Darlene Foster's Blog

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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!

The title and the cover of this book caught my attention immediately. I love books set in another country, especially if the story contains part of the history of that country. A Ghost and His Gold by prolific author, Roberta Eaton Cheadle takes place in her home country of South Africa during the Second Anglo Boer War between 1899 and 1902. But this isn’t just a historical novel, it also takes place in modern times with a paranormal twist. How the two time periods connect makes this a thrilling story.

Here is the blurb.

After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.

Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?

After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lie in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.

I enjoyed this book for many reasons. This is my review on Amazon and Goodreads

A well-written blend of historical and paranormal fiction by Darlene Foster

I have had this book on my TBR list ever since I heard about it. Then, as luck would have it, I won a print copy in a giveaway! I was overjoyed and not disappointed. I tend to be a slow reader, especially if there is a lot of detail and characters, as this story has, but I could not put it down.

It is a well-written blend of historical and paranormal fiction. I love history but am not as keen on paranormal. But in this case, it works well. The author has skillfully used the ghosts of the past to tell their story, which give history a personal and more honest viewpoint. The attention to detail shows the huge amount of research Ms Cheadle has done to ensure the story rings true. In any war, there are always two or more sides and I like how all sides of the Second Boer War are represented in this story. The good, the bad and the ugly, from the point of view of both the men and women involved.

This is not simply a war story, it is about family dynamics, friendships, hardships and heartbreak, and ultimately forgiveness and redemption. A lot is packed into this novel and it is well worth a read.

As an extra treat, here is the author reading an excerpt from the book on Tea Toast and Trivia She also discusses an overview of her writing process for this novel which includes both the British and the Boers point of view.

https://teatoasttrivia.com/2021/06/21/season-3-episode-25-roberta-eaton-cheadle-reading-a-ghost-and-his-gold/?fbclid=IwAR3N9fO22DDB07TWRpAvXkOSPRwWzUmvOq2O4XCi7nxLPV514DgHO0NWxl8

You can purchase a copy of this excellent book on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle

Follow Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19631306.Roberta_Eaton_Cheadle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Continuing with the virtual book tour, Amanda in Malta is being featured on Michele Marcellino Somerville’s blog called the Beach Girl Chronicles. Michelle is from Pennsylvania, USA and blogs about the beach, her life, her dogs and her past. She is a fairly new blogger so pop on over, read an excerpt from Amanda in Malta and show her some blogging love. Thanks to everyone for following along with this tour.

msomervillesite

Doing something a little different today, by participating in a Virtual Book Tour to help promote author Darlene Foster’s newest book, Amanda in Malta. I hope you will check it out!

The Blurb:

Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her aunt. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda travels to Malta with her classmate Caleb 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?

Join Amanda and her friends as they visit ancient temples, an…

View original post 914 more words

I am so pleased to be reading from my book, Amanda in Spain, on Tea Toast and Trivia.

Bookstores, libraries, and coffee shops are great places for book readings. There is something extraordinary about hearing the voice of an author reading their stories. Their voice and intonation are nuanced by the many hours of effort putting pen to paper.  They created the characters, structured the plot, and lived every twist and turn that creates bumps in the storyline. 

Living in the reality of Covid-19, book readings at public libraries and bookstores have been curtailed.  We are learning to embrace technology in new ways.  Welcome to the podcast series, “Authors Reading their Books”, which will recreate the reading spaces in a virtual venue.  I invite you to put the kettle on and join the conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia. I am your host Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

I am thrilled to introduce Darlene Foster who has graciously agreed to be our guest author reading from her novel, Amanda in Spain: The Girl in the Painting (Amanda Travels #2) which is available on Amazon.   I am looking forward to meeting up with Darlene and joining Amanda on one of her many adventure.

You can listen to the podcast here

https://teatoasttrivia.com/2021/05/31/season-3-episode-22-darlene-foster-reading-amanda-in-spain-the-girl-in-the-painting/

I was excited to be interviewed by accomplished author Molly Ringle on her blog where she features, Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady. This book will be launched on May 11th, 2021. I also give some advice to aspiring travellers.

Check out Molly´s blog where she offers editing and proofreading services.

https://mollyringle.livejournal.com/

https://mollyringle.com/editing-and-proofreading.html

Molly is an excellent editor with a keen eye for details. She edited my latest book and now I have a clean copy I’m proud of. I highly recommend her services. 

Guest feature: author Darlene Foster takes us to Malta! by Molly Ringle

It’s been too long since I’ve brought on another author for Q&A, and I’m pleased to be doing so again with Darlene Foster! I met Darlene (in an online sense) through our publisher in common, Central Avenue Publishing, and she’s one of the most upbeat, easygoing, fun-loving writers I know. Her Amanda Travels series is a wonderful set of books for middle-grade readers in which the young Amanda visits a new country in each book and always encounters an adventurous mystery to untangle. They’re perfect for the young armchair traveler—or real-world traveler—in your life.

Author Darlene Foster
Author Darlene Foster

The eighth book in the series comes out this May: Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady. I got to read an advance copy of it, and was instantly longing to go to Malta and soak up the sun and stroll between the stone buildings with their artistically idiosyncratic door knockers! 

Cover for the book Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady
Cover for the book Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady

Darlene was kind enough to answer some questions for me as well, so let’s dive into those:

Q: When did you start writing fiction? What were your earliest stories like?

A: I’ve been telling stories since I learned to talk. My grade three teacher, Miss Roll, encouraged me to write them down. When I was twelve years old I had a short story published in a local newspaper. Called Stretch Your Food Dollar, it was about two friends having an adventure in Woolworths department store. I guess the idea of two girls having an adventure has been there for a long time! 

Q: When you visit places, how much are you thinking about a possible story while you’re there? Or does the story idea come later?

A: When I visit interesting places, I am always thinking about how I could use it in a story. When I was in Malta, I kept saying to my husband, “Amanda would love it here!” I take a lot of pictures and jot down notes wherever we go. I once read that a writer never really takes a vacation as they are always looking for story ideas. I can attest that is true.  

Q: What draws you to writing middle-grade fiction as opposed to stories for other age groups?

A: Some would say I have never moved past twelve myself! For some reason, I can easily relate to this age group. I think they are wonderful. Tweens are not little kids anymore but not yet terrible teenagers. They can be so astute and mature at times but still naïve and unsure of themselves at other times. It is the age when they start to assert their independence and become curious and questioning. It is my favourite age and I have no intention of growing up. 

Q: I admire Amanda’s fearlessness and willing to take on adventures. Is that what you were like at her age?

A: It wasn’t what I was like, but it was what I wished I was like. I lived on a farm and we didn’t travel or have a television. So my world was very narrow. I was timid, bookish, and the only adventures I had were in my imagination. So I created a character I would have liked to be. 

Q: Give some advice to the aspiring travelers of the world: what are your must-bring items that lend to happier traveling?

A: The most important thing to bring is an open mind. Accept that things will be different wherever you go, the food, smells, people, climate, customs, etc. Embrace those differences and you will have an enjoyable and enriching time. Also bring a camera, a notepad, and pen. Everything will be overwhelming and you will never be able to remember it all. Pictures and notes bring it all back. I would rather look at my travel photos than watch TV. 

Q: What are you writing now, or planning to write next?

A: I am halfway through writing Amanda in France: Fire in the Cathedral. Amanda will fall in love with Paris, Versailles, and Monet’s garden in Giverny. Oh, and she will get to stay in a bookstore! Wouldn’t every young girl like to visit France? I know I would have loved it.  

—-

Darlene Foster is a Canadian author who has written the popular Amanda Travels series, featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places where she encounters mystery and adventure while learning about another culture. Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in various countries. Darlene has won prizes for her short stories and a number of them have been published in anthologies. She has also written a bilingual book for English/Spanish readers.

Darlene grew up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where her love of reading inspired her to travel the world and write stories. Over the years she held wonderful jobs such as an employment counsellor, ESL teacher, recruiter, and retail manager, and wrote whenever she had a few spare minutes. She is now retired and has a home in Spain where she writes full time. When not travelling, meeting interesting people, and collecting ideas for her books, she likes to spend time with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Her books include Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain: The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England: The Missing Novel, Amanda in Alberta: The Writing on the Stone, Amanda on The Danube: The Sounds of Music, Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind, and Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action. 

Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady will be released in the spring of 2021. 

Buy links

Amazon Canada here

Amazon UK here 

Amazon US here 

Barnes and Noble here

Chapters/Indigo here

Thanks, Molly for the great interview.

Today is National Internet Friends Day and I am lucky to have many wonderful internet friends! I am pleased to introduce one of them, Teri Polen, as a guest author. I love her answers to my questions, especially which fictional character she would want to spend a day with.

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Subject A36 was voted one of the 50 Best Indie Books of 2020 at ReadFree.  Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

1.Tell us about yourself including something that may surprise us.
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog, Darlene! I’m a multi-genre
YA author—sci-fi, horror, and fantasy, a mom of two polar opposite sons,
a Marvel, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Walking Dead fan (I’m such a
nerd), and enslaved to Bond, my feline overlord. Considering my usual
entertainment preferences, most people would be surprised to know that
I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning. I’m not a Meredith
Grey fan—it’s Miranda Bailey and the medical cases that keep me tuning
in.

  1. How long have you been seriously writing?
    Around eight years I think? I started writing while waiting for my son at
    soccer practice—long hand because I didn’t have a laptop then—and
    stayed with it until I had a completed manuscript. And it was truly
    horrible. Once I understood I’d created a monstrosity, I read books on
    the craft of writing, took classes, and learned just how difficult it really is
    to write a book.
  2. Where do you get ideas for your stories?
    I’ve gotten ideas from dreams, billboards, asking lots of ‘what if’
    questions, and merging movie ideas, but the spark for my first book
    came from my cat. Weird, but true. We’d moved into a new house with
    no previous owners and Shadow, fur bristled while emitting deep
    throated growls, stared at something on the stairs no one else could see.
    It started me thinking about how a house could be haunted if it was
    never inhabited. I gave him credit in the acknowledgements!
  3. What is your writing process? Are you a planner or a panster?
    I lean more in the panster direction, but I’m constantly struggling to
    claw my way in the direction of the planning side. I tend to be a slow
    writer, and I think things would move along considerably faster if I had
    some sort of outline. I’ve gotten better, but I’m not there yet.
  4. Where and when do you do your best writing?
    I don’t have a designated writing space. I tend to move around the
    house with my laptop to whatever space inspires me that day.
    Afternoons seem to be my most productive time.
  5. What kind of research do you?
    For my second book, The Gemini Connection, I researched twin
    relationships and quantum physics. With my newest release, Subject
    A36, I spent a lot of time reading about genetics and DNA. I took great
    liberties in those areas with both books, but that’s why I write fiction.
  6. If you could spend a day with a fictional character, who would you
    choose and why?

    You nearly stumped me with this one, Darlene. It took me days to
    decide, but I tried to narrow it down by only considering fictional book
    characters. I’ve read plenty that fascinated me, but I might not survive
    the day (I’m a fan of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy novels—lots of dangerous
    stuff going on). I finally decided on Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter
    series. I adored his large, loving family, and I’d have a blast hanging out
    with them for the day. Harry and Hermione would visit, and I’d
    undoubtedly be the victim of Fred’s and George’s pranks. Maybe I’d even
    get my own wand for a day!
  7. Tell us about your next writing project. I’m currently working on the sequel to Subject A36, and I swear this
    book may be the death of me (see above planner vs. panster). 2020
    really slowed the writing pace for me, but I’m getting there.

Thanks so much, Teri. Always good to hear from a fellow panster. I have so much respect for planners but I just can’t seem to do it either. What fun it would be to spend a day with Ron Weasley! Great choice.

You can connect with Teri on her Social Media sites:

Website:  https://teripolen.com/

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TPolen6

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16114393.Teri_Polen

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/tpolen6/

Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/teripolen/

Purchase Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Teri-Polen/e/B01MYOUA6V

Planet Tage is dying, and the best hope of saving it is gone.

Seventeen-year-old identical twins Evan and Simon share an extraordinary bond, a trait that’s both useful and invasive. They use their connection in their work at Scientific Innovations. Evan is a Mindbender, someone who enters the minds of scientists to spark ideas, join thoughts, and battle nightmares. Simon is a science prodigy and Tage’s best chance of survival.

Unfortunately, their unusual link often bleeds into their private lives. When Evan discovers his brother is keeping a secret from him, he lashes out and ignores requests to talk, and even pleas for help. By the time Evan tunes back in, he finds their connection severed and Simon missing.

He suffers a terrible case of survivor’s guilt. Moreover, he’s desperate. The fate of the world rests on Simon’s return, and Evan is willing to do anything to get him back—even working with his greatest rival, who also happens to be Simon’s boyfriend.

Evan finds allies among enemies and adversaries among friends. When nothing is as it seems and everything is depending on him, he must explore a dangerous aspect to his twin connection he never knew he had.

If he fails, he’ll lose both his brother and his world.

My 5-star review of The Gemini Connection
A great sci-fi/dystopian YA novel. I don’t often read this genre but the idea of twins intrigued me. I was not disappointed. There is plenty of action and some clever world-building, but the character development and the relationships between characters are the stars of this show. The tie between the twins, Evan and Simon, is amazing and the story is written from the POV of both of them. The secondary characters are also interesting and round out the story. Evan is devastated when Simon goes missing, but when he realizes Simon is alive, he will do anything to rescue him and bring him home, even work with his sworn enemy. How this plays out will keep you on the edge of your seat. The author has a vivid imagination and is capable of using it to create an awesome reading experience.

Teri’s other books:

Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.

A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.

Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house – but exorcising her isn’t that easy. She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain. With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.

If genetic engineering could guarantee you and your family perfect health and unparalleled beauty, would you pay top dollar for it? Would you kill for it?

Residents of the Colony would. And do.

Only the Insurgents can stop them.

Seventeen-year-old Asher Solomon is a premier operative with the Insurgents. He and his team have rescued countless hostages, saving them from painful deaths in Colony labs as desirable genetic traits are stripped from their bodies.

He’s also suffered more losses than anyone should have to.

Then Asher gets intel that might give his people the upper hand. The Colony is searching for Subject A36. If the Insurgents determine the subject’s identity first, they might be able to turn the tide of the war.

Asher and his team embark on their riskiest mission ever, and the stakes have never been higher. But even if he survives the physical dangers, the devastating secrets he uncovers might destroy him.

Thanks for being an internet friend, Teri!

It´s launch day for Molly Ringle´s latest book Lava Red Feather Blue. Don´t you just love the cover!!

The Blurb:

Awakening the handsome prince is supposed to end the fairy tale, not begin it. But the Highvalley witches have rarely done things the way they’re supposed to. On the north Pacific island of Eidolonia, hidden from the world by enchantments, Prince Larkin has lain in a magical sleep since 1799 as one side of a truce between humans and fae. That is, until Merrick Highvalley, a modern-day witch, discovers an old box of magic charms and cryptic notes hidden inside a garden statue.

Experimenting with the charms, Merrick finds himself inside the bower where Larkin lies, and accidentally awakens him. Worse still, releasing Larkin from the spell also releases Ula Kana, a faery bent on eradicating humans from the island. With the truce collapsing and hostilities escalating throughout the country, Merrick and Larkin form an unlikely alliance and become even unlikelier heroes as they flee into the perilous fae realm on a quest to stop Ula Kana and restore harmony to their island

What people are saying about the book:

“Come for the Sleeping Beauty allusion, but stay for the incredible world-building! Fans of fantasy, especially anything fae-related, will find this a very rich, satisfying read.” –Brett Hartinger, Author of Geography Club and Three Truths and a Lie

“Lush and imaginative–an epic fantasy for a new generation, full of love, vengeance, redemption, and forgiveness.” –Pam Stucky, Author of The Universes Inside the Lighthouse 

About the Author

Molly Ringle was one of the quiet, weird kids in school, and is now one of the quiet, weird writers of the world. Though she made up occasional imaginary realms in her Oregon backyard while growing up, Eidolonia is her first full-fledged fictional country. Her previous novels are predominantly set in the Pacific Northwest and feature fae, goblins, ghosts, and Greek gods alongside regular humans. She lives in Seattle with her family, corgi, guinea pigs, fragrance collection, and a lot of moss.

Buy links:

Paperbacks via Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=author%3ARingle%2C%20Molly

Ebooks via Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=molly%20ringle&fcsearchfield=Author

Print and Nook via B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Molly%20Ringle%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall

Print and Kindle via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Molly-Ringle/e/B003OSSOF8?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1609448504&sr=8-1

I´m pleased to have Molly here as a guest on this special launch day as I have been a fan of hers for a number of years. Learn more about this intriguing author.

  1. Tell the readers about yourself, including something quirky.

I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest almost my whole life: born in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and grew up there, and moved to Seattle as an adult. The only major exceptions, not counting vacations, were three years of grad school in Davis, California, and three months of working abroad in the UK in 1996, spent mostly in Edinburgh, Scotland. And speaking of Scotland, I suppose one quirky thing is that I genuinely do like haggis! (I’ve found that if you like meatloaf, you can handle haggis. It’s not as scary as it sounds.)

  • You are a very diverse writer, how do you manage moving from one genre to another?

I’m glad it seems diverse from the outside! To me it feels like I usually write variations on a few themes: there’s always a love story; there’s NEARLY always a gentle, hopeful, even humorous tone; and there may or may not be paranormal elements, but even if the story is real-world, there’s still something of a fairy-tale feel in that remarkable events take place. When looking to start a new project, I usually decide what I most feel like writing at that time in my life—fantasy or real-world, epic scale or more intimate scale—and then proceed to figure out the characters and their goals and obstacles.

  • Where do you get ideas for your stories? What inspired Lava Red Feather Blue?

The ideas can come from anywhere—dreams, random thoughts, retellings of myths, mashups of various elements that interest me. I write the brief thoughts down in a story idea file if they seem good enough to someday become a book. One such note was the idea of creating a new country, a large island somewhere off the west coast of North America. I also liked the idea of it having royals (because to an American that can be a bizarre yet intriguing feature). And when I needed to pick a new story to write in early 2017, I settled on that one, and furthermore, decided I wanted to do more with the idea of humans living alongside fae, which I played with in The Goblins of Bellwater. So Lava Red Feather Blue eventually became all of that: humans and fae living on an island country in the Pacific. Plus a hint of a Sleeping Beauty retelling.

  •  If you could choose a fictional character to be your best friend, who would you choose and why?

Hmm, that’s a question whose answer could change for me from day to day! But today the one who comes to mind is EIinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility. I love the whole Dashwood family and would be happy to visit with all of them, but Elinor seems the most steadfast and (to use the book’s title) sensible of the lot. Plus maybe being her best friend would mean I’d always have a place to stay in England, which I would find quite appealing as a perk.

  • If you could personally see one natural phenomenon that you have never seen, what would it be and why that one?

Fireflies. I have never seen them in person! We don’t have them in the western states, and I haven’t happened to be anywhere that does have them. (I did visit NYC in late May and early June one year, but the fireflies were stubborn and did not light up for me in Central Park.) I love bioluminescence, so I want to experience them some magical night. Until then, I’ll have to settle for the lovely sea sparkle that we get in Puget Sound on the occasional warm summer night.

  • Tell us about your next writing project.

I’m returning to Eidolonia, the island from Lava Red Feather Blue, but with a new set of characters. As such, it isn’t really a sequel, but I expect it will overlap in time with Lava Red Feather Blue and will reflect some of the same major events. Mostly, though, it will be about characters in a different town than those visited in the first book, and it will focus on the frictions between fae and humans there, and the ways love and magic complicate their lives. I have a lot to figure out yet, but that’s likely to be the vague outline of it!

Follow Molly on the following social media sites
Blog: http://mollyringle.livejournal.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MollyRingle/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2905269.Molly_Ringle
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writermollyringle/
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/mollyringle/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mollyringle
Website: http://www.mollyringle.com/

A selection of Molly´s books.

My review of the Goblins of Bellwater

I am a huge fan of Molly Ringle’s novels. The Goblins of Bellwater didn’t disappoint and proved the versatility of this talented writer. Set in the picturesque Pacific Northwest, there is plenty of magic, romance, and action to engage any reader. Ms Ringle’s vivid descriptions take the reader into the unbelievable world of goblins – believably! Her portrayal of the contemporary human characters living in a small town and their relationships are very realistic. Can a mechanic, who is also an artist, a dedicated environmentalist, a talented chef and a barista/aspiring artist be able to withstand the power of a goblin’s spell and return to their normal lives? This page-turner will keep you guessing as they race against time and the elements to release an age-old evil spell, that is affecting all of their lives. And not in a good way.

Check out Molly’s books for a real treat.

I am honoured to be asked about inspiring children to read by Sue Slaght of Travel Tales of Life.

Why would a child want to read? How can a book compete with the tantalizing glow of a screen? As the months, or has it been years, of time at home drag on, parents’ nerves are fraying. How can we get kids excited about adventure? Is the love of reading in children a forgotten skill?

We reached out to an expert for advice. How can we turn reluctant readers into book loving kids? Darlene Foster is an award winning author, publishing seven books about a spunky young girl named Amanda. The popular series inspires adventure, travel and reading.

Darlene Foster on inspiring reading in children

Thanks, Sue for inviting me to your awesome blog which encourages travel and appreciating other countries and cultures.

I write my books to inspire children to explore the world and appreciate our unique differences as well as our similarities. Unlike when I was a child, children today are well travelled. Which is great. But right now, because of the COVID 19 pandemic, their parents aren’t able to take them on trips. By providing children with books that take place in other countries, they can go on a vacation without leaving the safety of their home. And by reading the books together, the whole family gets a holiday.

At what age should parents start reading to their children? What types of books are best?

Read the rest of the article here.

Today I am excited to feature Mr. Geoff Le Pard, an author of prose, poetry and memoir, a blogger, an excellent gardner and an all around good guy who loves his dog. Mr. Le Pard has a great way with words. He has recently released a new book, The Sincerest Form of Poetry, and has kindly agreed to answer a few questions.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, perhaps the Reader’s Digest version.

Ah, the difficult personal bit first, eh? I’m a former lawyer, happy to have put down the quill pen but happy too to use the absurdities of a pompous and self-regarding profession for inspiration in my writing. It also pays the bills still so I’m not knocking it. Much. Nowadays, I try and believe it when I call myself a writer but, odd for someone who once wore his pretentious facade like a coat of armour, I still struggle with imposter syndrome and tend to whisper it, in case it triggers a little too much sniggering. My writing career overlapped with my legal one and probably – no definitely – accelerated its end. The writing piece started in 2006 like a clunky gear change and has accelerated until I reached third where I currently cruise happily. To wring every last drop out of this motoring analogy, I’m now happily enjoying a pretty full tank of ideas, an open road of time to write and a satnav that lets me choose the direction my writing takes. Happily, the flat tyre of writer’s block hasn’t struck and I avoid the fender-bender of agent rejections by sticking to the back roads of indie publishing… blimey, I milked that, didn’t I? I’ve twelve published works: six novels, three anthologies, one memoir of me and my mother and now a book of poetry. They are, of course, the Rolls Royces of literature… honestly, I will stop that now and all available on Amazon.I’ve been married for thirty-cough years to a woman whose erudition, sense of humour and lack of a sense of smell have kept us together all that time. We have two adult children, one married, one trying to get spliced if only that witch, Rona Pandemic would back off a little and a small menagerie of pets, led by Dog, an eleven year old mixture of fishy breath, randomised barking tests and infinite love, plus two Methuselah old cats (twenty-two and going strong even if their fleeces are now more corduroy than cashmere) and a tortoise whose passion for my trainers says more about her than me. 

2. What or who inspired you to write in the first place?

In July 2006, my wife was told by our children they wouldn’t be joining her, as they had done for several years, at a summer school run at Marlborough College, one of Britain’s poshest public schools (Princess Kate Thingy went there). This had taken place during the first week of the school holidays and while the three of them had gone off, I stayed and crunched a bit more legal nonsense. She wondered if, this time, i might like to join her. We’d just started ballroom and Latin dance classes and they did a week’s intensive course during the morning, leaving her to do something arty and me… well, look at the brochure… to do something in the afternoon. I still don’t know what drew me to the ‘Write a ten minute radio play in a week’. The woman who ran it was a touch eccentric but she taught the basics, got us writing and performing and I loved it. I was buzzing – my first experience of finding out the joys of immersing yourself with others addicted to writing. But the week soon ended and the children returned from wherever they’d been invited so we could all go to a house in Devon we’d hired. While they splashed about in the hot tub and my wife played about with her textiles, I pulled out my laptop, took one of the ideas I’d had while on the writing course and began to write. I wrote in the evenings, at weekends. I got up early and wrote before cycling to work. I wrote in airports while off on business trips and in hotels while struggling with jet lag. Inside three months I’d written a novel of 130,000 words! It was utter crap. But it was my utter crap. After that, I went on courses – meeting other nascent authors at Arvon and at the LSE before I did a creative writing MA at Sheffield. The book I wrote for the course was my first published work, Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, a comedic coming of age story set in 1976, that has autobiographical notes in its genesis. That was 2014. I started blogging then, too. And what about that first book? I rewrote it countless times and eventually the story that I wanted to tell pop out. I published it earlier this year, a dark thriller Walking Into Trouble. 

3. Do you prefer writing poetry or prose, and why?

Neither, or both. They are very different. One – prose – is an intellectual process, that’s like any creative skill, trying to explore ideas in a subject of which I will never be the master, always the pupil but always enjoying the process of learning on the way. The other – poetry – is capturing an emotion, an idea, a sense of the moment. It might be very personal – the love of another, loss, longing; it might be a personal passion – sport, Dog, politics, climate change; it might be humour, the need to see the absurd in live’s clumsy tapestry. I want to do both but one comes naturally and I can always tap into it, the other emerges unbidden often when I least expect it.

4. Has your father´s poetry influenced yours in any way?

For sure. He was debilitated by his perfectionism and I’ve determined to be good, or as good as I can, but not perfect. He used poetry to convey his loves and I have followed suit. He wasn’t afraid to use obscure, sometimes grandiose language to create the imagery he wanted and I’ve ignored voices, esp of poets of much regard on courses I’ve undertaken who try and drive me into the utilitarianism of coming phraseology. For someone who resisted many calls to write, he loved reading his work if he felt it worked for his audience, but he was rubbish at it; I’ve made myself passable as a performance poet and enjoy the process of communicating my poetry as a spoken format and not just written. Mostly however he was driven to keep writing and I’ve followed that lead. I’ve often wondered what he’d have thought of mine. Probably ‘not bad, boy’ would be high praise, but only if he genuinely felt I deserved it. He would have been a harsh but entirely fair critic.

5. If you could choose a fictional character to spend a day with, who would you choose and why?

Pooh or Paddington; they are my sort of philosophers and I could do with some of their calm, offbeat wisdom in this jigsaw-puzzle of a world – as well as enjoying some communal honey or marmalade treats

6. Tell us about your next writing project.

How long have you got? I’ve finished a novel that is a sort of modern sci-fi/magical realism romance, titled ‘The Art of Spirit Capture’. It’s been edited and read and currently is, like all my novels, in purdah, namely a three month hibernation. Every time I write or edit a novel, I leave it for three months before I go back to it. After the next read through, I will have it professionally edited and then it can be published. I might ask for beta readers, if anyone is interested, but it won’t be for a few months. While that bubbles away, I’m deeply immersed in a comic fantasy involving a trainee exorcist, Pearl Barley who has appeared in short fiction on my blog. Set in a parallel world to today – so a lot of features are familiar – Pearl works for a secular exorcism agency, Spirits Release at a critical time for the business. Not only is the Government looking into regulating exorcists but there is a surge of spirits that refuse to pass to their chosen hereafters and the possessions are beginning to overwhelm the likes of Pearl’s company. The question is, is this surge merely a cyclical boom or a manufactured explosion with sinister undertones. Only Pearl with the help of Sharon, a deceased hairstylist who has taken up residence in Pearl’s hair and her personal personality enhancer in the shape of a mirror that allows Pearl’s reflection to help her out can find out the truth, while battling sprites and possessed gnomes and sort of falling for a red-headed weather manipulator who may or may not be what she seems. This is book one, provisionally titled Pearl Barley and the Surge of The Spirits, of maybe two or three and I plan on writing the second immediately I finish the first. That book, also provisionally titled Pearl Barley and the Georgian Goblin will take Pearl to the next stage of a conspiracy that is revealed in book one. Enough said, for now. Behind that, and almost certainly to be published before Pearl will be the next anthology of short fiction. For the last three years I’ve brought together short stories and flash fiction that I’ve written for my blog into anthologies. The first one Life, In a Grain of Sand came out in 2017, then there was Life in a Flash and Life in a Conversation. This one, Life Sentences is with my editor and should appear in time for the Christmas rush!! And behind all of them, I have a three quarters finished thriller based on my experiences at the London Olympics which, someday, I’d like to get back to… whew…

Geoff´s latest book of poetry. Don´t you just love the cover?

Famous poets reimagined, sonnets of all kinds, this poetry selection has something for all tastes, from the funny, to the poignant to the thought-provoking and always written with love and passion.

All of life in one easy couplet

To write poetry I need inspiration. Often that comes from my appreciation of the craftsmanship of other, better poets, whose skills I aspire to emulate. For this anthology, I have chosen two such sources: in part one, the search for Britain’s favourite poem led to the publication of the top 100 and I have used a number of these to craft my own take on those beautiful and inspirational works; in part two, my love of the sonnet form, fostered by reading Shakespeare’s gems has provided a selection covering many topics and themes. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

You can purchase this book here:

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Geoff in his garden of sunflowers

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

Geoff is a prolific writer and here is a selection of some of his books:

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

In this, the second book in the Harry Spittle Sagas, it’s 1981 and Harry is training to be a solicitor. His private life is a bit of a mess and he’s far from convinced the law is for him. Then an old acquaintance from his hotel days appears demanding Harry write his will. When he dies somewhat mysteriously a few days later and leaves Harry in charge of sorting out his affairs, Harry soon realises this will be no ordinary piece of work. After all, his now deceased client inherited a criminal empire and several people are very interested in what is to become of it.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

The third instalment of the Harry Spittle Sagas moves on the 1987. Harry is now a senior lawyer with a well-regarded City of London firm, aspiring to a partnership. However, one evening Harry finds the head of the Private Client department dead over his desk, in a very compromising situation. The senior partner offers to sort things out, to avoid Harry embarrassment but soon matters take a sinister turn and Harry is fighting for his career, his freedom and eventually his life as he wrestles with dilemma on dilemma. Will Harry save the day? Will he save himself?

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

More of Geoff´s work can be found on his Amazon Author Page

Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

Follow Geoff on his entertaining blog:  https://geofflepard.com

and on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/geoff.lepard

You´ll be glad you did!

I am delighted to have as my guest today John Howell, a fellow blogger, author, dog lover, and friend. He is here today to tell you about his latest book which I think you will just love. Take it away, John.

 

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Darlene, and thank you for helping me launch this book. I know you are busy with your projects and Dot so thank you for taking the time to help. Speaking of the book, let me describe it. Eternal Road is the story of two people finding their way through the selection process leading to the place where one will spend eternity. Yes, it is true. They both have passed away. James Wainwright just died in an auto accident. Samantha Tourneau died seventeen years before. Sam is James’s guide to help him decide where to spend eternity. This is not your usual thriller or paranormal romance. It is a piece of fiction that is a combination of inspiration, adventure, time travel, sci-fi, a touch of erotica, and a dash of spiritual. In short, it is a lot of things, but hopefully, a story that will make you happy to have read it.

It is now available on Amazon in paper and Kindle. The Kindle edition is introductory priced at 99¢ until October 15th

Here are the universal links for both editions

Kindle

Paper

The blurb

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer, who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save humankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

An Excerpt

“The date on the paper is October 26th,1881.”
Sam grabs the news sheet. “The date of the gunfight at the O. K. Corral? We have to find out what time it is now.”
“Why does that matter?”
She gives the paperback to James. “The gunfight happened at 3:00 PM. We might have missed it.”
James shakes his head. “Don’t you think a newspaperman like John Clum would have dashed to the scene instead of sitting in his office if we’d missed it? The sun looks fairly high. What about my watch?”
“Go ahead and look at it.”
James glances at the watch and then back at Sam. “Oh, man. It’s smashed.”
“Yup. The accident.”
James puts his hands to his face. “Why didn’t I notice that before?”
“It didn’t matter before.”
“So, let’s say we are on time—where should we go to view the gunfight?”
Sam chews on her bottom lip. “Might be best to go to the photographic studio right next to the vacant lot where the fight took place. We could stand on the porch and look around the building. I’m curious as to why you actually want to see the battle?”
“This is history. I would love to see the most famous gunfight in the world. Who wouldn’t?”
Sam puts her hand on James’s shoulder. “People get killed.”
He touches her hand. “So, we shouldn’t see it?”
Sam draws her hand away. “I’m just saying that real life and legend are two different things. When people get killed, they bleed, and it isn’t pretty.”
James stands with his palms open. “But the historical part?”
Sam shrugs, “I just want to warn you.”
Sam and James walk down the street and eventually come to the place where the shootout will take place. Sam points to the porch of the photography building. “We can see everything from there.”
James points at the porch. “Of course, we’d have to look around the corner, which means we won’t stay out of sight. What if a stray bullet hits us?”
Sam chuckles. “You’re dead already. So what if a stray bullet hits you?”

The trailer

John’s 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 five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact John

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

John’s other books

My GRL,

His Revenge

Our Justice

Circumstances of Childhood

The Contract: between heaven and earth

It was great having you here, John. I wish you all the best with your latest book. Dot says hi to Twiggy and Lucy!


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