Guest Author Thursday: Emily Fortney with The Dark Ruler #newrelease #fantasy #youngadult

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

Hello, and please welcome Emily Fortney back to my blog. Emily and I originally met in a local writing group, and I’m delighted to help her with the launch of her newest release The Dark Ruler. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? She also has a special offer for you at the end of the post.

Here’s Emily to give you some background on The Dark Ruler and her Camilla Crim series!

cover of The Dark Ruler shows young girl on horseback, sword strapped over shoulder, castle in background

It is great to be back on Mae’s blog and talking to all of you! When I was here last summer, I was sharing about my young adult fantasy book, The Sacrifice of One. I was re-launching that book at that time. Yes, you read that right, it was a RE-launch. After years of sitting on this book and just focusing on my writing, I decided to rebrand it and widen the distribution. All during the re-launch, I was also working on a brand new book in that series called The Dark Ruler. Well, I’m back again to announce that The Dark Ruler officially released this week! 

This is book #3 in my Camilla Crim series. It’s actually been almost three years since I released a new book, so this is a big deal for me and I’m really excited to tell you about it. 

Let me introduce you to my leading lady, Camilla. How shall I describe Camilla? She’s stubborn and talks without thinking, but she’s also fiery and passionate. In The Dark Ruler she’s on a mission to kill the Supreme Ruler, Quinten Warwick, and free the people of Elmyra from slavery. Unsurprisingly, a slew of mysteries lie between the walls of the capital city where the Supreme Ruler resides.

Things are little more complicated than that straight forward goal. Because Camilla has a mother with suspect intentions. After abandoning Camilla when she was just a toddler, Portia weasels her way back into Camilla’s world and has taken to meddling with her life. Although a very powerful witch, Portia is intent on drawing little ol’ Camilla to her side. The problem is, Camilla doesn’t know why her mother is suddenly interested in her, and frankly, she doesn’t care. She wants nothing to do with her mother.

For those of you who’ve never read any of the books in this series, let’s back up. Before Camilla had problems with her mom and found herself taking on the role of a Supreme Ruler assassin, she worked at the national farm, being treated as little more than a slave. Camilla even bears the brand of Quinten Warwick on her arm. She’s a peasant, a nothing. 

Everything changes when she finds out that her brother is being hunted down for a murder she knows he didn’t commit, or at least she’s pretty sure… All of that plays out in The Sacrifice of One. (Stick around until the end of this post for a special offer on this book!)

Book cover for The Sacrifice of One by Emily Fortney, a young adult fantasy novel, showacs attractive young woman with long hair

First, I’d like to draw the veil and take you behind the scenes of The Dark Ruler and the process I took to write this book. Like all of you, last year was different for me. Here in America, COVID struck in early March. Literally the week that everything shut down was the same week that I left my 9-5 job of nearly 10 years to write part time. Leaving my job was pre-planned and had nothing to do with COVID. It was a weird time of transition for me. 

The point is, I wrote The Dark Ruler during the pandemic. The lack of social gatherings really cut down on my commitments and I was able to spend a lot of time at my laptop clacking away. For me, this book is a positive part of 2020. It helped me survive it in a way and I’m not sure I could have written it as quickly as I did without quarantine. 

As an author I often get asked what inspired me to write my books. That question is hard to answer. A million things have inspired me. In the case of The Dark Ruler, I had been thinking over this plot for years. The skeleton of this installment was in my head even while I was writing the earlier Camilla books. But I will let you in on one major inspiration. It’s a little bit of a spoiler, so let’s keep it hush hush

In 2019 I married my best friend. The development of our relationship and our actual wedding event inspired certain parts of The Dark Ruler. There is of course a romance element to the Camilla books and much of that storyline in this book, is inspired by my own experiences of falling in love. I’ll stop before I get too gushy on you!

The Dark Ruler is available NOW! Make sure you go grab your copy. New to the series? You can read book #1, The Sacrifice of One, for FREE by CLICKING HERE and signing up on my email newsletter. If you love The Sacrifice of One, there are 3 more books in the series you can binge on!

One more thing. As a special gift to Mae’s readers, if you sign up for my email newsletter, not only will you get a FREE eBook copy of The Sacrifice of One, but I will send a bookish sticker pack to the first 50 people that sign up. 😊 Just shoot me an email at emily@emilyfortney.com and let me know that you signed up and came from Mae’s blog. Put your address in the email, and I’ll mail you a sticker pack! Sign up HERE

It’s been a blast to chat with you all today. Thanks again to Mae for letting me post and tell you about my new release. You can read the full blurb of The Dark Ruler below and connect with me on all the social medias.

Happy reading!

~Emily


BLURB:
A wicked man sits on the throne in Elmyra’s capital city, and Camilla is determined to end his reign by any means necessary. Blinded by her determination, Camilla will abandon her life in Bear Gap and join forces with Reed, a man she doesn’t know as well as she thought. Their plan? To kill The Supreme Ruler of Elmyra.

The plot to assassinate Quinten Warwick will lead them through treacherous terrain and down the infamous Thief Road to the capital city of LilyAye. Once there, they must join with the LilyAye rebels and find a way to put an end to the country’s dark ruler.


Photo of author, Emily FortneyAuthor Bio:
Emily has come a long way from building forts in the woods behind her childhood home. She’s the author of the The Sacrifice of One, the first book in a thrilling, young adult fantasy series. Born and raised in central Pennsylvania, Emily currently resides with her husband and shelter cat, and is vigilant about keeping her house well stocked with dark chocolate.

Connect with Emily at the following haunts:
Website | Email Newsletter | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Wattpad

PURCHASE THE DARK RULER:
AMAZON
APPLE BOOKS | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO

Thanks for joining Emily and me today for the launch of her book. I hope you enjoyed her post as much as I did. Camilla certainly sounds like an interesting heroine. Don’t forget to take Emily up on her offer for The Sacrifice of One, then hop over to Amazon grab the latest in this series. Please help Emily spread the word by using the sharing buttons below. Drop her a line and say hello! 🙂

 

Guest Author, Jan Sikes and Auras #GhostlyInterference #NewRelease

Hello, everyone! After two months away from blogging—November for NaNoWriMo, and December for a business move—I’m happy to be back at the keyboard again and back in the blogosphere. Even better, I’m kicking off my first post of 2021 with the delightful Jan Sikes, friend and talented author. She’s here to share her newest release and also an intriguing post about auras. Take it away, Jan!

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

Thank you, Mae, for allowing me to take over your blog today and talk about my new book release! I deeply appreciate your generosity!

In Ghostly Interference, Charlotte Peters, Jag’s mother, has the ability to read and see auras around people. It’s something she’s done since Jag can remember. That ability makes it difficult for him to hide his true feelings from his mother. 


Book cover for Ghostly Interference shows ghost image of kneeling GI in background, motorcycle and road in foreground

Here’s a short excerpt from “Ghostly Interference.” 

Fifteen minutes later, he perched on a stool at the kitchen counter while Charlotte Peters put the finishing touches to a vegetarian lasagna. She hummed a classic rock song from the sixties.

Jag never ceased to be amazed at how his mother held her beauty even in her mid-forties, with slender frame and long blonde hair she kept tied back in a pony-tail or in a braid. And, although he didn’t mention it, he often wondered why she hadn’t remarried after his dad died.

She slid the lasagna into the oven and handed him a chilled Perrier. “You look like you’ve had a day. Wanna talk about it?”

Jag waved away the bottle. “Can I have a glass of wine instead?” 

She nodded and turned to retrieve a bottle of Cabernet and two glasses. 

“How do you do it, Mom?”

She raised her eyebrows. “Do what?”

“Always know when things are out of sync with me.”

A smile spread across her face. “You forget I can read your aura, dear. You normally have a lot of yellow and pink around you but today there is red and orange. It’s really quite simple.”

Jag sighed. “Of course.” He’d grown up knowing his mother had special gifts. But, it seemed to him that she’d only allowed herself to be more open about them in the past few years.

Here’s what I’ve learned about auras and reading them. 


Anything that has an atomic structure will have an aura, an energy field that surrounds it. Simply put, the aura is the energy field immediately surrounding a person or thing. I have seen auras around inanimate objects as well as living entities. Children are very good at seeing auras, and often depict them in crude drawings by placing a ring of some color around a person’s head. 

To see an aura around a person or even an object, you must look a little off center and continue to stare. If you blink, the aura disappears and you start over. Sometimes you can see it right away and other times it takes a few minutes. I very often can see auras around heads in an oval shape. The color of auras tell what the person is experiencing at that time on a physical and emotional, even spiritual level. It helps if the background behind the person is either black or white with natural light.

Here are a couple of Aura photos I had taken through the years.

The first was in 2012 in Denver, Colorado and the second taken in Sedona, Arizona two years ago. The colors are completely different. 

What some colors signify:

1. Deep Red – Hardworking, physical, action, power, survival, realistic, vital, grounded, strength, stamina or physical explorer.

2. Red – Excitement, Physical, energetic, competitive, leader, winner, achiever, courage, will-power, sexual, entrepreneur, or promoter.

3. Orange – Pleasure, enjoyment, challenge, thrill, positive, action-oriented, creative expression, adventurer or business.

4. Yellow – Playful, sunny, creative, fun, learning, light, movement, entertainer, radiates optimism, warmth, charming, or easy-going.

5. Green – Social, nature, content, harmony, teacher, loves to communicate and share with others, perfect host or hostess.

6. Blue – Caring, sensitive, loving, helpful, loyal, helper, compasison, peaceful, desire to be of service and to help support others.

7. Indigo – Clarity, calm, deep inner feelings, love, seeker, introverted, inner knowing, authenticity, high sense of inner values, or artistic.

8. Lavender – Imagination, mystical, daydreamer, fantasy, artistic, soft, creative, fragile, sensitive, often appear spacey, unrealistic or etheric.

9. White – Transcendent, transformation, spiritual, healing, quiet, enlightened, sensitive, or live in higher dimensions.

10. Black – Black is probably the most negative colour to appear in one’s aura. It is associated with mental illness, stress, depression, hatred and negative feelings. It can also indicate the person’s habit of acting miserly.

Of course, there are many more colors, but these are a few of the basics. 

I’d love to hear from you. If you’ve had any experience with auras, please share them! 

Banner ad for Ghostly Interference shows book in paperback, kindle and phone versions

BOOK BLURB:

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

BOOK TRAILER LINK

BOOK PURCHASE LINKS: 
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | iTUNES | GOOGLE PLAY

Connect with Jan Sikes at the following haunts:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon Author Page


I hope you enjoyed Jan’s post and are looking forward to meeting Jag and Rena in Ghostly Interference. I’ve already got my copy loaded on my Kindle, waiting on my TBR. Please kick off the New Year by taking a moment to drop Jan a comment and share the news about her release by using the buttons below.

The Culmination #NewRelease #MilitaryThriller @gmplano

Hello, friends. It’s been a full month since I’ve blogged, but taking time off for NaNoWriMo made a huge impact on my WIP. I hope to get back in the swing of things eventually, but December will likely be sporadic for me. The company I work for is undertaking a physical move to a new location and life is chaotic right now. If you don’t see me about in the blogosphere for a few days, I’m likely up to my ears in packing and unpacking, LOL.

Today, I’m super excited to welcome friend and Story Empire author, Gwen Plano, with her latest release, The Culmination. I read the first two books in this series and enjoyed them both. I’ve already grabbed my copy of The Culmination and am looking forward to seeing how this adventurous series ends. Please welcome, Gwen!

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

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Mae, and for helping me launch The Culmination, a new beginning. Just a couple of days ago, it went public on Amazon and I’m super excited. To celebrate, the Kindle edition is on sale at 99¢ through December.

So, what’s the book about? The Culmination can best be described as a military thriller. It tackles difficult topics such as denuclearization, the power struggles over oil in the Middle East, as well as the ever-present danger of war. Readers will find themselves sitting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walking in the historic Red Square, and laughing with children in an orphanage in Turkey. They will glimpse the horror of war and watch the give and take of a negotiated peace. Readers will also meet the two Heads of State who fall in love and subsequently commit themselves to creating a world in which all are family.

I never expected to write this book, but in some ways, I had no choice. The characters crowded into my office and insisted that I listen to them. In a very real way, they wrote the book. I simply tapped the keys.

kindle reader with book  The Culmination, a military thriller shows silhouettes of couple holding hands with young girl, military chopper in background

BLURB:
The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.

EXCERPT:
Margaret Adler, the Vice President of the United States, has flown to Moscow at the request of Russia’s president. She is met by his son, Ivan. Upon seeing him, Margaret flashes back on her experience as a soldier in Afghanistan and wonders if they crossed paths at that fateful time. Margaret begins the conversation…

“It’s possible we were there at the same time. Maybe we were in the same locale.”

“Are you serious? Really? Why would anyone willingly recall such bloodshed?” Ivan’s eyes lower, and he glances to the side.

She presses, “I keep thinking we’ve met. Would you humor me and think back with me?”

“I don’t like such games.” Ivan’s response sounds gruff, and Margaret steps back as her agents step nearer. “Besides, I’m not sure what that would accomplish. This is one nightmare I choose not to recall. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” He glares at her.

Margaret nods. “I understand, of course. But if we can travel back in time, perhaps we might decide if we can trust one another.”

He shakes his head and scoffs, “I can’t imagine that to be possible.”

“Isn’t it worth the effort to find out?”

Her persistence wears down his obstinacy, and begrudgingly, he agrees. Ivan stares off into the distance.

Margaret notices his grimace and realizes he’s gone back to the battle.

She lowers her voice and says, “A shell hits the building I’m in, and I rush outside. I can’t see through the clouds of dust and debris. People scream. People run. I hate this place, and it hates me.

“I call to my men, ‘Let’s get out of here.’ There’s gunfire, and we’re unsure which direction to run. I can smell the blood, the sweat, and the fear. It’s musty and thick; it lingers and gags me. Sand and bodies lie beneath my feet. I stumble and recoil at the horror that I meet. I see a female soldier among the masses. She moans from the hit she received. I reach for her arm to pull her up, but the limb is all that follows me. I retch and call for my men.”

Kindle book The Culmination beside map of Middle East with magnifying glass over map

Pomoch’ yey!” Ivan yells. “And my men help her. They put a tourniquet on her arm, and we move on.”

Margaret holds back the shock that she feels and looks at Ivan. He keeps his eyes closed, and he appears to be caught in a battle.

Margaret says, “Another explosion. The shell lands close to me. My face is on fire, and I get thrown backward. I can’t move.”

Ivan reacts with a gasp and reaches for his face, now frozen and white and trembling.

Margaret says, “I’m being moved—my body dragged. The Afghan Northern Alliance is helping me.”

Ivan’s jaw clenches, and he holds his shoulders rounded and slumped. Resignation floats across his face.

Margaret notices his instability. He teeters. She calls out, “Soldier, lean in. Lean in!”

Ivan leans into Margaret. She wraps her arm around him, and time becomes fluid. Ivan chokes out tears, first in agonizing bursts, and then in sobs—loud and wrenching.

Margaret draws Ivan closer. They now stand cheek to cheek, tears blending. “Ivan,” she says. “Ivan, what do you feel?”

He doesn’t respond.

Again, she asks, “Ivan, what do you feel?”

His words are halting, “Failure. I could do nothing. I was only there to arrange for more armaments.”

“All right, what else do you feel besides failure?”

He holds her tighter. “Useless. I’m barely a man now. My body has betrayed me; it is broken.”

“There’s more, Ivan. Tell me what else you feel.”

“Sadness. So many are gone. My friends, my enemies. Gone. And for what?”

“The remorse of a soldier. I understand. There’s more.”

He flounders and struggles to regain composure.

“Ivan,” Margaret says. “What more do you feel?”

He pulls her close and whispers, “I feel hope—hope that maybe the treaty will work. It has to. It must. Maybe the countries are serious about ending this horror. That is my hope.”

Margaret nods. “You’ve identified your purpose.”

Ivan clasps her left arm, and at the firm feel of the prosthesis, he jerks away.

He opens his eyes and looks into hers. “You’re the one, aren’t you? The one we stopped and helped.”

“Yes. You saved my life.”

Contact with Gwen at the following haunts:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

Bio box for Gwen Plano

Book Links:
Letting Go into Perfect Love
The Contract between heaven and earth
The Choice: the unexpected heroes
The Culmination, a new beginning

Whether you’re new to this series, or have been following from the start, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating with Gwen on her release. And what a deal at .99c! Please use the sharing buttons and help us spread the word about The Culmination. Don’t forget to GRAB YOUR COPY and drop Gwen a comment. Thanks for visiting today. I wish you happy reading!

Guest Author: Balroop Singh with Magical Whispers #poetry #newrelease @BalroopShado

red quill pen on a piece of old parchment paper, with an ink well with words Welcome Guest in scriptToday, I am delighted to have a first time guest on my blog. Balroop Singh has a knack for painting words on canvas in the form of beautiful poetry. When I learned she had a new release, I jumped at the chance to host her, especially when I learned this collection focuses on elements of nature. Take a look:


Book cover for Magical Whispers shows waterfall tumbling over rocks

Thank you for hosting me, Mae

Book Blurb:
I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.

‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.

In this book, my poems focus on whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.

Each day reminds us
It’s the symphony of surroundings
That whisper life into us.

Book Information:
Title: Magical Whispers
Author: Balroop Singh
Genre: Poetry
Available at AMAZON
US | UK | DE | FR | ES | IT | NL | JP | BR | CA | MX | AU | IN

Excerpt:

A Concert

Misty mountains beckon
Slippery stones scare
Where clouds adorn the valley
Illusionary world comes alive here

Rivulets dance with abandon
Sunbeams play a dazzling game
Songs of nature mystify you
Tricky pathways meander

Dew never dries here
Fragrance floats forever
Positive vibes permeate around
Seeping within your soul

Where we could touch the mist,
Inhale tranquility of waning light
Be one with the dreamy duo –
Earth and sky

Heaven below our feet,
grandeur above
Purging all our doubts
Concert only senses could hear!


Meet the Author:
Author, Balroop SinghBalroop Singh, a former teacher and an educator always had a passion for writing.  She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life and  Emerging From Shadows, both widely acclaimed poetry books. She has also written When Success Eludes, Emotional Truths Of Relationships Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited and Allow Yourself to be a Better Person.

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

You can visit her blog at: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Connecting links:
Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon


I’ve already grabbed my copy of Magical Whispers, and plan to immerse myself in the tranquility and reflections of nature. I don’t read poetry that often, but I have “go to” authors when I want to unwind with a book of poems. Balroop is definitely one of those authors! I hope you’ll drop her a line in the comments. Help us spread the word about Magical Whispers with the sharing buttons and join in her new release excitement!

Guest Author Thursday: Hiding Cracked Glass by James J. Cudney #newrelease #giveaway @jamescudney4 @Shalini_G26

red quill pen on a piece of old parchment paper, with an ink well with words Welcome Guest in scriptWelcome to another Guest Author Thursday. Today is release day for James J. Cudney’s newest novel, Hiding Cracked Glass (Perceptions of Glass book 2). To celebrate, Jay is offering a GIVEAWAY to two lucky winners!  Just CLICK TO ENTER.

I read the first in this series, Watching Glass Shatter and was enthralled by the depth of character development Jay brought to each member of the Glass family. You can find my review for Watching Glass Shatter HERE.

I asked Jay for a post that would address family dynamics and how they factor into his books, and boy did he deliver. I hope you enjoy his post today as much as I did—then don’t forget to grab your copy of Hiding Cracked Glass and ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!


logo for Digital Reads Blog Tours has banner with business name over the spines of old books

Some of us are obsessed with good plots. Others connect with strong characters. When you combine the two, and you toss in the family dynamic, it’s almost as if a book explodes with boundless drama. As readers, we often search for ourselves or those we know in the characters of our favorite books. Even when it’s a science-fiction or fantasy novel, and the story is not at all realistic, it is still a place where we want to be. To me, perhaps since I grew up surrounded by family, I find myself drawn to the core relationships in our lives.

I’ll begin with saying I am an only child; however, I have ~15 first cousins who basically spent a lot of time together while growing up. I am probably best as an only child, but at the same time, it has always made me sad too. I often feel so unique and independent that no other person shares the same set of parents as me… that when they are gone, because I don’t have children, I am thoroughly alone in this world. That said… I’m not at all looking for someone to make me feel better. But what this did in my childhood was force me to be creative and imaginative with how I developed relationships. I closely monitored characters on TV and in books. I wrote stories about the relationships. I asked a lot of questions of all my friends and cousins who had siblings.

In the end, this experience helped cultivate my ability to write books with extreme family situations… in both my Perceptions of Glass and Braxton Campus Mysteries series, there are five siblings, lots of extended family members, and a focus on people’s connections with one another. All those nicknames the Glass brothers share for one another? All the competition among the Ayrwick siblings? Then consider my stand-alone novel, Father Figure: Brianna is desperately searching for her father because she only has her secretive mother and no other family. Amalia wants to escape her abusive family and finds herself ending up in a situation she intentionally tried to avoid.

These are the destinies people face in my dreams, and so they become the stories of my characters. When I began writing the outline for Hiding Cracked Glass (HCG), I knew it had to be very similar to Watching Glass Shatter (WGS), but it also had to be very different. In WGS, Teddy (the eldest) deals with the betrayal of a loved one and a desire to quit his job. In HCG, he’s facing the result of his decision but he’s had to battle something far worse he never expected to happen. In WGS, Matt tried to dig himself out of a serious life-and-death situation. In HCG, we learn that he’s likely brought a major impact on his family that he never knew happened. In WGS, Caleb finally tells his family the truth. In HCG, we learn that he might’ve done something very bad and hurt his relationship. In WGS, Zach dazzled us with his attitude toward the others. In HCG, he’s now the one who’s changed the most after what happened at the end of the first book. In WGS, Ethan suffered a devastating loss. In HCG, his wife is learning how to deal with the aftermath of so many secrets.

Kindle and paperback covers of Hiding Cracked Glass, dramatic shattered glass over old envelope on wood grain surfaceI haven’t even shared much about Olivia, the matriarch of these five boys. She’s rude. Abrasive. Distant. Aloof. But she’s also smart and learns the biggest lessons of all. So why is it that she can make a complete change between books? When she receives the blackmail threat in Hiding Cracked Glass, a series of events is kicked off that challenges everything she thought she’d fixed recently. My own mother is nothing like Olivia, but as you dig deeper, you realize Olivia is a compilation of so many strong women who often get a bad rap for being tough and direct… while a man in her position would be considered powerful and a strong father figure.  When my mother read Watching Glass Shatter, besides squirming over two scenes that I included (who wants to know their son / mother is aware of sex or curse words!), the first thing she said to me: “Wow! You put a piece of your personality in each of the 5 brothers. It’s like you selected a trait about yourself that we’ve always talked about and made it a big piece of each brother’s life.”

Yep, go ahead and try to guess those characteristics! Those who’ve met me can easily figure it out. 🙂

I love taking personalities and flipping them around, mostly to show how we all have a perception of ourselves that is a bit like looking through glass. It’s shiny but distorted. It’s smooth but once it cracks, the repairs are almost impossible without professional help. Families are kinda like that too. Relationships are brittle, and they change at the slightest pressure once people communicate poorly. Imagine a father dying in a car accident and leaving behind a will that changes everything. Then imagine hiding that secret and it being found out 9 months later by someone you never thought would’ve been involved. While I have no personal experience with this… and my family wasn’t very big on keeping secrets… there is one that I hardly tell anyone. Now, I think it’s kind of amusing though, and it actually is another family drama story I’m playing around with as a future book.

book cover of Hiding Cracked Glass, dramatic shattered glass over old envelope on wood grain surfaceWhen I was fifteen, my grandfather passed away. During the planning of his funeral, I learned that one of my parents had another sibling I’d never met. Then I learned this sibling living in our same small town (under 3,000 people). Then I learned this sibling had two children who were just a couple of years older than me. Then I learned I went to high school with both of them. First, you’re probably thinking “OMG, that’s so weird and scary!.” You’d be right… but then here’s where my mind went next at fifteen in a conversation with some friends: At fifteen with two slightly older cousins… what would’ve happened if one of those cousins and I had met and gone out on a date or hooked up! We don’t always tell our parents the name of a guy or girl we go on a date with. Our last names were different. Could you imagine the drama if something had happened between us? Yikes, I could almost be the subject of my next book.

Secrets. Lies. Family Drama. Broken Relationships. These are the events of our daily lives. We all have a bit of a soap opera / daytime drama running around in our families. I love exploring the psychological and physical impacts of these connections, and that’s why my books will almost always have the elements of family–past, present, and future–woven into its binding. And perhaps now you might know a little bit about me that you never thought you’d learn. NO, I never actually connected much with my cousins other than the funeral… thought we did socialize for a few years… but then the family fell apart again. Now you can see how I incorporate reality into my literary world! Any crazy stories in your family you’d like to share?


Wow! Did that blow you away? I actually met cousins I never knew I had roughly seven years ago. They’re scattered over the map, but now we hold a family reunion every year. It’s a long story, but I can so relate to Jay’s tale.

And speaking of tales, I’ve got my copy of Hiding Cracked GlassIf you aren’t intrigued from that fabulous post, I know you will be after reading the blurb:

ABOUT THE BOOK:
An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?

In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?

Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.

Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved.


PURCHASE LINK


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author James J. Cudney in professional shot with suit and tieBackground
James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing and publishing.

Author
Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer
Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read 2 books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker
I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher
I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

Websites & Blog
Website | Blog | Amazon | Next Chapter Pub |
BookBub

Social Media
Twitter | Facebook Author | Facebook Braxton Campus | Facebook ThisIsMyTruthNow | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads |
LinkedIn

Genres, Formats & Languages
I write in the family drama and mystery genres. My first two books are Watching Glass Shatter (2017) and Father Figure (2018). Both are contemporary fiction and focus on the dynamics between parents and children and between siblings. I’m currently writing the sequel to Watching Glass Shatter. I also have a light mystery series called the Braxton Campus Mysteries with six books available.

All my books come in multiple formats (Kindle, physical print, large print paperback, and audiobook) and some are also translated into foreign languages such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and German.


Goodreads Book Links
Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017) |
Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

ENTER GIVEAWAY FOR HIDING CRACKED GLASS


Welcome Guest: D.L. Cross with Astral Conspiracy Series #AlienInvasion #AlienEncounters @stacitroilo

red quill pen on a piece of old parchment paper, with an ink well with words Welcome Guest in scriptIt’s my pleasure to host Staci Troilo today. Staci is a Story Empire colleague, one of the best writers I know, and a close friend. Her books never disappoint. Her Astral Conspiracy series (written under the pen name D.L. Cross) is pure gold. These aren’t just science fiction stories, but combine elements of thrillers, suspense, mysteries and fast-paced adventure—with character development that pings in the stratosphere.

And now, here’s Staci to tell you more!


Ciao, Mae. Thanks for having me here today. I’m really glad to visit with you and your readers again. Hi, everyone!

file folder marked top secret with name of agent Halpern, Natasha

I’m here today to talk about my Astral Conspiracy series. It’s technically science fiction, as it’s part of the acclaimed Platt and Truant Invasion Universe, but my saga is as much thriller as it is sci-fi, so I thought I’d have a little fun with my marketing and include pages from the top-secret government files on my main characters. Today, I’m sharing info on Tasha Halpern.

DOSSIER

Name: Natasha (Tasha) Halpern

Occupation: Special Agent for US Government AATIP (Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program)

Of Note: A modern-day Mata Hari, her expertise is in asset recruitment

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW BETWEEN AUTHOR (Staci Troilo a.k.a. D.L. Cross) AND CHARACTER (Special Agent Natasha Halpern) ON ASTRAL DAY (the day the world is alerted to the approach of alien ships) via video conference. (Video is eyes-only, file #7161998-V, director’s approval required.)

Subject photo available, file #7161998-G

Staci: Tasha. How are you?

Tasha: Well, the cat’s out of the bag now. Should make life easier once things calm down. But who knows when that’ll happen, so we’re in Chicken Little mode.

Staci: Even people in the upper echelon of the government are panicking?

Tasha: Maybe more than the general public. We’re responsible for keeping everyone safe. It’s a big responsibility. (looks around, ducks her head, whispers into the mic) And between you and me, the people at the top never like to think their positions are going to be compromised.

Staci: You’re telling me we’re about to meet aliens for the first time, and our elected officials are more worried about power than protecting us?

Tasha: Who says this is the first time?

Staci: (gasping) They’ve been here before?

Tasha: Before? Or still?

Staci: You’re kidding?

Tasha: You didn’t hear that from me.

Staci: So, can’t you talk to the… visitors… and ask them for help? They could be a mediator, bridging the gap.

Tasha: That’s assuming they aren’t hostile toward us.

Staci: Are they?

Tasha: If our… guests were here as friends, don’t you think we’d have announced their presence years ago?

Staci: Years? How long have they been here?

Tasha: A while. A very, very long while.

Staci: Is that how you met Landon? You never told me the meet-cute story.

Tasha: I’m sure I did.

Staci: No. You didn’t.

Tasha: Well, I can’t tell you now. Beck’s bellowing. Gotta run. Stay safe, Stace.

Staci: You, too. (gives a half-wave to an empty screen)

Tasha makes her debut in the Astral Conspiracy series in book one, The Gate. You can read a brief synopsis of all five books below, and each one has links to its product page and a purchase link.

Book covers of all five novels in Astral Conspiracy series by D.L. Crossa

The Gate: When the hypotheses of disgraced ancient alien theorist Landon Thorne prove to be true, he travels across the globe in search of a way to communicate with—and perhaps stop—the approaching alien armada.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Stones: The invasion couldn’t be prevented, but there is a chance the Astrals can be driven away… if Landon Thorne can reach the Georgia Guidestones, unearth its secrets, and decode the mystery before the aliens stop him.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Nine: Landon Thorne and his team of resistance fighters seek a cipher to decode the message accompanying a cache of alien artifacts they’ve unearthed, but the government, a clandestine cabal, and the Astrals themselves stand in their way and might not only put an end to their plans—they might put an end to their lives.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Twins: When all factions converge for a human-versus-alien showdown, resistance fighter Reverie Sterling gets help from the least likely source. But even then, it may be too late for everyone she loves to make it out alive.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link

The Lab: In the final showdown between Earthlings and Astrals, twins Asha and Vonn insist their long-lost grandfather has a plan to save humanity. It’s a long-shot, but the resistance takes it—and no one is prepared for the consequences.
Full Blurb | Purchase Link

Author, Staci TroiloAbout Staci Troilo/D.L. Cross

D.L. Cross has loved science fiction ever since she was a young girl and fell for Major Don West on television’s Lost in Space. To this day, she still quotes the show, though her favorite lines were spoken by the robot and the antagonist. Parallel universes or alternate realities, aliens or dinosaurs, superpowers or super viruses, time travel or AI… no sci-fi theme is off limits and all of them fascinate her. D.L. Cross also writes other genre fiction under the name Staci Troilo, and you can find more information about all her identities and all her work at her website: https://stacitroilo.com.

Connect online:

Website | Blog | Troilo Amazon |  Cross Amazon | Troilo BookBub | Cross BookBubTroilo Goodreads | Cross Goodreads | Social Media

Thanks again for having me here today, Mae. And thanks to all of your fans for indulging me. This post was as fun to write as the stories were, and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Grazie!


What a great post! If you’ve been following this blog tour, you know each stop has provided a behind-the-scenes look at key players in the Astral Conspiracy series. I’ve been enjoying the heck out of it, and hope you are too. Please use the sharing buttons below to help spread the word about Astral, then drop Staci a few lines in the comments. I gave each of these phenomenal books 5-Stars and count them among my top reads of 2020!

Guest Author Thursday: John Howell with Eternal Road #newrelease

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

Welcome to a new Guest Author Thursday! Today, I’m pleased to have Story Empire colleague, John Howell, as my guest. John has dropped by to give us a glimpse of his latest release, Eternal Road. I’m rolling out the red carpet and chanting “one-click, one-click!” 🙂 You can read my 5 star review of John’s book HERE.

And now . . . take it away, John!

New Book Launch – Eternal Road – The final stop.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Mae, and thank you for helping me launch this book. I know you have your hands full with your current projects and I am pleased you could make time to help with this launch. Speaking of the book, let me describe it. Eternal Road is the story of two people finding their way through the selection process leading to the place where one will spend eternity. Yes, it is true. They both have passed away. James Wainwright just died in an auto accident. Samantha Tourneau died seventeen years before. Sam is James’s guide to help him decide where to spend eternity. This is not your usual thriller or paranormal romance. It is a piece of fiction that is a combination of inspiration, adventure, time travel, sci-fi, a touch of erotica, and a dash of spiritual. In short, it is a lot of things, but hopefully, a story that will make you happy to have read it.

It is now available on Amazon in paper and Kindle. The Kindle edition is introductory priced at 99¢ until October 15th

Here are the universal links

Kindle

Paper

The blurb

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer, who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save humankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

An Excerpt

They each cradle their musket. James winces when his weapon comes to rest. “Can you please grab the pouch? My shoulder’s killing me.”

Sam nods. “Sure enough. What will happen in a fight?”

James gives her a stern look. “I thought about that.”

Sam locks eyes with him. “Tell me.”

James glances away. “Don’t you think it would be wrong for you and I to kill people? I mean, we’re not supposed to alter history. What if someone we killed would have been spared in the actual fight? On top of that, taking a human life is not something I would think appropriate for a dead person. Especially one looking for an eternal home.”

Sam walks around until she once more has James fixed in her sight. “You bring up two good points.” She pauses and takes his chin in her hand. “Maybe we should go on our way before the fighting begins.”

James places his hand over hers. “That’s what I think. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s death.”

“I hear you. I just wish the reason we came here would become apparent. That we don’t know bothers me.”

James lowers his hand, and Sam does the same. He looks toward the mission. “We haven’t found out what the date is either.”

Sam rests her musket against a tree. “Oh, that’s right. If we knew the date, we would know how much time we have until the actual shooting starts.”

James places his musket next to hers. “When did the shooting start in reality?”

Sam doesn’t have to think. “The first shots were fired on February 23rd at nighttime.”

James wipes his brow. “Okay, then. We just have to ask someone the date.”

Sam holds out her hand. “And broadcast to the whole group that we are so out of it we don’t know?”

James looks at the mission again. “Don’t you think it happens a lot in these troubled times? After all, they don’t have radio broadcasts and such.”
“Okay. You convinced me. Let’s ask the sentry.” They pick up their muskets and walk to the main gate. They both go up to the sentry on duty.

Sam breaks the ice, “Excuse me.”

The sentry stood watching them from the moment they went to the woods. “Yeah, what is it?”

Sam looks down. “We wondered if you knew the date.”

The sentry appears surprised. “The date? Well, it’s a Tuesday, so maybe it might be the 23rd or the 24th. Hold on, let me ask someone.”

Sam shakes her head. “Oh, that’s okay. You’re close enough.”

The sentry smiles. “Okay, then. How’d the practice go?”

James answers, “Just fine, thanks.”

“How’s that shoulder?”

James laughs. “I think I’ll live.”

The sentry grins. “It takes a while to get used to. Get yourself something to fold up. It’ll lessen the shock.”

The trailer

John’s bio

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 five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact John

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

John’s other books

Autumn Reading: Murder They Wrote

comfortable sofa with throw pillows and soft fuzzy blanket surrounding copy of book Murder They Wrote

Today is the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere. As much as I love summer, I do love the crisp days of fall, filled with cinnamon and gold leaves, bright orange pumpkins, and tall cornstalks. It’s also a great time to curl up with a book on your Kindle.

May I recommend Murder They Wrote? 🙂

You can learn more about this anthology of murder mysteries by visiting me today at Harmony Kent’s blog. If you’re roaming about the blogosphere, pop in and say hello!

Murder They Wrote and a Blog Visit

Hi, Friends! If you live in the U.S., or Canada, I hope you had a long and enjoyable Labor Day weekend. I’m forgoing my usual Book Review Tuesday post today to share the news I’m once again out and about with Murder They Wrote, the mystery anthology in which I have a short story. Today, I’m visiting my friend and Story Empire colleague, Joan Hall.

If you get a chance, please drop over and say hello. And if you’re not already familiar with Joan, I recommend following her blog. She and I are kindred spirits in that we both love legends and folklore. Joan is working on a new legend-based series, but until book one is ready to roll, she has several other compelling mysteries you can explore.

Murder They Wrote Takes to the Road

tote bag surrounded by iphone, mouse, wallet, pencil, with book, Murder They Wrote on top of tote

I’m off visiting today, sharing details about the anthology, Murder They Wrote, in which I have a short story. Should you be out and about, please hop over to visit me at Mark Bierman’s blog.

While you’re there, poke around Mark’s corner of the blogosphere if you’re not already familiar with it. Mark is a skilled author and a great guy with a fun sense of humor. His posts cover a variety of topics, and are always engaging. See you there!