New Release: Heart of the Storm by Debbie Peterson #TimeTravel #SweetRomance #Bermuda Triangle

It’s another release day for my good friend, Debbie Peterson! Debbie writes mesmerizing tales of time travel with a splash of sweet romance mixed in. In her newest book, Heart of the Storm, she addresses one of the foremost unexplained mysteries to baffle scientists for centuries—the Bermuda Triangle.

Please welcome Debbie as she shares a true-life incident from the Triangle, and celebrates Heart of the Storm.


Book cover for Heart of the Storm by Debbie Peterson shows girl in foreground wearing a DEA t-shirt with old clipper ship in background on a sunset sea

Hello Mae! Thank you for helping me celebrate the release of Heart of the Storm.

Once upon a time, five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, known as “Flight 19,” took off from the Naval Air Station in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was during the afternoon hours of December 15, 1945. The routine training flight was no big deal, really. They were to conduct a bombing exercise known then as “Navigation Problem Number One.” It would take a mere three hours. During this mission they would fly to a place called the Hens and Chicken Shoals, drop a few practice bombs, then head north and fly over the Grand Bahama Island. Afterward, they would turn in a southwesterly direction and go back to base. Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor, an experienced World War II pilot, served as flight leader.

At first, all went as planned…at first.

About 2:30 p.m. the boys dropped their practice load over the Hens and Chickens Shoals and turned north as scheduled. That’s when the routine flight became anything but routine. You see, from out of the blue, and quite unexpectedly, Taylor reported the compass of his plane wasn’t functioning correctly. He became convincedthey were all flying in the wrong direction. A sudden, tumultuous rainstorm, accompanied by high winds and heavy clouds worsened the situation. They couldn’t see a  thing.

“I don’t know where we are,” said one of the pilots over the radio. “We must’ve got lost after that last turn.”

A Navy flight instructor, who was flying near the coast of Florida, overheard the chatter. After he informed the Air Station of the situation, he radioed the Avengers and asked if they needed assistance.

“Both my compasses are out and I’m trying to find Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,” a panicked Taylor said. “I’m over land, but it’s broken. I’m sure I’m in the Keys, but I don’t know how far down.”

That didn’t make any sense at all. After all, Taylor had made his scheduled pass over Hens and Chicken Shoals less than an hour earlier. Yet, for some reason, he now believed his squad had somehow drifted hundreds of miles off course and ended up in the Florida Keys. Pilots lost in the Atlantic were trained to fly their planes toward the setting sun. This, of course, would take them west toward the mainland, even if they didn’t know where west was. In the hope he could locate the Florida peninsula, Taylor turned his squad northeast.

“Dammit,” one man groused over the radio. “If we would just fly west, we would get home.”

Taylor finally turned around and headed west, but shortly after 6 p.m., he once again changed direction. “We didn’t go far enough east,” he said. “We may as well just turn around and go east again.” The transmissions became increasingly faint. By now, fuel would be running low. Taylor instructed his men to prepare for a crash landing in the ocean. “All planes close up tight,” he said. “We’ll have to ditch unless landfall…when the first plane drops below ten gallons, we all go down together.” A few minutes later, the only thing that could be heard over the radio was unnerving static.

Treasure hunters thought they solved the puzzle of the missing planes in 1991 when they found five World War II-era Avengers on the ocean floor near Fort Lauderdale. However, the serial numbers didn’t match those of “Flight 19.”

There are many such stories that have taken place inside the Bermuda Triangle. There are a few things they all have in common, though: A sudden, raging storm, malfunctioning gauges, disorientation and feelings of being hopelessly lost…

Such a setting is found in the beginning of Heart of the Storm, in a story where past meets present and the adventure begins!

Blurb:
DEA agent Aliyana Montijo must stop a drug lord’s killing orders and find a government mole. With a contract on her head, she trusts no one. While heading back to Florida with evidence, lightning strikes her plane. As it careens into the ocean, she thinks she sees a pirate ship. What she finds is a dashing and most unlikely ally.

Four centuries ago, Wolfaert Dircksen Van Ness captained a vessel for the Dutch West Indies Company. Then an unearthly storm in the Bermuda Triangle blew him into a parallel dimension. After rescuing Aliyana from a similar tempest, he finds himself drawn to the courageous beauty and wants to aid her mission.

In the midst of danger, the two find themselves falling in love. Then a misunderstanding tears them apart, perhaps forever…

photo of Debbie Peterson, AuthorAbout Debbie Peterson
Debbie is an author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She has-and always has had-a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, making an impossible love possible, and happily ever after endings. She loves music, art, beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and thunder storms.

When she’s not busy conjuring her latest novel, She spends time with the members of her very large and nutty family in the lovely, arid deserts of southern Nevada. She also pursues her interests in family history (which she also teaches), mythology, and history.

You can find her at the following haunts:
Website
Twitter 
Facebook
Goodreads

Buy Links
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple I Tunes

Book Review: Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack #FantasyAdventure #PirateAdventure

For the new year, I’m going to be adding a variety of posts, including sharing book reviews. With the amount of books I read a year, why not? 😀

I still haven’t finalized the format. Most likely it will be something I do on a monthly basis with reviews of the books I’ve read during the month.

But to get started, I’m doing a stand alone review. I finished Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack last night and am still thinking about the highly imaginative world the author created. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this story. I’ve read a number of Craig’s books, but this one rocks the boat! Heehee. Pun intended.

Book cover for Voyage of the Lanternfish by author, C. S. Boyack, shows bow of old clipper ship with glowing lanternfish headFirst the Blurb:
An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

MY 5-STAR REVIEW:
What a rollicking, magical, high-octane, deftly plotted adventure! Remember when Dorothy steps from her black-and-white world into the Land of Oz for the first time? That explosion of color, wonder, and delight is equivalent to what the reader experiences in Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Wow, where to begin? I won’t reiterate the plot (just hop up and read the blurb), but I will say you’re in for a treat with this story of pirates, high-sea adventure, a diverse cast of characters and plenty of bizarre creatures. Where else will you encounter root monsters, an anvil bird, Fu dogs, owlcats, and a moving reef? And those are just some of the imaginative beings Boyack introduces with his latest release. I developed a special fondness for the root monsters with their unwavering loyalty, nightly story-telling sessions, rabid delight in receiving names, and atrocious mangling of language. Of special note: You can’t read this book and not appreciate the cleverness of “I I I I”

Trust me. 🙂

The cast is every bit as colorful as the creatures and extremely diverse in backgrounds. They each have such strong personalities, it’s hard to choose a favorite. Even secondary characters and third level characters get plenty of moments to shine. The battle scenes involving mortars, guns, and claiming ships are perfectly executed. I was dazzled and glued to the pages.

I have read several books by this author but this one is in a league of its own. Hop aboard and set sail. You won’t be disappointed!


Gang, go forth and ONE CLICK. This isn’t just a adventure story, but one that builds on character relationships, too. You won’t regret setting sail!

It’s Release Day! End of Day by Mae Clair #SupernaturalSuspense #Mystery #Thriller

Today is the book birthday for End of Day, book 2 of my Hode’s Hill trilogy.  If you enjoyed book 1, Cusp of Night, you’ll find this one in the same vein. Once again, I’m visiting the small Pennsylvania town of Hode’s Hill, but with a plot whose tentacles reach back to the town’s founding. As in Cusp of Night, I’ve spun two mysteries—one in the the past (taking place in the year 1799) and one in the present. You get two separate mysteries that tie together at the end.

Book cover for End of Day, mystery/suspense novel by Mae Clair shows old dilapidated church with bell tower and a cemetery in the background overgrown with weeds

The past is never truly buried…  

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined with a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. To set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

~ooOOoo~

In Cusp of Night, I introduced the reader to the spiritualist movement of the 1800s, sham mediums, and a creature called the Fiend.

This time around, the story touches on Church Grims, Folk Memories, and a collection of monsters. Yes, monsters. I do love my creatures 🙂 The two lead characters—Jillian Cley and Dante DeLuca—had minor roles in Cusp. They take center stage, along with several new characters who bullied their way into the story. I never saw Madison, Sherre Lorquet, or the Porter Brothers coming until they appeared in their respective scenes. All added new layers which helped develop the plot. My muse knew what he was doing.

Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered. If you haven’t already grabbed a copy and would like to, you can purchase from the bookseller of your choice through this link.

Although this is the second book of a series, it can also be read as a stand alone. I would love to tell you more about grims and folk memories, but for now, I’ll let them unravel in the book. 🙂

New Release: Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack #Fantasy #Pirates #RootMonsters

My first post of 2019 is going to be a treat, folks! Not only is Lisa Burton, stunning spokesmodel for author C.S. Boyack, visiting my blog, but she’s here to share Craig’s latest book, Voyage of the Lanternfish.

Book cover for Voyage of the Lanternfish by author, C. S. Boyack, shows bow of old clipper ship with glowing lanternfish head Now, I’m always excited when Mr. Boyack trots out a new novel. His stories are wildly imaginative and flavored with a bit of odd. I’m a huge fan of odd.

I’m also a huge fan of monsters, especially cryptids. There are root monsters in Craig’s new book! Seriously, how cool is that name? I can’t wait to meet these guys. Let’s see what Lisa has to say about them.


“Oh, my gosh, Mae. I’m so happy to be back here. In fact, I’m happy to be anywhere this time of year. The writing cabin gets pretty cold and lonely about now.

“Anyway, Craig has me out on tour for his newest book, Voyage of the Lanternfish. I know fantasy monsters aren’t quite cryptids, but work with me here. I thought they might appeal to your readers, because of the cryptic connection.

“Craig wants to have his say, so he made me bring some data along. We’ll share it, then we can have some fun.”


The root monsters in this story are part of the good guys. Mal, the witch doctor, grew them in a planter attached to the window of a Gypsy caravan. He plucked them from the ground, lopped off their leaves; voila, instant creature.

They started out as something that could keep watch in the middle of the night while my characters traveled through wild country. My original vision of them was based around what were called Pigmies in The Mummy Returns. The pigmies were a swarm with sharp teeth and pointy sticks.

My root monsters retained a lot of that throughout the story. They scrounged things like old fish hooks to fight with, but the sharp teeth remained. There could be a smattering of the tooth fairies from one of the Hellboy movies. (Swarms are scary.)

They started growing in number, and some of them needed singling out. These monsters got names. They developed their own pidgin English.

One of the things I really enjoyed was how their culture advanced. They became the storytellers aboard the ship, and their verbal history might be the only thing these pirates leave behind. Their stories are always a bit off kilter from the actual truth. As an example, they have no idea about numbers. There is a scene where the monster named Boss is trying to negotiate for more monsters. In typical fashion, characters would spout numbers and work toward the middle in negotiations. Boss just throws random numbers out that are nonsensical.

Their culture evolves to the point that the rest of the crew looks forward to monster story time. The giving of a name is looked upon as a badge of honor and must be earned. I even hinted that they may be developing their own shaman.

Make no mistake, while they are dangerous and ruthless, they are also comedy relief. My recipe of tooth fairies and Pigmies got a healthy dose of Minions, and a pinch of Wile E. Coyote too.

If you’d like to know more, I’ll make sure Lisa drops off a cover, blurb, and purchase link.


“Now that the boss had his say, we can do the fun part. Look, I brought you a new poster. I chose this one, because it has a couple of root monsters in it. I know the one in the red hat is Flattop. He gets dialog and everything in the story.

Lisa Burton, spokesmodel for author C.S. Boyack in sexy pirate outfit with skull-and-crossbones flag, chest of gold and root monsters

“I really enjoyed dressing up in pirate clothes for a couple of months while Sean worked on these posters. Your readers should feel free to share them on Pinterest, or even use them as computer and gadget backgrounds. That’s what they’re for.

“As the pitch-girl for Craig’s work, I’ll leave you all the important stuff to add to the post whenever you’re ready. Now, what’s fun around here before I head for my next stop?”


Hmm…Maybe I should have Lisa chat with the Mothman, the Fiend, or even the monsters that make an appearance in my next book. She could handle any of them. Then again, she’d probably find their wardrobe atrocious and I’d have to agree. She and I will have to settle for shopping.

And speaking of shopping, I highly recommend you go forth and ONE CLICK Voyage of the Lanternfish. I’m currently reading it and can vouch you’re going to love it!

Check out the blurb:

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

Purchase Link

Author, C. S. BoyackAuthor Bio:

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter GoodreadsFacebookPinterest | BookBub

 

Guest Post: Writing horror and supernatural stories by Robbie Cheadle #DarkVisions #HorrorAnthology #NewRelease

I’m happy to welcome guest blogger and author, Robbie Cheadle, today with a look at how she became interested in writing horror and supernatural tales. Already an accomplished children’s book author, Robbie is now venturing into other genres. Her stories, The Haunting of William, and The Willow Tree,  are featured in the new anthology, Dark Visions. Perfect reading at this time of year, this goose bump-inducing collection is high on my TBR. Please welcome Robbie with her first guest appearance on my blog!

banner ad for Dark Visions, a collection of supernatural stories

As a pre-teen I was fascinated by horror and supernatural books and stories. At the age of ten I read Salem’s Lot by Stephen King. It scared me to death, but I loved the thrill. I steadfastly read my way through all the horror and supernatural books I could get my hands on.

I started writing in 2015 by accident. I had been writing poems for many years and made up stories from time to time for my children, but I had never consciously sat down and tried to write a story. The Sir Chocolate series of books evolved with Michael through a process of joining our ideas together and creating rhyming verse stories to help him to learn to read and write and practice his spelling.

During 2017, I decided to write the story of my mom’s early years growing up in the town of Bungay, England during WWII. That was the first time I actively plotted a story line. A lot of historical research was required for the book to establish the setting and enable the reader to understand the historical facts of the time and follow the timeline of the war. I completed While the Bombs Fell in May 2018 and it has recently become available on Amazon.

This historical research for my mom’s book resulted in my discovering a lot about the folklore of her hometown, much of which is steeped in superstition and mythology. Bungay abounds with ghosts and other mythological creatures and these gave me a lot of fodder for my imagination. The idea of trying my hand at a darker story emerged. I have written four short stories in the supernatural and horror genre. I submitted two of these for Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver competitions this year and I received an excellent critique in respect of both. I implemented Dan’s advice and resubmitted the two stories to him and was very thrilled when they were accepted for his new horror anthology, Dark Visions.

BLURB:
Book cover for Dark Visions, a horror anthology shows cloaked, hooded figure holding a glowing sphereFrom the creators of the #1 bestseller The Box Under The Bed horror anthology comes Dark Visions, 34 horror stories from 27 authors.

Tag along on a con man’s New Orleans vacation where he gets more than he bargained for from a mysterious voodoo shop. A collection of family photos reveals an eerie secret about a beloved grandmother’s true nature. A child’s horrifying memories haunt her into adulthood. A new camp counselor learns that the camp has secrets she might not live to reveal.

Edited and compiled by Amazon bestselling author Dan Alatorre, this anthology of horror brings together the minds and pens of more than two dozen amazing authors.

Dark Visions will take you into the realm of the eerie and macabre, with thrills and chills from:

bestselling author Dan Alatorre (The Navigators),
bestselling author Jenifer Ruff (Everett),
bestselling author Allison Maruska (The Fourth Descendant),
bestselling author J. A. Allen,
award-winning author MD Walker,
award-winning author Juliet Nubel,
award-winning author Dabney Farmer,
award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart,
award-winning author Heather Kindt,
award-winning author Bonnie Lyons,
award-winning author Sharon Connell,
award-winning author Geoff LePard,
award-winning author Anne Marie Andrus,
award-winning author Christine Valentor,
award-winning author BA Helberg,
Ernesto San Giacomo,
award-winning author Alana Turner,
Nick Vossen,
award-winning author Robbie Cheadle,
Betty Valentine,
award-winning author Frank Parker,
award-winning author Bonnie Lyons,
award-winning author Lori Micken,
Chuck Jackson,
Ellen Best,
Victoria Clapton

Perfect for Halloween or any time, these stories will make you think twice before spending the night alone, planting a tree in your garden, or even visiting your mother.

Consider yourselves warned.

Purchase Dark Visions from Amazon

Connect with Robbie Cheadle at the following haunts:
Twitter | Facebook | Blog 

New Release: The Button by D.L. Finn #ParanormalThriller

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m not usually a fan of the first day of the work week, but today is a special Monday. Denise (D.L.) Finn is making her first author appearance on my blog with her latest release, The Button. She has generously helped me with promotion in the past, and I am delighted to be able to return the favor. I’ve also read several of her works and always find them enjoyable. Knowing her latest is a paranormal thriller is a win-win for me. I’ve already downloaded my copy and look forward to curling up with my Kindle—just maybe not on a dark and stormy night 🙂

Please welcome Denise . . .


Thank you, Mae, for inviting me on your blog to help celebrate the of The Button!

Button_covEbkFinal

Blurb:

Lynn Hill left a difficult childhood behind when she turned eighteen. The 1980s were going to be the beginning of a great life. Then what started as an ordinary evening out with her best friend, Stacy, turns into a nightmare. Lynn hears warnings: “Go!” “Leave!” Believing she is hearing things after partying too much, she goes back for one more drink before going home. That decision sets off a chain of events that nothing could have prepared her for. While humans and not-so-human beings are attempting to either help or harm her, Lynn risks everything to find the only person she trusts, Stacy. Who can help her? The stepbrother who shows up right when she needs him or the attractive, helpful bartender who gives her his phone number? Lynn must learn to trust again. Her survival depends on it in this paranormal thriller.

Excerpt:

PROLOGUE

Castro Valley, California, 1976

Lynn was suddenly aware of her surroundings. It was tranquil floating above her still body next to angels. She felt indifferent at seeing her pale form hooked up to wires and IVs, although the beeping machines indicated that her body was still alive.

“You have to go back—you have more to do,” the female angel informed her.

Lynn met the angel’s steady gaze. While she was in awe of her beauty, it was the angel’s silver dress that drew her attention. It reminded her of how the water in her grandmother’s pool had wrapped her in serenity when she sat at the bottom. She’d loved doing that for as long as she could hold her breath. It was one of the few times she felt safe, cocooned in water where no one could hurt her. That dress, flowing like water around the angel, affected Lynn in the same way as the pool did—it made her feel safe. The angel pushed her hair back, causing it to cascade over her peacock-green wings.

Lynn turned her attention to the male angel. His smile was mesmerizing—like a lava lamp, hot and fluid. What a babe! With his long brown hair, strong chiseled features, and green eyes she could get lost in, she felt she could totally spend eternity with him. He smiled broadly at her, but the smile quickly disappeared when the female angel scowled at him. Wait a minute—do they know what I’m thinking? Not cool! Lynn felt her face redden.

The embarrassment was quickly erased as both angels smiled at her again. Lynn wished they’d say more, but she wanted to continue to hang out with them. She was feeling a peace she’d never felt before.

She started to express her desire to stay. “I don’t—” was all she got out before images of an older version of herself filled her mind all at once. Then she was thrust back—into her life and that pallid body hooked up to the beeping machines…

Random Finn Facts:

  1. My fear of bees used to be extreme. I once jumped out of a moving car (in a parking lot) to prove that point.
  2. I’m afraid of the dark. Nightlights are a must.
  3. I write poetry while riding on the back of my husband’s Harley.

1

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 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. 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, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks and cedars, her creativity was cradled until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to her readers to join her.

D.L. Finn’s social media:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

Linkedin

Google

Links to purchase:

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes &Noble

D.L. FINN BANNER WITH WORDS

Thank You, Friends

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Kitten sitting by book.I had an amazing day yesterday. I released the cover for my upcoming release, End of Day. But it wasn’t just about the excitement of being able to splash my snazzy new cover on my blog. I had a plethora of friends supporting me, lending me blog space to share my news in their corner of the world. And I had supportive readers popping in left and right to comment on the posts.

It was a fantastic Monday. It made me realize what a wonderful community we have and how everyone rallies to support everyone else. I had twenty-seven blogs to visit and I did so with pleasure. Thank you one and all for making yesterday so special. You guys rock!

I hope you will call on me whenever I can return the favor with blog promo for your books on the Pen of Mae Clair. If you don’t already have my email, you can find me here or at maeclair (at) maeclair (dot) com. I would be honored to host you.

Release Day Excitement: Tortured Soul by Staci Troilo #Mystery #RomanticSuspense

Hi, Everyone! If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you know I enjoy hosting other authors—especially when I’m a fan of their work. Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome my good friend, Staci Troilo, with her latest release, Tortured Soul. This is the final installment of her Medici Protectorate series, and as sorry as I am to see these fantastic stories come to an end, I can’t wait for the world to discover this book. I got to read it in the development stage and highly recommend you go forth and one-click. First, here’s Staci to tell you a bit about the series and the characters who populate Tortured Soul.


Ciao, everyone. Nice to be here today. Mae, once again, thank you for hosting me.

If you promise not to judge me, I’m going to admit to a guilty pleasure. My husband and I love watching Ancient Aliens. I know how absurd many (most? all?) of their theories are, but we are avid History Channel viewers and love to learn about ancient civilizations. While I seriously doubt the veracity of the show’s claims, we do learn many irrefutable facts—things about the societies, beliefs, art, and architecture of these peoples.

One fact I learned while watching the episode called “The Da Vinci Conspiracy” (season 4, episode 8) was that Leonardo disappeared from society for a couple of years, and when he returned, he became the Renaissance genius we know him as today. This disappearance is fact.

Writings of Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The British Library in London has his Codex Arundel, his collection of writings, notes, drawings, inventions—thousands of pages of his thoughts on all sorts of topics. Of all that work, very little recounts details of his personal life. Yet one of the earliest entries is of the cave.

He describes standing at the mouth of a dark, vast cave and feeling a profound sense of terror at what might be inside. Conversely, he also experienced an insatiable desire to know what secrets were hidden within.

The show theorized that his documented retreat from society (1476 to 1478) occurred when he found the cave—and he spent those missing years with aliens, learning things centuries beyond what people of the time could even conceive of. When he returned to society is when he began demonstrating his brilliance and talents, qualities he gleaned from his time in the cave (or when “beamed up” from it) with the extraterrestrials. And of course the show goes on to offer “proof” of their claims.

Why am I telling you all this? Certainly not because I want you to think I’m a conspiracy theorist. (In fact, I’m far from it.)

I bring it up because the mention of his two-year disappearance and his specific notes about the cave sparked an idea in me. (See? Writers really do get inspiration from all kinds of places.)

What if the cave wasn’t a portal to aliens but rather a private retreat? A secret lab of sorts, where the forbidden practice of alchemy could be explored without interference or fear of discovery?

Furthermore, what if those alchemical experiments yielded success?

That spark of an idea blossomed into a full-blown plot point which, combined with my own family history, formed the basic concept of my Medici Protectorate series.

This four-book saga follows one of Leonardo’s contemporaries, Michelangelo, who practiced alchemy in secret and mastered both immortality and transmutation of metals. Still alive and wealthy beyond comprehension, he endeavors to fulfill a vow he made centuries earlier to the Medici family—to protect their descendants from harm, something he’s done for nearly half a millennium. The Notaro sisters are now the sole heirs to the Medici legacy, and because of an impending revolution in Italy, they are positioned to try and recapture the throne. It’s something none of the girls would ever consider.

Unfortunately, a nefarious organization has learned of their lineage. And they want to use the girls’ hereditary rights for their own benefits—or eliminate them.

Michelangelo formed the Medici Protectorate to keep all the Medici descendants safe throughout the years. And four of the members—the Brothers—were selected to serve as personal bodyguards for the latest generation. The fourth and final book, Tortured Soul, is the culmination of this battle between the Medici family line and the evil power hoping to usurp their rights and rule the country. And ultimately the world.

To think it all stemmed from a few simple ideas, like my own family history and a two-year retreat in a cave.

Book cover for Tortured Soul by Staci TroiloBlurb:

Protection is safety. Until it stifles.

After months of clandestine battles, the Brothers of the Medici Protectorate finally know who is responsible for the assassination attempts on the Notaro family, the secret descendants of the Medici line. And they’ve never faced such a formidable foe.

Roberto Cozza—Coz—faces this new reality with surprising pragmatism. His powers may make the difference in winning their covert war—if only he can master them in time. It would just be so much easier if he could get his emotions under control, but neither his Brothers nor their charges are making things easy on him.

Toni Notaro appreciates the security provided by the Brothers, but she knows she has her own role to play—and it terrifies her. She is the missing link in Coz mastering his emerging abilities, yet she struggles to bridge the gap between what he needs and what she can offer.

As the Brotherhood hurtles inexorably toward the climactic final showdown, Coz and Toni must find the strength within themselves and each other to master the secrets of his powers, or risk death and defeat for all they hold dear.

Universal Purchase Link

Bio and Links:
Author, Staci Troilo
Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Web | Blog | Tortured Soul Info | Medici Protectorate Info | Amazon Page | BookBub | Goodreads | TwitterOther Social Media Links

New Release: To Jilt a Corinthian by Julia Donner #Regency

Hello, everyone. Please welcome Julia Donner with her newest release, To Jilt a Corinthian. I “met” Julia through Judi Lynn, and it has been a pleasure getting to know her and interact with her. I’m in awe of Julia’s knowledge of the Regency era, and excited about her new release. Naturally, I invited her to my blog to share the blurb and an excerpt 🙂


Hi Mae, and thanks so much for inviting me to your blog and giving a shout out about my newest Regency To Jilt a Corinthian. This character pairing led to one of those fun instances when the story wrote itself. I mostly hung on for the ride as these two took me on their own personal tour into the eternal war between the sexes.

Book cover for To Jilt a Corinthian by Julian Donner shows young blonde woman reading book with her back turned,

Blurb:
Beatrice Allardyce is too busy for something as inconsequential as marriage. And love? A waste of time when there are so many books to read and a father who needs her care. Getting caught in a compromising situation with the haughty Sir Jocelyn Warfield is not part of her agenda.

Intrigued by her intelligence and keen sense of social responsibility, Sir Jocelyn finds himself caught in fascination’s snare with a female who has to be constantly reminded that he’s not a man easily discounted. Or discouraged. Quite the opposite. All he has to do is make her believe that he’s her best bet.

Excerpt:
Beatrice knelt in front of the gap in the fence amid further protests that she would ruin her muslin frock or cause a rip in the tight-fitting spencer, which happened to be Beatrice’s favorite. Due to its snug fit, she was able to squeeze her body through the slats. She attempted to wriggle through until stopped by the curve of her hips. The indent of her waist allowed for room to breathe. Stretching as far as possible, held snug by the wooden slats, she managed to grab the piglet’s front leg and drag him closer. Scrumpy squealed louder. Once the piglet was no longer forcing the tangled rope around his leg to be drawn tight and taut, Beatrice got the knotted twine unfastened and slipped it over the tiny, cloven foot. The pig immediately calmed to making soft grunts. Beatrice exhaled a relieved sigh and carefully maneuvered a retreat from between the slats, but got stuck with the dilemma of how to maintain a hold on the piglet whilst wriggling back out. To her profound dismay, she heard Mrs. Prichard call out to someone. Beatrice couldn’t imagine anything more humiliating than getting caught on her hands and knees with her back end and nothing else exposed to the world.

She struggled gamely until Mrs. Pritchard said, “Oh, sir! Sir, would you kindly assist my dear Miss Allardyce? If you would take my piglet from her, I do believe she can bring herself through the fence.”

A hand encased in a tan driving glove appeared from over the fence and reached by Beatrice’s cheek to take the pig from her grasp. The next thought that entered her head was that the gentleman had to be tall to reach over the fence so easily. As she twisted sideways with breath indrawn, she heard Mrs. Pritchard expressing a joyous reunion with her pet.

Face burning, Beatrice extricated herself from between the fence and accepted the gloved palm waiting to assist her to her feet. She tried to keep her eyes cast downward but it was difficult not to notice what stood before her as she rose up. Dread filled her being. This was no villager.

She first noted the sparkle of black top boots that identified the particular care of a gentleman’s gentleman. Then came the snug fit of immaculate breeches seen through the parting of an unfastened, ankle-length greatcoat. The drape of its superior cloth proclaimed it cost enough to feed a dozen families for a year. She looked higher. His preference of Brummel-austere style was made known with the subtle statement of only one fob draped across a black waistcoat secured by a golden pocket chain. When she stood fully upright, he removed a monocle, allowing it to hang from its black ribbon, and dipped his head in a nod of greeting.

Beatrice, achingly aware of the disheveled state of her person, dipped a curtsey. “My thanks for your assistance, sir.”

“It was entirely my pleasure, Miss Allardyce.”

If only a crevice in the earth would open up and swallow her whole, but before that wish could present itself, Mrs. Pritchard spoke up. “You are indeed an answer to prayer! Please forgive my curiosity, but I do not believe you are from Bruntwich-on-Lye.”

“You are correct, ma’am. I am waiting for a small repair to my curricle before pressing on to London.”

“I have never been, you know,” Mrs. Pritchard coyly informed, cuddling her pet to her bosom. Scrumpy nestled against her, his little pink snout twitching with contentment. After being the cause of one of the most humiliating moments of her life, Beatrice was ready to toss the spoiled swine into the nearest cauldron.

A fresh wave of embarrassment swept through Beatrice when she noticed that her dirt-smeared hand had soiled the gentleman’s tan glove. The front of her white muslin frock had mud smudges over the knees, its hem already grubby from taking a shorter route to the village through a sheep pasture. She felt entirely undone in the presence of this gentleman’s perfection. She dared to glance up and encountered a cool gaze from hazel eyes under straight, black eyebrows. His was a lean and haughty face, making her glad he’d removed the monocle. Being viewed through that single lens would be worse than a minute inspection with a quizzing glass.

This gentleman’s sweeping and impersonal inspection made her nervous and his detached urbanity proved disconcerting. She offered a shallow curtsey in farewell and whirled to escape.

A silky baritone, lacquered with a vaguely mocking undertone, relayed volumes with two words. “Miss Allardyce?”

Forcing down a nervous swallow, she collected poise, turned, and lifted an eyebrow. He extended her package. She hadn’t noticed it in his hand, distracted by embarrassment and feeling unsettled by the presence of so much masculine confidence and elegance. It was scarcely her fault that she’d never encountered a man so sophisticated. Her father’s humble, priestly manner bore no resemblance to this sort of male.

She accepted the parcel, twitched a smile, and sought relief in the knowledge that it was unlikely she’d ever see him again, but he proved her wrong by attending Sunday service the following morning.

Bio:
Julia Donner (aka M.L.Rigdon) grew up in historic Galena, IL, USA, and spent most of her time in the museum of her aunt, who encouraged her interest in history and understood the need to cherish a dream. She started writing in secret in her teens and never stopped, merging it with her mother’s encouragement to study theater and music, which led to performing in the Midwest, California and as far away as Austria.

Her favorite genres are regency and fantasy, but since she loves to read everything, she also writes contemporary and YA fantasy. (Yes, she knows you’re supposed to stick to one genre but can’t stop herself.) Rigdon has twelve titles on Kindle as Donner, and nine as M.L. Rigdon, including the final installment in the awarding winning SEASONS OF TIME trilogy. All of her works are stand alone. She’s a firm believer in HEA.

Purchase to Jilt a Corinthian from Amazon

Connect with Julia/ML at the following haunts:
WebsiteBlog | Twitter | Facebook | BookBub   

Welcome Chuck Jackson with Guilt–My Companion #newrelease #memoir #truelife

Today, I’m welcoming a brand new guest to my blog. Chuck Jackson is here with his latest release, Guilt—My Companion. I hope you’ll make Chuck feel welcome, and take a moment to check out his book. Chuck is always popping in around the blogosphere, supporting others with comments and likes on their posts. I thought it was time he got some comment luv of his own, and—BREAKING NEWS—Chuck has just offered his book for FREE. Follow the link at the end of this post!

Book cover for Guilt--My Companion by Chuck Jackson shows roadway lifting into sky and breaking into piecesBook Blurb:
Chuck Jackson’s Guilt—My Companion is a passionate and true story of personal struggle when faced with society’s ignorance and prejudice. As a young adult, we follow his personal struggles for self-identity and acceptance. The narrative is the chapters of his life that led to an unintended destination. For him, Guilt was his companion who lay in waiting to rob him of personal pleasure.

When tragedy strikes, he turns to his dysfunctional family for support only to find confrontation. Their hostility creates a battle to survive grief and depression. With each episode, he finds the inner strength to conquer his companion Guilt. Through it all, it is a Journey of Healing.

Recent Book Review:
The book stayed true to the title. I found it gripping and, in many cases, difficult to comprehend the cruelty imposed upon the author. The epilogue best describes the outcome: (1) Healing involved a desire to change the habit of carrying baggage, and (2) professional help. The author, Denis Waitley, wrote that “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” I believe that the author’s journey possessed all of these. Without grace, he would not have made the remarkable life he has lived. Without love, he couldn’t fight against the emotional abuse of hate. Without gratitude, he couldn’t have written his books. This book is for all of us; for the times we’ve allowed ourselves to wallow in the darkness of resentment and anger, guilt, and subsequent depression. By sharing this journey, the author opened up his heart with love, grace, and gratitude and gave us this book.

Amazon link:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CPZJ4BQ

Author, Chuck JacksonAuthor Bio:
Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.

Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake Up. In July 2017 he released: What Did I Do?. May 2018 he released: Guilt — My Companion. All three books are available as an e-book or paperback.

Connect with Chuck at his website https://chuckjacksonknowme.com/

Guilt — My Companion is FREE. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS.