Hi, friends! I only read one book last week, but it’s one I’ve been waiting for. Impatiently.
Being the rabid Preston and Child fan, I am, I preordered Old Bones, and started reading the day it was released. Isn’t the cover fabulous?
This is the first book in a new series which features Nora Kelly, an archeologist who has previously appeared in Preston and Child’s Pendergast novels. Initially, I wondered if she was strong enough to carry a book on her own. Yes, there is room for improvement, but Nora fared fairly well her first time out. P&C gave her a fantastic plot—searching for “the lost camp” of the Donner Party. Yeah, those Donners.
Nora pairs up with a historian who claims to have found a journal belonging to one of the victims of the Donner tragedy. At the same time, rookie FBI agent, Corrie Swanson, is investigating a series of grave robberies and a person who went MIA. There is a connection between all these incidents, but I won’t say more for fear of spoiling the plot.
Highlights for me involved the remote setting, the Donner history, the creepy tale of Samantha Carville, the mounting tension and fear among Nora’s team, and—best of all—Corrie Swanson.
I’ve been a fan of Corrie since she first appeared in Pendergast #4, Still Life with Crows. At that time, she was a teenage misfit with dyed purple hair, major attitude, a Goth appearance, and an alcoholic mother. Pendergast hired her to chauffer him around her small midwestern town—after he bailed her out of jail.
In Old Bones, Corrie gets a starring role beside Nora. Her first major investigation with the FBI means she has to navigate the “good old boys” in local law enforcement, prove her theories at the Bureau, bite her tongue when it comes to red tape and orders, plus overcome Nora’s objections when she sticks her nose in (and Nora has plenty of objections).
Most of the novel clips along at a steady pace. It’s an easy read that keeps you turning pages. There is plenty of talk of cannibalism, excavation of bone fragments, and a ghost story or two (told around a campfire) for good measure. Ratchet up the tension as the last few pieces fall into place, and the closing chapters will have you chewing your nails.
The epilogue—during which Special Agent Pendergast makes a cameo appearance—is a nice wrap, setting the stage for the series. It looks like P&C have plans for Nora and Corrie to work together in the books ahead, and a I couldn’t be happier. Corrie is well developed, but Nora could use a bit more growth. I look forward to reading along as that happens.
In my post yesterday, I mentioned having read a third book last week but not having the time to write a proper review. Black Crow Speaks is a book I have been patiently waiting —okay, not so patiently—to release. The author shies away from promotion so I wanted to make certain I gave it the attention it deserves. I know I will be reading many of the stories in this collection over again.
First some background . . .
I started following Frederick Anderson’s blog a few years ago and was immediately enthralled by his gift of storytelling. I’ve been hoping (I even did some pestering) that he would cobble a collection of short stories together for a book. When I realized he had released Black Crow Speaks, I was ecstatic. This intelligent, literary, diverse, often bizarre, but always riveting collection of tales is not to be missed!
Let me explain the crow of the title—Black Crow shows up at various times throughout the book to discuss everything from neighbors (blackbirds), immigrants (seagulls), family matters, homelife, kids, the wife, temptation, getting old, and social matters. Given Fred is British, I can get away with the expression “bloody brilliant.” Crow has a unique take on life.
Here’s a sample from Corvid Values, my favorite crow story. Crow speaks first, followed by Fred.
He fidgets uneasily, preening a troublesome mite from his breast feathers. “S’pose. Yes and no. There’s the immigrants, see?”
He hasn’t lost his capacity to surprise: “Immigrants?”
“Yeah. You must have noticed – fousands of ‘em. Same every winter, innit? They comes flockin’ in just because they reckon there’s free food and everyfin’. They takes all the best bits and we don’t get a look in. Bleedin’ gulls!”
“Oh, the seagulls! The bad weather drives them in from the coast. The westerlys don’t trouble them so much, then? They can fly into the wind, can they?”
“Well, they work harder, don’t they? They work all the bleedin’ time, them!” He fluffs furious feathers. “They don’t even go to roost, most nights. And…and!” He squawks his emphasis; “They eat almost anyfin’. Jus’ anyfin’!”
“Surely there’s enough for all? I haven’t noticed you losing weight over the winter before.”
“Ah. Ah! But I don’t demean meself, me! You won’t catch me turnin’ over house rubbish like a – like a bleedin’ fox, for fox sake!”
“Oh, really? I seem to recall…”
“Never mind what you ‘seems to recall.’ Never mate, never! I’ve got my pride”
I treat him to one of my penetrating inquisitorial looks. “They’ve been raiding the bins at the back of the Pizzeria, haven’t they? That’s one of your favorite haunts, isn’t it?”
The crow hunches his wings and dips his head. I cannot remember seeing him so annoyed. “That place is a place for crows, gettit? Crows! Respec’able birds, mate. I got a right to that place!”
First, let me point out that no one—no one—does accents like Frederick. The ones he spins in this book are spot on. Second, the message of this story hits with a thunderclap at the end. The first time I read it, it stayed with me for days.
But the crow only makes up a few stories in this collection. As the preface says you will meet “a crow with wisdom we call could learn from, an airline pilot who qualified by correspondence course, an enthusiastic accordion player with a portal to the universe under his dining table, tales of fairies and goblins and ghosts within the machine.”
There are plenty of humans too—some who face heartbreak, others who find their lives altered in unexpected ways. Twists and surprise endings abound. Scene setting is off the charts with descriptions that are sometimes lyrical, other times gritty and raw. Every story brings something unique, but I must make special mention of Birdie, A Visitation from Mary, Goblins, Gloves, Reincarnate, Siobhan, and The Newquay Train. Wow. Just…WOW!
If you like smart, witty, and riveting fiction, don’t pass this collection by. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The great thing about short stories is you can read a few at a time or many at once. However, you read them, do read them. 5 Walloping, glittery, gargantuan stars!
You can find Frederick’s blog HERE if you’d like to give a looksee as to what else he gets up to. I’m presently enjoying a novel he has been serializing, but he’s hinted there is short fiction around the bend and Crow will return. You have no idea how happy that makes me!
Thanks for checking out this special review today. Given I’ve been badgering Frederick to publish this book, I am more than happy to help promote such a fabulous collection.
Can you believe we are already over two weeks into August? Summer is speeding by on a rocket ship.
Speaking of rocket ships—and by default space travel—it isn’t a stretch to make the jump to aliens. Today, my guest, Straci Troilo, is serving up two crazy good books, written under her pen name, D. L. Cross. How do I know they’re crazy good? Because I’ve read them both and gave them resounding 5-star reviews!
Staci is a good friend, a talented author, an editor, and a colleague at Story Empire. If, by some impossible hiccup in the universe, you’re not already following her blog, I encourage you to visit her corner of the blogosphere and hop along for the ride.
And now, that I’ve jabbered enough, here’s Staci to tell you about her latest CRAZY GOOD books! 😀
Hi, Mae. As always, I appreciate the warm welcome. And everyone else, hello! Thanks for giving me a few minutes of your time to talk about the Invasion Universe.
If you know me and my early body of work, you know me as Staci Troilo, author of suspense fiction mashed up with romance, paranormal, legal, medical, and/or family drama. I can’t help adding anxiety-ridden situations to the works I write, regardless of the genre.
Which brings me to my latest endeavors. I’m now writing sci-fi.
When I made the jump to science fiction, my publishers insisted on a pen name. (They’re much more conscious of the “also-boughts” on Amazon than I am.) I used to resist writing with different pen names for different genres because I write in so many of them and didn’t want to manage several identities. Turns out, it’s not that difficult. And (if their theories are correct), it’s probably beneficial. At least on some level.
But what I found surprising is my work didn’t change. I’m still writing suspense. Only now, instead of megalomaniacs or serial killers stalking my heroes, aliens are. Actually, that’s not entirely true, either. Sometimes the villains are aliens. Other times, they’re still humans with nefarious agendas.
I have to tell you, I don’t read much sci-fi. But I love it on screen (small or big). Especially space-oriented shows and films. TV series like Lost in Space, Star Trek (original and TNG), Stargate (SG-1 and Atlantis), Roswell… I get lost in them every time they’re on. And movies? I’m hooked. All the Star Wars episodes (even the bad ones), Star Trek (yep, it’s on both lists), Stargate (yes, it made both lists, too), Independence Day, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Avatar, even Mars Attacks (there’s nothing wrong with humor—even ridiculous humor). The lists are endless. I watch as many as I can. And I love most of them.
The cinematography is usually engaging; the world-building enthralling. But what really draws me in is the characters. Regular people fighting larger-than-life enemies against impossible odds. Who wouldn’t want to watch that?
Who wouldn’t want to read it?
That’s why I made the switch to science fiction—because the genre is wonderous. I was still able to tell my kind of stories with my kind of characters. But now, I get to do it in an alien-rich world.
If you read my Astral Conspiracy series, you’ll find aliens—beings with all kinds of advanced tech and inhuman abilities. You’ll also find a lot of history. I have to admit, Ancient Aliens is a guilty pleasure of mine. Not because I believe their theories, but because of all the amazing places the show’s hosts go and the lore they uncover. I know, it’s weird to think of ancient history melding with futuristic science, but I did it. And early reviews suggest the combination is working.
I hope it is. And I hope you agree. If you give it a try, please leave a review and let me know what you think.
If you like the Twilight Zone, you might enjoy The Scout, my Astral Conspiracy prequel story.
And if you like ancient astronaut theories, you may like The Gate, the first novel of my quintet.
He lost his job. Lost his girl. Now it’s all he can do not to lose his life.
Landon Thorne is a disgraced archaeologist, a laughing stock in his field because of his unconventional beliefs – he’s an ancient astronaut theorist. No one takes him seriously.
Until an alien armada targets Earth.
Now Landon’s in high demand – by the US government and someone far more sinister.
They race across two continents to the Gate of the Gods, the one place on Earth that might give humans an advantage over the aliens. But no one is prepared for what they’ll find.
The aliens have landed. The humans are panicking. The scouts have been sent.
J’s mission is clear — find an alien outpost, observe, report back. Simple enough. It’s what he’s trained to do. But he’s always worked with his team, never as a party of one. Now he’s been sent out alone to blindly navigate a dense, dark forest until he finds his target. The dynamics are foreign to him, the stakes never higher. He’s completely isolated. Resources are scarce. Comms are down.
And he’s found the enemy.
It’s imperative he’s not caught, but clandestine spying doesn’t yield enough intel. J needs an ally, someone on the inside of the camp who can feed him information. And he finds one. But he gets more than he bargained for with Aria.
Their relationship grows complicated. Her people get defensive. His superior becomes suspicious. He doesn’t know who to trust. His loyalty’s divided, and pressure’s mounting from all sides.
J is shocked when everyone’s true allegiances are revealed. And the consequences of betrayal will be deadly.
Bio: 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.
I loved so many of the television shows Staci mentioned in her post, plus many others. I remember reading my first science-fiction novel in the fourth grade and being immediately smitten. As someone who’s loved science-fiction from a young age, it’s been a pleasure to discover a new universe populated by remarkable characters and riveting story lines. As I said in my review of The Scout, “You can’t go wrong with anything from the pen of D.L. Cross!” Still not sure?
Check out my review of The Gate, too, then go forth and one-click these wonderful titles! 🙂
Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome Harmony Kent. Aside from being a skilled and diverse writer, Harmony is also an editor and one of my co-authors at Story Empire. If you’re not already following her blog, I encourage you to check out her spot in the blogosphere and hop aboard. Today, she’s dropped by to share news of her upcoming release, FALLOUT, which I was lucky enough to catch as an ARC. Please say hello and make Harmony feel welcome—and don’t miss my review at the end of this post. I guarantee, you’ll want to click the pre-order button for FALLOUT. I was mesmerized!
Hi, everyone. Harmony here. Many thanks to Mae for hosting me today. I have a new book on pre-order called FALLOUT, which is a post-apocalyptic dystopia. This novel started out life by playing a little game. I sat and closed my eyes and imagined an empty room … in that room, a vial appeared. A dull orange plastic thing covered in scratches. It sloshed when I shook it. From that tiny beginning, the world of Exxon 1 and its deadly virus was born.
Why isn’t the army dealing with the deadly raptors now threatening the cities?
Why is no one handing out a cure?
Does president Terror want them all dead?
WHEN EVERYTHING FALLS APART, WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The year is 3040.
The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.
Determined to avoid the mistakes of old Earth, the surviving humans avoided democracy and opted, instead, for a non-elective totalitarian system.
The new way worked well, until now.
A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population.
No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway.
In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe?
‘Run,’ he yelled to Priya.
Mercifully, she set off at a sprint without offering any argument. Kaleb took a ready stance, feet and legs braced, and planted the stock at his shoulder. The raptor burst onto the neomac surface, an evil red-green in the moons’ glow.
Its oval eyes, a vivid yellow in daylight, looked muddy and brown but no less malevolent. More ominously still, it stopped growling. In complete silence, it stood and watched Kaleb. Studied him. The beast exuded a terrible intelligence.
Around the stock of his weapon, his hands sweated but didn’t tremble. The army had trained him for this. And for things much worse. Kaleb closed one eye and lined up the raptor in his sights, aiming for the centre of its skull. The magnifier grew its eyes to the size of saucers. Though his heart thumped, his mind quieted, giving him the space he needed.
Then, without warning, the raptor glanced left and leapt in that direction.
Author Bio After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.
Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.
Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.
FALLOUT sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Post-apocalyptic, creatures, a president named “Terror?” I was intrigued from the get-go and this novel did not disappoint. I’m happy to share my review:
Fallout by Harmony Kent is a dark, gritty, twisted apocalyptic story guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. Exxon 1 has been devastated by a virus, the planet an inhospitable environment where no one can be trusted, especially the planet’s president who is responsible for the outbreak. While people succumb to the virus and others struggle to resist, a vial containing a potential cure becomes the focus of ruthless individuals.
Pryia, a young woman who finds out just how savage her devastated planet can be, becomes entangled in getting the vial into the right hands. But who can be trusted? In the world Kent has created, her multi-layered characters are far from black and white. No one is who they seem, each driven by dark histories and darker goals, each a study in duplicity. There are crosses and double crosses, noble characters who sink to corruption and corrupt characters who discover a sliver of conscience when the clock is ticking to zero hour.
The world building is exceptional, the plot complex but fast paced. This isn’t simply a book about rebuilding a decimated planet, but a story that takes a raw look at human nature. Finally, I loved the full circle arc of the opening scenes gelling so perfectly with the close. A wholly satisfying and riveting read. Highly recommended!
Clink the link below to pre-order your copy now. You’re in for a treat!
I’m back again with the second half of my reviews for June. If you missed part one, you can find it here. Summer is a huge reading time for me, with pool season the perfect opportunity to float on a raft with a paperback or my Kindle (have to be extra careful it doesn’t fall in the drink). These are the books that rounded out the second half of the month for me. To read the official blurbs and learn more about each, just click the Amazon link below each review.
Meg: Primal Waters By Steve Alten
Book three in the Meg series launches with an intriguing premise. It has been eighteen years since Jonas Taylor last crossed paths with a colossal Carcharodon megalodon, a.k.a. “Jurassic shark.” At sixty-four, he’s the father of a soon-to-be eighteen-year-old daughter and a slightly younger son. Along with his wife, Terry, he’s juggling family and mounting bills, when he gets an offer he can’t refuse—doing commentary on a reality TV survival show called Daredevils.Taking the job means going to sea for six weeks, his daughter in tow, along with a film crew and an adrenalin-fueled cast of thrill seekers. But all is not on the level, and there is more than one Meg haunting the Pacific, presenting separate challenges for each member of the Taylor family.
Once again Alten knows how to ramp up the excitement. The book starts off with a slow burn, the reader knowing there is more behind the Daredevils offer than meets the eye.
There are also plenty of opportunities for various Megs to answer the dinner bell. The Daredevil characters—good and bad—are all well drawn, and the reality TV angle adds a great edge. I particularly loved when Jonas intentionally flubs the name of the show’s airhead host after she repeatedly goofs his. Small things like this add flavor to the book, especially given the high-octane action scenes. I do wish Jonas and Terry weren’t always fighting off unwanted sexual advances (a theme in the last two books), but those small distractions aside, this is summer popcorn reading at its best. More than one Meg invades the Pacific. Give those sharks 5 stars!
Amazon Link Genre: Suspense Action Fiction > Sea Adventures Fiction > Fantasy Adventure Fiction
Red Eyes in the Darkness By D.L. Finn
This is another entry in the author’s evildwel series, which addresses the balance of good and evil across mortal and supernatural realms. Retirees Will and Cass, along with their two dogs have a comfortable life—until murder hits close to home, and they suddenly find themselves the prime suspects.
Finn does a great job building tension with “It” watching and stalking them, their own daughters falling into the mindset of suspicion “It” has orchestrated.
This is a short story rife with tension that steadily builds as Cass, then Will, come to realize the evil which has infiltrated their lives. I didn’t expect the twist at the end. On a side note, I love how the author always includes pets in her stories, crafting yet another aspect that makes her characters feel like neighbors. 5 stars
Amazon Link Genre: Paranormal and Urban Fantasy > Short Stories
The Sheriff Meets His Match By Jacquie Biggar
After reading Summer Lovin’, part of Biggar’s Wounded Heart series set in the fictional town of Tidal Falls, I immediately wanted to read The Sheriff Meets His Match which tells the story of Jack and Laurel, hinted about in Summer Lovin’. Laurel is a transplant from the sunshine state of Florida who takes the job of secretary to Tidal Falls hunky sheriff. Their attraction is quick and flirty, but complications arrive in the form of Laurel’s charismatic Uncle Max, and her cousin’s lowlife ex-husband.
As guaranteed in any Biggar novel there is plenty of heartwarming moments, including Laurel bounding with Jack’s teenage daughter, and the introduction of a cuddly lost kitten. Every time I read one of these novels, I am amazed by how effortlessly Biggar brings her characters to life with spot-on POV, snappy dialogue, and fleshed out descriptions. This is an author who knows how to set a stage for maximum effect. Each and every book screams “Hallmark movie.” 5 stars!
Wow! This book delivers a complex mix of academia, covert ops, terrorist plots, and artificial intelligence. Once started, I couldn’t stop reading. Murray populates her espionage tale with a roster of characters that include an ex-Navy SEAL–now college professor–two brilliant grad students, an eccentric mathematician, and a Middle Eastern terrorist with deep pockets to name just a few of the highly diverse cast.
Kali Delamagente has invented an AI to track the evolution of prehistoric man. But “Otto” is capable of much more. In the wrong hands, Kali’s cutting-edge technology can decimate U.S. submarines. She attracts the attention of a mysterious unseen donor who funds her research, as well the FBI. Enter Dr. Zeke Rowe, ex-SEAL and Navy Intel officer who pursued a career in academia after a failed mission left him with permanent injuries.
Working together, Delamagente and Rowe struggle to remain one step ahead of a terrorist network that has infiltrated most every aspect of Kali’s life. Friends and colleagues are not always who they seem. As the stakes grow higher, Kali’s lab is broken into, her dog vanishes, a new friend is abducted, and her son is kidnapped. The book rockets to an explosive end, but the journey there is alternately a slow burn and a roller coaster of twists and turns.
The research that obviously went into the book—from the origins of prehistoric man, to the workings of submarines, intelligence agencies, and military protocol—is mind-boggling. I’ve already purchased book two of the Delamagente/Rowe espionage thrillers and look forward to three when it is released. 5 Whopping big stars!
And that rounds out my June reading. I hope something I’ve shared intrigues you. I’ve already got my nose buried in July books and look forward to discovering more titles. I love when I find new authors to add to my auto-buy list and discover fresh gems from authors I love. Here’s hoping your reading is every bit as inspired and satisfying!
Exciting times! I’m thrilled to have my friend, Joan Hall, as my guest today. She’s brought along a fabulous excerpt from her new release, Unclear Purposes. I’m particularly fond of this excerpt because of the featured character. Joan handled him extremely well throughout the book, setting a stage for growth that I found fascinating—just one of the excellent elements in her superb novel. You can find my five start review of Unclear Purposes on Book Bub. And now here’s Joan with her latest release . . .
Mae, it’s an honor to be on your site today and to share about my latest release, Unclear Purposes¸the third and final in the Driscoll Lake Series.
To give your readers a bit of background, there’s a killer on the loose. Driscoll Lake’s new detective, Jason Montgomery, is tasked with solving the crime. But Jason is young, inexperienced, and a bit arrogant. He hasn’t gotten off to a good start with the police chief, Matt Bradford. Let’s get to know Jason a little better and hear his thoughts about the crime.
Jason Montgomery rubbed his forehead as he looked through the file on his desk. Three weeks had passed since the murder of Jenny Allen, and he still wasn’t close to finding her killer. Chief Bradford wanted to meet with him this afternoon to discuss the case, and he wasn’t looking forward to it. If he had even one new piece of evidence, he might feel differently.
Jenny Allen was an enigma. Nothing about her past gave him any clues as to who murdered her. He’d spoken to people who knew Jenny in Taos, Santa Fe, and San Antonio. No one had been able to provide anything that would point him to her killer.
Everyone he’d spoken with said Jenny was quiet and kept to herself. Wasn’t one to make enemies. Jason was beginning to believe the killing had been a random act. Same as the murder in Brewster. He’d kept in close contact with detective Somers.
So far, Brewster police hadn’t come up with a suspect. That was a good thing. If these murders were the work of a serial killer, which was yet to be determined, Jason wanted to be the one to solve the crime. What better way to get in Matt’s good graces and secure his position on the force? And that was only the stepping stone to bigger and better things.
As he looked at the file, another issue came to mind. How was Jenny’s killer able to escape unnoticed? No one who had been jogging that evening reported seeing anything suspicious. Vince Green and Christine Lawrence approached the crime scene from opposite directions. Neither of them saw anyone along the path.
The coroner estimated the victim had only been dead a short time before they found the body. There were no footsteps in the soft earth alongside the path, which meant the murderer had either walked or run at least a short distance along the paved trail.
Christine or Vince might have seen something or someone and had blotted it from their memory. Jason knew of instances where it had happened. The shock of witnessing a brutal crime or being the first on the scene was overwhelming for some people.
If that were the case, he’d be willing to bet Christine was the one who had forgotten. Vince Green was a former law enforcement officer. Trained to be observant. He would notice things most people would overlook.
It was time to have another talk with Ms. Lawrence.
Some people take secrets to the grave…
Three years after her husband’s murder, Christine Lawrence still struggles for balance. She has a rewarding career and a close circle of friends but feels oddly unfulfilled. Worse, the close relationship she once had with her teenage daughter has grown increasingly strained.
Former FBI agent, Vince Green, is battling demons of his own—painful secrets that drove him from Driscoll Lake. Newly resettled in the small town, he makes his living as a private investigator.
When Vince and Christine cross paths, stumbling over the body of a murder victim, he’s forced to confront memories he thought long buried. The circumstances surrounding the killing are eerily similar to a victim from his past.
As the body count continues to rise, Christine finds herself drawn to Vince. With a murderer stalking the streets of Driscoll Lake, neither is aware the killer has targeted her as the next victim—or that Vince’s past is key to unmasking a disturbed and deadly killer.
I have a first time guest on the blog today and I hope you’ll make her few welcome. Denise D. Young is here with her debut release, Tangled Roots, a fantasy romance. Any new release is cause for excitement, but a debut release is extra special. Here’s Denise to tell you about her book and what first attracted her to her chosen genre.
P.S….don’t forget to check out her giveaway below!
Thanks, Mae, for hosting me as I celebrate Tangled Roots, Book 1 of my Tangled Magic Series and my debut fantasy romance!
Language, for me, is a conduit for magic. And we don’t have to believe in “magic” in the witchy sense to feel that magic coursing through us when we read—or write—a captivating story.
As a writer and a reader, that’s what draws me to the page. I poured that heart, that love, that magic, into every word of Tangled Roots.
I fell in love with romance novels a long time ago, when I used to steal my mom’s Harlequins. There were plenty of contemporary romances, a whole lot of westerns, and a healthy dose of romantic suspense.
The story that stuck with me most, however, was a time-slip about a man and woman who had plenty of sparks—and the misfortune of being transported back in time, where they had to pretend to be husband and wife. I don’t remember the title, the author, or much else, except that there was a magic to that story that I’ll never forget.
That author, whoever they might be, gave me my first glimpse of fantasy and paranormal romance. Perhaps, it’s only fitting then, that there’s a time-slip element in my story!
The first in a new series.
A witch lost in time. A man with magic in his blood and a chip on his shoulder. Dark secrets and shadowy magic. Steamy romance meets contemporary fantasy with a time slip in the first book of this new series.
Cassie Gearhart casts a spell in the forest in the summer of 1974. The next thing she knows, she wakes up to find the world irrevocably changed.
It’s 2019, for one thing. For another, all of her coven members have vanished, leaving behind only one man who holds the key to their secrets, Nick Felson, the grandson of her high priestess and a rough-around-the-edges farm boy who wants nothing to do with twenty-year-old Cassie.
For twenty-three-year-old Nick Felson, there are two worlds: one, Willow Creek, Virginia, before everything went to hell. And the other, after.
He’s sworn off magic, until a confused Cassie knocks on his door in the middle of the night, somehow missing decades’ worth of time. But Nick knows falling for Cassie means letting magic back into his life—and that’s one line he swore he’d never cross.
Can Cassie unravel the mystery that transported her into the future? And can Nick resist the powerful magic and heart-pounding passion that swirl in the air whenever he and Cassie are together?
The Tangled Magic Series is intended for readers 18-plus who enjoy short but steamy reads, wild and witchy magic, swoon-worthy kisses, small-town charm, and interconnected books. The series is best read in order.
“Cassie.” Her name slipped off my tongue, tasting of summer—of dandelion salad, mint iced tea, a tiny drop of sweet honeysuckle.
My sleeping magic threatened to surface. The scent of a field freshly ploughed rose up, along with a hint of mushrooms, a wild forest of fir and pine.
She tilted her head. “You inherited your grandmother’s gifts.”
“They’re not a gift,” I snapped.
She raised an eyebrow. “I know some people think that, but you can’t—”
“I’m not discussing this with a stranger.” Her fingers were worrying the wood of the farmhouse table, tracing the pattern of the grains. “Who sent you here? I told them months ago to stay away.”
Her brow furrowed. “Told who?”
“The other covens. I know they want answers. I’m not their man. You understand?”
She shook her head. The quilt fell away from her shoulders, revealing a stained, previously white sundress that skimmed sun-bronzed thighs. The dress had a vintage vibe, as though she’d plucked it off the rack at a secondhand clothing store.
She reached out, tentative, and touched my arm. “Nick, no one sent me, okay? I’m just…lost. I’m so lost, and really far from home.”
“I thought Ginny was your mentor. Were you emailing or something?”
“It’s like you’re speaking another language half the time. Look, the truth is, when I say I’m not from around here, I don’t mean Willow Creek. I mean, now.”
“Now? Are you playing freaking mind games? Is that your style? Gaslight the last witch in Willow Creek?”
Before she could respond, the kettle whistled. I jumped back, grunting as I slammed my hip into the corner of the island. With a growl I turned to the tea kettle. I pulled down two blue pottery mugs emblazoned with pale moons over emerald green mountains. I plucked two tea bags out of the metal canister, not even bothering to check what blend, and set her mug in front of her.
“Honey and sugar on the island.” I inclined my head in that direction.
“I’m confused.” She wrapped one hand around the mug and, without asking, opened a drawer and withdrew a spoon. Again, like she’d been here before. Not once. Many times. “Am I staying for tea, or do you want to run me off the property?” She jutted out her chin, and I caught a glimpse of stubborn pride underneath a veil of polite acquiescence.
I scratched the stubble on my chin. “Tell me the truth. Who you are. Why you’re here. No games.”
“No games.” The words, a mere whisper, tingled in the air with a magical sort of promise. Somehow, without knowing how I knew, whatever she said next would be the truth.
Denise D. Young may or may not be a woodland sprite who loves tea, crystals, and thunderstorms. As much as she loves a wild forest, she also loves a good story, which is why she is also an indie author who pens fantasy and romance.
If you’ve ever hoped to find a book of spells in a dusty attic, if you suspect every misty forest contains a hidden portal to another realm, or if you don’t mind a little darkness before your happily-ever-after, her books might be just the thing you’ve been waiting for.
Her Tangled Magic Series features witches, romance, and small-town charm. The first book in the four-part series is coming in May 2019.
A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and Hollins University, Denise took first place in the Pages from the Heart Contest for her novella Good Old-Fashioned Magic in 2015. Her novel A Prince in Patience Point received second place in the 2016 Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest.
Denise lives with her husband and their animals in the mountains of Virginia, where small towns and tall trees inspire her stories. She reads tarot cards, gazes at stars, and believes magic is the answer (no matter what the question was).
I am über excited to be taking part in the book launch blog tour for my friend, Julie Holmes. Her debut release, Murder in Plane Sight, a mystery/suspense novel is now available. I have been looking forward to this release for a long time, and am thrilled to know Julie has more mysteries planned. If you’re not already following her blog, Facets of a Muse, you’re missing out on a lot of fun. This isn’t the first time Julie has appeared on my blog, but it IS the first time she’s been here to share a novel she’s written. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome!
Thank you, Mae, for hosting me! I’ve had the opportunity to watch fellow writers release their books. I’ve even hosted their announcements on my own blog, hoping that someday it would be my turn to announce my own book release.
That day is here. It’s both exciting and terrifying. Exciting because I have reached a goal I have been aiming for since elementary school. Terrifying because I can no longer stay home and quietly keep writing, not if I want to gather readers.
I’ve been paying attention to my fellow writers and what they do for their book releases. Some offer a bit of insight into their process, which seems to suggest there is some sort of order to the whole thing.
I suppose there is. First come the characters.
No, wait, first comes the story.
Hmm. It’s different for every writer, and for me it can be different for every book. Sometimes I come up with characters who need a story. Sometimes I get a great story idea, and the characters follow.
So which was it with this book, you ask? That’s a little tricky, because the very first draft wasn’t set at the airport at all. In fact, it was a whole different story, with a main character who was an aircraft mechanic, and a story set in rural Minnesota. What is the point of a character who works at the airport when the story isn’t set there?
I realized I had two separate stories: a character who needed a story, and a story that needed a character. So I pulled my aircraft mechanic out of rural Minnesota and gave her a story. And of course, as is usual in my creative process, her first story wasn’t even set on the airport grounds.
Which I realized after I wrote the first draft and started reading through it. And I heard the voice of my writing teacher, clear as day: Why isn’t she at the airport?
Um. Yeah. Duh!
And eventually the story matured into Murder in Plane Sight.What about the other story, you ask? That’s on my list to work on after I finish Book 2. Yes, there will be another Sierra Bauer mystery. 🙂
BLURB: Sierra Bauer, aircraft mechanic, struggled against personal tragedy to reclaim control of her life and her aviation career, but when she discovers a frozen body in her inspection plane, she must prove her innocence and uncover the key to exposing a deadly aviation conspiracy before she becomes the next casualty.
Short Excerpt: Headlights glared in the rearview mirror. Sierra Bauer slowed, but not enough. Her car slid around the turn onto the service drive that ran past the Range Airlines maintenance hangar on the western side of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. She steered into the skid, regained control. Cursed the timing of the snow.
The idiot stuck to her backside like duct tape, too damn close even for Minneapolis drivers in these two inches of fresh January snow. Sierra considered hitting the brakes.
A deep rumble, and her tailgater passed her.
A pickup truck.
In the glow of her headlights, she identified the color.
Her breath caught.
An outline of a pale rectangle peeked from the layer of snow on the rear bumper.
Her heart stuttered. Raced.
It can’t be his truck. How would he know where I am?
Hi, friends. I’ve been out of town at the beach for several days, so please excuse me for being absent from commenting on your blogs. I’m now back in the thick of things and delighted to be participating in the blog tour for D.L. Finn with her newest release, Just Her Poetry. Denise is a bright, sunny soul whose beautiful spirit always shines through. I’ve read several of her books, including her poetry, and always find her work vividly imagined and engaging. I had her current release on pre-order and look forward to wallowing around in the pages. The cover alone is enough to put me in a contemplative mood! Please welcome Denise….
Thank you, Mae, for having me on your blog to celebrate the release of my first poetry book, “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul.”
As a child, I used to catch lake fish with a bare hook off the boat dock. It always seemed to impress the adults who couldn’t do the same thing.
I’m able to vent my frustrations through poetry. No one will ever see it, but it helps me work through my negative feelings.
Blurb: Take a journey with D.L. Finn as she blends her love of nature with her deepest emotions. Sit with her on the forest floor observing its tranquil beauty, or stroll along the ocean’s shore admiring the vastness of its horizon. Here in these peaceful moments you’ll be able to experience her thoughts and feelings in the light—and in the darkness. This is a thought-provoking collection of poetry that invites the reader into all the seasons of a soul.
Excerpt from Some Readers’ Favorites from No Fairy Tale
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 nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.
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.
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…
About 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.