Tag Archives: Book Promotion

Book Review of Liars and Thieves by Diana Wallace Peach

My Review of Liars and Thieves by Diana Wallace Peach.

I must say Liars and Thieves kept my attention and I stayed up past midnight for two nights until I finished reading the book. There’s a map at the beginning of the book. I even printed out the map and follow the characters and events throughout the story.

My Review

In Liars and Thieves, Diana built a believable world of three races and three characters representing each. The goblins dwelt in the mountains. They were terrakinetic, a skill in their possession in manipulating, moving, and transforming rocks and minerals into altered shapes, into alloys, into machinery. The changelings inhabited in the jungle in human form but could shift into animals and insects, known for being thieves and spies. The elves lived in the river plain but invaded the changeling’s territory when cutting trees.  

Borderland was a common area where the Council meet. The Council leadership comprised of nine members—three representatives from each race. All races were free to live and work and die in the Borderland. The Veil in the far north held the secrets of eternity. It divided the Known World of the three races to the unknown. Those who had attempted to cross through had never returned. The common denominator for all three races was the crystals. The goblins mined them, elves needed them to power their weapons and homes; and changelings used them to shift shape.

Naj, the half-elfin, half goblin, used reasoning to make decisions. Alue, an elf who acted on her impulse, and made mistakes at every turn. Talin, the changeling, gained the queen’s favorite by being her spy.

After building the foundation of the fantasy world, Diana skillfully unfolded the chaos and resolution-seeking among the races and the characters. Over the years, the explosion in the north collapsed the mine. Some members from all three races disappeared, but there were no remains. Each race was suspicious over the others for killing their kinds and stealing the crystals. When Naj, Alue, and Talin questioned by their leaders, they selected and omitted details to report only what the leaders wanted to hear.

Individually, these three were not enemies to each other. They acted on the commands of their leaders. During trials, when one was in danger of being executed, the other tried to extend the defense. As reflected in the actual world, these races tried to form an alliance with one race to go against the other. When circumstances changed, they retreated and changed their mind to protect their own interest.

Diana skillfully made her imagination visible in the lines such as:

“Waves bulged along the Veil’s magnetic lines like sound along an instrument’s string.”

“The elders leaned toward each other, their murmured comments passing to the ends of the arc and back like ripples in a pond.”

“The ancient goblins gasped as Naj’s skull flattened and muzzle protruded, baring deadly canines. His limbs shuddered and contracted. Shoulder blades and hip bones tilted as his body contorted on the floor and spine lengthened. Joints tore apart and reformed into new connections.”

I developed a personal liking for the characters and wanted to know what happened to them next. I stayed up for two nights to read this book. There were two FREE chapters for Book 2, and I can hardly wait for it to be available.

Liars and Thieves Global Purchase Linkhttp://a-fwd.com/asin=B08FGQ2W3Q

Amazon and Goodreads Ratings

Author the Author

D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, bats, owls, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Author Links:

Website/Blog: http://mythsofthemirror.com

Website/Books: http://dwallacepeachbooks.com

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Myths-of-the-Mirror/187264861398982

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dwallacepeach

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How You-all Market Your Books

Jacqui Murray did a survey on book marketing a few weeks ago. Here’s her summary and findings. It has great information for the indie authors. Click the link below to view the original post.

WordDreams...

Marketing is always a challenge with book launches. Word-of-mouth is good but to reach the bigger sales numbers that offset the costs of publishing takes more. I’ve tried free advertising, more outlets (beyond Amazon, B&N, TpT), in-person presentations, fee programs, and focused social media. I’ve tried lots of ideas people suggest and hoped they worked (some did; most didn’t–I blame myself for not following through well enough). Before I spend money, I dig into the suggested option, see who liked it, find out if a trusted efriend has found success with it. I’ve spent a lot of money on advertising my books and sadly it rarely works (I’ll take that blame, too; I’m sure it’s either my marketing pieces or my follow-through).

If you remember, back before the virtual launch of my latest book, Against All Odds, I asked how you market your books. I included these ideas:

  • a blog

View original post 1,107 more words

Book Launch: Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray

My dear friends, please help me welcome Jacqui Murray, a prehistoric fiction author, to my blog.

Jacqui and I haven’t officially met but we may run into each other on the same beach when the pandemic is over. It is my pleasure to host the book launch party for Jacqui’s new release of Against All Odds, Book 3 in the Crossroad trilogy.

 

1.Against All Odds

I’m glad you all are here for the party. Help yourself with some drinks and dessert!!

                             A surprise book launch party • A Subtle Revelry    Summer cocktails: 10 party drinks for a crowd | Food | The Guardian

Glorious Layered Desserts Book Launch Party - Glorious Treats

I invited Jacqui to share with me about the prehistoric people.

How do you know Xhosa’s People are as smart as they seem in this book?                 

A study published in the journal Nature Human Behavior places the appearance of human-like ways of thinking with the emergence of Homo erectus. The complex thought required to create their stone tools (called Acheulean) and their functional variety (which includes cutters, choppers, handaxes, cleavers, flakes, and scrapers) have long inspired many paleoanthropologists to believe Homo erectus was smart. A 2017 study that mapped student brains while they recreated these tools revealed that this work required the ability to “hold in mind” information—much as you and I do to plan complete complex tasks. “The fact that these more advanced forms of cognition were required to create Acheulean hand axes … means the date for this more humanlike type of cognition can be pushed back to at least 1.8 million years ago …” [Indiana University. “‘Humanlike’ ways of thinking evolved 1.8 million years ago.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2017]                   

Not definitive but interesting!                                                                                                           

Convince me they communicate effectively with gestures, body movements, and facial expressions.                        

I get this a lot. Let me give you two examples. First, have you ever been around someone who doesn’t speak your language and still, the two of you communicate? It’s probably via hand gestures, body movements, and facial expressions. Much can be said without voices.

Second, think of sign language. Sophisticated ideas are communicated with hands and facial expressions around the world daily. That’s how Xhosa and her kind did it.

I’m surprised by the sophistication and cleverness of some of their actions. Would you tell me more?             

Homo erectus could pass as a modern man dressed properly and if the viewer carried no precognitions about what he expected. But he lacked many of the social constructs we take for granted. Because these traits don’t fossilize, we extrapolate what life was like from artifacts like their sophisticated tools.                                                                   

A recent study out of Gesher Benot Ya’aqov (in the Levant) provides evidence that in that part of Eurasia, Homo erectus lived in a camp—called a homebase—with divided work areas for toolmaking and consumption located near a hearth. These are traits associated with our modern lifestyle and now are found over half a million years ago.

Thank you, Jacqui!

I’ve read your interesting post about writing, Jacqui. Thank you for sending it to me to post it here.

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Writing Quirks That Suck the Energy Out of Your Writing By Jacqui Murray

Writing

An efriend writer originally published this as a guest post on their blog to help me launch Against All Odds August 2020. In case you missed it there, here are my anecdotal thoughts on how to add drama to your story:

Keeping your fiction active and engaging is as much about how you tell the story as it is about plot and setting. You must write sentences that pull readers in, keep them engaged while you maintain a reasonable pace and are clear enough that the reader doesn’t find himself/herself re-reading or trying to figure out what you’re saying.

When my novel bogs down, here are five constructs that are often the culprit. I keep each discussion short. If you would like to dig deeper, there are many great writing websites and books that make that possible:

Passive voice

According to Grammarly:

“Passive voice is when the noun being acted upon is made the subject of the sentence.”

Passive voice moves readers out of the action and puts them in a safe place to the side of the action. They become unaffected by the action and the plot, more of an observer. That’s deadly for a story. We want readers sitting in the middle of events, worried everything will blow up around them. Plus, passive voice often weakens the clarity of what’s being written.

Solution: Rephrase the sentence so that the action noun becomes part of the subject. For example:

Wrong: The grass has been scorched by the wild fire.

Right: The wild fire scorched the grass.

Too many prepositional phrases

Prepositional phrases add interesting information to the story but must be managed. If you have too many in a sentence, 1) the reader loses track of what you’re trying to say, or 2) the sentence becomes unnecessarily convoluted.

Look at these examples from the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Writing Center:

Unnecessary phrase: The opinion of the manager
Correction: The manager’s opinion

Unnecessary phrase: The obvious effect of such a range of reference is to assure the audience of the author’s range of learning and intellect.
Correction: The wide-ranging references in this talk assure the audience that the author is intelligent and well-read.

Do you notice how the prepositional phrases make the text wordy and choppy? It’s worth noting that the Chicago Manual of Style recommends the use of only one preposition per ten-fifteen words.

Solution: 1) Delete the prepositional phrase. Does the story lose anything? 2) Break the sentence into multiple sentences. 3) Use active voice instead of passive. 

Qualifying words

According to The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill:

“Qualifiers… are words or phrases that are added to another word to modify its meaning (He was somewhat busy; the dog was sort of cute). Qualifiers give … clues about how confident you feel about the information you’re presenting. …excessive use of qualifiers can make you sound unsure of your facts….”

Qualifying words include a bit, little, fairly, highly, kind of, mostly, rather, really, slightly, sort of, appeared to, and seemed to. They don’t draw a line that when crossed, creates drama. They equivocate which weakens your story and your message.

Solution: Replace these words with decisive ones. Take a stand.

Had

The past perfect tense is a menace to the creation of drama in your writing. It can be spotted, most of the time, by looking for the word had:

“She had been frightened and then had run away.”

We find out that she once was frightened but now she isn’t. It removes the stress of whatever frightened her because we know she’s safe. But as writers, we want readers to wonder if she’s going to fall off that cliff. ‘Had’ just sucked all that drama from the story.

Solution: Let readers feel the drama and then the solution. 

Participles and Gerunds

According to Purdue’s Online Writing Lab, “a gerund is a verb that ends with -ing (such as dancing, flying, etc.) and functions as a noun.” … A participle also ends in -ing but forms the progressive tense of a verb. When you have too many of either in one sentence, readers lose track of the action and the meaning.  As a writer, I know they sap the energy from my writing but I couldn’t find a grammar rule to explain why. Susan B. Weiner did offer this:

“Shorter sentences are easier for readers to absorb.”

That’s part of it. Gerunds also make sentences less direct so harder to comprehend. Geist explains:

“They will not take you to the simplest, strongest, most beautiful prose. …[They] make the sentence less direct and harder to comprehend than it can be…”

Solution: Figure out what you’re trying to say and then say it directly.

Long sentences

I had a colleague in my critique group tell me not unkindly that she had become used to my long sentences.  What she could have added but didn’t was that at times, they made it difficult to remember how the action started. Here’s an example:

Writing 1

The many independent clauses makes it easy for readers to get lost and miss what is being said.

Solution: Break the sentence into manageable pieces that stand on their own.

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You gave so many important tips in a short post. This is very helpful to many writers.

Now Let me share the information about your new release.

 

Against All Odds (Book 3 of the Crossroads Trilogy) by [Jacqui Murray]

Against All Odds

Xhosa’s extraordinary prehistoric saga concludes, filled with hardship, courage, survival, and family.

Summary

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of her search for freedom, safety, and a new home.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Book information:

Title and author: Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray

Series: Book 3 in the Crossroads series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Available digitally (print soon) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

Okay, I don’t want to forget to introduce you properly… Here’s Jacqui: 

 

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page:       https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                       https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                            https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn:                              http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                              http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                 http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                https://jacquimurray.net

 

Now please enjoy this fabulous trailer and the excerpt.

 

 

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

The foothills of the Pyrenees

They came out of the mountains, hair frozen in sparkling strands, hands and feet wrapped in shredded pelts, ribs etched against their skin under ragged hides white with snow, faces haggard with fatigue. Blood crusted scrapes and gashes, many recent, others almost healed, reminders of the violent struggles endured on their journey.

Though their steps flagged, not one of these upright creatures exhibited a hint of defeat. All males and a few females carried at least one spear, some two, many with warclubs strapped to their backs. Despite the anxiety and fear of entering this foreign land, hope energized them today, that their migration might be at an end.

All of them—Xhosa and her tribe, Pan-do and his, Wind, Zvi, and Seeker—had been chased from their homes by enemies. In their flight, they found each other. It took time to work through their differences but now they traveled side by side, respected ideas not theirs, and called themselves the People.

Their charismatic Leaders—Xhosa, Wind, and Pan-do—were known as reliable friends to those who earned their trust and dangerous enemies to those who opposed them. Two wolves—Spirit and Black Wolf—journeyed with them. Though the People lacked the animals’ sharp claws, dense fur, and piercing teeth, each considered the other “pack” and would defend them to death.

The exhausted group straggled down the gently sloping flank, feet shuffling carefully over the slippery scree. The ground changed from talus to stunted tufts of grass, sparse and brown which made walking easier. Optimism shone from their faces even as their tired eyes flicked side to side in search of unexpected movement, ears strained for out-of-place noises, and noses sniffed.

Rather than continue across the meadow, Xhosa led the People into the shade of the edging forest.

“Do you smell it, Wind?” Anticipation filled her gestures.

She and Wind, pairmates as well as Co-Leaders, stood quietly, absorbing their surroundings. Light filtered lazily through the canopy, the shadowed ground dappled with patches of warmth. She sniffed in the essence of wet earth and rotting leaves, the mustiness of moss, and something else much more enticing.

“It’s there.” She pointed and strode forward, lengthening her stride.

An icy gust whipped down the hillside through the shadows and raised bumps on her arms but she ignored it. The forest gave way to open sky and searing heat. It was too hot for her thin pelt but she didn’t stop to remove it. Green stalks swayed as far as she could see, edged on one side by more mountains and the other by some sort of leaves and branches. Sunlight glinted off the rippled surface of a distant river as it curled over the terrain.

“Dung!” The scent overpowered every other odor.

Wind huffed to her side. “It’s been a long time since we smelled dung that wasn’t frozen.”

“We did it, Wind.” Her eyes glistened with relief.

For most of a Moon, dread gnawed at her courage and left her wondering if following the guidance of Seeker—a boy barely a man—was a mistake. But Seeker assured her in his ebullient way that once out of the hills, their new homebase would welcome them. Xhosa wanted to believe him because she wasn’t sure what else to do. Nor did she know what to do if it didn’t work.

Wind motioned, arms inclusive, “It’s beautiful, Xhosa.”

Siri, Pan-do, Ngili, the wolves Spirit and Black Wolf, and the rest of the People gathered around Xhosa and Wind, eyes locked on what lay in front of them.

Pan-do whispered, “We made it.” His eyes were moist, mouth open.

Ngili, the People’s Lead Hunter, motioned, hands close to his body. “With all this grass, Gazelle or Mammoth must be nearby.”

Dust, the Lead Scout, trotted up, coming from a tall cliff far ahead on their forward path. “I think there are caves there.”

The People hadn’t slept in a cave since leaving Viper and the Mountain Dwellers. It would be a treat if true.

Xhosa looked behind. Shadows already stretched as far from the bottom of the rocky slopes as sunlight to the top. Daylight would soon end.

“We don’t have much time. Let’s rest and then see if those are caves.”

Ngili, the People’s Lead Hunter, motioned, fingers spaced out, palms up, “I’ll go with Dust to check.” He added a swift spread-fingered swipe with first one hand and then the other, followed by a quick bob of his head and a puff.

Xhosa brushed both hands down her sides. Go.

The People spoke with a complex combination of hand motions, facial expressions, body movements, and sounds augmented with chirrups, snaps, hisses, and whistles. By the time Ngili finished talking, Xhosa knew how many would join him, where they would go, and how long they’d be away. The People’s communication was sophisticated but quiet, a precaution especially in unfamiliar areas. Unusual sounds—voices, for example—stood out. All animals made noises but few as varied as the People’s. Why alert Others who lived here to their presence? Xhosa would do that in her own time, in her own way.

Dust, Ngili, and two scouts soon receded into the landscape, the only evidence of their passage a slight disturbance in the slender waving stalks. Despite the dung scents, the abundant plant food, and the glisten of a faraway river, Xhosa crossed her arms over her chest and paced.

Something is wrong.

She searched the forests and the rippling field that had swallowed up Dust and Ngili . Xhosa possessed the ability to see great distances in sufficient detail to find trails, footprints, movement, or the glitter of sun off eyes.

She saw none of those and that made her more uncomfortable.

With this wealth of food and water, Others should be here.

Wind motioned, palms flattened against his chest, “The mountains we crossed touched Sun. They’re cold and barren. Few can do what we did to get here, Xhosa. We are safe.”

Xhosa could hear in his voice, see in his gestures, that despite his bravado, Wind too felt uneasy about what they didn’t see and hear.

But she grinned. “I don’t know how I survived without someone being able to read my thoughts.”

She trotted over to a stream that fed into the river she had noticed. She stretched out on her belly, flat on the soft grass at the water’s edge, and took a long, satisfying drink of the sweet liquid. Thirst quenched, she collected handfuls of the tender shoots of new plants growing along the shore, ate what she wanted and tossed the rest into a communal food pile that would be shared with all the People. It was already filling up with fat fish speared from the slow-moving pools beside the river, tasty reeds and cattails, and even a handful of eggs plucked from nests not hidden well enough along the shore and in the roots of trees. The wolves snapped birds from the air and swallowed them almost whole, coughing up feathers.

Xhosa leaned back on her hands, sniffing the unique fragrance of each groupmember. Zvi was sweaty from wrestling with Spirit. Siri smelled sourly of hunger but she wouldn’t eat until Honey’s bleeding foot was wrapped in mulch and leaves. The females with new babies exuded the pleasant aroma of milk. Some scents jumbled together making them impossible to identify. When Xhosa became Leader of the People, before it merged with Pan-do’s and Hawk’s, the People had been small enough that she could recognize everyone by their odor. Now, she kept track of her tribe while Pan-do did the same with his. Wind helped everyone.

Done eating, the People sprawled on the warm ground, soaking up Sun’s remaining rays, chatting contentedly with gestures and the occasional sigh. Water dripped from their thawing bodies, soaking into the thirsty ground, as the remaining ice and snow on their pelts and in their hair melted away.

Xhosa and Wind sat apart from the others, on a log long ago softened by rot. She uprooted handfuls of grass and wiped the sweat from Wind’s body, as he did hers. The soft scratch felt good and the earthy fragrance reminded her of times long gone. When he finished, she harvested chunks of green moss from the log’s decaying bark and stuffed them into her neck sack. All the People wore one of these around their necks. Even the wolves did when they were migrating.

Finished, she leaned against Wind and closed her eyes. In a group of Others, her pairmate stood out. A Big Head, the People’s traditional enemy, the ones who drove Xhosa and her tribe from their long-established home, Wind had earned Xhosa’s trust by saving her life more than once and then, as a member of her People, sharing Big Head spear tricks and warrior skills with her Leads. Before long, each of them individually told her that thanks to Wind they could now defeat an attack which they couldn’t have done in the past. Whatever distrust her People harbored toward him faded away.

“Xhosa!” Dust panted up to her. “I found a cave. And we found trace of a herd. Ngili is tracking it.”

By the time Sun settled into its night nest, the People were ensconced in the cave Dust found. They had to squeeze together to fit but all were thrilled to sleep without waking to frozen toes and numb fingers. Stone and Zvi—the burliest of the People—lugged rocks in and Siri built a fire that quickly warmed the interior. The subadults gathered kindling to feed it and arranged who would be responsible throughout the night for keeping it lit.

Usually, the wolves slept scattered among the People but with Black Wolf close to delivering her pups, she dug out an opening in the back and claimed it as her den. Then she settled to her belly, one leg forward, the other bent back, eyebrows twitching.

Xhosa strode toward the nest she would share with Wind but stopped at the sight of Seeker, weight on his bottom, legs crossed in front of his body in the uncomfortable position he preferred. His pairmate Lyta curled next to him with their best friend, Zvi.

Xhosa approached Seeker. “You are not outside.”

Every night as long as Xhosa could remember, the enigmatic male lay on his back, gaze fixed steadily on the star-dotted sky, spouting what to Xhosa sounded like gibberish to whoever listened. Intermittently, he leapt to his feet and spun dizzying circles or bounced from one foot to the other, huffing and chirping. Lyta and Zvi would either join him or watch. He once explained to Xhosa that this was how he studied the changes in the night sky—the appearance and disappearance of particular stars or their movement in relation to each other—so he could guide the People accurately. This nightly process was how they had moved from the distant start of Endless Pond to this cave where Endless Pond seemed to end.

He didn’t respond to her statement, didn’t even acknowledge her. That worried Xhosa. She hadn’t been able to shake the feeling that danger lurked around them, somewhere. Seeker’s anxious look didn’t help.

She squatted at his side and added a question to her declaration. “The stars aren’t talking to you?”

To the side, Lyta wriggled, not comfortable in the seated position Seeker preferred but determined to try because Seeker liked it so much. Zvi crouched on the balls of her feet, the more traditional pose. She’d tried to sit on her bottom, legs crossed in front, but kept falling backward. Besides, it took her too long to rise from that position which meant if Lyta needed help, she couldn’t respond quickly. Squatting, for her, made more sense. Seeker didn’t care. He expected all to do what worked for them. Both his best friend and his future pairmate were long accustomed to his eccentricities.

Finally, Seeker offered Xhosa only a confused frown.

That’s not a “Yes they are,” and that raised the hair on her neck. Before she could ask more, Ngili scrambled through the thistle barrier the youngsters had placed around the cave’s mouth to prevent the entrance of intruders and hurried toward Xhosa.

He motioned, “I lost the herd’s trace in the dark. I’ll try again tomorrow,” and then raced toward where the hunters had gathered. They were all tired. Some would mate before sleeping but not Ngili. He hadn’t given up hope that his pairmate, Hecate, would come back.

After a final glance at Seeker, Xhosa joined Wind in their nest. She squatted behind him and teased the dirt and debris from his long head hair, occasionally focusing on a difficult tangle until her fingers could move easily through his hair. When she finished, he did the same for her.

As he groomed, he said, “I’ll join Ngili tomorrow. If there are herds, we will find them.”

“Pan-do and I will continue with the People.”

They said nothing more, both enjoying the calming feel of nails scratching on their skin and the intimacy of someone they trusted implicitly. Done, both fell asleep.

The first rays of daylight filtered into the cave. Black Wolf was already outside, padding back and forth restlessly, huffing uncomfortably. Wind left with Ngili and a handful of scouts, knowing Xhosa would leave a trail to wherever they settled when Sun’s light ran out. Though Spirit usually went with the hunters, today he stayed with Black Wolf.

Xhosa and Pan-do led. Dust copied their pace and direction but a distance away. With Ngili and Wind searching for meat, Xhosa focused on finding a cave large enough for the People. They strode onward, gaze sweeping the landscape, everyone grazing on berries, roots, and worms as they walked. Sporadically, Xhosa heard a faraway squawk or glimpsed a covey of birds as they exploded into flight, fleeing an unknown threat. It was the direction Ngili and Wind had gone, and told her how far they’d gotten.

The People rested by a waterhole. They searched its shoreline for prints but found none. Wherever the herds lived, they didn’t drink here so the People moved on, through copses of young saplings and around a bed of haphazardly-strewn boulders. The air tasted of flowers, warm earth, and the mild tang of salt, but the dung they found was hard and old.

Xhosa touched Pan-do’s hand and both stopped, eyes forward. “Do you smell that? It reminds me of Endless Pond.”

He pointed to his strong side and the direction they were walking. “From there and there. How can it be on two sides?”

Xhosa tingled. One of her People—Rainbow—had abandoned them long ago, taking many males and females with him. Others she and her People ran into while migrating here told her Rainbow traveled the same route she did but along the opposite shore of Endless Pond. For him, as for her, this was as far as he could go without folding back on himself.

If they got this far. If any survived.

She pushed aside those thoughts. Before searching for whatever remnants remained of Rainbow’s group, the People must find a homebase. All they suffered to get here—the interminable walking, the loss of Hawk, the death of groupmembers, Nightshade’s treachery—was for naught if they didn’t establish a home.

Spirit bumped her leg. Black Wolf panted at her mate’s side, her belly almost touching the ground.

Xhosa motioned, “Your mate’s pups won’t wait much longer. We will find a den for her.”

Spirit took off, his movements graceful and fluid with Black Wolf lumbering after him.

Not much later, Pan-do squinted ahead. “I think Spirit found a cave.”

Xhosa leaned forward, narrowing her gaze, and finally saw where Spirit stopped. He sat on his haunches at the base of a cliff, facing her, nose twitching, tail swishing the dirt behind him.

It took the rest of the day to cross over the craggy scrubland, up and down the deep ravines, and around the occasional spot of slippery ice. The cave proved too small for the People but not for Black Wolf’s needs. With much scuffling and panting, she created a nest for her pups and disappeared into the cool dark hole. The People settled outside, under an overhang that would protect them from rain and predators, and far enough away to not bother the new mother. As soon as Ngili and Wind arrived, shaking their heads that they hadn’t found a herd, they left again to search for signs of a trail left by former inhabitants of this cave.

Xhosa’s chest squeezed and her stomach knotted. Spirit padded up to her side, hackles puffed, nostrils flaring. He agreed. Something about this area made her tingle but for now, until Black Wolf finished, they must stay.

  *   *   *   *   *

Thank you so much for coming to the party. I love to hear how much you’ve enjoyed Jacqui’s post and her new release.

 

 

 

Book Review of Moments We Love by Balroop Singh

My book review of Moments We Love by Balroop Singh.

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Moments

Moments We Love by [Balroop Singh]

My Review

Last year I read Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh and loved it. It delighted me to read Moments We Love by the same author. I enjoyed Singh’s poetry style. The poetry in this book depicted deep emotions, sensitive to human relationships, and appreciation of nature. It reflected the vivid imagination from the author’s personal experience and her observation of the surrounding circumstances.

The poetry collection is divided into three sections. Moments of Love in section one included poems of the passionate and magical feeling of young lovers, the lovers drifting apart, and turning against each other, and the return of love brought above by cuddling of the grandchildren. Moments of Harmony in section two included poems about nature and seasons. Moments that make Life in section three included poems about buried dreams, moment of tranquility, moment in waiting, moment of deceit, moment of waiting, and moment of new beginning.

Section three ended with the poems When I Go and The Last Smile as the author’s thoughts of the transience of life.

When I Go

Don’t grieve over me when I go

I would be around you

In your laughter, in your mirth

In your reveries, in your recluse

 I would live in your thoughts

My words would flutter merrily

To remind you

How transient is life!

My smiles would gleam

In the flowers of your garden

In the soft sounds of breeze

That would touch the trees

My memories would linger

Around you when you

Watch the clouds

And light that shimmers through

Look at the birds flying home

Let them calm you

With the thought –

Detachment is disconcerting

But true.

 

The Last Smile

This shady grove – my resting place

Lush green leaves – my lullabies

Fragrance of roses soothe me

Songs of nightingale regale me

But I can hear the sobbing too,

The moaning, the entreaties

Day after day he comes

To wake me up

To remind me of promises

Of eternal love

I yearn to break free

To rise and smile, one last time

To see the orange glow

Setting the clouds on fire

Many hues dance in between

As sun’s last smile of the day fades.

 

I highly recommend this book and other books by Balroop Singh to the poetry lovers.

Amazon and Goodreads Ratings

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Balroop Singh

About the Author

Balroop Singh, an educationalist, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. She would jot down her reflections on a piece of paper and forget about them till each drawer of her home started overflowing with poetic reminders, popping out at will! The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first poetry book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling of leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in San Ramon California. You can visit her blog at http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Contact the Author

Website http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

Twitter https://twitter.com/BalroopShado

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/balroop.singh1

 

 

Welcome to Day 1 of the “SIR CHOCOLATE AND THE ICE CREAM RAINBOW FAIRIES” Blog Tour! @bakeandwrite @4WillsPub #RRBC.

Hi, my dear friends and visitors, I’m excited today to have Robbie Cheadle visiting my blog. Please help me give a warm welcome to Robbie and Michael for their cook, Sir Chocolate and the Ice cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook.”

This is Day 1 of the “SIR CHOCOLATE AND THE ICE CREAM RAINBOW FAIRIES” Blog Tour!

GIVEAWAY:  (7 winners) Each will win a copy of her Sir Chocolate Story and Cookbooks. For your chance to win, please leave a comment below!

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Welcome to part 1 of the fondant cat parade

The fondant cat parade tells the story in limericks of Dinah the Kitten, daughter of Daddy Grey and Mommy Cat, who likes to sleep and escape to Wonderland in her dreams. While in Wonderland, Dinah meets a variety of brightly colored and fun fantasy kittens. The fondant cat parade illustrates some of the wonderful fondant art that appears in all the Sir Chocolate books.

Today, you will meet Daddy Grey.

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Look out for part II of the fondant cat parade tomorrow when you will learn about the Fondant family dynamics. You can download the full illustrative PDF of the fondant cat parade here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/dinah-in-wonderland-fondant-cat-parade/.

How to make Chelsea buns

Ingredients – dough

500 grams white cake flour

1 teaspoon salt

7 grams fast-action dried yeast

300 ml milk

40 grams softened butter

1 beaten egg

Ingredients – filling

25 grams melted salted butter

75 grams brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon mixed spice

150 grams dried mixed fruit

Ingredients – icing

150 ml water

150 ml icing sugar

Method

Melt the milk and butter in a saucepan, set aside to cool down to lukewarm. Sift together the salt and the cake flour in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the yeast. Pour the milk mixture and the beaten egg into the flour mixture and mix until they come together into a soft dough. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least five minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky.

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Rub the bowl with a little vegetable oil and place the dough in the bowl. Turn it until it is completely covered with oil. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside in a warm place for one hour until the dough has doubled in size.

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Spray your baking tins with non-stick spray or grease with hard margarine. Melt the butter and mix the brown sugar and the spice in a small bowl.

Knock back the risen dough to its original size and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle of 50 mm thickness. Brush the rectangle with the melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar mix and then the dried fruit.

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Roll the rectangle up into a long cylinder and cut into slices of about 5 cm thick. Place the slices on the baking tray, leaving a space between them. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for a further 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Sieve the icing sugar and mix with the water until it forms a thick paste. Drop a spoonful of the icing onto the cool buns and spread with a butter-knife.

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BOOK BLURB:

Join Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet on a fun adventure to discover why the milkshake rain is pale and white.

Contains five recipes that children can make under adult supervision

2a.Robbie

AUTHOR BIO:

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with seven published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalized biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth under Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Robbie Cheadle

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19631306.Roberta_Eaton_Cheadle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

AMAZON OR OTHER PURCHASE LINKS:

TSL Publications:

https://tslbooks.uk/product/sir-chocolate-and-the-ice-cream-rainbow-fairies/

Lulu.com:

https://www.lulu.com/shop/robbie-cheadle-and-michael-cheadle/sir-chocolate-and-the-ice-cream-rainbow-fairies-story-and-cookbook/ebook/product-24468045.html

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Cream-Rainbow-Fairies-Cookbook-ebook/dp/B086DYYNFQ

 

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE. Thanks for supporting this author and her work!

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Book Review – Jonah by Jan Sikes

My Book Review of Jonah by Jan Sikes.

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It’s a great pleasure to share with you the inspirational short story I read over the weekend.

Jonah

JONAH by [JAN SIKES]

My Review

The short story Jonah by Jan Sikes reads like a spiritual journey. Jonah was in prison for his crimes committed but had a choice to be locked up in an underground box or banished in a deserted island. He chose the island. The harsh environment of the island with creatures, stinging nettles, and prickly thorns didn’t make it any easier for him. In his hut, he discovered a package with edible items and toiletry. There were two books and a pencil with a message that the only way he could get off the island was to examine himself, face the truths, and make peace with his demons.

He used to rule the city with his might, but there was no specific mention of the crimes in Jonah’s past. It’s up to the reader’s imagination. Then an unusual young boy with eyes glowed with luminescent green light and webbed fingers showed up. He wrestled with this boy, Titus, the same way he would with an enemy. Realized this boy wouldn’t do him any harm, he let him go back to the other side of the island. Overtime, he developed the friendship with Titus. Titus brought him food and kept him company. He also brought him books on the requirements of him to be set free. His response was to comply with the rules with his behaviors. Titus indicated that it was not the fake behaviors but the heart that count. His empathy and care toward Titus grew and wanted to help him get out of the environment where the people didn’t treat him right. Every time his innate passion and selflessness grew, his hut became bigger.

The story came to a surprised ending when it was least expected of Jonah. I like this story when the author skillfully depicted the inner struggle of Jonah and his capability of changing his heart. His sincerity and genuine compassion toward Titus set him free. This short story is an enjoyable read. Highly recommended.

Amazon and Goodreads Ratings

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Jan Sikes

About the Author

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.

Her books are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.

Contact the Author

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Website: http://www.jansikes.com

Blog: http://www.rijanjks.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikes

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

 

Welcome to Day 1 of “THE LOST AND FOUND BILLY BATTLES” Blog Tour! @JHawker69 @4WillsPub #RRBC #RWISA

Welcome to Day 1 of “THE LOST AND FOUND BILLY BATTLES” Blog Tour! @JHawker69 @4WillsPub #RRBC #RWISA.

My dear friends and visitors, please join me to welcome Ron Yates to my blog. This is the first day of his blog tour. I invite you to click the link at the end of this post to follow the rest of his tour. I’m excited to announce the following giveaway.

GIVEAWAY:  (2) Complete sets of the Billy Battles trilogy.  For your chance to win, please leave a comment below!

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Hi Ron,

Thank you for visiting my blog and spend time to tell us about you as a writer, the inspiration behind your books, and the tips and advice for newer writers/authors.

 

Q & A with Ron Yates (Part 1)

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Probably when I was in the sixth grade. I loved writing stories, and I had a teacher (Mrs. Gooch) who encouraged me. My mother also bought me books and took me often to the library–a place that I found magical and magnetic. She often read to me, and I could “see” the story unfolding before me. When I could read myself, I began to devour everything I could get my hands on. Reading took me places I could not, as a young boy, otherwise go. As I used to tell my journalism students at the University of Illinois if you want to write well, read well.

What was your inspiration to write the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy?

I grew up in Kansas, and I was always fascinated by what life was like there in the 19th Century when the state was still relatively wild. At the same time, I spent a lot of time in the Far East as a foreign correspondent, and I was equally intrigued by what life must have been like in the 19th Century colonial period in places like French Indochina, The Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. Then one day, I got the idea to blend the two using a character from 19th Century Kansas who goes to the Far East and other places in search of himself. During that search, he finds himself immersed in more peril and adventure than he bargained for.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?

Try to write as much as you can from your own experiences. They are real and uncontrived, and if you incorporate those experiences in your fiction, your work will have a truthful ring to it. Beyond that, KEEP AT IT! Don’t let anybody (editors, agents, etc.) discourage you. At the same time, be willing to accept constructive criticism from those who have experience as authors, editors, agents, etc. Notice I said CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Some people criticize just to be criticizing–or to be malicious. You must believe in yourself, your work, your vision, and your story. If you don’t, who will?

What do you think makes a good story?

A good story needs a strong plot and even stronger characters. Otherwise, it falls flat. The writer needs to be above all, a good storyteller. If you build a good story, THEY WILL COME, to paraphrase “Field of Dreams.” Make readers care about your protagonist. Make readers empathize, cry, and laugh with them. At the same time, keep them off balance. Don’t be predictable, and don’t be afraid to do terrible things to your favorite characters. Have you ever known anybody who has sailed through life without some turmoil, some pain, some suffering? I haven’t.

If your trilogy became a movie or a Netflix mini-series, who would be your first choice to play the lead roles?

Clint Eastwood as the elderly Billy Battles; Clive Owen as the middle-aged Billy Battles and Ashton Kutcher as the young Billy Battles. I would pick Saffron Burrows for Billy’s first love, Mallie McNab and Famke Janssen, for the widow Katharina Schreiber who Billy meets on the boat to the Far East. (Why these choices? These folks are all tall, like me. Billy is 6’3″ and Mallie is about 5’10,” as is the statuesque widow Schreiber).

Do any of your characters have qualities/characteristics that are similar to yourself?

I think Billy Battles and I are a lot alike. I mean, aren’t most novels a bit autobiographical? He is a restless sort. He enjoys traveling, going to new places, and experiencing new things. Like Billy, I couldn’t wait to get away from Kansas (though I love the place dearly). And, like Billy, I am a happy wanderer. How else could I have survived and thrived as a foreign correspondent for 25 years? We are both journalists. At the same time, he is a dependable guy who is loyal to his friends and to those he chooses to keep close to him. Above all, Billy respects two traits in people: Honesty and Kindness. We are alike in that way.

Tell us about your next release.

I am finishing my next book, which is a novel about foreign correspondents in Asia. It’s working title is Asia Hands: A Tale of Foreign Correspondents & Other Miscreants in the Orient. Here is a blurb about it:

A mysterious object of unknown origin hidden in the heart of an impenetrable S.E. Asian jungle. A covert alliance of dangerous people determined to keep it concealed. Treacherous secret agents. Betrayal. Assassination. Murder.                                        

It’s one hell of a story, and two foreign correspondents—one recently retired and the other approaching burn out—are on the scent.

Meet Cooper McGrath and Clayton Brandt.

They have just stumbled onto the biggest story of their lives—one that could have staggering ramifications for the planet and its people.

Now all they have to do is live long enough to tell it.

Will they meet their deadlines, or will they meet their deaths?

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?

I don’t outline my books, and I don’t write down plot scenarios. I just start writing and see where the story and my characters lead me. It’s a lot like life itself. We may have a goal in mind, but the route to it is often strewn with obstacles, surprises, and sometimes tragedy. I usually write 3,000 or 4,000 words a day, and I edit as I go. In other words, I may write a few paragraphs and then rewrite them within a few minutes of creating them. I don’t write what I would call a “First Draft.” When I finish writing a book, it is finished. I may go back and make a few tweaks with the plot here and there, or alter a little dialogue or some action by a character, but there is no second or third draft.

I know some authors who will write a first draft and put it away for weeks or months and then go back and look at it with fresh eyes. Alternatively, they may send it out to professional “beta readers” or “critiquers.” I do use beta readers, but I don’t put my writing away for weeks or months. Those strategies may work for some people. They don’t work for me. I guess it’s my journalistic training: see it, report it, organize it, write it and then move on to the next story.

If your publisher offered to fly you anywhere in the world to research an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

To Papua New Guinea. That is where a significant portion of my next book takes place–or should I say in the dense jungles of that still mostly unexplored country. There, in the forbidding and uncharted Foja Mountains, lurks an ancient mystery that two foreign correspondents are attempting to uncover.

(TOMORROW: Part 2)

BOOK BLURB:

The Finding Billy Battles trilogy tells the story of a remarkable man who is born in 1860 and who dies in 1960. For decades Billy lives an improbable and staggering life of adventure, peril, transgression and redemption. Then Billy mysteriously disappears. For several decades his family has no idea where he is or what he is doing.

Finally, with his life coming to an end, Billy resurfaces in an old soldiers’ home in Leavenworth, Kansas. It is there, when he is 98 that he meets his 12-year-old great-grandson and bequeaths his journals and his other property to him — though he is not to receive them until he is much older.

Years later, the great-grandson finally reads the journals and fashions a three volume trilogy that tells of his great-grandfather’s audacious life in the old west, as well as his journeys to the Far East of the 1890s—including French Indochina and The Philippines—and finally, in the early 20th century, to Europe and Latin America where his adventures and predicaments continue. One thing readers can be sure of, wherever Billy Battles goes trouble is not far behind.

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AUTHOR BIO:

Ronald E. Yates is a multi-award winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. His extraordinarily accurate books have captivated fans around the world who applaud his ability to blend fact and fiction.

Ron is a former foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois where he was also the Dean of the College of Media.

The Lost Years of Billy Battles is the final book in the trilogy and recently won the Independent Press Award’s 2020 Distinguished Favorites Award. In 2019 it won Best Overall Book of the Year and the Grand Prize in the Goethe Historical Fiction Category from Chanticleer International Book Awards as well as a Book Excellence Award and a New Apple Award. The second book in the trilogy, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles, was published in June 2016. It won the 2017 KCT International Literary Award and the New Apple Award in the Action/Adventure category. The first book in the trilogy, “Finding Billy Battles,” was published in 2014 and won a Book Excellence Award and Laramie Award from Chanticleer International Book Awards.

As a professional journalist, Ron lived and worked in Japan, Southeast Asia, and both Central and South America where he covered several history-making events including the fall of South Vietnam and Cambodia; the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing; and wars and revolutions in Afghanistan, the Philippines, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, among other places. His work as a foreign correspondent earned him several awards including three Pulitzer Prize nominations.

Ron is a frequent speaker about the media, international affairs, and writing. He is a Vietnam era veteran of the U.S. Army Security Agency and lives just north of San Diego in Southern California’s wine country.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

-Twitter   https://twitter.com/jhawker69

-Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ronaldyatesbooks/

-Website   https://ronaldyatesbooks.com/

AMAZON OR OTHER PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KHDVZI/-/e/B00KQAYMA8/

Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/finding%20billy%20battles/_/N-8q8

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  Thanks for supporting this author and his work!

 

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A visit from the bossy muse, a free book, and a couple of awards – Diana Wallace Peach

Original post from Diana Wallace Peach https://mythsofthemirror.com/2019/11/12/a-visit-from-the-bossy-muse-a-free-book-and-a-couple-of-awards

Please visit her post, congratulate her and grab your free copy of Catling’s Bane.

 

A visit from the bossy muse, a free book, and a couple of awards

Way too early in the morning, my muse drops down beside me on my couch and tosses her hat onto the coffee table. The howler monkey that’s been riding her shoulder for a year leaps onto my kitchen counter, curls back its rubbery lips, and flashes a yellow-toothed grin. The muse hands me a latte. “Nice progress on the draft… finally.”

“Thanks.” I’m still leering at the monkey but manage to sip my latte. Yum. “So, why the visit?  You know I’m under NaNo pressure.” I somehow forget to mention that yesterday I logged zero words.

She arches an eyebrow but for once shrugs off her annoyance. “I’m running a promotion for a couple of days. Catling’s Bane is free today and Wednesday. Your sales blah blah blah…” I’m not listening. The howler’s opened my refrigerator and taken a bite from a head of lettuce. He’s going for the orange juice.

I bolt up. “Hey! Out of there!” The beast roars at me, a sound capable of bursting eardrums. He grabs a tuna sandwich I made for my husband’s lunch, darts across the cabin’s single room, and climbs halfway up the stairs. Suspended from the banister, he gobbles and spills bits of sandwich on the furniture below. UGH. I sink back onto the couch and glower, afraid any further intervention will make it worse.

“What else,” I ask, wanting to get this over with as quickly as I can.

She smiles at me. My muse never smiles. “Two of your books were semi-finalists in the 2019 Kindle Book Awards.”

“What?” I’ve now forgotten all about the howler and the globs of tuna sprinkling my floor. I’d also forgotten that I submitted books. “Both of them?”

Sunweilder and Soul Swallowers.” She tips back her latte, stands, and snaps her fingers at the monkey. Not two seconds later, the creature swings from the banister onto her shoulder. My muse heads for the door, her familiar bossy ill-humor sliding onto her face. “Get to work.”

“I plan on it. After I clean up this mess.” As she walks out the door and into the forest, I call after her, “Hey, if I finish my first draft, can we lose the monkey?”

She glances back and slips me an evil smile.

***

I guess the muse’s visit could have gone a lot worse.

Click on the cover if you’re interested in a free kindle of Catling’s Bane:

 

 

And here are those semi-finalists:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Writing!

 

 

 

2019 New Apple Summer eBook Awards Solo “Medalist Winner” – Songs of Heartstrings

It is with great honor and humility to announce that my book ‘Songs of Heartstrings – Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude‘ was chosen as the solo “Medalist Winner” in the Poetry category of the 2019 New Apple Summer eBook Awards!

http://www.newappleliterary.com/2019ebook/2019ebookCat14.html

 

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Winner

 

About New Apple – Literary Services for Independent Authors

New Apple was born in 2010 to help the growing number of independent authors in the southern Ohio area find their voice. Initially the venture was a support structure of authors, educators and readers pooling their efforts to share their resources and create local grassroots campaigns. Over the last nine years New Apple has grown and is now offering comprehensive marketing solutions to the world of independent authors.
The New Apple Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing were created in 2013 to provide self-published and independent authors with a chance to showcase their work. New Apple’s Annual Book Awards were established to honor the creative achievements of the unsung books fighting for their place within the publishing world. Medals and Official Selections are awarded to winners in fiction and non-fiction categories as well as E-Book categories and one designation for Audiobooks.
New Apple continues to provide resources for independent authors attempting to navigate the waters of self-publishing. In 2014, New Apple added Book Reviews and editing services as well as the introduction of tweet blasting book announcements and giveaways. In 2015, New Apple launched their summer book awards program specifically targeted toward digital books.

http://www.newappleliterary.com/about.html

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Part 2 of “THE MEREST LOSS” Blog Tour! @StevenNeil12 @4WillsPub #RRBC

I’m excited to welcome part 2 of “THE MEREST LOSS” Blog Tour! @StevenNeil12 @4WillsPub #RRBC.

 

Steven Neil header

 

Please join me to meet Steven Neil, the author of THE MEREST LOSS, and let me introduce you to his book.

 

First, let’s get to know Steven Neil and his writing Influences.

1. What has influenced you as a writer?

I am influenced by all the great writers of all the great books I have ever read. To

name just a few: The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro; Tess of the D’Urbervilles,

Thomas Hardy; The Catcher in the Rye, J.D.Salinger; Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier;

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Le Grand Meaulnes, Alain-Fournier. Amongst

contemporary writers Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel has influenced my writing style the

most.

2. What is the first book you remember reading?

Anna Sewell: Black Beauty

3. What are your favorite books?

I give different answers at different times! All the books in the Palliser series and

Barchester Chronicles series by Anthony Trollope. To my mind he is the greatest of

the great nineteenth century English writers.

4. Who has influenced you as a writer?

All the books and writers I have mentioned and my Open University writing tutor

Judith Allnatt, who I credit with teaching me the craft of writing.

5. Are there any authors you try to emulate?

I haven’t consciously tried to do this, but I’m flattered when reviewers compare The

Merest Loss to a ‘classic nineteenth century’ novel.

6. What genres do you like to read?

I read many genres, but I find I am drawn back to the nineteenth century more and

more. I like a good story well told and I find the pyrotechnics of many contemporary

writers off putting.

7. Is this the same as the genre you write in?

In a way, yes. I write historical fiction set in the Victorian era.

8. What point of view do you like to write from?

I like the immediacy of first-person narration but I am most comfortable with

omniscient third person writing.

9. What tense do you like to write in?

I particularly like to read the present tense and I like to write that way too.

10. What made you write?

My wife inspired me to write, having found a short I wrote many years ago, aged 17.

She encouraged me to enroll in a creative writing course. This turned into an Open

University degree in English Literature, then a Master’s degree in Creative Writing

and eventually led to my debut novel, The Merest Loss.

© Steven Neil

 

Steven Neil

 

Author Bio

Steven has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. He has been a bookmaker’s clerk, bloodstock agent, racehorse breeder and management consultant amongst other professions in his varied career. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire, England. The Merest Loss is his debut novel.

 

 

Blurb

A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.

When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk bootmaker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet?

Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind?

What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father?’

Genres: Historical Fiction and Victorian Historical Romance

 

Buy links

THE MEREST LOSS is available in paperback and eBook in the UK, US, France, Canada and Australia.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

https://www.amazon.com/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

https://www.amazon.fr/Merest-Loss-English-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

https://www.amazon.ca/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

https://www.amazon.com.au/Merest-Loss-Steven-Neil-ebook/dp/B077D9SHB5

 

Follow Steven Neil for information on how to purchase the paperback through an independent bookseller in the UK

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stevenneil12

IAN author page: https://www.independentauthornetwork.com/steven-neil.html

Email: stevenneil1@aol.com

~ ~ ~

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE

 

 

 

 

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