Book Review Tuesday: The Stones by D. L. Cross #Aliens #AstralConspiracySeries

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! I’ve missed a week or two of book reviews, but it’s not because I haven’t been reading. I’ve been immersed in the Harry Dresden series and haven’t been posting reviews of those books since there are so many. Recently, I came up for air to branch into something different and–OH MY FREAKING WORD!–what a diversion it turned out to be. I can’t praise The Stones enough. It ticked all my reading boxes, but I’ll let the review speak for  itself…


The StonesBook cover for The Stones by D.L. Cross shows two monolith stone slabs with space ships in background
D.L. Cross

If you’re looking for a fast paced, adrenaline fueled novel with stellar writing, breathless adventure, and a highly diverse cast of characters, look no further. In The Stones, book two of the Astral Conspiracy Series, aliens have arrived on Earth and they’re far from friendly. Nor do they resemble little green men. Creepy, bizarre, vividly imagined, these are beings you DO NOT want to cross. I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoilers, only that the titans freaked me out as much as, or more than, the reptars.

Professor Landon Thorne, once ridiculed for his theories about alien life, comes into possession of two “firestones” that may be tied to Atlantis and the aliens, but before he can discover more about their properties, he loses possession of both. With various factions vying for the firestones, aliens roaming the planet, an underground resistance movement, government agents, crosses and double crosses, D. L. Cross sets a breathless pace for readers. There are characters to love, characters to DESPISE, and plenty of nail-biting action. The chapters are energy fueled, most ending on jaw-dropping hooks, making it all but impossible to put this book down. With its complex plot, I could easily see The Stones/ Astral Conspiracy a Netflix series or a blockbuster movie. One of my favorite reads of 2020.

5 Honking Big Luminous stars!

AMAZON LINK
Genre: Alien Invasion Science Fiction > First Contact Science Fiction


Ready to embark on a phenomenal reading adventure? Then hop onboard. I highly recommend getting lost in the Astral Conspiracy Series. Once engaged, you won’t want to leave.

As for The Stones, I have one word: Titans.

Let’s just say I’m equally enthralled and freaked out by them! You’ll have to read the book to learn more 🙂

Serpent Mound Lore #SomethingWickedTour @stacitroilo @storyempire

Hello and welcome to the first day of Story Empire’s Something Wicked Blog Tour! The SE authors will be sharing posts all week long, visiting the blogs of our colleagues  with posts and books offering shivers and goosebumps. We hope you’ll join in the fun and, hopefully, discover some chill-inducing reads along the way. You can find the complete tour schedule here.

But don’t expect all of those goosebumps to come from creepy-crawling things or ghosts and ghouls oozing from the crypt. As my first guest, Staci Troilo, explains, darkness comes in all shapes…


Thanks for welcoming me here today, Mae.

The Gate

Ciao, amici! When my SE cohorts came up with the idea for a Something Wicked tour, I was initially concerned about how my current writing would fit into the theme. Sci-fi felt like a far cry from malevolence. Then I realized aliens with a nefarious agenda were just as wicked as demons; they just had a different origin. I don’t think it matters if a being is from a star in the Hydrus constellation or from Hell… evil is a matter of intent, not origin.

My Astral Conspiracy series is a combination of futuristic tech and ancient history. If you (like me) are obsessed with—or even aware of—Ancient Aliens, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

In The Gate, the first of my five-book series, the characters visit the Great Serpent Mound in Adams County, Ohio. They’re there to steal a buried artifact, which is absolutely fiction. But the lore behind the effigy is pure fact. And it’s fascinating. Serpent Mound (aerial view)

Photo Attribution: Timothy A. Price and Nichole I.; uploaded by the authors. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Serpent Mound was built by Native Americans. I wish I could tell you when, but that’s still up for debate. A set of charcoal pieces was found in 1996. Two of the pieces were carbon-dated to 1070, which would make the builders the Fort Ancient society (a mound-building culture from the Late Prehistoric era, 900-1650 AD). But the third was dated two thousand years earlier to the Adena culture (2920 +/-65 years BC). The current theory, and the one that makes the most sense to me, is that is was built during the Adena period and then renovated by the Fort Ancients. Adena graves nearby strengthen that theory.

The Great Serpent Mound is a 1,348-foot long, three-foot-high earthwork of a snake. It’s the largest known serpent effigy in the world. It’s located on an astrobleme (an asteroid impact structure whose center is raised sedimentary strata). At the west end, the snake’s tail is coiled into a spiral; at the east, its mouth is open as though eating an egg, the sun, a giant eye, or the body of a frog (experts can’t decide). There are seven curves to its body.

But what was it built for? The oval and head area of the effigy is aligned with the summer solstice sunset while the tail is in line with the winter solstice sunrise. It’s also been suggested that the undulations of the body are correspond to certain lunar events. So, the mound may be a calendar marking the seasons.

The sculpt mimics the constellation Draco, with the star Thuban mapped to the first curve of the body. Thuban was used as the North Pole star from the fourth to second millennium BC, so there is an argument to be made that the effigy was a compass of sorts.

And nearby graves suggest this may have been a mortuary of sorts, a place that would help guide spirits to the great beyond. (It’s worth noting the graves were nearby, but none were found at the site itself.)

Whatever its true purpose, it has a great significance in my novel, The Gate, book one of my Astral Conspiracy series. If you’re curious about how I used it, I encourage you to read the book.


The Gate

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.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

The Gate is the first of five novels in the Astral Conspiracy Series, part of Sterling and Stone’s Invasion Universe.

Universal Purchase Link

Other Links:

Staci’s Amazon Page | Staci’s BookBub Page | D.L.’s Amazon Page | D.L.’s BookBub Page

Bio box for author, Staci Troilo

I found this fascinating, just like the book. The Gate is an excellent story that moves at a break-neck pace. I highly recommend adding it for addictive reading.

Finally, in closing, Joan Hall is hosting me today, where I’m sharing a scary historical encounter. Hop over if you can and check out Red Eyes and Winged Beasts.

D.L. Cross Talks Aliens and Alternate Identities

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.

Splash graphic foe The Gate, a science-fiction novel by D. L. Cross

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.

Splash graphic for The Scout: Dark Crossings, a science-fiction novella by D. L. Cross

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.

Book cover for The Gate, a science-fiction novel by D. L. CrossBlurb:

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.

And not everyone will make it out alive.

Universal Purchase Link | More Information | Invasion Universe Newsletter

Book cover for The Scout, a science-fiction novel by D. L. CrossBlurb:

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.

Universal Purchase Link | More Information

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.

Other Links:

Staci’s Amazon Page | Staci’s BookBub Page | D.L.’s Amazon Page | D.L.’s BookBub Page


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! 🙂

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

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


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

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

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

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

Leonardo da Vinci [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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

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

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

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

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

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

Furthermore, what if those alchemical experiments yielded success?

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

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

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

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

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

Book cover for Tortured Soul by Staci TroiloBlurb:

Protection is safety. Until it stifles.

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

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

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

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

Universal Purchase Link

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

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

New Release: Gamble by Staci Troilo #Thriller #Romance #ExMilitary

Hey, everyone! I’ve got another goodie to share with you today. Staci Troilo has a new release in her high-octane Nightforce Security Series. I devoured Password, the first book, and promptly did the same with Gamble (cheating here: I got to read this one before release).  

Once again, Staci has hooked me with her characters, plot cyclone (it moves that fast) and clever mystery. Today, she’s introducing Gamble’s hero, Noah Crawford. Trust me—this is one guy you’ll want to meet.

Take a look . . .

graphic teaser for the novel Gamble by Staci Troilo


Hi, everybody. Thanks for indulging me today. I promise I won’t take up too much of your time.

I consider myself a multi-genre author. My novels are broadly categorized as romance, mystery, and mainstream. The subgenres vary considerably, and my short stories add even more options to the mix.

I started writing romance because I have a thing for the alpha male. Yes, he can be (and often is) in many genres—crime fiction, western, sci-fi, paranormal, etc.—but I initially associated that type of character with the romance genre. I liked to read about this guy. Only stood to reason that I’d enjoy writing about him.

That brings me to my new novella Gamble (part of the Nightforce Security Series), and its hero, Noah Crawford. Noah is ex-military (former SEAL, to be specific) and he works with a bunch of guys whose histories are similar to his. We don’t learn too many specifics; those missions are classified, after all. But we know there were some dark days in their pasts. And whether these men served together or not, that kind of shared experience forms a bond. These guys are tight.

I’m not related to any SEALs, but many of my family members (and my husband’s) have served. Some are still active. I wanted to write a series that paid homage to these heroes, putting them in settings we could all recognize rather than in combat theaters in countries we’ll never see. So, my heroes have retired from the military life. You know alpha males, though. They’re never far from action. The Nightforce guys are no different.

We meet Noah at their hangout—One Ugly Mug. The bar is owned by another veteran, so far only known to us as Cap. It’s a special night because a friend of theirs is in town. The drinks are flowing as liberally as the stories. Noah is comfortably buzzed and not thinking as clearly as usual.

That’s when she walks in.

Noah is interested in his one-night stand becoming so much more. But there are hurdles to jump, games to play, and gunmen to thwart. That’s right, I said gunmen. But we’re not talking about the bad guys today. We’re talking heroes.

Noah fits into this group so well not just because of his history, but because he can hold his own when the barbs start flying. These guys talk fast, act faster, and always have a sarcastic comeback. Heck, they often are the ones who start with the insults.

Noah’s no different.

If you like fast-paced stories with quick-witted, sharp-speaking, fearless, and (sorry, guys) drool-worthy heroes, I think this novella is for you. Noah might just become your next book crush. I know he became mine.

book cover for Gamble, a Nightforce Security novel by Staci TroiloBlurb for Gamble:

Sometimes stakes are too high to gamble. Other times they’re too high not to.

Noah Crawford is a consummate bachelor—until a one-night stand piques his interest in something more. The only problem is, she wouldn’t give him her name, and he has no way to find her.

A week later, resigned to forgetting her, he accompanies his friends to a casino. Floor traffic promises to be light while everyone clusters at the sportsbook for the college basketball championship game. But Noah isn’t in the mood for frivolity and sets off on his own. No one is more surprised than he is when he bumps into his mystery woman.

He’s playing a far different game than cards when armed criminals take over the poker room. Noah is separated from his friends, and somehow the room has been cut off from security. Help isn’t coming. It’s up to him to keep everyone safe while he tries to thwart the gunmen.

Noah quickly realizes he’s trying to prevent more than a simple heist. And he doesn’t know who he can trust. The stakes have never been higher, and he’s all in. But one of the thieves might have an ace up his sleeve, and that could cost Noah everything.

More Information | Universal Purchase Link

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

Web | Blog | Newsletter | Facebook Group | Twitter | Facebook | Other Social Media Links

Welcome to One Ugly Mug #Password #NewRelease #RomanticThriller

Welcome friends! Today, Staci Troilo is back with her latest release, Password. She’s got a great behind-the-scenes glimpse of the fictional bar she created for use in the story (how can you not love a place called One Ugly Mug?).

I’m always jazzed when Staci has a new book, because I know I’ll get to disappear into the pages of a riveting tale. Password is no exception. You can read my complete 5-star review on Amazon, but I’ll leave you with this snippet of my impressions:

“The twists and turns in this novel really surprised me. Not only do we get two great lead characters who experience plenty of romantic ups and downs, but the story is chock full of suspense, and a mystery that will keep you guessing right up until the end.”

And now, here’s Staci with . . .

Welcome to One Ugly Mug

Thanks for inviting me here today, Mae. I appreciate having a chance to talk to your readers about my new novel. Hi, everybody!


You remember how pretty much every Cheers episode had a scene showing Norm walk in.

He says, “Hey, everybody.”

And they all say, “Norm!” in return.

It is, after all, the place where everybody knows his name.

Keep that image in mind. Now, make the bar a little darker, a little edgier. Dangerous enough that families don’t stop in for the chicken wings but clean enough that feet don’t stick to the floor and the bathrooms don’t look like crime scenes. Imagine many of the patrons are affiliated with the government, but they’re not postal worker Cliff Clavin types. Rather, they’re current and former special forces types.

You’re picturing One Ugly Mug.

shot of bar with with stools, glasses, bottles, beer signs

This fictional bar, set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is the local hangout for the guys of Nightforce Security and their military buddies who sometimes come to town to visit.

The waitresses wear whatever they like. Most choose jeans or shorts and button-downs or t-shirts. Even the youngest, flirtiest of them doesn’t wear Hooters-style clothes, but you can be darn sure no one would dare proposition a waitress who chose to. Bouncers aren’t necessary at One Ugly Mug. The patrons take care of each other. And if it happens to be a slow day, the bartender has it covered.

What’s his story, you ask? Well, we’ll learn more about him as the series goes on. He’s only in the periphery in Password. Not named, not even referred to. But we know he’s there… someone has to mix the drinks. He’s a mysterious and compelling guy. I’m looking forward to digging into his background.

When the Nightforce guys get antsy, they can play pool or shoot darts. There’s never a live band, never karaoke (God forbid), but there is the occasional rendition of a song belted out by a too-tipsy barfly. The retro jukebox in the corner is regularly fed quarters. Classic rock is pretty much the only choice. Rap is only allowed if the guys are celebrating the end of a mission or if the bartender has the day off. (For the record, that doesn’t happen often.) Because the guys respect him so much, they never play rap at One Ugly Mug when he’s there. Well, it’s part respect and part the fact that the most recent rap track put in the jukebox was the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right”. In fact, no songs, rap or otherwise, have been added since the bar opened in the 1980s.

There are private booths, semi-private tables, and of course there are always stools where a patron can belly up to the bar. The lighting is dim, the banter is smart, and it’s a good thing One Ugly Mug is so compelling. Why? Because it’s going to be a frequent location in the Nightforce Security series.

book cover for Password, a romantic thriller by Staci TroiloBlurb:

Some passwords protect more than just secrets.

Danny Caruso was glad to be back in the United States, back to his regular job. Back to his comfortable routine of all work and no play. But when his friend Mac asks a favor of him, he can’t refuse. He owes the guy everything. So he accepts the job, even though it means a twenty-four/seven protection detail guarding a particularly exacerbating—and beautiful—woman.

Braelyn Edwards is careful to stay out of the spotlight, preferring to hide in the background and skip the trappings of a vibrant social life. But her privacy is threatened when there’s an attempt on her life and a bodyguard is foisted on her. Compounding problems? He doesn’t just want to protect her. He wants to investigate every detail of her life, starting with her top-secret job.

Danny casts his sights on Charlie Park, her coworker, her partner… the one man who knows all Braelyn’s secrets. She’s frustrated by the distrust until she realizes jealousy fuels Danny’s suspicions as much as instinct and proof. One of them is right about Charlie—but by the time they figure it out, it may be too late to save their relationship. And Braelyn’s life.

Universal Purchase Link

Password is the first story in the Nightforce Security Series. A sequel is already in the works. The next installment will be a novella released in March as part of Susan Stoker’s Special Forces Kindle World. So if this series interests you, you won’t have long to wait.


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

Connect with Staci on Social Media:

Web | Blog | Newsletter | Facebook Group | Twitter | Facebook | Other Social Media Links

 

What Do Christmas and a Gettysburg Legend Have in Common?

I’m happy to have my good friend, Staci Troilo, on the blog today, along with her delightful novella, When We Finally Kiss Goodnight. If you’re looking for a Christmasy read you’ll want to grab this one—especially since Staci is offering it at such a fabulous price. She’s even brought along a bit of folklore and history to introduce it. Take it away, Staci . . .

Banner ad for When We Finally Kiss Goodnight by Staci Troilo shows ereader with book cover on parchment style background with text

Hi, Mae. Thanks for having me back today. I’m happy to be here, visiting with you and your readers. (Hi, Mae’s readers!)

There are two things that interest me. Okay, there are a lot more than two, but these two are near the top of my list—romance and the supernatural. If I can mix the two together? That makes me really happy.

And that’s what I got to do in my Christmas-themed novella, When We Finally Kiss Goodnight.

Although the story is primarily set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (I grew up in a small town near there and went to college in the city, so it’s a favorite setting of mine), the characters, both of whom are archaeologists, take a day trip across the state to visit Gettysburg.

Gettysburg, as you probably know, is rife with historical lore. It’s got its share of ghost stories, too. As a bit of a history buff and a fan of the paranormal, I had to write about some kind of supernatural lore surrounding the city. I chose a folk legend surrounding star-crossed lovers and the Jennie Wade House.

Mary Virginia “Jennie” Wade was a seamstress who was engaged to Corporal Johnston “Jack” Skelly. While Jack was fighting in the war, Jennie, her mother, and her sister used to bake bread to serve to the Union soldiers. On July 3, 1863, around 8:30 a.m., Jennie was kneading dough when Confederate soldiers sprayed the house with more than 150 bullets. One of them passed through two doors and struck Jennie in the chest, killing her. Jack, her fiancé, never learned of her passing. He was captured and killed on July 12.

The door on the Jennie Wade House has never been repaired or replaced, and there is a legend regarding its bullet holes—if a woman (18 or older) places her left ring finger through the hole, she will be proposed to within a year. It is believed that Jennie wishes for and helps bring about a lifetime of love for others because she was denied her happily-ever-after with Jack.

The Jennie Wade House in Gettysburg, Image in public domain

And whether you believe or not, nothing can change the fact that the Jennie Wade House Museum receives letters from many of their visitors to report an engagement after visiting.

In my novella, Chloe and Britt go to the Jennie Wade House, and Chloe ends up putting her left ring finger through the door. Does she get a proposal and happy ending within a year? Well, you’ll just have to read the story to find out.

Book cover for When We Finally Kiss Goodnight by Staci Troilo When We Finally Kiss Goodnight Blurb:
Chloe Upshaw suffers from what she calls the trifecta of awful—unfulfilling job, disappointed family, bad luck with love. Just before Christmas, she travels to Pittsburgh hoping to land a job that will change her career. But not only is she in stiff competition for the position, she angers her mother by rejecting her matchmaking efforts and not going home. Worse, she runs into the guy who got away—and this time, no matter how many lies she tells to protect her heart, she leaves herself vulnerable to hurt.

Britt Garris’ callous and careless behavior in college cost him his dream girl. When fate crosses their paths ten years later, he thinks it’s serendipity. And he launches into one deception after another to win her back, including an auspicious trip for the two archaeologists to Gettysburg. Britt plays on Chloe’s love of history to spend time with her. He doesn’t count on the local lore and legend predicting their future—a future his duplicity puts at risk.

When their lies finally crumble, their budding relationship is threatened. Their dishonesties and disillusions may be impossible to overcome. But maybe the magic of the season can make their dreams come true.

This holiday-themed steamy romance novella is available for 99¢. Click here for purchase information.

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Gearing up for Halloween

silhouette of black cat sitting on tree branch at night in front of a large orange moonSpooky things are afoot!

I’m always jazzed this time of year, inspired by the numerous bump-in-the-night ghostie and goblin posts that pop up in the blogosphere. For someone who loves folklore and legend, October is a month for feasting on myth!

There are a variety of events taking place in the online world. I’m excited to be participating in two that really appealed to me.

Today, I’m visiting Teri Polen during her month-long Bad Moon Rising feature. All month long, you can meet new authors, discover new reads, and have trick-or-treat fun with the Halloween questions Teri poses for her guest. I hope you’ll pop over and say hello while I’m hanging out with Teri today.

Next week, I’ll be visiting Melanie Noell Bernard who is doing a month-long paranormal event called Hallo-WE-en that features creatures. Each day you’ll get to meet a different beastie. Today, my good friend and critique partner, Staci Troilo, shares the history and folklore of gargoyles at Melanie’s haunt in the blogosphere.

So, get your ghostie on and celebrate Halloween!

Did Someone Say Friday?

Silly goose looking directly at cameraThe end of the week is a great opportunity to look back over the past several days and take measure our accomplishments. Unfortunately, mine were close to nil. :(  I did manage to eke out a single scene on my WIP, but considering the goal was a chapter, the results are pathetic.

In my defense, the week has been unusually chaotic. I’ve had a work crew at my home since Monday, installing new zoned heat and a/c units. The job is supposed to be finished today—hooray!—but the weekend I wanted to spend writing will probably be spent cleaning. You can’t have a work crew without dust. Lots of dust. Guess what I’ll be doing tomorrow?

I’m not the only one running low on patience. Raven has been forced to spend eight hours each day in the basement while servicemen tramp in and out of the house (I won’t risk her sneaking outside if someone accidentally leaves a door open). We’ve tried to make her confinement as inviting as possible, arranging a “snuggle area” with one of her beds and a blanket. I elevated them on chairs so she’s not on the floor. She has water and food, and I even added a few toys and her red “cube” for lounging.

black cat in pink cube with cat toy

Raven in her pink cube. Besides this and the red cube, she also has a blue one. Can we say spoiled?

Bribes aside, she is NOT a happy camper. She can’t watch birds from the basement, sprawl in the sunlight, or stretch out in the bow window. A rough week in catdom.

The only benefit she’s enjoyed is the daily fussing we do to make up for her morning and afternoon exile. You can see why this Friday is more welcome than usual—I want my house back! So does Raven!

In the meantime, I’m at Story Empire today sharing the weekly Curated Writing Content gathered by the SE authors. While you’re celebrating Friday in the blogosphere, drop in and see what we’ve collected. And in case you missed SE’s earlier posts, Staci Troilo took a fabulous look at Fictional Fathers, and I trotted out My Problematic Word.

Happy Friday!

Cat Toys and Author Tools

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend. I spent half of mine visiting with family and the other half trying to be productive on my WIP (more on that project in a later post).

Of course, I had to make time for the Kentucky Derby, something DH and I never miss. It was a rainy day in Kentucky with a muddy track, and and equally rainy day in PA.

I bought some new play toys for my cat, Raven, called Neko Flies. They’re by far and away the best cat toys I’ve ever purchased, sheer genius on the part of whoever designed them. Picture a fishing rod with a life-like lure on the end. I bet the inventor was fiddling around with tackle one day when his or her cat went crazy.

Raven loves to stalk and hunt and turns into a predatory demon anytime she sees a bug, so as soon as I spied Neko Flies, I knew they were golden. Has anyone else tried these for their cats?

I picked up the Kattiepede and Kragonfly. The Kragonfly has beautiful iridescent wings (the picture on the website doesn’t do it justice). Next up, I’d like to get the Katarantula. You can order online or through Amazon, but I found Neko Flies at my local pet store. I have the regular wand, but want to get the telescoping rod, which looks like a small fishing rod. It’s currently out of stock at the store and online. What I don’t do for my cat—she is so spoiled—but, boy, is she getting her exercise! Including performing complex aerial acrobatics on a regular basis.

And speaking of being spoiled, it’s time to spoil yourself with today’s resource material on Story Empire where Staci Troilo shares Part 3 of her series on Author Media kits. Her topic is One Sheet and Author Biographies. As always, Staci delivers an information packed post with guidance, examples, and suggestions on implementing. Enjoy!