Thursday, May 27, 2021

Blog Tour & Playlist: The Immortal Game by Talia Rothschild & A.C. Harvey

The Immortal Game

Talia Rothschild & A.C. Harvey

Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 25th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

An exiled goddess goes on a quest to clear her name and save Mount Olympus in Talia Rothschild & A C Harvey’s action-packed young adult debut, The Immortal Game!

Galene, daughter of Poseidon, desperately wants to earn her place among the gods. But when a violent attack leaves Mount Olympus in chaos and ruins, she is accused of the crime. Banished from Olympus, Galene sets out to prove her innocence and discovers a more deadly plot—one that threatens even the oldest of Immortals.

Fortunately, she has allies who willingly join her in exile:

A lifelong friend who commands the wind.
A defiant warrior with deadly skill.
A fire-wielder with a hero’s heart.
A mastermind who plays life like a game.

All-out war is knocking at the gates. Galene and her friends are the only ones who can tip the scales toward justice, but their choices could save Olympus from total annihilation, or be the doom of them all.

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The Immprtal Game Playlist:

Author Bio:

Talia Rothschild, Italian American, is passionate about stories in many forms—music, dance, photography, film and, of course, great novels. She believes in thick hot chocolate and creamer in your tea. When she’s not happily writing, she’s mothering the sweetest baby girl and making memories with her husband. Her debut book The Immortal Game, coauthored with A. C. Harvey, hits the shelves May 2021.

Ashleigh Harvey is teaching high school physics and bringing her writing dreams to life. English-born and world-traveled, she loves filling her life with new adventures, such as visiting a new country or exploring the Wild West with her husband. She also finds escape in movies, music, literature, and yearly comic conventions. The Immortal Game is her debut novel, created alongside Talia Rothschild, her close friend.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Chatting with Susan Leigh Furlong Author of Adventure Romance

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Please help me welcome Susan Leigh Furlong to my blog. She is the author of adventure romance and has taken the time to answer a few questions. Plus, she shared an excerpt from her novel By Promise Made.

How did you come up with the concept and/or characters for By Promise Made?

I stumbled upon some research about Mary Queen of Scots and how King Henry VIII waged a war against Scotland because his offer of betrothal to his son was rejected. Mary was only four years old at the time, with her fate to be decided by governments in search of power and conquest. Thousands were killed, not to protect the young queen, but to push back an invader. It got me to thinking, who would protect the toddler queen? And so Katherine (Kit) was created as the woman guardian who did not see the “big picture” of governments at war, but only saw a delightful little girl who needed rescuing. Stirring the pot even further was the handsome rogue, Hugh Cullane, who saw little beyond himself until he met Kit and young Queen Mary.

Tell us about a book that stayed with you long after you read it.

As I thought about books that have lingered with me, I was surprised to realize that two of them were autobiographies, one by Charlton Heston – In the Arena - and another by George Burns – Gracie. Both these books were full of anecdotes about life in the entertainment business, and I loved the backstories. However, it was not these backstories that remained with me.

What lingered from Heston’s book was his life in film, his decisions, and his determination to be true to himself. The title comes from a quote by Theodore Roosevelt. When asked why Heston did so many films that were not up to the caliber of Ben Hur, Heston replied with this quote. “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena whose face is marred by dust, sweat, and blood.” I value this because being a writer means taking my heart and soul, putting it to paper, and then sending it out saying “What do you think?” And so I stay in the arena.

The book by George Burns is also filled with stories of his career in show business, but his emphasis is on his devotion and love of his wife, Gracie. He gives her all the credit. Sometimes episodes of his TV show are broadcast, and the love in his eyes every time Gracie appears in the scene is incredible. He lived with her, and for her, as long as she lived and beyond. A love like that is what romance is all about.

Where were you born/grew up?

My father worked in retail women’s ready-to-wear, and while he was very well respected in his field, he was a stubborn, determined man who didn’t suffer fools, so he tended to move to a new position about every two years, and his family went with him.

I was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan while my father was getting his MBA. We first lived in Detroit, Michigan on Prevost Street for seven years. I remember sleeping in the attic with my younger sister, walking to school, and playing in the fire hydrant in the summer. Next came Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on Meadowbrook Street for the next two years. Here I roller skated on the flat area at the top of the hill and rode down the hill behind the houses on a sled with the teenage boys in the neighborhood. A thrilling ride that always got the boys in trouble, but us little kids loved it. I attended Lincoln school, and Miss Apt was my second grade teacher who let me sing “Never Smile at a Crocodile” for Show and Tell, twice.

Next we moved back to Detroit on Sunderland Street. Here we walked ten blocks to school, home for lunch, back to school and home again, rain or shine. No one had a second car in those days. I also walked over to see my grandparents who lived five blocks away as often as I could.

Then to Minneapolis, Minnesota on Tyrol Trail. Here we waited for the bus in 40 degrees below zero weather and six feet of snow and never missed a day of school. In the eighth grade I was thrilled to be chosen to play a clarinet solo at the high school band concert. I played “Country Gardens.”

My freshman year in high school we moved to Cleveland, Ohio. The curriculum was different than in Minnesota, and I struggled through Algebra after not having the first semester. I hate math to this day!

My next stop was Springfield, Ohio and Wittenberg University where I earned a degree in Elementary Education and met my husband. We ended up in his small hometown in southern Ohio where I taught, and we raised our children. You couldn’t get me out of here with a crowbar!

By Promise Made
by Susan Leigh Furlong
Genre: Adventure Romance
Heat level : R


Hugh Cullane, accused of murder and sentenced to hang, is forced to deliver a message of betrothal to four-year-old Queen Mary of Scotland. He faces death yet again when, in rejecting the proposal, the queen's guardian orders his severed head sent back to England in a jar.

Trained to protect her queen at all costs, Katherine Payne can show no mercy to the handsome messenger, despite the way his stolen kiss unsettles her single-minded sense of duty. Trapped between the English and Scottish armies, she must escape with Mary. Hugh joins her as they are chased by men determined to murder the young queen in their own quest for power.

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(Immediately after stealing a kiss from an unknown woman in the woods, Hugh is taken prisoner and dragged to the castle on the hill.)

“I’m Hugh Cullane,” he said with all the dignity he could muster from his awkward position on the ground. “I’m on a mission of great importance.”

“Importance? Ye?” Her throaty voice overflowed with hostility, and her eyes glowered with enough rage to incinerate him.

“Mistress Katherine,” he began again, “I beg yer forgiveness. If I had kenned—”

“If ye had kenned what?” she interrupted. “If ye had kenned I was the mistress of the house, ye would have been a little faster to rape me?”

His eyes widened. “Nay, mistress!”

“Take him to the dungeon. He will be flogged tomorrow.”

As the soldiers started to drag him away, Hugh called back to her, “I’m on royal business from the king of England. I’m the messenger of Queen Mary’s betrothed. I have a message for her guardian.”

“Stop!” she ordered.

Aha, the guards were wrong. All he had to do was mention that Mary would soon be part of the English royal family, and they would take him immediately to the young queen’s guardian. His indiscretion would be forgotten.

“Let me see him,” she said. The soldiers jerked Hugh around to face her.

Haughtily sticking out her chin, she said, “I am Queen Mary’s guardian, and any request for a betrothal to that doity English king is rejected.”

Hugh couldn’t believe his ears or his eyes. The queen’s guardian was a woman. A beautiful woman who made his heart race. A man might forgive his indiscretion, but a woman? Nay.

“I beg yer forgiveness, mistress,” Hugh said with his eyes on the ground, hoping she’d see his embarrassment and his regret at his mistake.

She took a step closer and put her finger on his chin. “Upon a closer inspection, the look of ye is verra pleasing.” She put her hands on her hips. “I think I will forgive ye. There will be no need to flog ye.”

With a sigh of relief, Hugh smiled and two half circles in his cheeks surrounded his mouth. He had every confidence in his smile to win her over. “Thank ye, mistress. I’m truly sorry I offended ye.”

His smile, however, vanished when her face quickly twisted into a bitter grimace. “Now that I ken ye to be an unprincipled, self-serving lecher sent by the most unprincipled, self-serving lecher of all, the Duke of Somerset, ye should ken why ye will be beheaded in the morning.”

Hugh’s stomach bolted to his throat. “Mistress? Beheaded?”

She hissed out each word. “Queen Mary will ne’er marry the king or allow him to claim Scotland in his name. He can send messengers and armies alike, but Scotland will ne’er surrender.”

Hugh caught in his breath. “If she dinna want to marry, I’ll go back and tell him so.”

“That would no’ be enough to convince him. To be certain that Somerset understands once and for all, I’ll send yer head back to him in a jar. Throw him in the dungeon.”

Hugh roared in protest, driving his shoulder into one soldier’s gut. Swinging his chains behind him like a mace, he cleared the rest of the guards away, but before he could take two steps, the captain hooked his foot under the chain between Hugh’s ankles and, with a quick jerk, flung the prisoner to the ground.

Hugh landed facedown at the furious woman’s feet. Raising his eyes to her, he pleaded, “Mistress Katherine, please hear me out before ye condemn me. I come to ye as an innocent.”

“Innocent? Ha!” she snorted. “Ye’re probably guilty of far more than we ken.”

Hugh pulled himself up to his knees. “ ’Tis true, mistress. I have spent most of my adult life seeking my own enjoyment instead of the betterment of others, but stealing a kiss is hardly a crime for beheading. I beg yer forgiveness.”

“Have ye no’ been listening to me? Ye will be beheaded in the morning,” she repeated, “because the English think nothing of killing hundreds in a quest to conquer Scotland, and they want to use a tiny babe to do it.”

“But I didna come to conquer Scotland,” he implored her.

“The man who rules England in the boy king’s place is a brutal man who will get the same in kind. Yer head in a jar will show him exactly that!”

“Please, mistress, I merely came as ordered on the demand of King Edward. I had no choice but to come.”

“Then ye will have no choice but to die. Take him away.”

More from Susan Leigh Furlong

My first two books published by Wild Rose Press - Steadfast Will I Be – the story of Robin Cullane set during the tumultuous reign of James VI of Scotland, and By Promise Made – the story of Robin’s son, Hugh, and surrounds the life of the toddler, Mary Queen of Scots – are available at all online sellers. These books are about characters in the same Scottish Highland family, but can be read in any order.

By Promise Made

By Promise Made was a finalist in the N.N.Light Heaven’s Review and also earned a Golden Crown review from InD’Tale Magazine.

Steadfast Will I Be

Vicious gangs of reivers roam Scotland during the tumultuous reign of James V, and one of these gangs, led by a man with a red stain on his face, threatens all that Robin holds dear. more...

My third book, Keeper of My Dreams, is soon to be published by Wild Rose Press and should be out by early summer. It is the story of Robin’s daughter, Leena.

TAGLINE: Gunpowder and love, both explosive.

Reid Haliburton, a skilled gunsmith, wants to control who uses his revolutionary handgun until a vicious pirate decides the gun will be his. The price of refusing is Reid’s life and those of his three young sons. Reid’s only chance to save his sons is to send them away and face the pirate’s wrath alone.

Leena Cullane Adair is stunned to find three lads hiding in her cart, and, although she only met their father a week ago, he holds her heart and her dreams, and she will do whatever it takes to keep him and his sons alive.

About the author:
Susan Leigh Furlong was born in the middle of blinding spring snowstorm at the University of Michigan, which forced her mother to walk across campus in the snow to the hospital while in labor. Susan doesn’t remember any of this auspicious beginning, but it always makes for a good story! As a child she moved across the country six times to various big cities before the age of fourteen before meeting and marrying her love. She moved to his small hometown in southern Ohio where she taught first grade and fourth grade and raised her children who did not have to change schools even once. Creating stories started early in life—as is typical of most writers—even before she could actually write. Then came handwritten pages stuffed in her underwear drawer, followed by stories created on a manual typewriter. Her first computer—a Commodore 64—was replaced by a series of computers and laptops. At age 32 she performed in her first community theater play—Guys and Dolls—where she quickly realized that she wanted to play ALL the parts, which is exactly what a writer does. She writes and/or directs church-related plays and sketches and also performs and sings with a music and drama ministry, LightReaders.

Her love of history led her to write two plays about her now hometown, followed by two historical non-fiction books published by Arcadia Publishing. Susan first discovered romance novels when she won a copy of Velvet Song by Jude Deveraux at the local bookstore.

Steadfast Will I Be and By Promise Made are her first works published by The Wild Rose Press with Keeper of My Dreams on the way this summer.

Find Susan Leigh Furlong
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Thursday, May 20, 2021

Book Blitz & Giveaway: A Shiver of Shadows by Hunter J. Skye

A Shiver of Shadows
Hunter J. Skye
(The Hell Gate Series, #2)
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: May 24th 2021
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy

You’d think stopping Armageddon would buy a girl a bit of R&R with her freshly resurrected boyfriend. But things go south again when celebrity soul wrangler, Melisande Blythe, is abducted and dragged to Europe.

There’s more to the darkness hiding in the reclusive, mountaintop country of Andorra than just garden variety evil. There’s something dangerously wrong with her beautiful immortal hosts too.

Gifted with flesh again by the Grace of God, three-hundred-year-old former ghost, Colonel William Grayford, will move heaven and earth to find his beloved. But Europe’s most wicked monsters stand in his way. Something more painful than death awaits Mel, if Grayford can’t find her in time.

The world’s been living on fifteen thousand years of borrowed time and it’s just run out.

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“We won’t make it in time, so I need you to do exactly as I say.” She clutched me by the tops of my arms then shoved me into a small convenience store that blazed white with artificial lighting. She dragged me down a narrow aisle, past products with unfamiliar labels, toward a dead-faced man in a turban. His mottled eyes followed us as the woman pushed past his small counter.

Santuario,” she whispered to the man, and he nodded stoically. Then she turned to me.

“Don’t stop. Don’t look around. Just keep moving.”

“What?” I asked as her hand closed over mine once more, but we were already moving again. We hurtled down a dark, slender hall to an ancient rat-chewed wooden door with symbols painted on it in a dark, drooling liquid. Something about that viscous fluid made my skin crawl. The dingy walls pressed close, and suddenly the hallway felt as though it was swallowing me whole.

“Wait.” My voice wavered. “Just wait a second.” Something big was on the other side of that door. Something I wasn’t ready for. It peeled away my thoughts. It knew I was coming.

“This is a mistake.” Not a bad tattoo kind of mistake. This was the kind of mistake that would burn through my being. It would hollow me out. I’d already rebuilt myself once. I couldn’t go through that kind of stripping again. “Whatever’s in there…it isn’t for me to see.”

“Then close your eyes.” She yanked the door open and pulled me through.

Author Bio:

Hunter J. Skye was born with a rare nightmare disorder, and was raised in a haunted late Victorian home. Those two factors predestined her to write ghost stories. With a Bachelor of the Fine Arts, Hunter first went into museology, but her love of the written word drew her back to the keyboard. She now writes full time and paints part-time.

Hunter's debut novel, A Glimmer of Ghosts, won four RWA awards pre-publication. It is the first book in an urban fantasy/paranormal romance series set in coastal Virginia. Book two, A Shiver of Shadows, will release May 24 2021 from The Wild Rose Press.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Cat Napped by R.J. Blain

R.J. Blain
(Magical Romantic Comedies #14)
Publication date: May 11th 2021
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Urban Fantasy

When someone steals Diana’s cat, a former lab animal rescued from death’s door, she calls on one of the most dangerous beings in the universe for help. Cutting a deal with the devil isn’t the smartest move, but there’s no way in hell she’ll abandon Mr. Flooferson the Magnificent to his fate.

Teaming up with the son of a demon, an angel, and one hell of a woman might push Diana to the limits of her courage and sanity. Unless she wants to sell her soul to the devil, she must cope with her new partner, make the most of a bad situation, and find out who stole her cat and why.

What she learns will forever change humanity–and lead to a battle destined to forever change the heavens and the devil’s many hells.

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Chapter One

Someone had taken Mr. Flooferson the Magnificent, and when I got my hands on the culprit, they would know the true meaning of fear. As my cat was terrified of the outdoors, strangers, and anything that reminded him of his former life as a lab animal, there was no way in hell he would’ve left the comforts of home without the use of force. I couldn’t even convince him to meet me at the door. He cried pitifully from the safety of the couch, some ten feet away, until I came into his domain and he could reassure himself I hadn’t left him like every other human in his life.

No, unlike every other human in his life, I showed him love without pain. In the shelter hosting the retired lab cats, he’d been the saddest of the lot, so terrified of everyone and everything that the shelter operators had considered putting him out of his misery. No one wanted the scared ones, the ones who couldn’t charm unsuspecting humans into adopting them.

Mr. Flooferson should have been on the couch waiting for me, but my door had been kicked in, the lock broken beyond repair. Worse, someone had torn the place apart and left with my cat and his fleece-lined carrier.

Had the bastard left my cat’s carrier, I might have believed my baby had run out of fear.

I cracked my knuckles one by one, scowled, and considered my options. The police would need to come over and check everything over. After the police flailed about and accomplished little, for they had more important things to do than investigate the loss of my cat, I would begin using every contact I could. While I was only a secretary within the CDC, secretaries held power.

Every day, I talked to the big wigs, the wealthy, and the powerful, and I earned their respect so I could smooth paths for my bosses, who needed to work with people all around the world.

I had the Devil on speed dial, and I wasn’t afraid of using his wife to get what I wanted. While I wouldn’t cut a deal with the Devil, I’d find a way to make him do my bidding.

Well, maybe I’d cut a deal with the Devil, but I wouldn’t bargain away my soul.

Nobody, and I meant nobody, would hurt my cat and get away with it.

I retrieved my cell from my purse and called the non-emergency line for the police, explaining that my home had been broken into and the thieves had stolen my cat and his carrier. My concern about my pet made the cop laugh, but he said he’d send a patrol over as soon as there was one available.

I’d been around the block often enough to understand nobody would be available any time soon.

All right. If the cops wanted to play games, I’d play.

I dialed the Devil, and if Satan gave me a hard time, I’d go straight to his wife and show him his little layer of hell had a new owner until my cat was safely home.

“Good evening, Diana. It’s after hours, and you never work from home unless the world is at a literal risk of ending. We aren’t scheduled for the End of Days at this moment. As I’m far too lazy to peek right now, what can I do for you?”

“You can help me find who stole my cat, flay the flesh from their bones, toss them into the nastiest pit of your hells, and give me a fiery whip so I can have some fun with the fuckers.”


I gave the Devil as much time as he needed to realize he spoke to a crazy cat lady on a mission to murder some thieving assholes.

“Have you forgotten who I am, Diana?”

“I absolutely called you fully aware of who and what you are, and if you could put Darlene on the line if you’re not willing to help me find my cat, it would save me making a few other phone calls and knocking on your door in an hour. If I have to knock on your door in an hour, I’m going to redefine misery through hellfire for you. And if someone, and by someone I mean you, says it’ll be a cold day in hell first, I’ll come there and break all of your windows.”

Thanks to Darlene, I’d learned the Devil enjoyed his air conditioning, his hells followed a disturbing number of scientific rules, and only some serious magic on his windows and walls kept the heat outside where it belonged.

“That’s harsh for my electric bill.”

“As if you actually pay it. Assistance or put Darlene on the phone, Lucifer. Jack shit is up for negotiation today. Someone stole my cat.”

“This is the most fun I’ve had in a week. Since I call my daughter Cupcake, you’re just going to have to be Cookie.”

“No. I will have Darlene kill you if you start calling me Cookie. And once I send Darlene after you, I’m going to call Kanika and tell her. Once I’m done with her, I’ll go through every single one of your brothers until one of them agrees to help me put you in your place.”

“Don’t ruin my fun,” the Devil complained. “I need some fun today. Darlene made me clean up the dungeon this morning.”

“I will ruin every part of your life if you don’t help me find my cat.” I meant it, too. Maybe I was only a secretary, but I had three of the Devil’s brothers on speed dial, and I’d play the hardball. I would play so hard the entire planet tilted on its axis if necessary.

Nobody fucked with my cat.

The Devil laughed at me. “You know the rules, Snickerdoodle. I can’t fiddle much with mortal affairs, and the thieves are mere mortals. I’m sure you can handle them.”

Well, Snickerdoodle beat Cookie, so I’d ignore his idiocy in favor of rescuing my missing cat. “Does it look like I give a flying shit about the rules? The cop I called laughed at me and claimed he’d send someone over if they had somebody available. I live in fucking Miami. Do you know what that means? There’s nobody available, and there’ll be nobody available until the End of Days, and we’ll all be fucking dead then. They aren’t going to do jack shit about my trashed house, they aren’t going to investigate my missing cat, and Mr. Flooferson the Magnificent will be gone forever. I want my cat!”

“Mr. Flooferson… the Magnificent?”

I gave credit where credit was due; the Devil didn’t outright laugh at me. “Yes. That is my cat’s name.”

“Why did you name your cat that?”

“He’s a former lab animal, and the shelter was going to euthanize him because he was scared of people. He had good reason to be scared of people. That’s not his fault. He’s a beautiful long-haired cat, and it took me six months, but he lets me hold him now. He’s terrified of large spaces, and he won’t go within ten feet of the front door. I have to bring a vet to the house because I can’t stand the thought of taking him somewhere that might remind him of a lab. They could be torturing my baby. Why would they break into my house and take my cat?”

I didn’t give a shit if the Devil thought less of me for the waver in my voice. Focusing on my breathing, I lifted my chin and prepared to wage war against the ruler of some ridiculous number of hells.

“I would suggest you look into what sort of lab studies he was involved with. If they were testing new drugs, for example, someone might want to recover him to observe long-term consequences of drug exposure. There are many reasons why someone might want to recover a former lab animal. Alternatively, why might someone want to steal your cat? You have many contacts, myself included. It could be less about your cat and more about manipulating you because you love your cat.”

“Damn fucking straight I love my cat, you cat-spanked devil!”

“I would accuse you of leveling a low blow at me, but I do very much enjoy being spanked by my cat. She’s a most lovely feline, and one of my favorite hobbies is playing with her spots. If I’m really good, she might even come out as her natural form.”

“I will beg her to never let you see one of her prized spots ever again.”

“I should recruit you to become one of my generals. You would whip the chaos right out of my hells within a week. My hells would be immaculately run. I should demand you run my hells for a while in exchange for recovering your cat.”

“I have no interest in going to hell as a resident or a visitor, thank you. Now, about Mr. Flooferson the Magnificent. Which is more probable? That someone wants him because of what he went through as a lab animal, or that someone wants to manipulate me?”

“In my most humble opinion, I believe that either is equally probable. Was your cat part of a reputable lab?”

Since when did the Devil think of himself as humble? I almost laughed. Instead, I cleared my throat to buy myself a moment to regain my composure. “I have no idea. I just saw there were lab animals in need of loving homes, and I decided my home would be the most loving of homes. I will hurt you if you disagree with me.”

The Devil laughed at me. “If someone took your cat because of its history as a lab animal, it would have been rescued from an illegal operation. The legal operations are under regulations to keep the animals happy—and as healthy as possible. Those labs would not try to reclaim an animal. The government has been phasing out animal testing in favor of cutting large checks to humans with the appropriate conditions. They have also been clearing off criminal records in exchange for some pain and suffering, too.”

“This is an excellent reminder to maintain my record of being a law-abiding citizen.”

“You’re disgustingly law-abiding, yes. You should indulge in some evil. We’d have a great time.”

“No, but thank you for your most generous offer, Lucifer.”

“Are you sure? Your soul would provide me with decades of entertainment. I would convert you into one of my most prized devils. A general who would take over most of my hells by storm and sometimes answer to me when it’s truly necessary.”

I considered his offer. “What do you call a female devil, anyway?”

“A devil.”

“That’s lame. Demonesses are better named.”

“I’m sure I could come up with an appropriately feminine title for your enjoyment.”

“I’m sure you could, but I must refuse your most generous offer at this time. Now, about my cat. Are you going to help, or am I going to be having a long talk with Darlene?”

The Devil heaved a sigh. “You’re almost as bad as my daughter. Must you, Diana?”

“I must. Someone stole my cat, the police aren’t taking me seriously, and if I don’t figure out what I need to do to get my cat back, I’ll take over your realm, and then I’ll storm the heavens if I must.” It would take more work to access the heavens, but I could make use of some other contacts—or twist the Devil’s arm into helping me somehow.

“I’ll beg, but please storm the heavens. It would be spectacular. My darling thought about storming the heavens once, but then He got the bright idea of inviting her for tea and dainty little sandwiches, and she loves it. Worse, she makes me go with her.”

“It’s not like I want to keep the heavens. I don’t even want to go there. Come on, just get your ass over here and make the police take me seriously. Bring Darlene, so when I start crying, she can yell at you while I’m coming to terms with my inability to kill you or get my hands on the fuckers responsible for taking my cat and destroying my house.”

“Any other requests?”

“My cat!”

“I can’t do that, Diana. You know I’m not permitted to interfere with mortal matters outside of a bargain, and I have no bargain allowing me access to this matter. You would have to bargain with me.”

I loved my cat, but I also didn’t want to lose my immortal soul for my cat. “Can bargains be for something other than my soul? I like my soul, Lucifer.”

“I’m very aware of your possessiveness over your soul. You would deny even Him.”

That I would. “I like my soul precisely where it is, in my possession, where no nasty beings, yourself included, can meddle with it. But I’ll bargain if you can come up with something that does not result in the loss of my soul.”

“You will accept a partner of my choosing for this venture. For however long it takes you to recover your cat and bring the catnappers to justice, and we’ll define precisely what justice means as a part of our bargain. Until I have declared justice has been secured, you will work with this individual of my choosing. You will spend a minimum of two hours a day with this individual, who likewise owes me a favor and was wise enough to safeguard his soul from me and my rather evil activities.”

I rolled my eyes, as the Devil talked loud and often about his evils but rarely dished them out. I’d met convicts who’d sinned far worse than the Devil on a bad day.

“Rude,” the Devil complained.

“But true. Why do you want me to spend time with this individual?”

“Both of his fathers have severely annoyed me, and it will be highly entertaining if I can force him to live up to a bargain.”

Shit. The Devil had bargained with the son of a triad? Trouble was the Devil having anything to do with a triad at all. “Demon?” I asked, contemplating tossing up a few prayers to mitigate some of the issues the child of a triad brought around when they showed up.


Damn it. “You seriously let one of your devils out to go on a fling with an angel?”


I already regretted calling the devil. “You have got to be fucking kidding me.”

“If only. The devil in question, who happens to be one of my generals, begged. I hate when they get to the point of begging. The archangel, well, that was a poorly chosen promise in a moment of weakness.”

“A poorly chosen promise in a moment of weakness?”

“He claimed if that specific general happened to ever be brought low by a woman, that he would demand proof. Somehow, that became the foundation of a triad.” The Devil laughed. “I’ve stopped worrying about when the heavens and my hells mix. We’re one big, demented family. He approved, so that’s that. Watching one of my generals be brought low by a woman? Truly delightful—especially after he’d spent time mocking me about Darlene. To sweeten the deal? He fell for his bride shortly after Darlene stormed my gates. The best of women storm gates to places, I’ve noticed. Their son is younger than you are, but not by much, and thanks to his genetics, he matured early.”

I snorted at that, almost pitying the son of a high-ranked devil, an archangel, and someone who likely classed as one hell of a woman. “Only an idiot mocks you or your wife.”

“I thought about putting him in time out for a few thousand years, but him being brought low by a woman worked out for the better. And anyway, he likes Darlene, but he does enjoy when he gets to be a pest. He’s become even bolder, as Darlene likes him. Darlene would prefer if he sticks to a humanoid form while wearing a suit, which has basically become his dress code. Darlene being happy means everyone has a much higher chance of being happy. Anyway, your partner is thirty-two, he takes after his human mother too much for your good, and he’s rather determined.”

“The last thing I need is a determined man in my life, Lucy.”

“I’m aware, which is part of what makes this so much fun. Will you bargain, Diana?”

“I will discuss the idea of a bargain with you, but I will not agree to any bargain until I hear all the details. And I’m expecting a bribe of you making the police take this seriously in order to open negotiations once you’re here.”

“Excellent. Do expect company within an hour, and I will bring your new partner with me so you have all of the fine print you so love in front of you—and if you’re particularly unfortunate, I’ll bring his parents as well.”

“You’re an asshole, Lucifer.”

“I really am. Wear something nice.” The Devil hung up on me, leaving me all by myself to scream my frustration over the situation.

After screeching a few curses, I drew in some calming breaths, decided to ignore his commentary about my clothes, and waited for trouble to come knocking at my door.

Author Bio:

RJ Blain suffers from a Moleskine journal obsession, a pen fixation, and a terrible tendency to pun without warning.

In her spare time, she daydreams about being a spy. Her contingency plan involves tying her best of enemies to spinning wheels and quoting James Bond villains until satisfied.

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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Book Tour & Giveaway: Bad Fairy Strikes Again by Elaine Kaye


Bad Fairy Strikes Again
A Bad Fairy Adventure Book 2
by Elaine Kaye
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Thistle Greenbud thought the nickname Bad Fairy was behind her, but she can't escape it. Someone is spreading a rumor about her that just isn't true and can ruin all of her hard work in getting into Advanced School. What fairy would do such a thing? As if that's not bad enough, Thistle's dad goes missing. Not a single fairy in Tinselville has seen him. He's vanished like pixie dust. Her mom is distraught, and Thistle is worried. Where could he be? Thistle and the Flutters, along with Dusty and Moss, are on both cases. Can they find out what happened to her dad and solve the Bad Fairy rumor? Thistle hopes so!

**Only .99 cents!!**

As we watch the boys, the wind picks up, making the fern lay flat, exposing us. We gasp and make a dash for the closest tree. Behind it, we huddle together.

“Boogles! A branch just hit me,” Weedy says.

The sky turns black. Wind swirls dust and leaves, and spits pebbles at us. This is not good. We have to get going now or else our payback will get blown away.

“Let’s go!” I scream and lead the group from behind the tree, but the wind makes it hard for us to move forward.

Rose and Lilly grab hands as they run, screaming, toward the creek. Lacey stumbles over a fallen twig, landing flat and hitting her face hard on the ground. When she doesn’t move, I race to her as sand and pine needles prick my skin.

I help Lacey to her feet. Luckily, she only has a few cuts on her face. A tiny bit of blood streaks down her forehead. She looks at me. Fear is bright in her eyes. She needs help. We all need help. I peer toward the creek. The boys are still there, frantically trying to lift the bag full of stones.

Shouting a warning and waving my arms, I hurry to the creek, trying to get their attention. Finally, Dusty sees me. He looks as if he’s been caught with his hand in the pixie jar.

I point to the sky and wave them to come our way. Rain starts to fall. Dusty pulls Moss from the creek. Fat drops of water pelt my head and wings as I wait for the boys to reach me.

“It must be a twisty!” Dusty screams. “We better find shelter.”

Bad Fairy
A Bad Fairy Adventure Book 1

Thistle Greenbud is not a bad fairy. She simply doesn't like rules, and it's just her luck that her homework is to create a new rule for the fairy handbook. But first, she has more important things to do. Like figure out how to get back at Dusty and Moss for playing tricks on her.
Before she can carry out her plan, though, disaster strikes and she finds herself working alongside the very fairies she wanted revenge on. Can they work together and trust each other, or will things go from bad to worse?

**Only .99 cents!!**

Elaine Kaye is the author of A Bad Fairy Adventure series AND A Gregory Green Adventure series. She first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup Disaster.
Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher’s assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

3 signed paperback picture books (Pea Soup Disaster, The Missing Alphabet, Slow Poke), 
three handmade bookmarks, plus a goodie bag and worksheets.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Chatting with author Beth Henderson

I'm thrilled to have Beth with me telling us a little about herself and her book SUPERSTAR.

Let's dive right in!

Can you tell us what you're working on now?

Actually, I’ve started on a new 4 book series that sort of combines the romantic comedy in most of the romances I’ve written in the past with the mystery tales I’ve begun writing as J.B. Dane, adding a dash of the paranormal in them. My heroine is a witch, and my hero is a 173-year-old werewolf who looks like he’s in his mid to late 30s. But I recently finished a romantic suspense that has a music theme and, oddly enough, because I needed a recording company and a music icon in it, I plucked both from SUPERSTAR, which I have to admit is not only the longest novel I’ve ever written, but the one I reread a couple times a year because I start missing the hero, Paul Montgomery.

Paul must be hunky! 😊 So what is your favorite genre and why?

This is always a tough question to answer because I write in so many different genres and I read in all of them. However, mystery and historical novels are what you’ll find on my bookshelves in the living room. (The study has all the research books so it’s the non-fiction room where fiction gets written.) I’m one of those readers who stops reading the moment the sleuth realizes whodunnit, though hasn’t named them yet and mentally rewinds everything to see if I can puzzle it out with the same facts. I don’t always get it right, but that’s because the stories I like best tend to do the same thing I do when writing a mystery – throw a twist in at the end to surprise the reader. That can give you one of those slap-your-hand-against-your-forehead moments where you say, “Duh! Of course! It was right there all along!”

My favorite novels are the ones I couldn't guess the end but, like you, I do have fun trying! What do you do when you're not writing?

Reading either historical mysteries or books with heavy doses of comedy in them. Finished Sabrina Flynn’s latest Ravenwood Mystery the other night. I love the characters in this series and the historical detail Flynn works into each story really brings turn of the century (19th to 20th) San Francisco to life. It’s pre-1906 earthquake era and definitely not a tame place to live. Otherwise, I’m currently swimming in research about the American heiresses of the Gilded Age going off to Europe to snag paupered but titled husbands. You can’t keep a gal with a history degree away from research for long. Oddly enough, while SUPERSTAR follows my own “youthful” timeline, I still ended up doing all kinds of research when writing it.

I bet! Beth, thanks so much for taking the time to chat! And for sharing the excerpt!

Genre: Historical Romance

Sometimes love simply isn't enough.


Paul Montgomery’s dreams are of music, of writing it as well as performing. His journey takes him from covering Beatle songs for high school dances in the mid-1960s to being acclaimed for his diversity in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Particularly for composing a library of love songs. With sold out concerts around the world, singles and albums that repeatedly go gold then platinum, and innovative music videos on MTV, he seems to lead a charmed life. At least, professionally. Along the way there is tragedy: the loss of a friend to the Viet Nam war, the attempt to save a fellow rocker from her drug addiction, but it is winning and losing the only woman he’s ever loved – twice – that is a never healing wound in his heart.

For Aurora Chambers, it is the world of fashion that beckons. A scholarship for a summer design program in London is a carrot even her love for Paul can’t best. Hurt by his seeming denigrating of her aspirations, she throws herself into the heart of Carnaby Street in 1967, and the arms of her instructor. When Rory binds her future to Trevor Harris’s, she soon regrets it. Her designs all carry Trevor’s name, not her own. Secretly, she follows Paul’s rise through the music trades, occasionally mourning the loss of what they had. When a second chance at happiness with him appears, she grabs it. And nearly destroys them both.

Read SUPERSTAR today: #Kindle


Paul leaned against the wall, one knee bent, his foot against the gray-brown brick. The masonry felt cool against his sweat drenched back. He ran a hand through his damp hair, then finished his soda.

In a corner near the stage, three girls watched him from beneath lowered eyelids, twittering to each other, apparently unaware that their voices funneled out of the gym allowing him to hear every word they said.

“Go on,” one urged.

“Should I?” her friend demanded. “He’s kinda old, isn’t he?”

“He’s cute,” breathed the third. “Ask him.”

Paul crumpled his empty cup and tossed it aside into a trash container: two points, a basket. He hoped the trio would lose their nerve and leave him in peace.

The fates chose differently.

One girl was pushed forward from the huddle. Timid, she moved toward him, her friends a breath behind her. “Hi,” she said.

Paul straightened, giving them a half smile. He hoped they didn’t take it for encouragement. He was kinda old for them. They looked veritable infants, fourteen at the most.

“You guys are really gear,” the girl bubbled.

“Thank you. I’m glad you like our sound.”

She turned to look over her shoulder at her friends for moral support. One poked her. The other frowned.

“Is there a song you girls would like to hear?” he asked, hoping he was leaving them with little option but to leave once the title was named.


The tap of high heels nearby distracted the girl. She glanced aside at the newcomer.

He did, too, and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Where’d everybody go?” Rory asked, her eyes on the group of younger girls.

He couldn’t help it. He grinned at her. She was the cavalry arriving in the nick of time. He noticed the trio of little girls taking in Aurora’s clinging, short outfit, her long straight hair. Hell, she was lovely. He took one of the Coke’s from her and slipped his arm around her waist. For protection, he told himself, not because he wanted to touch her.

The teens took the hint. “Could you play ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’?” one asked, covering for her friends.

Paul nodded. “You got it,” he said.

The girls looked at each other a moment, then moved away, their heads already together as they whispered. This time, fortunately, he couldn’t hear what they were saying. Was that because their backs were to him now, or was it because he was overly aware of how well Rory fit against him, of how good she felt? 

To distract himself, Paul sipped the fresh drink. “You have any requests, Red?” he asked, although he made no move to slip his arm from around her. 

She studied the bubbles rising in her cup. “No,” she said, shaking her head slightly. The curtain of straight copper hair rippled with the movement, shimmering as the security lights outside the open door spilled over it. With her so close he was aware of her scent, of how it made the night air that much sweeter.

“Enjoying yourself?” he asked, wishing Bobbie would return. If she didn’t, he was going to take Aurora in his arms.

And hate himself afterwards for being so weak.

“I’ve seen you dancing,” he said.

She grinned up at him. “You did?”

How could he not have watched her? Even with the spotlights blinding him most of the time, he’d seen how graceful she was, how fluid in her movements on the dance floor. He hadn’t been able to take his eyes off her and had hated every guy with whom she’d danced.

“You’re good,” he said. Oh, damn, he thought. Now her eyes were glowing, her lips curving as she smiled softly.

As if they were in the distance rather than mere feet away, he didn’t see the teenagers as they milled back toward the gym. Didn’t see the clustered chaperones. He was wondering what it would be like to kiss her, really kiss her.

“Time’s up,” Jim Gordon sang out. Rawlins and Simpson trailed behind him. Paul put two feet of space between himself and Rory Chambers. He hastily gulped the last of his Coke in relief and tossed the cup away. Thank God for the second troop of cavalry! They’d come to his rescue — a rescue far more necessary for his peace of mind — just in time. A moment more and there would have been no going back. He’d briefly tasted Aurora’s lips at Christmas and hadn’t been able to shake the hunger that had infected him since then. If they shared a longer kiss there would be no going back.

“Thanks, Red,” he said and turned to follow Gordon.

Her hand stopped him, burnt him. “There is a song you could do for me.” 


“‘If I Fell’,” Rory said.

“Sure,” he agreed and dashed back into the building, back to the safe hell of the stage. The words of her request were already running through his mind: if I fell in love with you...


About the author:

Beth Henderson is the author of 30+ novels under various pseudonyms. Although she sings slightly off-key, that was not a deterrent when she was inadvertently writing copy for the evening disc jockey on WONE in Dayton, Ohio when in high school. He read the various silly news features she wrote for The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Lunch Bags newsletter on the air. Nor when being quoted by her first husband when he was on the air at various other radio stations. She spent many an evening as “the girl who came with the band” on dates with a jazz musician and later married another of the same ilk. And yet, she can honestly say, not a one of them contributed to the creation of Paul Montgomery. He simply walked into her mind in the late 1980s and hung around until she figured out his whole story – which took decades. As a result, her “relationship” with Paul is far longer than any she had with boyfriend or spouse. A fact that bothers her not a jot.

Connect with Beth
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twiter 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

A Quick Chat with Kimberly Baer, author of Mall Girl Meets the Shadow Vandal

With me today is Kimberly Baer. She's chatting about writing, reading, and life. Plus, she shared the trailer and an excerpt to her spunky middle-grade novel, Mall Girl Meets the Shadow Vandal. This is a fun read with characters kids will relate to and a spooky mystery that needs solving. Perfect for kids who love unraveling a great mystery. 

Let's get right into the interview...

Welcome, Kimberly!

What are three things we’d find if we looked under your heroine’s bed? 

(1) A banana, because Chloe’s mom heard that bananas last longer if you separate them. You’ll find bananas in all sorts of strange places in the Lamonts’ house: on the fireplace mantel, in Chloe’s sock drawer—and probably under her bed, too. 

(2) A mystery book, because that’s what Chloe likes to read. Of course, she’s not so crazy about the mystery she’s living. Being a twelve-year-old crime suspect can really get a girl down. 

(3) Sticky notes covered in T-shirt sayings. Chloe has been jotting down the messages she sees on people’s T-shirts. Why? So she can turn them into a poem and enter it in the Creative Endeavors contest at school. But can she beat that snooty Ashley Elizabeth, who considers herself the class writer?

What book stayed with you long after you finished reading it. 

Ida B, by Katherine Hannigan. This is a middle-grade novel about an irrepressible fourth-grader whose family must deal with difficult circumstances. I read the book more than a decade ago (as an adult, not a kid), but I still remember how that little girl leapt off the pages and entered my life. She became as real to me as the flesh-and-blood kids I knew. Kudos to Ms. Hannigan for creating such a memorable character—and a sweet, funny, uplifting story.

My followers love to learn a little about the author. Can you tell us what you do when you’re not writing? 

I like to go power-walking. It’s great exercise—but that’s not the only reason I do it. When I slip on my sneakers and head outside, I’m actually continuing to write. My route is pretty rigorous because it includes lots of hills, and the increased circulation to my brain does wonders for my creative thinking ability. If I’m having trouble with a scene, I think about ways to resolve it. If a sentence doesn’t sound quite right, I try out alternate phrasing. I’m continually amazed by how many new ideas I get and how many problems I solve while exercising.

Thank you, Kimberly! 

Now, let's check out her newest book!

Mall Girl Meets the Shadow Vandal
by Kimberly Baer
Genre: Middle-grade mystery


“A lively, jaunty mystery with a terrific cast of characters.” – Kirkus Reviews

Chloe Lamont doesn't live in a neighborhood, like most kids. Her house is in the middle of the mall. And now someone is stealing items from her house and using them to vandalize stores. Who is trying to frame her? And how are they getting into the house? 

Desperate to catch the real vandal and clear her name, Chloe seeks help from the kids in her Mystery Reading Group at school. While searching for clues, the Mystery Groupers make an astounding discovery. And then things get really crazy…

Buy links:

Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Apple  |Google Play  |  Kobo  

Scribd (unlimited books for $9.99 a month)

View the Mall Girl book trailer


The next morning, Mom and I find out there’s been another incident. And by morning, I mean two-fifteen a.m.

The pounding on the front door wakes us both. We stagger to the living room in our pajamas and bathrobes, exchanging looks of dread. We know even before Mom unbolts the door what this is about.

Hal is standing on our porch, huffing and puffing like maybe he had to up his usual walking pace from leisurely saunter to moderate stroll.

“It’s happened again,” he says, panting. “Another attack. I was down by the doughnut shop when Tom, the other guard, calls down to me from the upper level. ‘Intruder!’ he says. Hoo, let me catch my breath.” 

He clutches his heaving chest for a minute and then continues. “Anyway, I saw the guy maybe fifty feet away. I yelled for him to stop, but he took off. Turned down the Farringer’s wing. When I got down here—nothing. Not a soul in sight.”

Hal stares at us meaningfully.

“Well, where do you think he went, Hal?” my mother asks in her scratchy pre-breakfast voice.

“He couldn’ta gone nowhere, Ursula. That’s the thing. All the stores got their gates in place. There aren’t any exits in this wing. The only place he coulda gone is right here. Into your house.”

I gasp and step closer to my mother, glancing around the living room, then toward the kitchen. An intruder in our house? It’s a notion out of a thriller movie.

My mother is shaking her head. “There’s no way he could have gotten into our house. The door was bolted just now when I came into the living room.”

“What about the back door?” I say.

My mother whirls around and marches toward the rear of the house. I’m right on her heels. Hal, not bothering to wait for an invitation, enters the house and follows us.

The back door is bolted, too.

We check the windows. All are locked. Hal keeps barking importantly into his walkie-talkie, communicating with Tom. He says things like “roger that” and “perpetrator” and “oh-two-hundred hours,” trying to sound like actual law enforcement and not just a night guard in a shopping mall. He tells us the police are on their way.

“What kind of attack?” my mother finally asks.

“He used spray paint this time. Vandalized about five stores between Deluca’s and the Farringer’s wing.”

Spray paint! I’m on the verge of swooning. I almost ask if the spray paint was hot pink but stop myself in time.

“So it was a man?” says my mother. “You keep saying ‘he.’ ”

“I don’t know if it was a man. Gotta call him something. Ain’t about to keep saying ‘he or she.’ The person wasn’t very big—I can tell you that.” His eyes drift to me.

We pace around the tiny living room as we wait for the police. Finally there’s a rap on the door. Two police officers are standing there—Officer Sanford, the burly, shrewd-eyed cop who interrogated us after the knife attack, and Officer Pritts, the sandy-haired younger cop who looks like a veterinarian. Officer Pritts smiles at me. Officer Sanford does not. Good cop, bad cop, I think.

Officer Sanford tells Hal he’s wanted at the scene of the crime, where several other police officers are gathering evidence. Hal gives my mother and me an uncomfortable nod and ambles away.

Officer Sanford asks the usual questions. Where were we tonight, did we see or hear anything unusual, did we leave our house at any time after mall hours, did we give anybody a key.

Then he says, “We need to take a look around. You can let us do that now, or we can get a search warrant.”

Search warrant! That’s what the cops on crime shows get when they think they’ve found the guilty party and want to search his house.

“By all means, look around,” Mom says. “We have nothing to—hide.” 

She falters on that last word, like maybe she just remembered the spray paint can. She knows I left it on the top cellar step. The can isn’t noticeable when you go down the stairs because it’s nestled in the corner of the step. But every time she comes up from the cellar, she spots it and says, “Chloe, the next time you go to the cellar, please take that can of spray paint down.”

Since I never go to the cellar, the can hasn’t made it back to the laundry room. It’s possible the Shadow Vandal took the can with him when he was done vandalizing those stores. But if he put it back on the cellar step, the officers are going to find it.

“Okay, then,” says Officer Sanford. “Let’s get started.”

About the author:

Kimberly Baer wrote her first story at age six. It was about a baby chick that hatched out of a little girl's Easter egg after somehow surviving the hard-boiling process. Nowadays she enjoys writing middle-grade and young adult fiction. She lives in Virginia, where she likes to go power-walking on days when it's not too hot, too cold, too rainy, too snowy, or too windy. On indoor days, you might find her binge-watching one of her favorite TV shows: Gilmore Girls, Friends, or The Office.

You can call her "Kim." All her friends do. 

Social media links:

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Amazon  |  Goodreads