#GuestPost “Anarchy of the Mice” by Jeff Bond

Anarchy Of The Mice by Jeff Bond Banneron Tour July 1 – August 31, 2020


Making an Audiobook

by Jeff Bond

Audiobooks are fantastic. They’re the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry, and they’re an absolute lifesaver for someone like me, who—between parenting and cooking and an aggressive writing schedule—doesn’t have time to read with his eyes. What I do have is a nice juicy forty-five minutes early each morning when I’m walking the dog, and audiobooks allow me to spend that time in Diane Gabaldon’s eighteenth-century Scotland, John Updike’s suburbia, or Tana French’s Dublin.

When I released my first book two years ago, I knew I wanted to produce an audiobook version. I had no clue how to go about it, but naturally everyone’s favorite ten-ton gorilla was there to help: Amazon. Amazon has an entire audiobook ecosystem—creation, distribution, marketing, etc.—called ACX, Audiobook Creation Exchange. The system works quite well despite some quirks, like a messaging system the narrators all say stinks and a rigid workflow sequence that blows up if you accidentally push a project to its next phase before it’s ready. Using ACX, you can create an audiobook without having a Rolodex of professional narrators or cold calling Scott Brick. (If you don’t know the name, you must not be an audiobook person.)

You begin the process by uploading a sample of your book and instructions for potential narrators. Male or female, smooth or forceful, accented or not—those types of things. Then ACX opens up an audition, and narrated audio clips of your sample start rolling in. I received dozens my first day and even more the second. Each one is thrilling, the chance at finding that perfect voice for your story. Most will have some disqualifying mark against them. A weird cadence, or wrong mood, or a voice that just doesn’t fit your concept of the protagonist. Some you’ll nod along to and think, “Yeah, that could be my book.” But these don’t last long because soon enough you’ll run into that reader who just nails it—in whose voice every line sounds like notes from a symphony. And you’ve got your narrator.

Okay, not really; that was the streamlined, romanticized version. Auditions are exhausting. Beyond the sheer number of clips you need to consider and polite emails you’ll need to write, there’s the mental toll of saying no to all these supremely talented people. Authors are fairly conditioned to the shoe being on the other foot. We’re the ones giving out samples, scrapping for a chance to show our stuff, hoping to be picked over all the other creators in the marketplace. I listened to voice authors who’d been public radio anchors, classically trained singers, who had IMDB bios five pages long. I struck up email conversations with a few, and heard that most ACX jobs are industrial voiceovers from overseas—dry commercial work. The narrators generally don’t even get a note acknowledging their audition clips, which surely take hours to produce. So many of them would’ve given me an excellent audiobook, but I could only say yes to two.


Among the decisions I had to make was whether to have a single narrator voice all chapters or have separate male and female voices. Because The Winner Maker, my first book, had two roughly equal protagonists, one male and one female, I decided to use separate. Beyond that, there was the decision to do the narration “duet style,” where the two actors can trade off within the same chapter, or stick to one voice per chapter. I chose the latter, which simplified things.

From there, my narrators took the manuscript and did their thing—reading ten hours of my debut novel. I then had to listen to every last second of it and jot edits along the way. This was fine-grained, tedious work, made more complicated by the fact that I did it using those aforementioned forty-five dog-walking minutes each morning. Imagine tapping out a note on your phone about stressing the second syllable of “Rivard” rather than the first while 120 pounds of shaggy Newfoundland dog lurches after a squirrel, and you’ll know my struggle. Hopefully my neighbors got a laugh or two out of it.

My narrators, Natalie Duke and Brandon Paul Eells, are extraordinarily professional and did a great job. I found only minor fixes, one or two per chapter. Some were personal preference, how to pronounce a particular name or street. Other times I started to correct a pronunciation only to Google it and find I’d been saying the word wrong in my head all along—my narrator had actually gotten it right.

For all this, it was truly wonderful hearing my story come to life as an audiobook. I recorded one for Blackquest 40 and The Pinebox Vendetta as well, and my two releases in June—Anarchy of the Mice and Dear Durwood—will also be audiobooks. Audible has a long quality-check process; I expect them to pop up in late July or early August. If you’re looking for an introduction to my stories, I’d highly recommend trying an audiobook. They were hard work, but the end result was a lot of fun.



Anarchy of the Mice by Jeff Bond From Jeff Bond, author of Blackquest 40 and The Pinebox Vendetta, comes Anarchy of the Mice, book one in an epic new series starring Quaid Rafferty, Durwood Oak Jones, and Molly McGill: the trio of freelance operatives known collectively as Third Chance Enterprises. How far could society fall without data? Account balances, property lines, government ID records — if it all vanished, if everyone’s scorecard reset to zero, how might the world look? The Blind Mice are going to show us. Molly McGill is fighting it. Her teenage son has come downstairs in a T-shirt from these “hacktivists” dominating the news. Her daughter’s bus is canceled — too many stoplights out — and school is in the opposite direction of the temp job she’s supposed to be starting this morning. She is twice-divorced; her P.I. business, McGill Investigators, is on the rocks; what kind of life is this for a woman a mere twelve credit-hours shy of her PhD? Then the doorbell rings. It’s Quaid Rafferty, the charming — but disgraced — former governor of Massachusetts, and his plainspoken partner, Durwood Oak Jones. The guys have an assignment for Molly. It sounds risky, but the pay sure beats switchboard work. They need her to infiltrate the Blind Mice. Danger, romance, intrigue, action for miles — whatever you read, Anarchy of the Mice is coming for you.

Book Details:

Genre: Action-Adventure

Published by: Jeff Bond books

Publication Date: June 15, 2020

Number of Pages: 445

ISBN: 173225527X (978-1732255272)

Series: Third Chance Enterprises, #1

Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE The first I ever heard of the Blind Mice was from my fourteen-year-old son, Zach. I was scrambling to get him and his sister ready for school, stepping over dolls and skater magazines, thinking ahead to the temp job I was starting in about an hour, when Zach came slumping downstairs in a suspiciously plain T-shirt. “Turn around,” I said. “Let’s see the back.” He scowled but did comply. The clothing check was mandatory after that vomiting-skull sweatshirt he’d slipped out the door in last month. Okay. No drugs, profanity, or bodily fluids being expelled. But there was something. An abstract computer-ish symbol. A mouse? Possibly the nose, eyes, and whiskers of a mouse? Printed underneath was, Nibble, nibble. Until the whole sick scam rots through. I checked the clock: 7:38. Seven minutes before we absolutely had to be out the door, and I still hadn’t cleaned up the grape juice spill, dealt with my Frizz City hair, or checked the furnace. For twenty minutes, I’d been hearing ker-klacks, which my heart said was construction outside but my head worried could be the failing heater. How bad did I want to let Zach’s shirt slide? Bad. “Is that supposed to be a mouse?” I said. “Like an angry mouse?” “The Blind Mice,” my son replied. “Maybe you’ve heard, they’re overthrowing the corporatocracy?” His eyes bulged teen sarcasm underneath those bangs he refuses to get cut. “Wait,” I said, “that group that’s attacking big companies’ websites and factories?” “Government too.” He drew his face back ominously. “Anyone who’s part of the scam.” “And you’re wearing their shirt?” He shrugged. I would’ve dearly loved to engage Zach in a serious discussion of socioeconomic justice—I did my master’s thesis on the psychology of labor devaluation in communities—except we needed to go. In five minutes. “What if Principal Broadhead sees that?” I said. “Go change.” “No.” “Zach McGill, that shirt promotes domestic terrorism. You’ll get kicked out of school.” “Like half my friends wear it, Mom.” He thrust his hands into his pockets. Ugh. I had stepped in parenting quicksand. I’d issued a rash order and Zach had refused, and now I could either make him change, starting a blow-out fight and virtually guaranteeing I’d be late my first day on the job at First Mutual, or back down and erode my authority. “Wear a jacket,” I said—a poor attempt to limit the erosion, but the best I could do. “And don’t let your great-grandmother see that shirt.” Speaking of, I could hear Granny’s slippers padding around upstairs. She was into her morning routine, and would shortly—at the denture-rinsing phase—be shouting down that her sink was draining slow again; why hadn’t the damn plumber come yet? Because I hadn’t paid one. McGill Investigators, the PI business of which I was the founder and sole employee (yes, I realized the plural name was misleading), had just gone belly-up. Hence the temp job. Karen, my six-year-old, was seated cheerily beside her doll in front of orange juice and an Eggo Waffle. “Mommy!” she announced. “I get to ride to school with you today!” The doll’s lips looked sticky—OJ?—and the cat was eyeing Karen’s waffle across the table. “Honey, weren’t you going to ride the bus today?” I asked, shooing the cat, wiping the doll with a dishrag. Karen shook her head. “Bus isn’t running. I get to ride in the Prius, in Mommy’s Prius!” I felt simultaneous joy that Karen loved our new car—well, new to us: 120K miles as a rental, but it was a hybrid—and despair because I really couldn’t take her. School was in the complete opposite direction of New Jersey Transit. Even if I took the turnpike, which I loathed, I would miss my train. Fighting to address Karen calmly in a time crunch, I said, “Are you sure the bus isn’t running?” She nodded. I asked how she knew. “Bus driver said, ‘If the stoplights are blinking again in the morning, I ain’t taking you.’” She walked to the window and pointed. “See?” I joined her at the window, ignoring the driver’s grammatical example for the moment. Up and down my street, traffic lights flashed yellow. “Blind Mice, playa!” Zach puffed his chest. “Nibble, nibble. The lights had gone out every morning this week at rush hour. On Monday, the news had reported a bald eagle flew into a substation. On Tuesday, they’d said the outages were lingering for unknown reasons. I hadn’t seen the news yesterday. Did Zach know the Blind Mice were involved? Or was he just being obnoxious? “Great,” I muttered. “Bus won’t run because stoplights are out, but I’m free to risk our lives driving to school.” Karen gazed up at me, her eyes green like mine and trembling. A mirror of my stress. Pull it together, Molly. “Don’t worry,” I corrected myself. “I’ll take you. I will. Let me just figure a few things out.” Trying not to visualize myself walking into First Mutual forty-five minutes late, I took a breath. I patted through my purse for keys, sifting through rumpled Kleenex and receipts and granola-bar halves. Granny had made her way downstairs and was reading aloud from a bill-collection notice. Zach was texting, undoubtedly to friends about his lame mom. I felt air on my toes and looked down: a hole in my hose. Fantastic. I’d picked out my cutest work sandals, but somehow I doubted the look would hold up with toes poking out like mini-wieners. I wished I could shut my eyes, whisper some spell, and wake up in a different universe. Then the doorbell rang. CHAPTER TWO Quaid Rafferty waited on the McGills’ front porch with a winning smile. It had been ten months since he’d seen Molly, and he was eager to reconnect. Inside, there sounded a crash (pulled-over coatrack?), a smack (skateboard hitting wall?), and muffled cross-voices. Quaid fixed the lay of his sport coat lapels and kept waiting. His partner, Durwood Oak Jones, stood two paces back with his dog. Durwood wasn’t saying anything, but Quaid could feel the West Virginian’s disapproval—it pulsed from his blue jeans and cowboy hat. Quaid twisted from the door. “School morning, right? I’m sure she’ll be out shortly.” Durwood remained silent. He was on record saying they’d be better off with a more accomplished operative like Kitty Ravensdale or Sigrada the Serpent, but Quaid believed in Molly. He’d argued that McGill, a relative amateur, was just what they needed: a fresh-faced idealist. Now he focused on the door—and was pleased to hear the dead bolt turn within. He was less pleased when he saw the face that appeared in the door glass. The grandmother. “Why, color me damned!” began the septuagenarian, yanking open the screen door. “The louse returns. Whorehouses all kick you out?” Quaid strained to keep smiling. “How are you this fine morning, Eunice?” Her face stormed over. “What’re you here for?” “We’re hoping for a word with Molly if she’s around.” He opened his shoulders to give her a full view of his party, which included Durwood and Sue-Ann, his aged bluetick coonhound. They made for an admittedly odd sight. Quaid and Durwood shared the same vital stats, six one and 180-something pounds, but God himself couldn’t have created two more different molds. Quaid in a sport coat with suntanned wrists and mussed-just-so blond hair. Durwood removing his hat and casting steel-colored eyes humbly about, jeans pulled down over his boots’ piping. And Sue with her mottled coat, rasping like any breath could be her last. Eunice stabbed a finger toward Durwood. “He can come in—him I respect. But you need to turn right around. My granddaughter wants nothing to do with cads like you.” Behind her, a voice called, “Granny, I can handle this. Eunice ignored this. “You’re a no-good man. I know it, my granddaughter knows it.” Veins showed through the chicken-y skin of her neck. “Go on, hop a flight back to Vegas and all your whores!” Before Quaid could counter these aspersions, Molly appeared. His heart chirped in his chest. Molly was a little discombobulated, bending to put on a sandal, a kid’s jacket tucked under one elbow—but those dimples, that curvy body…even in the worst domestic throes, she could’ve charmed slime off a senator. He said, “Can’t you beat a seventy-four-year-old woman to the door?” Molly slipped on the second sandal. “Can we please just not? It’s been a crazy morning.” “I know the type.” Quaid smacked his hands together. “So hey, we have a job for you.” “You’re a little late—McGill Investigators went out of business. I have a real job starting in less than an hour.” “What kind?” “Reception,” she said. “Three months with First Mutual.” “Temp work?” Quaid asked. “I was supposed to start with the board of psychological examiners, but the position fell through.” “How come?” “Funding ran out. The governor disbanded the board.” “So First Mutual…?” Molly’s eyes, big and leprechaun green, fell. “It’s temp work, yeah.” “You’re criminally overqualified for that, McGill,” Quaid said. “Hear us out. Please.” She snapped her arms over her chest but didn’t stop Quaid as he breezed into the living room followed by Durwood and Sue-Ann, who wore no leash but kept a perfect twenty-inch heel by her master. Two kids poked their heads around the kitchen doorframe. Quaid waggled his fingers playfully at the girl. Molly said, “Zach, Karen—please wait upstairs. I’m speaking with these men.” The boy argued he should be able to stay; upstairs sucked; wasn’t she the one who said they had to leave, like, immedia— “This is not a negotiation,” Molly said in a new tone. They went upstairs. She sighed. “Now they’ll be late for school. I’m officially the worst mother ever.” Quaid glanced around the living room. The floor was clutter free, but toys jammed the shelves of the coffee table. Stray fibers stuck up from the carpet, which had faded beige from its original yellow or ivory. “No, you’re an excellent mother,” Quaid said. “You do what you believe is best for your children, which is why you’re going to accept our proposition.” The most effective means of winning a person over, Quaid had learned as governor of Massachusetts and in prior political capacities, was to identify their objective and articulate how your proposal brought it closer. Part two was always trickier. He continued, “American Dynamics is the client, and they have deep pockets. If you help us pull this off, all your money troubles go poof.” A glint pierced Molly’s skepticism. “Okay. I’m listening.” “You’ve heard of the Blind Mice, these anarchist hackers?” “I—well, yes, a little. Zach has their T-shirt.” Quaid, having met the boy on a few occasions, wasn’t shocked by the information. “Here’s the deal. We need someone to infiltrate them.” Molly blinked twice. Durwood spoke up, “You’d be great, Moll. You’re young. Personable. People trust you.” Molly’s eyes were grapefruits. “What did you call them, ‘anarchist hackers’? How would I infiltrate them? I just started paying bills online.” “No tech knowledge required,” Quaid said. “We have a plan.” He gave her the nickel summary. The Blind Mice had singled out twelve corporate targets, “the Despicable Dozen,” and American Dynamics topped the list. In recent months, AmDye had seen its websites crashed, its factories slowed by computer glitches, internal documents leaked, the CEO’s home egged repeatedly. Government agencies from the FBI to NYPD were pursuing the Mice, but the company was troubled by the lack of progress and so had hired Third Chance Enterprises to take them down. “Now if I accept,” Molly said, narrowing her eyes, “does that mean I’m officially part of Third Chance Enterprises?” Quaid exhaled at length. Durwood shook his head with an irked air—he hated the name, and considered Quaid’s branding efforts foolish. “Oh, Durwood and I have been at this freelance operative thing awhile.” Quaid smoothed his sport coat lapels. “Most cases we can handle between the two of us.” “But not this one.” “Right. Durwood’s a whiz with prosthetics, but even he can’t bring this”—Quaid indicated his own ruggedly handsome but undeniably middle-aged face—“back to twenty-five.” Molly’s eyes turned inward. Quaid’s instincts told him she was thinking of her children. She said, “Sounds dangerous.” “Nah.” He spread his arms, wide and forthright. “You’re working with the best here: the top small-force, private-arms outfit in the Western world. Very minimal danger.” Like the politician he’d once been, Quaid delivered this line of questionable veracity with full sincerity. Then he turned to his partner. “Right, Wood? She won’t have a thing to worry about. We’d limit her involvement to safe situations.” Durwood thinned his lips. “Do the best we could.” This response, typical of the soldier he’d once been, was unhelpful. Molly said, “Who takes care of my kids if something happens, if the Blind Mice sniff me out? Would I have to commit actual crimes?” “Unlikely.” Unlikely? I’ll tell you what’s unlikely, getting hired someplace, anyplace, with a felony conviction on your application…” As she thundered away, Quaid wondered if Durwood might not have been right in preferring a pro. The few times they’d used Molly McGill before had been secondary: posing as a gate agent during the foiled Delta hijacking, later as an archivist for the American embassy in Rome. They’d only pulled her into Rome because of her language skills—she spoke six fluently. “…also, I have to say,” she continued, and from the edge in her voice, Quaid knew just where they were headed, “I find it curious that I don’t hear from you for ten months, and then you need my help, and all of a sudden, I matter. All of a sudden, you’re on my doorstep.” “I apologize,” Quaid said. “The Dubai job ran long, then that Guadeloupean resort got hit by a second hurricane. We got busy. I should’ve called.” Molly’s face cooled a shade, and Quaid saw that he hadn’t lost her. Yet. Before either could say more, a heavy ker-klack sounded outside. “What’s the racket?” Quaid asked. He peeked out the window at his and Durwood’s Vanagon, which looked no more beat-up than usual. “It’s been going on all morning,” Molly said. “I figured it was construction.” Quaid said, “Construction in this economy?” He looked to Durwood. “I’ll check ’er out.” The ex-soldier turned for the door. Sue-Ann, heaving herself laboriously off the carpet, scuffled after. Alone now with Molly, Quaid walked several paces in. He doubled his sport coat over his forearm and passed a hand through his hair, using a foyer mirror to confirm the curlicues that graced his temples on his best days. This was where it had to happen. Quaid’s behavior toward Molly had been less than gallant, and that was an issue. Still, there were sound arguments at his disposal. He could play the money angle. He could talk about making the world safer for Molly’s children. He could point out that she was meant for greater things, appealing to her sense of adventure, framing the job as an escape from the hamster wheel and entrée to a bright world of heroes and villains. He believed in the job. Now he just needed her to believe too. CHAPTER THREE Durwood walked north. Sue-Ann gimped along after, favoring her bum hip. Paws echoed bootheels like sparrows answering blackbirds. They found their noise at the sixth house on the left. A crew of three men was working outside a small home. Two-story like Molly’s. The owner had tacked an addition onto one side, prefab sunroom. The men were working where the sunroom met the main structure. Dislodging nails, jackhammering between fiberglass and brick. Tossing panels onto a stack. “Pardon,” Durwood called. “Who you boys working for?” One man pointed to his earmuffs. The others paid Durwood no mind whatsoever. Heavyset men. Big stomachs and muscles. Durwood walked closer. “Those corner boards’re getting beat up. Y’all got a permit I could see?” The three continued to ignore him. The addition was poorly done to begin with, the cornice already sagging. Shoddy craftsmanship. That didn’t mean the owners deserved to have it stolen for scrap. The jackhammer was plugged into an outside GFI. Durwood caught its cord with his bootheel. “The hell?” said the operator as his juice cut. Durwood said, “You’re thieves. You’re stealing fiberglass.” The men denied nothing. One said, “Call the cops. See if they come.” Sue-Ann bared her gums. Durwood said, “I don’t believe we need to involve law enforcement,” and turned back south for the Vanagon. Crime like this—callous, brash—was a sign of the times.  People were sore about this “new economy,” how well the rich were making out. Groups like the Blind Mice thought it gave them a right to practice lawlessness.   Lawlessness, Durwood knew, was like a plague. Left unchecked, it spread. Even now, besides this sunroom dismantling, Durwood saw a half dozen offenses in plain sight. Low-stakes gambling on a porch. Coaxials looped across half the neighborhood roofs: cable splicing. A Rottweiler roaming off leash. Each stuck in Durwood’s craw. He walked a half block to the Vanagon. He hunted around inside, boots clattering the bare metal floor. Pushed aside Stinger missiles in titanium casings. Squinted past crates of frag grenades in the bulkhead he’d jiggered himself from ponderosa pine. Here she was—a pressurized tin of black ops epoxy. Set quick enough to repel a flash air strike, strong enough to hold a bridge. Durwood had purchased it for the Dubai job. According to his supplier, Yakov, the stuff smelled like cinnamon when it dried. Something to do with chemistry. Durwood removed the tin from its box and brushed off the pink Styrofoam packing Yakov favored. Then allowed Sue a moment to ease herself down to the curb before they started back north. Passing Molly’s house, Durwood glimpsed her through the living room window. She was listening to Quaid, fingers pressed to her forehead. Quaid was lying. Which was nothing new, Quaid stretching the truth to a woman. But these lies involved Molly’s safety. Fact was, they knew very little of the Blind Mice. Their capabilities, their willingness to harm innocents. The leader, Josiah, was a reckless troublemaker. He spewed his nonsense on Twitter, announcing targets ahead of time, talking about his own penis. The heavyset men were back at it. One on the roof. The other two around back of the sunroom, digging up the slab. Durwood set down the epoxy. The men glanced over but kept jackhammering. They would not be the first, nor last, to underestimate this son of an Appalachian coal miner. The air compressor was set up on the lawn. Durwood found the main pressure valve and cranked its throat full open. The man on the roof had his ratchet come roaring out of his hands. He slid down the grade, nose rubbing vinyl shingles, and landed in petunias. Back on his feet, the man swore. “Mind your language,” Durwood said. “There’s families in the neighborhood.” The other two hustled over, shovels at their shoulders. The widest of the three circled to Durwood’s backside. Sue-Ann coiled her old bones to strike. Ugliness roiled Durwood’s gut. Big Man punched first. Durwood caught his fist, torqued his arm behind his back. The next man swung his shovel. Durwood charged underneath and speared his chest. The man wheezed sharply, his lung likely punctured. The third man got hold of Durwood’s bootheel, smashed his elbow into the hollow of Durwood’s knee. Durwood scissored the opposite leg across the man’s throat. He gritted his teeth and clenched. He felt the man’s Adam’s apple wriggling between his legs. A black core in Durwood yearned to squeeze. He resisted. The hostiles came again, and Durwood whipped them again. Automatically, in a series of beats as natural to him as chirping to a katydid. The men’s faces changed from angry to scared to incredulous. Finally, they stayed down. “Now y’all are helping fix that sunroom.” Durwood nodded to the epoxy tin. “Mix six to one, then paste ’er on quick.” Luckily, he’d caught the thieves early, and the repair was uncomplicated. Clamp, glue, drill. The epoxy should increase the R-value on the sunroom ten, fifteen, units. Good for a few bucks off the gas bill in winter, anyhow. Durwood did much of the work himself. He enjoyed the panels’ weight, the strength of a well-formed joint. His muscles felt free and easy as if he were home ridding the sorghum fields of johnsongrass. Done, he let the thieves go. He turned back south toward Molly’s house. Sue-Ann scrabbled alongside. “Well, ole girl?” he said. “Let’s see how Quaid made out.” CHAPTER FOUR I stood on my front porch watching the Vanagon rumble down Sycamore. My toes tingled, my heart was tossing itself against the walls of my chest, and I was pretty sure my nose had gone berserk. How else could I be smelling cinnamon? Quaid Rafferty’s last words played over and over in my head: We need you. For twenty minutes, after Durwood had taken his dog to investigate ker-klacks, Quaid had given me the hard sell. The money would be big-time. I had the perfect skills for the assignment: guts, grace under fire, that youthful je ne sais quoi. Wasn’t I always saying I ought to be putting my psychology skills to better use? Well, here it was: understanding these young people’s outrage would be a major component of the job. Some people will anticipate your words and mumble along. Quaid did something similar but with feelings, cringing at my credit issues, brightening with whole-face joy at Karen’s reading progress—which I was afraid would suffer if I got busy and didn’t keep up her nightly practice. He was pitching me, yes. But he genuinely cared what was happening in my life. I didn’t know how to think about Quaid, how to even fix him in my brain. He and Durwood were so far outside any normal frame of reference. Were they even real? Did I imagine them? Their biographies were epic. Quaid the twice-elected (once-impeached) governor of Massachusetts who now battled villains across the globe and lived at Caesars Palace. Durwood a legend of the Marine Corps, discharged after defying his commanding officer and wiping out an entire Qaeda cell to avenge the death of his wife. I’d met them during my own unreal adventure—the end of my second marriage, which had unraveled in tragedy in the backwoods of West Virginia. They’d recruited me for three missions since. Each was like a huge, brilliant dream—the kind that’s so vital and packed with life that you hang on after you wake up, clutching backward into sleep to stay inside. Granny said, “That man’s trouble. If you have any sense in that stubborn head of yours, you’ll steer clear.” I stepped back into the living room, the Vanagon long gone, and allowed my eyes to close. Granny didn’t know the half of it. She had huffed off to watch her judge shows on TV before the guys had even mentioned the Blind Mice. No, she meant a more conventional trouble. “I’ve learned,” I said. “If I take this job, it won’t be for romance. I’d be doing it for me. For the family.” As if cued by the word “family,” a peal of laughter sounded upstairs. Children! My eyes zoomed to the clock. It was 8:20. Zach would be lucky to make first hour, let alone homeroom. In a single swipe, I scooped up the Prius keys and both jackets. My purse whorled off my shoulder like some supermom prop. “Leaving now!” I called up the stairwell. “Here we go, kids—laces tied, backpacks zipped.” Zach trudged down, leaning his weight into the rail. Karen followed with sunny-careful steps. I sped through the last items on my list—tossed a towel over the grape juice, sloshed water onto the roast, considered my appearance in the microwave door, and just frowned, beyond caring. Halfway across the porch, Granny’s fingers closed around my wrist. “Promise me,” she said, “that you will not associate with Quaid Rafferty. Promise me you won’t have one single thing to do with that lowlife.” I looked past her to the kitchen, where the cat was kinking herself to retch Eggo Waffle onto the linoleum. “I’m sorry, Granny.” I patted her hand, freeing myself. “It’s something I have to do.” *** Excerpt from Anarchy of the Mice by Jeff Bond. Copyright 2020 by Jeff Bond. Reproduced with permission from Jeff Bond. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Jeff Bond Jeff Bond is an American author of popular fiction. His books have been featured in The New York Review of Books, and his 2020 release, The Pinebox Vendetta, received the gold medal (top prize) in the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards. A Kansas native and Yale graduate, he now lives in Michigan with his wife and two daughters.

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#GuestPost “Beauty is the Beast (Caligula Book 1)” by D. James McGee

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~ Guest Post ~

by D. James McGee

The Creation of a Femme Fatale

It would seem that the present zeitgeist is to promote warrior women in the media. From Viking’s Lagertha to The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen we’re spoiled for choice.
Maybe I’ve missed the boat here. I mean, a strong, beautiful and cunning femme fatale isn’t exactly new or original, but there are a few unique facets about my newly constructed protagonist that are worthy of mentioning.
The Lady Laura Lacy (pardon the alliteration) was constructed using the facets of some very real women, most of whom I actually know, but two of whom are historical figures.
When I moved to Dublin, Ireland in the early 1990s, I began training in a Kenpo studio on Lower Leeson Street. The area is filled with whole streets of beautiful Georgian houses famous for their ornate front doors. These houses have now been converted into office buildings where people of the city go about their business of well…business.
Many types of people would train at that studio in relative harmony. Working class Joes and upper echelon professionals gleefully exchanged punches and kicks with the occasional head butt, knee and elbow.
I was a teenager and completely alone in a (somewhat) foreign country at that time and was desperate to make friends and have some kind of support system.
Anyway, I met a woman there by the name of Cara Gregg. She was an executive in a premier advertising agency when I met her and just so happened to be one of my first instructors in Ireland in the art of Kenpo Karate. I found out that she was a former model and member of the Stunt Association of Ireland, an equestrian and had some strange esoteric powers.
After a break up (my fault obviously), I was searching for a new place to live and it just so happened that Cara had been blighted by some misogyny in her firm so had decided to set up her own business in her house. She therefore suggested that I move in with her. This would give me a nice place to live and provide a modicum of security for her. I did just that and she became the closest thing to a mother I had in Ireland at the time.
Cara ran in some illustrious circles and knew everything there was to know about being a lady, but if things got tough she could be an out and out ball-buster to the poor sod who crossed her.
I came to California in 2001 for what I thought would be a training vacation (I’m still here). During my first week in Huntington Beach I met a fellow black belt by the name of Melissa (Missy ) Dalton. She was tall, blonde and in shape, oh and just happened to be a multiple times world champion. She was an actress and had to keep her face well preserved for auditions, photo shoots and whatever else the thespian types of Hollywood have to do to succeed. During one of our first training sessions together I kicked out her two front teeth and broke her nose. She was absolutely furious.
During another incident in a night club in Universal City, I witnessed her knock out a soldier on Christmas leave from the Army’s 82 Airborne Division. Her punch was the catalyst for the mass fight that ensued, comprised of us (the bouncers) and them (the squadies).
All this being said Missy knew how to play the game when it came to donning an evening dress and mingling with the elite.
Princess Diana was my inspiration for most of Lady Laura’s wardrobe and public persona.
I have family and friends on all sides when it comes to Irish political views, so I tend to stay clear of the subject. That being said, I find the life of Constance Markievicz aka Countess Markievicz fascinating. A socialite turned revolutionary she traded in her parties and gown for gunpowder and rifles during Ireland’s revolutionary war. She played a pivotal role in the Easter Rising for which she was sentenced to death. Her sentence was commuted on account of her being a woman and she became the first woman elected to parliament in 1918. She turned down her seat and instead was elected Minister of Labour in Ireland’s first Dail. This made her the first female minister in Europe.
Thanks Cara, Missy, Diana and Constance for the inspiration and thanks to the few others who I dare not mention. I believe they know who they are.



Date Published: July 15

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

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It’s 1985. Lady Laura Lacy of Britewood is beautiful and graceful, a celebrity in her own right. She is cousin to Her Majesty The Queen, and her
father is the well-respected Earl of Britewood, honorary commander of the Army’s elite reserve special forces unit. Laura seemingly has it all. She should be happy.

However, due to unspeakable acts committed against her as a child,
she’s developed a blood lust for revenge. Secretly trained by her
father’s regiment in the arts of war, Laura begins to target men who
prey on the innocent and helpless. As her skills sharpen, Laura becomes a
formidable force against evil.

That’s when she uncovers a transatlantic child trafficking ring led
by an elite group within British society. With the help of commanding
officer and police inspector Billy Smythe, her mysterious family attorney
Arthur Mosely, and an unorthodox group of American allies, Laura sets out on
a vengeance-fueled quest to stop them. She is determined to save as many
innocents as she can.

It’s a mission that will put her very life and sanity at stake,
making her question everything she’s ever believed in. But to make
things right, Beauty must become the Beast.

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 About the Author

Domnic “DJames” McGee was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire. A
sickly child, he was raised in a council estate to a single mother. At
school, he was a poor student and failed dismally.

He developed a passion for martial arts, so in his teens, he moved to
Ireland where he trained full-time while working in menial jobs to

A chance encounter then gave him the opportunity to work as an Executive
Protection Agent for some of the most influential figures in European

He came to the US in 2001 to further his studies of martial arts. He
decided to stay and earned his citizenship by serving in an Army infantry
unit and later with a reserve Military Police unit.

He currently lives in Huntington Beach, where he works as an Executive
Protection Agent and trains and writes as much as he can.


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#GuestPost Kirk Zurosky, author of “The Immortal Divorce Court Series”

Series Inspiration


What inspired me to create the Immortal Divorce Court series?Kirk Zurosky

The Immortal Divorce Court Series was created from my experiences as an attorney, and my going through a hellacious divorce.  It inspired the premise of what could happen if you were an immortal creature of myth, but you had a habit of making really bad relationship choices.  We have all had that one relationship (or more) where when it was over we wondered just what in the Hell were we thinking!  But, what if ending up in literal Hell was one of the consequences for those bad relationship choices?  So with that idea in mind, I created the Immortal Divorce Court universe where immortal vampire assassin, Sirius Sinister, is getting haled into Immortal Divorce Court by his femme fatales, but also meeting and making eternal friendships with an incredible cast of mythical characters along the way.

What do I want readers to take away from the Immortal Divorce Court series?

cover3Immortal Divorce Court is at its core a book about Sirius Sinister’s relationships with his family, friends, and paramours.  Sometimes when Sirius meets someone in the book there is an instant connection and a lifelong (in this case a really lifelong!) friendship that develops.  The people we meet and love, and sometimes those that we meet that really aren’t good for us, are ultimately the people that help us to grow and change to be the best people we can be.  The Immortal Divorce Court world is not that much different from our own in that we need other people to be at our very best because without love and friendship life can be pretty hard and lonely.  So, the take away for the readers is that to be your best self you have to put yourself out there and experience the wonderful diversity that is humanity.

Do I have a favorite Immortal Divorce Court character?Kirk and Daisy

I enjoyed creating and writing dialogue for all of the Immortal Divorce Court characters, but I especially liked the challenge of portraying Garlic, the vampire Maltese, as the real person she is without any actual spoken dialogue.  Garlic is based on our wanna be vampire Maltese, Daisy, who can absolutely communicate when she is irritated, that you Kirk and Daisy2shouldn’t be ignoring her, and most importantly in getting more than her fair share of dog treats and belly rubs.  There is no doubt that she has mastered teaching old humans some new tricks.  As a lawyer, I have taken great joy in writing dialogue for Maximillian Justice, Sirius’ divorce attorney.  It was such an absolute blast to push the envelope with what he says and does in the Immortal Divorce Court courtroom.


What was your inspiration for writing such steamy sex scenes?

Though he doesn’t realize it at first, Sirius Sinister is on a quest to find his true love, and I just thank the heavens every day that I found mine.  I didn’t know what love was until I met my wife, Susie.  When you are in a relationship that doesn’t mesh everything about it seems difficult, and forced.  However, if you are ever so lucky to meet your true match in life, everything is effortless and natural, and every instinct is the correct one.  So, in effect with the Immortal Divorce Court Series, I wrote a seven volume love story to my wife, and she has graciously allowed me through my writing to share some of the most inspirational and intimate parts of our life.  And, as the saying goes – you write what you know!

Have I been to all of the places in the book that Sirius Sinister travels to?

One of my favorite things to do in life is to travel the world with Susie.  I have been fortunate to visit many of the places where Volume One is set and the locales of the next six volumes as well.  But, because the book is set over several centuries, I had to do a lot of research as to what was happening at the time in history that I was setting the story there.  Of course, I haven’t been to Hell (though my first marriage certainly felt like it might qualify…)


About Kirk Zurosky

Kirk and Daisy3For the last twenty-plus years, Kirk Zurosky has practiced plaintiffs’ personal injury and workers’ compensation law with his firm, Tippens & Zurosky.

He started writing about the adventures of Sirius Sinister as a means of personal therapy to cope with a contentious divorce that felt endless, having no idea at first that it would turn into the seven-book Immortal Divorce Court series. Incorporating his own legal experiences into the books, Kirk puts a playful and racy spin on the worst-case scenarios that can possibly crop up in divorce court.

Kirk lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife, Susie, and their wannabe-vampire Maltese, Daisy.

Visit Kirk’s website at kirkzurosky.com where you can get Sirius Sinister™ Gear!

Amazon Author Page   |   Goodreads   |   Twitter   | Instagram   |   Facebook



Immortal Divorce Court Volume 1:

My Ex-Wife Said Go to Hell


Sirius Sinister keeps sleeping with the wrong women. And this time, it’s led to his imprisonment in Hell. Literal Hell.

Immortal vampire assassin Sirius Sinister has a healthy libido that constantly results in bad relationship decisions. But when he’s served divorce papers by Bloodsucker Number One—a shady woman from his past—he realizes there’s a major problem: he was never even married to her, or so he thought. Regardless of the truth, Sirius is put under the jurisdiction of Immortal Divorce Court.

You would think by now he’d know having sex can lead to horrific consequences like marriage, children, and ex-wives—but some habits just won’t die. Leaving his faithful vampire Maltese, Garlic, behind, Sirius travels to court to defend himself with the help of his demon attorney, Maximillian Justice. Unfortunately, the trial quickly spirals out of control, and Sirius is banished to hell for a hundred years.

When Sirius finally escapes, he ends up in the Caribbean where he meets his next paramour: the Howler. After a wild romp with his new werewolf lover under the lure of a full blood moon, he finds himself becoming the father of a litter of pups—but, the Howler and her Pack want to put the dead in deadbeat dad. Luckily, Sirius is saved by the Queen of the Merfolk, who comes with a hidden agenda even as they fall in love. Can he make it work with the Queen, or will he have to head to Immortal Divorce Court once again as yet another relationship flounders?

For all those who have nursed a broken heart—or a vengeful one—Immortal Divorce Court Volume 1 is a sexy, exciting debut and the start of a hellishly fun new series about the flawed antihero Sirius Sinister.







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#GuestPost Charlie Laidlaw of “Love Potions and Other Calamities”


Welcome to the long awaited blog tour for Love Potions and Other Calamities by Charlie Laidlaw! Follow along for tour details, exclusive content, and a chance to win a signed copy of the book!


Guest Post

by Charlie Laidlaw

Love Potions and Other Calamities is a book that was decades in the making.  It was also first published in 2015 as The Herbal Detective.

I’m grateful that Accent Press acquired rights to it and, now that Accent have been acquired by Headline, that it’s being republished.  It completes my trilogy of standalone books set in East Lothian, just outside Edinburgh.

Rude and risqué, it’s also a book that I’m proud of, not least because it’s the book on which I really learned how to write, and which has guided my writing style ever since.

It started off being a rather spooky book set in the south of England.  It then moved to the Scottish Borders and became a quasi-police procedural.

Only later, when I realised that neither of those genres worked, did it become a rather wacky comedy.

My books are character and plot driven, and now balance humour with poignancy.  Love Potions was the journey that got me to where I am.

The idea for the book came to me at university when, for one module, I studied the Scottish history of the 17th and 18th century.

This was the time of the witch persecutions, which was really another chapter in the story of Christian imperialism.

In the early days of that imperialism, the church much preferred to assimilate by stealth.  For example, until 834, All Hallows was on 13th May – moved to 1st November by Pope Gregory to overlay an older pagan festival.  So too Christmas, to overlay the pagan winter solstice (also known as Yule, hence our Yule log).

Witchcraft’s journey to demonic intolerance took several centuries.  In 8th century Saxony, the death penalty existed for anyone killing a witch.  In 11th century Hungary, Charlemagne decreed that there was no legal remedy against witches “since they do not exist.”

Bit by bit, the church flexing its muscles, tolerance was chipped away.  By 15th century Hungary, the memory of Charlemagne now dimmed, a first offender found guilty of witchcraft was made to stand in the town square wearing a Jew’s cap, a symmetrical punishment alongside Europe’s other principal scapegoat.

Indeed, in many parts of Europe, the social exclusion of the witches was only matched by the social exclusion of Jews.  It was merely a matter for individual societies to pick the scapegoat which best suited their particular circumstances.

In the Alps and Pyrenees they burned witches, in Spain they burned Jews – for the simple crime of being either a witch or a Jew.  In 14th and 15th century Germany, it was the Jews who suffered; by the 16th century it was the witches.  In the 20th century, it was the turn of the Jew again, the cycle of persecution turning full circle in the ovens of Auschwitz.

The last person in the UK to be prosecuted for witchcraft was Scottish housewife Helen Duncan, jailed for nine months in 1944 because, a spiritualist, she seemed to know too much about the war effort.

The real story of the witch persecutions was the church’s successful PR campaign to define as evil everything that had gone before.  It was brutally effective.

But the cult of the scapegoat isn’t dead, and has contemporary resonance.  Take your pick from immigrants, benefits scroungers, health tourists, investment bankers, gays, gypsies, Muslims… the list goes on and on.

And that’s witchcraft’s relevance for today, because by picking scapegoats we are also defining our own prejudices and intolerances, and looking for somebody to blame for society’s ills.

That is the premise of Love Potions.  The central character, a gifted herbalist, may or may not be a witch…but just suppose that someone in the locality believes that she is, and also believes in the old punishment for a witch?

After all, one of the principal targets of the witch persecutions were the local wise women.  These were the local herbalists – and therefore pharmacist, doctor and midwife.  During the persecutions, it wasn’t a good career choice.

(As an aside, there is evidence that the demise of the wise women led to women giving birth of their backs.  The male medical profession that replaced the wise women thought it was more decorous).

For the book to work, my herbalist had to be more than one-dimensional.  To suspend readers’ disbelief, she has to demonstrate a real knowledge of herbalism.  To make her enigmatic, she also has to demonstrate a knowledge of wicca and wiccan spells – for example, using poisons.

In that regard, it’s a book I wish I had never embarked upon.  Having decided on its direction, I had to balance its idiocy with all those large dollops of herbal and wiccan facts.

All the herbal lore and wiccan spells in the book are therefore fact-based, a task that took forever to research!

I hope readers see beyond its humour and at least glimpse the real message the book contains.  That bigotry and intolerance are wrong.

It might be rude and risqué, but humour can sometimes be a good medium for making a good point.  I hope Love Potions does just that.



Love Potions and Other Calamities

Expected Publication Date: November 7th, 2019

Genre: Comedy/ Mystery

Publisher: Headline

Welcome to the strange world of Rosie McLeod, an amateur detective with a big difference. Her deductive powers are based solely on the careful preparation and use of plants and herbs.

Love Potions and Other Calamities is pure comedy, with a bit of drama thrown in, as Rosie sets out to discover whether her husband is having an affair and, as the story unfolds, to solve a murder – before she becomes the next victim.

Rosie McLeod, pub proprietor and a gifted herbalist of some renown, is thirty-nine and holding, but only just. The talons of her fortieth birthday are in her back and her bloody, bloody husband hasn’t laid a lustful hand on her for months.

She has the fortune, or misfortune, to live in one of Scotland’s most famous places – the East Lothian village of Holy Cross, which takes its name from the legendary Glastonbury Cross that was spirited away – and subsequently lost – when Henry VIII purged the English monasteries. The cross of pale Welsh gold, reputedly buried within the village, had at its centre a fragment of emerald from the Holy Grail. The story is, of course, complete baloney.

But the association with the Holy Grail and the later witch persecutions of James VI mean that the village is as well known around the world as Edinburgh Castle, haggis or Loch Ness. It has been described as “the heartbeat of Scotland” and is a major tourist destination – many of whom visit the village with metal detectors, hoping to discover the elusive cross.

However, a sighting of a large, black cat by the local Church of Scotland minister sets off a chain of events that lead back twenty years and, although the villagers are blissfully unaware of it, to a woman’s murder. The black cat had last been sighted near the village some two decades before, and the minister’s predecessor was sure that it had triggered something evil. The villagers, of course, think otherwise.

Nothing ever happens in Holy Cross.

For fans of Mel Brooks and Monty Python!

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Coincidentally, Rosie had once owned a black cat, although it was very small, and was eaten by an eagle on the Christmas morning she was given it. That was also the Christmas she stopped believing in Santa Claus. One minute, the kitten was on a scrubby patch of grass in their Sussex back garden, a round ball of black fluff, peering fretfully at her new world; the next, she wasn’t anywhere to be seen until, looking up, Rosie saw large and predatory wings disappear over the farmhouse roof.

She was at an age when she knew that bad things happened, but still believed that Christmas Day was somehow exempt: guns fell silent, everyone had enough to eat, and pestilence was postponed until Boxing Day. Her parents tried to console her by saying that eagles weren’t native to Sussex, searching fruitlessly in flowerbeds and, then, in the surrounding fields. In a way, that day had become a metaphor for her life: that in unexpected ways good things can be randomly snatched away. It felt like that now: sagging boobs, carpet slippers, a dreaded birthday – and the revelation of a precise delusion.

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon!


About the Author


I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.

Charlie Laidlaw | Facebook | Twitter

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For your chance to win a signed copy of Love Potions and Other Calamities, click the link below!

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Blog Tour Schedule

December 9th

Gwendalyn’s Books (Spotlight) https://gwendalynbooks.blog/

Quirky Cats Fat Stacks (Review) https://quirkycatsfatstacks.com/

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

December 10th

Viviana MacKade (Guest Post) https://viviana-mackade.blog/

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

December 11th

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

Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/

December 12th

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

I Smell Sheep (Review) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

December 13th

Life’s a Novelty (Review) https://lifesanovelty.blogspot.com/

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

December 14th

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

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

Lunarian Press (Review) https://www.lunarianpress.com/

December 15th

The Invisible Moth (Review) https://daleydowning.wordpress.com

December 16th

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

LoopyLouLaura (Review) https://www.loopyloulaura.com/

December 17th

I’m into Books (Spotlight) https://imintobooks.com

Turning the Pages (Spotlight) https://turningthepagesonline.wordpress.com

Cup of Toast (Review) https://cupoftoast.co.uk

December 18th

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

December 19th

This is My Truth Now (Spotlight) https://thisismytruthnow.com/

It’s All About the Books (Review) https://itsallaboutthebooksblog.wordpress.com/

The Bookworm Drinketh (Review) http://thebookwormdrinketh.wordpress.com/

December 20th

Entertainingly Nerdy (Spotlight) https://www.entertaininglynerdy.com

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Review) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

Book Dragons Not Worms (Review) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

J Bronder Book Reviews (Review) https://jbronderbookreviews.com/


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#GuestPost “A Company of Monsters” by Shami Stovall


Guest Post

How I Sell All My Books at Con and Book Fairs

by Shami Stovall

If you’ve ever gone to a book convention or book fair, you know there’s a fierce competition between authors. Sure, the other authors are friendly, and it’s not like they’ll stab you the moment your back is turned, but everyone basically has the same goal: sell their novel.

And the customer only has so much money, time, and attention.

The real question becomes—how will you stand out in a sea of authors all fighting for the same $10? I agonized over this dilemma the first time I ever went to a convention. I figured there was no way people would want to read my stuff. This was my debut novel! They didn’t know my writing history, or how much work I had put into the book. All the convention goers knew was that I was some schmoe peddling a book. Why was I worth their time?

My solution: I drew caricatures for free.

The only caveat was that they had to read my book while I worked. This way, I could get them hooked with the first chapter, and then they’d be dying to know the rest. Or, on the other hand, they get a free drawing and feel indebted to me, so they buy the book anyway as a sort of “tip.” The latter isn’t my ideal (I want to gain fans, after all) but it still helps me recoup costs.

My caricatures aren’t special (they’re cute and chibi). Here’s an example:

Shami's Work

But giving something away for free entices people to your booth.

I can already hear some of you screaming, “But I can’t draw! This doesn’t help!”

Anything can be used as a hook. Can you make bracelets? Can you play an instrument? A simple hook that doesn’t involve selling your book will make people think higher of you when they approach. Never start with, “Let me sell you something” because people are bombarded with ads and sales pitches all the time. Start with, “Let me entertain you for a moment” and your potential audience will be thrilled to engage.

Just for reference, I tend to sell about 10 books an hour (1 for every 6 minutes) OR IF IN A SERIES, 20 books an hour. That means I sell a couple hundred every weekend, making my money back on a booth and some profit.

If you can draw—Great!—I totally suggest you do what I’ve done. Give away small (and fast) pieces of art to help “lure” people to your booth. If not, pick a skill you can do and roll with it. Be creative!

And now that I’ve hooked you with some free advice for selling, maybe you wouldn’t mind checking out my fantasy novel, A Company of Monsters!  Trust me, if you read the first chapter, you’ll be hooked. I’ve seen hundreds of people always fall into the same glorious trap.

Happy writing!


Date Published: 11/19/19
Publisher: Capital Station Books
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A secret war of sorcerers threatens to tear the world apart.
The year is 1917, and the Russian Empire is on verge of collapse.
Florence Cavell—codename Geist—takes her special forces team of sorcerers into allied territory in an effort to hunt down spies and keep the Russian royals alive. If the Russian Empire falls, the Germans and Austro-Hungarians will turn their full attention to France and Britain. That can’t be allowed to happen.
Unfortunately for Geist, the enemy has sent the Eyes of the Kaiser, specialists who hunt and destroy sorcerers. And they came prepared to eliminate not only the Russian royalty, but the Ethereal Squadron as well.

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Praise for Ethereal Squadron:
“In tense, precise prose that skillfully conveys detailed descriptions, Stovall delivers this engrossing story of fantasy adventure with utmost precision. The Ethereal Squadron’s riveting fantasy world will fuel readers’ imaginations and leave them crave for the next book in the sequel.”
– The Prairies Book Review
About the Author

 photo me_zpslvpclezn.jpgShami Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family earning a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was at that moment Stovall realized story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world and she hopes you enjoy.
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#GuestPost Paul CW Beatty and “Children of Fire”

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Time for reading historyPaul Beatty1

So, readers, welcome to my Blog Tour this leg courtesy of Nesie’s Place. When Nesie’s Place came up I wondered which. Was it the large, presumed remnant of the Jurassic period i.e. a dinosaur of some sort, living in the deepest and darkest lake on these isles north of Fort William in Scotland?

But there was always a chance it was some resurrected relation of my mythic but fearsome Aunt Nessy, who I never met as a boy but who was threatened would come and eat me if I misbehaved.

But it was neither of these romantic, dramatic options. So, I invite you to read, either as a paperback or an ebook, both available from Amazon.

Children of Fire is a Victorian who-done-it. Its set in the northwest of England in 1842-43 in a time when the industrial revolution that started in England in the second half of the previous century is just short of reaching maturity. By 1851, the national census of the British Isles will show that more people live in cities than in the countryside. Britain will have become the first industrial country in the world.

Enormous social issues were still to be solved. There were issues of immigration, from Ireland, then still John Bulls Other Island as It was still known as over 100 years later. That wave of immigration was Catholic and in places like Stockport formed a large new labour force for the cotton mills. Stockport remains a strongly Catholic town even now but there was a second immigration of people from the land. They were protestant and their needs were met not buy the Anglican Church but by the Methodist Church who could build new chapels near to cotton mills to allow worship as well as teach reading and writing to parents and children alike.

A time of change religious, industrial, and political. Read Children of Fire, an imagining of what it was like to live at its time.


Children of Fire cover

Children of Fire

Can Josiah solve the puzzle before more people die, or is he out of his depth?

In 1841, at the height of the industrial revolution in the North West of England, Josiah Ainscough returns from his travels and surprises everyone by joining the Stockport Police Force, rather than following his adopted father’s footsteps into the Methodist ministry.

While Josiah was abroad, five men died in an explosion at the Furness Vale Powder Mill. Was this an accident or did the Children of Fire, a local religious community, have a hand in it. As Josiah struggles to find his vocation, his investigation into the Children of Fire begins. But his enquiries are derailed by the horrific crucifixion of the community’s leader.

Now Josiah must race against time to solve the puzzle of the violence loose in the Furness Vale before more people die. This is complicated by his affections for Rachael, a leading member of the Children of Fire, and the vivacious Aideen Hayes, a visitor from Ireland.

Can Josiah put together the pieces of the puzzle, or is he out of his depth?

Children of Fire won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Prize for 2017.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US


Paul Beatty2Author Bio   

Paul CW Beatty is an unusual combination of a novelist and a research scientist. Having worked for many years in medical research in the UK NHS and Universities, a few years ago he took an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University emerging with a distinction.

His latest novel, Children of Fire, is a Victorian murder mystery set in 1841 at the height of the industrial revolution. It won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Award in November 2017 and is published by The Book Guild Ltd.

Paul lives near Manchester in the northwest of England. Children of Fire is set against the hills of the Peak District as well as the canals and other industrial infrastructure of the Cottonopolis know as the City of Manchester.

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3D pub

#GuestPost “The Light of Distant Suns” by Lauren C. Sergeant

copyChildren of the Glaring Dawn, Book 1
Young Adult Fantasy
Published Date: November 19, 2019
Publisher: INtense Publications LLC
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Ihva is horrified to find out she might be the most dreaded individual in all of Gant, but before she can discover the truth, she is whisked away on a rescue mission. Prince Jasper’s fiancee has gone missing. As they chase his betrothed all over the continent, Jasper is hiding secrets of his own, and he’s willing to risk his life to keep them. Is Ihva the feared harbinger of the world’s doom? Will Jasper find a way to save his bride and his kingdom? Only time will tell the answers, and then it might be too late.

~ Guest Post ~

3 Reasons to Write and Read Epic Fantasy

by Lauren C. Sergeant

There are some who would brush aside fiction and especially the fantasy genre as irrelevant. They’d say the events of epic fantasy novels are far outside the realm of normal human experience and therefore don’t relate to us. I’d argue something different—that epic fantasy can actually bring us closer in touch with our own realities. Here are three ways how this works.

  1. We escape to discover purpose.

Many people admit that they read fiction to escape real life, if only for a little while. Some might say it’s about finding problems that are simpler than our own or that seem somehow more manageable, but I don’t think so. I know that when I’m writing, I’m no longer facing social discomfort, fretful anxiety, or deep-felt despondency, but I become part of the struggle of a group of characters to overcome an ancient evil that could destroy their entire world. I’d call my characters’ lives more epic and their problems more world-shaping than my own. It’s because of the gravity of their conflicts that I flee to them. Their struggles seem so much more tangible, their meaning and significance are clear, and I can see in them a reason to fight.

  1. We reconnect with reality as we learn.

There’s something about watching someone else, including fictional characters, struggle through internal conflict and suffering that brings a certain understanding to us. It’s perhaps the reason for our hypocrisy most times—we can see in others what we don’t recognize in ourselves. Yet if we take the time to draw parallels and connections between them and us, we find that our own thought patterns and emotions become clearer. Epic fantasy characters act out dramas unfolding in our own lives in a way that makes things simpler. When we reflect on them, the lessons we draw can be intensely personal.

  1. We explore ideas.

When I started writing the Children of the Glaring Dawn series, I was just telling a story. Then one day halfway through book 2, I realized what I was writing—an exploration, an investigation into two perspectives vying for supremacy, those of pessimism and optimism. I was going on a philosophical adventure into the interaction between two opposing viewpoints and waiting on the edge of my seat to see how they would shape each other. I have seen the many points of tension, conflict, compromise, and growth from both sides. Fantasy stories give a dramatic backdrop for themes and ideas to come across, and in both reading and writing this genre, we are able to consider topics from a different angle.

More than a Pastime

Reading and writing epic fantasy have stretched my mind and grown me in ways I didn’t know possible. If you’ve never read a fantasy novel, I’d encourage you to try. For those of you who already do, keep at it, and don’t write it off as a mere pastime. These could be the most transformative moments of your life.

About the Author

 photo Lauren Author_zpslrwys7de.pngLauren C. Sergeant is a poet, a founding contributor for the Auburn-Opelika Moms Blog, a writer, and the author of Light of Distant Suns, the first book in the Children of the Glaring Dawn series. Her writing career began in junior high with composing poetry, and by age 26, she started on her first novel. She has always had a passion for fiction as a means of both escape and reconnection to the world around her. Her fascination with world customs, her deep interest in personal relationships, the plethora of spellbinding stories she has read and watched, and her enthusiasm for the fantasy genre combine in wondrous ways in her engaging debut novel. Shaped by these influences, she creates compelling cultures and fascinating, relatable characters in lush imaginary realms.

In her spare time, when she is not writing, you can find her curled up on the couch with a good book, whether it be fantasy, history, physics, or calculus. She lives in Opelika, Alabama with her beloved husband and dear son, though she grew up in Southern California and never imagined calling the American South home.
It seems the unanticipated things in life are sometimes the most delightful, though.
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#BookTour “This is How We Roll” by Nadia Kyba

This is How We Roll: Social Work in Sports

This is how we roll: A coach’s guide to transforming conflict into high performance is a fun, easy to use guide rooted in social work theories of team development and conflict resolution designed to help coaches, parents, athletes and associations anticipate and transform conflict into team cohesion. Here is a taste of the journey that brought me to this place from the book’s introduction:

Five years ago, I was out for a walk and bumped into my friend Dave, who was the president of a local hockey association at the time. Easygoing and positive, with a quick smile and a certain joie de vivre, Dave is well known and well liked. He did an enormous amount of volunteer work—he was a real upstanding member of the community. I knew him as the father of one of my daughter’s classmates, as well as through hockey, as my other daughter had been playing on a team in the association of which he was president. The day I bumped into him, he looked like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. He could barely muster a smile.

When he looked at me, I saw a light bulb go off for him. Looking back, I think he must have remembered in that moment that I was a social worker. He knew that I had recently started training on managing conflict through communication and mediation. When I asked how hockey was going, he said he had had a really tough season full of all kinds of problems with a few of the teams in the association. Issues with one team in particular had been taking up a lot of his time, and he was having trouble getting on top of the problems. “There are lots of dynamics,” he explained. Some parents believed some players were bullying the others, and many felt the parent coaches were not doing enough to address the problem. The coaches saw the problem differently. As president, he had tried his best to sort through what was happening by sending emails, holding team and parent meetings, meeting with the individuals involved and meeting with the board. He had collaborated with the vice president to strategize. He was finally at a loss.

I asked him when this conflict had begun, and he said it was about two months prior. I asked him how many hours he figured he had spent attempting to mitigate it. After a long pause, he answered: “Including the other board members assisting in finding a resolution…one hundred.” One hundred hours. And he wanted to hire me to help out. My friend and the other board members of the association whom I got to know through working together were not incapable people. Dave was the vice president of a large company and managed 75 employees. He likely dealt with conflict every day. The other board members held similar workplace roles, as did the coaches.

I was not surprised by Dave’s situation. I was glad I ran into him when I did because I knew I could help. As a social worker, I have seen that short-term interventions from qualified helpers who offer fresh perspectives can be incredibly effective. I have also seen what is at stake if conflict is not managed well in a sports team or organization. Sport can do so much for young people, for adults and for communities, but conflict in sport brings with it a high level of emotion. There are weekly local stories about games where escalating problematic behavior on the sidelines has had parents fighting and coaches behaving in crazy, abusive ways, leaving governing boards at a loss. Dave’s scenario represented a president, coaches and players on the brink of leaving their sport because of unmanaged conflict.

What does social work have to do with sports? Everything. Think of it this way: What do you do at the end of a season and the start of another? As a coach, you probably reflect on what the heck just happened and look ahead to consider improvements for next year. When you do this, you are unknowingly turning to your inner social worker…really, you are! Take a look at this definition:

Social work is concerned with helping individuals and groups enhance their individual and collective well-being. It helps people develop their skills and their abilities to use their own resources and those of their broader community to resolve problems.1

Does this sound like the work you do as a coach? It does to me. I have seen coaches like you use the social work skills described above, every day. As a coach, refining these skills will make your life easier and improve your team’s performance.

By thinking like a social worker, your concern will turn to team interpersonal development which, when strengthened, will improve performance. If this sounds like a bunch of fancy words that do not make sense yet, don’t worry. We are going to get into detail in the book. For now, all you need to know is that many make the mistake of focusing their coaching style primarily on skill development and strategy—both of which are important, but they are not enough on their own. For your team to do well, consistently, you need to know how to efficiently fix personal clashes when they come up.



Non-Fiction / Sports
Date Published: November 12, 2019
In This Is How We Roll athlete, trainer and social worker Nadia Kyba brings you easy-to-understand social work concepts and tools that you can apply to transform your team to growth and performance. Full of stories and examples, this is your guide to the often difficult conversations required for true, lasting conflict resolution.
This Is How We Roll is a light, fun journey through the process of creating a unique team brand that will set your team apart in every practice, game and tournament. Both on and off the court, ice or field, witness your team transform through the conflict resolution method of champions.
About the Author

 photo author pic_zpsvwdb3mqx.jpgNadia Kyba is a lifelong athlete with a deep love of sport. She believes a single positive experience in organized sport can be life changing for the young, the old and the in-between. Working in the field of alternate dispute resolution in the child welfare system for 22 years, Nadia has developed tried-and-tested techniques and unique methods of conflict management that can be effectively applied in coach-athlete-parent-trainer dynamics in all individual and team sports.

Nadia currently applies her skill as a trainer at the Justice Institute of British Columbia and other agencies where she trains social workers, and in sports leagues where she helps teams take advantage of differences rather than falling into the many traps of divisive behavior.
Nadia’s company, Now What Facilitation, assists athletic organizations in simplifying their work by developing their capacity to manage and resolve conflict. She focuses on essential policies, protocols, training and techniques for effective decision-making. Her clients have included provincial sport administrators and coaches, as well as athletic teams ranging from the high school to the collegiate level.
Nadia has also learned much from her husband, Jim, and daughters, Lucy and Abby, all of whom are multisport athletes and coaches. They have provided invaluable and up-close insight into the foundation of her approach to conflict resolution in sport.
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#GuestPost Paranormal Romance… Where Love Meets Monsters by Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi Everyone!

To celebrate my favorite month, I’m writing about what happens when horror meets romance—paranormal romance!

Although I create hot and spicy romances, I actually started out writing horror stories. For some, that might seem like an odd combination, but it works for me. One half of my brain writes the horror, and the other half writes the romance. (In fact, I have published three horror ebooks. You can read more about them on my site or my Amazon author page.)

I like writing horror fiction because I get to explore different settings, plots, and characters that I couldn’t develop in romance. Sometimes after working on several romances, I’ll switch moods and write a horror story to give my brain and writing muscles a change of pace.

My horror short stories are more psychological/spooky/creepy than gory, but it’s always fun to add something scary (or strange!) into a romance. Sometimes it’s hard to keep a paranormal romance within bounds—you have to blend just enough horror elements into the love story without grossing out (or turning off) the heroine or hero… or readers!

Other times, the challenge to writing a good paranormal romance is creating a believable plot or finding a way to make a “monster” attractive/romantic/sexy. If one of your characters is a monster (of the non-human variety) you must believe your creature is real, whether he’s a vampire, a werewolf, or something else entirely.

If you don’t write the creature believably, readers won’t buy into it, and there certainly won’t be any sparks flying in your romance. As a writer, you need to make your monster as real as any other human character and flesh him out completely with a backstory, goals, motivation, and conflicts. (What kind of monster is he? How did he get that way? What is life like for him?)

Confessions of a Vampier's Lover coverMy contemporary paranormal, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover started out with the premise “What if a vampire went to the beach and fell in love with a surfer?” The book is extra “unique” in that it’s told in first person from the male character’s point of view.

I made Anya (the vampire) sympathetic and sexy, and not overtly terrifyingyet she still flexed her vampire muscles when she wanted to. This story could have easily gone down the horror road and become a full-fledged vampire story, but I wanted to show a softer, kinder side to the Anya and embrace her once-human side.

My gay paranormal, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing is not your usual werewolf love story. Deke, the Killer in Wolf's Clothing cover“werewolf” character, doesn’t actually turn into a “wolf-man”—he’s more of a shapeshifter who transforms into a super-aggressive Alpha male during the full moon. As I say in the book, “It’s more Incredible Hulk than American Werewolf in London.”

I almost had a problem writing Killer in Wolf’s Clothing because I’m “old-school” when it comes to creatures of the night. I expect my werewolves to be violent and vicious, and anything but cuddly. In my opinion, if a person is going to turn into a werewolf/wolf-man, he should look like the werewolves in Dog Soldiers. (A horror movie I highly recommend.)

As I wrote the book, I contrasted Deke’s harsh and demanding personality with that of his gentle alter-ego Greg. Greg understands his condition and does everything he can to keep Deke suppressed. But Deke is a badass with a serious need for revenge, and the antagonist, Blayne, is just about as violent and vicious as you can get (without fangs and claws). I enjoyed writing this story, and although it’s dark in places, Larry (Greg’s boyfriend) lightens the mood with his offbeat sense of humor.

Killer in Wolf’s Clothing is not your typical werewolf or werewolf/shifter romance. Some people might have a problem or take issue with the subject matter, the use of humor, and/or my treatment of shifters (what they expect a shifter to be could be quite different from my interpretation) in this book. Yes, it’s very different. Yes, it’s graphic. And yes, you either “get” it or you don’t.

Beauty and the Bigfoot cover

And the same goes for Beauty & the Bigfoot. It’s a paranormal-comedy that starts with the premise: “What if a Bigfoot hunter’s daughter falls in love with Bigfoot?” I took a lighthearted look at the whole subject of Sasquatch, blended in some wacky lead characters, and added pretty hot love scenes. I don’t want to give away the ending, but not everything about Bigfoot is what it seems. He’s not the “monster” everyone thinks he is.


The Viking’s Witch is a historical romance with paranormal elements set in Scotland. The heroine, Odaria, is what they called a witch back then—nowadays we’d call her a psychic and a healer. Odaria’s “magic” is the catalyst that sets the story in motion. When the book opens, Odaria is about to be burned alive for being a witch. She calls down a spell and curses the villagers while unknowingly invoking a Viking raid. Or so it seems…

Odaria uses her “powers” for self-preservation and to get revenge on the people who hurt her.Viking's Witch cover Rothgar (the hero) doesn’t believe in her “magic” and thinks she’s merely pretending to be a witch to frighten people. But after a highly-charged interaction with Brennan (the villain), Rothgar gets a taste of what Odaria could really do if she set her mind to it.

Vampires, shapeshifters, witches… no matter what subgenre of paranormal romance you write, readers need to be swept into the story and buy into the premise that you’ve created. Your job as a writer is to make the reader believe in the paranormal element (whether it’s a werewolf, zombie, vampire, or ghost) and take the reader on a journey with the main characters as they fall in love. The situations in the story need to be plausible and told in a way that grips the reader, even if the premise seems a bit far-fetched (at first).

When writing paranormal romance, don’t be afraid to break patterns, make your characters different, or have them go against stereotype. Give readers something unexpected, turn a cliché on its ear, or use a different point of view—it’ll make your work stand out.

Order Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover here:

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

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

Order Killer in Wolf’s Clothing here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G3V9VWW

All other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/mYRB6x


Order Beauty & the Bigfoot here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075SL9WT2

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/4Dog0Q


Order The Viking’s Witch here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07T15MHSW

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/4EQe0o

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at paranormal romances. I like hearing from readers, so feel free to drop me a line with questions or comments. You can catch up on all of my writings and follow me on social media via the links on my contact page.

Happy Haunting!

Kelli A. Wilkins



Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

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

Her latest historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, was released in June 2019. This full-length novel takes place in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual romance with paranormal elements.

 In March 2019, Kelli published Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania. She released the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

 Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.

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

Visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com or blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

#NEW “Extraterrestrial Encounters: A Collection of Sci-Fi Stories” by Kelli A. Wilkins

Extraterrestrial Encounters: A Collection of Sci-Fi Stories

A New Release from Kelli A. Wilkins


 Hi everyone!

I’m pleased to announce the release of my science fiction anthology, Extraterrestrial Encounters: A Collection of Sci-Fi Stories.   Although I’m mainly known for writing sensualcover romances and spooky horror fiction, every so often I like to surprise myself – and readers.

I’ve always been attracted to the unusual, peculiar, and “weird” that exists in the sci-fi and horror genres. I grew up watching Tales from the Dark Side, Amazing Stories, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, The Outer Limits, and of course, The Twilight Zone. So I guess it’s no surprise that when I started writing, I wrote what I loved reading: sci-fi and horror.

Authors are always asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” so when I wrote Extraterrestrial Encounters, I decided to share a peek at my writing process. I’ve included a brief note at the end of each story in the collection, explaining what inspired me to write it, where I got the idea, or general comments about the plot or characters.

I hope you enjoy these stories. Some are humorous, some will make you think, and others might scare you a bit, but they will all take you on a journey into the realm of the unknown for a little while.

Here is the book summary and buy links.

Extraterrestrial Encounters: A Collection of Sci-Fi Stories           

Are you ready to step into the unknown?

In these 18 sci-fi stories, you’ll encounter aliens of all shapes and sizes, curious (and sometimes unlucky) space explorers, and ordinary Earthlings having otherworldly experiences.

Some of the out-of-this-world tales in this short fiction anthology include:

The Hoax – A reporter learns that a creature from another planet is a dangerous thing to fool with

It Grows on You – A strange kind of mold has invaded an office, and it’s the perfect tool for revenge

What Lurks Below – Everyone knows there’s no life on Mars, but nobody thought about what might be lurking under the surface…

The Con – An alien becomes an unlikely ally to a down-on-his-luck petty crook

Space Cowboy – When a second-rate rodeo star is abducted by aliens, he makes the most of the situation

They Just Keep Eating – A Nebraska farmer encounters a menace from space… and it’s hungry

This collection of speculative fiction will stimulate your imagination, unnerve you just a little, and make you wonder… “What if we’re not alone?”


Order it here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W5JG1DC

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/3JVJ9e

Visit my site: www.KelliWilkins.com to see all of my writings!


Halloween is just around the corner, and these unusual stories are a perfect way to get ready for the season!

I welcome questions and comments from readers. Let me know which story you loved best, which one made you laugh, or why you love reading sci-fi. You can learn more about all of my current titles on my site, sign up for my newsletter, or follow my blog and social media posts for updates on new releases.

Keep watching the stars!

Kelli A. Wilkins



Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

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

Her latest historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, was released in June 2019. This full-length novel takes place in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual romance with paranormal elements.

In March 2019, Kelli published Dangerous Indenture, a historical mystery romance set in Colonial Pennsylvania. She released the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

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

Visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com or blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.