Guest Post: Menagerie by Joan Hall #newrelease #shortstories @JoanHallWrites

Welcome friends! I have a special guest on my blog today—good friend and Story Empire colleague, Joan Hall. I’m super-excited to be taking part in the blog tour for her newest release, Menagerie, a collection of short stories that spans multiple genres. Trust me folks, this one is a gem you don’t want to miss. I’ll be sharing my five star review at the end of this post, but in the meantime, please give a big welcome to Joan!

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

A Moment in Time

Thank you for hosting me today, Mae, and helping me kick on the tour of my latest release. It’s always a pleasure to visit with your readers. Menagerie is a mixed-genre collection of thirteen short stories. For each tour stop, I’ll feature one story and tell what inspired me to write it.

A Moment in Time is a dual timeline story set during the American Civil war in the 1860s and the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Two women, Joanna and Maggie, deal with life as their husbands are away fighting. Despite living a century apart, Joanna and Maggie have much in common. Both are young wives left on the home front to face the realities of war, and they live on the same farm.

The idea for A Moment in Time came from a childhood memory. In the late 1960s, there was a nearby farm that was once known as the County Farm. At one time, people could drive through the place, but it’s now privately owned. 

The owners raised cattle, but there was also a large grove of pecan trees. In the fall, when the pecans were mature, area residents were able to help with the harvest. One year, my parents decided to take part. I went to the farm a few times after school while waiting for them to finish the day. 

The property had an old two-story building that I later learned served as a jail. As I recall, it had stucco sides and a covered front porch with ornate railings. Although it didn’t date as far back as the 1860s, for some reason I always envisioned it during the time of the American Civil War. 

Maybe it was because I’d recently seen the movie Shenandoah, but I felt connected to those days. Almost like I was back in time. I would sit on the porch looking over the farm and imagine what life was like during the war. 

About a year ago, the idea came to write a story with a similar setting. Instead of an unused building, I decided on a house. My 1860s character, Joanna lived in the home. While it was still standing in the 1960s, Maggie could only dream about what it was like a century earlier. After discovering an old family cemetery, Maggie feels bonded to Joanna, particularly when she sits on the steps of the old house.

What Maggie couldn’t know is that Joanna often sat on the porch, reading letters her husband wrote to her while he was away at war. The two women shared many things—fear their husbands wouldn’t make it home alive, worry the wars would drag on forever, and loneliness.

I wish I had photos of the old building I remembered as a child. Writing A Moment in Time enabled me to recall fond memories of that time and place.

Banner ad for Menagerie, short story collection shows jungle landscape with army helicopters overhead, book cover to right

Excerpt:
Joanna observed her husband’s expression as he absorbed everything the officer said. “You’re enlisting, aren’t you?” 

Caleb nodded. “Do you understand why?” 

“I want to.” 

“It’s the only way we’re going to save this country. I can’t, in good conscience, not do my duty.”

They had talked at length about the possibility but hearing him say the words made it real. 

“I have to do this. It’s only for three months.” 

Ninety days a wasn’t long time. But even as Joanna mulled the idea, she couldn’t shake the feeling this war would last a lot longer.

Banner ad for Menagerie, a short story collection by Joan Hall shows Civil War cannon on autumn battlefield, book cover to right

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Lloyd pulled a letter from his pocket as he sat opposite her.

Maggie feared what it said but ignoring it wouldn’t make the problem go away. She took the envelope from him, opened it, then began to read.

You are hereby ordered for induction into the Armed Forces of the United States and to report to Centerville Greyhound Bus Station on June 10, 1968, at 6: 00 a.m. for forwarding to an Armed Forces Induction Station. 

“You’ve been drafted?” 

“Honey, we knew this was a strong possibility. College is the only thing that kept me out of the war this long.” 

Tears filled her eyes. “I know, but I hoped they wouldn’t call you so soon.” 

“I’m not the only one. Two others in my class got their notices today.” 

Maggie looked at the letter again. “June 10. Lloyd, that’s only three weeks away.”

Book cover for Menagerie, a collection of short stories by Joan Hall shows close up of old fashioned street lamp at night

Blurb:
King’s. The Tower of London. Glass. What do these have in common?

Each is a famous menagerie.

While this Menagerie doesn’t focus on exotic animals, it does contain a collection of stories that explore various trials people face and how their reactions shape their worlds.

Survivors of a haunted bridge. Women who wait while their husbands fight a war. Former partners reuniting to solve a cold-case murder.

These are just three of the thirteen stories in this compendium, encompassing past and present, natural and supernatural, legend and reality. The genres and timelines are varied, but there’s a little something for everyone who enjoys reading about simpler times and small-town life.

PURCHASE LINK

About the Author

Social Media Links

Website   |   Blog   |   BookBub   |   Goodreads


REVIEW FROM MAE CLAIR:
This wonderful collection offers thirteen tales spanning multiple genres, the heart of each rooted round strong characters and up-close glimpses into small-town life. Several are set in earlier decades evoking simpler times, others are twinned around legends. One even involves a tale told around a campfire. The writing is polished, and the scenes flow easily, packing fully formed and satisfying stories into gems that can be read over coffee breaks, a long afternoon, or as a way to wind down in the evening. 

Each reader will find their personal favorites. For me, those include A Moment in Time, in which 
two women in different centuries try to remain strong during the long years while their husbands are away at war. 

The Dare is a brilliant take on a town legend. Add an old cemetery, a skeptical journalist, and a dare on Halloween night, and I was glued to the pages. Storm Rider also resonated with me by tapping into my love of urban legends.

In an entirely different vein, The Homecoming is a moving story spun around several generations of a military family who have gathered to honor a fallen hero. Told from several POVs, it’s both a family drama and a beautiful salute to military veterans.

Finally, at the top of my list is Hot August Night in which the author skillfully captures a snapshot of small-town Americana—especially when she delves into a past decade. From the sultry summer air to the odor wafting from a nearby paper mill, to railroad tracks, old records, and family relationships, this is a superb story. The descriptions alone make it a delight to read, and the characterizations are pure gold.

I highly recommend this thoroughly bewitching collection of tales!


I love learning how authors develop their ideas for stories and books. Isn’t it great how we can take a memory from childhood, hold onto it for years, then use it as a springboard for a tale decades later? I’m so glad to be able to host Joan today, and hope you’ll take a moment to drop her a comment.

Afterward, don’t forget to hop over and grab your own copy of Menagerie. It’s a gem!

PURCHASE LINK

Guest Post – The Last Drive by John W. Howell #newbook @HowellWave

Hello, and thanks for joining me today while I welcome Story Empire colleague, and fantastic author, John Howell. I’ve enjoyed all of John’s books but when he wrote Eternal Road, an unusual blend of history and the supernatural, which addresses the conflict between good and evil, I was smitten. So much, that I hinted around—erm, repeatedly—that the characters needed a sequel. I’m happy he agreed.

Today, I’m delighted to host John during his tour for The Last Drive, the long-awaited sequel. You can find my five-star review at the end of this post. In the meantime, please welcome, John!


Book cover for The Last Drive by John W. Howell,  shows dirt road headed toward sea, greenery on either side

I am so pleased to be with you today, Mae. First, I want to thank you for helping to spread the word about The Last Drive. Although I had not planned to write a sequel to Eternal Road, I have you to thank for pushing me to return to the characters and the situation. It was an advantageous experience, and I must take a moment to thank you for convincing me it would be a good thing to do. As a result, I could explore additional areas of the relationship between Lucifer, Sam, and James. So, thank you, Mae.

Here is the blurb, and then we can get to a short excerpt from the book.

The Blurb:
In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.

The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey take the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.

This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.

Banner ad for The Last Drive shows tablet with book cover beside cup of coffee and cell phone

An Excerpt:
The Archangel touches his temple. “I’ll come right to the point.”

“Thank you, Sir.” Sam’s eyes lock on the Archangel’s.

“We’re missing a soul and his guide.”

Sam’s hand goes to her mouth. “Missing? How is that possible?”

“Before we get to that, please have a seat, and let me give you the preliminary details.” He points to a chair.

Sam perches upright on the seat’s edge.

“You can relax, Samantha. This may take a while.”

Sam eases back into the chair. For the first time, she notices small lines on the Archangel’s forehead.

The Archangel sits heavily in his chair, sighs deeply, and looks Sam in the eyes. “The soul belongs to an American Air Force pilot. His aircraft got disabled over the Afghanistan countryside.” He pauses. “A lucky shot from an insurgent hit a vital place in his machine. Long story short, the damage forced him to bail out of the crippled craft, since it was on fire and no longer viable.”

A Link to the Trailer

Buy Links

The Last Drive is available in paper and Kindle editions on Amazon.
Here are the universal links.
The Kindle edition is on sale for 99¢ through mid-February.

Kindle  | Paper

Author, John W. Howell

Author 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 Six other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. 

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

Author links
Blog: Fiction Favorites  | Facebook  | Twitter | Goodreads Amazon Author’s page | BookBub

Eternal Road Buy links
Kindle Universal link  | Paper Universal Link 

I hope you enjoyed this post from John. Before you hop over to Amazon to snatch up your copy of The Last Drive, check out my review below and be sure to drop John a comment to wish him well. Thanks for visiting!


My Review of The Last Drive
In this follow up to the Eternal Road, departed souls, Samantha (Sam) and James are reunited to help a recently deceased pilot. Airforce captain, Ryan Sanders, died in a selfless act. Eddie Rickenbacker (yes, THAT Eddie Rickenbacker) is assigned as his guide on the Eternal Road but when the two veer off course, it’s up to Sam and James to get them back on track.

The four eventually connect, but their problems are far from over. Determined to claim Ryan’s soul, Lucifer lays trap after trap as the four hop through time using a 1956 Buick Oldsmobile as transport (trust me, the car is a brilliant touch).

It’s obvious Howell did his research—and there was certainly a lot! The reader visits Super Bowl I, the Battle of Britain, Gettysburg, Hiroshima, the California Gold Rush and ancient Rome, to name just a few of the highlights. I found the scenes onboard the Titanic remarkably touching, especially when Sam and James interact with the captain and crew.

S & J have excellent chemistry and their devotion to each other (especially when pitted against Lucifer) is part of what makes them such excellent characters. Captain Sanders also gets a personal spotlight, when the four journey into his past to discover what became of a woman he loved before entering the service.

An entertaining mix of history and the supernatural, The Last Drive offers a unique journey with four great characters as guides. The ending is wholly satisfying and left me with a wonderful warm feeling. If you’re ready for adventure, sit back and buckle in while James revs up the Olds. Next stop—history!

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Saddled Hearts by Jan Sikes #NewRelease #RomanticSuspense #HorseSanctuary #Rodeo @JanSikes3 @wildrosepress

Banner ad for Saddled Hearts blog tour shows book beside closeup of horse in a stall

Hello, and happy November! I’ve got a great way for you to kick off the month—with a fabulous book that combines romantic suspense, horses, rodeo, music, and even a murder mystery! Jan Sikes is visiting today with her newest release, Saddled Hearts.

Jan is a dear friend, a sweetheart of a person, and a talented author. Saddled Hearts is the final novel in her White Rune series, but reads perfectly as a stand alone. Look for my five-star review at the end of this post. In the meantime, please welcome Jan!


I am thrilled to visit your blog today, Mae, to talk about my new book, Saddled Hearts. Thank you so much for allowing me to take it over. I deeply appreciate your generosity and support! 

When Colt Layne decided to visit the New Age Life Center and consult a medium for communication with his grandfather from beyond the grave, he was in for a shock. I loved writing this scene so much because I could easily recall the first time I stepped inside a New Age store. I’ll share a little bit of his first impression.

EXCERPT:
Inside a small metaphysical shop that led into the New Age Life Center, incense tickled Colt’s nostrils while flute music filtered through small wall-mounted speakers. Crystals and other gemstones lined one wall, while books, tarot and oracle cards, essential oils, and incense lined another. 

He twirled his Stetson and shifted from one booted foot to the other as he waited for Sage Coventry. 

Maybe this was a bad idea. He couldn’t be more out of place if he’d landed in the middle of a foreign country that spoke an entirely different language. 

A young girl with a long, tie-dyed scarf wrapped around her head perched behind the counter, munching on an apple. “You can have a seat if you want, Mr. Layne. Sage will be with you shortly.”

Colt glanced around the space and spied no chairs, only colorful cushions scattered on a rug in front of a bookcase. “I’ll just stand if that’s okay.” 

The girl shrugged. 

In the uncomfortable silence that followed, he meandered to the bookcase and perused the titles. Every subject, from learning to harness the energy of gemstones to reading tarot cards and something called akashic records, filled the shelves. He cleared his throat, put his hat under his arm, then slid out a book entitled Animal Speak by Ted Berner. Now there was something he could relate to.

How much longer? He glanced at his watch. It was already ten minutes past his appointment time. Even though Jag thought highly of the woman’s talents, Colt had his doubts. Sage Coventry was probably an old crone with a pointed witch’s hat and moles on her chin. One of those con artists that tricked desperate folks out of their money. 

Yes, this was a bad idea. He slid the book back onto the shelf and headed toward the door. 


Have you ever visited a metaphysical store? If so, what were your first impressions? The first one I walked into was in Austin, Texas, in the seventies. I remember being a little overwhelmed but oh, so very curious. Let’s chat.

BOOK BLURB:
Colt Layne owns the Layne Horse Sanctuary. He lives an idyllic life between caring for the animals and playing music with his band. That is until a stranger appears with unreasonable demands. When someone murders the man, Colt is arrested. He’s been framed, but by whom and why?  

He needs to talk with his deceased grandfather. But that’s impossible. Or is it?

Sage Coventry is gifted with the ability to communicate with the deceased. Skeptical but desperate, when Colt consults with her, he gets more than messages from beyond the grave as she breezes into his heart with sweet patchouli fragrance and tempting lips he longs to kiss. 

The race against time to clear his name and save the ranch launches them on a mission that brings shocking revelations.


Bio box for Jan Sikes

SADDLED HEARTS
UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK

Awesome, right? If you’re not already intrigued by Jan’s excerpt, and the blurb, let me entice you further with . . .

MY REVIEW:
Saddled Hearts wraps up Jan Sikes White Rune series in spectacular fashion. Colt Layne, who had a small role in the previous novel, takes center stage along with Sage Coventry, a young widow who can communicate with the dead. When a stranger shows up on Colt’s ranch claiming to have won it in a card game from Colt’s uncle years ago, Colt contacts Sage to try to reach his uncle beyond the Veil. 

Although the novel has a supernatural thread woven throughout, it’s the mystery in the physical world I found most compelling. Colt is framed for murder, then freed on bail, but his troubles don’t end there. The ranch—which he uses to run a horse sanctuary—is plagued by a series of unexplained mishaps and accidents. If that’s not enough, his estranged father, an alcoholic who deserted Colt when he was a boy, shows up claiming to be a changed man thanks to his new wife.

From romance to family dynamics, friendships to rivalries, old grudges and buried secrets, there are a plethora of threads twined throughout this engaging novel. I loved the strength of the character relationships, as well as the care and attention the author put into showing the daily operation of a horse sanctuary. I was enchanted with Ghost, an abused horse who arrives part way through the story and was on pins and needles until that thread resolved itself. The overall arc of who framed Colt played out in a manner I did not suspect. A wonderful blend of romance, mystery, danger, and even music, Saddled Hearts is the perfect ending to a wonderful series. Highly recommended! 


Thanks for visiting today. Don’t forget Jan has a scavenger hunt going on for extra fun (see block after the blurb for details). You can connect with Jan at all her social media sites.

WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | GOODREADS
BOOKBUB | INSTAGRAM |  AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

SADDLED HEARTS
UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK

Guest Author, Sandra Cox with Geller’s Find #newrelease #timetravel #western

It’s exciting to have so many new releases coming out among friends! Thanks for joining me for the third guest author visit of this week. Today, I’m happy to welcome Sandra Cox with her latest release, Geller’s Find. Look for my review at the end of this post, but in the interim, sit back and enjoy as Sandra share’s an excerpt and tells us a little about this fabulous time-travel western!

Banner ad for Geller's Find by Sandra Cox shows book cover superimposed over rugged mountain background

Excerpt:

“Dammit.” 

The hair on the back of his neck rose and his nerves twitched. He’d never seen anything like that rock before. He nudged it with his foot. When it didn’t budge, he bent to pick it up. 

The ground under his feet trembled. 

The chiastolite glowed. The markings shimmered. 

What the hell?

He flapped his arms, trying to balance himself as the ground dropped an inch.  A perfect circle below his feet gave way.  The stone stayed in place.

He fell into a cylinder of rock and stone. 

The bottom dropped.

His stomach flopped and he swirled down.  

The wind whistled in his ears as he tumbled into a deep black hole that went on forever. The chill in the air fell away. The further down he went, the hotter the air. The rocks around him began to glow. Good God. Either he was heading for hell or the earth’s core, and neither was where he wanted to be. His grip on the rifle tightened as he bounced off the hot stones that closed around him as he whirled in a tube of rock. 

Time had no meaning. Seconds, minutes, maybe more passed as the cyclone of air spun him around. His stomach pushed up to his throat and he fought off nausea.

With a scraping sound, the spinning lurched to a stop.

Then as if an elevator button was punched, he started upward. Only unlike an elevator there was no floor, just rough rock gravity glued him against.

Up. Up. Up. Faster and faster. Then momentum stopped. His body quivered. A force thrust upward and opened.

He dropped.

Hard earth rose to meet him. 

With a thud, he landed.

Photo on cowboy hat under the woods "Character Facts"

Doctor Luke Geller is a full-time history professor and part-time archeologist. 
His specialty is Native American artifacts.
Instead of a gun, he carries a Hopi throwing stick.
He likes cats, horses with a sense of humor,

and women who aren’t looking for a commitment.

Author Sandra Cox in a candid shot

Bio:
Sandra, who also writes as S. Cox, is a vegetarian, animal lover and avid gardener. She liveswith her husband, their dog and cats in sunny North Carolina.

An award-winning author, her stories consist of all things Western and more.

Foodie Facts:
She spent a number of years in the Midwest chasing down good Southern BBQ. By the time she moved to North Carolina where Southern BBQ is practically a staple, she’d become a vegetarian.

Pineapple is a must-have on pizza, along with black olives and onions.

She loves pumpkin waffles. Pumpkin cream cheese, not so much.

Connect with Sandra at:
https://sandracoxwriter.com | https://cowboytrivia.blogspot.com

MY REVIEW:

Geller’s Find is pure, delightful escapist reading.

Dr. Luke Geller is a history professor with an interest in archeology. While digging for potsherds, he stumbles across an old Winchester rifle that inadvertently tosses him back in time to the No Gold Ranch, owned by Lily Winter Tremaine. The ranch is run by Lily and her two closest friends. Luke soon finds himself hired on as a ranch hand, helping the three women defend the property against possible takeover. If that sounds like the set up for an old fashioned western mixed with time travel–yes and no.

Some things play out as expected but there are several surprises along the way. The strength of the book lies in its characters, its feel good vibe, and a huge heartwarming HEA ending. There’s even a cat who factors into the action! You can’t go wrong with this one. It’s guaranteed to leave you with a contented and sloppy grin at the end. A winner!

PURCHASE GELLER’S FIND

The Midnight Rambler by C. S. Boyack #newrelease #paranormal #urbanfantasy #halloween #lizzzieandthehat

Happy Tuesday! I’ve got a great guest for you today, but before we kick things off, I need to mention that I am over at Teri Polen’s place for Bad Moon Rising. Staci Troilo and I are joining in the Halloween bash Teri throws every year.

The enormity of work behind Bad Moon Rising boggles my mind, but Teri gladly tackles it each year, showcasing the work of other authors. She’s a fantastic teller of tales herself. I can personally vouch, as I’ve read everything she’s released—from her spooky ghost story, Sarah, to her sci-fi adventure, The Gemini Connection, and dystopian duology Subject A36 and The Insurgent, they’re all wonderfully entertaining. You can find Teri’s complete catalog on her Amazon Author Page.

And now . . . Drum roll, please!

‘Tis the season to kick back with Halloween, and I’ve got just the read for you! The Midnight Rambler is the latest entry in Craig Boyack’s Lizzie and the Hat series (look for my review at the end of this post). I’ve enjoyed all the entries in this highly imaginative series.

Although each of these novellas are standalone, there are some reoccurring characters and themes for long time followers. My absolute favorite is something called Night Bump Radio. I love the whole conspiracy theory element and most especially, the callers. I could go on about this little gem that pops up in each Lizzie and the Hat novella, but I’ll let Craig take it from here. Craig is a long-time, good friend, so I felt fine in specifically asking him for a post on Night Bump Radio.

He delivered . . .


Spooky full moon with bats, bare tree branches and a blackbird illuminated in front
image courtesy of Pixabay

Thanks for inviting me over, Mae. I’m always willing to return the favor and am thrilled to be here. Mae requested a specific topic for this stop and it kind of surprised me. Today, we’re talking about Night Bump Radio.

I have to drop a little history, because The Hat Series includes a lot of cameos and Easter eggs. Nobody has to be aware of what came before, but it’s kind of fun for long-term fans. Pete Rogers originated in a novel called Will O’ the Wisp. Eventually, I recycled him and wrote a short story called Night Bump Radio.

This involved Pete broadcasting a late-night show about things that go bump in the night. As a Nevada native, I’m not embarrassed to admit I designed it after a broadcaster from Pahrump, Nevada whose show was kind of like Sea to Sea. If you know, you’ll get it.

Anyway, I was looking for crazy things to include in The Hat Series, and the hat is kind of technology impaired. He understands the radio, and found this broadcast. Pete interviews people about the craziest conspiracy theories I can discover online. I’m always looking for a good conspiracy, but it has to involve aliens, cryptids, or the paranormal.

Eventually, the locals invented a cryptic monster to blame for the actions of Lizzie and the hat. Things that seem crazy in their locality are blamed on Hellpox. (Kudos to Staci Troilo for that one, because she was always poxing those annoying things in our top secret Story Empire fortress.)

The fictional Hellpox is about as far from Lizzie as you can get. He’s a towering monster covered with boils and sores. She’s a cute girl in her twenties. This provides a lot of fun when she gets annoyed by the comparisons.

I try to have Pete interview people who are way off base, but also some that are pretty close to the mark about the capers my heroes get involved in. The hat thinks Night Bump Radio is a good source of evidence.

In the new story, Pete gets to talk about Reptile Blood, which is a kind of alien takeover conspiracy. There’s a bit about the big storm being a government conspiracy involving black planes and mind control drug that get blamed for rising inflation. I enjoyed that caller lamenting the price of malt liquor and hope you will, too. The hat even tries to call in this time to get Pete to help gather evidence.

Night Bump Radio has a lot of fans, but the stories are about Lizzie and the hat fighting against monsters. Night Bump is a fixture in these tales.

book cover for The Midnight Rambler shows close up of spooky halloween scarecrow with jack-o-lantern face and witch's hat

Cover Blurb:
Something evil is after the hat. The ageless enemies have battled many times, but this time Lizzie is wearing the hat. She’s also up against a ticking clock, in that if she can’t find the maker of her new friend’s medicine he will die.

The Rambler has kidnapped the only witch capable of making Ray’s medicine in an attempt to make the hat sloppy in his efforts. He’s also flooded the streets with deadly minions to impede any progress our heroes might make.

As if that weren’t enough, Lizzie is facing more of life’s struggles, both financially and mechanically. This all goes down in the middle of a huge flood event that she’s ill equipped to handle.

Join Lizzie and the hat as they battle the elements, the paranormal, and a being of pure evil. Lizzie might be battling some personal demons along the way as she and Ray grow closer.

GET YOUR COPY HERE

bio box for author, C.S. Boyack

Connect with Craig at the following haunts:
Blog | My Novels | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Pinterest | BookBub

MY REVIEW:

If you enjoy good, campy fun you’re sure to be entertained by the latest entry in the Lizzie and the Hat universe. This time an old nemesis of the hat shows up to wreak havoc and even scores. In order to flush the hat from hiding, “the rambler” kidnaps the only person capable of producing medicine for a new friend of Lizzie’s—well, maybe a little more than a friend. Ray is a Frankenstein-like monster, and like Frankenstein’s monster, he has a great heart.

Long time followers of the series will recognize certain repeat characters and elements (like Night Bump Radio), but this, like others in the series, is designed to be read as a standalone. There’s plenty of monster-hunting, music (Lizze and the hat front a cover band), great snarky dialogue, and even a few moments to tug heartstrings.

Highly imaginative, this is a great Halloweenish-adventure that can be read any time of year, but is guaranteed to make an extra splash during jack-o-lantern season.


Now that you know all about Lizzie, the Hat, and their latest challenge, are you ready to go Rambling? Hop over to Amazon and one-click to join in the Halloween fun!

GET YOUR COPY HERE

Pre-Order for .99c Throwing Shadows: A Dark Collection by Jerry Roth #halloweenreading #shortstories #horror

Happy Monday! I’ve got a treat for you today! Actually, I have several guests this week with new releases. To start, I’m rolling out a short story collection PERFECT for the Halloween season. The best part? You can grab this fabulous book for the pre-order price of .99c.

Jerry Roth is an author I’ve read before. He’s an excellent story-teller, so when he offered me an ARC of his upcoming short story collection, I jumped at the chance. I hadn’t planned to write this post, but after finishing the book, and realizing the pre-order price is only .99c, I just HAD to share my review.

First the blurb:

A woman develops an unhealthy obsession with a scarecrow. A boy plays with a Ouija board and receives a terrifying warning of murder. A down-on-his-luck father learns what happens when you die in your sleep. These stories and six more frightening tales await the reader within the pages of Throwing Shadows: A Dark Collection.

Throwing Shadows will feed that hungry dark side that lives in your cellar.


MY REVIEW:

Goose bump alert!

If you like old-fashioned, creep-fest stories with bizarre twists and turns, this anthology is for you! It has an almost nostalgic feel to it, reminiscent of old horror shows like Night Gallery. Every single story held me spellbound and kept me glued to the pages. The diversity among the plots is fabulous and the descriptions oozed atmosphere.

I enjoyed all the tales but want to mention my top three favorites:

“A Woman’s Strength” introduces a young mother who learns about the unusual connection her husband’s family has to a sinister scarecrow that has stood for generations on the family farm. A powerful story with an unexpected and dramatic conclusion.

“My Soul to Take” is both unique and haunting and involves a father’s unexpected gift to his young daughter. This one really stuck with me after I finished reading it.

Finally, “Always Say Goodbye” is a brilliant piece of writing involving a thirteen-year-old boy, his dead grandfather, and a Ouija board. This one is my absolute favorite, delivering a roller coaster of creepiness and chills. The ending yanked the proverbial rug from under my feet and left me mesmerized by the author’s skill.

With polished writing, deft pacing, and amazing characters, this collection of tales is perfect reading for the Halloween season but is guaranteed to give you goose bumps any time of year—especially if the wind happens to be howling outside and the sun has slipped below the horizon.  Superb storytelling!


PRE-ORDER FROM AMAZON FOR .99C

And there you have it—ideal reading for the Halloween season. Throwing Shadows releases on October 25th, but if you like reading about things that go bump-in-the-night you’ll want to pre-order your copy now! I hope you’ll use the sharing buttons and drop Jerry a line or two in the comments. Happy Halloween!

Last Chance Sales Price: The Haunting of Chatham Hollow #new release #ghostfiction #spiritualism

Promo ad for The Haunting of Chatham Hollow shows books right of one line recommendations, five stars, and notice of limited time sale

Hi, friends! It’s going, going, gone!

This is just a short post to say if you’ve been on the fence about snatching up The Haunting of Chatham Hollow—co-authored by myself and Staci Trolio—consider grabbing your copy today.

Halloween is around the corner, spooky reading is fun,
and next week on 10/3, the price will increase from $2.99 to $4.99.

Thanks to everyone who has left reviews. Staci and I are thrilled by the enthusiastic response to our dual timeline mystery which features an alleged missing treasure, arson, curses, and murder. The story includes three lineages of characters whose paths continuously cross throughout the years—from the 1700s to 1888 to the present day, the mystery of Chatham Hollow spans centuries . . .


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

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

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

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

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


PURCHASE LINK


Many thanks should you decide to walk the streets of Chatham Hollow. Staci and I hope you enjoy our ghost tale, and we wish you happy reading!

The Haunting of Chatham Hollow Blog Tour: Thank You Tour Hosts and Commenters!

Thank you banner for The Haunting of Chatham Hollow

Happy Monday! I hope yours is an awesome one!

Thank you to all the wonderful bloggers who hosted me and Staci Troilo during our blog tour for The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. I know I can speak for both of us when I say we had a blast making the rounds. If you missed any of the posts and would like to check them out, these links will get you to your destination:

Joan Hall
Jan Sikes
Harmony Kent
Gwen Plano
Craig Boyack
John Howell
Denise Finn
Sally Cronin

Thank you also to everyone who visited and commented. We hope you enjoyed following the tour and meeting our characters. It was so much fun introducing them.

Finally, thank you to everyone who purchased a copy of Chatham, and to those of you who have posted reviews. We’re thrilled by the positive reviews and are delighted you enjoyed our story.

With our utmost appreciation and gratitude—thank you, all!

Book Tour Day 9: The Haunting of Chatham Hollow #newrelease #ghoststory #spiritualism #mystery @sgc58 @stacitroilo

Promo ad for The Haunting of Chatham Hollow features paperback cop of book on wooden table with cup pf coffee, notebook and watch

I know it’s an extremely odd occurrence, but yes, I’m here on a Saturday. Today, is the final stop for the The Haunting of Chatham Hollow blog tour. Sally Cronin was kind enough to provide a spotlight for the book I’ve co-authored with Staci Troilo.

Sally is a wonderfully supportive blogger who gives tirelessly of her time in promoting others. She is constantly showcasing someone on Smorgasboard Blog Magazine, her home in the blogosphere. As an author, she covers everything from fiction and non-fiction to short stories, and poetry. I’ve found her work to run the gamut from heartfelt to humorous, introspective to slice-of-life. Be sure to check out Sally’s work on her AMAZON PAGE, and find the book or books that speak to you.

Thank you for following Staci and me as we introduced our book baby to the world. I’ve closed comments on this post, but I hope to see you at Sally’s if you have a moment drop by. You can find the post HERE.

Book Tour Day 8: The Haunting of Chatham Hollow #newrelease #ghoststory #spiritualism #mystery @dlfinnauthor @stacitroilo

Promo ad for The Haunting of Chatham Hollow shows book in various formats super-imposed on dark night sky with large full moon to left

Happy Thursday! It’s the next-to-last day of The Haunting of Chatham Hollow blog tour for this week (you can find Staci and me at Sally Cronin’s fabulous blog on Saturday). Thank you to everyone who has stuck with the tour, left comments, and shared your thoughts. Staci and I both appreciate your awesome support!

For my final stop, I’ll be visiting D. L. Finn, a wonderful friend and Story Empire colleague with a perpetually sunny disposition and a whimsical outlook on life. I love that she has never lost her magical sense of childhood, an outlook reflected in her writing. She’s a diverse author with a collection that spans novels to short stories, poetry, and children’s books.

Her most recent release, A Voice in the Silence is both suspenseful and highly imaginative. I loved the characters—including the four-legged ones! You can find all of Denise’s releases on her Amazon Author Page.

When you’ve finished browsing, I hope you’ll join me on her blog where I’ll be introducing my final character, and lead protagonist, Victor Rowe. By this point—if you’ve been following along on the tour—you’ve heard a lot about him!

Comments are closed on this post, but I hope you’ll join me THERE.