#BookTour ‘n’ #GuestPost “The Counsel of the Cunning” by Steven C. Harms

November 8 – December 3, 2021

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~ Guestpost ~

Title: My most unique life learning experience

by

Steven C. Harms

When I was in my twenties, I once found myself at 30,000 feet sitting in a luxurious seat of a 4-person Learjet bound from New York to Milwaukee. Across, and facing me, sat a person in a suit and tie who oversaw security. To his left was a gentleman named Rod Thorn, an executive with the National Basketball Association and former GM of the Chicago Bulls. And across from him, seated next to me, was none other than the long-time commissioner of the NBA, David Stern. I was on that plane due to my career as a pro sports executive, although at that moment I was just six years into it.

David Stern will always be remembered as a giant in the sports industry. His tenure lasted thirty years, from 1984-2014. He’s been regarded as one of the very best ever to serve as commissioner of a pro sports league. His visionary mind and leadership skills lifted the NBA from “that fourth league” to the powerhouse it has become today. In writing terms…on a par with the mystery thriller greats.

For a young Midwesterner who had never been to New York City before accepting a job at the league office in mid-town Manhattan, and then striving to learn how to adapt and get my feet under me, that moment was surreal. The trip started with a phone call from Commissioner Stern’s assistant simply telling me that “David would like you to attend a game in Milwaukee with him next Wednesday night.” Private airport, chartered jet, and four of us in total making the trip. There and back just for the game. Gulp!

David asked me for a few reasons. One, he was cognizant of my background being a native Milwaukeean and the previous four years working for the Milwaukee Bucks. It was his way of saying “welcome aboard” and allowing me to on-board in a unique and opportunistic way. Second, I know now he did it not only to see what sort of person I was, but to allow me a few hours of unfettered access to him and to parlay that into career advancement.

In retrospect, I failed, or at least got a D- grade. I was so nervous about making a misstep, that I was blind to the moment in front of me. I spent most of the evening answering his questions when he engaged, but I never asked him even one. Those four hours were more pensive than anything I’d ever experienced, and I wasn’t smart enough to figure out in real time the opportunity that lay in front of me. Had I positioned myself correctly, my career in sports would’ve been super-charged. I eventually made it to a VP position years later, but it took a lot longer than if I had simply let go my fear and leveraged that moment. David never said anything negative to me, but he opened a door and all I had to do was walk through it. I guess the best way to say it is that I blinked. The simple glare of an internationally known sports executive giving me an open door on a private trip was a light so bright that I blinked instead of embraced. I came to this understanding years later, but too late to fix my error.

One significant learning is that we all have a 30,000-foot moment, even if it’s one minute long in an elevator at a conference on your way down to breakfast when that well-known person you never thought you’d meet, jumps on two floors later. Or maybe just a random meeting that came your way.

I’ve found that one of the most treasured aspects of being an author is that the writing community, generally as a whole, is a network of individuals who support each other and are willing to lend advice or guidance when asked. Authors, learn to leverage the already organic helpful nature of your fellow authors (seek them out through any number of means – social, events, clubs, workshops), and be prepared to meet and genuinely connect with the many authors that are over-the-top successful. And when you cross paths with a David Stern, and you will, equip yourself with the inner confidence to engage.

In the words of David Stern, “Follow your dreams and make the most of every experience.” And another of his quotes on a related note – “You will ultimately be defined by the sum total of your responses to circumstances, situations and events that you probably couldn’t anticipate and indeed probably couldn’t even imagine. So just keep your eyes on the course and be ready to move in different directions depending upon the crises and opportunities with which you are faced.”

We’re all going to meet our own version of David Stern, if you haven’t already. Are you primed? Are you ready to professionally and politely capitalize on that moment? I am now, but it took a unique lesson for me to figure that out.

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Synopsis:

The Counsel of the Cunning by Steven C. Harms

Roger Viceroy faces a return to the FBI and a life he vacated long ago, until a knock on his front door announces the presence of billionaire and former U.S. Senator, Jürgen Sandt.

The past has come back to rear its ugly head. Sandt stands on his threshold for a reason: a decade prior the senator’s only son disappeared into the jungles of Guatemala, and Sandt has come to convince Viceroy that further investigation is now necessary. A package left mysteriously outside the family estate, opens the door to the possibility that his son is still very much alive.

Viceroy and his team agree to take on the hunt. Their search steers them from the back streets of Milwaukee to the stealthy corridors of Washington, D.C.—an eerie trek that will ultimately lead to an ancient site that supposedly doesn’t exist.

As Viceroy closes in on the truth, a parallel plot emerges. Not only could it point to the reason behind the cryptic disappearance of Bertram Sandt, but it could also launch a deadly battle that will put millions of lives at stake. On pure instinct, Viceroy knows nothing is adding up. Somehow, somewhere they missed a clue, and if it’s not discovered soon…it may be too late.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery

Published by: Suspense Publishing

Publication Date: November 9th 2021

Number of Pages: 268

ISBN: 978-0-578-93379-5

Series:Roger Viceroy Series, #2

Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

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Read an excerpt:

EXCERPT – OPENING CHAPTER

A howler monkey screeched, its shrill pitch adding to the endless cacophony.

Dr. Catarina Amador watched the animal move through the trees until it vanished in the dense canopy below, then drew a last puff on her cigarette, crushing the butt with the heel of her worn-out tennis shoe. Her eyes shifted to the ancient ruins sprawling in every direction; eroded, gray slabs of rock covered with vines, others crumbled beyond recognition.

Her prison.

Atop the temple mount, the slight breeze and mid-morning sunlight provided a respite from the enclave of stone ruins and paths that weaved through the jungle of whatever country she was in. To the east, the sun reflected off the lone glimpse of the river, catching her eye. The faint sparkles shimmering off the surface forever calling her home. Six years and counting. But each passing moment chipped away at her will, replacing those pieces with an ever-increasing hopelessness. She had become mostly devoid of thought save for the world-class talents she employed for her captor.

The youngest daughter of a large family from the slums of Mexico City, her intellect and scientific acumen made her a prodigy. World-renowned in academic circles by the age of fourteen. At fifteen she began her studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; flying through, she graduated just five years later with a PhD in biomedical engineering. Her human molecular manipulation thesis elevated her into the scientific world’s stratosphere. Upon graduation, blank check offers from a hundred different companies and research labs spanning the globe filled her mailbox. All she had to do was pick one. Her parents had come to Baltimore for the graduation and to help with the decision. Over dinner, the list was pared down to four opportunities in the western hemisphere. When the evening came to a close, they parted company—her parents back to the hotel and Catarina to a local establishment to celebrate graduation with her peers. She was never seen again.

Sighing, she took a few steps forward to look out over the plaza area, resting her arms at chest height on the massive stone wall encircling the space. Standing just over five feet, her stature matched her frame. A lithe body and long, black hair kept in a ponytail most days accentuated her stunning facial features. A foot taller and she would have graced magazine covers instead of medical journals.

She peered down at a bird-faced stone sentry near one of the plaza’s entryways and the eyeless human statue set a few yards to its left. A variety of bizarre figures were sprinkled throughout the ruins. She felt the strangest ones were the two tall snakes, standing erect at twice her height with human feet, holding large blackish orbs of polished rock in their massive jaws. Positioned on either side of “Main Street,” as she had nicknamed it, they guarded a small but steady waterfall spilling in front of a steep rock wall. The falls travelled over the rock above creating a wall of water ten feet high, cutting off the path with no way forward. A five-foot-wide chasm stood between the path’s end and the water wall. She once had peered into it. No splash sound, the rushing water just disappeared into an eternal abyss. Beyond the water wall was the forbidden canyon and the treasure of the ancient ruins.

She closed her eyes tight and bowed her head, reflecting on the moment she first penetrated the water wall, not knowing what was on the other side.

Two men had tossed her over the chasm where she landed on hard ground and found herself in a dank cave, lit only by a torch on each wall. Soaking, she followed the orders she was given and took ten steps forward to a turn in the cave, which led to the opening on the other side. About sixty feet ahead was the jagged mouth of the exit, perfectly outlined by the sunshine stabbing through on the other side. Picking her way carefully towards it, the temperature warmed until she was standing at the cave’s exit. She took the final step, ducking slightly into the beyond, and took in the wonderment of her surroundings.

It was a smallish canyon with sheer, steep sides and thick vines growing in bunches among the rocks. Clinging in arbitrary clumps was a fruit she had never seen before, displayed in a spectrum of light green to black and every variation in-between. Above the canyon the jungle had formed a natural ceiling of branches; not overly dense, but enough to provide a protective layer yet still allow the sun to push through to the polished, black-stained stone floor in various spots.

And there, in the middle of it all, stood a man of some years with his hands clasped behind his back. Wearing a panama hat, unassuming slacks and a floral print button-down, the hat’s shadow cut across his face making his mouth the only discernible feature.

He gestured to her to come and sit at a small wooden table to his left. She had walked with slow, unsure steps towards him. What would he do? Was this the end? As she neared, his persona became clear. A man of Hispanic descent, well-manicured, with an air of self-assurance that clung to him like an invisible but tangible layer.

Once she sat, the man took his own seat and lit a cigar, drew a few puffs, and spoke.

“Good afternoon, Dr. Amador,” he had said. “Welcome to my kingdom,” he added, with a sweeping hand gesture.

“Where am I?” she remembered asking, as if in a dream.

“Where you were born to be.”

“Who…who are you?” she asked.

Her mind’s eye recalled the memory of his response at this particular moment. A smile. Cryptic.

“My name you will never know. But take heart. You are here to lead a significant advancement in a little science project I have a vested interest in. You, Dr. Amador, will be its shining star.” Then came his explanation for her kidnapping and what he wanted.

He began with a cloaked apology for his men taking her off the streets of Baltimore and blindfolding her for two days.

Her memory replayed the horrible experience. Someone coming from behind as she passed an alley. A hood suddenly coming down over her face. A vice-grip hand that quickly covered her mouth. The man whispering something in her ear—a throaty, aged timbre—before hustling her into a vehicle. Once inside, he let go but ordered her to be silent as she felt the unmistakable hardness of the barrel of a gun being pressed against her temple. She recalled the vehicle speeding up, taking a number of tight turns before zooming along a straight path, then slowing to a stop and taking a final turn. The last slice of recollection was a breeze touching her arms as she was pulled out of the vehicle, being carried up a flight of stairs and into an enclosed space, as the sound of an airplane’s engine roared to life. For a brief moment the hood was removed, but an instant later, a man she assumed was her captor, sprayed something in her face. That was it. Her recollection of a hazy, in-and-out consciousness was the only vestige of the bridge between boarding that plane and coming off it some amount of time later. Once again hooded and placed back in a vehicle for a short ride, she was then in a helicopter—the sound of its rotors were unmistakable. She remembered the flight being incredibly long. Upon landing, the same throaty voice said something she couldn’t understand and then her hood was removed.

The bright stab of lush greenery walling in a sunlight-splashed landing pad pierced her vision. She recalled squinting, trying to discern the environment. The warmth of the climate immediately registered. Baltimore and her parents were the first thought that came to mind and then the understanding that they and the city were now thousands of miles away.

Two different men, not so gently, had taken her arms and steered her to a pathway that directly led into what she then was able to realize was a tropical forest, and finally to the waterfall and the eventual meeting with the man in the panama hat.

With another puff of the cigar, he then presented her with the whole tale of what lay ahead.

She was to develop a new drug, and he had stated that her opportunity to use her intellect and talent when it came to molecular manipulation was going to be unfettered. “Anything and everything is at your disposal,” he had said with firmness and a hint of delight.

Next was a tour of the compound and her new living quarters—a luxurious penthouse adjacent to the ancient temple featuring a grand view. It was stocked with a closet full of clothes, toiletries, a hot tub on the small balcony, a desk, books for reading, and a computer to be used for her research. Following that came an introduction to the world-class lab with five qualified scientists, also prisoners. Her operation to run. Her scientists to lead. A deadline of three years.

Included in the “tour” was a modern, plain brick building housing more prisoners, each given a simple cell. Haggard-looking people. Further on came the trails, the statues, the ruins. Another cement block building looking completely out of place, with a large “F” scratched into the door, and behind it the three men and one woman chained to the wall. Final stop, a spherical hut off the southwest corner of the plaza, secured by barbed wire and an armed guard.

“Sometime in the coming weeks I will escort you here again,” the man had said in a different, almost reverential tone. “The treasure inside is truly priceless. Perhaps the single greatest discovery in the long, brutal history of this ancient empire.”

His final comment echoed in her mind, reverberating, before she eased her eyes back open, fluttering them as they adjusted to the bright sunlight atop the mount. The present day resumed its rightful place in her awareness, which she reluctantly gave into.

It was an off day from the lab. No scrubs. Worn-out gray cargo shorts and an equally frayed white halter top draped her body. Utility and comfort for the task ahead. Eleven harvesters with large baskets strapped to their midsections came up beside her: seven adult women, three men, and one five-year-old girl. She looked down and winked at the child, giving her a soft pat on the head.

“Hello Isabella,” she said. The girl giggled as she always did and hugged her leg.

Dr. Amador savored the indulgent moment before a cocked rifle cracked the air behind the group, making them all spin around. Atop a small, three-walled structure on the back edge of the temple mount, stood an enforcer, and next to him, the man with the unknown name. The king of the ancient empire. Panama hat and all.

“Time for the harvest,” he said in his now familiar deep voice. “Thank you for your continued service. Business is prospering as planned.” He tipped the hat before disappearing. The group stared back; prisoner slaves in the heart of ancient ruins whom the outside world didn’t even know existed.

“Let’s move,” the enforcer screamed. “The Tat,” as they had come to call him, had markings covering his skin, save for his face. As the group moved, Dr. Amador loitered just enough to ensure she was the last one in line down the familiar steps. Three more enforcers stood ready at the bottom to escort them to the canyon—two positioned twenty paces away on the plaza and one at the base of the steps. When her foot touched the plaza, she shot a sideways glance to the enforcer who stood there. He was a relatively short man, fortyish, with half his right ear missing and raven black hair fashioned in a bowl-cut. Her pet name for him was “Mrs. Lobe,” a play on words that he found amusing. He caught her glance, blinking both eyes simultaneously before grabbing her elbow and shoving her forward to pick up her pace. The Tat joined him as they crossed the plaza.

The trail to the canyon was directly across. Wide at the start, it narrowed to single file after the first bend near a statue of a half-man, half-bird figure. Two enforcers led the group down the path, with The Tat and Mrs. Lobe bringing up the rear.

As Dr. Amador passed the statue she stumbled, taking her over the path’s edge and down a steep incline into a heavy cluster of ferns; landing awkwardly, she yelled in pain. The Tat screamed at her, sending down Mrs. Lobe. Once there, he roughly lifted her upright and then hoisted her up the hillside, pushing her in the small of her back while she used her hand in his as a leverage point to climb. When she reached the trail, The Tat grabbed her neck and moved her quickly to catch up with the group.

They were out of sight around another bend when Mrs. Lobe reached the path from his climb back up. He looked around for a moment before opening his palm to look at the flash drive Amador had given him. One more glance around, he then pulled out a satellite phone and punched in a message before heading down the path to rejoin the work party.

At the receiving end, a man in cowboy boots stared at the words.

DOC DID IT. IN HAND NOW. I’LL COME WITH THE NEXT SHIPMENT.

***

Excerpt from The Counsel of the Cunning by Steven C. Harms. Copyright 2021 by Steven C. Harms. Reproduced with permission from Steven C. Harms. All rights reserved.

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Author Bio:

Steven C. Harms

Steven C. Harms is a professional sports, sponsorship, broadcast sales, and digital media executive with a career spanning over thirty years across the NBA, NFL, and MLB. He’s dealt with Fortune 500 companies, major consumer brands, professional athletes, and multi-platform integrated sports partnerships and media advertising campaigns. He’s an accomplished playwright having written and produced a wildly successful theatrical production which led him to tackle his debut novel, Give Place to Wrath, released November 9, 2021 from Suspense Publishing. Harms is a native of Wisconsin, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. He now resides in the greater Milwaukee area as a sponsorship executive.

Catch Up With Steven C. Harms:
StevenCHarms.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @StevenCHarms
Instagram – @stevencharms
Twitter – @steven_c_harms
Facebook – @authorstevencharms

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

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Enter to Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Steven C. Harms. There will be THREE (3) winners for this tour. Each of the THREE (3) winners will receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card (US Only). The giveaway runs November 8 through December 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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#BookTour “The Last Stop” by Patricia Street

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Memoir

 

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

Date Published: October 19, 2021

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The true story of a son’s battle with addiction and a mother’s struggle with loss.

David is only fifteen years old when he first feels morphine flow through his veins after his foot is crushed in the hydraulics of a Bobcat. From that moment on he chases the feeling for the rest of his life. Alcohol, marijuana, cocaine – he goes through drugs like candy, but it isn’t until he finds heroin that he is satisfied.

Through his personal correspondence and essays, David’s story unfolds as he goes from being an average American kid who loves sports, racing around on his skateboard, and writing stories, to being a heroin addict. His heartbreaking journey deepens as he takes his family with him down the dark and dangerous road of heroin addiction.

In 2014, David loses the battle, leaving his mother, Pat, to cope. Grieving a death from addiction is two-fold. After already losing her son to addiction, Pat has to find a way to grieve his death.

The Last Stop reveals intimate and detailed scenes of living the life of an addict and explores the mistakes and ways for families who love the addict to cope. David’s story gives hope for families immersed in the life-altering aspects of active addiction and empathy for those left behind when recovery stops being a choice.

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~ Guest Post ~

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer – Organize materials

  1. Take time to think about what you are writing
  2. Allow the words to come
  3. When the words don’t come, do something else
  4. Write when the words come, even in the middle of the night
  5. Be kind to yourself
  6. Read
  7. Review written work on hard copy, take time away from the screen
  8. Question yourself
  9. Be open to suggestions
  10. Remember to eat, stand, and stretch.

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About the Author

In late 1999, Pat learned that her son, David, who was 25, had become addicted to heroin. Her life was changed forever. For the next fifteen years, David rotated in and out of active addiction, recovery, and relapse. In August of 2013, David was diagnosed with vertebrae osteomyelitis caused by his drug use, and at the age of 39, he lost his battle with addiction.

Wanting to help other moms who are living the nightmare of addiction with a loved one, Pat gathered the emotional courage to compile her son’s story, The Last Stop, with his short stories, poetry, and essays.

Addiction changes the addict and those who love the addict. Pat is a different person today, but she still enjoys a good book, a lively tennis match, the clicking of Mah Jongg tiles, weaving baby blankets, and long walks with her little terrier mix who rescued her two years ago.

Contact Link

Facebook

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Purchase Link

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#BookTour #GuestPost “New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst” by Elizabeth Crowens

New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst BannerOctober 25 – November 19, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

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~ Guest Post ~

Get Thee to Poe Cottage—in the Bronx!

By Richie Narvaez

 

 Too many tourists traveling to New Yawk are drawn to the trite, teeming tackiness of Times Square, the Highline, or, ugh, the Vessel. But should they be lovers of literature and/or devotees of the dark, they would be better served to look north. There in the busy, bustling, brash Boogie Down Bronx—the borough politicians like to forget, the borough too many people think still burns like a coal-seam fire in PA (but does not!)—is the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage.

I highly recommend your checking out this quaint and curious landmark.

The great writer, inventor of the modern detective story (Western canon), Poe rented the cottage for $100 a year in 1846. He moved there with Virginia, his ailing wife, and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Clemm, in the hopes that the Bronx country air—that’s right, I said the “Bronx country air”—might cure Virginia’s tuberculosis. Sadly, she passed away in 1847.

Poe Cottage

The cottage, a white frame farmhouse built as a laborer’s dwelling, is modest. You enter into the kitchen (now also the gift shop), with its small table, hearth, and stove, and walk through the living room, pass a small bedroom, and up stairs to more small rooms. Only a few items of Poe’s original furniture are within—a mirror, a rocking chair, and the bed that Virginia died in. He wrote “Annabel Lee,” “Eureka,” “The Bells,” and “The Cask of Amontillado” in these rooms, and it doesn’t take much to imagine him sitting at the writing desk or pacing on the porch contemplating a rhyme. With the imposing artwork of Poe there, you might say the cottage remains “By good angels tenanted.”

The writer resided there until his death—in Baltimore, under mysterious circumstances—in 1849.

Poe Park sign

The house was originally located on Kingsbridge Road, but was moved—as if borne by wingèd seraphs (but actually rolled on logs)—less than a block away, and is now nestled in a park named for Poe. In 1962 the cottage was designated a landmark.

Poe and Ritchie

Nearby is a Visitors Center, its roof lines suggestive of a raven’s wings, a gallery/cultural programming space for visual, literary, and performance arts. I’ve been privileged to run writing workshops there, which ain’t easy, with the cottage looming in the background, and Poe’s spirit staring at me through the huge windows.

Take the D train to Kingsbridge Road, or the 4 train, or the BxM4 express bus from Manhattan. Entry is only five bucks for adults, three for students, kids, and seniors. (Note: The cottage is currently closed due to COVID restrictions.) Afterward, you can have some tasty comida criolla or go for Italian on Arthur Avenue.

For more on the cottage, go to: http://bronxhistoricalsociety.org/poe-cottage/.

Bio

A born-and-bred New Yorker, Richie Narvaez has several short pieces coming up in the photo anthology New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst, edited by Elizabeth Crowens. His most recent novel is the historical YA mystery Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco, and his latest book is the anthology Noiryorican.

www.richienarvaez.com

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New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst

book cover

Presented by: Elizabeth Crowens

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Synopsis:

 

An Anthology and Celebration of the Big Apple

I’m an unabashed, unapologetic lover of New York City, my hometown, and New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst is right up my dark, deserted alley. New York’s at its best when you sneak up on it, glance at its sideways, or let it glance sideways at you. The pros and photos in this collection all show New York’s best, even when they purport to be showing its worst; in NYC, that’s how we roll. A fine addition to your New York bookshelf, a collection to savor.
~ SJ Rozen, best-selling author of The Art of Violence

Book Details:

Genre: Coffee Table book of Photography with Short Stories

Published by: Atomic Alchemist Productions, LLC

Publication Date: Oct 25, 2021

Number of Pages: 150

ISBN: 1950384136, 9781950384136

Purchase Links: Amazon | BookBaby | The Mysterious Bookshop | Goodeareads

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Read the Intro:

It is daunting to be asked to say something about New York City that hasn’t already been said with more eloquence than I could muster. As with many of the writing gigs I’ve accepted without carefully considering the consequences, I suppose I would have been better off letting someone else tilt at this windmill. With all due respect to Don Quixote, here goes.

My initial inclination was to do something about how New York City, because of its geography, is fated to be a place of stark contradictions: of churning and yearning, of inclusion and exclusion, of acceptance and denial. Unlike other cities, New York cannot expand outwards, only upwards. While that sounds great and may make for glorious postcards of a majestic, everchanging skyline to send to the folks back home, it leaves out New York City’s most valuable commodity—its people.

I could have written about the unknown or unseen New York, the scores of little islands—some populated, some not—in Jamaica Bay, in the harbor, in the East River, in the Hudson. Places like Ruffle Bar. Ruffle Bar? Google it. Places once home to psychiatric and typhoid quarantine hospitals. Buildings abandoned or demolished. Islands whose only residents are the dead buried there and forgotten. Interesting, certainly, but again it would have left out the thing that makes New York City what it is.

As a crime fiction author who sets much of his work in New York—largely in Brooklyn and Manhattan—I have done countless panels and interviews about the city. My friend and award-winning colleague, Peter Spiegelman, says that setting is the soil in which you grow your characters. He is so right. Ask any author worth his, her, or their salt, and they will tell you that a book that can be set anywhere isn’t much of a book at all. A book must be of its place. So too must a person.

New York City isn’t one place. It is a thousand places, ten thousand places. And because it is all those places, its people are different neighborhood to neighborhood, sometimes street to street. Certainly, house to house, apartment to apartment. Do we shape the place or does the place shape us? Instead of doing an overview, a sort of general discussion of this question, I think it better to talk about one place—Coney Island—and how it shaped one person—me.

I grew up in the shadow of Coney Island Hospital, about a mile or so away from the amusement park. I was right on the border of Brighton Beach, Gravesend, Sheepshead Bay, and Coney Island. I could explain how each of these neighborhoods differ, how, for instance, Sheepshead Bay is, for all intents and purposes, a fishing village. But no, not here, not now. At one point in my life or other, I have claimed to be from all these places. Yet it is Coney Island that resonates.

When I was four, my dad—a bitter, blustery, and angry man—was diagnosed with an aggressive bone sarcoma which he battled to a standstill for thirty plus more years. After his initial round of surgery and treatment, he was instructed to not do any activities that might jar or adversely affect his leg. Yet on summer Sundays, he would tell my mom that he was taking me for a car ride. We took car rides, alright, straight into Coney Island.

He would put me on the kiddy rides, take me to Nathan’s Famous, buy me pistachio soft serve. Then, in one of the few acts of true defiance I ever saw from him, he would get on the carousel and grab for the brass rings. On one of these Sundays, he pointed to the Parachute Jump. The “Jump” rose into the air two hundred and sixty feet. All orange steel, it looked like a cross between the Eiffel Tower and the skeleton of a giant umbrella.

“When that ride opened up,” he said, “my best pal Charlie and me got on it. The parachute dropped a few feet and then … nothing. We were stuck up there for forty-five minutes just hanging in the air. It was great.”

Of course, by then, the Parachute Jump, once part of Steeplechase Park, had been closed for years, its parachutes and rigging long gone. That day, those days, have stayed with me ever since. And when, as a teenager, I would go back to Coney Island with my friends, get high and ride the Cyclone, I would always look up at the Parachute Jump. It came to symbolize my dad to me. Mighty, impressive, but abandoned, and powerless. I loved my dad because I could see past his bluster. He let me see past it. All because of those few Sundays in Coney Island.

As if by osmosis, Coney Island began imposing itself in my work. My series character, Moe Prager, worked in the Six-O precinct in Coney Island. Scene after scene in the nine Moe books take place there. Even twenty-plus books later, in my new series, I cannot escape the gravity of Coney Island. It calls to me in a way I cannot explain other than to say it is romance in the way the Romantic poets understood it.

In my Edgar Award–nominated short story “The Terminal,” I wrote this:

“…He liked how Coney Island displayed its decay as a badge of honor. It didn’t try to hide the scars where pieces of its once-glorious self had been cut off. Stillwell Avenue west was like a showroom of abandonment, the empty buildings wearing their disuse like bankrupted nobility in frayed and fancy suits. He had come to the edge of the sea with the other last dinosaurs: the looming and impotent Parachute Jump, the Wonder Wheel, Nathan’s, the Cyclone.”

I could never have written those words in that way had I grown up in Washington Heights or Rego Park. New York City poets and writers are shaped by their families, yes, but shaped as much by where as by who. That is the magic of New York. This book will shine a light on the rest of that magic. By the way, my children and I have slightly different tattoos of the Parachute Jump: My son and I on our forearms; my daughter on her triceps. In those tats my dad and the Coney Island that was will live on.

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Introduction from New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst by Reed Farrel Coleman. Copyright 2021 by Elizabeth Crowens. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Crowens. All rights reserved.

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About New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst:

Elizabeth Crowens with Author photo with Reed Farrel Coleman

Writer and photographer, Elizabeth Crowens is one of 500 New York City-based artists to receive funding through the City Artist Corps Grants program, presented by The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), with support from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) as well as Queens Theatre.

She was recognized for New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst, her photo-illustrated anthology, which brought her published book along with ten other authors to Mysterious Bookshop in Lower Manhattan at 58 Warren Street on Monday, October 25, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. for an in-store event and author signing along with a simultaneous Facebook Live presentation and recording for Jim Freund’s WBAI program Hour of the Wolf.

Author contributors include:

  • Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of over 31 award-winning mystery and thriller novels, including the Jesse Stone series for the estate of Robert B. Parker. Called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan.
  • Charles Salzberg, former magazine journalist, crime novelist of the Shamus Award-nominated Henry Swann series, founding member of the New York Writers Workshop.
  • Tom Straw, Emmy and WGA-nominated writer-producer, credits include Nurse Jackie, Night Court, Grace Under Fire, Whoopie, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Crime novelist under the pen name of Richard Castle.
  • Randee Dawn, Entertainment journalist for Today.com, Variety, and the Los Angeles Times. Co-editor of Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles and The Law & Order: SUV Companion, and speculative fiction writer of the upcoming Tune in Tomorrow.
  • Barbara Krasnoff, Reviews Editor at The Verge, over 45 published short stories, Nebula Award finalist, author of the “mosaic” novel The History of Soul 2065.
  • Steven Van Patten, TV stage manager by day, horror writer by night. Co-host of the Beef, Wine and Shenanigans podcast, winner of several African American Literary Awards.
  • Triss Stein writes mysteries that all take place in Brooklyn.
  • Marco Conelli, former NYPD detective, consultant to Mary Higgins Clark, and Silver Falchion award-winner for young adult mysteries and the police procedural Cry For Help, taking place in The Bronx.
  • R.J. Koreto, historical mystery writer focusing on New York during the Gilded Age.
  • Richie Narvaez, award-winning mystery author of Hipster Death Rattle, Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco, and Noiryorican.
  • Elizabeth Crowens, over 25 years in the entertainment industry, member of the International Cinematographers Guild as a Still Photographer (Imdb.com credited: Sheri Lane), award-winning writer of novels in the Hollywood mystery and alternate history genres. Recipient of the Leo B. Burstein Scholarship by the NY Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Editor and photographer for New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst based on her Facebook Caption Contests. elizabethcrowens.com, @Ecrowens on Twitter, and Elizabeth Crowens on Facebook!

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Tour Participants:

Visit the stops on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, and guest posts from our hosts and authors!

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

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#GuestPost “Beneath the Marigolds” by Emily C. Whitson

Beneath the Marigolds by Emily C. Whitson Banner

October 1-31, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

cover

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~ Guest Post ~

4 Ways To Build Memorable Characters

By Emily C. Whitson

 At the crux of any good story is a memorable character. If the character falls flat, then so will the story. Here are five techniques I use to keep characters both interesting and realistic.

 Names

Names are important, which is why I change them approximately 7 times in the writing process. (My editor loves this.) It’s a nice touch if names, in some way, represent the character. For example, I chose the name “Reese Marigold” in Beneath the Marigolds because my character was vulnerable, romantic, and beautiful — much like a flower. Marigolds, in particular, are known as companion plants; they help surrounding flowers grow. My character, Reese, has a similar effect on Ann, the primary protagonist of the story.

Having some symbolism behind names will not only give your characters an added layer of depth, but it will also help readers remember your characters — which is particularly important if you have a large cast of players.

Physical characteristics

 Some writers, like Stephen King, believe it’s best to keep physical characteristics vague. I disagree. When I’m reading, I want to be able to see the characters in my head. In my opinion, no one does this better than J. K. Rowling. Take this description of Mrs. Dursley:

“Mrs. Dursley…had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, which came in very useful as she spent so much of her time craning over garden fences, spying on the neighbours” (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, p. 1).

Not only can I visualize Mrs. Dursley, but I also know everything I need to know about her personality.

The key here is uniqueness. Scars, tattoos, and bubblegum-pink hair stand out. An attractive, brunette woman? Not so much.

Speech

 Accent, pitch, and speed are important aspects of characterization. Like names and physical characteristics, speech can also give readers an insight into the character’s personality and backstory. Does the character talk so fast it makes your head hurt? Does the character mumble? Is the character from the city, or the suburbs?

In addition to adding depth to the character, different speech patterns help readers differentiate between characters when reading dialogue.

Goals

This is one of the most important aspects to characterization, if not the most important aspect. Character goals are what drive the story — it’s what creates conflict and resolution. In fact, at its most basic, a story is a character overcoming obstacles to reach a goal. It’s a man trying to save his kidnapped daughter. It’s a scorned woman getting revenge on her adulterous husband. It’s a woman trying to find her missing friend on an isolated island.

It’s okay to write without a firm outline, but it’s essential to write with fully-formed characters — with their own unique goals and history — in mind. Otherwise, your story will be inconsistent, unbelievable, and unmemorable.

~~~

Synopsis:

 

Playing on our universal fascination with reality TV, Emily C. Whitson’s Beneath the Marigolds is The Bachelor(ette) gone terribly wrong.

When her best friend, Reese Marigold, goes missing after attending Last Chance, an exclusive singles’ retreat on a remote island off the coast of Hawaii, no-nonsense lawyer Ann Stone infiltrates the retreat.

Ann quickly realizes there’s more to Last Chance than meets the eye. The extravagant clothes, never-ending interviews, and bizarre dates hint that the retreat is a front for a reality dating show. Could Reese be safe, keeping a low profile until the premier, or did something sinister occur after all?

Torn between the need to uncover the truth and her desperate desire to get off the island, Ann partakes in the unusual routines of the “journey to true love” and investigates the other attendees who all have something to hide. In a final attempt to find Reese on the compound, she realizes that she herself may never get off the island alive.

Praise for Beneath the Marigolds:

“Cleverly plotted…Whitson’s debut novel is an intriguing new entry in the women’s suspense genre, driven by dual first-person narrators and tension-filled parallel timelines.”— Carmen Amato, Silver Falchion Award Finalist and author of The Detective Emilia Cruz Mystery Series

“Exhilarating twists and turns…a fast-paced psychological thriller that mashes up the reality series The Bachelor with Gone Girl.” — Helen Power, author of The Ghosts of Thorwald Place

“A fun, propulsive read…this book cleverly combines the archetypes of “reality TV” and the “trapped-on-a-remote-island” mystery that will perpetually keep you guessing.” — Marcy McCreary, author of The Disappearance of Trudy Solomon

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller/Psychological

Published by: CamCat Books

Publication Date: September 21st 2021

Number of Pages: 320

ISBN: 0744304202 (ISBN13: 9780744304206)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | CamCat Books

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Read an excerpt:

Prologue

I knew too much. On that island, on that godforsaken singles’ retreat. I knew too much.

I ruminated on that thought, chewing it carefully, repeatedly, while Magda, the makeup artist, transformed me into a life-size nightmarish porcelain doll. Ghastly white face, penciled-in eyebrows, blood-red lips. I’d look beautiful from a distance, she had told me, leaving the other part of the sentence unspoken: up close, it’s frightening. She tsked as she dabbed my damp forehead for the fourth time, her Russian accent thickening with frustration.

“Vhy you sveating so much?”

I worried my voice would come out haggard, so I shrugged, a little too forcefully. Magda shook her head, her pink bob sashaying in the grand all-white bathroom as she muttered something foreign under her breath. My gaze danced across the various makeup brushes on the

vanity until it landed on one in particular. I shifted my weight in the silk- cushioned chair, toyed with my watch.

“Magda, what do you want out of this retreat?” No response.

Did she not hear me, or did she choose not to respond? In the silence, I was able to hear Christina’s high-heeled feet outside the bathroom.

Click, clack. Click, click.

When I first met the host of the singles’ retreat, I was in awe of her presence, her unflappable poise. Shoulders back, she walked with a purpose, one foot in front of another, and though she was a couple inches shorter than I was, she seemed larger than life. Her icy eyes, colored only the faintest shade of blue, seemed to hold the secrets of the world—secrets she intended to keep. But I had stumbled upon them just a few short hours before, and I was now afraid her gait represented something more sinister: the march of an executioner.

Click, clack. Click, clack.

Her stride matched the even tick of my watch, and a drop of sweat trickled down my back. Was I being ridiculous? Surely Christina wouldn’t hurt me. She had been reasonable with me earlier, hadn’t she? “One meenute,” Magda shouted at the retreat’s host. She doused

my fire-red curls in hairspray one last time before asking me if I was ready to go.

“I just need to use the bathroom.” I wheezed through shallow breaths. “I’ll be right out.”

Magda exaggerated her sigh before shuffling out of the white-marble immurement, closing the doors behind her with a huff. My last remnants of safety and rational thinking left with her.

I shoved the vanity chair underneath the door handle. I grabbed the makeup brush with the flattest head and hurried to the bathroom. I gingerly closed the lid of the toilet and slipped off my heels before tip-

toeing on top so I could face the window. After removing the beading, I inserted the head of the makeup brush between the frame and glass. The brush’s handle cracked under the pressure, but it was enough to lever the glass out of its mounting. I placed the glass on the floor as gently as I’ve ever handled any object, trying not to make even the slightest sound, before hoisting myself up and through the window. I jumped into the black night, only partially illuminated by the full moon and the artificial lights of the mansion. I allowed my eyes to adjust.

And then I ran.

The loose branches of the island forest whipped at my cheeks, my limbs, my mouth. The soles of my feet split open from fallen twigs and other debris, but the adrenaline kept the pain at bay. I tripped over something unseen, and my hands broke my fall. Just a few cuts, and a little blood. I couldn’t see it, but I could feel it.

I jumped up, forcing myself to keep moving. The near darkness was blinding, so I held my bloody hands up, trying to block my face. The farther I ran, the more similar the trunks of the trees became. How long had I been running? I gauged about a mile. I slowed down to gather my bearings. Behind me, the lights of the mansion brightened the sky, but they were only the size of my palm from that distance.

I heard the hum of a moving car come and go. I must have been near the road. I was about to start moving again when I heard the snap of twigs. Footsteps. I stopped breathing. I swiveled to my left and right, but nothing. I exhaled. It was just my imagination. I continued away from the lights. Away from the retreat.

And then someone stepped toward me: Christina. Her face was partially obscured by darkness, but her pale eyes stood out like fireflies. “It doesn’t have to be like this,” she said. Her expression remained

a mystery in the darkness.

I turned around, but one of her handlers was blocking that path.

Christina took another step forward, and I jerked away, tripping over the gnarled roots of the forest in the process. My head broke the fall this time, and my ears rang from the pain.

Her handler reached for my left hand, and for a moment, I thought he was going to help me stand. Instead, he twisted my ring finger into an unnatural position. As my bone cracked, my screams reverberated through the woods.

It was showtime.

***

Excerpt from Beneath the Marigolds by Emily C. Whitson. Copyright 2021 by Emily C. Whitson. Reproduced with permission from CamCat Books. All rights reserved.

~~~

Author Bio:

Emily C. Whitson

Emily Whitson received a B.A. in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked as a marketing copywriter for six years before pursuing a career in fiction and education. She is currently getting her M.Ed. at Vanderbilt University, where she writes between classes. She is particularly passionate about women’s education and female stories. This interest stems from her time at Harpeth Hall, an all-girls college preparatory school in Nashville, Tennessee. When she isn’t volunteering, writing, or in the classroom, Emily can usually be found with her dog, Hoss, in one of Nashville’s various parks. Beneath the Marigolds is her debut novel.

Catch Up With Emily C. Whitson:
EmilyCWhitson.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @emilycwhitson_author
Instagram – @emilycwhitson
Facebook – @emilycwhitson

~~~

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

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Join In:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Emily C. Whitson & CatCam Books. There will be 1 winner of one (1) print edition of Beneath the Marigolds by Emily C. Whitson (US, Canada, and UK Only). The giveaway runs October 1 through November 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

~~~

 

#GuestPost Meet the Character Day: Chatting with Brian from “Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover” by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Meet the Character Day” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each “Behind the Scenes” blog, I talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. The “Meet the Character Day” blogs are fun chats with the heroes and heroines from my romances. Warning: blogs may contain spoilers.

Hello romance lovers! Today we’re chatting with Brian, the hero from Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover by Kelli A. Wilkins. Let’s see what’s on his mind…

Confessions of a Vampire's Lover cover

 

Greetings, Brian. Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover is a contemporary paranormal summer romance. Can you tell us more about the book?

Hi! Well, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover is what the title says, confessions of a vampire’s lover. It’s the story of how I met and fell in love with a woman named Anya, who turns out to be a vampire.

The story is told entirely in first person from my point-of-view. That’s unusual for a romance, because most of them are third-person stories and you get a variety of different characters’ points-of-view. Or, if it is a first-person romance, it’s usually told by the heroine, not the hero. But this is my story and I tell it the way it happened.

Readers should know that the story is an erotic romance. I don’t shy away from sharing explicit details about our sexual encounters. Some people might be turned off by the high heat level (3), but they would still enjoy the story. They can skip over any scenes that are too “hot!”


What drew you to Anya?

I was on the beach at night, toward the end of the summer season, and I saw her reading a book (it was a romance novel, of course). It was strange because she was reading by moonlight. Anya was alone, but something about her seemed lonely, and kind of aloof. I thought she was cute, and I wanted to talk to her, but when I looked back, she was gone. The book was lying there in the sand, but she had vanished. Needless to say, that got me very curious. The next time I saw her (at a party) I made a point of talking to her and getting to know her.

When did you find out Anya is a vampire and how did you take it?

How do you think I took it? I thought she was nuts! (Laughs). Who wouldn’t? I mean, really, if someone told you they are a vampire, would you believe them? And besides, I first saw Anya on the beach. Most people don’t think of the beach as a place to find a vampire.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but I knew Anya had peculiar habits (she never came to see me during the day, left my place before dawn, she never let me see where she lived), but, being a guy, I thought she was being secretive and seeing someone else on the side. When I confronted her about cheating on me, she confessed that she was a vampire. I didn’t believe her at first, but then I started piecing other things together, and it made sense. (Plus, she showed me her fangs!)

What’s Anya’s personality like? Are you very compatible?

Yes, we get along great and are still in love. Of course, I had to make certain ”adjustments” to be with Anya, but it was certainly worth it. I’ve always been a bit of a loner and so had Anya. Now we can be “alone together” so to speak. I wasn’t close to my family, and her family has been gone for a few hundred years.

Anya has a great sense of humor when you get to know her. She loves watching movies, listening to music, going to concerts, and traveling. Even after all these years, there’s so much to do and see in the world. She told me it’s much more fun to do things as a couple. Anya has her serious side and can get a little moody, but so do most people.

Okay, we need to ask… Feeding is mentioned in the story… how does that work exactly?

Kelli decided to keep Anya’s feeding “off-page” in the book. After all, this is a romance. Readers might be turned off by the bloodier, or more violent, aspects of Anya’s life. I’d like to say that we’re not how vampires are portrayed in the movies and tv shows. We’re not lurking in graveyards or castles, wearing capes or filly dresses, and attacking people in their beds.

We basically live like any normal couple (except we’re nocturnal and have special dietary needs). Anya has asked that I don’t go into too many specific details (for obvious reasons), but I can say we don’t harm anyone or “feed” from anyone without consent, and we don’t need to feed as often as people think.


Do you have other vampires in your life? Human friends?

Sort of. Anya knows where there are one or two other vampires nearby (they have a psychic connection), but we don’t socialize. We do have mortal friends and coworkers (yes, we have jobs), but we’re not incredibly close and they don’t know our secret. Vampires have been living alongside mortals for thousands of years. We live in the background (or the shadows!) and tend to mind our own business.


A big part of the story is how much you love surfing and going to the beach. Do you still surf?

Yes, I’m still surfing. Of course, I can’t go to the beach during the day, but I surf at night. I still love being near the ocean, and I’ve starting deep-sea diving. It’s amazing what treasures you can find underwater!

Anything else you want to add?

I hope readers like Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover. It’s a quick summer read (maybe even a beach read!) that blends a dreamlike romance with sizzling love scenes. Kelli says it’s gotten several great reviews, too.

Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone! If you missed any blog in this series, you can catch up here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog

~~~

Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover

The moment Brian spotted Anya sitting on the moonlit beach, he was hooked. Beautiful, smart, and sexy, Anya was the girl of his dreams. She didn’t mind that he spent the hot summer days riding the ocean waves, because once the sun set, he belonged to her—all night long!

Everything is perfect between them—until Brian discovers Anya’s shocking secret. Can Brian give up the sun, sand, and surf to be with the woman he loves?

Read Brian’s first-hand account of their unusual love story in… Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.

Order Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover here:

Confessions of a Vampire's Lover cover

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IBYWYCI

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/49xp1J

Read reviews & more here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/confessions-of-a-vampire-s-lover

 

Want more? Follow Kelli’s Facebook Contemporary Romances page: https://www.facebook.com/Contemporary-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1965702023664339/

~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 3 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

She released Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing in early 2021. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

In 2020 Kelli published Love, Lies & Redemption, a western romance set in 1877 Nebraska. This novel blends a sensual love story with mystery and danger.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

~~~

#GuestPost Behind the Scenes: Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.

Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover is a unique end-of-summer romance. The story is told in first person by Brian, the hero. Why? It just came out that way. As I was writing, it felt more believable to have Brian tell the story of how he met and fell in love with a vampire. Readers meet Brian and are swept into the story as it unfolds for him, so they’re more personally involved.

Confessions of a Vampire's Lover cover

Most romances are told in third person and alternate between the hero and heroine’s points-of view. This story is different in that we don’t hear from Anya (the heroine) at all, other than in dialogue, and we only get to know her through Brian.

The setting also makes it a bit unusual. Most readers don’t think of the beach as a place to find a vampire. When Brian first sees Anya, she is sitting on the beach at night reading a book by moonlight. I wanted to contrast the differences between Brian and Anya from the start. He’s a sun-worshipping surfer who is outside all day, and she’s a nocturnal loner, happy to lose herself in a romance novel when nobody else is around.

The idea for the story came to me as I was sitting on the beach one afternoon in late October. It was cool and windy, and I had on a light jacket and sunglasses. Nobody else was on the beach (except for my surfer husband) and I liked the desolate surroundings.

I started thinking… what if a vampire went to the beach at night to do all the things regular people did during the day? What if the vampire fell in love with a surfer? It would be like night and day. Would he give up his life in the sunlight to be with the woman he loves? That’s the main question of the story, and Brian’s ultimate dilemma.

As I was writing, I wanted to capture the essence of what Brian was experiencing when he was with Anya. So I gave the book a surreal, almost Gothic, dreamlike feel. I also knew that a vampire romance could easily become too gory or too realistic when it came to feeding and turn into a horror story.

When I’m writing a paranormal romance, I have to be careful I don’t cross the line from paranormal romance into horror. The “monster” character must retain human traits and remain a sympathetic character the reader can identify with and like.

If your paranormal creature is too scary or the story gets too gory it will turn off romance readers and cross over into the horror genre. I liked creating Anya. And I deliberately kept a lot of her background a mystery. Anya is a gentle, sensitive vampire… up to a point. We do get to see a more violent and assertive part of her vampire nature—but she has a good reason.

Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover is also a very explicit erotic romance. Anya is a sensual woman with needs that must be satisfied, and Brian is all for helping sate her desires. (Believe it or not, some e-book sales channels won’t carry the book because it’s erotica).

But this isn’t just an erotic love story; there’s plenty of plot and drama for all romance lovers. It’s a unique blend of vampires, romance, and the beach. Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover makes a great summer read and I’m proud to say it got several excellent reviews.

~~~

Confessions of A Vampire’s Lover

The moment Brian spotted Anya sitting on the moonlit beach, he was hooked. Beautiful, smart, and sexy, Anya was the girl of his dreams. She didn’t mind that he spent the hot summer days riding the ocean waves, because once the sun set, he belonged to her—all night long!

Everything is perfect between them—until Brian discovers Anya’s shocking secret. Can Brian give up the sun, sand, and surf to be with the woman he loves?

Read Brian’s first-hand account of their unusual love story in… Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.

Confessions of a Vampire's Lover cover

Order Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover here:

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IBYWYCI

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/49xp1J

Read reviews & more here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/confessions-of-a-vampire-s-lover

Want more? Follow my Facebook Contemporary Romances page: https://www.facebook.com/Contemporary-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1965702023664339/

 

I hope you enjoyed this “Behind the Scenes” look at the making of this hot summer romance. I welcome questions and comments from readers and other authors. Contact me via the form on my site or on social media.

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

 ~~~

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 3 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

She released Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing in early 2021. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

In 2020 Kelli published Love, Lies & Redemption, a western romance set in 1877 Nebraska. This novel blends a sensual love story with mystery and danger.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

~~~

#GuestPost ‘n’ #BlogTour “The Wars Between Us” by J.A. Boulet

ThewarsBetweenUs

Welcome to the blog tour for The Wars Between US by J.A. Boulet. Read on for a guest post, excerpt and a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card!

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Guest Blog – Navy

JA Boulet – The Wars Between Us

 Firstly, I have never served in the Navy, so all my observations are solely from research. I have several friends that served in the Canadian Navy. One of those men has severe PTSD, so that says something. I have the utmost respect and admiration for our Naval personnel. It is a very dangerous job on the open seas fighting battles and sinking ships. Sailor’s lives were filled with wet, cold weather and cramped, sweaty conditions, constantly fighting for their lives. It was a very emotional process for me to write this book about a sailor’s life. I immersed myself into a troubled man’s life on the open seas.

When I started my research, I was flabbergasted from the staggering counts of ships that were destroyed or sunk during the Battle of the Atlantic in WWII. There is literally only ONE remaining corvette ship left in Canada called the Sackville. It is lovingly maintained in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as a floating museum.

In Halifax, there is a large granite Cross of Sacrifice that looks out over the Atlantic Ocean. The Halifax Memorial stands solemnly in Point Pleasant Park, with the names of 3,257 men and women who died at sea throughout WWI and WWII. The tip of the cross reaches over 12 metres high and can be clearly seen by the merchant ships approaching Halifax harbour. A poignant reminder of the many Canadians buried at sea.

I originally started The Wars Between Us as a story of a sexy bad boy during the Great Depression and WWII. It metamorphized into so much more. The Wars Between Us is an emotional story of unbridled courage, the Navy and the unwavering love of a devoted wife. Half my heart felt like it was cut out and pasted into this book. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!

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EBOOK - J A Boulet b03The Wars Between Us (The Olason Chronicles)

Publication Date: June 18th, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Historical Romance

Meet Zachary Olason, a bad boy struggling on the brink of alcoholism. During the Great Depression, Zack loses himself and spirals into nights of debauchery, riots and drunkenness. His twin brother, Adam, thinks lowly of him as his entire family struggles to help him.

But Zack is determined to make a mess of his life.

Until he meets a beautiful petite woman, half Cree and part British, who helps him to grow into a better version of himself.

Then just as he thinks life is getting better, he sinks to the bottom of hell. Will he survive from his own self-destruction?

The only way he sees out is to join the Canadian Navy.

The Battle of the Atlantic will either teach him or break him.

THE WARS BETWEEN US

With action packed adrenaline and steamy love scenes, The Wars Between Us will keep you gripped to your seat on a ride of addiction, unwavering love and the fight to stay alive during WWII.

Add to Goodreads

~~~

Chapter One

The fields were dry, so dry in fact, that swirls of dirt and sand kicked up in the winds making it difficult to see. The terrible drought had devastated most of the fields and ruined many farming families. Zack was upset that everyone was struggling, even the people who still had family and properties. Many people were becoming destitute. His half-sister, Annabella, and her farming family were hit hard. They were barely surviving, but they somehow managed to grow their own vegetables for food, using the chickens for eggs and fish for dinner. Gimli was still enduring throughout the Depression, with the fishing industry holding things precariously together.

“Get those fishing rods ready, son,” Nath instructed as he lowered the anchor in the middle of the lake. The boat bobbed lazily in the waves as they prepared to fish for the day.

It was early morning. Zack picked up the rods and opened the bait box. He looked up and caught his father’s eye. His dad had aged so much in the last year. He could see it in the way Nathan moved with a slower, more deliberate task in everything he did. His father used to take him and his twin brother into the bush, running, hunting and laughing when they were younger. Now, the only energy Nathan had left was to fish. Zack loved fishing with his dad and absorbed every minute of it, but he was concerned. His dad meant everything to him.

Zack baited the lines and waited until Nath had dropped the anchor securely with a splash in the deep water. He handed Nath the baited rod and turned his attention to the remaining rod, flipping the slippery tiny fish onto the hook.

He smiled at his dad and flung his rod out into the lake, as Nath did the same. The sun would be rising soon over the watery horizon. It was still very early; the skies were just beginning to turn a lighter blue on one side. The west side was still a darker blue of night. It was so strange to Zack how that always seemed so lopsided. Daylight on one side and the night slowly slipping away on the other.

“When is this depression going to end, Pabbi?” Zack asked, using the endearing Icelandic term for father.

“I don’t know, Zack,” Nath replied, gazing over the lake. “I wish I had a crystal ball sometimes. I could see into the future and make better choices.”

“I think you’ve made pretty good choices,” Zack replied, his blue eyes reflecting the lake’s colour.

“Yes, for some things,” Nath said thoughtfully, thinking of his beautiful young wife, Maria. She was his angel. Maria had helped him to love again. Together they had birthed two strong sons, both of whom had their mother’s bright blonde hair. The boys had inherited his piercing blue eyes and his tall build. He felt blessed every single day for Maria and his family. Nathan couldn’t imagine his life without them.

Zack shuffled on the boat, trying to get comfortable. “Pabbi, I’m seventeen, and I was thinking about joining one of those unemployment labour camps. It would help everyone out if I got a job. Then the strain on you and mom would be less. You wouldn’t have to struggle to feed me anymore. The food has become so sparse, and I don’t want to become a burden on you. I’m young and strong; the camps will feed and house me.”

Nath looked across at his young son, his heart skipping a beat. “Please don’t,” he said. “Those camps are terrible. Deplorable working conditions and even rumoured to have a communist group. I don’t want you getting all messed up with that. We have enough food.”

Zack grinned lopsidedly and accepted his father’s words, although he wasn’t sure that he would listen to his father’s decision. He wanted to travel and experience his life, but Zack felt trapped by the Great Depression. It was like every door he tried to open was locked, and every door that miraculously opened had nothing behind it. He was feeling frustrated and reckless. Zack wanted to make something of his life. He yearned to show people that he was a man and that he had worth.

“Things will get better soon,” Nath said. “They created the Bank of Canada just this past March. The government is changing in a good way, son. You can still work at the fishery with Mike and your cousins.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Zack said, slumping into the boat. He’d be stuck out here forever, he thought.

Zack closed the door quietly and stepped out onto the wood porch gingerly. He tried not to awake anyone, keeping his departure secret. He had written a short note for his mom and dad, telling them he was off to find some work and not to worry.

It was June 18, 1935. Zack felt uneasy about going against his father’s wishes. He didn’t want his dad to fuss. Zack always had a staunch spirit and felt spurred into action when presented with life’s problems; he simply couldn’t sit by and do nothing. He was once called rebellious by his mother. But it was not entirely true. Zack yearned to do the right thing and felt that without action, there would never be change.

He would come back home when the depression was over. It would save precious food for his momma and his Pabbi.

They would thank him one day.

Zack stepped quietly onto the sand and walked towards the train tracks. He didn’t know where he was going, but Zack knew what he was looking for. He wanted a life he could call his own.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

AuthorPic3B

J.A. Boulet is the passionate author of The Olason Chronicles, a historical saga of war, courage, love and strength. Her newest novel The Wars Between Us Book 3 is scheduled for release June 18, 2021 on Amazon. J. A. Boulet was born and raised in Western Canada as a first generation Canadian from European descent. Her father enlisted with the Hungarian military and fought bravely during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, changing sides to stand up for what he believed in. He was granted asylum in Canada and built his family here.

J.A. Boulet was born many years later, raised with strong morals and values, which she stands behind, to this day. She started writing poetry at the age of five and progressed to short stories and novels. She has a keen interest in settlers, healing, family bonds and military history. J. A. Boulet writes with a spine-tingling realism like none other, grabbing your emotions and refusing to let go. The Olason Chronicles is the series you’ve been waiting for. Watch for the final book (4) in the series, being scheduled for a 2022 release.

Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Reddit.

JA Boulet

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Blog Tour Schedule

Aug 9th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

B is for Book Review (Interview) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

Books, Rambling & Tea (Spotlight) https://booksramblingsandtea.com/

Aug 10th

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Guest Post) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

Nesie’s Place (Guest Post) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

J Bronder Reviews (Spotlight)  https://jbronderbookreviews.com/

Aug 11th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Read & Rated (Spotlight) https://readandrated.com/

Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight) http://mistysbookspace.wordpress.com

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

Aug 12th

 @lianne_the_bibliophile (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/lianne_the_bibliophile/

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

The Cozy Pages (Spotlight) http://thecozypages.wordpress.com/

August 13th

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

Crossroad Reviews (Spotlight) http://www.crossroadreviews.com

Blog Tour Organized By:

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#GuestPost Meet the Character Day: A Chat with Prince Allan from “A Most Unfortunate Prince” by Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Meet the Character Day” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each “Behind the Scenes” blog, I talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. The “Meet the Character Day” blogs are fun chats with the heroes and heroines from my romances. Warning: blogs may contain spoilers.

A Most Unfortunate prince

Hello romance lovers. Today we’re chatting with Prince Allan, the hero from A Most Unfortunate Prince by Kelli A. Wilkins.

Q: Greetings, Prince Allan. A Most Unfortunate Prince is the last book in Kelli’s Royal Desires series of historical/fantasy novels. Can you tell us about the trilogy?

A: Absolutely. I’ll tell you anything you want. I can even give away secret spoilers, if you like. As readers may already know, A Most Unfortunate Prince is the final story in a trilogy that began with A Most Unusual Princess and continued with A Most Intriguing Temptation. Although the books are related, each stands alone as an individual read. Kelli calls the trio the Royal Desires series, which I think sums up the books perfectly. We are, after all, royals, with lots of desires! (Laughs)

A Most Unusual Princess introduced readers to my headstrong sister, A Most Unsual PrincessPrincess Elara, and her ever-patient guard, Dalton. Their story continued in A Most Intriguing Temptation, and that’s where readers were given the pleasure of meeting me for the first time. In the book, Dalton and I attended a business meeting with Emperor Salizar and Elara followed us. She got us all into a lot of trouble. And believe it or not, Dalton and my father blamed me for it.

A Most Unfortunate Prince begins right after A Most Intriguing Temptation A Most Intriguing Temptationends. This book is (unfortunately, ha-ha get it?) about my banishment and fall from grace. Yes, my own father banished me. He said I was too spoiled and… a lot of other unpleasant things. So he kicked me out and sent me to the worst place in the kingdom. This novel follows my adventures and my journey as I find true love. Elara and Dalton also appear in the book as minor characters, but they play a very important part in the ending. (Kelli says I can’t give it away.)

Q: Tell us about yourself. What got you in the crosshairs for your author?

A: Well, the way I hear it is… When Kelli was writing my scenes in A Most Intriguing Temptation she was so impressed with my good looks, charm, and witty and wiseass personality she decided I needed to have a book of my own. She said I was one of those characters who try to take over a story. I thought having my own book would be a great idea. Of course, I didn’t realize I’d have to suffer. The nerve! (Eyeroll)

As the title suggests, the book is all about my trials and tribulations. Right on page one, I’m banished, kicked out of my posh and pampered life. I’m forced to live as a commoner. Well, you can imagine that didn’t go over very well. I never really thought my father was serious. I figured he would change his mind in a day or a week… Nope.

 

Before I was banished, I was very spoiled and said and did whatever I wanted. I took all my luxuries for granted and could snap my fingers and have beautiful women crawling all over me. All that changed when I was living on my own. It sounds strange, but now I realize being banished was the best thing that ever happened to me. Why? Because I met Claudette.

Our first meeting didn’t go over very well, but in time, I earned her respect and we fell in love.

Q: Tell us more about your first meeting. What drew you to Claudette?

A: Claudette is a seamstress, and she’s a very clever young woman who has been forced to make her own way in the world. She’s not one to put up with nonsense from people, is strong-willed, and opinionated. And guess what? She hates rich people—and that certainly includes the royal family more than anything. Sounds like a great match, right?

We met in an odd way. I went into a shop to get a button on my breeches replaced. Somehow, my breeches “accidentally” fell down and I exposed myself to her. I thought it was a funny joke—for about two seconds. Then Claudette hauled off and smacked my privates. The next thing I knew, I was on the floor in pain, and she was yelling at me. Nice meeting, huh?

Yes, what I did was crude and inexcusable, but I had been so used to doing and saying whatever I wanted that I couldn’t help myself. Claudette apologized (she was worried I would tell her boss what she had done) and we made up. I thought she was cute and wanted to get to know her better. Naturally she was hesitant about seeing me, but I persisted.

When I learned she despised rich people (and the royals) I knew I had to keep my identity a secret, or risk losing her forever. Over the course of the book I learned all about Claudette’s troubled past and her loss. I admired her strength and determination to make a good life for herself, despite all the odds. It inspired me to make the most of my banishment and to redeem myself in my father’s eyes.

Q: A little naughty fun, where was the wildest place you seduced your partner? Or where she seduced you?

A: In this book, Claudette and I get frisky in several places. She isn’t shy when it comes to making love, and she was willing to share her affection with me quite often. The wildest place was at the shop where she worked. One night we couldn’t control ourselves and made love (actually, we screwed like mad) on the counter. This book is definitely a blend of adventure and steamy love scenes.

Q: Do you sometimes want to strangle your author because of the situations she puts you in?

 A: Absolutely! Kelli started torturing me on page one. I heard Dalton thought she put him through difficult situations in his book—bah! He doesn’t know what it’s like to be beaten, starved, and humiliated like I was. Kelli has admitted putting me through all that was hard on her, and writing one part of the book broke her heart. And it broke my heart, too. (I’m not allowed to give away that spoiler.)

 Q: What was one of the most embarrassing things Kelli did to you in A Most Unfortunate Prince?

A: Let’s see, Kelli did about five hundred embarrassing things to me in the book. Here’s a sample: I was banished and humiliated in front of my royal family; I was sent away to practically starve to death in the worst part of the kingdom; I had to get a job working at the docks for a vicious beast of a boss; a sweet shop girl smacked my genitals; I was stripped and flogged like an animal… Need I go on?

Kelli really made me suffer. In A Most Intriguing Temptation I had a good time and enjoyed myself. And all that changed in A Most Unfortunate Prince. I guess you can say I “paid my dues” and had a fall from grace.

Of course I realize Kelli did all those awful things to me so I’d change and redeem myself. Now I’m a better person, a different person. And I have Claudette by my side. I’d willingly go through it all again, knowing her love would be my reward. (Pauses) Does that sound too mushy? Claudette changed my life and saved me from myself—and I thank Kelli for that.

Q: When Prince Dalton was a guest on this blog, he hinted there was a different side to you. Can you explain?

A: Oh. Well… Dalton warned me you might ask about that. When Kelli was writing my story, I surprised her with a secret. You see, just because she’s the author, she thinks she knows everything about her characters. I showed her she was wrong.

Sometimes characters “take over” and steer the story in a different direction. That’s what I did. Here’s a secret spoiler from the book: Although my primary romance was with Claudette, I fell in love twice. Before I met Claudette, I had a relationship with my male roommate, Alex. Yup. (Nods) Alex plays a crucial part in the story, and he saved my life. Kelli won’t let me share more details (you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens), but I can say Kelli fell in love with Alex as much as I did.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

A: Although A Most Unusual Princess, A Most Intriguing Temptation, and A Most Unfortunate Prince make up the Royal Desires series, each of our stories stand alone as individual reads. You can start with book 2 and then go back to book 1 to see how everything started, or start with book 3 and go in reverse order. However you read them, I encourage romance lovers to catch up on all of our adventures.

Of course, I’m partial to my own book. I think it’s the best. Kelli has said: “Allan’s fall from grace and the journey of self-discovery he undergoes are some of the reasons why I love this book. It has something for everyone: hot love scenes, tender moments, mystery, adventure, and suspense.”

You can’t get much better than that. I’m content with the way the trilogy ends. Kelli says I can tell you “we all live happily-ever-after.”

Thank you for having me on this blog. This was fun. I invite readers to catch up on all of Kelli’s romances and visit her on social media (whatever that is). You can also write me fan letters, if you like. (Winks)

 Thank you, Prince Allan, for joining us today. Readers can learn more about all of Kelli’s books on her site: www.KelliWilkins.com

 

Missed a blog? Catch up on Kelli’s blog series here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog

Here’s the book summary:

A Most Unfortunate Prince

This time, it’s all about Allan… and he never expected to fall in love!

Banished by the Royal Family, pampered Prince Allan is forced to abandon his life of luxury. The former Royal Shipmaster General is sent to the worst part of the kingdom and manages to find work at the docks. Lost in a commoner’s world, Allan is miserable—until he has an unusual encounter with a saucy shop girl named Claudette.

Allan must earn the respect of the woman he loves while keeping his true identity a secret. In an effort to redeem himself in his father’s eyes, he exposes a dangerous smuggling operation involving the Royal Fleet. But his loyalty to duty comes with a deadly price.

Can he keep Claudette and his royal title? Or will he lose her forever when she discovers his secret?

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The Royal Desires Series is available on Amazon & other platforms. Catch this hot historical/fantasy trilogy from the start:

A Most Unsual Princess

Book 1: A Most Unusual Princess:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01CBX43D8

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/me00L9

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/a-most-unusual-princess

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Book 2: A Most Intriguing Temptation:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D8P8604

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/47kkvj

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/a-most-intriguing-temptation

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Book 3: A Most Unfortunate Prince:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Most-Unfortunate-Prince-Historical-Fantasy-ebook/dp/B01DMBYJ6E

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3yPPM6

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/a-most-unfortunate-prince

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 3 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

In January 2021, Kelli released Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.

 

Her horror short, “A Witch’s Wishes” was published in the Nothing Ever Happens in Fox Hollow anthology in December 2020. In October 2020, Kelli had horror stories published in two anthologies. “The Uninvited” was published in Halloween Horror Vol. 2. This tale about a children’s Halloween party gone horribly wrong is one of her favorites. Her unsettling short story, “What the Peeper Saw” appeared in Madame Gray’s Creep Show anthology.

 

Earlier in 2020 Kelli published Love, Lies & Redemption, a western romance set in 1877 Nebraska. This novel blends a sensual love story with mystery and danger.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

#GuestPost “The Deadening” by Kerry Peresta

The Deadening by Kelly Peresta Banner

April 1-30, 2021 Tour

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The struggle to be an independent woman, to cut ties with dependence on that perfect partner to make us complete, whole; happy…is an ongoing battle.

Often it takes a disaster or two to help us open our blind eyes, our deaf ears. We learn, either willingly or unwillingly (through traumatic consequences), that we have to be a 100% whole woman before we can attract a 100% whole mate. This 50/50 stuff, just doesn’t work. All we have in this scenario are two broken people trying to mend each other, and that doesn’t benefit anyone.

Such is the case with my protagonist, Olivia Callahan. She is broken, but doesn’t know it. And this is a big problem. She is a sitting duck—vulnerable, naïve, clueless.

It takes twenty years, two beautiful daughters, and a divorce before she realizes something is dangerously wrong. In her haste to depart her parents’ home at the tender age of 18 she had leapt into her husband Monty’s arms, unaware that she was trading one fire for another. Monty felt comfortable. Familiar. They rock along for twenty years, and all is well as long as she lets Monty take the lead.

In everything.

Bad move.

When he leaves for a younger, perkier version, Olivia is shell-shocked. Devastated. What happened? She’d given him everything she had to give. Had she needed to try harder? Be more available? Claw into his mind to find out what she’d done wrong?

In a desperate attempt to pursue normalcy, even though her life would never be ‘normal’ again; after the divorce she takes her daughters to the beach, the family’s yearly vacation spot. In retrospect, she realizes this was not the best decision, since she sees the ghost of their marriage around every palm tree, in every beach chair. She is desperate to move on, to stop dwelling on what was and embrace the possibilities ahead. But she is still broken.

And so the cycle continues. One poor—but well-intentioned—decision after the other. One of which lands her in the bushes, bleeding and unconscious; the victim of an apparent assault. Fortunately, she is in the bushes outside an ER, and is carted in after someone finds her.

The ER team finds a massive brain injury, and struggles to save her. She lapses into a coma, and all the medical team can do is wait. She has no ID, and is admitted as a Jane Doe.

Olivia is based on an expanded and darker version of myself, decades ago, before I found strength and support in a recovery group. The information was life-changing, and boy, did my life ever change!

It got worse immediately.

They don’t tell you that this happens. I guess they like to keep it a secret, or the recoveree will run screaming from the meeting. I’m joking, but many times life does get worse when we begin facing facets of ourselves that are unpleasant and non-productive, but the resultant healing is phenomenal. Worth every cringy, hard-fought moment. These moments are temporary and healing.

Oliva is in for a tough battle. It’s one I believe most women experience in one way or another, and its severity depends on what the woman is willing to endure. Whether she will move forward, or stay stuck because it has become familiar. In Book One, Olivia stumbles through trying to find her way back to her life, but since the coma has stolen her memory, she is exhausted trying to reclaim the memories from her marriage, and memories of her children’s most precious years. And angry. She finds the anger energizing, and it propels her to carve out a better future than what family and friends share about her past. Pre-coma. Unfortunately, in order to be completely free of the past, she must revisit it.

What she discovers makes her more determined than ever to run from it as fast as she can.

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Synopsis:

The Deadening by Kerry Peresta

OLIVIA CALLAHAN’S quiet, orderly life is shattered when she regains consciousness in a hospital and discovers she is paralyzed and cannot remember a thing. The fragmented voices she hears around her help her piece together that an apparent assault landed her in the hospital, but nobody knows who attacked her, or why.

Now, in spite of a brain injury that has rewired her personality, Olivia is on a mission to reclaim her life. As clarity surfaces, and she starts to understand who she was, she is shocked.

Could she really have been that person?

And if so, does she want her old life back?

Praise:

“A gripping read populated by likable characters. Peresta draws us into a colorful detailed world and makes us care what happens to the people living in it. We root for Olivia as she struggles to regain her memory, her bearings, and the identity she lost long before her injury. Excellent!”
– Susan Crawford, Internationally bestselling author of The Pocket Wife and The Other Widow.

The Deadening is a captivating psychological suspense novel that will have you holding your breath with each turn of the page. Peresta has created a world chock-full of characters who are dynamic and unforgettable, for better or worse. Hold onto your seat.”
– Clay Stafford, bestselling author and founder of Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Suspense

Published by: Level Best Books

Publication Date: February 21, 2021

Number of Pages: 353

ISBN: 1953789358 (ISBN13:9781953789358) (ASIN:B08SVKLMZ8)

Series: Olivia Callahan Suspense, 1

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

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Giveaway!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Kerry Peresta. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card.
The giveaway begins on April 1, 2021 and runs through May 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

 

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

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