The Haunting of Chatham Hollow #NewRelease @MaeClair1 @stacitroilo

I am thrilled to share with you one of the most exciting books to be released this year, and from two of my favorite authors, Mae Clair and Staci Troilo! Take a look!

Purchase Link

Jan, thank you so much for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be here with you and your readers to share The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. I co-authored this novel with Staci Troilo, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was amazing to work with a co-author, especially someone as talented as Staci. She and I found we work great together, so who knows—maybe another down the road.

For now, we hope others will enjoy our supernatural mystery, which includes dual timelines, ghostly happenings, a town curse, murder, and rumors of buried gold.  

During our short promo tour, you’ll meet several characters who populate the book. To kick things off, I’d like to introduce Aaron Brock, the editor of the Chatham Hollow Chronicle in 1888, the “past” timeline. Spiritualism is a key thread in the book, so Staci and I thought we’d have each character sit down with a medium as a way of introduction.

Let’s listen in.

SPIRITUALIST: I’m surprised you agreed to a reading, Mr. Brock. My understanding is that you’re a skeptic when it comes to anything of a supernatural nature.

AARON BROCK (settling back in his chair and hooking one ankle over his knee): As an editor, I have to maintain impartiality regardless of personal feelings. Any article I write is based on fact.

SPIRITUALIST: Interesting. But you do have opinions, and from what I understand, they’re not favorable. At least not regarding Benedict Fletcher.

AARON BROCK (parts with a snort): Fletcher’s a charlatan. I might not say it in the Chronicle

SPIRITUALIST: But you did. Or at least came close to labeling him one after that debacle he pulled with Ward Chatham.

AARON BROCK:  The séance? Fletcher bit off more than he could chew. He should be thankful Victor Rowe was there to clean up his mess.

SPIRITUALIST: Ah, the competition.

AARON BROCK:  I suppose you could phrase it that way.

SPIRITUALIST: They are rival mediums, correct?

Aaron shrugs.

SPIRITUALIST: Isn’t Victor Rowe a friend of yours?

AARON BROCK:  Aren’t you supposed to do some kind of reading? Isn’t that why I’m here?

SPIRITUALIST: Nicely evaded, Mr. Brock. What I “read” is that you respect Rowe despite his profession as a spiritualist. Despite the fact you profess to be an unbeliever.

AARON BROCK: Rowe isn’t the con man Fletcher is.

SPIRITUALIST: Con man? The women of Chatham Hollow seem to favor Fletcher. I understand he’s regularly engaged with readings or spirit circles—all by invitation.

AARON BROCK: Of course, the women like him! The man’s a peacock. A popinjay. He knows exactly what to say to achieve his ends. But that gift of flattery didn’t help him at the Founder’s Day séance.

SPIRITUALIST: Do tell. All I have is your newspaper account of what happened. I’d like to know more about what took place.

AARON BROCK: Don’t you have a crystal ball?

SPIRITUALIST: I’ll ignore the sarcasm in your voice, Mr. Brock. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.

AARON BROCK:  Regardless—if you want details, you’ll have to pick up the book.

SPIRITUALIST: (knits brows):  Book?

AARON BROCK: The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. Now, if you’ll excuse me—or not—we’ll skip the reading. This discussion has already taken more time than I can spare.

SPIRITUALIST: You have nothing more to say?

AARON BROCK:  Only that if you really are gifted in communicating with the dead, you might try solving the mystery that has plagued Chatham Hollow for over a century.

SPIRITUALIST: And what is that?

AARON BROCK: Find out where Ward Chatham buried his gold.

____________

PURCHASE LINK

 BLURB:
One founding father.
One deathbed curse.
A town haunted for generations.

Ward Chatham, founder of Chatham Hollow, is infamous for two things—hidden treasure and a curse upon anyone bold enough to seek it. Since his passing in 1793, no one has discovered his riches, though his legend has only grown stronger.

In 1888, charlatan Benedict Fletcher holds a séance to determine the location of Chatham’s fortune. It’s all a hoax so he can search for the gold, but he doesn’t count on two things—Victor Rowe, a true spiritualist who sees through his ruse, and Chatham’s ghost wreaking havoc on the town.

More than a century later, the citizens of the Hollow gather for the annual Founder’s Day celebration. A paranormal research team intends to film a special at Chatham Manor, where the original séance will be reenacted. Reporter and skeptic Aiden Hale resents being assigned the story, but even he can’t deny the sudden outbreak of strange happenings. When he sets out to discover who or what is threatening the Hollow—supernatural or not— his investigation uncovers decades-old conflicts, bitter rivalries, and ruthless murders.

This time, solving the mystery isn’t about meeting his deadline. It’s about not ending up dead.

Thanks again for hosting me today, Jan. It was a pleasure to drop by—along with my unnamed spiritualist and Aaron Brock. (Please excuse Aaron. He can be a bit prickly now and again). I invite your readers to pick up a copy of The Haunting of Chatham Hollow at the link below. Staci and I both appreciate the support and wish everyone happy reading!

PURCHASE LINK

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up
Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

Connect with Staci Troilo at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Social Media | Newsletter
Amazon ​| BookBub ​| Goodreads

The Conflict Thesaurus SILVER EDITION Is Here! (+Giveaway) @WriterThesaurus

Whoo hoo!!!!

Hi everyone! I don’t know about you, but the writing reference books from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are always next to me when I am working. I refer to them often. And now they have a second volume of The Conflict Thesaurus available!

Today’s a big day – The Conflict Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles (Vol. 2) has just been released, and as a Street Team member, I get to let everyone know that Angela & Becca have a celebration going on at Writers Helping Writers!

But first – let me share a bit about this new writing guide.

The Conflict Thesaurus is actually a two-book set; the first book, the GOLD EDITION, started a deep dive into CONFLICT, and this new SILVER EDITION continues that exploration, helping writers master this oh-so-important storytelling element.

If you’re new to Writers Helping Writers Thesaurus books, each one is part “how-to,” part brainstorming tool. So, in this silver second edition, writers learn about how conflict powers plot and functions as a golden thread that weaves the inner and outer stories together. It also looks at the different levels of conflict in a story and how conflict can characterize, create great clashes, raise the stakes, up the tension, and pull off a climatic finish that will satisfy readers.

The brainstorming ‘thesaurus” portion looks at 115 Conflict Scenarios that will help you dream up a variety of problems and challenges that can shape your characters into the people they must become to achieve their story goal.

Angela and Becca always host a fun event at their book launch. This year, they have two things to check out:

http://www.writershelpingwriters.net

A book about conflict warrants a FIGHT CLUB type of writing contest, don’t you think? So if you want to show off your conflict-writing abilities, come test your skills. You might just win a GREAT prize…and bragging rights, of course!

Also, You Could Win a Digital Bookshelf of Writing Guides

Angela and Becca want you to own some of their favorite writing guides, so follow the link to enter. You might just snag a 5-packs of amazing craft books that will get you one step closer to mastery!

Good luck in the giveaway and writing contest!  

MY REVIEW: THE CONFLICT THESAURUS VOLUME 2 (SILVER EDITION)

As with previous reference books from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, this new Conflict Thesaurus encompasses all things that can be related to conflict and tension in a story. And let’s face it. Without conflict and tension, a story falls flat. There is nothing for the characters to overcome. So, as with Volume 1 of the Conflict Thesaurus, Volume 2 gives examples of conflict scenarios, minor complications, potentially disastrous results, resulting emotion, possible internal struggles, negative traits that may worsen a situation, impact on basic needs, and positive traits and outcomes. It is the ultimate guide to obstacles, adversaries, and inner struggles.

I love that this volume is broken down into sections. It begins with Loss of Control, then moves to Power Struggles, Losing an Advantage, Ego-Related Conflicts, Dangers and Threats, and Miscellaneous Challenges. Each section has numerous examples to help with any conflict situation.

It is truly another essential part of the holy grail for writers. If you are serious about your craft and enjoy having helpful reference books at your fingertips, this is a must-have for you! I highly recommend it, along with Volume 1 as well.

Jazz House – #NewRelease #giveaway @donnavstone @WildRosePress

I am happy to share a new book release from a fellow Wild Rose Press author, D.V. Stone! Take a look!

Jazz House

Impact Series Book 2

by D.V. Stone

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Jordan Vasilakis is on the run, living under an assumed name. After a disastrous marriage to a notorious Greek business tycoon, she flees to the States and starts rebuilding her life. But her ruthless husband is determined to destroy her…once he finds her.

Michael Machau is drawn to the new singer at Jazz House restaurant, but the guarded woman is harboring dangerous secrets. The dedicated police officer may have to risk more than just his heart to forge a connection with the woman he knows as Madeline Cielo, especially when he discovers she’s living a lie.

Worlds collide. Lies entangle. Survival, much less love, is in question. They must quickly distinguish friends from enemies or risk losing everything—including a future together.

Rock House Grill

Impact Series Book 1

Aden House, successful but driven chef and TV personality, refuses to slow down. His life implodes one night, damaging him both physically and emotionally. He’s rescued by a woman he thinks of as his angel.

Shay McDowell has rebuilt her life after her divorce. She juggles volunteer EMT duties and her job, while dreaming of becoming a chef. She finds her way to Rock House Grill and back into the life of the man she helped save.

Can love be the ingredient needed to survive the many obstacles they face?

**Only .99 cents!**

Amazon * Apple * B&N * Google * Kobo * Bookbub * Goodreads

D. V. Stone is an award-winning, multi-genre, traditionally and independently published author. She writes books people want to read. Whether romance or fantasy, her stories are about the importance of friends and family. About overcoming obstacles while doing it with humor.

Around the Fire is a popular weekly blog where she introduces both established and new authors giving an insider’s look into their lives and books as well as tidbits about her own life.

After retiring, she is now a full-time author and incorporates her life experiences into her books.

A former Emergency Medical Technician, she volunteered in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. At the same time, she worked as a professional EMT in a women’s state prison. She was the proprietor of a coffee shop, and a small restaurant/ice cream stand in the years that followed. The years following were as a manager in an animal emergency hospital, while her last position was in a human medical office.

When not behind the wheel of 2Hoots—a 41 foot long 13.2 feet high 5th Wheel camper, she rambles around town in Northern New Jersey in a white Camaro. She also loves travel and history.

D.V. is wife to an amazing husband, mother to one son, and not your average grandma to three beautiful grands. A woman of faith, she believes and trusts in God.

My greatest pleasures are spending time outside with friends and family, cooking over the open fire, sipping a glass of wine, and reading.”

Hali, her rescue dog, always reminds her to let readers know, “Woof, woof.” Which is loosely translated as support your local animal rescue.

You can find out more about D. V. by following her on Social Media.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$10 Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

EXCERPT:

Jordan scrambled to the other side of the limo.

“You sing good tonight.” He scrolled through his phone.

“Yes, Kyrios.”

Outside the window, massive cruise ships docked in the port. Happy older people made their way up the gangplanks toting bags filled with souvenirs, while the younger ones debarked dressed for the nightlife. Sparkly sequins flashed like diamonds as one young woman twirled on the pier.

God, how had she come to this life? She willed her hovering tears not to fall. Kyrios wouldn’t approve.

When she was offered a place in the touring group ten years ago, she thought it was the beginning of great things. Standing in the cabaret with the lights shining down was her dream come true. When she was the woman in the sparkly dress.

Until he showed up.

Each night, Kyrios Vasilakis, Greek business tycoon, sat at the front table watching her. Yes, he was older but so very handsome. Dark hair with silver at the temples, he cut a dashing figure in his black suits.

Jordan began to sing to him. It was the beginning of the end. After a whirlwind romance, she found herself a prisoner in marriage to a brute.

MY REVIEW:

Jordan was born to sing jazz. That’s all she’s ever dreamed of. So, when wealthy greek tycoon, Kyrios promises to make all her dreams come true, she’s thrilled.
Only things aren’t as they seem. Once married to Kyrios, he becomes controlling and abusive. Now, Jordan is trapped. There is no way out of this prison, and she’s tired of trying to cover up the bruises.
That is the scene that sets this story.
Her opportunity to escape comes with an attack at one of the nightclubs he owns. Suffering from a bullet wound, she flees and is presumed dead until all the bodies from the fire are identified. All except hers. Now he knows she is still alive and will not rest until he finds her.
Under an assumed name and fake passport, Jordan makes her way to the United States and finds a jazz club in Pennsylvania where she can finally lay down some roots and continue to do what she loves, and that is to sing.
This is such a good story. Even though it is predictable, there are still a few surprises along the way. Michael Machau is a cop and a good one. He cares about right and wrong and is good at his job. When smitten by Jordan, aka Madeline, he can’t help but be curious about her. But it’s more than curiosity that fans the flame. A relationship is a long shot for both Jordan and Michael, but the heart wants what the heart wants. While this is the second book in a series, I was never at a loss about any of the characters or past events, so it works well as a standalone. I loved all the characters in the story. It is a gentle romance with a heavy emphasis on family and faith. I enjoyed it and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a story with a solid plot and true love.

It’s Labor Day in the U.S. – #RuneCard

What is Labor Day? It is a day set aside to celebrate the millions of workers who keep our nation moving.

Created in Canva

It’s an official Monday holiday in the United States, and I am spending part of the day today with my children and grandchildren at a water park. It’s their last big splash for the summer. For that reason, I am foregoing my regular Monday post as I will be away and unable to respond to comments.

However, I do want to leave you with this inspiration for the week. It’s not only powerful but timely.

From the Rune Oracle Card Deck

Mannaz is the rune that is connected to the sense of union that unites all humanity to the cosmos. The god shown on the card has three faces—one facing the moon, one turning toward the sun, and one looking ahead. His gaze embraces the totality of the world and mankind.

This card alludes to cooperation and reminds us that no one is an island. We are bound by invisible threads that cannot be dissolved. The card indicates collective dreams and the joy of cooperating and having a shared project. Unity is strength. Exchange and communication are two key components of the card.

Mannaz facilitates communication and exchange between us and others.

Thank you for stopping by. I’ll return to my regular Monday posts next week. In the meantime, make it a great week ahead!

Friday Free-For-All #3

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s the first Friday in September!

Created in Canva

Have you thought about Christmas yet? No? Me either. But I was recently at Costco and was shocked to see Christmas displays already up. It’s not even Halloween yet!

Photo by Jan Sikes 8-18-22

My first response was in my head, but it was a loud, “NO!” Have we let all of our holidays become so commercialized that they are all about money?

We’ve been living the American dream for at least a couple of generations now, and I see the results in the youngsters coming up (my grandchildren in particular). They start making their Christmas lists in July. And it’s not like they don’t have plenty of stuff. Every nook and cranny of their playroom is filled. Something will have to go to make room for new things that will temporarily distract them.

Then there’s the pressure of picking the gift that will wow them. How do you even do that when they aren’t wowed by much? Over-stimulation abounds through media, school, TV, and videos. So, it takes a lot just to get their attention.

I’m always trying to think of something different for each of the five that they might enjoy. One year, I gave them gifts like a trip to the zoo, just one child at a time with me. That was fun, and they looked forward to their special day. But it was also a gift that had to wait for springtime before we could go, so maybe that part was sort of a letdown.

I have no solution to the dilemma. I’d love to hear your suggestions about how you approach gift-giving, especially with young children.

I’ve voted for several years to stop adult gift-giving, but I have one daughter who refuses to go along with that, which forces the rest of us to suck it up and search for something that might be special. I’m sure every family is different. As the children get older, I’d like for us to take the money we’d spend on ‘stuff’ and do a trip together instead. But I don’t know if I’ll ever get them to go along with that idea.

I suppose I should be thankful that some traditions are ingrained in my children. After all, that is also something that appears to be disappearing.

Remember when families sat down every night for dinner together? That seems to be something that is dying out. At one daughter’s house, the children eat their dinner by themselves. Both Mama and Daddy are still working when the children have their dinner. However, my daughter told me they are trying to have family dinners on the weekends, so that’s at least an attempt.

Again, I’d like your thoughts. Are traditions only created to be changed? Or should they be strictly adhered to? Are we losing an entire way of life in the next generations? Or do they have a better idea?

So many questions. So little time. 🙂

Let’s chat!

On a VERY different side note, how many of you reach for one of the reference books from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi when you are writing? Well, there’s a new one coming!!

There is no purchase link yet, but I definitely will be adding this book to my reference section!

The Conflict Thesaurus, Volume 2:
A Writer’s Guide to Obstacles, Adversaries, and Inner Struggles (Releases September 6th, 2022)

August #BookReviews – @DWallacePeach @TPolen6 @StaciTroilo @JillWeatherholt

I read some AMAZING books in August, aside from the ones I’ve already posted through Lone Star Literary Blogging and NetGalley. I’m excited to share these additional reviews with you!

Created in Canva
Purchase Link

MY REVIEW:

This story gripped me from page one. A Necromancer is summoned by the King of Verdane. His beloved wife is dying in childbirth. Barus, with a severely crippled, bent, and gnarled body, is the Necromancer. He overhears the queen begging the king to save the life of the child and let her go. But in his grief, the king cannot make that choice, so both mother and child die. But Barus has already fallen in love with the beautiful child, and in the midst of the chaos surrounding the queen’s death, he steals the baby’s lifeless body, takes her to his thatched hut, and through the use of his knowledge and abilities, returns the child’s life. Never was a little girl loved more than Aster. Barus teaches her the healing art, and she grows into a beautiful and happy young woman who can communicate with dragons. So, when the king eventually comes to claim his only heir, things begin a slippery and deadly downhill slide.

Stephen Spielberg once gave writing advice to authors, telling them to put their characters up a tree and throw rocks at them. This author, D. Wallace Peach, did that in spades in this story. The unimaginable torture and hardships Aster went through were enough to have me biting my fingernails and holding my breath.

Captured and placed in a cage to freeze to death overnight, it appears all is lost. That is until young Jareh decides to disobey his powerful father and help her escape. The journey that one single action took them on was long, cold, and treacherous.

I won’t spoil the story by giving away too much. I’ll just say I was mesmerized as it all unfolded, leaving me gasping for breath more than once.

If you are a fan of epic fantasy that includes herbal healing, magic, dragons, corruption, and greed, you are sure to love this book! I highly recommend it!

 

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This YA Dystopian book gripped me from the beginning to the end. As a young boy, Asher Solomon has to run with his two sisters to escape being taken by The Colony soldiers. At first, he is sure it’s only a drill. After all, their father has insisted they be prepared for the one unavoidable time it would be real. And that time arrives at the start of the story. But when Asher’s sister is injured while escaping, he’s forced to leave them in a cave, promising to return for them.


The world-building in this story is phenomenal. The author did a fabulous job of creating believable characters in nail-biting situations of survival. Oh, and they are all teenagers.


The Colony has figured out a way to harvest highly sought-after, desirable genes from children in order to create a perfect society of beautiful people free of all disease. Of course, that kind of perfection comes at a price. The price of human life.


Children, referred to as outliers, are ripped from their families and taken to harvesting centers.
Asher joins a group of teenagers, Insurgents, whose mission is to rescue these children.
While Asher and his group may be young, they are wise and capable way beyond their years. There are a lot of characters in this story, but besides Asher, I loved Noah, Brynn, and Paige. They are the backbone and strength of the Insurgents.


But there are secrets. And when they are revealed, change everything Asher ever believed about his parents and his life, and have the potential to destroy everyone he loves.
This story concludes with somewhat of a happy ending mixed with a cliffhanger. I could see this entire story unfold as a movie and would be thrilled for the author if it were to be developed as a major film. If you are a fan of gripping dystopian stories where survival is tenuous, you will love this book.

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

This is a book that is so real, you can imagine Vanessa and Royce Keller being your next-door neighbors. Royce Keller is an esteemed doctor. Vanessa spends her time helping raise money for charities. Then there are three children, all teenagers.


Somewhere along the way to building a busy, successful medical career as Chief of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Keller lost touch with his wife and children. That is until tragedy strikes.

When his teenage daughter, Hope, is brought into the emergency room, a victim of a motorcycle accident, he doesn’t recognize her. He goes against all medical protocol by treating her and then, in a frantic attempt to save her waning life, gives a blood transfusion directly from his vein to hers. After all, she is his daughter, and their blood should be a match. The result is Hope’s death. The reason—severe trauma wounds and a blood mismatch. The first of many secrets is revealed. Hope is not his child.


And that’s just where the story starts.

The family undergoes such an emotional rollercoaster from the first page of this book until the end. It is a character-driven story, and those are my favorites. While, at times, I wanted to shake both Royce and Vanessa, what they went through on their journey to redemption is relatable and believable. The two remaining children were often stronger than their parents as layer after layer of trust had to be rebuilt.

And did you know it is possible for twins to have different fathers? I didn’t until I read this book. It is called heteropaternal superfecundation.

This is family drama at its best. If you are a fan of deep psychological wounds, healing, and acceptance, you will enjoy this story as much as I did! I highly recommend it!

 

PURCHASE LINK

MY REVIEW:

I received this book as a gift and found it to be a refreshingly light read. Several things appealed to me, such as the small town setting where everyone knows everyone, a single dad raising a little girl, who is also a paramedic and dashingly handsome, and a big city lawyer who has given up on love and God.
Faith is woven throughout the story, but it’s done in a tasteful way so that it doesn’t come across as preachy.
One of my favorite characters in the story is Rebecca, a precocious little girl who adores her father. While the plot and storyline are predictable, I enjoyed the light-hearted read, and it left me feeling hopeful. I am a sucker for a happy ending. Especially one where all the characters come out winners. This author writes from the heart, and that is obvious in this story. If you love Christian-based clean, and wholesome romances, you’ll enjoy this book.

Curse of Wolf Falls #Pre-Order #NewRelease @brendawhitesid2

I am happy to share an upcoming new book release from a fellow author, Brenda Whiteside! I’ll let her tell you about it, but isn’t this a gorgeous cover?

PURCHASE LINK

Thank you, Jan, for hosting me on your blog today, so I can talk about my new upcoming release! Much appreciated!

The 1960s and 70s left an indelible mark on my soul. The age of experimentation of the mind and body embraced all things the universe had to offer, whether we could explain it or not, such as aura reading, empathic revelations, crystals, and out-of-body experiences, to name a few.

In my series, The MacKenzie Chronicles, I wrote the next generation—the siblings who were raised by parents of the sixties living in Joshua, Arizona—an 1800s mining community-turned-ghost-town, reborn hippie haven, and now tourist town clinging to the side of Spirit Mountain—hiding treacherous secrets only the MacKenzie’s can reveal.

The fictitious town of Joshua is modeled after Jerome, Arizona, a real-life tourist destination. If you ever visit Arizona, it’s a must-stop on your tour. The town had died down to just over one hundred residents when the hippies discovered it in the sixties. Now, it’s a thriving art community with wine tasting and haunted hotels. I take a day trip to Joshua, er, Jerome every chance I get.

KODAK Digital Still Camera JEROME, ARIZONA

Although the theme of my stories isn’t paranormal, some of that sixties mentality is an important thread. After all, I’ve seen orbs, experienced déjà vu, and met a few people I’ve known in some other place and time. Oh, and we all know Moms have eyes in the backs of their heads…or is it some other unexplainable talent they possess?

I’ll leave you with one example. Many years ago, when my son played hockey, we hosted an international tournament for boys aged 12-15. Our team was designated to house the Austrian boys. Waiting for our assigned boy, I looked across the room. A cutie with big blue eyes was staring at me. When I gazed into those eyes, I felt like I knew him. I silently hoped he would be assigned to stay the week with us. Well, yeah, you guessed it. He was. And we hit it off immediately. He’s been my good friend ever since…even if from afar. He’s visited us several times over the years, and we’ve visited him once in Austria. So, not a universe-shaking experience, but those little occurrences in life, if you’ll allow your mind to accept them, are awesome, unexplained adventures.

Have you had any similar experiences?

PURCHASE LINK

Blurb:

Secrets can protect what the truth will destroy.  

Elidor MacKenzie has a gift she can’t return—the ability to absorb the joy, pain, and suffering of others. She’s spent her life running from what she considers her curse. Now, her best friend is dead, and she alone holds the key to an archaeological discovery that could destroy a culture. With newfound inner peace, Elidor has returned home to make amends and guard the secret revelation. But greed-driven scavengers have followed her. Once again, the energies of Joshua will stir the hurricane, with her at the deadly center.  

Jules never got over Elidor. Twenty years and a famous journalism career later, he’s back in Joshua—and so is his first love. If his heart can stand the torture, he’ll risk reviving their relationship. But saving Elidor from herself and the secret she won’t give up may be the death of them both.  

With Jules by her side, Elidor is determined to outrun the scavengers, guard the secret, and renew their love. But fate is coming after her, and there’s nowhere the couple can hide.

Purchase Link (preorder sale price until 9/5): https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0B663MY1D

Review copies are available until 9/5 (be certain you can leave a review on Amazon, GoodReads, and BookBub before you download, it’s a commitment)

https://storyoriginapp.com/reviewcopies/c6432934-0842-11ed-abd0-239675f1672d

https://dl.bookfunnel.com/z6nqom3s4y

Excerpt:

He frowned. “That’s a heavy secret.”

“Yeah. Boyd found out, or at least suspected. He was there when Cam died. The cave isn’t impossible to find, but the wealth in the cave lies at the end of several twisty paths which we stored the coordinates for on Cam’s phone. I’m sure someday, someone will discover it. If we did, others can too. But we didn’t want to be the ones to endanger a centuries-old sacred site and disrupt a culture. Cam’s last words to me were to guard the phone and don’t trust anyone. Boyd must have figured out what Cam meant. Boyd’s the one who trashed the apartment, and when he didn’t find the phone, came back to… I’m guessing…make me give it to him.”

Julien’s arms and legs tensed. “Now Marty is here to pick up where Boyd left off?”

“Marty possibly has skeletons in his closet.” She hesitated. She didn’t want her empathic ways to come between her and Julien again, but… Hell. It’s who I am—I embrace it, you embrace it. “He does. I can read that much about him. I have no doubt he isn’t an honest person, but I can’t believe he had anything to do with Boyd’s actions. His heart isn’t black.”

“But?”

“I don’t know. He thinks someone who works for him has information on how to find the Mescalero Myth. I think he came here fishing to see if I might be the source. Since I left so abruptly, he suspects me. I guess.”

Mon dieu, Ellie, you’re in danger! Where’s the phone?”

“I don’t have it. I took out the SIM card and threw the phone away. Marty wants to find the burial grounds, but I don’t think he’s the type to do much more than he has—come here and pump me for info. If I didn’t convince him that I know nothing, I at least put doubt in his mind. He had to leave today and get back to the dig.”

He cupped her face in his hands. “Ellie, you have me worried.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brenda Whiteside in Jerome

Brenda Whiteside is the award-winning author of romantic suspense and romance. She’s penned a couple of historicals and straight romances, but she’s found villains and danger make a good story that much better. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have settled in Central Arizona. They admit to being gypsies at heart, so won’t discount the possibility of another move. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW fishes, Brenda writes.

Visit Brenda: https://www.brendawhiteside.com

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

Twitter:

She blogs and has guests:

https://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Brenda-Whiteside/e/B003V15WF8/

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3972045.Brenda_Whiteside

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/brenda-whiteside

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

#MondayMotivation – #Meditation – #TarotReading – #DragonOracleCard

Good morning! It’s the beginning of the last week of August. We are on the downhill slide for summer and I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to fall!

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This meditation brought me such a wonderful feeling! I hope it does for you, too.

The Tarot Reading today seems to be far-reaching—not for one person, but for a collective.

Photo by Jan Sikes

When I first looked at this spread, what came to mind is how everyone in the world is interconnected in some way. And the critical distress our planet is in causes grief and heavy worry. But the outcome is joyous with a collective of souls. Then I looked deeper.

The World card invites you to reflect on your journey, honor your achievements, and tune into your spiritual lessons. Celebrate your successes and bask in the joy of having brought your goals to fruition. All the triumphs and tribulations along your path have made you into the strong, wise, more experienced person you are now. Express gratitude for what you have created and harvested. Finally, make sure you don’t rush into the next big project—celebrating your journey will set you up for success when you are ready for your next challenge. This card reinforces Universal understanding and global awareness, and you will find a new appreciation for people and cultures from across the world.

The Nine of Swords suggests that dark thoughts and disturbing feelings are weighing you down (and keeping you up at night). You are worrying excessively about a situation, and your negative thoughts are getting the better of you, leaving you stressed and anxious. The more you associate with your fears, the more they will rule your life. As you obsess over what’s not working, the more anxious you become and the more you will worry. It becomes a negative cycle where one awful thought leads to another, and another, and another until they overwhelm you. Just as the nine swords are stacked upon each other on the wall, so too are your negative thoughts. Be careful because the fear and worry in the Nine of Swords can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As you obsess over what may go wrong, you are more likely to manifest your worst-case scenario because you are inadvertently acting in ways that support your negative thoughts. This card reminds you that much of the fear and worry you are experiencing is in your head and not necessarily an accurate reflection of what is happening around you. You may make things worse for yourself by over-thinking or obsessing over the worst-case scenarios. It is time to examine your situation from a new perspective. Instead of looking for evidence of what is going wrong, put your attention on what is going right.

When the Three of Cups appears in a Tarot reading, you are encouraged to gather with your closest friends and have a good time together, talking, laughing, sharing and creating. Together, you give and receive the love, support and compassion each of you needs from one another. You may be inspired to host a girls’ night out, a weekend away, or start a women’s circle so you can join forces with like-minded people. The energy is high, and you’re here to do amazing things together. This card also invites you to collaborate with others on a creative project and inspire one another to reach new heights. Collectively, you are working towards a common goal for the greater good of others, and by reaching out to others and banding together, you can achieve a great deal by sharing your positive energy and passion with the wider community. 

MY TAKEAWAY:

Don’t shy away from celebrating what you’ve accomplished. Not in a braggart sort of way, but genuine joy and gratitude for each accomplishment, no matter how small. Don’t let worry bog you down. Change what you can and put the rest out to the Universe to take care of. It’s not your job to save the world, only your little corner of it. And even though things may look bleak, find little things to celebrate with your loved ones, regardless if it’s family and/or friends. When we look we can always find something to be thankful for.

Each time I pull a dragon card, I think it’s the most gorgeous one, but seriously, this one is so beautiful! And what a great message!

Rainbow Dragon. Brings the leap of joy that opens new doors. Have trust. Rediscover wisdom. Expect miracles. Accept opportunities.

Friday Free-For-All! #2

Hi, everyone. I hope you’ve had a good week and looking forward to the weekend. It’s time for another Free-For-All!

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I’ve been thinking about things that have influenced me throughout life, and the list is long. Of course, my parents influenced me, as did school. But the one single biggest influence that goes as far back as I can remember is Music!

Growing up in a holy-roller, free-holiness church, music was a big part of every worship service. The piano, guitars, tambourines, accordions, and even a trumpet would stir my soul ten times more than whatever message the preacher brought. Because I could FEEL it.

The strict religion forbade listening to “worldly” music, but I was allowed to attend gospel music concerts. The Stamps Quartet, Blackwood Brothers, and The Happy Goodman Family are some of the most memorable. And, oh my, they could sing. Their harmonies blended like finely tuned instruments. Again, it stirred something deep and primal in me.

Then, as a teenager, I got a transistor radio one year for Christmas. It came with earbuds. Mine looked exactly like this.

Courtesy Canva Photos

The entire world opened up to me! I could get KOMA out of Oklahoma City and Wolfman Jack on XERF out of Del Rio, Texas. And I fell in love!

I fell in love with Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Odis Redding, and all the greats who were creating fabulous music in the sixties. I would imagine myself standing on the hood of a car, singing “Venus” or Helen Reddy’s “Angie Baby.” Then the kids at school would accept me, and I’d finally be a part of something. Yes, I know. It was the crazy imagination and dreaming of a lonely teenager. But some part of me saw music as my window to the world.

I begged Mom and Dad for a piano. We were poor, and I know it was selfish of me, as it would be near to impossible for them, but they managed to find one somewhere and brought it home. I loved to pound away on it. They couldn’t afford lessons, so I’d pick out songs by ear. Then, several summers in a row, The Stamps School of Music came to Hobbs and offered free classes. So, my sister and I were allowed to go. I learned to read the notes but never got it down to the point I could look at a piece of music and know instantly what the notes were. I’d have to count the lines and spaces. 🙂

So, time went on, and I turned eighteen. I could legally leave home. I was chomping at the bit to get out and experience the world, to try all of the things that had been forbidden by the church and my parents. And experiencing live music was at the top of that list.

I was too young to get into the nightclubs, but one club in Abilene (where I had moved) had lost their liquor license for serving alcohol to minors, and they had live music on the weekends. That became my second home. And it was where I met Rick Sikes.

I often question myself as to whether or not I would have been as attracted to him if he hadn’t been a regional singing star. Who knows, and it doesn’t matter. He was, and I was. I loved traveling up and down the roads of Texas with him and his band. I finally found a place where I fit, where I was a part of something that I loved.

Rick Sikes And The Rhythm Rebels 1965

As life will often do, it threw me a curve ball, and instead of catching it, I let it knock me down. Rick’s music career and our love affair came to an abrupt end when he was arrested and convicted on two counts of bank robbery.

Now what? I’d still go out and listen to bands every chance I got, but it was never the same. And yet, I never lost my love for music. I fell in love with Jethro Tull and would sit with headphones on and listen to his Aqualung album over and over. I’d do the same with Janis Joplin’s Pearl album.

Fast forward twenty-five years, and I am now married to Rick Sikes. After a long hiatus, he’s started back writing and singing. Only this time, I am along for the full ride as his music partner. I learned to play guitar and loved sitting with him and co-writing songs or playing a new one for him that I’d written. His first public appearance was at Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas for Roxy Gordon’s wake in 2000. From that point, he never stopped until he got too sick to hold a guitar.

Rick and Jan Sikes Kerrville, Tx. 2003
Kerrville, Tx 2003

After Rick passed away and I moved to the Dallas area, I searched for a way to stay plugged into the music world I loved so much. I started volunteering at music festivals in 2010. At first, I was the outsider again. These people had a long history together. But I kept suiting up and showing up and working hard, and now the folks who still do this with me are like an extended family.

Then, when I had the opportunity to go to work for Buddy Magazine, I loved interviewing music artists and helping promote their new records. COVID took the magazine down, but a man has taken it over and trying to revive it.

In the meantime, I attend every live music event I possibly can. Music feeds and satisfies some primal need in me. It has indeed been my biggest influencer in life, and I have a feeling it will be until I am no longer on this earth. This sign hangs on my office door.

A gift from Marlena Smith Burris

Sorry for the long blog post. I normally avoid that, but this one seemed to require it. I’d love to hear from you. What has been the biggest singular influence in your life?

For the final birthday month giveaway, my short story, Brazos Wind is FREE for the next four days! I’d be honored if you’d download it!

#MondayMotivation – #Meditation #TarotReading #DragonOracleCard

As of yesterday, I have completed another full trip around the sun. I began my day with a guided birthday meditation, then celebrated with family and friends. It was a wonderful day. I am also celebrating a win for JAGGED FEATHERS in the book award contest at the North Texas Book Festival! I couldn’t have asked for a better gift!

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This is a short but powerful meditation. I hope you enjoy it!

The tarot reading is a little different this week, as two cards came out together. So, instead of three, we have four. 🙂 I love how the Universe works!

Photo by Jan Sikes

I felt like these cards were just for me, but hopefully, someone else will relate to them as well.

The Knight of Wands indicates energy, passion, motivation, and enthusiasm. You are bold and courageous and willing to venture into unknown territories to further your mission and your dreams. You don’t really care if danger lies ahead – in fact, if it does, then it becomes all the more exciting and thrilling for you. Adventures like this light you up because you know growth and expansion are waiting on the other side. Be a pioneer and take calculated risks to reach new heights. Be mindful that the Knight of Wands can express himself as an ‘act first, think later’ type of person. In your pursuit of action, you may be impulsive and impatient, expecting everything to be done yesterday. While you are bursting with energy, you have a tendency to rush into things with little consideration for the consequences of your actions. This card is SO indicative of how I have lived my life and how interesting it sits in the past position in the reading.

The Fool is another card that I resonate with on a deep level, and it is from the Major Arcana, so affects the overall deeper persona. He stands on the edge of the cliff, oblivious to any danger, carefree and dreaming. Even though you don’t know exactly where you are going, you are being called to commit yourself and follow your heart, no matter how crazy this leap of faith might seem to you. Now is a time when you need to trust where the Universe is taking you. Yep. This is another eerily accurate depiction of how I’ve lived my life.

The Strength card. There is my Leo the Lion. 🙂 I have always loved this card, and it inspires me! The Strength card represents strength, determination, and power. It speaks to the inner strength and the human spirit’s ability to overcome any obstacle. Strength is about knowing you can endure life’s obstacles. Honestly, I never knew the strength I possessed until I faced the lengthy illness Rick endured until his passing. Times like that cause you to draw on every ounce of strength. This card urges you to ‘tame’ your animal instincts, gut reactions, and raw emotions and channel these initial responses constructively. It’s normal for feelings such as anger, rage, sadness, guilt, or shame to arise in certain situations. However, it’s what you do with these emotions that makes all the difference. Now is a time when you need to be conscious of your instinctual urges and bring them into balance with the greater good.

The Ten of Cups embodies happiness, joy, and emotional contentment, particularly in your relationships and family. It is the ‘happy family’ card, suggesting that your family relationships are harmonious and loving right now. No one is fighting or causing any tension; all family members are getting along with each other and sharing in the love and happiness that surrounds you. This card may appear in a reading when you are spending more time with family, perhaps on a holiday, reunion, or event, where you can rest and relax together, creating fun and happy family memories and strong bonds. How appropriate since I spent my birthday celebrating with family.

MY TAKEAWAY:

It’s great to experience unbridled passion and energy! In fact, there is nothing like it. But be mindful of your responsibility to that energy and channel it in a way that works for the higher good of all. I believe we all have strength and determination that goes to depths perhaps yet unknown. Situations in life can bring that out in you, along with strong emotions that need to be channeled in a productive way. It is important to celebrate with your loved ones and any occasion to do that only increases your bonds.

What a gorgeous dragon card this week with a wonderful message. The key inside the flame would make a great book cover image!

Silver Dragon. Illuminates your potential with higher light. Access untapped resources. Look into your soul. See higher possibilities.