Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Blog Launch Tour’ Category

I am delighted to have as my guest today, John Howell, a renowned author and long-time blogging friend. He is here to tell you about his latest book, The Last Drive. I, like many readers, have been patiently waiting for the release of this book as I enjoyed the first one very much. Check out all of John’s books as well as his entertaining blog where he allows his two adorable dogs to post once a week.

I am so pleased to be with you today, Darlene. I want to thank you for helping spread the word about The Last Drive. I have been impressed by the number of countries your Amanda stories have taken us. On each trip, your reader learns about the country and can get a feeling for the adventure. Hopefully, the readers of this book will have a similar experience since Lucifer seems to enjoy sending our heroes on trips.


Here is the blurb and then we can get to a short excerpt from the book.


The Blurb
In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.

The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey take the pair to horrifying testing grounds.

The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.

This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.

An Excerpt


Sam and James jump at the sound of a locker slamming. They turn around. Lucifer stands with one hand on his hip and the other pressed flat against the locker he just slammed. Casually, he leans against the cabinets with one foot crossed over the other. “My, my, my. Look who the cat dragged in. My old friends Sam and James.”

James and Sam stand with their mouths open. The devil can see them, which leaves them amazed and trying to make sense of what’s happening.


“What is the matter? That old cat got your tongue?” Lucifer laughs at his joke.


“W-we were just looking around.” James’s voice sounds as if he’s ten years old all over again.


“Oh, yeah. A couple of God’s weenies just happen to be wandering around a locker room at the flipping Green Bay Packers.”


Sam takes a step toward Satan. “Whatever we’re doing is none of your business.”


Lucifer uncrosses his feet. “Want to bet, sweet cheeks.”

James moves alongside Sam. “You be careful with that language.”


The devil smiles. “Or what? You going to beat me up, little man?”


James takes a step toward Lucifer. “I just might. Have you ever been socked in the nose?”


“I have not had the pleasure, and nor will I.”


“Keep insulting Sam, and you will.”


“Shiver, shiver. You are talking to the Lord of the Underworld, not some kid on the corner. I advise you to take it down a notch, or maybe you might like to come and visit my place for a while.”


Sam grins. “You don’t have that power over us, Lucifer. Why not end this game?”


Satan scoffs. “Oh, and tell you where old Ryan and Eddie are, I suppose?”


Sam slaps her thigh. “I knew you were behind their disappearance. I told the Archangel that same thing.”


“The Archangel? How is old droopy drawers?”


“I could summon him if you wish.”


“No, that will be fine. Do you two want some information on the whereabouts of Eddie and Ryan or not?”


Sam steps back and takes James’s arm, causing him to move away as well. “Yes, we do.”


The devil scratches his head. “Right this minute? That is hard to say.”


“What do you mean, ‘Hard to say?’”


Lucifer looks at his nails. “You know how this travel thing is these days. Your boy Ryan wanted to visit France during World War One. It seems he has some kind of hero worship of Eddie and wanted to fly with him. Since he refused to join my team, I sent him to France. By the way, that war was delicious in the amount of useless carnage waged on those battlefields.”


A Link to the Trailer

You Tube https://youtu.be/HEUninXiibI


Buy Links
The Last Drive is available in paper and Kindle editions on Amazon. Here are the universal links. The Kindle edition is on sale for 99¢ through mid-February.
Kindle https://mybook.to/FYmkKr
Paper https://mybook.to/BCsWV

Author Bio


John is an award-winning author who after an extensive business career began writing full-time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written six other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. John lives in Lakeway, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Author links


Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241
Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave
Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell
Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell
BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/john-w-howell

Eternal Road Buy links
Kindle Universal link  mybook.to/EternalRoad
Paper universal link mybook.to/Eternalroadpaper

My review of Eternal Road: The Final Stop

There is a lot packed into this gripping novel. A combination of time travel, mystery, paranormal and romance. There are laughter and tears as James looks for his eternal home with the help of his deceased childhood love, Sam. I love time travel and enjoyed following James and Sam as they travel back to the days of the Wild West and WWII as well as into the future controlled by robots. The main characters are very real, even though they are spirits. The book is well-written and flows well, with a satisfying ending. It left me wanting more.

My review of The Last Drive

I loved the first book, Eternal Road, and was happy to see that James and Sam are back battling the nasty old devil. This time they are joined by Ryan (a recently deceased pilot) and Eddie (as in Eddie Rickenbacker, decorated WW1 fighter pilot). The devil wants Ryan’s soul and James and Sam will do anything to prevent him from getting his hands on it and seeing Ryan find his eternal home. Along the way, they encounter some terrible times and places in history like Hiroshima, the Titanic, the Roman Collesium and Auschwitz. Will the devil win this time? This is a battle between good and evil that seems impossible to win. The author has created an incredibly strong female character in Sam, one of the toughest angels I’ve encountered. Although this book can be read as a stand-alone, I would suggest reading Eternal Road first, you’ll be glad you did.

I am pleased to be part of Jacqui Murray’s Book Blast for her third and final book in the Dawn of Humanity series, Natural Selection. Once again Jacqui has penned an exciting story about our prehistoric ancestors. She will also share with us how early humans told time. The research Jacqui does for these books is phenomenal.

Summary
In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former-tribe members captured by the enemy. Lucy’s tribe includes a mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man. In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events. Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Book information:
Title and author: Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray
Series: Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Editor: Anneli Purchase
Available print or digital) at: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B9KPM5BW

Author bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to the United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/
Blog: https://worddreams.wordpress.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher
Twitter: http://twitter.com/worddreams
Website: https://jacquimurray.net

How Did Early Man Tell Time?

Like today’s most primitive communities and survivalists, both living without the technology that ticked off hours and minutes, earliest man had no concept of quantifiable time. He didn’t need it when the most important metric was how much daylight remained to finish hunting and gathering and find a safe place to sleep. He told tribe members when he would return–or they
should–well, I’ll tell you how that happened later in this article. When the sun slept, our primeval ancestors slept, leaving whatever chores remained for the next day and the sun’s return.

In Natural Selection, that usually sufficed, but if a character needed more than that, say to indicate more definitively when s/he would return:

– s/he could point to a place in the sky along the sun’s forward path, the inference being when sun reached that position, s/he would be back.
– s/he could place a finger–or a hand–overhead, next to the sun, inferring that when the sun moved the width of a finger or a hand, s/he would return.
– at night, the Moon’s progression across the night sky could be used to indicate how long before the sun reappeared.

For longer periods of time, beyond a stretch of daylight, early man used the Moon’s face. It changed nightly and with regularity. The disappearance and reappearance of the Moon, the size of the orb, made it a reliable marker of how long something took or the period before something happened, like herds returning or hunters arriving from a long trip.

How long is a hand or finger? So how much time is inferred by a finger or a hand placed next to the sun? A finger is roughly
fifteen minutes and four fingers—a hand—an hour. Test it yourself. Place a finger next to the sun. The sun will take approximately fifteen minutes to reach the far side of your finger. If there is one hand between the sun and the earth, it means there is one hour until the sun sinks below the horizon. 

Early man knew that the sun moved at the same speed across the sky which meant a hand or both hands always meant the passage of the same amount of time. What he didn’t know was why. Here’s the reasoning he wouldn’t learn for thousands of years, but will be clear to you:
Take your height, for early man about 5 feet.
Multiply it by 1.5 = 7.5
Find the square root = 2.7
That means 2.7 miles to the horizon, or about two hours of walking on their bandy legs.

Do you have any tips for telling time without a watch or phone?

What readers are saying about Natural Selection

“In the third book of the series, Lucy is again beset with challenges.
Besides Lucy struggling to keep her tribe safe, and free the tribe members that were stolen by an enemy tribe—plenty to grab and hold a reader’s attention—there were substories hurtling through the book with characters I grew to care about. A Canis tracking another Canis to be her mate. A Homotherium kit looking for a pack. And Lucy’s former pack members that have been enslaved and are looking for a way to survive and escape their bonds.

Once again, Ms. Murray has woven prehistory into a lovely, understandable story. One of her signature themes is the blending of different cultures into one tribe. Proving that in spite of our differences we can get along.
On a personal note, I loved that Boah said goodbye. (You’ll know what I’m referring to when you read it.) And last but not least my favorite quote: “If Night Sun knew, it wasn’t telling.”

NATURAL SELECTION is a must-read for all Murray fans, of which I am one, prehistory buffs AND for folks that just like a well-told tale.” Sandra Cox

“The final book of the Dawn of Humanity series ends on a positive note though I suspect that Lucy’s story of survival in the prehistoric world will continue to be riddled with danger and challenges. As the title suggests, not all the branches of primitive mankind will survive and those who do will depend on their ability to develop new skills and think strategically.

The plot is straightforward with two main threads. The first is Lucy and her group’s continuing search for a sustainable home base. The second is their plan to rescue past members of her tribe from Man-who-preys before they become so weak from hunger that they’re killed. Lucy is the main character, but not the only point of view, and other characters are frequently brought to the forefront. These include her two-legged group members as well as those with four.

Murray’s research continues to add depth and realism to the read, and I found it as fascinating as I did in the first book. Our ancestors had it tough, and their lives were intricately entwined with the world around them. I appreciated that Murray didn’t spare our modern sensibilities. Grooming bugs from each other’s skin, eating rotten meat, and “fear poop” aren’t very glamorous, but they added to the authenticity of the story. Her word choices—to describe the harsh environment, its rhythms and wild creatures, and the nature and skill of each member of her diverse group—bring life on Earth 1.8 million years ago into vivid relief.

For readers who enjoy a meticulously researched primitive world and the remarkable challenges faced by our evolutionary ancestors, I highly recommend this series. It’s fascinating.”
D.W. Peach

The launch date for Casey Holland #7, A Gold Satin Murder (a novella) by Debra Purdy Kong is on Thursday, September 8th. I love this series and am pleased to have fellow Canadian author, Debra Purdy Kong, here as a guest to tell us more about her latest book. Check out the other books in the series here

With six published full-length mysteries in the Casey Holland series, why write a novella?

Members of my writer’s group asked me this question when I brought the first few pages for feedback. The answer is that I wanted to stretch my creativity with this series. Although the earlier Casey Holland mysteries do have lighter moments, they are serious stories. I decided to switch the focus to a fun, light story with serious moments. To do this, I needed to create an uncomplicated plot and fewer characters. Since this is still a whodunit, readers can follow Casey along in trying to figure out the killer’s identity.

While working on an early draft of A Gold Satin Murder I’d been writing other novellas (generally 17,500-40,000 words) for a small press. I discovered a love for this length, not only as a writer but as a reader. When life is frantic, it takes me nearly a month to read a 300+ page book. I often forget the roles and relationships of the characters as well as the subplots. So, it seemed logical to write a book that could be read in one or two sittings. From a writer’s standpoint, revision is a quicker process. Where it might take me from two to six months to edit the second draft of a full-length novel, a novella can be edited in a few days.

The idea for this book popped up over six years ago, however, other projects kept me from working on this novella consistently. Given the many challenges facing people these days, it seems timely to release a light, fun story. If I can bring a smile to a reader’s face, then I’ve achieved my goal.

Launch day is September 8, but you can pre-order now:

Amazon: https://mybook.to/AGoldSatinMurder

Kobo Canada: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/a-gold-satin-murder

Kobo U.S. https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-gold-satin-murder

Apple books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6443255297

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-gold-satin-murder-debra-purdy-kong/1141951058?ean=2940166433930

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Debra_Purdy_Kong_A_Gold_Satin_Murder?id=FxF_EAAAQBAJ

Blurb for A Gold Satin Murder:

Transit cop Casey Holland has never met a bus passenger like the charming artist and exotic dancer, Eduardo. The bus driver Lily has certainly befriended him. But when Eduardo’s charged with murder, Lily’s caught in the middle of his legal trouble. Afraid of losing her job and custody of her son, she begs Casey for help in proving Eduardo’s innocence.

Casey’s search for answers takes her and her best friend Kendal to a troupe of strippers known as Man Cave. While the men are busy peeling off their clothes, Casey’s peeling back layers of secrets and betrayal. Nuttier than her usual adventures, the risk is just as deadly in this seventh installment of the Casey Holland transit mysteries.

Debra’s Bio:

Debra Purdy Kong’s volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs inspired her to write mysteries set in BC’s Lower Mainland. Her employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provided the background for her Casey Holland transit security novels.

Debra has published short stories in a variety of genres as well as personal essays, and articles for publications such as Chicken Soup for the Bride’s Soul, B.C. Parent Magazine, and The Vancouver Sun. She is a facilitator for the Creative Writing Program through Port Moody Recreation and a long-time member of Crime Writers of Canada. She lives in British Columbia, Canada.

Connect with Debra at:

Blog: https://debrapurdykong.wordpress.com/

Newsletter: https://sendfox.com/debrapurdykong

Website: www.debrapurdykong.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebraPurdyKong

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DebraPurdyKongAuthor

Email: dpurdykong@gmail.com

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.ca/Debra-Purdy-Kong/e/B000APLEFU/

I was a beta reader for this story and just loved it. Here is a sneak peek at the first chapter.

A Gold Satin Murder by Debra Purdy Kong

After a decade of security work for Mainland Public Transport, Casey Holland had learned that troublesome passengers were usually rude, loud, and poorly dressed. But the gorgeous, broad-shouldered man in the charcoal suit, white shirt, and bright red tie strutting down the aisle was a new, intriguing challenge.

The moment the man spotted Casey, he gave her a broad, toothy smile. Cool. Her silky, low-cut tank top and dangling crystal earrings were doing their job. Undercover assignments rarely involved dressing up, but passenger complaints about a hot guy who’d been badgering women to model for his paintings required a different fashion choice. Besides, the bus was way too warm this late-July evening. The less she had to wear the better.

Casey winked at the man, then tilted her head toward the empty seat next to her. He slowed his pace and nodded to the gaping middle-aged woman he passed by. Judging from a quick survey, the man had caught the attention of most passengers. The men didn’t look as impressed as the women, though.

“Hola, señorita.” Gold-flecked brown eyes glanced at her hands as he sat down. “I am Eduardo from Ecuador.”

“Casey. From Vancouver,” she replied. “How are ya?” To reveal she was a señora who’d been happily married for just over a year might put him off, so the wedding rings stayed home.

“Excelente.” He beamed. “I am here only three months, but I am in love with Vancouver. It has many interesting people.”

“That it does.” His cedarwood and vanilla cologne sent a jolt of nostalgia through Casey. When Dad was alive, she occasionally gave him a bottle of something similarly scented for Father’s Day. She sat up straighter and zeroed in on Eduardo. Not the time for reflection.

“I apologize if my English is not so good,” Eduardo said.

“It sounds fine to me.” She smiled. “Do you live in this part of the city?”

“Si. Only one block away. I love to walk and ride the buses and talk to people.”

He’d have many opportunities to do exactly that in Vancouver’s densely populated West End. Thanks to nearby Stanley Park, the popular English Bay beach, and many eateries, the area attracted tons of tourists as well as visitors from other areas of the Lower Mainland.

“Your eyes!” Eduardo slapped his hand over his heart. “La violeta. Extraordinario! I have not seen such a shade before. I am professional artista. May I paint you? It would be great honor! You are so be-eau-tiful.”

“Thank you.” Great honor and beautiful were the exact words two of the complainants had used in their written statements. “So, how many women have you approached about painting their portraits, especially while riding this bus?”

“Qué? Eduardo’s smile faded. “Why do you ask me this?”

“I’m with Mainland Public Transport security.” She showed him her ID card. “We’ve had harassment complaints about you. One woman threatened to involve the police if it happened again.”

His eyes widened. “This cannot be.”

“The complaints said you wouldn’t take no for an answer until they either changed seats or left the bus.”

Eduardo sat back in his seat. “I am stupefied!”

Casey didn’t buy the naïve act. “Harassment of any type on MPT buses is against company policy.”

He fidgeted, not quite meeting her gaze. “I am just a single man who loves ladies and to create art.”

Eduardo produced a business card depicting an elegantly designed maple tree with crimson and tangerine leaves. But anyone could create a card and pass himself off as an artist.

“Is difficult to find models in new city. Art schools are filled up.” He frowned. “And many ladies choose to sit next to me and ask what I do to earn money.”

She believed him. Given the lusty stares a couple of women were tossing his way, Eduardo had probably found more than a few willing models and dates.

“Is it wrong to talk about art, or to ask a be-eau-tiful lady on a date? I might break bus rules, but I am not breaking real laws, no?”

Casey sighed. “Are you and I going to have a problem?”

He raised his hands, palms facing her. “I do not want trouble, but I must pursue my art.”

“Eduardo, the rules are there for a reason. They also give me the authority to kick you off any MPT bus if you’re breaking them.” Casey paused. “If you’re going to discuss portrait painting, then be clear about what you want. If you’re turned down, then I strongly advise you to leave the passenger alone. I assume you expect to be paid for your portraits?”

Eduardo nodded. “I do this not only for money but to find true soulmate.” He lowered his head. “I am not so lucky in love. Is heartbreaking road filled with big potholes.”

“Uh-huh.” She studied him. “Do you think you’ll find love on a bus?”

“I search everywhere.”’

Eduardo’s expression and demeanor seemed sincere, but she had her doubts about this guy.

“You must have tried dating apps,” she said.

“Si.” He grimaced. “They were not good. Is better to meet ladies in person.” He gave her a whimsical look. “Everywhere.”

Meaning he intended to keep chatting up women on MPT buses. Eduardo might be better looking and more polite than other rule breakers, but his resistant attitude was all too familiar. She’d be seeing him again, no doubt, and their second encounter wouldn’t be as cordial.

“Just be careful about what you say,” she cautioned. “Misunderstandings happen easily.”

The corners of Eduardo’s full, sensuous mouth turned down. “What shall I talk about? The boring weather? Is what others do.”

“Eduardo, buddy, unless someone speaks to you first, it might be best if you didn’t talk at all.”

Order your copy of Gold Satin Murder to learn more about the charming Eduardo.

You don’t have to have read the other books to enjoy this one!

I am excited to be part of a blog tour for author Jan Sikes and her latest release, Jagged Feathers, Book 2 of the White Rune Series. Since you know of my fascination with runes, you can see why this book has caught my interest. I´ll let Jan tell you more about the book. She will also share a couple of excerpts.

Thank you, Darlene, for inviting me to your blog site today to talk about my new book, JAGGED FEATHERS! I appreciate your generosity.

Jagged Feathers is Book 2 in The White Rune Series. The one commonality each book has is a single white rune that gets passed from book to book. Rena Jett from Ghostly Interference (Book 1) gave the rune to Vann Noble on her wedding day. The Wunjo symbol on the rune portends a happily-ever-after. Vann keeps the stone because he promised Rena he would, but he really doesn’t believe a happy ending exists for one as broken as he. How could a stone possess any kind of magic?

EXCERPT:

Vann cleared his throat, a sudden tightness in his chest. “Sam would like that. He would have made a great uncle.”

“Since Sam isn’t here, I guess you’ll have to be the fill-in uncle.” Rena turned to Nakina. “Sam died in Afghanistan. Vann came all the way to Texas to bring my brother’s final letter. Inside, with the letter, I found a white rune that worked some magic for me and Jag.” She faced Vann. “Do you still have it?”

Nakina asked, “Is it the one on the dresser?”

Vann nodded. “For some crazy reason, when Rena and Jag got married, she decided I needed it.”

“And you do.” Rena leaned forward. “The Wunjo symbol on the rune signifies a happily-ever-after, and if anyone on earth deserves that, it’s this man.”

“Oh hell!” Vann squirmed. “It’s just a rock.”

“A magic rock.” Rena took a long drink from her water.

EXCERPT #2:

Nakina’s gaze lingered on the rune. She considered putting it into her pocket but stopped. This wasn’t for her happily-ever-after. It was Vann’s.

After another hesitation, she reached for it and walked into the kitchen.

“Here. Hold out your hand.” She dropped the rune into Vann’s palm. “You need to carry this with you. It helps create a stronger magic.”

“I wish I believed that, but I don’t think magic works for a guy like me.” However, he shoved it into his pocket.

“Magic especially works for a guy with a heart as big as yours.”

***

If you follow my blog, you know I did an entire series on runes and their meanings last year. I love all things metaphysical and that includes these symbols that have survived for centuries. I see them as tools to help navigate the waters of life. Have you had any experience with runes, or ever had a rune reading?

BLURB:

Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann.

On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed.

A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks.

Will these two not only survive, but find an unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?

BOOK TRAILER LINK: https://youtu.be/CwGRyRVMyLE

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK:

https://linktr.ee/Rijanjks

ABOUT JAN SIKES

Jan Sikes writes compelling and creative stories from the heart.
She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. The entertaining true story comes to life through fictitious characters in an intricately woven tale that encompasses four books.

And now, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published numerous award-winning short stories. She published her debut paranormal romance novel, Ghostly Interference, Book 1 in The White Rune Series, in 2020, which won a bronze medal award from Reader’s Favorite. Jagged Feathers releases January 31, 2022, as Book 2 of that series, and Saddled Hearts will release later in 2022.

She is an active blogger, an avid fan of Texas music, and a grandmother of five. She resides in North Texas.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

WEBSITE: http://www.jansikes.com

BLOG: http://www.jansikesblog.com

TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/jansikes3

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks

PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jan-sikes

LINKEDIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jansikes/

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

Today I am pleased to be part of the virtual book launch for author MJ Mallon’s book, Golden Healer. I have been waiting for this, the second book in her YA series- The Curse of Time, and it proves to be as intriguing as her first book, Bloodstone.

Dedication:

Dedicated to the one and only rollercoaster that I ever rode. It was in Portugal, and I was on holiday with my young family. I’ll never forget that day, I overcame my fears and rode a rollercoaster with the encouragement of my much-loved family, my husband, David, and daughters Natasha and Georgina. So, it’s time to ride another rollercoaster… I hope you will come along with me for this crazy ride! Let’s meet our fears together…

Blurb – Golden Healer

Golden Healer is The 2nd in The YA Paranormal Adventure Series – The Curse of Time.

I didn’t think my life could get any weirder, until the dreaded rollercoaster…

Amelina Scott’s destiny is to be a Krystallos: a magician of light, chosen to learn the ways of crystal magic on her 16th birthday. Located on a river pathway in a mysterious part of Cambridge, the Crystal Cottage is guarded by mythical beings.

Unfortunately, there are those who seek to harm this haven of light. Learning of Ryder – a Shadow Sorcerer with hypnotic powers – Amelina discovers that her own magic is now threatened and that the Curse of Time might be unleashed again.

As secrets abound and the creatures of the Chronophage come alive, can Amelina become the true magician she needs to be?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal.

NOTE: This book contains mention of self-harm, mental health issues and alludes to the potential dangers of sexual attraction, which may trigger younger/sensitive readers.

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these two vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.

Her motto is to Do what Your Heart Desires.

And her favourite genre to write is fantasy/magical realism because life should always be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

Accolades: M J is a finalist in the Fantasy category of N. N. Light’s Book Award for her novel Bloodstone and a finalist in the International author award. She has also contributed best-selling short stories to Dan Alatorre’s Box Under The Bed anthologies.

Authors Links:

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

Buy Link Bloodstone (multiple platforms): https://books2read.com/u/bOyrgW

Next Chapter Publishing Author Page:https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon – https://twitter.com/Marjorie_Mallon 

Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/


Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon 

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

Bookstagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjm_reviews/

My review of Bloodstone

For someone who doesn’t usually read fantasy, this YA novel caught my interest. The teenage characters in the book are very real with typical issues such as lack of confidence, jealousy, confusion, parental disagreements, and volatile friendships. Amelina comes from a dysfunctional family with a paranormal twist. If she can figure out the curse, perhaps her family could be happy once more. In her quest, she meets a self-harming girl locked in a mirror, a heartthrob boy with a mean side, a cottage full of amazing crystals and an old woman with sage advice. I like that the story is based on a real clock, the Corpus Chronophage clock, in Cambridge, England. (Chronophage means time-eater). There is some time travel in the story, which I love. There’s a lot happening in this very descriptive book and not everything is explained. But that is because it is the first book in a series. I look forward to reading more about Amelina and her quirky friends. 5-star review on Goodreads by Darlene Foster

I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Other books by MJ Mallon

I am happy to be part of Jacqui Murray’s book blast for her most recent prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series.

A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help.

Summary

In this second of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga, Lucy and her eclectic group escape the treacherous tribe that has been hunting them and find a safe haven in the famous Wonderwerk caves in South Africa. Though they don’t know it, they will be the oldest known occupation of caves by humans. They don’t have clothing, fire, or weapons, but the caves keep them warm and food is plentiful. But they can’t stay, not with the rest of the tribe enslaved by an enemy. To free them requires not only the prodigious skills of Lucy’s unique group–which includes a proto-wolf and a female raised by the pack–but others who have no reason to assist her and instinct tells Lucy she shouldn’t trust.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Book information:

Title and author: Laws of Nature

Series: Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Editor: The extraordinary Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU  Kindle India

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog: https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter: http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website: https://jacquimurray.net

Writing a Series vs Stand-alone

By Jacqui Murray

I got into a discussion with Robbie over at Robbie’s Inspirations about the mechanics of writing a series. She writes stand-alone books while I write mostly trilogies. The issue was:

When you write a series in the same setting and featuring the same people, how do you keep the descriptions fresh in each book? In other words, how much attention do you give to describing the people and places in the subsequent books to keep the books stand alone and yet part of a series? 

What a great question. Here’s what I do:

I struggled with that at first and then analyzed how other authors did it in series. Sometimes, they included a quick summary of important facts in subsequent books within the series. Sometimes, they provided tantalizing hooks–maybe to drive readers to the earlier books. Other times, when something wasn’t terribly relevant to the story, they skipped it.

I do a hybrid of all three. Where the story would limp without some background, I add that briefly, usually as narrative but occasionally (as in my current publication, Laws of Nature) as a flashback. One answer doesn’t fit and I respond to the particular needs of the current volume in the series/trilogy. Because I read a lot of series, I take note of how authors address this and mostly, when it fits the author’s voice and the story’s pacing, I like their varied efforts. 

What do you do?

Thanks, Jacqui. Although I write a series, they are not sequential and each book can easily stand alone. I make sure the two main characters, Amanda and Leah, maintain their same personality, appearance and voice. I seldom mention anything from the previous books, except in passing. Those who have read the other books will catch on, but it’s not necessary. I do however hope that once a reader reads one Amanda Travels, they wish to read others.

It will be interesting to hear what other writers do.

Excerpt from Laws of Nature

Chapter 1

Hunting

South Africa

Lucy

Fresh blood streaked Short-tooth’s muzzle, her golden eyes alert to every movement around her as she munched on Gazelle’s meaty carcass. Each movement made the Cat’s tawny fur ripple over the powerful muscles beneath her skin. She raised her head, chewing slowly while studying the grass field in front of her, especially toward the back where it blended into the forest. She couldn’t see Mammoth but smelled it, close to the Uprights, maybe protecting them. Despite being the size of a boulder, this pachyderm could outrun most predators and would think nothing of crushing them beneath its massive feet.

Short-tooth wasn’t interested in the Uprights. Their bodies had little meat and less fat. Gazelle was more satisfying.

Catripped a slab of fragrant meat from the hind leg. Snarling-dog—to the far side—slapped the ground. He was hungry but wouldn’t eat Gazelle until Short-tooth finished. Cat purred loudly, close to a snarl, and Snarling-dog withdrew, but not far. Carrion-bird overhead tightened its circle and a tiny shrew the size of Short-tooth’s paw waited patiently, out of Cat’s range, eyes bright, nose twitching. A shred from the carcass was all it needed. 

None of these creatures mattered to Short-tooth. She was the apex predator in her savannah habitat. 

Sticky yellow globs of Mammoth dung slid down Lucy’s back and plopped to the dry thatch. The dung coat was melting under Sun’s intense heat, exactly as Lucy planned. Its purpose was to confuse Short-tooth Cat. The hotter Sun became, the stronger Mammoth’s smell. 

Lucy and her young pairmate, Garv, lay motionless, like Snake sleeping, bodies pressed into the prickly grass, oblivious to the feathery feet that scurried over their backs. She and Garv, too, wanted what Short-tooth didn’t consume. They were more patient than Snarling-dog but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t eat first. The first to arrive got the best of the leftovers.

Lucy rubbed her raw eyes, bleary from watching Cat bite, rip, and chew. If Short-tooth knew of their presence, it was not because she saw them. Lucy and Garv blended into the landscape. Their skin was the color of dirt and dry grass, impossible to find if you weren’t looking. No part of their bodies moved except their narrowed eyes as they scanned the surroundings, evaluating each new arrival to the feast. The dominant scents never changed—Snarling-dog, Short-tooth Cat, something decaying in the nearby forest, her pairmate Garv’s sweaty body, and Gazelle’s ripening offal.

Sun’s relentless heat washed over Lucy in waves. Sweat dripped down her face, over her pronounced brow ridge and into her eyes, but for reasons she didn’t understand, despite his fur pelt, Snarling-dog was dry. He reminded Lucy of Ump, her tribe’s Canis member. Even on the hottest days, Ump didn’t sweat. Instead, he panted more.

Today, Snarling-dog panted hard.

Short-tooth raised her feline head, inspecting her habitat as her jaws crunched through the fresh carrion. She reeked of malevolence which meant scavengers like Lucy and Garv willingly waited their turn.

Sun climbed through the cloudless blue sky. The morning haze had burned off long ago. The dew Lucy hadn’t licked off the leaves, Sun’s heat had. Her throat was dry, lips cracked, but that mattered less than securing scavenge. Her tribe was hungry.

Lately, unexpectedly, when Lucy sat quietly as she did now, a tingle deep inside her chest told her Raza, her former pairmate, was in trouble. The first time she experienced this tingle, what Garv called “instinct”, it churned through her body as a current does in a stream. She thought she was sick until Garv explained this was instinct and it warned of danger, not illness. He told her always to listen, but how was she to do that? Raza had been captured by the tribe’s worst enemy, a formidable Upright called Man-who-preys. She didn’t know where they’d taken him. As often as she brushed the feeling away, it returned, each time stronger than the last.

Cat’s yellow eyes snapped open and her methodical jaws slowed. Something caught her interest, maybe Snarling-dog’s impatience or Carrion-bird’s relentless approach. After a warning hiss, Short-tooth shook her big head and pawed her face. A swarm of black flies lifted, buzzed briefly, and then resettled where they’d started, again gorging on the blood and carrion that stuck to Short-tooth’s face

The flies are thicker than usual.

Short-tooth returned to her meal and Lucy sniffed, wondering what drew Cat’s attention. She didn’t expect to see Man-who-preys here, but took nothing for granted. The tall, big-headed, hairless enemy always carried a long stick which he used to kill prey. Sometimes, he didn’t eat the animal, just watched it die. This unpredictability, that he followed no norms, made him more treacherous than other predators.

She inhaled, but didn’t smell his stench so turned her attention back to the hunt. 

Carrion-bird floated overhead, feet tucked beneath its sleek body. The longer Cat ate, the more of the huge birds arrived. They thought their powerful sweeping wings, sharp claws, and piercing beaks made them the mightiest among the scavengers. What they didn’t realize was that Lucy and Garv possessed an even greater weapon: They could plan. Before Carrion-bird or Snarling-dog got too close, Lucy and Garv would take what they needed and flee.

They always did.

In the edging forest, Cousin Chimp hooted, the pitch and length describing the location of a tree newly bearing fruit. Leaves rustled as his band raced away. Lucy hoped they would leave enough of the succulent produce for her and Garv.

She hunkered deeper into the tall waving stalks, tracking the other scavengers and noting again how far away the trees were in case she needed to flee. A snake slithered over her foot, through the thatch and out of sight. She and Garv had been motionless for so long, Snake probably viewed them as dirt mounds in its path.

Garv tweaked an eyebrow and Lucy motioned, hands a tight circle in front of her chest, well hidden, “Dull colors, no knobs on snake’s tail—no danger.”

Her kind—Man-who-makes-tools—used a sophisticated blend of communication including body language, hand gestures, facial expressions, mimicking, and vocalization. One of their greatest defenses in this brutal world was the ability to become part of their surroundings. Voices were unusual sounds heard nowhere in nature except from Uprights, mostly the big-headed Man-who-preys. Lucy’s kind occasionally whispered and Tree-men, like Boah who was part of Lucy’s tribe, rarely made any sounds beyond huffs, grunts, howls, and moans. Only Man-who-preys jabbered endlessly.

Lucy’s eyelids drooped. This hunt had started yesterday when Lucy and Garv found the fresh cloven prints of a Gazelle herd. Lucy’s kind ate copious amounts of roots, nuts, fruit, juicy stems, and insects, but only meat gave them the energy to survive their dangerous lives. Because they hunted only dead animals, they depended upon predators to make the kill. Gazelle’s fleshy body always attracted Cat and its cousins, like Short-tooth. They would pick off the injured, and Lucy’s tribe would eat what they left.

Because not enough daylight remained yesterday, Lucy and Garv set out today, at Sun’s first light. They followed the herd while the rest of the tribe—the Tree-man Boah, the child Voi, and the Canis Ump—stayed at the homebase’s cave. Before Sun had traveled far, a snarl and a screech told Lucy a predator claimed its prey. When Carrion-bird and its cousins started to circle, she and Garv knew exactly where to go.

Garv nudged Lucy, the movement so subtle the grass didn’t even move. “Short-tooth is leaving.”

Lucy bit her lip and shot a look at Garv. His face radiated excitement.

She studied Short-tooth, tried to see what Garv saw and finally gestured, “I don’t see anything. Why do you think she’s finished?”

He motioned, one finger moving against his palm, “Instinct.” Nothing else.

But that was enough. Garv had taught her to stalk prey, knap tools, hunt, and protect herself. Because of him, she became an accomplished hunter, never missed a print, a bent frond, the fragrance left on leaves or bark, or any other sign. As partners, they always brought meat to the tribe. Most hunters didn’t.

Garv’s instinct had found more prey than Lucy’s tracking skills or senses ever did. She had no doubt Short-tooth would soon leave.

Cat’s big tongue, as long as Lucy’s forearm, licked the bloody scraps from her muzzle, a sign even to Lucy that she had finished. Lucy shifted to her hands and toes, knees hovering above the ground, prepared for what must come next. Garv did the same, his body hard from the life he lived, senses alert to every noise. Carrion-birds cawed and tightened their circle. On the opposite side of the field, Snarling-dog’s pack bared their canines, tails stiff. Drool dripped from their jowls and their gaze bounced between Cat and the Uprights, knowing from experience the scrawny but agile creatures were vigorous competitors.

You are fast, Snarling-dog, but we are smart. We will always get there first!

Lucy tensed as Short-tooth pushed up to her massive paws, canines red with blood, saliva dripping in strands from her jowls. She yawned, her mouth a dark cavity vast enough to swallow Lucy’s entire head, and ambled off. Lucy and Garv exploded to their feet and sprinted toward the carcass. Their powerful legs churned while nimble hands pulled cutters and stones from the sacks strung around their necks. Lucy’s job was to delay Snarling-dog and Carrion-bird while Garv stripped the carrion.

“Argh!” Lucy roared, waving a leafy branch through the air to make herself bigger to Snarling-dog while Garv attacked the carcass. Ignoring the fetid stench of dung and urine, he swung the sharp cutter and sliced through the hide and then muscle and tendon.

Lucy flung a stone at the lead Snarling-dog. It hit his temple, hard, and he dropped with a squeal. His pack slowed to reassess the upright creature and Lucy threw another stone, this one at the new leader’s eye. He yipped and stumbled, shook his head, and pawed at the blood that oozed from the wound and dribbled down his muzzle.

“Lucy!” Garv tossed an almost pristine haunch to her and then swung his chopper at Gazelle’s ribs. Carrion-bird, well into its death dive, talons extended, screeched its imminent attack.

“Let’s go!” Lucy called, the unexpected sound of her voice meant to startle the scavengers.

She hurled a rock at the lead Carrion-bird. It squawked and withdrew, which slowed the rest of the flock. Lucy grabbed an almost-meatless leg bone. It would be filled with nutritious bloody marrow. Meat secured over her shoulders, she and Garv fled. No one chased them. Why abandon certain meat for an uncertain meal? Lucy raced past a termite mound, noted its location, rounded a boulder bed, and lost sight of the fracas.

Not the scent, though. The tantalizing aroma sailed through the air, announcing to every scavenger around the availability of meat.

I am pleased to be part of the blog tour for Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1), a YA Fantasy/Paranormal by M J Mallon, published by Next Chapter Publishing

The Blurb

Fifteen-year-old Amelina Scott lives in Cambridge with her dysfunctional family, a mysterious black cat, and an unusual girl who is imprisoned within the mirrors located in her house.

When an unexpected message arrives inviting her to visit the Crystal Cottage, she sets off on a forbidden path where she encounters Ryder: a charismatic, perplexing stranger.

With the help of a magical paint set and some crystal wizard stones, can Amelina discover the truth about her family?

A unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements, Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology or the world of the paranormal.

UK Book Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bloodstone-Curse-Time-Book-1-ebook/dp/B097QZBKNY/

US Book Link: https://www.amazon.com/Bloodstone-M-J-Mallon-ebook/dp/B097QZBKNY/

Canadian Book Link: https://www.amazon.ca/Bloodstone-M-J-Mallon/dp/B097SQNYP6/

Universal book Link: http://mybook.to/bstmm

Here is my 5-star review:

For someone who doesn’t usually read fantasy, this YA novel caught my interest. The teenage characters in the book are very real with typical issues such as lack of confidence, jealousy, confusion, parental disagreements, and volatile friendships. Amelina comes from a dysfunctional family with a paranormal twist. If she can figure out the curse, perhaps her family could be happy once more.

In her quest, she meets a self-harming girl locked in a mirror, a heartthrob boy with a mean side, a cottage full of amazing crystals and an old woman with sage advice. I like that the story is based on a real clock, the Corpus Chronophage clock, in Cambridge, England. (Chronophage means time-eater). There is some time travel in the story, which I love. There’s a lot happening in this very descriptive book and not everything is explained. But that is because it is the first book in a series. I look forward to reading more about Amelina and her quirky friends.

I received an ARC of this book from the author. The review is my own.

The 2nd in the series, Golden Healer – The Curse of Time Book 2 is coming soon!

M J Mallon by the Corpus Chronophage clock

AUTHOR BIO

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros!

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of writing began inspired by their vivid storytelling. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery, heart-warming smile to greet her.

MJ’s writing credits also include a multi-genre approach: paranormal, best-selling horror, supernatural short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She worked with some amazing authors and bloggers compiling an anthology/compilation set during the early stages of COVID-19 entitled This Is Lockdown and she has written a spin off poetry collection, Lockdown Innit.

She’s been blogging for many moons at her blog home Kyrosmagica, (which means Crystal Magic,) where she celebrates the spiritual realm,her love of nature, crystals and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious.

MJ’s motto is…

To always do what you Love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even if it appears that the odds are stacked against you like black hearted shadows.

Her favourite genre to write is

Fantasy/magical realism because life would be dull unless it is sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

Check out her eclectic blog where she shares her love of reading, reviewing books, writing, and photography: https://mjmallon.com/

AUTHOR SOCIAL MEDIA DETAILS

Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Pagehttps://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

#ABRSC – Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1829166787333493/


Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/

Spiritual Sisters: https://www.facebook.com/5SpiritualSisters

Kyrosmagica Publishing (MJ’s Imprint), Books by MJ Mallon

Pandemic Poetry:  Lockdown Innit

https://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

Poetry, Prose and Photography: Mr. Sagittarius

http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

An anthology: This Is Lockdown 

Kindle: mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Shorter version – Paperback: mybook.to/Thisislockdownpb

Excerpt from Bloodstone

My mouth gaped open in surprise. I had waited so long, and here it finally was. I couldn’t contain my excitement, and my hands shook in anticipation of my visit. I breathed in, saturating my lungs until they felt they were about to burst with the deliciousness of this moment. I pondered the realisation that since it revealed itself to me; I sensed that the cottage had made me wait. But why?

I shook off my questions and marvelled instead at the beauty of the quaint old cottage. It had a gated door leading into the garden where many varieties of roses and a fragrant patch of herbs grew. The smells were heavenly. In the front, I spotted a large courtyard filled with bird tables and bird feeders hanging from the trees. Breathless at the beauty, I stood, marvelling in the sights.

I revelled in the sight before me. The cottage sported a round, arched front door. The tiny, shuttered windows and door were a pastel green colour which blended into the landscape, and the stone cottage’s brilliant white exterior colour gleamed. An ornate plaque with angels clustering around the edges like a halo hung next to the door frame. To the right of the door hung another plaque, engraved with gold lettering displaying the name: Crystal Cottage.

I swung round when I heard a sound. The doorstep mat lifted from the ground and spun towards me like a magic carpet. When it reached my side, its coarse bristles formed a mouth that spoke. ‘Open your eyes and you will see.’

I couldn’t believe what I saw. This whole extraordinary experience had me brimming with excitement. I reached out to touch the mat, but it frowned. ‘No touching!’ it said, stiffening. Seeing my confused expression, its bristles softened. ‘Come in! Come in!’ it urged.

I blinked. I struggled to comprehend that I had arrived at the Crystal Cottage of my dreams. I followed the mat’s advice and stepped through the door. Everywhere I looked, a reward of beauty met my eyes. Light reflected off the surfaces of the many crystals and bounced around the room in a kaleidoscope of colour. A myriad of gemstones twinkled at me, winking in a musical symphony of colour, brightness, and warmth. The walls of the cottage twinkled with crystal faceted gems. Their names leaped out at me in quick succession. There were Amethysts, Black Obsidian, Bloodstone, Merlinite, Red Jade, and Honey Calcite, to name a few. Skylights in the ceiling let in rays of sunlight that reflected on the crystals, creating a dazzling display.

The remarkable sight made me feel like crying. I turned in circles, delighted with the sights and sounds. The deceptively large inside of the cottage hid an array of bird cages, housing doves who were bathing in cups filled with rose water. I peered further into the cottage and locked eyes with the owner. She appeared as a delicate, almost bird-like wisp of a person I wouldn’t have noticed if it hadn’t been for her colourful streaked hair. She stood amongst the bird cages, whispering to the doves in a gentle, chirpy sing-song voice.

The tiny woman caught my eye and smiled. ‘I am Leanne, the owner of this dear cottage. Welcome, Amelina. It’s so wonderful to meet you at last! You have been a welcome visitor in my dreams.’ The woman bowed, and smiled wider, adding, ‘No longer a stranger, for here you are before me.’

If you are looking for a fun summer read, this book would be a good choice. And, you don’t have to be young to enjoy young adult fiction!

Today is the last official day of the blog tour and I wish to thank everyone for your amazing support. I hope you have all found new and interesting blogs to follow and made new friends and followers. Thank you to everyone who offered to be part of the tour and a huge thanks to all of you who read, liked, commented and shared the posts. You are all amazing. Today I am being featured on Lisa Day’s blog, Book Time, where she asks me some great questions. Say hi to Lisa, a fellow Canadian who loves words – editing, writing and reading them. She reviews many great books!

Book Time

I am the last stop of the Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady blog tour.

Sadly, my copy of Amanda in Malta hasn’t yet arrived, however, I have been following along with the other 11 bloggers on this blog tour so I got a sense of both Amanda, the main character, and the questions I wanted to ask its creator – Canadian author Darlene Foster.

Foster said growing up on a ranch in Alberta inspired her love of reading and seeing the world. Now retired, she has house in Spain where she spends time with her husband and rescue dogs, Dot and Lia, while writing full time. She also travels, meeting interesting people and getting inspirations for her series about Amanda, a 12-year-old girl who travels the world, learning about the people and culture while solving a mystery. Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady is the eighth book in…

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The love keeps pouring in for Amanda in Malta. Here is a fabulous review by Patricia Tilton from Children´s Books Heal. Patricia writes well thought out reviews of children´s books and I am so pleased she enjoyed this adventure. I often make book buying decisions for the youngsters in my life by reading her blog. Please check it out.

Children's Books Heal

Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady (The Amanda Travels Series 8)

Darlene Foster, Author

Central Avenue Publishing, May 11, 2011

Suitable for ages: 8-12

Themes: Malta, Travel, Adventure, Mystery, Theft, Friendship

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her Aunt Jenny. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda strikes the lottery when she’s invited to travel to Malta with her classmate Caleb Sorenson and his parents.

Amanda is intrigued by this exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean, full of colourful history, sun-drenched limestone fortresses, stunning beaches and fascinating birds. But…who is killing the protected birds? Who stole a priceless artifact from the museum? And why is Leah acting so strange? She couldn’t possibly be involved in these illegal activities, or could she?

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Today the blog tour takes us to Meggie’s Adventures,travel, thank you notes and other stories from Meg King-Sloan. Meg blogs about things she loves. When Meg was younger she had lots of interesting adventures. These included collecting postcards and other souvenirs, watching butterflies, and going to the beach with her family. Some things never change though – she still loves candy (especially chocolate), ice cream and flowers! Sounds like Meg was a bit like Amanda when she was young.

Amanda in Malta by Darlene Foster – Virtual Tour

Darlene Foster is introducing her new book with a virtual blog tour! This is the latest exciting adventure from her Amanda Travels series. If you’d like to see what other bloggers involved in the tour have written you can check out this post from Darlene’s blog.

Darlene explains the purpose of including food in her stories:

Traditional food is important to every culture. I like to have Amanda try the local food when she travels. Children need to know that people eat different food in other parts of the world and they should at least try it. It bothers me when travellers insist on eating food only familiar to them. Amanda likes to cook and try out recipes so she collects ideas as she travels and makes them for her parents. Read more and an excerpt here

https://meggiesadventures.com/2021/06/07/amanda-in-malta-by-darlene-foster-virtual-tour/

Drop in and say Hi to Meg.

Thank you to everyone who has been following along!


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