I am thrilled to host my friend and colleague from Story Empire today, Mr. John W. Howell! He has a new book to share. I’m going to give him the floor. Take it away, John!
I am so pleased to be with you today, Jan I want to thank you for helping spread the word about The Last Drive. Golly Jan, you have had a heck of a year in 2022. Your successful launch of two books was an amazing accomplishment. I am launching this book after about a two-year period since the last. I have revised my writing goals so that it takes me a little longer to finish a manuscript. I had not expected to do a sequel to Eternal Road, but one day there I was, faced with that blank screen. It felt natural to start on a book that would, in some ways, put the finishing touches on the story that was already published. So here we are.
Here is the blurb, and then we can get to a short excerpt from the book.
In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.
The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey takes the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.
This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.
Sam frowns. “The last time they got in touch, they were playing in a football game.”
“A football game? Which one?”
“The AFL and NFL championship match-up that became known later as Super Bowl One.”
John is an award-winning author who, after an extensive business career, began writing full-time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written six other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.
John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.
It gives me great pleasure to host a fellow Wild Rose Press author here today with a brand new release! Mary Morgan is not only a talented writer but is also very supportive of others. So, without further adieu, I turn my blog over to Mary!
Hello, Jan! I’m delighted to be on your lovely blog today to celebrate my new book, Wishes Under a Highland Star. Since I love a good party, I’m going to take you and your readers to a special feast. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
A Midwinter Feast
Come journey with me as I whisk you away to 13th-century Scotland for a Midwinter feast. You arrive at Castle Taloch, a mystical realm within the Highlands of Scotland. These people are part-Fae, and their Scottish bloodline is steeped in ancient Celtic mythology. Though they respect the new religion that has swept across their land, the Fae continue to honor the old ways. Midwinter is a celebration of light and warmth here within the castle. The doors have been left open for all to enter in peace. Once you step inside, you are drawn to the holly boughs with ivy, bay, crimson-berried yew branches, and fragrant bunches of rosemary twigs.
The torches cast a welcoming light as you proceed onward. As you enter the Great Hall, you observe the boisterous laughter and gaiety. A bard is recanting a tale between the aging Holly King (representing the darkness of the old year), and the young Oak King (symbolizing the light of the New Year). Some of the older lasses have chosen to weave a sprig of holly onto their gowns, and they nod at you in passing.
Candles illuminate the hall in a soft glow as you make your way toward the feasting tables. The elder Fae men and women are seated at a longer table near the hearth. Ale and mead are flowing, along with the tempting dishes you survey as you take your place. The aroma of food teases your senses as your gaze drifts across the table. Should you choose the wild boar stuffed with onions and cabbages on a large trencher? Yet there’s the salmon with dill springs set on another. Perchance you would prefer the spiced apples and damson tarts?
The minstrels begin to play a lively tune, and a few of the couples rise from the benches to join in the merriment…
Sneak preview of a Midwinter feast from Wishes Under a Highland Star
“Aine’s musical voice could tame even the wildest beast,” observed Glenna.
Alex coughed into his hand to squelch the laughter. Recovering, he said, “Or any hardened warrior?”
This time, Glenna laughed. She touched his arm. “Even the fiercest beast can find comfort in a luring song.”
One of the women waved in their direction, and Glenna responded with her own. “Enjoy the feast, Holly King,” she teased, making her way across the hall.
Alex watched the woman depart and then resumed his study of Aine. Pushing away from the wall, he made leisurely strides around the tables toward her. Her attentive audience were doing their best to encourage another song. But when she caught his gaze, Aine rose slowly from her chair.
He dipped a slight bow. “I enjoyed your song.”
“I am pleased, Holly King.” After placing her lap harp on the chair, Aine rested her hand in the crook of his arm.
Sorely tempted to guide his leannán out of the hall to spend some time alone with her, he refrained and led Aine to a table where others were engaged in a lively discussion about the morning battle and games of strength.
After settling into her chair, Aine leaned near him. “Ye look magnificent in the dark blue tunic.”
Slipping his hand under the table, Alex grasped her fingers. “More clothing from your uncle. And ye are a vision of beauty, my Aine.”
Her gaze roamed his features. “I so wanted to please ye tonight.”
Alex squeezed her fingers. “Why tonight?”
She covered his hand with her free one. “Because I wanted ye to see the woman and not the lass who likes to fashion blades.”
Tilting his head to the side, he commented, “Have I not mentioned, I love both? Ye are soft—yet forged with steel.”
Joy bubbled in her laugh and shone in her eyes. She gestured outward. “Did ye taste the bread filled with nuts and honey?”
Alex dropped his hand. “Nae. I have recently arrived.”
Quickly tearing a portion of the bread apart, she placed the piece on his trencher. Pointing to the salmon, she nudged him. “The sauce is mixed with rosemary and onions. Rowena even used wild garlic in the turnips.”
“Did ye assist in making these tempting fares?” he asked, picking up a blade and spearing a slice of boar.
She snorted, then quickly recovered. “I confess, the kitchens will not be my strength, unless ye ask me to chop vegetables.”
“I did enjoy the one bite of bread this morn. And ye did make a tasty porridge the other day,” he reminded, taking a bite of the meat.
Two rosy stains appeared on her cheeks. “Aye, a first.”
Alex choked on the piece of boar, recalling the pleasurable morning in the gatehouse.
Aine swiftly poured him a cup of mead. “Here,” she urged, shoving the cup into his hand.
Grateful for the liquid, Alex proceeded to drain the contents.
PLUM TARTS aka…DAMSON TARTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped almonds
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into small pieces
1 egg yolk
2 pounds firm, ripe plums, pitted and quartered lengthwise
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Combine the flour, almonds, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and the egg yolk. Mix by hand or with an electric mixer, until crumbly.
Press 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch springform or tart pan. Arrange the plums in the pan, skin side down to form a flower pattern; begin at the outside and work your way in.
Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the plums. Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it’s lightly browned and the plum juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer tart to flat plate.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
**Damsons are a small purple-black fruit similar to the plum
During this time of year, I usually find plums at farmer’s markets or order online.
As chieftain for his clan, Alex MacFhearguis struggles with the burden of an unwanted responsibility. With the midwinter feast approaching, he flees his castle to find comfort and solitude within the forest. Yet on his quest, Alex stumbles into a world filled with magic, mysteries, and a woman with beguiling eyes who could capture his heart.
When half-Fae Aine Fraser makes a powerful wish, her simple request unlocks the magic she possesses and brings forth a Highlander into her world. Though the man has lost all his memories, she finds her attraction growing for this brooding warrior with each passing day. Unable to deny her feelings, Aine risks everything when she confesses her greatest secret.
Can a beauty who wished for a champion tame the beast of Leòmhann Castle?
I just want to add that I had the privilege of reading an ARC of this book and you can find my 5-Star review HERE!
Multi award-winning paranormal romance author, Mary Morgan resides in Northern California with her own knight in shining armor. However, during her travels to Scotland, England, and Ireland, she left a part of her soul in one of these countries and vows to return.
Mary’s passion for books started at an early age along with an overactive imagination. Inspired by her love for history and ancient Celtic and Norse mythology, her tales are filled with powerful warriors, brave women, magic, and romance. Now, the worlds she created in her mind are coming to life within her stories.
If you enjoy history, tortured heroes, and a wee bit of fantasy, then travel back in time within the pages of her books.
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!
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?
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.
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!
I am happy to share a new book release from a fellow Wild Rose Press author, D.V. Stone! Take a look!
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.
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?
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.
“You sing good tonight.” He scrolled through his phone.
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.
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 always a GREAT pleasure to host fellow local authors. Rox Burkey and Charles Breakfield live near me, and are a talented, dynamic duo writing team. I’m thrilled to tell you about their latest!
THE FLOWER ENIGMA Magnolia Bluff Crime
Chronicles, Book 5
by CHARLES BREAKFIELD
& ROX BURKEY
Small Town Mystery / Suspense / Amateur Sleuths
Publisher: ICABOD Press
Pages: 198 pages
Publication Date: August 20, 2022
Scroll down for giveaway!
Imagine a romantic getaway in the Texas Hill Country
JJ, a cyber guru, whisks his girlfriend, Jo, away for a vacation. No paparazzi. Magnolia Bluff is the perfect destination. Flower B&B is prettier than the pictures on the website.
The evangelizing podcast creators are demanding answers about the town’s newest resident, Mateo Hernandez. The enormous wall he erected has convinced the ladies he’s hiding nefarious activities behind a dubious attorney. Local authorities don’t believe laws are broken and discount the women as meddling gossips.
When the couple checks into Flower, the podcast show-in-progress is interrupted by a cyberattack. JJ, the techno-geek, can’t resist helping. At each subsequent event in the series, he uncovers more serious issues than cyberwarfare.
JJ and Jo can’t avoid this roving series maelstrom. It gets personal when they’re attacked and warned to leave town. No one can conceive the depth of the crimes behind Mateo’s walls.
Breakfield is a technology expert in security, networking, voice, and anything digital. He enjoys writing, studying World War II history, travel, and cultural exchanges. Charles is a fan of wine tastings, winemaking, Harley riding, cooking extravaganzas, and woodworking.
Burkey is a technology professional who excels at optimizing technology and business investments. She works with customers all over the world, focusing on optimized customer experiences. Rox writes white papers and documentation but found she has a marked preference for writing fiction.
Together these Texas authors create award-winning stories that resonate with males and females, as well as young and experienced adults. They bring a fresh new view to technology possibilities today in exciting stories. Visit their website for more information and free stuff.
It’s no secret how excited I get when my sister releases a new book. And, Fancy is no exception! This is a short story packed full of great characters with a gripping storyline!
Love Train Multi-Author Series, #10
Western Romance /Sweet Romance/ American Historical Romance
Pages: 190 pages
Publisher: Kindle Unlimited
Publication Date: August 15, 2022
SCROLL DOWN FOR GIVEAWAY!
A stolen baby
An orphan child
A bargain struck
Told her baby died in childbirth, Fancy Dalton grieves for her son. But in the midst of a raging storm, a shadowy figure appears and tells her that he’s alive and well! He was stolen! Now she has an address and a name. From despair comes hope.
One thought drives her—finding and getting him back. Selling everything she owns, Fancy buys a one-way train ticket to Denver. Nothing and no one will stop her. In a mad dash to board the train, she collides with Jack Coltrain. As fate would have it, the rugged cowboy, on a mission of his own, sits next to her. Experience has taught her to be wary of men. But when her bag is stolen, he gets it back and earns a small piece of her trust.
As the iron wheels roll, taking her closer to her two-year-old son, Fancy and Jack discover an orphan girl who needs their help and open their arms to her. Ten hours from their goal, Fancy and Jack strike a deal—her help for his. Desperate times for both call for creative solutions…but marriage, even in name only? However, nothing is off the table. She’ll do whatever she must to save the orphan and get her child back. Still, giving Jack her heart…that’s not part of the bargain.
“I have loved every Linda Broday book I have read, but I must say this one touched my heart.” Cricket (Goodreads)
“Linda Broday waved her magic wand when her turn came and gave us one of her most profound heroines she’s ever written. Fancy wrapped her tragic story around my heart and transported me into the late 1800s.” Tonya (Goodreads)
“Linda Broday has always been able to weave her characters together like a mix-match patch quilt, but the end results are amazing.” Rose Ann (Goodreads)
“…Her ability to convey the goodness of their souls will leave the reader wanting more.” Sally (Goodreads)
I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty historical western romance novels and short stories. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and early cowboys once roamed, and at times if the breeze is just right, I can hear their voices whispering in the wind. Texas’s rich history is one reason I set all my stories here where cowboys still remain caretakers of the land. I’m inspired every day by their immense dedication and love for the wide-open spaces. I combine those men with the love of family in all my stories and hope to continue to give readers books that entertain and fulfill.
This novella has every aspect of a full-size novel. The characters are three-dimensional, the plot is gripping, and the setting is vivid. Broday has a special talent for writing stories set in a time when luxuries consisted of a hot bath now and then and an occasional decent meal. They are a step back into another world when time moved slower and where a man’s handshake was as good as an ironclad contract. In this story, the struggles run deep for all of the characters. Fancy is on a mission to reclaim a baby stolen from her at birth. The lie she’s believed all these years, the grief she’s lived with, and the joy of discovering the truth all culminate to begin this tale. It only gets better from there. Running into the handsome rancher, Jack Coltrain, as she boards the train for Denver to find her baby changes her entire future. But it takes a heroic action from him to win her trust and confidence. When her bag is taken soon after boarding, he chases the thief and gets it back. Everything after that helps to build a budding trust. Then, when Fancy discovers a grieving orphan, who refuses to leave her mother’s casket in the baggage car of the train, a triangle is formed between Jack, Fancy, and Piper. It’s three against the world. And while Jack has his own troubles to deal with, he strikes a deal with Fancy that will help them both. The way this story unfolds one delicious layer at a time kept me turning pages with anticipation. Will Jack and Fancy fall in love? Will Piper ever have a home, someone to care? And what about the baby Fancy is determined to reclaim? So many questions are answered in the pages of this story. All I can say is, “read it!” You will close the book with a satisfied sigh.
I had a fabulous time in New Orleans. It was fast and furious. We crammed a lot into two days.
Despite the crazy atmosphere, I love the food, the music, the architecture, and the history. Every time I go, I learn something new about this city. Did you know it was settled by prisoners sent over from France so they could empty out their prisons? I didn’t know that tidbit of history until on a carriage tour during this visit. New Orleans was instrumental in the fight for freedom. And, was where the notorious pirate, Jean Lafitte, spent a good deal of time. One of my favorite places to visit is Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, built in 1732. It has survived floods, hurricanes, and progress. And they only installed electric lighting within the past few years. Before that, it had gas lights.
I’ll share just a few more photos.
And now for the NEWS!!
Saddled Hearts is available for preorder! The release date is October 19th! I am SUPER excited about this story and can’t wait to share it!
Colt Layne owns the Layne Horse Sanctuary. He lives an idyllic life between caring for the animals and playing music with his band. That is until a stranger appears with unreasonable demands. When someone murders the man, Colt is arrested. He’s been framed, but by whom and why?
He needs to talk with his deceased grandfather. But that’s impossible. Or is it?
Sage Coventry is gifted with the ability to communicate with the deceased. Skeptical but desperate, when Colt consults with her, he gets more than messages from beyond the grave as she breezes into his heart with sweet patchouli fragrance and tempting lips he longs to kiss.
The race against time to clear his name and save the ranch launches them on a mission that brings shocking revelations.
If you have followed Dan Antion on his fabulous blog, then you are already acquainted with this man. But now, he’s releasing his debut novel, Knuckleheads, and I am thrilled to host him here today on his Book Blog Tour!
Thank you so much, Jan, for inviting me to share your blog space and introduce my debut novel Knuckleheads, Book 1 in the Dreamer’s Alliance Series.
Knuckleheads is the childhood story of the two main characters in this paranormal series. The story is being told by the recently retired Zach Amstead to his adult daughter, Abbie, the day after his retirement party.
Jan, you’ve asked me to talk a little about Zach’s wife, since this is the only book in which she is featured, albeit as a child. Zach explains early in the book, that his wife, Veronica, has been gone for about 15 years. The only things we learn about Ronnie (Veronica’s nickname) are shared in retrospect during the conversation.
Perhaps an excerpt will help. This is from a classroom scene Zach is describing. Abbie interrupts periodically. In the book, Abbie’s interruptions are set off in a paragraph style that is hard to replicate in WordPress. To help with that, I’ve highlighted them in blue for this post.
“Mrs. Coleman handed those of us in the first row a stack of worksheets. We knew to take one and pass the rest back. I couldn’t resist sniffing the remnants of the ditto-machine fluid as I handed them to the girl behind me, Veronica Bailey. Ronnie giggled and sniffed the papers, too.” Then Mrs. Coleman said, ‘Miss Bailey, please don’t encourage Mr. Amstead.'”
Abbie gave me a wide-eyed look. “Mom got in trouble?”
“Your mom was a bit of a tomboy. She didn’t mind getting yelled at, a little. She never did anything that was bad enough to get punished for, but she liked to laugh, so she looked for the things in life that were funny.”
Ronnie and Zach are friends throughout the book. They were in separate schools for a while and then reunite in high school, toward the end of the book. Once they were back in the same school, they became closer, but not boyfriend/girlfriend. In the excerpt below, Zach’s friend, Billy, is giving Zach a ride home and letting him drive, as practice for his upcoming driver’s test. Ronnie asks for a ride to her house.
I let Ronnie sit in the front so she could give Billy directions. When we reached her house, I got out, so I could switch to the front. Billy was getting out to let me drive.
Ronnie leaned over to me and whispered, “Something else is bothering Billy.”
I knew that as well, but I smiled and whispered that I’d try to find out.
Billy yelled over, “If you two want to kiss goodbye, I promise I won’t look.” I looked at Ronnie, but she laughed and turned away. “Maybe some other time, Zach.”
While not boyfriend and girlfriend during the story, the affection seems to be building and Zach certainly had an interest. In this last excerpt, that fact is noticed by Abbie.
Ronnie walked away. I followed her. She thanked me for what I said but mentioned that it was never a good idea to embarrass Ron. I started to explain, but she stopped me and said, “I know, you can’t help yourself. You can’t let these things go, even though you know you can’t change his mind. That’s what I love about you, Zach.”
Abbie smiled softly, then started laughing. “Lemmie guess, you were all excited at the thought that mom loved you.”
I grinned. “Well, yeah, a little.”
I hope these excerpts give a little insight into the character of Veronica Bailey and how much she meant to Zach and Abbie.
Thanks again, Jan, for the chance to share a little from my book. I hope your followers enjoy it.
Zach and Billy didn’t ask for the paranormal powers that were beyond their capacity to understand or control. Zach, interacting with his lucid dreams, and Billy, “gifted “with shadowy glimpses of the future struggle to make sense of the world around them. Adults in authority in the nineteen sixties have no time for what they consider mental outliers of the baby-boom. The boys are institutionalized, marginalized, and ignored. Zach’s father learns of the challenges they face as children and knows the dangers they will face as adults. With no way to comprehend how these boys perceive and move within their world, he must find a way to guide them.
Dan Antion was born outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He grew up and attended college in the area around western Pennsylvania. Dan has written and published the popular No Facilities blog since 2011. A lifelong interest in writing became a reality after he retired from a successful A 42-year-long career in information management. Knuckleheads, published in June 2022, is the first book in the Dreamer’s Alliance Series. This story introduces the main characters in this series, in which the next two books will follow in the late summer and early winter of 2022. Dan lives in Connecticut with his wife, a few pets, and all the wildlife they can feed.
The Dreamer’s Alliance series chronicles the challenges and dangers faced by two men who have been gifted with paranormal abilities. From their struggles to understand and control these powers through their battle with the attempts of corrupt authorities to exploit them.
I am super happy to bring you a brand new book release from my longtime friend and fellow Story Empire contributor, D.L. Finn! Not only is she a poet extraordinaire, but a fabulous children’s story and novel author.
I will be sharing my review of this wonderful story a little later this month. But for now, I’ll turn it over to D.L. and let her tell you about her newest book release.
Do you believe in ghosts? The possibility that there are some souls who just haven’t moved on because they have some unfinished business, or perhaps they just want to hang around and make sure everyone is okay?
Unfortunately, most of us can’t sit down and talk with these lingering spirits, but they do have ways to let us know they are here with us. They might move stuff around, a song that had meaning to you comes on, or you feel the spirit there next to you. There is that unmistakable cold spot they bring with them, and visitations in dreams. The most important message that often comes through is they want you to know they are there with you and they love you.
Then there are those who are gifted, like mediums. They can pass a vague message along to you from the other side. But what if you could directly communicate with your loved one? Would it be a normal conversation like you used to have with them, or would it be something different since they have changed? This communication ends up much like traveling to a different country where they speak a language you are unfamiliar with. The other side seems to have a language of its own.
So getting a message from the spiritual realm might take a bit of translating. Or at least that’s what Drea is about to learn from some very unlikely translators in A Voice in the Silence.
Fun Finn Facts
After sitting at the desk writing, I need to exercise by walking in the forest or doing my stretches.
Our dog Sara, and either my kitties Rupert or Zuzu, are my computer companions.
Drea Burr has experienced more than her share of loss when a stray dog, cat, and rat enter her life. Although the animals start to mend her broken heart, there is something very unusual about them. During a snowstorm, Drea discovers a chilling set of footprints leading to her front window. Both the police and a ghostly messenger warn her about a killer stalking widows. Help comes from her late husband’s best friend, Adam Hale. As the two try to discover answers, more questions arise— about a killer, ghosts, and animals experimented on in a lab.
Can Drea and Adam survive the threats coming from so many directions and save themselves and the animals they’ve grown to love? Or will more tragedy destroy her second chance at happiness? Find out in this thrilling, cozy paranormal adventure.
The fading day’s dull orange glow filled the void in Drea’s attention usually occupied by the TV and computer. The landscape held no movement, not even the expected high winds that had caused her power to be shut off to prevent forest fires. A surge shot through her body in the same uncomfortable fashion that the flu had done last week. But it wasn’t a virus relapse—it was a warning that someone, or something, was watching her.
Perhaps it was a wild animal. A deer, or even . . . “Rob, is that you?” She held her breath, waiting for a sign. Finally, she blew out the empty hope when she couldn’t keep it in anymore. Two years of this had worn her down.
The cold gun on her lap offered no protection against the dark thoughts that took her to a place that was getting harder to climb out of. She pulled her sweater tightly around her and scrutinized the tree-lined driveway that led to the curvy country road. She shifted her weight in the yellow-and-white lounge chair and studied the weapon in her hand.
“You understand, don’t you?”
The .45 pistol her husband had bought her for protection ten years ago had become her confidant when she tired of talking to ghosts. Today, though, it carried the heavy weight of her existence.
“It’s too much. Just too much loss. I’m so alone, and to top it off, Robbie’s so far away.” Her throat tightened. She sipped some water and took a deep breath. “I must disappoint you, even thinking about using this gun on myself, Rob. It would devastate Robbie if I—”
Drea’s shoulders slumped, and her head followed when her glance caught a prominent headline in the morning paper she had retrieved from the end of the driveway. An unidentified woman’s body had been found, and a killer was on the loose. She used the gun to cover the fearful headline, even though her chances of being murdered by a serial killer were slim to none.
She shook her head. What she needed to focus on was her relationship with her son. They used to be so close, before he met that woman. Now he barely called his mother to check on her after his father died or when her beloved pets passed. This morning had brought an unwelcome text from him.
Tammy isn’t feeling well. It wouldn’t be a good time to visit right now. Sorry, Mom. I’ll talk to you soon. Love you.
“I hope he wakes up someday, Rob. That woman is toxic. Of course, you saw through her the first time you met her. I should have listened to you. Do you hear that, Rob? It’s me admitting I’m wrong, which we both know hardly ever happens.”
D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.