Just a Note

Please pardon my absence over the last two weeks. I have missed visiting your blogs and sharing on my own. I will be back online next week and look forward to catching up. A special thanks to my Story Empire colleagues for covering comments on my post last week while I was engaged elsewhere.

For those in the U.S., I wish you a happy Fourth of July weekend ahead. May it be filled with family, friends, and good times! And to all my friends, regardless where you are located, happy writing and reading. May the muse be kind, and your summer (or winter) filled with excellent books. Chat soonest! 🙂

Book Review Tuesday: Jonah, The Apartment, A Forgotten Murder @JanSikes3, K. L. Slater, @JudeDeveraux1

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over imageHappy Tuesday, and welcome to the first Tuesday of June. Although the weather is still in the “iffy” category, I’m thrilled that hubby and I have finally been able to open our pool. I haven’t ventured into the water yet, but I’m counting on warmer days where I can enjoy sunshine, a relaxing raft, and good reading. With that in mind, here are a few books that snagged my interest over the last two months.

by Jan Sikes

Although this is a short read, it’s packed with a strong message about overcoming obstacles, seeing oneself as you truly are, and accepting change. Jonah, a prisoner, is banished to inhospitable island. He’s angry, bitter, and miserable. Over time, he meets a young boy named Titus and begins to receive mysterious “gifts” that make his hardscrabble life easier. But along with gifts of food, he receives a book about self-change and a blank journal. It’s up to Jonah to write his own story, a new one—but can he change? Can he put the past behind him?

I liked the way his relationship with Titus grew, while at the same time Jonah embraced change, sometimes without even realizing it. When he makes a thoroughly unselfish decision, the payoff is unexpected. I loved the author’s use of magic and family. Also of note were excellent descriptions that brought the harsh dangers of the island to life.


Genre: 90 Minute Short Reads > Fantasy and Science-Fiction Short Reads

The Apartment
By K. L. Slater

Freya and her young daughter, Skye, are in dire straits and need an affordable place to live. When she encounters Dr. Marsden at a coffee shop, he mentions a vacant apartment he is leasing in an upscale property called Adder House. The rent is unbelievably affordable, and Freya believes her prayers have been answered.

But once she and Skye move in, she finds herself subjected to odd noises, even odors. Items are moved about in the apartment, and Dr. Marsden seems obsessed with security—to the point of wanting to install security cameras in her unit. The other tenants, though few, are odd, even disturbing. And though Dr. Marsden insists Freya is the first to occupy her unit, she learns of a woman who lived there previously and committed suicide.

This book is spooky and suspenseful. There is nothing supernatural, but the steady infusion of creepiness inspires chills. With each chapter the tension rachets higher as Freya discovers more and more about the building and the woman who lived there previously. There are also scenes devoted to a wet nurse and her young son who were involved in medical experiment in the 1930s, which factor into the story. It’s all very bizarre and unsettling, and the author does an excellent job of creating a sinister aura, especially as related to Adder House and its inhabitants. This is my first book by Slater, but I will definitely seek out other titles. I found this story riveting.


Genre: Psychological Fiction > Psychological Thrillers

A Forgotten Murder
By Jude Deveraux

I want to thank Kim of By Hook or By Book and Tessa of Tessa Talks Books for reviews that enticed me to pick up two of these releases. If you love books, these are two book bloggers you should be following. Both are excellent reviewers. I have other titles on pre-order, my wish list, and in my TBR queue on the recommendations of these ladies.
All three of the releases above helped me pass unsettled hours during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re looking for escapism, you can’t go wrong with any of them!

#TwoferTuesday No. 2 – #BookSale – ALL My Novels!

Being stuck inside is the perfect time for reading. My friend and Story Empire colleague, Marcia Meara, currently has ALL of her full-length novels on sale. Yeppers, you heard that right. If you haven’t already discovered the charm of a unique little boy named Rabbit or met the citizens of River Bend, now’s your chance to dive into both series. I’ve read all of these books and can vouch they’re excellent. Go forth and one-click!

The Write Stuff

Just want to let the Immediate World know all of my full-length novels are on sale from now until April 30! Yep! ALL. Of them. 🙂 Here’s the breakdown:

Book 1 of each of my series is always priced lower than the rest of the series, but now through April 30, both Wake-Robin Ridge and Swamp Ghosts can be downloaded for just $1.99! Here’s your chance to start a new series at a bargain price, if you haven’t already read these.

Buy Wake-Robin RidgeHERE

Buy Swamp GhostsHERE

The rest of my novels will be on sale for $2.99 through April 30, too. So if you try Book 1 in the Wake-Robin Ridge series and enjoy it, you can download the other books in the series and save $2.00 on each one.  Included in this bargain price are  A Boy Named Rabbit, Harbinger, and The Light.

Buy A Boy…

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Today is the day

I’m kind of offline for the time being, but this offer is too good not to share. Craig Boyack has a freebie download on his crazy-cool book The Yak Guy Project. Whether you read this now while you’re stuck in isolation like the rest of us, or save it for later, don’t miss this opportunity for a great FREE read!

Entertaining Stories

I warned you about it on Friday, and the day is finally here. You can grab your copy of The Yak Guy Project for free today. To quote pop culture, “Free, free, free, free.”

This is my attempt to ease your isolation by offering something fun to read. I suppose you could grab a copy to read this Fall, too, if you want. Anyway, here is a cover and blurb, plus a purchase link.

Imagine waking up in the desert with no idea what happened to you. You have clear memories of situations and places, but a complete loss in personal matters… like your own name. This situation is bad, and you have no idea how to get home.

When you’re rescued by a talking yak, the situation gets exponentially worse. You’ve obviously lost your mind. The immediate needs of a ride off the salt pan and searing heat, along…

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Wednesday Weirdness: The Northern Lights

pathway between large, gnarled trees with words "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over image

This is one of those Wednesday Weirdness posts that resonates strongly with me. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the Northern Lights. When the movie Frequency debuted, I was in heaven. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It ranks among my favorite movies of all time. Not only is the story utterly amazing and the Northern Lights key, but the ending rocked my world! Added plus: Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid in the lead roles. *happy sigh*

The Northern Lights also feature prominently in The Terror by Dan Simmons, one of my all time favorite books. An amazing storyteller, Mr. Simmons skillfully uses them to evoke mood and setting so rich, I can easily conjure it years after finishing the book.

northern lights creating bands of green above lake in dark of night

In case you’re wondering why the aurora borealis is being featured on a Wednesday Weirdness post, it’s because there are plenty of legends and folktales attached to this wondrous spectacle. There is even speculation the prophet Ezekiel was describing them when he referred to “a whirlwind out of the north.”

The Cree called the Aurora “the dance of the spirits” and the Inuits believed the crackling and roaring of the lights resulted from the ghosts of the dead playing football with a walrus skull.

Valkyrie.Viking girl with swordIn Norse mythology, the lights are said to be the reflection from the armor of the Valkyries, immortal warrior women who carry fallen warriors to Odin’s hall.

During medieval times the aurora was often seen as a warning of bloodshed brought on by war or plague. The Danes viewed them as reflections caused by light glinting off the wings of swans trapped in the ice on their way north. In almost all legends, the Aurora is seen as either an omen or a gathering of spirits.

Sadly, I’ve never seen the Northern Lights, but it’s a bucket list item. My husband saw the spectacle decades ago while in Maine. Although he found it interesting, he didn’t feel the same “ooh! ahh!” factor that would have definitely flowed over me.

I have a short story tucked away on my computer in which the lights figure prominently in the plot. It might be time to dust that off and polish it up for future publication.

Have you been lucky enough to witness the aurora borealis? Were you familiar with any of the folklore I shared today? I’ve always been attracted to celestial lights, and this one is at the top of my list. What are your thoughts?

Book Review: Eventide (Hode’s Hill #3), by Mae Clair

I’m delighted to find such a stellar advance review for Eventide from Dandelions Inspired Book Review blog. If you get a chance, I hope you’ll hop over and check it out.

Make sure you hang around long enough to read the “embarrassing moment” at the end. Had me cracking up, LOL!

Dandelions Inspired

Eventide (Hode’s Hill #3),

by Mae Clair

Publication: Lyrical Underground; December 31, 2019

eventideAbout the book: The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No…

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The Bow of Hart Saga #SomethingWickedTour @ph_solomon @StoryEmpire

Welcome to another day of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour. My guest today is P.H. Solomon who is extremely adept at writing epic fantasy. You can find the complete tour schedule here.

October is all about creatures, and trust me, P.H.’s books are loaded with them, including all manner of diverse and fascinating characters. I’ve read his complete Bow of Hart saga, and it’s a winner. I hope you enjoy his post today as he shares information about various characters and creatures who populate the saga.

Book covers for the fantasy series Bow of Hart by P.H. Solomon

Thanks to Mae for hosting me today. It’s been a lot of fun so far on the Something Wicked Book Tour with the rest of the authors at Story Empire. Please make sure to share this post and visit the other stops this week and share those.

The Bane is a character that never speaks, but effects The Bow of Hart Saga throughout the entire series. Conjured near the beginning of The Bow of Destiny by Corgren for specific activity to instigate action out of Athson, the Bane is a creature of magic, born of Magdronu’s will and frightens even the most fearless of people.

Makwi is a dauntless character, a dwarf champion never out of sorts, but when he, Ralda and Athson are confronted by the creature, they flee in panic. The Bane is seemingly impervious to attacks but wields fear and physical weapons mercilessly. It is a fearsome adversary whose touch can freeze the will of almost anyone. Every character is repelled and struggle with this presence. Here’s how Limbreth, a bold person herself, reacts to her first contact with the Bane in An Arrow Against the Wind:

Banner ad for An Arrow Against the Wind, fantasy novel by P. H.Solomon

Limbreth lay beneath her blanket. She grunted to herself. She’d hardly thought of Athson all day. The weather race had taken all of her attention. She sighed in weariness. Sleep overtook her without further thought.

The touch of a cold hand drew Limbreth out of the depths of slumber. Her watch already? But her eyes only fluttered open and shut. Hastra said nothing. That touch—it was far colder than the weather. It crept deep into her sluggish thoughts and along her spine.

Limbreth groaned and turned her head. Her eyes flared wide at the sight of a black hand. It grasped her arm. Her jaw worked, but she uttered not a sound. Her heart slammed in her throat, and her chest heaved. The Bane dragged her toward the door where Gweld squatted.

The figure of the Bane swallowed all the light in the small space even though the fire still burned well. Limbreth found some strength and flopped as the Bane pulled her to the door’s threshold and then ducked out.

Limbreth’s lungs strained to utter any noise. It was a spell! She fought for a sound and croaked a whimper. The Bane pulled her right arm out the door.

Why wouldn’t Gweld do anything?

Limbreth fumbled with her free hand and snagged the rock edge of the doorway. The Bane yanked at her arm. Her breath came in gasps but made no viable sound.

She drew the deepest of breaths and mustered all her strength, which passed her lips in a feeble whisper: “Help.” Not enough to wake anyone. You’re on your own. Gweld never moved.

The Bane yanked her torso into the blizzard outside. Her hand grasped the doorway fast and her left arm locked in pain. A groan escaped her lips.

You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens, but Limbreth clearly reacts with an unfamiliar emotion for her. The fear lingers Limbreth and she struggles with it until a confrontation in The White Arrow. Looking for some fear factor, well the series is rife with it and the Bane reaches throughout with it’s appalling touch.

About An Arrow Against the Wind is Book 2 of The Bow of Hart Saga:

Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Tossed like an arrow in the wind.

Athson discovered the unexpected during the search for The Bow of Hart. Yet the prophesied weapon remains hidden. Mysteries discovered during the quest draw him deeper into the peril. The flames of vengeance surge in his thoughts with new revelations. Can he escape the traps of his enemies? The dragon’s reach endangers even Athson’s companions in unexpected ways. His enemy wants the bow but his mentor claims it must be used according to prophesy. With each turn of the search for the bow, long-hidden secrets surface and Athson must find the bow or risk losing those dear to him. When the dragon gains an upper hand with the abduction of Limbreth, Athson is torn between destiny and desire. But Athson seeks his own path. Will he falter like an arrow against the wind?

Find  An Arrow Against the Wind, book 2 of The Bow of Hart Saga on Amazon in e-book, audio and coming soon to print.

Also in this series:
Book 1: The Bow of Destiny
Book 3: The White Arrow

Author photo, P. H. SolomonAbout the author
P. H. Solomon loves reading and writing fantasy of all kinds, especially epic fantasy. If a book has dragons, elves, dwarves, wizards, magic or mythical creatures, it’s in his reading zone. He lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. His first novel, The Bow of Destiny was named 2016 Book of the Year by Fantasia Reviews and is the first book of The Bow of Hart Saga. The sequel novel, An Arrow Against the Wind, was released in April of 2017. The third book of the series, The White Arrow, was released during October of 2017. P. H. Solomon also authored the award-winning short story, The Black Bag, which won best published short story at SCWC 2012. P. H. is also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Thanks for stopping by today. Please take time to share this post. Whether you’ve read The Bow of Hart Saga or not, please leave you reactions to this scene and the book.

Connect with P.H. at the following haunts:
Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads  | Website  | BookBub
Pinterest  |  Wattpad   | Amazon Author | SFWA Member
Contributing Author, Story Empire

If you enjoy epic fantasy, you’re sure to love this series. I’ve read all three books and was glued to the pages through each. They all make wonderful candidates for your TBR.

Today, you can find me at Craig Boyack’s blog taking a look at a famous alien encounter.
Ever hear of the Hopkinsville Goblins? Hop over and find out who these guys are!

Book Launch: The Quest for Home by Jacqui Murray #NewRelease #PrehistoricFiction

Hi, friends. I have a first time guest on my blog today, and I’m super excited about that! Please welcome Jacqui Murray with her most recent release,The Quest for Home, Book 2 in the Crossroads series, and part of the Man vs. Nature saga.

Banner ad for The Quest for Home by author, Jacqui Murray, shows prehistoric woman with long dark hair holding spear, wolf by her side

This entire series is on my reading radar. I’ve already devoured book 1 of Jacqui’s Rowe-Delamagente thrillers,To Hunt a Sub, and book two is loaded on my Kindle. I can’t wait to see what she does writing prehistoric fiction with The Quest for Home and the Crossroads series.

Book cover for The Quest for Home by author, Jacqui Murray, shows prehistoric woman with long dark hair holding spear, wolf by her sideGenre: Prehistoric fiction

First up, Jacqui shares some background about the book…

How do you know these People are as smart as they seem?
Just to be clear, because these predecessors to man lived long before recorded history, scientists have no definitive evidence of their intelligence. We do get hints of its excellence, though, from their toolmaking. The complex thought required to create their stone tools (called Acheulean), the variety of tool types (cutters, choppers, handaxes, cleavers, flakes, scrapers, and more), and their aesthetically pleasing and functional forms make many paleoanthropologists believe Homo erectus was cerebrally smart. A 2017 study mapped the brains of students as they recreated these same tools and it showed that the work required higher-level motor skills and the ability to ‘hold in mind’ information—much as you do to plan and complete complex tasks (the study compared it to playing Chopin on the piano but I have no idea about that).

Their speech is too sophisticated.
As a species, Homo erectus lasted far longer than any other Homo species—and there is a reason for that: They were not only highly intelligent for the day but possessed rich communication skills. Their sophisticated tools, especially the symmetry of the hand-axe, suggests to many scientists that they possessed the ability to use language. Since most paleoanthropologists (scientists who study prehistoric man) believe the ‘speech’ part of their brain—the part that allowed them to speak—wasn’t evolved enough for verbal words, I present communication often through body language.

A more convincing argument of why early man didn’t want to talk is that voices are noisy and unnatural. That attracts unwanted attention. For these primordial humans, far from the alpha in the food chain, being noticed wasn’t good.

Short Summary:
Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind her African homeland to search for an unknown future. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that her most dangerous enemy isn’t the one she expected. It may be one she trusts with her life.

The story is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except one: future man, a smarter version of himself destined to obliterate any who came before.

Based on a true story, this is the unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man makes his way across Eurasia, fleeing those who would kill him. He must be bigger-than-life, prepared time and again to do the impossible because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

Purchase From:
Kindle US | Kindle UK | Kindle CA | Kindle AU

Author, Jacqui MurraryAuthor bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, In the Footsteps of Giants, Winter 2020, the final chapter in the Crossroads Trilogy.

Social Media contacts:
Amazon Author Page |  Blog | Instagram | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Twitter


What a unique and challenging novel! I’ve heard only exceptional reviews for book one in this series, and am certain The Quest for Home, is going to be equally outstanding. Jacqui knows how to weave engaging fiction with impeccably researched history for an epic story.

Please make use of the sharing buttons below to help spread the word about The Quest for Home. Intrigued? By all means, one-click the kindle selection of your choice!

Kindle US | Kindle UK | Kindle CA | Kindle AU

Our 5* Review for A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair #ParanormalSuspense @MaeClair1

It’s been a while since I’ve stumbled upon a new review for A Thousand Yesteryears, the first book in my Point Pleasant series. Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie made my day with this fabulous review. The Mothman and I are delighted!

Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie ~ Authors

“Masterful, bone-chilling fiction…one intense thriller. A Thousand Yesteryears will keep you guessing, gasping and turning the pages for more.” —New York Times bestselling author Kevin O’Brien

Behind a legend lays the truth…

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real . . .

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of…

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