New Release: Jagged Feathers by Jan Sikes @jansikes3 #RomanticSuspense #MilitaryRomance #WhiteRuneSeries

red quill pen on a piece of old parchment paper, with an ink well with words Welcome Guest in script

Happy Guest Author Thursday! It’s my pleasure to welcome friend and Story Empire colleague, Jan Sikes with her newest release Jagged Feathers.

Jan has been burning up the blogosphere with the launch of book 2 in her White Rune Series, and I’m delighted to participate in her tour. You can find my review of Jagged Feathers (which BTW, reads perfectly fine as a standalone) HERE. I was smitten with her two leads, Vann and Nakina, and Vann’s dog, Champion. I also enjoyed the layers of symbolism and folklore in the book. Today, Jan shares how some of that came about in her post below. Take it away, Jan!


Thank you, Mae, for inviting me to your blog site today to talk about my new book, JAGGED FEATHERS! I appreciate your generosity.

I have always been fascinated by Native American Folklore and spent a lot of time reading and researching different beliefs, especially concerning animals. Birds are believed to be messengers between worlds. My late husband had a strong connection with owls. To some tribes, the owl is an omen of death while to others it is a sign of wisdom.

In my story, Nakina Bird spent many summers of her youth on the reservation with her grandmother, so it was natural that she’d adhere to some of the Native American beliefs and traditions. The blue jay held special significance for Nakina. Not only are the blue feathers striking, but they are unique songbirds in that they mate for life. She recalled many of her grandmother’s teachings throughout the book, but this one seemed to stand out.

Banner ad for Jagged Feathers by Jan Sikes on shows book on chipped, painted wooden floorboards

EXCERPT:

“Tell me about the shooting incident in your past that freaked you out so much.”

Nakina recounted the incident when the boys taunted her, and then how she accidentally shot the bird. “It made me physically sick. When the blue jay fell to the ground after I fired, it took every ounce of energy in me not to throw up right there in front of those boys.” She drew in a sharp breath. “After they left, I performed a sacred ceremony and buried the bird, but not before taking a special feather from him.” She twisted her hands together on her lap. “And now you understand why I reacted the way I did when you found the blue feather in the bottom of the boat. Ever since that day, blue feathers have been a good sign for me. Almost like the bird’s way of forgiveness.”

Vann whistled. “I can understand how you felt when you shot the jay.”

She stared out the window. “When I told Grandmother what happened with the bird, she said that to Native Americans, the blue jay represents trickery or mischievousness. Then she told me that blue jays mate for life, and that was symbolic for me. Of course, as a teenager, I dismissed all of it as folklore. But I did keep the beautiful blue feather to always remind me of what I’d done. And I never painted on it.”

“That’s quite some story. I’ve observed plenty of jays, and they’re generally aggressive and noisy birds, but I never thought of them as being symbolic of anything. I’ve watched them run off birds twice their size to get a ripe berry.”

“The Native American people have a story or some sort of symbolism for most everything, and they believe in spirit animals that walk with us and help us on our journey.”

***

Have you ever had a spirit animal or an experience with an animal that went beyond the norm? I know D.L. Finn has with bears and C.S. Boyack with Eagles. I’d love to hear about your affinity to a certain animal and what it means to you.

BLURB:
Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann.  

On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed.

A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks.

Will these two not only survive, but find an unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK

Connect with Jan Sikes at the following haunts:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Bookbub | LinkedIn | Amazon Page


bio box for author, Jan Sikes

I had no idea blue jays mated for life. Yes, they can be aggressive and noisy as Vann points out, but they’re also amazing birds. I always liked watching them flit around the feeder in my rear yard.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post as much as I did, and will help me in cheering on Jan with her new release. Drop her a comment, then hop over to Amazon to ONE-CLICK your copy of Jagged Feathers!

New Release: Brother of Interest by Karina Bartow @KarinaBartow @WildRosePress #mystery #familylifefiction #detectivefiction

red quill pen on a piece of old parchment paper, with an ink well with words Welcome Guest in script

Hello and thanks for joining me today as I welcome Karina Bartow to my blog. Karina is a first time guest who reached out to ask if I would be interested in taking part in her blog tour. Of course, I said “yes!” I hope you’ll make her feel welcome as she shares a story I think all writers can relate to…


The Power of Perseverance in Publishing
By Karina Bartow

Yesterday, The Wild Rose Press released Brother of Interest, the sequel to my debut novel, Husband in Hiding! This was the culmination of five years of waiting, hoping, and yes, a little crying. But a lot more work went into it than that.


I’d already finished the sequel when Husband in Hiding was released in 2015. My publisher at the time seemed eager to continue the mystery series, so I thought I was set to have a new installment out every year like the big-time authors do. I broadcasted it to just about everyone who bought the book, which began an endless game of hearing, “When’s the sequel coming out?” The anticipation thrilled me, but as matters started to fizzle out with the company and the sequel’s publication appeared ever more unlikely, the question became wearisome to discuss.

At a crossroads, I decided to shift my focus until the dust settled and pursue my second novel, Forgetting My Way Back to You. In fact, I first discovered Wild Rose when I was shopping that to companies in 2017, but it didn’t end up being the right match for them. I proceeded with Vinspire Publishing and hoped they might be a good home for the Brother of Interest, but they didn’t feel that it was right for their catalog. Nonetheless, they gave me input that helped the plot along. While it changed the way I originally wanted the beginning to unfold, I saw the advantages of implementing their advice and how it would better attract readers and prospective publishers.

Fast-forward a year, I came across Wild Rose again and realized they also publish mysteries, so I figured I’d give it another shot. After reading the first three chapters, the editor wanted me to make some tweaks but said she’d be willing to look at it again once I did so. When I resubmitted it to her, she complimented me on my adjustments, but she felt the story still needed some work. She suggested I read Revision and Self-Editing for Publication as I continued to sculpt it further, so I ordered the book that day.

Between its guidance and hers, I looked at the plot with clearer vision and adjusted elements I may never have thought to without it. I didn’t even intend to submit it to her again, but I didn’t want to waste the insight she gave me. I knew it’d benefit me regardless.  The week I resumed sending out queries, I mustered the nerve to contact her to thank her for her help and ask if she’d like to review it once more. To my surprise, she did, and it led to a long-awaited acceptance letter.

I wanted to share this experience for the hard-working, often frustrated, aspiring authors like me—and dreamers of all sorts. Perseverance and persistence does pay off, but it involves more than pure willpower. You can’t close the door on a company just because of past rejections. You also can’t squander the wisdom the right people provide. When it comes to publishing, very few editors/agents give you anything past a straightforward rejection, so you should appreciate it when someone takes the time to give you tips. They could give you just the leg-up you need to find success…sometimes where you least suspect it!


Book cover for Brother of Interest by Karina Bartow shows old-fashioned baby buggy with handcuffs dangling from handle

Brother of Interest
(Unde(a)feted Detective Series Book 2)

BOOK BLURB:
When Minka Avery left the police department and her life as a deaf detective, she thought chasing after her toddler daughter and keeping tabs on her mischievous husband would be the extent of her excitement. Before long, however, her brother lands on the list of suspects in a high-profile crime and throws her world into chaos.

Torn between her conflicted feelings for him and her desire to see justice carried out, she decides to unofficially explore the matter on her own. She begins to see that the case is bigger than it seemed at first glance, but before she can unravel it further, she discovers Robin using her garage as a hideout from the authorities! Now forced together, can Minka overcome the many distractions to figure out the massive scheme that’s really playing out? And can the bizarre circumstances somehow improve her and Robin’s chilly relationship?


PURCHASE FROM
The Wild Rose Press | Amazon | Walmart | Books-A-Million

Author, Karina Bartow

AUTHOR BIO:
Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in Northern Ohio.  Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her.  Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters who have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want.  Her debut novel, Husband in Hiding came out in 2015, followed by Forgetting My Way Back to You, 2018.  She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart!

To learn more, visit https://karinabartow.com/

Social media:
Blog | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads


I love celebrating new releases, and am delighted to be hosting Karina just a day after the release of Brother of Interest. Don’t you just love that book cover? And how about that post? We all know this is a tough business with a lot of ups and downs. I’m glad Karina stuck with her dream and didn’t give up. It just goes to show that bridges are never burnt, doors are never closed, and there’s always room to keep trying. Happy book birthday to Karina!

PURCHASE BROTHER OF INTEREST FROM
The Wild Rose Press | Amazon | Walmart | Books-A-Million


Book Tour Day 11: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

book, Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair on wooden steps with carved pumpkin, flowers and dried autumn leaves

Welcome to the last week of October. I’m winding down my tour for Things Old and Forgotten.

Today, I’m with my friend Judi Lynn who writes several cozy mystery series and the Muddy River urban fantasy mystery series. I particularly love her Jazzi Zanders cozies and her Muddy River (Raven and Hester) urban fantasy mysteries. Her newest release, Posed in Death is a mystery/thriller which pubbed the end of September. You can’t go wrong with anything Judi writes. Hope over to her Amazon Author Page to browse her large collection of titles and series.

Strangely, for my next to last tour stop, I’m going to be sharing a post on the origin of the title, Things Old and Forgotten. It probably would have made better sense to share that at the start, but I like to color outside the lines. 🙂

I hope to see you at Judi’s place. Thanks again for all the support this month. I am so thankful for each of you!



Book Tour Day 10: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

glowing jack-o-lanterns behind mobile phone display book cover of Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair

I know what you’re thinking! I’m never around on weekends, and that’s normally always true, but I wanted to participate in Bad Moon Rising, an annual bookish Halloween event hosted by Teri Polen, and Teri had this date available. Bad Moon Rising is something I look forward to each October. I know it’s a huge undertaking for Teri to pull together. I’ve been enjoying the heck out of it this year, and hope you have been, too.

Teri is a talented author of young adult novels covering various sub-genres—from the spooky ghost story, Sarah, to her latest, Subject A36, a dystopian novel. I’ve read all of her work, which you can find on her Amazon Author Page.

Today, it’s my turn to answer Teri’s Bad Moon Rising questions. I’m sharing the urban legend that frightened me the most as a child, and what I once remember seeing in my peripheral vision as I continue my book tour for Things Old and Forgotten. If you’re online this Saturday, pop over and say HELLO!



Book Tour Day 9: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

Book Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair on white boards surrounded by dried autumn leaves and pinecones

I am on the road again! Today’s tour stop for Things Old and Forgotten, is a 2-Fer!

First up is Jacqui Murray who writes amazing and meticulously researched prehistoric fiction. Her most recent release Laws of Nature is part of her Dawn of Humanity Series. Jacqui also writes the Rowe-Delamagente Series of technothrillers. The first book To Hunt a Sub held me spellbound, and the second is waiting on my kindle for reading consumption. You can view Jacquie’s many books on her Amazon Author Page.

While visiting Jacqui today, I’ll be sharing an excerpt from my short story, The Festival of Magic and Blood which is my tip-of-the-hat to Ray Bradbury. Curious what it’s all about? Check it out HERE.


I’m also honored to be a guest on the blog of Jill Weatherholt. I’ve recently connected with Jill through the wonderful and heartwarming books in her Love Inspired Series. Small town settings, engaging characters, and sweet romantic tales laced with Christian values make these stories a delight from cover to cover. There are hardships to overcome in each tale, but I know I can count on an HEA at the end, and I love that! Be sure to check out Jill’s books on her Amazon Author Page.

I’m going to be sharing an excerpt from my short story, Miss Lily Makes a Wish, while visiting with Jill. The tale is a lighthearted look at genies and granting wishes. I hope you have a moment to hop over and say HELLO.



Book Tour Day 8: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

Book, Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair in front of backdrop of old brick wall at night, bluish tint to ground and wall

Wow! Where did October go? I can’t believe it’s the twentieth of the month already! For day eight of my blog tour for Things Old and Forgotten, I’m visiting with one of my oldest blogging friends, C. S. Boyack. Craig is an original founding member of Story Empire and an all around good guy with an extremely vivid imagination. His work as an author covers speculative fiction, cyberpunk, science-fiction, fantasy and all things odd.

He is the author of the highly popular Hat Series and Lanternfish saga (root monsters!), but my favorite work of his is Grinders, a vividly imagined tale set in the not so distant future. I recommend you check out them all. Craig has a huge collection of work which you can find on his Amazon Author Page.

While visiting Craig today, I’ll be sharing an excerpt from my short story, The Chaos Stone, a straight up fantasy tale of sorcery and good vs. evil. If you have a moment, I hope you’ll VISIT!



Book Tour Day 7: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

ebook Things Old and Forgotten by author Mae Clair laying on top of open hardback book with large dried maple leaf to left

Happy Tuesday! It’s week three of my blog tour for Things Old and Forgotten. Hopefully, you’re not sick of me, LOL!

Today I am with friend and Story Empire colleague, Harmony Kent. Harmony is the sole Brit among all the American yanks of SE, and it’s always fun to get her take on things. She has a wonderful sense of humor and is a multi-genre author writing everything from supernatural horror and psychological fiction to erotic romance, dystopian, writing craft books and poetry. I highly recommend her most recent release, The Vanished Boy, which kept me flipping pages well into the night. I’ve read numerous releases by Harmony, all of which you can find on her Amazon Author Page. She has quite the varied collection for browsing!

While visiting Harmony today, I’m going to be sharing an excerpt from my short story, Guardian, which is probably the most Halloweenish tale in the book. The plot involves a witch and her familiar, plus two brothers and a strange storm. To discover more, drop by Harmony’s corner of the blogosphere. I’ll see you there!



Book Tour Day 6: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

Book Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair set on large cool of rope on wooden floor with bottle of wine and small jars

Happy Thursday! Today is the end of the second week of my blog tour for Things Old and Forgotten. Today, I’m with good friend and Story Empire colleague, Joan Hall.

Joan and I both share a passion for old legends and folklore. If you’re not already familiar with her blog, I encourage you to hop over and click the follow button. She shares excellent book reviews, moon folklore and superstitions, Mystery Mondays and more. As an author, she tells tales of mystery and romantic suspense. I highly recommend her Driscoll Lake Series and her newest release, Cold Dark Night, book one of her new Legends of Madeira Series. You can find all of Joan’s titles on her Amazon Author Page.

While visiting with Joan today, I’ll be sharing an excerpt from my short story, A Once and Future Life, a tale of magical realism that plays off the legend of King Arthur. If you have a moment while roaming around the blogosphere, pop over and SAY HELLO!




Book Tour Day 5: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

ebook Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair in front of wicker basket, apples and leaves, fall setting

Happy Hump Day! I’m almost at the midway part of my book tour for Things Old and Forgotten. Thanks to all who have been popping in and out as I make the rounds of the blogosphere. I feel like a celebrity, LOL!

Today, I’m visiting my Story Empire colleague, D.L. Finn. Denise is bonafide sweetheart with a wonderfully whimsical outlook on life. As an author, she’s highly diverse, writing everything from fictional novels to short stories, poetry, and childrens’ books. She’s never lost her magical sense of childhood.

When I think of Denise, I think of dolphins, angels, and fairies. Her Evildwel series combines mystery elements with the tug-of-war between angels, humans and “evildwels.” I especially loved This Last Chance, and hope there will be more tales coming. Her most recent release, Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories is a children’s book for all ages. I found it endearing, heartfelt and magical. You can find these and numerous other releases on Denise’s Amazon Author Page.

While visiting Denise today, I’m sharing an excerpt from my short story, Desert White. I thought this particular story was a good match for Denise’s blog. If you have a moment, hop over and see what it’s all about. You can visit us HERE.



Book Tour Day 4: Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair #speculativefiction #magicalrealism #fantasy #newrelease

book Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair on leaf covered brick walk, blurred image of autumn trees in background

A new week, and a new round of visits for Things Old and Forgotten. Today, I’m visiting Story two wonderful friends. Story Empire colleague, Gwen Plano, and my “PenderPal,” Marcia Meara.

Gwen is one of the kindest people you’ll meet online, an all around generous and giving person who is also a talented author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. I first encountered Gwen’s optimism and resilience through reading her memoir Letting Go Into Perfect Love. She has an amazing life story.

Her versatility as an author really comes through in her Contract series. I found the most recent release The Culmination particularly strong, but highly recommend them all. The entire series can be found on her Amazon Author Page.

While visiting Gwen, I’ll be sharing an excerpt from my short story, Resurrecting Merlin. If you have a moment, hop over and JOIN US. 🙂



Marcia Meara is a sweetheart with the best sense of humor I know! She is highly supportive of other authors, and has regular features to promote them on her blog The Write Stuff. We both share love of the fictional character Aloysius X. L. Pendergast (hence PenderPals) and Harry Dresden (which makes us Dresdenphiles).

I’ve devoured everything Marcia has written. Her Riverbend Series is highly engrossing, and her Wake-Robin Ridge Series features a character named Rabbit who is guaranteed to steal your heart. You can find both series as well as novellas and more on her Amazon Author Page.

Because Marcia has such a fun sense of humor, I’m sharing an excerpt from my short story Miss Lily Makes A Wish (the singular comedic tale in the collection) while visiting her today. HOP OVER to see what it’s all about!


And an update:
The wonderful and uber-supportive Sally Cronin is featuring Things Old and Forgotten along with an early 5-star review of the book on the Smorgasboard Cafe and Bookstore. If you’re not familiar with Sally, you’re missing out connecting with one of the sweetest, friendliest, kindest, and as I said—uber-supportive—bloggers you’ll find online. Sally is also a talented writer with a vast collection of books you can find HERE. I wish you happy reading!