kobo</a> | <a style=”color: #800000;” href=”https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shame-of-it-all-kt-grant/1138077131?ean=2940162762768&#8243; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Nook</a> | <a style=”color: #800000;” href=”https://books.apple.com/us/book/shame-of-it-all/id1539184366&#8243; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>iBook</a> | <a style=”color: #800000;” href=”https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=rZcMEAAAQBAJ&#8221; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Google</a> | </strong><strong><a style=”color: #800000;” href=”https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shame-of-it-all-kt-grant/1138077131?ean=9798564943505&#8243; target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Barnes &amp; Noble</a></strong></span></p>
<p><strong>About the Author</strong></p>
<p><img class=”alignnone wp-image-8417″ src=”https://rrbooktoursblog.files.wordpress.com/2020/11/kt-grant-bio-picture-e1605471947394.jpg&#8221; alt=”KT Grant Bio Picture” width=”276″ height=”248″ /></p>
<p>KT Grant is a self-proclaimed eccentric redhead who not only loves to read a wide variety of romances, but also loves writing it. As a former book blogger and entertainment columnist with a bad coffee and Twitter addiction, she still doesn’t shy away from voicing her opinion. A proud native of New Jersey, KT is multi-published and writes Gay, Lesbian and Straight romance. KT has also been a top ten best-selling author at Amazon. KT loves to hear from readers. You can drop KT an email at ktgrnt@gmail.com.</p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><span style=”color: #800000;”><strong><a style=”color: #800000;” href=”https://twitter.com/katiebabs”>Twitter</a&gt; | </strong><strong><a style=”color: #800000;” href=”https://www.facebook.com/kt.grant.9″>Facebook</a&gt; | </strong><strong><a style=”color: #800000;” href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5371939.K_T_Grant?from_search=true”>Goodreads</a&gt; | </strong><strong><a style=”color: #800000;” href=”http://pinterest.com/katiebabsg/”>Pinterest</a></strong></span></p&gt;
<p><strong>Click the link below for a chance to win a digital copy of the book! </strong></p>
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<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>Blog Tour Schedule</strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>January 18<sup>th</sup></strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Reads &amp; Reels (Spotlight) <a href=”http://readsandreels.com”>http://readsandreels.com</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>@BrendaJeanCombs (Spotlight) <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/brendajeancombs/”>https://www.instagram.com/brendajeancombs/</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) <a href=”https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com”>https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) <a href=”https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news”>https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>January 19<sup>th</sup></strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Breakeven Books (Spotlight) <a href=”https://breakevenbooks.com”>https://breakevenbooks.com</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) <a href=”http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com”>http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Jessica Belmont (Review) <a href=”https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/”>https://jessicabelmont.wordpress.com/</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>January 20<sup>th</sup></strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Book Dragons Not Worms (Review) <a href=”https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1″>https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>@geauxgetlit (Review) <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/geauxgetlit/”>https://www.instagram.com/geauxgetlit/</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>@the.b00kreader (Review) <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/the.b00kreader”>https://www.instagram.com/the.b00kreader</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>January 21<sup>st</sup></strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”>B is for Book Review (Spotlight) <a href=”https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com”>https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight) <a href=”http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com”>http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Tsarina Press (Spotlight) <a href=”https://tsarinapress.com/blog/”>https://tsarinapress.com/blog/</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Tranquil Dreams (Review) <a href=”https://klling.wordpress.com/”>https://klling.wordpress.com/</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”><strong>January 22<sup>nd</sup></strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Rambling Mads (Spotlight) <a href=”http://ramblingmads.com”>http://ramblingmads.com</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>The Faerie Review (Spotlight) <a href=”http://www.thefaeriereview.com”>http://www.thefaeriereview.com</a></p&gt;
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Books, Ramblings, and Tea (Review) <a href=”https://booksramblingsandtea.com/”>https://booksramblingsandtea.com/</a></p&gt;
<p> </p>

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Redlined Tour!

RedLine

Welcome to the blog tour for Redlined: A Novel of Boston by Richard W. Wise. Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win an audiobook edition of the book!

Redlined Front CoverRedlined

Publication Date: June 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Mystery/ Thriller

The year is 1974. Boston’s Jamaica Plain is a neighborhood under siege, a community skating along the razor’s edge of decline. The banks have REDLINED Jamaica Plain, causing the housing market to crash, wiping out local homeowner’s lifetime investments and opening the neighborhood to blockbusters and slumlords. Now, someone has begun systematically torching those abandoned buildings and the charred body of Sandy Morgan, a dedicated young neighborhood organizer, has been found among the ashes. Why? Who stands to gain?

Community organizer and Marine combat veteran, Jedidiah Flynt and Alex Jordan, his beautiful Harvard educated researcher together with a group of local property owners are determined to stop the redlining and and bring the arsonists responsible for Sandy Morgan’s death to justice. Their search will lead them through a labyrinth of corrupt politicians, Asian gangsters and bent churchmen.

Two interwoven plots work their way through the narrative, one is absolutely true, the other never happened, but very well might have.

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Excerpt

“Any word from the district fire chief ’s office?”

“So far can’t get anyone from the district to return my calls,” he said with a thin smile. “Better make up a Freedom of Information request, get one of your leaders to sign it. They know they have to respond to that. Talked to one of the fact checkers over at Little City Hall. She claims all fires are ‘thoroughly investigated, Mr. Flynt.’”

He raised his hands and dropped them in a gesture of helplessness.

She made a face. “Guess I better write a letter. So, what’s the point? Insurance?”

“Doesn’t seem to be a reason. Fire insurance on Green Street? Good luck getting any insurance company to write a new policy in your neighborhood or anywhere else in central J. P. The whole area is redlined.”

“Redlined? You’ve mentioned that before, but I really can’t say that I understand it all that well?”

Flynt hesitated and gazed at her for a moment to make sure that she wasn’t pulling his chain. Sandy, he knew, typically came on like she knew it all even when she didn’t.

“It’s complicated. The Northwest Community Organization in Chicago was the first people’s organization to get a handle on it. Got an organizer from N.P.A. —that’s National People’s Action—fellow by the name of Trapp coming in to run a staff training session. Basically, redlining happens when the banks or the insurance companies or all of the above get together and draw a big red circle on a map around parts of the city that they consider too risky to do business with.”

“So they write off the whole neighborhood?”

“You got it and once that happens, kiss the central neighborhood goodbye. Ninety-five percent of all residential housing sales are sold subject to a mortgage, and to get a mortgage you must have insurance. So, Catch 22, you can’t get one, you don’t get the other. If mortgage or the insurance money is choked off, the housing market collapses—which sets the stage for slumlords buying cheap for cash, racial steering and housing abandonment.”

“Redlining is the underlying economic cause of most of the shit we have been organizing around. So, basically all the properties in central J.P. are worthless?”

“Yeah, well there it is,” he said rocking back in his chair. She noted the stubble on his cheeks and the dark smudges under his smoke-gray eyes.

“You ever read the novel Gone with the Wind”? he asked.

“Yeah, when I was like about twelve, why?”

“Well, there is this scene where Melanie is questioning Rhett Butler about how he made all his money. You recall he was a smuggler, dodging the Yankee blockade to bring supplies into southern ports during the Civil War?”

“Uh, huh.”

“Okay, so, Melanie finally overcomes her proper Southern manners and asks the question, and he says, ‘There is more money to be made out of the wreckage of a civilization than from the building of one.’”

Sandy rolled her eyes, “Yeah right, okay. I get it.”

“Exactly.”

“Okay, but what’s with the corridor anyhow? I mean whose bright idea was that?”

“Happened before my time. Bunch of community groups got together to stop I-95 running right through the middle of the neighborhood. Finally got the governor to stop it but not until the whole thing was demo’d in from Route 128 to Roxbury. What you see is what’s left, a partially demolished six-lane cancer eating out the guts of the neighborhood,” Flynt said.

She stood up. “Yeah, looks like Berlin after the blitz and only a couple of blocks down from my abandoned house.

Okay, I’ll get set up as soon as I leave here. But what do I do if I see anybody?”

“Stay out of sight! Hide in an alley between the buildings. Or just stay in the shadows. If you see anyone or anything suspicious, try for a description or a license plate. Then get the fuck outta there, call the cops, the fire department and then call me.”

“And if it’s late and you’re home asleep?”

“I’m serious, Morgan. Don’t take any chances. People who torch houses are not the kind of fuckers you want to screw around with. Call me if you see anything suspicious, no matter what time, day or night, just call me, okay?”

“Aye, aye, sir!” she said, and she tossed off a mock salute.

“Sandy!”

“Okay, okay. I get it. I’ll call!”

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Vault

Richard Wise is the author of three books. His latest novel, REDLINED, A Novel of Boston is a mystery thriller set in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. PublishersWeekly raves: “Fans of suspense fiction with a social conscience will be pleased.” Midwest Book Review describes REDLINED as a “An original and simply riveting novel.” REDLINED was nominated for the National Book Award and the Benjamin Franklin Award in fiction.

The author’s first book: SECRETS OF THE GEM TRADE, THE CONNOISSEUR’S GUIDE TO PRECIOUS GEMSTONES was originally published in 2001. The book was serialized in two magazines and became a critically acclaimed best seller. The second edition appeared in 2016. Extensively revised and rewritten, the 2nd edition has added 127 pages, 11 new chapters, 5 new introductory essays and 161 additional photographs.

Mr. Wise’s second book,THE FRENCH BLUE, a historical novel published in 2010 was the winner of a 2011 International Book Award in Historical Fiction. The novel is set in the 17th Century gem trade. Called “a fine piece of historical fiction” in a 5 star review by Midwest Book Review, THE FRENCH BLUE tells the back story of the Hope Diamond and the true life adventures of 17th Century gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier.

Richard Wise has enjoyed a diverse career. He is a veteran of the U. S. Coast Guard. After receiving his B.A., teaching and doing graduate work at the University of Rhode Island, he spent most of the decade of the 70s as a professional community organizer. Wise headed organizing projects in Massachusetts and Rhode island. In the late 1970s he left organizing and apprenticed as a goldsmith. He studied gemology at the Gemological Institute of American and received his Graduate Gemologist diploma in 1985. He founded his retail company R. W. Wise, Goldsmiths, Inc. in the early 1980s and began traveling internationally, buying gems and writing about them in 1986.

Mr. Wise’s articles have appeared in Gems & Gemology, Lapidary Journal, JQ and Colored Stone. He is a former Gemology Columnist for National Jeweler and Contributing Editor at Gem Market News. The author retired from retail in 2012 to pursue his writing. Currently, he writes a book review column for Gemmology Today Magazine. He lives with his wife and two cats in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Richard W. Wise

We are giving away several audiobook editions of Redlined! Click the link below to try an win one!

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