#BookTour “Playing Possum” by Lois Schmitt

February 1-28, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

book cover

~ Guest Post ~



by Lois Schmitt

Do you like cozies set in small English villages? Maybe you prefer mysteries set in big cities or exotic locales. Or perhaps you want to read about murder and mayhem that occurs by the beach or in the countryside.

Setting is not only the part of the world where the story is set—it is also each specific place where scenes occur, such as a bookstore, restaurant, newspaper office, or a zoo. Most books have several settings.

Getting the setting right can be tricky. Stories consist of action, dialogue, and description. These three must be mixed to keep the pace going. Since setting is primarily description, too much detail can slow down the story. But since the setting determines the background, you need to get it out there early. That means packing as much punch as possible in one or two sentences.

My mysteries take place on Long Island with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Great South Bay to the south, the Long Island Sound to the north, and New York City to the west. Each of my books, however, is set at a different “fictional” location within Long Island. Monkey Business is set at a zoo, Something Fishy is in an aquarium, and Playing Possum takes place at a wildlife refuge—all different sub-settings.

With each book, my amateur sleuth’s investigation may take her to other settings too, such as a suspect’s beach house, a pet store, or a local pub, as well as her home and office. When you visit someone’s home or office in real life, it provides details into that person’s personal life, and it should do the same when you read about it. Is the person neat? Does he like to cook? Does she have lots of books? Are there pets?

One of the best ways to create memorable settings is through sense impressions. In my new mystery, Playing Possum, I combine two sense reactions in the following sentence:

“I inhaled the scent of pine amid the morning’s cool spring breeze.”

Using both smell and touch (feeling the breeze) enhances the image of walking through the woods.

Think of the following descriptions:

The odor of dead fish made her gag.The aroma of bacon frying and freshly brewed coffee wafted through the air. The smell of urine permeated the pet store.

Each of the above sentences helps you envision the setting where they occur. Smell is one of our most powerful senses.

Taste, sound, and touch are also powerful. When using the sense of sight, one of the quickest ways to get a point across is through the use of color, such as “the inky black swamp water.”

Unfortunately, the sense of sight is frequently overused. If a writer relies primarily on the sense of sight, the description often can be boring. It also usually involves lots of detail which can make the narrative unnecessarily long and slow down the story’s pace. Combining more than one sense can provide a more vivid picture of the setting than just using one sense.

The following is a description from Playing Possum that involves sight, sound, and smell.


“The forest is different at night, full of shadows and mystery, with tall pines appearing like dark arrows aimed at the sky. The odor of rich earth and skunk weed seemed stronger now than during the day. Crickets chirped and I heard the flutter of wings and the rustling of small creatures scurrying nearby.”

In only three sentences the reader is provided with a vivid image of the forest at night.

As a story continued, details involving the setting can be provided a little bit at a time. These details now can be incorporated in dialogue and action to keep the story flowing. Example: She waved her hand to shoo the mosquitoes away from her face.

Setting is more than location. It involves time, tone, and atmosphere. The reader should be able to become absorbed in the setting and feel what the characters are experiencing.



Murder, Mayhem, and Missing Animals.

When animals mysteriously disappear from the Pendwell Wildlife Refuge, former English teacher turned magazine reporter Kristy Farrell is on the case. Days later, the body of the refuge’s director is found in a grassy clearing.

Kristy, assisted by her veterinarian daughter, investigates and discovers strong motives among the suspects, including greed, infidelity, betrayal, and blackmail.

As Kristy delves further, she finds herself up against the powerful Pendwell family, especially matriarch Victoria Buckley Pendwell, chair of the refuge board of trustees, and Victoria’s son, Austin Pendwell, who is slated to run for the state senate.

But ferreting out the murderer and finding the missing animals aren’t Kristy only challenges. While researching a story on puppy mills, she uncovers criminal activity that reaches far beyond the neighborhood pet store.

Meanwhile, strange things are happening back at the refuge, and soon a second murder occurs. Kristy is thwarted in her attempts to discover the murderer by her old nemesis, the blustery Detective Wolfe.

Kristy perseveres and as she unearths shady deals and dark secrets, Kristy slowly draws the killer out of the shadows.

Praise for Playing Possum:

Lois Schmitt’s Playing Possum does cozies proud. Fresh and traditional all at once.” -Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of Sleepless City

“In her third book of the series, writer Lois Schmitt has crafted an intricately-plotted mystery full of twists and humor, with a cast of colorful characters, set in a wildlife refuge rehab center. Cozy fans, and especially followers of Schmitt’s animal lovers’ mysteries, will find great entertainment in Playing Possum.” -Phyllis Gobbell, award-winning author of the Jordan Mayfair Mysteries

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by: Encircle Publications

Publication Date: December 8, 2021

Number of Pages: 296

ISBN: 1645993051 (ISBN13‎ 978-1645993056)

Series:A Kristy Farrell Animal Lovers Mystery, #3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:

I waited until a man and a woman emerged from the county medical examiner’s van. I followed them into the wildlife preserve, maintaining a discreet distance while wondering what happened. Did a jogger succumb to a heart attack? Did a child fall into a pond and drown? I inhaled deeply, hoping to steady my nerves.

I passed the clearing on the right where the administration building was located. I continued trailing the two members of the medical examiner’s staff until another clearing came into view—this one bordered by yellow crime scene tape.

I gasped.

Not far from where I stood, spread out in full view was a female body with blood covering much of the head. The body was face down, but I recognized the small build, sandy colored hair, and jade green shirt.

I tasted bile. I wanted to scream, but I slapped my hand in front of my mouth.

After regaining my composure, I surveyed my surroundings. Three people wearing jackets emblazoned in the back with the words Crime Scene Investigator were near the front of the clearing. One was bent over the body and the other two appeared to be examining the nearby ground. When the medical examiner’s team approached, the investigator next to the body rose up and started talking. I couldn’t make it all out, but I did hear him say “Blow to the head.”

“Oh, no,” I mumbled when I spied two homicide detectives I knew.

Detective Adrian Fox, a thirty something African American, stood on the side of the clearing, near a small pond. He was talking to a woman who yesterday had been arguing with the preserve’s director.

The director had called this woman Elena, so I assumed this was Elena Salazar, the education coordinator. I couldn’t hear what she was saying to the detective, but she was gesturing wildly with her arms.

The other detective, Steve Wolfe, had marched over to the body and was now barking orders to the medical examiner’s staff, who didn’t seem pleased. As Wolfe turned around, the woman in the medical examiner’s jacket shook her head.

I sighed. Wolfe and I had a history. He was a bully who had gone to school with my younger brother Tim, constantly picking on him. Granted Tim was the classic nerd who might as well have worn the sign “Kick Me” on his back. I had recently solved two of Wolfe’s murder cases, which only irritated him more.

Wolfe spied me and headed in my direction, his face turning the color of a beet. His gray pants hung below his pot belly, his glacier blue eyes as cold as ever, and he wore the same annoying grin as when he was a kid that made me want to slap his face.

“What happened?” I asked.

“I’m here about a dead squirrel,” he said. “I’m a homicide detective. What do you think happened?”

“I know the victim,” I said.

He narrowed his eyes. “How do you know her?”

“I’m doing a story on the wildlife refuge and—”

“How come whenever you do a story people die?”

Not really a nice way to put it.

“Who found the body?” I asked.

“Three hikers.”

“What caused—”

“This is none of your business. This is a crime scene.” He pointed a fat finger at me. “You need to leave.”

“I’m behind the yellow tape,” I argued.

I didn’t think his face could get any redder, but it did. “Stay out of my way.” He spun around and stomped off toward the side where Detective Fox appeared to be jotting something in a notepad. Elena Salazar was no longer there. I had no idea where she went.

I had lots of questions, but I wasn’t getting answers from Wolfe. The crime scene investigators were packing up. Maybe I’d have better luck with them.

“When was she killed” I asked the one investigator, who looked young enough to appear on an acne remedy commercial.

“We need to wait for the autopsy.”

“Do you have an approximate time of death?”

“Sorry. We can’t talk to the public.”

I sighed. I’d have to get the answers somewhere else.

I wondered why the victim had been at the clearing. I glanced at the pond, guessing this was where the rehabilitated turtle would be released. Did she come here early to check things out before the release? But what would she be checking?

My thoughts were interrupted as the medical examiner’s team passed by me carrying a stretcher with the covered body. I figured I might learn something if I listened to their conversation. Eavesdropping was one of my talents.

I scratched my theory about arriving early to check on conditions for the turtle release when one of the attendants said, “I can’t imagine why anyone would be in these woods at midnight.”


Excerpt from Playing Possum by Lois Schmitt. Copyright 2021 by Lois Schmitt. Reproduced with permission from Lois Schmitt. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Lois Schmitt

A mystery fan since she read her first Nancy Drew, Lois Schmitt combined a love of mysteries with a love of animals in her series featuring animal magazine reporter Kristy Farrell. Lois is member of several wildlife conservation and humane organizations, as well as Mystery Writers of America. She received 2nd runner-up for the Killer Nashville Claymore award for her second book in the series entitled Something Fishy, She previously served as media spokesperson for a local consumer affairs agency and currently teaches at a community college. Lois lives in Massapequa, Long Island with her family, which includes a 120 pound Bernese Mountain dog. This dog bears a striking resemblance to Archie, a dog of many breeds featured in her Kristy Farrell Mystery Series.

Catch Up With Lois Schmitt:


Goodreads Instagram: @loisschmittmysteries

Twitter: @schmittmystery

Facebook: @LoisSchmittAuthor


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#GuestPost Behind the Scenes: “Loving a Wild Stranger (A Historical Romance)” 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.


Hi everyone,

Loving a Wild Stranger is one of my favorite romance novels… it’s also the first romance novel I ever wrote. A long time ago when I was taking writing classes, I told my instructor that an idea for a story had popped into my head, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I was writing short horror fiction at the time, and the idea wasn’t a horror story.

The premise seemed simple: a young woman runs away from home and impersonates a stranger’s mail order bride. My writing teacher said, “That’s a romance. Write it and see what happens.”

So I wrote the book… and discovered I liked writing romances (and I was pretty good at it). From there, other romance ideas came to me, and I wrote those books, too. That’s how my romance-writing career began. All from one idea.

Loving a Wild Stranger

One of the things that inspired me to write Loving a Wild Stranger was the interaction between the characters, Luther and Michelle. They come from very different backgrounds and at first don’t get along at all. Michelle is an independent, outspoken young woman used to getting her way in the “civilized” world, and Luther is a lonely “mountain man” looking for love.

As you can imagine, they clash over the course of the story and have several major blowups. When Michelle agrees to the “marriage” arrangement for a month, it raises a lot of questions: Does she truly care for Luther? Can she live in the wilderness? Will she stay after the month is over? How long can she keep up her charade?

Deception and trust are two main themes in the book. Michelle is lying to Luther about her past, her true identity, why she’s on the run… and Luther is keeping his own secrets from Michelle. When these bombshells are revealed, it nearly tears them apart. Can they ever trust each other completely?

When I wrote the book, I did a lot of research on the setting and what life was like back then (how people lived, what they ate, how they dressed) to contrast Michelle’s “city” way of life with Luther’s rugged existence.

I also researched trappers, fur traders, and Native American culture of the time and region to build authentic details into Luther’s lifestyle. I wanted to pull readers into Luther’s world, so they could experience the story and events as Michelle sees them.

And I’m proud to say that I succeeded! One reviewer had this to say:

“This book has the potential to be made into a movie. It took over my life. I ignored everyone and everything. Nothing was going to interrupt my time with Luther. Sigh…Luther, what a dreamy hero. I envied the heroine, Michelle. Loving a Wild Stranger reminded me of the 1970s T.V. show, Grizzly Adams – one of my favorite childhood television shows.

I recommend this book and will be keeping it on my keeper shelf. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the story. I would love to switch places with Michele and spend the rest of my days with Luther if I could. I would recommend reading Loving a Wild Stranger while relaxing by a lake!”

That “Grizzly Adams” feel was exactly what I was going for!

I love Luther and Michelle. They’re my “first couple” and no matter how many romances I write, their love story will always have a special place in my heart.

I hope you’ll fall in love with them and their story as much as I did. Loving a Wild Stranger is a fun blend of love and adventure in the wilderness.


Here’s the summary:

Loving a Wild Stranger

A woman running from her past… straight into the arms of an untamed man

In a moment of desperation, Kathleen Stanton flees her pampered life in Kingston, New York and ends up stranded in a small town in the Michigan Territory. Out of money and forced to rely on her instincts, she impersonates a handsome stranger’s mail-order bride.

Committed to her deception, Kathleen calls herself Michelle and starts her new life with Luther in an isolated cabin in the wilderness. Luther can’t believe his luck when his beautiful bride arrives, but something doesn’t feel right about his new wife. Michelle has terrifying nightmares involving a man named Roger and is reluctant to talk about where she came from.

Luther’s friend, Redfeather visits and tries to convince Luther to send Michelle back east. Distrusting Michelle, he warns Luther that his bride is not what she seems. But Luther is in love with Michelle, and he is harboring a secret of his own—one that might force Michelle to reject him when she learns the truth.

Michelle falls in love with Luther and adapts to her new way of life. Together, they face off against brutal townspeople and overcome harsh living conditions. When they finally give in to their desires and agree to become a proper man and wife, a dark figure from Michelle’s past resurfaces and threatens to destroy everything.


Loving a Wild Stranger

Order Loving a Wild Stranger here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6M551H

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/4N1DGN

I made a Facebook page for my historical romances. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/loving-a-wild-stranger


I hope you enjoyed this look at the making of Loving a Wild Stranger. I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media!

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins



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 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her non-fiction tale, “The Dog That Wouldn’t Bark” recently appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog anthology.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In January 2021, Kelli published 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.

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.

#BookTour “The Last Stop” by Patricia Street




Publisher: Acorn Publishing

Date Published: October 19, 2021



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.


~ 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.


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.

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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?


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


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


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



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 Ten Best Political Thriller Films Ever by Jon Land, author of “Murder On The Metro”

Murder On The Metro BannerMarch 1-31, 2021 Tour


From its very inception, Margaret Truman’s Capital Crimes series has excelled at stitching tales of murder and mystery with Washington, D.C. as a backdrop. Look no further than the title of each of the now 31 entries to find a particular setting in the Capital where a murder sets off a high stakes game or gambit with the pursuit of political power invariably serving as the motive. So to commemorate the publication of MURDER ON THE METRO, my first effort in the series, I thought it would be especially appropriate to conjure up a list of the greatest political thriller films ever, all based on equally terrific books of the same title.

SEVEN DAYS IN MAY: John Frankenheimer’s brilliant adaptation of the Fletcher Knebble bestseller remains the quintessential benchmark of the genre. The mere notion of a military overthrow of the United States government seemed like a true paranoid fantasy until the last few years stretched the limits of what is possible. The plot’s gradual unraveling through the eyes of Colonel “Jigs” Casey, magnificently played by Kirk Douglas, is a structural schematic of brilliant proportions. And Burt Lancaster’s irrepressible and hubris-riddled General James Mattoon Scott leads a stellar cast, highlighted by Fredrick March’s embattled president Jordan Lyman, on a high-stakes romp through corridors of power that never felt so threatened or claustrophobic.

THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR: Dominated and defined by Robert Redford’s portrayal of a CIA cypher whose job it is to read books in search of hidden meanings and nefarious plots that may stray too close to the truth, the thriller by James Grady’s (titled Six Days instead of Three) became the seminal tale to emerge from the post-Watergate era of conspiracy-laden tomes. Evoking classic Hitchcock films featuring an innocent man on the run, director Sydney Pollock pits Redford’s Condor against the whole of the US government when his entire station is wiped out because of a report he wrote. The mystery lies in what he inadvertently uncovered and the fun in watching him do battle with a sinister yet saintly assassin wondrously played by Max Von Sydow. The film’s genius is cemented into legendary status by their final scene, especially the sequence that begins with Von Sydow’s deceptively deadly Joubert saying, “It will happen this way. . .”

ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN: The ultimate political thriller because it was all true. William Goldman’s Oscar-winning screenplay elegantly stitches Woodward and Bernstein’s reportage into a nail-biting narrative you have to pinch yourself to remember is real. There is so much to like here, but nothing exceeds the intrepid reporters’ dogged efforts that roil the halls of power en route to toppling an entire administration. Again, current events have lent this thriller fresh resonance and credibility, reminding us that the press remains the greatest safeguard against would-be tyrants.

FAIL SAFE: Sydney Lumet’s relentlessly suspenseful tale of an accidental nuclear attack launched against the former Soviet Union is included here because it’s dominated by exchanges between the American president, played by Henry Fonda, and the Soviet premier, stoically interpreted by Larry Hagman. As the nightmarish scenario ticks down to a potential doomsday, the principals are faced with an impossible choice. This while a stellar klatch of characters, led by Walter Matthau and Dan O’Herlihy (in his finest role), do battle with themselves and each other. The final moments of the film are among the most powerful ever, right up until the shattering fadeout when O’Herlihy’s doomed General Black realizes he is “the matador,” the villain of his own recurrent, and ultimately prescient, nightmare.

THE CANDIDATE: While running for the senate, Robert Redford’s title character is determined not to let anything get in the way of his ideals. Under the tutelage of a political consultant, wondrously played by the underrated Peter Boyle, though, Redford’s Bill McKay finds himself in a rigged game where the goal posts keep getting moved and the means to winning become an end in themselves. Never has a film’s message been better summed up than in a final line with Redford’s McKay posing a question to Boyle’s Marvin Lucas after they win: “What do we do now?,” to which Lucas has no answer.

BEING THERE: Many consider Peter Sellers’ portrayal of a simpleton who accidentally becomes a pawn of power brokers to be the actor’s finest performance in this farcical parody.  Hal Ashby’s touchtone rendering of Jerzy Kosinski’s classic novel has gained new and scary relevance in an era where truth has become a relative term and facts are dumped into a hamper with yesterday’s laundry. The film is built around a kind of figurative battle between perception and reality with the former winning out hands down. Sound (regrettably) familiar?

ADVISE AND CONSENT: Otto Preminger’s faithful adaptation of the pitch-perfect book by Alan Drury gives a bird’s eye, behind-the-scenes view of all the mechanizations involved in confirmation hearings for a controversial selection for secretary of state. The 1962 film was way ahead of its time in stitching together a trail dominated by duplicitous politicos, backroom manipulations, and the cloudy nature of the truth itself. Preminger’s stunning take on the dark side of politics makes the process a character, and a villain, in itself. The film’s genius lies in the fact that the system portrayed is pretty much the same, and even more broken, 60 years later.

THE PARALLAX VIEW: This is director Alan J. Pakula’s second appearance on this list, a kind of nightmarish expansion of his All the President’s Men. Warren Beatty plays a political reporter whose quest to expose the conspiracy behind the assassination of a presidential candidate evokes memories of Dallas on November 23, 1963 as well as Watergate.  Lacking the support enjoyed by his fictional counterparts, Beatty’s character bites off more than he can chew and ends up getting swallowed himself, along with the entire country, as a result.

THE LAST HURRAH and ALL THE KING’S MEN: A twofer of loosely-disguised biopics on Mayor Michael Curly and Huey “the Kingfish” Long respectively, both classics dwell on the manipulations and mechanizations behind political machines. These period pieces spell doom for the old-fashioned way of doing business as Spencer Tracy’s Frank Skeffington and Broderick Crawford’s Willy Stark find that when you sell your soul, sooner or later the devil comes calling to collect. Again, though, what emerges beyond all else is that in politics the more things change, the more they remain the same.

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE: We started with one John Frankenheimer adaptation so let’s end with another, in this case the great Richard Condon’s Cold War thriller that lives on stronger than ever in pop culture. What would indeed happen if a young man marked for greatness was actually a brainwashed plant totally beholden to a foreign power? Thankfully, Frank Sinatra’s tortured Major Ben Marco is there to unravel the deceit and save the US from a crazed plot that seemed utterly outlandish . . . until now.



Murder On The Metro by Jon Land

Israel: A drone-based terrorist attack kills dozens on a sun-splashed beach in Caesarea.

Washington: America awakens to the shattering news that Vice President Stephanie Davenport has died of an apparent heart attack.

That same morning, a chance encounter on the Washington Metro results in international private investigator Robert Brixton thwarting an attempted terrorist bombing. Brixton has no reason to suspect that the three incidents have anything in common, until he’s contacted by Kendra Rendine, the Secret Service agent who headed up the vice president’s security detail. Rendine is convinced the vice president was murdered and needs Brixton’s investigative expertise to find out why.

In Israel, meanwhile, legendary anti-terrorist fighter Lia Ganz launches her own crusade against the perpetrators of that attack which nearly claimed the lives of her and granddaughter. Ganz’s trail will ultimately take her to Washington where she joins forces with Brixton to uncover an impossible link between the deadly attack on Caesarea and the attempted Metro bombing, as well as the death of the vice president.

The connection lies in the highest corridors of power in Washington where a deadly plot with unimaginable consequences has been hatched. With the clock ticking toward doomsday, Brixton and Ganz race against time to save millions of American lives who will otherwise become collateral damage to a conspiracy destined to change the United States forever.

Praise :

“Jon Land is one of the best thriller writers in the business, and the Capital Crimes series is in superb and skilled hands with him. Nobody does pacing better than Land, and MURDER ON THE METRO starts with a bang and keeps on going at breakneck speed. If you haven’t read this excellent series, start with Land’s MURDER ON THE METRO.” —Lisa Scottoline, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Forge Books
Publication Date: February 16th 2021
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 1250238870 (ISBN13: 9781250238870)
Series: A Capital Crimes Novel, #31
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:


Washington, DC; the next morning

Not again . . .

That was Robert Brixton’s first thought when his gaze locked on the woman seated across from him in the Washington Metro car. He was riding into the city amid the clutter of morning commuters from the apartment in Arlington, Virginia where he now lived alone, his girlfriend Flo Combes having returned to New York.

Former girlfriend, Brixton corrected in his mind. And Flo’s return to New York, where she’d opened her first clothing boutique, looked very much like it was for good this time.

Which brought his attention back to the woman wearing a hijab and bearing a strong resemblance to another Muslim woman who’d been haunting his sleep for five years now, since she’d detonated a suicide bomb inside a crowded DC restaurant, killing Brixton’s daughter Janet and eleven other victims that day. He’d seen it coming, felt it anyway, as if someone had dragged the head of a pin up his spine. He hadn’t been a cop for years at that point, having taken his skills into the private sector, but his instincts remained unchanged, always serving him well and almost always being proven right.

But today he wanted to be wrong, wanted badly to be wrong. Because if his instincts were correct, tragedy was about to repeat itself with him bearing witness yet again, relocated from a bustling café to a crowded Metro car.

The woman wearing the hijab turned enough to meet his gaze, Brixton unable to jerk his eyes away in time and forcing the kind of smile strangers cast each other. The woman didn’t return it, just turned her focus back forward, her expression empty as if bled of emotion. In Brixton’s experience, she resembled a criminal who found strange solace in the notion of being caught after tiring of the chase. That was the suspicious side of his nature. If not for a long career covering various aspects of law enforcement, including a private investigator with strong international ties, Brixton would likely have seen her as the other passengers in the Metro car did: A quiet woman with big soft eyes just hoping to blend in with the scenery and not attract any attention to herself.

Without reading material of any kind, a cell phone in her grasp, or ear buds dangling. Brixton gazed about; as far as he could tell, she was the only passenger in sight, besides him, not otherwise occupied to pass the time. So in striving not to stand out, the young woman had achieved the opposite.

He studied her closer, determining that the woman didn’t look tired, so much as content. And, beneath her blank features, Brixton sensed something taut and resigned, a spring slowly uncoiling. Something, though, had changed in her expression since the moment their eyes had met. She was fidgeting in her seat now, seeking comfort that clearly eluded her.

Just as another suicide bomber had five years ago

If he didn’t know better, he would’ve fully believed he was back in that DC restaurant again, granted a second chance to save his daughter after he’d failed so horribly the first time.


Five years ago

What world are you in? Janet had asked a clearly distracted Brixton, then consumed by the nagging feeling dragged up his spine.

Let’s go.

Daddy, I haven’t finished!

Janet always called him “Daddy.” Much had been lost to memory from that day, forcibly put aside, but not that or the moments that followed. It had been the last time she’d ever called him that and Brixton had fought to preserve the recording that existed only in his mind resolvedly ever since. Whenever it faded, he fought to get it back, treating Janet’s final address of him like a voicemail machine message from a lost loved one forever saved on his phone.

Come on.

Is something wrong?

We’re leaving.

Brixton had headed to the door, believing his daughter was right behind him. He realized she wasn’t only when he was through it, turning back toward the table to see Janet facing the Muslim woman wearing the hijab who was chanting in Arabic.


He’d started to storm back inside to get her when the explosion shattered the placid stillness of the day, an ear-splitting blast that hit him like a Category Five wind gust to the chest and sent him sprawling to the sidewalk. His head ping-ponged off the concrete, threatening his grip on consciousness. Parts of a splintered table came flying in his direction and he threw his arms over his face to shield it from wooden shards and other debris that caked the air, cataloguing them as they soared over him in absurd counterpoint. Plates, glasses, skin, limbs, eyeglasses, knives, forks, beer mugs, chair legs and arms, calamari, boneless ribs, pizza slices, a toy gorilla that had been held by a child a table two removed from where he’d been sitting with Janet, and empty carafes of wine with their contents seeming to trail behind them like vapor trails.

The surreal nature of that moment made Brixton think he might be sleeping, all this no more than the product of an airy dream to be lost to memory by the time woke. He remembered lying on the sidewalk, willing himself to wake up, to rouse from this nightmare-fueled stupor. The worst moment of his life followed the realization that he wasn’t asleep and an imponderable wave of grief washed over him, stealing his next breath and making him wonder if he even wanted to bother trying for another.

Brixton had stumbled to his feet before what moments earlier had been a bustling café filled with happy people. Now, bodies were everywhere, some piled on top of others, blood covering everything and everyone. He touched the side of his face and pulled bloody fingers away from the wound. He looked back into the café in search of his daughter but saw only a tangle of limbs and clothing where they’d been sitting.

“Oh, my God,” he whispered, his senses sharpening. “Janet!”

Washington’s Twenty-third Street had been crammed with pedestrians at the time of the blast, joined now by people pouring out of office buildings and other restaurants nearby, within eye or earshot of the dual blasts. Brixton’s attempts to get closer to the carnage, holding out hope Janet might still be alive, were thwarted at every turn by throngs fleeing in panic in an endless wave.

“My daughter! My daughter!” he kept crying out, as if that might make the crowd yield and the chaos recede.


It wasn’t until Brixton reached the hospital that he learned Janet hadn’t made it out, had been declared one of the missing. Having served as an agent for a private security agency out-sourced to the State Department at the time, he knew all too well that missing meant dead. He had another daughter, Janet’s older sister, who’d given him a beautiful grandson he loved dearly, but that was hardly enough to make up for the loss of Janet. And the guilt over not having dragged her out with him when she’d resisted leaving had haunted him to this very moment, when instinct told him many on this crowded subway car might well be about to join her.

Thanks to another woman wearing a hijab, but it wasn’t just that. Brixton had crossed paths with an untold number of Arab women in the five years since Janet’s death, and not one before today had ever elicited in him the feeling he had now. She might’ve been a twin of the bomber who’d taken his daughter from him, about whom Brixton could recall only one thing:

Her eyes.

This woman had the very same shifting look, trying so hard to appear casual that it seemed she was wearing a costume, sticking out to him as much as a kid on Halloween. Brixton spun his gaze back in her direction, prepared to measure off the distance between them and how he might cover it before she could trigger her explosives.

But the young woman was gone.

Brixton looked down the center aisle cluttered with commuters clutching poles or dangling hand-hold straps. He spotted the young woman in the hijab an instant before she cocked her gaze briefly back in his direction, a spark of clear recognition flashing when their eyes met this time.

She knows I made her, Brixton thought, heavy with fear as he climbed to his feet.

He started after her, heart hammering in his chest, the sensation he was feeling in that dreadful moment all too familiar. He couldn’t help but catalogue the people he passed in the woman’s wake, many of whom were either his late daughter’s age or younger. Smiling, gabbing away on their phones, reading a book, or lost between their earbuds without any knowledge of how horribly their lives might very well be about to change. If he needed any further motivation to keep moving and stop the potential suicide bomber though any means necessary, that was it. Doubt vanished, Brixton trusting his instincts in a way he hadn’t that tragic day five years ago when he was still a de facto agent for the US government.

Janet . . .

In Brixton’s mind, this was no longer a Metro car, but the same restaurant where a suicide bomber had taken a dozen lives and wounded dozens more. And he found himself faced with the chance to do today what he hadn’t done five years ago.


Had Brixton barked that command out loud, or merely formed the thought in his head. Other passengers were staring at him now, his surge up the aisle disturbing the meager comfort of their morning routine.

Ahead of him, the woman wearing the hijab had picked up her pace, Brixton spotting her dip a hand beneath a jacket that seemed much too heavy for the unseasonably mild Washington, DC spring. His experience with the State Department working for the shadowy SITQUAL group, along with that as a cop, told him she was likely reaching for the pull cord that would detonate the suicide vest concealed under bulky sweatshirt and jacket.

If you could relive the day of your daughter’s death, what would you do?

I’d shoot the bitch before she had the chance to yank that cord, Brixton thought, drawing his Sig Sauer P-226 nine-millimeter pistol. It had survived his tenure with SITQUAL as his weapon of choice, well balanced and deadly accurate.

He could feel the crowd around him recoiling, pulling back, when they saw the pistol steadied in his hand. Several gasped. A woman cried out. A kid dropped his cell phone into Brixton’s path and he accidentally kicked it aside.


Shouted out loud for sure this time, the dim echo bouncing off the Metro car’s walls as it wound in thunderous fashion through the tube. The young woman in the hijab was almost to the rear door separating this car from the next. Brixton was close enough to hear the whoooooshhh as she engaged the door, breaking the rule that prohibited passengers from such car-hopping.


She turned her gaze back toward him as he raised his pistol, ready to take the shot he hadn’t taken five years ago. Passengers cried out and shrank from his path. The door hissed closed, the young woman regarding him vacantly through the safety glass as she stretched hand out blindly to activate the door accessing the next car back.

And that’s when she stumbled. Brixton was well aware of the problems encountered by this new 7000 series of Metro railcars after federal safety officials raised repeated concerns about a potential safety risk involving the barriers between cars that were designed to prevent blind and visually impaired people from inadvertently walking off the platform and falling through the gap. The issue initially was raised by disability rights advocates, who argued the rubber barriers were spaced too far apart, leaving enough room for a small person to slip through.

The young woman wearing the hijab was small. And she started to slip through.

Brixton watched her drop from sight an instant before an all-too familiar flash created a star burst before him. He felt light, floating as if there was nothing beneath his feet, because for a moment there wasn’t. The piercing blast that buckled the Metro car door blew him backward, the percussion lifting him up and then dropping him back down, still in motion sliding across the floor amid a demolition derby of commuters crashing into each other, as the train barreled along. Separated now from its rear-most cars, what remained of the train whipsawed through the tube with enough force to lift this car from the rails and send it alternately slamming up against one side and then the other.

Brixton maintained the presence of mind to realize his back and shoulders had come to rest awkwardly against a seat, even as the squeal of the brakes engaging grew into a deafening wail and his eyes locked on the car door that to him looked as if someone had used a can opener to carve a jagged fissure along the center of its buckled seam. The car itself seemed to be swaying—left, right, and back again—but he couldn’t be sure if that was real or the product of the concussion he may have suffered from the blast wave or upon slamming up against the seat.

Unlike five years ago, Brixton had come to rest sitting up, staring straight ahead at the back door of the Metro car currently held at an awkwardly angled perch nearly sideways across the tracks. He realized that through it all he’d somehow maintained grasp of his pistol, now steadied at the twisted remnants of the Metro car door as if he expected the young woman to reappear at any moment.

Janet . . .

A wave of euphoria washed over Brixton as, this time, he thought he’d saved her, making the best of the do-over fate had somehow granted him. The Metro car floor felt soft and cushiony, leaving him with the dream-like sense he was drifting away toward the bright lights shining down from the ceiling.

And then there was only darkness.


Excerpt from Murder on the Metro by Jon Land. Copyright 2021 by Jon Land. Reproduced with permission from Jon Land. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Jon Land

JON LAND is the USA Today bestselling author of over fifty books, including eleven in the critically acclaimed Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong series, the most recent of which, Strong from the Heart, won the 2020 American Fiction Award for Best Thriller and the 2020 American Book Fest Award for Best Mystery/Suspense Novel. Additionally, he has teamed up with Heather Graham for a science fiction series that began with THE RISING (winner of the 2017 International Book Award for best Sci-fi Novel) and continues with BLOOD MOON. He has also written six books in the Murder, She Wrote series of mysteries and has more recently taken over Margaret Truman’s Capital Crimes series, beginning with Murder on the Metro in February of 2021. A graduate of Brown University, he received the 2019 Rhode Island Authors Legacy Award for his lifetime of literary achievements. Land lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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#AudioTour “Stolen” by Marlena Frank

Author: Marlena Frank

Narrator: Caoilainn O’Horen

Length: 11 hours 32 minutes

Series: The Stolen Series, Book 1

Publisher: The Parliament House

Released: Dec. 16, 2020

Genre: Fantasy; YA

It’s difficult taking care of a delusional father by yourself. Sixteen-year-old Shaleigh Mallet would rather explore and photograph dilapidated buildings than cater to her father’s dark episodes. But when she’s kidnapped by a creature who carries her atop a flying bicycle into another world, she realizes this wasn’t the escape she wanted.

In a kingdom known as the Garden, where minotaurs pull carriages and parties are held in hot air balloons, Madam Cloom and her faerie servant, Teagan, rule over the land with incredible but terrifying magic. Shaleigh must prove that she is the reincarnation of a long-dead ruler, not because she believes it, but because it’s her only chance to survive. With the help of a trespassing faerie, a stoatling, and a living statue, Shaleigh hopes to outwit everyone. She aims to break the bonds of servitude and finally make her way home. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that she’s playing right into the hands of a far worse enemy.

Buy Links

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Marlena Frank is the author of books and novellas that span genres from young adult fantasy to horror. Her debut novel, Stolen Book 1 of the Stolen series, has hit the Amazon bestseller charts twice. She has two books coming out in 2021: Chosen, the final book in the Stolen trilogy, and The Impostor and Other Dark Tales, a collection of dark fantasy and horror short stories.

Marlena has also written several fantasy and horror short stories, which have been included in notable anthologies such as Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Not Your Average Monster Volume 2, and The Sirens Call issue #29.

Although she was born in Tennessee, Marlena has spent most of her life in Georgia. She lives with her sister and three spoiled cats. She serves as the Vice President of the Atlanta Chapter of the Horror Writers Association and is an avid member of the Atlanta cosplay community.

She is also a Hufflepuff, an INFJ, a tea drinker, and a wildlife enthusiast.

Narrator Bio

Caoilainn is a narrator hailing from Los Angeles, they work from their professional home recording studio. Having grown up in the generation inspired by the Disney renaissance, they fell in love with animation and the voices behind the characters. Having been an avid reader, Caoilainn was originally going to school for animation and game design but switched their career path when they learned about audio books and how one person could bring so many characters to life. They started their Voice Over career in early 2017 and it has been their primary focus since then.


Guest Post


The problem with reading a lot of different books means that you have a bunch of literary inspirations as an author. I read a lot of different fiction, but my reading tastes skew toward fantasy and horror. I have always read a bunch of young adult fiction too. Of the six books I’ve written, Stolen is my love letter to the fantasy stories from my youth with a focus on lush worlds and vibrant characters that I’ve loved.

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is a big inspiration. Alice is trapped in a world that doesn’t make sense, but she must navigate it anyway to get home. Her key to survival is negotiation and playing mind games with the creatures she encounters. One of the pieces of Stolen that I love so dearly is the dialogue and banter. There are so many layers to everything going on, so there is a lot that can be gleaned on each reading.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is another book I love. Something about the quiet, rather unlikeable Mary at the start of the story having to learn and grow during the book impacted me. So many people tell her she’s mean and rude, not caring how she feels, then she learns to find her own place, find people who accept her, and reach out to her grieving father. The descriptions of the garden are incredible too. Although the leaves look dead in winter, they slowly grow back in over spring, and as they come to life, Mary also finds her own happiness.

In Stolen, Shaleigh is kidnapped and taken into the Land of the Fae, a world filled with faeries and other strange beings with an unusual portrayal of magic. The inspiration for the magic came from my love of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It’s a long book with footnotes galore. Although it starts slow, it builds into an inspiring portrayal and use of magic. Somehow Clarke seamlessly mixes the absurd with reality. One of my favorite parts of that book were the dark and surreal portrayal of the Fae and how their magical pacts worked in bizarre ways.

It would be wrong not to mention perhaps the biggest inspiration for Stolen, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. This was a favorite book of mine growing up, and my favorite scene involves the banter between two characters. The whole story builds up to the encounter of Bilbo the hobbit and Smaug the dragon, and after seeing the destruction this dragon can do and the hoard of gold he has collected, what does Bilbo do? Distract him with riddles. It’s great! I love seeing characters have to use their wits to overcome challenges rather than their strength alone.

Stolen was really a culmination of a bunch of stories I’ve loved, of concepts I was drawn to, and of worlds that captivated me as a child. Not only is it a world I loved building, but it’s one that I went on to expand on in the following books in the trilogy: Broken and Chosen. I hope it inspires others as I was inspired by so many incredible fantasy books over the years.



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#GuestPost “Romance Every Weekend” by Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone!

If one of your goals is to add more romance in your life, why not start this weekend? How? With Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love.


Whether you’re just starting out dating, in a committed relationship, newlyweds, or you’ve been married for twenty years, Romance Every Weekend will show you how you can strengthen the bond between you and your loved one and deepen your relationship.

Romance shouldn’t be reserved for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or an anniversary. Why should people wait for a special occasion to show someone they love that they care? Love can (and should) be expressed every chance you get.

Romance Every Weekend features 104 fun and easy ways you can express your love to that special someone in your life. Perfect for men or women, it focuses on tender, everyday gestures that let your partner know how much you love him or her.

Everyone has his or her definition of “romance.” Some people like to send mushy cards, while others are more practical. But however you define it, romance is more than giving flowers, buying a box of chocolates, or getting frisky in the bedroom. Romance is all about making tender, everyday gestures that let your partner know how much you appreciate him or her.

Romance Every Weekend contains 104 romantic suggestions designed to make your weekends sparkle. Why 104? There are 52 weeks in a year, and two suggestions per weekend will keep you and your partner busy. If your schedules don’t give you a lot of free time on the weekends, that’s okay. You can do these any time during the week.

If you’re looking for ways to keep your romance fresh, this is the book for you!

Romance Every Weekend makes a great gift for you – or for your sweetie! Why not order it now and try all 104 suggestions in 2021?

Get started here:


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08124HBMS

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

Read more about the book here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/romance-every-weekend

I hope you (and your partner) enjoy the suggestions. You may even be inspired to come up with a few of your own!

Best Wishes,

Kelli A Wilkins


Kelli A Wilkins

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 6 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

In January 2021, Kelli will release 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.

In October 2020, Kelli’s horror story “The Uninvited” was published in the Halloween Horror Vol. 2 anthology. 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 in October 2020.

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.

She released Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love, a non-fiction guide to romance in 2019. The book features 104 fun and easy ways you can express your love to that special someone in your life. Perfect for men or women, it focuses on tender, everyday gestures that let your partner know how much you love him or her.

Kelli published Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in 2019.If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.

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 Starting Out as a Writer – 5 Things to Know by Alison Levy, author of “Gatekeeper: Book One in the Daemon Collecting Series”

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Book One in the Daemon Collecting Series

Date Published: October 6, 2020

Publisher: Spark Press

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Starting Out as a Writer – 5 Things to Know

by Alison Levy

            If you want to write but find the prospect of getting started daunting, here are some tips that I found helpful when I decided to write a novel.

  • Decide why you want to write.

It’s important to decide this up front because it will affect the way you write.  If you want to write as a hobby, you can write any way you like.  If your goal is to eventually publish, you will need to write with a reader in mind.  I like some of my earliest pieces but at the time I was just writing for myself; if I wanted to publish those stories, they would need a lot of work to read coherently.

  • Never stop reading.

The more you read, the better you will understand writing in general: sentence structure, plot, character development, dialogue, etc.  If it’s hard to find time to sit down and read, try audiobooks.  I listen in the car, while I shop, while I walk my dogs, and while clean my house.  I’m a better writer for it.

  • Don’t wait for inspiration.

Writers are artists, and society likes to think of artists as eccentric, free-spirited people who live their lives according to the whims of their muse.  I love the feeling of inspiration washing over me but if I waited for it to hit, I’d never get anything done.  When I get an inspiration, I take notes in my phone and refer to them when I sit down at my regular writing times.  Whatever your mood, just sit down and write.  Once you get in the habit, you’ll find you don’t need to be inspired to produce quality work.

  • Get honest criticism.

When you’re ready, seek out a writer’s group.  It’s nice to get reactions from friends and family but even if they’re professional writers, they’re going to temper their feedback because of their relationship with you.  Joining a writer’s group has been extremely beneficial to me; the quality of my writing has dramatically increased since I started going to regular critique meetings.  It can be hard to share your work and let others point out its flaws, but getting honest criticism is the best way to grow as a writer.

  • Write every day.

Start writing!  Write the beginning of a story, or the end, or the middle.  Write an outline, a character description, or some dialogue.  Write anything!  What’s important is just to get started, to write often, and to build momentum.  Even if you find writing everyday difficult at first, if you keep at it, you’ll find your stride.  As the philosopher Epictetus said, “If you wish to be a writer, write.”

Good luck and happy writing!



Rachel Wilde comes from a dimension that exists adjacent to ours. The people there have structured their society around daemon collecting: they locate, catch, and repair malfunctioning daemons (creatures out of phase with our world that tempt people to do good or evil). Now Rachel has been given two unusual assignments: 1) find a person who has been trying to break down dimensional barriers, and 2) track down a missing line of gatekeepers, human placeholders for a daemon that was too badly damaged to repair.

Authorities of Rachel’s world believe the missing gatekeepers are descended from a girl who went missing from West Africa hundreds of years ago, likely sold into slavery. With no leads to go on, Rachel seeks help from Bach, a raving homeless man who happens to be an oracle. Bach does put her in the path of both of her targets―but he also lands her in a life-threatening situation. Somehow, Rachel has to stop the criminal, reunite a gatekeeper with her stolen past, and, above all, survive.

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About the Author

Alison LevyAlison Levy lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband, son, and variety of pets. When she’s not writing or doing mom things, she crochets, gardens, walks her collies, and works on home improvement projects.

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