#BookTour “Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne” by Linda Lappin

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The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne

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Paranormal Ghost and Love Story

Historical Paranormal Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy Fiction, Literary Fiction

Published: December 2020

Publisher: Serving House Books

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A ghost story, love story, and a search for a missing masterpiece.

PARIS 1920 Dying just 48 hours after her husband, Jeanne Hebuterne–wife and muse of the celebrated painter Amedeo Modigliani and an artist in her own right — haunts their shared studio, watching as her legacy is erased. Decades later, a young art history student travels across Europe to rescue Jeanne’s work from obscurity. A ghost story, a love story, and a search for a missing masterpiece.

Loving Modigliani is a genre-bending novel, blending elements of fantasy, historical fiction, gothic, mystery, and suspense.

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Praise for Loving Modigliani:

“LOVING MODIGLIANI is a haunting, genre-bending novel that kept me turning pages late into the night” –Gigi Pandian, author of The Alchemist’s Illusion

“Part ghost story, part murder mystery, part treasure hunt, Linda Lappin’s Loving Modigliani is a haunting, genre-bending novel that kept me turning the pages long into the night.” – Best-selling mystery novelist Gigi Pandian

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About The Author

Prize-winning novelist Linda Lappin is the author of four novels: The Etruscan (Wynkin de Worde, 2004), Katherine’s Wish (Wordcraft , 2008), Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery (Pleasureboat Studio, 2013), and The Soul of Place (Travelers Tales, 2015). Signatures in Stone won the Daphne DuMaurier Award for best mystery of 2013. The Soul of Place won the gold medal in the Nautilus Awards in the Creativity category.

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#BlogTour “Six Strings” by C. Billie Brunson

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Today we’re celebrating the upcoming release of C. Billie Brunson’s genre-bending novel, Six Strings – Available on February 16th!

SStrings Digital coverSix Strings

Expected Publication Date: February 16, 2021

Genre: New Adult/ Magical Realism

Publisher: Liminal Books

Carl Percival (Percy) VanNess inherits a guitar from his father. He’s intent on learning to play and wants to use it as a roadway to fame and riches. But this guitar is not as benign as it appears. In fact, the music produced when it is played incites anyone within earshot to murder whomever is in sight.

Troubles escalate when Carl lets his buddy Peyton borrow the Gibson. Next, Mat, Peyton’s older brother, gets caught up in the same diabolical intrigues surrounding the instrument.

Only Stacey, Carl’s enduring sweetheart, is aware and seems immune to the Gibson’s evil persuasion. Is this due to some latent magic she holds within, dumb luck, or something else entirely?

Can she, with the help of her loyal Lab, Diva, convince her friends to let go of something they cherish before it tears their friendship apart? Might two Djinn token seekers who are after the guitar to fulfill their own agenda put the brakes on her efforts?

Excerpt

“Carl, this is dope. You got some sick strings right here. I’m serious, bro.” Peyton said, picking up the guitar to admire it up close and test its weight.

“Well, duh. Isn’t that what I’ve been saying?” Carl replied, feeling almost giddy with pride.

“I heard. Didn’t get it, though.” Peyton improvised a few notes. “But I do now.”

“You can’t help but to.” Watching his peer strum a few more chords caused a possessive anxiety to rise within Carl and he ran his hand through his hair. It wasn’t long before he felt impelled to intervene. “Enough, newbie. Hand it over. Let the pro show you how it’s done.”

“Hold on, bro. I’m rippin’ some sweet sounds.”

Carl took a deep breath in an attempt to ease the tension that resulted from seeing his precious Charlene perform so sweetly for another. “You’re not too bad. H-how’d you learn to play?”

“My big brother had a guitar for a while. We used to take turns foolin’ around with it. Then, he lost it over a stupid bet,” Peyton said, pausing for only the few seconds it took to say the words.

“Aw, tough luck, Man.”

“Yeah.”

“Right. Fine. Now hand her over. It’s my turn.”

Peyton played on as if he didn’t hear. With eyes closed, he reveled in the sumptuous notes coming from the guitar. Shoulders dancing, his head bobbed in time with the rhythm.

Indignant over being ignored and at the way Peyton’s fingers seemed to grope his precious girl, Carl raised his voice in a near growl. “I’m warning you, Peyton. Better not try me. For the last time, hand her over.”

“Just hold on, bro. I’m ‘bout to throw it dowwnn!”

Unwilling to bear or listen to what that meant, Carl turned, scanning his room for a more assertive means of getting his demand across. A sturdy desk used for homework and other projects offered a mess of school work paraphernalia, among this lay an opened box of pre-sharpened writing pencils.

Without sparing a thought about his next move, Carl stepped over to the desk and pulled a pencil from the package. Holding the pencil like a crazed butcher, he pivoted while lifting the pointed end high. His eyes zeroed in on Peyton’s jugular.

Peyton kept playing, his eyes closed in blissful ignorance of imminent and fatal assault.

Carl drew the uncommon weapon in his hand back and up high as he could, making no sound or alarming movement.

In the next second, the door swung wide and Stacey burst in, coming close to hitting Carl with the door. Startling from his violent mission he dropped the pencil. He deftly shoved it somewhere out of sight with his foot.

“Okay. Where’s this guitar you–Oh, right here. Wow! Carl, you weren’t kidding. This is sooo nice.’”

Peyton jarred from his plucking revelry. “Yeah, uh, ain’t it though? And it sounds amazin’.” Turning to Carl he begged, “Dude, you gotta let me borrow it for a few days.”

“Nope, I don’t gotta. And I won’t.” Carl said reaching and grasping the neck in one hand. “You can let go of it now.”

Instead of conceding, Peyton tightened his grip on the instrument and replied. “What’s the big deal? I promise I’ll bring it back.”

“You don’t need to promise ’cause I’m not lending it.”

“How ’bout if I pay you? A buck a day.”

“No thanks.”

“Two, then.”

“No way, man. She’s not for hire.”

“Oh, so it’s like that, then.”

“Yep. Take it or leave it.”

“I thought you was my bro. But, I guess yer nothing but anotha punk.”

Instead of responding, Carl simply jerked the Gibson free of Peyton’s grasp.

Peyton protested. “Heeey! What the hell? What’s yer problem, fool? Somebody need to show you what it means to share?”

“Yeah? And I guess you think you’re the guy for it.”

“Maybe I am.”

“Bring it, then.” Carl quickly set the guitar aside and turned back to Peyton. He clinched his hands into two stumps of rage and raised them up to punching level. “We’ll see who can teach who.”

They faced-off and moved in a tight, threatening circle.

Stacey rolled her eyes as she broke between them. “Before the two of you throw any punches, I think you should know I’m not impressed.”

Carl and Peyton both let down their guards at the statement. Each looked at Stacey with questioning expressions.

Stacey explained. “I mean if you want to impress a girl with your beat-down skills, at least let the fight be over the girl. Am I right?”

Carl scoffed. But he did move away from Peyton. He picked up the Gibson, slung the strap over a shoulder so she could hang comfortably at his front and sat down on his bed.

Peyton stood grumbling and staring at his feet a few seconds before plunking down onto the small chair beside the desk.

Stacey parked herself on the bed next to Carl. “There. This is good. Way better than getting all to’e up over a guitar. A pretty awesome one, for sure. But it’s still only wood, strings and a few metal knobs—that’s all.”

Carl rushed to correct her viewpoint. “Carlotte’s not just any ol’ guitar. She’s way better.”

Stacey scoffed. “Charlene?”

“Yes, Charlene,” Carl said. “What’s funny ‘bout that?”

“Yeah, Stacey lots of guys who play guitars name ‘em. Mat named his Maxine,” Peyton said.

“And Mat is?” “Who’s Mat?” Stacey and Carl both asked at the same time.

“My brother.” Peyton cleared his throat and made a show of not looking at Carl. “Who knows how to share things.”

Stacey cut off Carl’s low growl. “Whatever, Peyton.” She looked at Carl. “But what makes you say this guitar—I refuse to call it any name—‘better’ than any other one?” She held up a hand. “Wait. I know. Your plan is to use it as a babe magnet, huh? I know how you boys think,” she said, narrowing her eyes in a reproving glare.

“It might be a tired ol’ plan but…Sure. Why not?” Carl teased, giving Stacey a mischievous nudge. “Besides, it gave you enough reason came by today, didn’t it?”

Crossing his arms, Peyton said, “Yeah. Well, havin’ a guitar to catch a girl’s attention is one thing. It’s another to really know how to play? That’s what the honeys go for.”

Stacey said, “I hate to be a…uh, ‘honey.’ But, Carl, can you play something for me? Please?”

Foregoing a verbal response, Carl stood and faced her, purposefully presenting his backside to Peyton.

After making a show of loosening his arms, his shoulders and flexing his fingers, Carl launched into the captivating tune he’d mastered that morning in the garage.

Within seconds, the ambience of the room shifted as he progressed through the melody. Though the light coming through the lone window in the wall behind him did not dim, a cold, sinister presence invaded the air.

Stacey hugged her body and rubbed her hands over her arms against the chill as she tried to listen to Carl’s playing. Movement at the edge of sight caused her to look across at Peyton. She watched with a perplexed frown as he pulled out a drawer to retrieve a pair of heavy-duty scissors meant for cutting poster board or thin plastic sheets. Her frown deepened as she surmise the sleepless, nightmarish parody developing before her eyes.

Peyton pushed up from the chair and took a step in Carl’s direction, holding the scissors ready for effective spiking.

At last determining what she saw was legit instead of crazed illusion, Stacey flung her arms out in alarm. She gesticulated a frantic warning and yelled, “Stop! What do you think you’re doing?” But the frigid, melodious aura swallowed her voice.

Carl, intent on performing as he was, misinterpreted her actions as encouragement. He played with more vigor.

Stacey reached the point of leaping from the bed to tackle Peyton when bone-cracking thumps sounded against the window.

Carl stopped playing the song mid-refrain.

Peyton jolted and stepped back as though hit by some invisible stun gun. His attention went to the scissors he held in his hand. For a brief moment, he stood staring down at the now deadly-weapon-turned-crafting-tool and then twisted around to lay it on the desk. He turned back, wiping the palm of his hand on his clothes as though to clean away something vile.

Stacey sat on the edge of the bed huffing and puffing in relief when their gazes locked and she sensed the passing of his moment of murderous insanity.

Oblivious because he’d turned his attention towards searching out the source of the thumping noise, Carl said, “Oh, my dreamcatcher fell.” Then he stepped over to retrieve it from the floor and hang it back on the nail in the wall.

“Uh-huh.” Stacey said. “But…no. It couldn’t have made such a loud sound by landing on the floor.”

“What are you talking about?” Carl asked.

Stacey said, “I think the noise came from the….” Her words trailed off when she noticed the window.

She gasped at the splatter of blood already drying on the sun-drenched pane.

Grab yourself a copy from Amazon on February 16th!

About the Author

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Billie Brunson enjoys writing novels that don’t necessarily fit in any genre “box.” Six Strings, is her second published book, the first of which is Heart of Malice (2015) and she has a number of other manuscripts in the pipelines.

Born in Chicago, IL, C Billie Brunson lived for several years in Indiana and, later, Iowa before moving to Arizona in the 1990s where she has settled in Scottsdale. She’s the mother of two and loves all animals, especially cats.

If you want to connect, you’ll catch her on Twitter more so than any other social media platform.

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#BookBlitz “Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne” by Linda Lappin

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The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne

Paranormal Ghost and Love Story

Historical Paranormal Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy Fiction, Literary Fiction

Published: December 2020

Publisher: Serving House Books

A ghost story, love story, and a search for a missing masterpiece.

PARIS 1920 Dying just 48 hours after her husband, Jeanne Hebuterne–wife and muse of the celebrated painter Amedeo Modigliani and an artist in her own right — haunts their shared studio, watching as her legacy is erased. Decades later, a young art history student travels across Europe to rescue Jeanne’s work from obscurity. A ghost story, a love story, and a search for a missing masterpiece.

Loving Modigliani is a genre-bending novel, blending elements of fantasy, historical fiction, gothic, mystery, and suspense.

Praise for Loving Modigliani:

“LOVING MODIGLIANI is a haunting, genre-bending novel that kept me turning pages late into the night” –Gigi Pandian, author of The Alchemist’s Illusion

“Part ghost story, part murder mystery, part treasure hunt, Linda Lappin’s Loving Modigliani is a haunting, genre-bending novel that kept me turning the pages long into the night.” – Best-selling mystery novelist Gigi Pandian

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Other Books by Linda Lappin:

Signatures in Stone

2014 Overall Winner DAPHNE DU MAURIER AWARD for excellence in Mystery Writing, also Winner in the Historical Mystery section of the Du Maurier Awards, from Romance Writers of America.

Seeking inspiration in the timeless Italian landscape, four unlikely misfits find their destinies entangled in the meanders of the mysterious sculpture garden of Bomarzo, peopled with freaks and monsters. Daphne, a writer with a hashish habit, Clive, American gigolo and aspiring artist, Nigel, an English aristocrat down at the heels, and Finestone, a fly by night art historian come together in a decrepit villa looked after by two Italian servants who are not what they seem. To find their heart’s desire, all the characters must descend into the depths of hell, but not everyone will make it out alive. In the hideous sculptures of Bomarzo, Daphne must face up the hidden sides of herself while solving the mystery of murder for which she is unjustly accused. She will discover that her own journey to hell has already been written sculpted by an unknown genius centuries ago in these signatures in stone.

Amazon

The Soul of Place

In this engaging creative writing workbook, Linda Lappin, novelist, poet, and travel writer, presents a series of insightful exercises to help writers of all genres — (literary travel writing, memoir, poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction) discover imagery and inspiration in the places they love.

Lappin departs from the classical concept of the Genius Loci, the indwelling spirit residing in every landscape, house, city, or forest, to argue that by entering into contact with the unique energy and identity of a place, writers can access an inexhaustible source of creative power. The Soul of Place provides instruction on how to evoke that power.

The writing exercises are drawn from many fields such as architecture, painting, cuisine, literature and literary criticism, geography and deep maps, Jungian psychology, fairy tales, mythology,metaphysics,theater and performance art, all of which offer surprising perspectives on our writing and may help us uncover raw materials for fiction, essays, and poetry hidden in our environment.

An essential resource book for the writer’s library, this book is ideal for creative writing courses, with stimulating exercises adaptable to all genres. For writers or travelers about to set out on a trip abroad, The Soul of Place is the perfect road trip companion, attuning our senses to a deeper awareness of place.

“Insightful exercises help creative writers of all levels attune themselves to the power of place.” Amy Alippo, National Geographic Traveler

Amazon

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About The Author

Prize-winning novelist Linda Lappin is the author of four novels: The Etruscan (Wynkin de Worde, 2004), Katherine’s Wish (Wordcraft , 2008), Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery (Pleasureboat Studio, 2013), and The Soul of Place (Travelers Tales, 2015). Signatures in Stone won the Daphne DuMaurier Award for best mystery of 2013. The Soul of Place won the gold medal in the Nautilus Awards in the Creativity category.

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#BlogTour “The Chocolate Box (Foodie Romance Journeys)” by Isabella May



Ellie Sanchez wants revenge. Spurned during her school days at prestigious Monty’s academy when she was plain Eleanor Finch, and played second fiddle to her idol, Barnaby Westwood, and his show-off sister, Clementine, Ellie will stop at nothing to turn the tables now she’s all grown up. The siblings and their snubbing have been the catalyst for everything that’s gone wrong in her life, from parental neglect to her divorce.

When the Westwood travel merchandise company advertises for a new HR manager, Ellie decides her unique combo of karma and Law of Attraction has finally come good. And she’ll be bagging herself a cherry-on-the-cake, second, and richer, husband in the process – once Barnaby sees how much she’s changed, anyway. 

Fast forward two years and he STILL doesn’t recognise her! 

Fast forward two years and the company is in a financial mess.

Last Chance Saloon-style, Ellie coerces the siblings and their older sister, Brooke (the perpetual spanner in her works) to a rustic gîte in Normandy for a spot of team-building… over a very ‘special’ box of artisan chocolates.

Cue ALL the fireworks in the cocoa bean version of Jumanji…

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Author Bio

Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic, as well as a Pranic Healer.

After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children’s publishing… selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!

All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel – both feature extensively in her cross-genre novels, fused with a dollop of romcom, and a sprinkle of magical realism.

You can follow her Foodie Romance Journey series at the following hang-outs:

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#AudioTour “Time is a Fine White Lie” by William Steffey

Author: William Steffey

Narrators: Greg Chun, Andrew Weiss, Aaron Goodson, Abby Trott, Karen Strassman, Kathleen France, P.J. Ochlan, Ritesh Rajan, Todd Haberkorn

Length: 1 hours 20 minutes

Publisher: Aquariphone, LLC.

Released: Sep. 22, 2020

Genre: Magical Realism

An Australian shamaness traveling in the body of a Chicago bartender leads to a surreal rendezvous with a presumed-dead rock star. An OkCupid encounter turns into blissful madness when souls connect over a national tragedy. A bloody accident at a city bus stop gives way to an absurdly rewarding feast.This collection of seven short stories poses the question: What phenomena are occurring under our nose, right now, that appear completely random but are consistent and solid periodic events we simply lack the scope to see, the comprehension to grasp, or the vocabulary to name? Time is a Fine White Lie may be the closest thing we have to a traveler’s journal from that latent, ephemeral possibility—at once a tribute, warning, antidote, and gateway—to that which we take for granted.

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William Steffey has been scribbling in colorful notebooks and making music on any instrument he can find since his early teens. After brief spasms of higher education in Iowa City and Chicago, he doubled down on the art life and released a string of twelve albums in the ‘sophistipop’ style. Press reviews are voluminous and wildly polarized, while the music enjoys airplay on hundreds of radio stations worldwide. William has kept an online journal since the late 20th century, filling the glowing screen with post-modern musings, dreamscapes, and short stories that encompass both. This year, the pandemic gave him the opportunity to compile his favorite written works and publish Time is a Fine White Lie. Following the sage advice of his wife Maux, William embarked on the challenge of producing the audiobook version. He reached out to high-school bandmate Greg Chun—now a voiceover artist in Los Angeles—who corralled an impressive array of actors to read each of the seven chapters in the book. The stories draw largely on William’s experiences with bipolar disorder, and often tease out the mythological archetypes that would routinely emerge throughout his adventures. Falling smack dab in the middle of a Venn diagram with Haruki Murakami and Joseph Campbell at the poles, Time is a Fine White Lie may be the closest thing we have to a traveler’s journal from that latent, ephemeral possibility—at once a tribute, warning, antidote, and gateway—to that which we take for granted.

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Author William Steffey’s Reasons to be an audiobook listener

10. An audiobook with great narration will whisk you away to other worlds. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your old futon, although the audiobook may inspire you to!

9. Audiobooks can help you gain perspective by hearing stories from others with vastly different backgrounds. On the other hand, audiobooks can also serve as ‘comfort food’ for those moments when you… just… can’t.

8. You’re on a long drive from way out there to over here. Radio stations are few and far between, and Sirius XM just keeps you in the same echo chamber of tired bands. Fire up an audiobook and make the journey in style. Guaranteed.

7. Have a schizophrenic break, and project your inner psyche onto whatever words happen to be coming out of your earbuds. Become ruler of the universe for just a couple ‘a bucks!

6. You have to read a particular book for school, and let’s face it: that can be a bummer. Stay at the top of your class by using your smartphone to impart the wisdom directly to your auditory cortex.

5. Audiobooks – and literature as a whole- can provide entertainment, escape, or deep spiritual sustenance. Apply as needed.

4. The three words in chapter one at 4 minutes and fifty-five seconds.

3. You’d like to take a vacation, but you’re cash-strapped because of last month’s plumbing emergency. Pick up a title read by your favorite narrator, and let their dulcet tones wash you away.

2. Books are bulky and heavy, and you can only carry 2 or 3 at a time. Audiobooks? Not an issue.

1. Do the dishes while getting cultured at the same time… Who could say no??

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#ReleaseBlitz “Moon in Bastet” by E.S. Danon

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MAGICAL REALISM, JEWISH FICTION

Date Published: SEPTEMBER 29TH, 2020

Publisher: HURN PUBLICATIONS

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A memoir turned into thrilling fiction; Moon in Bastet is based on the life of author E. S. Danon. The story follows a fourteen-year-old girl named Eva, an orphan living in the Negev desert of Israel who is working as a custodian of Cirque Du Christianisme. Her life is controlled by a volatile drunk named Bella who favors a group of equally volatile teenage bullies over her and her own safety or sanity.

Bullied, neglected, and alone – Eva’s only friends are an odd, thirteen–year–old Sephardic boy named Jack and a small cohort of Bedouin sister-wives. On the brink of giving up on life, Eva stumbles upon a mysterious cat in the middle of the desert. Or really, did the cat stumble upon her?

Together they must fight to stay alive, win the battles thrown at them, and Eva must learn to not only lean on others but to trust in herself.

Filled with mystery, magic, and symbolism – Moon in Bastet is a story of resilience, survivorship, forgiveness, and women empowerment. This is a work filled with Jewish mysticism that can be enjoyed by people of all races, ages, and religions everywhere.

 


About the Author

Elizabeth Danon received her B.S. in Marine Science from Stony Brook University before working as a Marine Biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service. She traveled the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Gulf of Mexico: collecting data aboard commercial fishing vessels and dredges.

When that didn’t pan out to be the glorified job that she expected, finding herself covered in shark snot and fish scales daily, Elizabeth became a technical writer. In her spare time, she began doing standup comedy after taking comedy bootcamp with the Armed Services Arts Partnership. At this time, she married the most wonderful man who also provides most of her joke writing material. Unfortunately, because he’s Indian he has also enabled her Maggi addiction… Like she needed that on top of her already long-standing iced coffee issues.

Her favorite show is Schitt’s Creek, as she feels a special bond to her fellow comedians – and Sephardic brethren. Growing up half-Jewish herself, Elizabeth eventually converted to being full-Jewish with Temple Israel as a student of Rabbi Panitz.

Her enriched, but complicated, heritage has been an inspiration for most of her creative writing. Being an Aries, she has always felt like a leader and has therefore integrated her feminist beliefs into her work, albeit dropping every women’s studies course that she ever elected in college. Additionally, her writing has an unmistakable international presence. Elizabeth wanted to discover as much as she could about her Sephardic Heritage and went on Birthright, followed by her independent travels to over ten other countries… carrying nothing but a red bookbag.

 

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#BookBirthday “The Rue Stone” by Janet Stock

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~ G u e s t P o s t ~

Fantasy First

Writing fantasy is new to me, and my novella, the Rue Stone, is my first attempt at this genre.

The Rue Stone is based on the idea of a magical, portentous stone, and many years ago now with only this to go on, I rather hastily put a short story together. But I couldn’t decide on the ending, and I originally left it open ended. I thought it would be fun to let it hang, and let the reader decide what happened! Completely ignoring the element of resolution that is needed (?) in a story.

Unsurprisingly, when people read it, I got some emotive comments about my unresolved ending.

‘A story should have a nice neat ending!’

’It should have resolution; those are the rules!’

Well I don’t mind bucking trends and breaking rules, but to satisfy all tastes I re-wrote the story for my first book, Dark and Fluffy and added two endings, leaving it up to the reader to select which one they were happy with. Then I got comments about the story being too short, and readers wanted to know more about the rue stone and Janna, the female protagonist, and these comments I did agree with.

(https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1717946755/

That was how the idea for a novella based on The Rue Stone came about.

It gave me the chance to explore Janna’s character in more depth and to describe the world in which she and the rue inhabited from her viewpoint. The setting could now be described in more detail, the magic could be expressed by the way the villagers gossiped about the mystical beings that reside in their world, and the whole fantasy element which grew from a love story could be explored and expanded.

Now love as a theme maybe considered a bit cheesy. But I think most of us,

even if we don’t like to admit it, find love in any form one of the most compelling and enduring themes.

The supernatural element of fantasy allows us to suspend our reality in a completely different direction, we’re given a story that allows us to be transported away from the real world in a manner that can surpass any other genre.

You may imagine yourself to be another person, in another place, experiencing new things when you read your favourite contemporary books, but only good fantasy can convey you to another level of being. Allowing your mind to really transcend all that is recognisable.

 Fantasy allows you to change the people you interact with, from human to alien, or it can shift your home to an unexpected world. It can alter time and perception or pop you onto another planet after an inexplicable journey. You are in another realm where there are no limits, and physical, mental, and social bonds cease to exist. Anything is possible, there are no constraints.

So, whilst The Rue Stone maybe a gentle foray into this vast genre, I hope it’s enough to give some enjoyment. Who’s to say that that I won’t plunge further into the fantasy world in the future, with even more imagination, quirkiness, oddity and humour. All I need do now, is think of a different theme…


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SYNOPSIS

The rue is a mysterious and rare being who is rarely seen, and Janna is amazed when one arrives at the inn where she works, looking for a room. The next morning, her life has changed, and she is left wondering whether she will ever see him again, but only time and the rue stone know the answer to that question.

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Author Bio

Janet Stock

Having written all of my life, I decided to self-publish my writing when I turned 50. I have published four books since then. Two are collections of short stories; Dark & Fluffy; Dark & Fluffy II and 500 Words, which is flash fiction. My latest book, The Rue Stone, is a fantasy novella.

My passion is medieval fiction, and I am working on my first novel, The Little Servant – The Wait’s Son, set in the 12th century, in Lincoln, where I live.

All four books are available on Amazon.


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Giveaway

Win 1 of 5 paperback copies of The Rue Stone (UK Only)

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#GuestPost “My Travels With A Dead Man” by Steve Searls

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Why is My Travels With a Dead Man a multi-genre book?

In today’s publishing environment, literary agents, Indie publishers and even large traditional publishing houses all want to shoehorn the books they sell (publishers) or represent (agents) into neat little categories. The reason? It makes their job easier.

A novel that fits within a particular genre makes it easier to market. Genre categories act as shorthand for readers, agents and publishers alike. For example, if a book’s labeled “Space Opera” or “Paranormal Romance,” the publisher doesn’t have to work as hard to explain the story to its potential audience. Readers understand what they’re likely to get if they buy a Paranormal Romance novel: one where then main story involves a love affair between a human character (generally female) and a vampire, werewolf, ghost or even a demon.

And in a world where people have more and more entertainment options, and less time to choose among them, knowing the genre of a novel allows readers to quickly find books that suit their preferences. Think of genres and sub-genres as comfort food. Sure, some days you’re willing to be adventurous and try out the new Asian Fusion Sushi restaurant, but there’s risk you won’t like what you order. How much easier is it to simply get what you already know you’ll enjoy, like say, pizza?

It’s the same principle when readers choose what they want to read. Many times they’re looking for more of the same thing they enjoyed in the past. Look at the list of best-selling authors, and one thing often sticks out: They stay in their lane.  Grisham usually writes legal thrillers. Stephen King primarily sticks to horror. It’s not that they don’t sometimes branch out, but the public typically knows when they’re in for if they buy one of their books.

So why would anyone write a “genre-blending” novel that’s not so easy to categorize, and likely harder to market?  I can’t speak for anyone else, but in my case it was a the result of two factors: 1) complete and utter ignorance of how the current fiction market works, and 2) because I didn’t start out to write a book to please a defined audience, I wrote one that interested me. In fact, I had no plan at all for the book when I started it, just a “what if” question. What if I wrote a story in which a young woman meets a man going by the name of a famous literary figure, in my case, Jorge Luis Borges?

Crazy idea, right? But as I kept writing, the characters showed me where they wanted the story to go. They wanted a dash of a complicated romance, but also mystery, suspense and something in the realm of fantasy with ghosts and a bronze Buddhist statue that only speaks to the main character, a young woman, in her dreams. A story where she’s gifted with unusual abilities that allow her to alter time and space, but has no idea what to do with them. A story about the choices we make in life, or don’t make, and the consequences that follow thereafter. A story of how our relationships with others affect not only our own lives but the lives of everyone around us, for better or worse. A story in which a young woman must overcome her own insecurities, deal with the inevitable tragedies that afflict us all, and develop the strength of will to make her own choices and create her own identity, rather than allow others to define it for her.

And that’s how I ended up with my debut novel, My Travels With a Dead Man. As my IndieReader review states:

MY TRAVELS WITH A DEAD MAN is a compulsive page-turner that contains elements of romance, tragedy, adventure, journeys through space and time, terror, mysticism, and meditation. It’s a high-octane, multilayered odyssey that is perfect for readers looking for a little bit of everything. 

I hope you’re open to reading a book that has “a little bit of everything.” It’s available at the links below.

And please check out my website, Steve Searls, Author – http://www.stevesearls.com/. It includes free samples of my short fiction and a  blog, My Journey, where I write about whatever interests me, including personal essays. You can also find me on social media at the links below my bio.

Thanks for reading!

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Synopsis

Jane Takako Wolfsheim learns she can alter time and space after meeting a charismatic stranger named Jorge Luis Borges.

Inextricably she falls for Borges. Soon, however Borges’ lies and emotional abuse, and nightmares about a demonic figure, “the man in black,” nearly drive Jane mad. After her parents are murdered, Jane flees with Borges. Both the ghost of haiku master, Basho, and the Daibutsu of Kamakura, a statue of Buddha that appears in her dreams, offer her cryptic advice. Unable to trust anyone, Jane must find the strength to save herself, her unborn child, and possibly the future of humanity.

Purchase Links

Website       |       Publisher       |       Amazon US       |       Amazon UK

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Steve SearlsAuthor Bio

Steve Searls retired from the practice of law in 2002 due to a rare chronic autoimmune disorder (Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Cell Associated Periodic Syndrome). He began writing poetry in 2001 and, using the pseudonym, Tara Birch, was the featured poet of Tryst Poetry Journal’s Premiere Issue. He’s also published numerous poems as Tara Birch in print and online, including the poetry chapbook, Carrots and Bleu Cheese Dip, in 2004.  Steve was also active as a blogger posting under the name, Steven D, at Daily Kos (2005-2017), Booman Tribune (2005-2017) and caucus99percent (2016–present). Steve’s published essays on Medium include Clara’s Miracle, about his wife’s cancer and resulting traumatic brain injury from chemotherapy, and My Rape Story. Raised in Colorado, he now lives with his adult son in Western NY.  My Travels with a Dead Man is his first novel.

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#GuestPost Katherine Kayne, author of “Bound in Flame”

Have You Never Read a Romance Novel? Maybe Now is the Time…

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It’s no secret that dealing with the pandemic has created challenges forKatherine Kayne everyone. Situations vary from merely inconvenienced to downright dangerous whether from illness or finances or both. The result? Anxiety and more anxiety.

I don’t know about you, but I find I need an escape. But not just any escape mind you, I’ve learned what’s best for me something comfortable, fun, and interesting but doesn’t keep me up at night. And frankly something with few surprises. Now is NOT the time to jump out from behind a wall and yell boo at me! Just don’t.

I’m not alone.

That’s why so many of us are re-visiting things. You know what I mean. Re-watching all the seasons of the Big Bang Theory. Or Gilmour Girls. Re-reading The Babysitter’s Club. Or even Harry Potter. And for music? The list is just as endless. Anything from the 80s works for me. On endless repeat. I re-do stuff to take myself back to times and places where life seemed more, dare I say, normal? But perhaps just as importantly, these things deliver experiences where the outcome is predictable. I know what to expect.

And right now that is a good thing. A very good thing. And I want more of it.

Enter the romance novel. I know. I KNOW. You’ve heard all the nonsense about frivolity and bodice ripping. Let me tell you something, today’s romance novels are very different from thirty years ago. These are not your mother’s romances. Of course there is always a romance and yes always a happy ending (which can range from happily ever after to happily for now) but there the resemblance ends. These books are high quality, the authors talented and the writing polished. And most importantly you always know how they will turn out. Like I just said, no surprises please.

Think about this for a minute. I can honestly say that the times we face contain the biggest wall of uncertainty I have ever needed to climb in my very long lifetime. It’s in your face every darn day. You need to do the best you can to take good care of yourself. That is why I think having escapes is so important.

Don’t get me wrong. I am actually optimistic that we will pull through this pandemic better and smarter than we were before. But until it is over I am afraid we have some long stretches ahead where It will be impossible to know what will come next. So why not choose to escape into the comfort of a happy ending? That is what I am doing.

Think of these books as comfort food. With zero calories. Why not?

Now romance novels, like life, come in huge variety. While a happy ending is guaranteed there can be some twists and turns along the way. Here are a few of authors to consider who write happy books.

The Friendship ListSusan Mallery – Susan, with multiple NYT bestsellers under her belt, just published her 150th book, The Friendship List I am preparing to hunker down with this one myself. I know I can count on Mallery for unexpected heroines, hunky heroes and a satisfying happy ending.

 

Alyssa Cole – The books in her Reluctant A Princess in TheoryRoyals series are delicious contemporary takes on the old long lost princess tales. Start with A Princess in Theory. A graduate student learns she is betrothed to an African prince by email? Of course it is a scam…or is it? You won’t be disappointed.

 

The Duke and IJulia Quinn – For something historical Julia Quinn cannot be beat. Start with The Duke and I which is the first in her Bridgerton series. Set in Regency England with all the necessary la-ti-da and tea drinking. And of course a scandal or two. The books are becoming a Netflix series right now! The buzz is amazing. It is a Shondaland project so of course it will be good.

 

And of course, if what you want is to be swept away to Hawaii please try my own effort Bound in Flame. Horses, magic, flower bedecked ladies with bullwhips. Not to mention those rarest of creatures – handsome men who like to dance. Pure Aloha. I’d love to have you join me.

Bound in Flame

Bound in Flame (Hawaiian Ladies’ Riding Society)

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So there you go, a few ideas for positive escapism. And may we all be moving toward our own Happily Ever After.

Be well.

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Katherine Kayne is the author of Bound in Flame, the first in a series about hard-riding Hawaiian suffragettes at the turn of the twentieth century. Her next installment, a prequel novella, Pistols in Paradise will be out this fall! You can check her out and join her newsletter at katherinekayne.com. Yes, there are cocktail recipes!

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#Featured “Mama Day: A Novel” by Gloria Naylor

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A “wonderful novel” steeped in the folklore of the South from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Women of Brewster Place (The Washington Post Book World).

On an island off the coast of Georgia, there’s a place where superstition is more potent than any trappings of the modern world. In Willow Springs, the formidable Mama Day uses her powers to heal. But her great niece, Cocoa, can’t wait to get away.

In New York City, Cocoa meets George. They fall in love and marry quickly. But when she finally brings him home to Willow Springs, the island’s darker forces come into play. As their connection is challenged, Cocoa and George must rely on Mama Day’s mysticism.

Told from multiple perspectives, Mama Day is equal parts star-crossed love story, generational saga, and exploration of the supernatural. Hailed as Gloria Naylor’s “richest and most complex” novel, it is the kind of book that stays with you long after the final page (Providence Journal).

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