[Release Blitz]: Creatures of Comfort by E.J. Suh

Genre: Historical Fiction

Date Published: 21st April 2021

Publisher: Ellipsis Entertainment LLC

At the height of World War II, Japanese forces occupy the Korean peninsula. Hana and Jina Bak are Korean at heart but divided in their affections for their “new culture.” It would be normal teenage behavior, if they weren’t trafficked into being “Comfort Women” for the Japanese military.

The girls must learn how to navigate the rules of the comfort station, ally themselves with powerful friends, and resist the temptations many sex slaves succumb to. With a newfound appreciation for sibling relationships and devotion to ones’ family, the girls must decide the best way to get home before they lose their lives, their sanity, and their very souls.

In the vein of the Joy Luck Club, Creatures of Comfort imbues the reader with a sense of fate vs. will, good and bad luck, and family ghosts.

About the Author

E.J. Suh is the author’s historical fiction pen name. E.J. lives with her big family and rescue pups in Central Texas. She loves all genres of books and people. Originally from Seoul, South Korea, she immigrated to the US at 4 through her uncle’s military sponsorship. She was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada and graduated with a BFA in Film Studies. She loves researching for her books and has a soft spot for juvenile literature and screenplays. When not writing she is a serial entrepreneur and educator.

Contact Links

Website: www.ejzain.com     

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

Twitter: @escribble

Purchase Links

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/creatures-of-comfort-ej-suh/1137529595?ean=2940165166952

Giveaway

$20 Amazon Gift Card

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/408264011327

[Book Blitz]: The Call to See by Sara Enochs

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel

Date Published: February 2021

Publisher: Westwood Books

She would do anything for her kids. When she learns the planet is in grave danger, can she save it to protect her descendants?

Ava Andrews puts family above all. Still grieving after her brother’s shocking murder years before, the mother of four is nervous when her husband’s new job relocates them from Arizona to Texas. And when her elderly mom has a stroke back in Phoenix, Ava plunges into a nightmare of visions revealing a dying Earth and her children fighting to survive.

Praying it isn’t too late to reverse course, the determined woman vows to invoke the change needed to ensure a safe future for her offspring. But despite her exhaustive search for answers, she can’t shake the feeling that the solution lies in her own heart.

Can Ava use her foresight to create a world her grandchildren can proudly declare home?

The Call to See is the powerful first book in The Call science fiction series. If you like unique perspectives, advocating for Mother Earth, and family-oriented characters, then you’ll love Sara Enochs’s inspiring tale.

Buy The Call to See to open your eyes to evolve today!

About the Author

Sara Enochs is the author of two trilogies, The Code Trilogy: The Code of Destiny, The Code of Dignity, and The Code of Deliverance, and The Core Trilogy: The Core of Knowledge, The Core of Change, and The Core of the Soul, which are the prequels to The Call Trilogy: The Call to See, The Call to be a Tree, and The Call to be Free. She has a warm place in her heart for kids, moms, women’s health, and the environment. She currently lives in Austin, Texas with her family.
 

Contact Links

Website: http://www.saraenochs-author.com

Twitter: https://www.Twitter.com/Sara_Enochs

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

Instagram: https://www.Instagram.com/sara.enochs/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomsara_enochs

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sara-enochs

Promo Link: http://bookbuzz.net/blog/science-fiction-time-travel-the-call-to-see-by-sara-enochs/

Purchase Links

[Book Review]: Pompeii by Robert Harris

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Hutchinson London

Release Date: November 2003 (first edition)

A number one bestselling Roman thriller from the award-winning master of the literary and historical thriller genre: Robert Harris. A thrilling depiction of one of the most famous natural disasters in human history: the explosion of Mount Vesuvius.

A sweltering week in late August. Where better to enjoy the last days of summer than on the beautiful Bay of Naples? But even as Rome’s richest citizens relax in their villas around Pompeii and Herculaneum, there are ominous warnings that something is going wrong. Wells and springs are failing, a man has disappeared, and now the greatest aqueduct in the world – the mighty Aqua Augusta – has suddenly ceased to flow. Through the eyes of four characters – a young engineer, an adolescent girl, a corrupt millionaire, and an elderly scientist – Robert Harris brilliantly recreates a luxurious world on the brink of destruction.

About the Author

Robert Harris is the author of eleven bestselling novels: the Cicero Trilogy – Imperium, Lustrum and Dictator – Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, The Ghost, The Fear Index, An Officer and a Spy, which won four prizes including the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, and Conclave. His forthcoming book, Munich, coming out in September 2017, is set over the four days of the Munich Conference, and is filled with the real-life characters and events of the time. Several of his books have been filmed, including The Ghost, which was directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in West Berkshire with his wife, Gill Hornby.

Contact Links

Website: http://www.robert-harris.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/575.Robert_Harris

My Review

3* stars

We all know the tragic story of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Right? So, when I picked this book, I didn’t expect a happy end. The author found ways to surprise me, though.

Set during the four last days of the city, the novel follows the adventures of a young aquarius (civil engineer), Marcus Attilius Primus, sent from Rome to look after the Aqua Augusta, the main aqueduct, which brings water to the towns and villages all over the coast. When the aquarius finds out that his predecessor has disappeared without a trace, when underground springs start to flow backwards, when water in local reservoirs appears to be poisoned by sulphur, and the city’s water supplies are failing, Attilius starts a race against time to repair the Augusta and avoid the disaster in the whole region.

Supported by Admiral Pliny, better known to readers as Pliny the Elder, a philosopher and the author of Naturalis Historia, Attilius travels from Misenum to Pompeii to repair the aqueduct, but there’re lots of people there who don’t want him to succeed.

The author’s description of Roman life is vivid and engrossing. Luxurious villas along the coast, private vessels, mini-armies of slaves—the life of Roman aristocrats is full of pleasures and worry-free. In Pompeii, the glam and glitter of high society clash with the poverty of plebs. Corruption rules the place where profit easily outweighs a human life.

 Numerius Popidius Ampliatus, a former slave and now a millionaire, knows everything about profit. He made his fortune after an earthquake of almost two decades ago by buying cheaply and rebuilding abandoned houses. Bribes to the local magistrates, shady business with the former aquarius, tax fraud… Amplius became a real ruler of Pompeii. Ruthless and corrupted, he enjoys torturing his slaves, cheating on his wife, and selling his daughter, Corelia, to get to the inner circle of local aristocrats.

Ampliatus offers Attilius a deal, similar to what he’s offered to his predecessor, but honest aquarius, who inevitably falls in love with Corelia, refuses.

Now, Attilius needs not only to save the city from the drought but his own life from the killers and the eruption of Vesuvius.

The author depicts the decadent city in all its grandeur and splendour. The description of the aqueducts’ system is well-researched and leaves a reader wondering how advanced Roman engineering was more than two millennia ago. The eruption of Vesuvius is horrifying and intriguing at the same time.

The novel promises a lot, but there’re a few things that the author struggled to deliver. First of all, the pace. It’s almost dragged at the beginning. In fact, the first chapter where Attilius reflects on his childhood and his father, who also worked as an aquarius and passed his skills to his son, can be deleted completely. It doesn’t bring anything to the plot. The language. Some words and phrases are far too modern for the period.

My biggest issue was the characters’ development, though. I love morally grey villains with a solid back story. Ampliatus doesn’t have one. His life as a slave, who was sexually abused by his master, doesn’t justify his cruelty towards his family. He’s just a very “bad guy”.

Attilius’s pointless wandering around the summit of Vesuvius and his “great escape” at the beginning of the eruption seems too far-fetch to me. The whole romantic subplot is undeveloped and rushed.

The most interesting character here is Admiral Pliny. He’s a scientist and a philosopher, not a soldier. Outcast by the emperor, he lives in dignity amongst people like Ampliatus and dies as a stoic, facing the eruption. “Face it, don’t give it. Face it, like a Roman.”

Purchase Link

[Book Blitz]: Eternal Promise by Holly-Eloise Walters

The Soul of Mary Stuart

Genre: Historical Fiction

Date Published: February 2021

Publisher: Churchill Publishing

Eternal Promise, The Soul of Mary Stuart is an intimate version of the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, told with fresh eyes and an open heart. Journey with this Queen as she lives through a breathtakingly pure love, heartbreak, and relentless betrayal. Author Holly-Eloise Walters infuses this telling with warmth, compassion, and love.

About the Author

Holly-Eloise Walters is an author from Bristol, England. She debuted with her first book The Most Happy in October of 2019. Holly grew up in Bristol and dedicates her life and inspiration to her Nan, who raised her and taught her to look beyond the immediate for answers.
Holly has recently joined the Churchill Publishing team as Director in England.

Contact Links

Website: https://hollyeloiseauthor.wixsite.com/mysite

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Eternal-Promise-The-Soul-Of-Mary-Stuart-105615157631784

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Holly-Eloise-Walters-Author-450838955494089

Publisher: http://www.churchill-publishing.com/

Promo Link: http://bookbuzz.net/blog/historical-fiction-eternal-promise-the-soul-of-mary-stuart-by-holly-eloise-walters/

Purchase Links

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/eternal-promise-holly-eloise-walters/1138914372?ean=9781638210054

[Guest Post]: What does my office look like on the launch day of my debut novel, “Under the Light of the Italian Moon” by Jennifer Anton

Our rooms say a lot about us. We live in them, day in and day out, and don’t consider that they never stay exactly the same. But every once in a while, over the past years of my daughter’s life, I have taken photos of her room and the objects in it. When I look back, I smile at the objects that change on her shelves and walls as she moved from a toddler to a little girl, to teenager. The setting tells the story of the person who lives there.


Today, as my debut novel, Under the Light of the Italian Moon, launches, I decided to do it for myself. To take a snapshot of a moment in time that can never be repeated, because life will evolve from here and the feelings and things that surround me now will never be exactly like this. 


My office in London is where I finished the novel. After our French foreign exchange student moved out, I took it over. On the walls hang a poster of the epic Italian movie, La Dolce Vita and a poster of the 1930s Revlon ad campaign Fire & Ice. I used to manage the brand in Europe, Middle East and Africa and I will always adore it. An antique French gilded mirror reflects what’s on my pinboard:  A prayer card of the Madonna, a rosary, a timeline of events during the lead up to World War II in Italy, bookshops I dream of being in, reminders to be patient and a strip of photo booth pictures of me, my husband and daughter from when she was tiny and we lived in Chicago. The final wall holds images of the Italian women in my family–my “why” for writing my novel. To remember the women.

 
On the shelves are books– and a lot of them. Books about the craft like Steven King’s On Writing. Historical books about fascism and WWII. Fiction by Bassani, Moravia, Calvino and modern-day WWII novels. The shelves are interspersed with images of strong women in my family, vintage Vogue covers and Audrey Hepburn prints. 


Out the window from the day bed, I can see Battersea Power station in London and, at night, I can view the moon over the rooftops. We rarely have guests, especially now, so the bed is for lounging when sitting at the desk gets to be too much. 


When I close the door to this office, I am not in London. My laptop opens and I am in Italy, 1930s and 40s. I transported to a world filled with beauty and pain. Many tears have been shed on this seat as I go through the emotions of my characters. Much pride has been felt when I look to my left and see the women of my family staring back at me as I dare to attempt to tell the stories of their lives, woven together with fiction. 


I’m certain the room and its contents will shift again in the next few weeks. It will change as this next phase in my life begins. I am a novelist now, from this day forward. What will come next, I don’t know. But, it is a reminder to step back, embrace the moment and take it all in.   

About the Book

Genre: Historical fiction, women’s fiction, biographical fiction

Date to be Published: 8th March 2021

Publisher: Amsterdam Publishers

A promise keeps them apart until World War II threatens to destroy their love forever

Fonzaso Italy, between two wars

Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave.

When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.

As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…

A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heartbreaking real events.

Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into World War II.

About the Author

Jennifer Anton is an American/Italian dual citizen born in Joliet, Illinois and now lives between London and Lake Como, Italy. A proud advocate for women’s rights and equality, she hopes to rescue women’s stories from history, starting with her Italian family. 
In 2006, after the birth of her daughter, Jennifer suffered a life-threatening post-partum cardiomyopathy, and soon after, her Italian grandmother died. This tumultuous year strengthened her desire to capture the stories of her female Italian ancestors.
In 2012, she moved with her family to Milan, Italy and Chicago Parent Magazine published her article, It’s In the Journey, chronicling the benefits of travelling the world with children. Later, she moved to London where she has held leadership positions in brand marketing with companies including ABInbev, Revlon, Shiseido and Tory Burch.
Jennifer is a graduate of Illinois State University where she was a Chi Omega and holds a master’s degree from DePaul University in Chicago.
Under the Light of the Italian Moon is her first novel, based on the lives of her Italian grandmother and great grandmothers during the rise of fascism and World War II.

Contact Links

Instagram: @boldwomanwriting

Facebook: @jenniferantonauthorpage

Website: www.boldwomanwriting.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56089169-under-the-light-of-the-italian-moon

Purchase Link

[Book Blitz]: Sniper by George A. Bernstein

A Detective Al Warner Novel

Genre: Suspense, Thriller

Published: October 2020

Publisher: Gnd Publishing

A deadly sniper is killing people in groups of three. Miami Detective Al Warner hates senseless murder, but the second set of targets provides several possible motives. One victim is brain dead but alive, reliant on life support. The FBI ID’s the shooter as The Shadow, an elusive, nameless contract killer they’ve hunted for two decades.

Charles Seagrave and his lover, Kim, are on a desperate search for a rare blood type liver donor for his nephew, Hunter, who only has months to live. The Shadow’s brain-dead victim is a possible candidate, but his mother won’t accept her son will never recover.

The Shadow drops more victims, another coincidentally a donor match for Hunter. Warner doesn’t trust happenstance and a secondary investigation opens a door into a deadly black market organ ring. As the detective races to uncover the illegal labs and stem those patient deaths, he learns Seagrave is dogging the Shadow’s victims’ families in hopes of a private donation.

A chance connection finally leads Warner to the assassin. In a shocking twist of exposed identities and astounding revelations, The Shadow escapes. Has Warner finally met his match? The fight to save Hunter and Warner’s mission to apprehend The Shadow results in a battle that may prove deadly for all.

Excerpt

The time had come for people to begin dying.

I cracked open the door and my eyes swept the roof. Deserted. No surprise, considering the already intensified South Florida morning sun, as it arced above the distant palm trees. Mirrored sunglasses donned, I tugged the brim of a Marlins ball cap down to shade my eyes from the glare.

There, I spied what was needed near the eastern parapet . . . a three-foot-high steel mechanical box. Perfect. It offered a clear view of Bayfront Park, just across Biscayne Boulevard. I crouched and hurried across the roof’s black-tarred surface, my backpack and an oversized guitar case slung over my shoulder.

Shrugging off both, I removed a bedroll and spread it across the green top of the metal case. Latex gloves ensured I’d leave no prints or DNA. I flipped open the case and removed the pieces, taking less than a minute to assemble the rifle. A moment later, sprawled atop the flannel blanket and facing east, I loaded a 12.7mm round into the weapon’s breach, jacked four more into the magazine, and snapped it in place. More fire power than needed.

I arched my neck and took a quick preview of the landscape, then shed the gloves and pocketed them. A compact wind gauge set on the coping gave me direction and speed of the currently mild breeze. 

I settled the weapon’s bipod on the metal surface. A gentle exhale quieted my heart before making preliminary adjustments to the telescopic sight. Right eye against the scope, I tweaked the focus and began a scan of the area.

There, the bus stop at NE 1st Street; and to the right, a path exiting the park. With a minor correction to the Leupold 5×25 scope, I swept the grounds, spotting the famous headless torso sculpture bordering the winding path.

Three joggers bobbed along the paths: a fit, thirty-ish woman coming toward me, a paunchy guy in his 50’s heading away, and a young jock—probably mid-twenties—on a crosswalk. Two kneeling Latino gardeners planted spring annuals along the trail. Drifting left out along Biscayne Boulevard, I located morning foot traffic striding along the walk, all apparent business-types on their way to offices in Miami’s financial district—a myriad of opportunities.

I sighed again, spread my legs a bit wider, and steadied my base as I fitted the butt of the TAC-50 snug against my shoulder. My clenched jaw required a wiggle to relieve tension as I sucked in a measured breath. This begins the first act, spawned from hours of scouting, detailed research, and the endless target practice at a remote ’Glades savannah: something very different from my usual contracts and using a new tool I’d come to love.

Now to initiate a reign of terror that will obscure my real motive. While I wasn’t the first at this scenario, mine was certainly the cleverest. No time for qualms, because as they say, the end justifies the means.

Been there, done that before, but this was the first time it was personal. Innocents sometimes perished to achieve a greater goal, but never before at my hand. That was about to change.

Starting now.

Who first? Ahh, the woman, just about to exit the park. I steadied her rhythmically loping body in the telescopic sight. Eleven hundred meters—an easy shot to baptize my deadly, new McMillan sniper rifle, acquired on the dark web. A soft breath eased from my lungs, and my lips tightened with resolve as I smoothly squeezed the trigger.

The sound-suppressed rifle emitted a quiet, high-pitched pop. The woman’s blond hair billowed out in a red-stained cloud, tossing her peaked cap away as the huge slug caught her left temple while in mid-stride. The impact slammed her to the ground as the exit wound blew half of her face away.

I blinked to moisten my eye and swung the scoped rifle left toward Biscayne Boulevard, searching for my next target. There, a guy hurrying along the walk, briefcase in hand, unaware of the mayhem just occurring behind him. I made a minor sight adjustment, exhaled, and squeezed off the next shot, catching him squarely between the shoulder blades. The big slug drove him across the walk, flattening him face down along the grassy border. Red spatter peppered the path in front of him. There was a loud yelp and a third victim, fifty-feet in front, tumbled over, clutching his shoulder.

I grunted and then pivoted my attention back to the park.

Hmm. Two with one shot. Unexpected consequences, but of little concern at the moment. One of the gardeners straightened by the flower bed. A hand shaded his eyes as he searched for the source of the sudden ruckus.

The rifle emitted a soft burp and my third shot pitched the kneeling man backward, arms flung wide, as he took the round on the breastbone.

No pause required to examine the results. I knew all three shots had been instantly fatal. The fourth, unplanned victim must have caught a ricochet of the super-sonic slug as it blew through my victim and bounced off the concrete walkway. Just some collateral damage. There’ll be a lot more of that soon enough.

I slipped off the steel box and pulled the rifle and bedroll down. Scampering around in a squat, I collected and pocketed the three still-hot spent casings and snatched up my backpack and guitar case. Duck-walking away from the tile-topped parapet of the tall office building, I reached the exit door. I hunkered in the shadows and folded the rifle’s bipod, removed the detachable scope and stock, and replaced them in my customized guitar case. Glancing up, I wondered if someone in the nearby taller apartment buildings noticed my activity. Speed now was essential.

I shrugged on the backpack with the bedroll already fastened on top. With the cased weapon slung over a shoulder, I hurried through the door toward the staircase. It would be a long trip down on foot, but no problem for someone aerobically fit as me. The stairs were an extra precaution, because a homeless musician might be remembered if spotted riding the elevator.

Reaching the ground floor, I eased open the door and searched the building’s lobby.

Empty.

Any possible onlookers would see an innocuous street guy taking a shortcut across the marble-floored foyer, headed for a rear door that exited to the parking lot. Hurrying between rows of cars and past the next building on NE 3rd Avenue, I strode north toward my beige Honda CRV. It sat at the curb with eight minutes still on the meter. My backpack and gun case found the floor in front of the back seat. A moment later, I slipped into the driver’s side, started the engine, and hustled north on NW 2nd Avenue, heading for Interstate 395.

It had begun.

The first move of many to come—Miami about to become the center of panic again, and it would stay that way until the completion of this mission.

Speculation would abound about my motive, but I doubted anyone would come close to my real goal. Even the famed Detective Al Warner was unlikely to make this connection.

I sighed. Time is in short supply, but I have to get it done. No excuses. The next round of kills will be the one that counts, but I can’t stop there if I’m to continue misdirecting the cops. This is different from anything I’ve ever done for hire.

I contemplated my next move as I sped north, now on I-95. After things cooled for a few days, I’d head for Hollywood in south Broward County. Its main library was one I’d not yet visited. I took obsessive care not to leave any pattern or Internet trail for some clever detective to discover.

A blond wig and a pair of uncorrected tortoise-shell glasses were in a small bag on the passenger seat. Every library required the use of a different disguise.

Once this is over, life should return to my new normal. Had it only been six months? I shook my head and breathed another sigh.

Such unreasonable schedule restrictions. I grunted. Careful planning and sharp execution would triumph, as always. I’ve been on a tight wire more than once. Anyone getting in the way would not make it out alive.

They never did.

About the Author

George A. Bernstein, now living in south Florida, is the retired President of a modest, publicly held appliance manufacturer. He spent years attending writing seminars and conferences, learning to polish his work and developing a strong “voice.” George is acclaimed by his peers as a superb wordsmith and a crafter of surprise endings no one expects. He works with professional editors to ensure his novels meet his own rigorous standards, and all of his books are currently published by small indie press, GnD Publishing LLC, in which he has an interest.
“Sniper” is the fifth of his Detective Al Warner Suspense series, with the first four; “Death’s Angel;” “Born to Die;” “The Prom Dress Killer;” and “White Death” all garnering rave reviews. His Detective Al Warner has attracted many fans, with readers likening Warner to James Patterson’s Alex Cross.
Bernstein’s first novel, “Trapped,” was a winner in a small Indie publisher’s “Next Great American Novel” contest, and received high praise, gaining many mostly 5-star reviews, reaching “Top 100” status. His second novel, “A 3rd Time to Die” (A paranormal Romantic Suspense) has also garnered mostly 5-Star & 4-Star reviews, with one reader likening him to the best, less “spooky” works of Dean Koontz & Stephen King.
Bernstein is also a “World-class” fly-fisherman, setting a baker’s dozen IGFA World Records, mostly on fly-rods. He’s written the popular “Toothy Critters Love Flies” (http://pikeflyguy.com), the complete book on fly-fishing for pike & musky.

Contact Links

Twitter: http://twitter.com/georgebernstein

Facebook: http://facebook.com/georgeabernstein

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2875897.George_A_Bernstein

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/George-A.-Bernstein/e/B009R1FR56

Promo Link: http://bookbuzz.net/blog/suspense-thriller-sniper-by-george-a-bernstein/

Purchase Links

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sniper-george-a-bernstein/1138088967?ean=9780989468183

B-A-M: https://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780989468183

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780989468183

[Guest Post]: Writing “The Devil Whispered” by Shawn Starkweather

Today, I have a guest author Shawn Starkweather on my blog. Shawn talks about writing his science fiction/mystery novel The Devil Whispered.

Guest Post

As the date of publication for my debut novel, The Devil Whispered, neared, I found myself completely out of steam to get it across the finish line. It’s hard to quantify the amount of energy, research, and effort that I’ve funnelled towards the success of this story, so you can imagine my dismay at feeling so uninspired at such a critical time.

I wondered if it was just that I was totally out of gas. From trying to understand marketing, social media outreach, book blasts, blurbs, and the hundreds of other components of a launch – all of which are potentially critical to the process – had I just put everything I had into it and forgotten to leave something in reserve to facilitate bringing the journey to a close? Maybe.

I reached out to my mother, who seemed infinitely more energetic and engaged about the process than I was feeling, and she was convinced it was a defense mechanism. If I didn’t care about the success of the book, I couldn’t be let down or disappointed if it failed. That didn’t feel quite right either, but she had some other ideas that were helpful to process and digest.

I’m a bit of an introvert. I can wear the right face and get enthusiastic, but I’m at my best on my own, applying my creativity to a project of some kind. I’d been full of energy and pizzazz throughout that part of the process. When I was in my own world, coming up with ideas and plot twists, I was infinitely inspired. I could do it obsessively until everything was exactly the way I wanted it to be.

Mom told me that she thought it made sense that since I was reaching the part of the journey where I became dependent on other people it would be a lot more difficult to maintain that enthusiasm. My time alone with my art, where it was up to me whether or not it was good enough, was coming to an end. Now, it was time to release the art into the world and subject it to the judgement of anyone interested in reading it.

While that was helpful to consider, and probably true to some extent, the real issue was that I was having a hard time seeing a path to success that didn’t rely on some viral phenomenon. Even if everyone that cared and supported me bought a copy of the book, I couldn’t really see a way for it to escape from the community out into the world at large. I was having a hard time processing the idea that as a society, we’ve moved into an era where the success of an artist, while certainly somewhat impacted by their talent, feels more reliant on luck than drive or skill.

There are billions of people with voices who want to be heard, and technology that gives everyone that opportunity, but it’s the people who decide when something really catches on fire. Many of the things I’ve seen indicate that the quality of the content that becomes viral is fairly irrelevant and I was feeling my motivation dwindle and fade because I was having a hard time imagining my ripple extending outward across the pond.

None of that really matters. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the process of creating art was fulfilling to me, and that was all I needed. Sure, I want to be recognized and successful, but we can’t create art for that purpose alone. We have to need to share it with the world. The world may or may not listen, but you need to tell that story anyhow, because it’s desperately trying to escape the solitude of being locked in your mind alone and being picked at to your notions of perfection. It wants to be out there – not to be judged, but because it will have fulfilled its purpose of bringing you more alive by participating in its creation. It was a good lesson to remember.

About the Book

Genre: Science-Fiction/Mystery/Detective

Date Published: 1st March 2021

Retired special-forces commander Jacobi Slate is drawn into a downward-spiraling vortex of fear and doubt while investigating a brutal murder committed by an old friend. As evidence mounts that someone else might be pulling strings from the shadows, Jacobi struggles to understand a developing connection to his own past, which is quickly catching up to him. 

Near-future cyberpunk collides with gritty detective noir in this fast-paced thriller that shines a light on both the vast shortcomings and the noble heroism of the human condition. To unravel the mystery, Jacobi will pull on every thread while chasing leads from the squalor of the most dangerous streets to the high-tech towers of the wealthy elite on his quest to understand a truth he might not be ready to face.

About the Author

Shawn lives in Massachusetts with his wife and the handful of childhood stuffed animals that they’ve been unable to part ways with, even despite the awkward situation it occasionally puts their house guests in. He wields a coveted Associates of Liberal Arts degree from Greenfield Community college in an overly enthusiastic, flailing manner, and puts it to work writing both fantasy and science fiction stories. Using subliminal codes and hidden messaging carefully placed throughout his books, he plans to captivate the minds of his readers and insidiously manipulate them into purchasing subsequent releases.
As a novelist, musician, graphic designer, and a purveyor of fine games, Shawn is often confused about exactly who he is when he wakes up in the morning. It’s been said (by him) that perhaps he embodies all of these things so equally that a singular definition could not comprehensively impart a satisfactory description. With your support, and a sufficient demand for more novels, he secretly hopes that he’ll have no choice but to formally acknowledge the prevailing label of ‘author’ and spend the rest of his days providing a sense of wonder and adventure to everyone who helped him solidify his nebulous identity.
 

Contact Links

Website: https://shawnstarkweather.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Stark_Books

Blog: https://shawnstarkweather.com/blog/blogpost1.html

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawn-starkweather-465311201/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B08NWGCY9S 

Purchase Links

Giveaway

$5 Amazon Gift Card + eBook Copy

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/408264011305

[Release Blitz]: Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton

Genre: Historical fiction, women’s fiction, biographical fiction

Date to be Published: 8th March 2021

Publisher: Amsterdam Publishers

A promise keeps them apart until World War II threatens to destroy their love forever

Fonzaso Italy, between two wars

Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave.

When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.

As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…

A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heart-breaking real events.

Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into World War II.

About the Author

Jennifer Anton is an American/Italian dual citizen born in Joliet, Illinois and now lives between London and Lake Como, Italy. A proud advocate for women’s rights and equality, she hopes to rescue women’s stories from history, starting with her Italian family. 
In 2006, after the birth of her daughter, Jennifer suffered a life-threatening post-partum cardiomyopathy, and soon after, her Italian grandmother died. This tumultuous year strengthened her desire to capture the stories of her female Italian ancestors.
In 2012, she moved with her family to Milan, Italy and Chicago Parent Magazine published her article, It’s In the Journey, chronicling the benefits of travelling the world with children. Later, she moved to London where she has held leadership positions in brand marketing with companies including ABInbev, Revlon, Shiseido and Tory Burch.
Jennifer is a graduate of Illinois State University where she was a Chi Omega and holds a master’s degree from DePaul University in Chicago.
Under the Light of the Italian Moon is her first novel, based on the lives of her Italian grandmother and great grandmothers during the rise of fascism and World War II.

Contact Links:

Instagram: @boldwomanwriting

Facebook: @jenniferantonauthorpage

Website:  www.boldwomanwriting.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56089169-under-the-light-of-the-italian-moon

Preorder Link

getbook.at/JAnton

Giveaway

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/408264011314/

[Guest Post]: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About – The Black Candle Killings by Andrew Segal

Today on my blog, I host Andrew Segal, the author of a thriller The Black Candle Killings.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Black Candle Killings

  • The inspiration for my main character, Tammy Pierre, private
    investigator, came partly from my first wife’s background. Born
    in Trinidad, her father was an architect.
  • I spent several holidays in Port-of Spain, Trinidad one of the
    locations in the book.
  • I made enquiries about the requirements and qualifications
    needed to become a private investigator in the UK.
  • I learned something about Krav Maga, the Israeli system of
    unarmed combat, before starting to write.
  • When Tammy cannot pack a gun for her own defence, she
    carries several Shuriken, those are lethal Japanese throwing
    stars, in specially made pockets in her belt.
  • My own father was in the fashion trade, so when it comes to
    dressing Tammy in designer outfits I’ve a fair notion of what
    is required.
  • You didn’t know that while Tammy smokes panatellas to
    avoid the excesses of inhaled smoking and keep at least
    relatively fit, she doesn’t draw the smoke into her lungs.
  • Tammy is very tall and exceptionally strong, but she is all
    woman, and finds it terribly hurtful when men, usually the
    inadequate ones, mock her with taunts of, ‘Is it a man?’
  • Tammy has the morals of an alley cat, but would herself be
    saddened if any of her closest lovers betrayed her

Tammy is a maverick, doing lines of cocaine when it suits
her. Perhaps not as immediately addictive as other drugs, it
raises her spirits, albeit only briefly, when she feels down.

About the Book

Conspiracy Series, Book 3

 Genre: Detective Thriller

Date Published: 1st March 2021

 Publisher: Happy London Press

A church going district of North London and a neighbourhood where friendly residents know each other. But when a brutally murdered woman is found next to a burned-out black candle, a strange mark etched deep into her back, the locals became afraid.

Her old boss, a Chief Superintendent in the Met, calls for PI, Tammy Pierre’s assistance. He’s aware of her Caribbean links, and knowledge of Obiah, a voodoo curse found in Trinidad, and used, some claim, to commit bizarre murders. So, is it voodoo? Or just superstition?

A trip to the West Indies reveals some disturbing facts, new evidence of child abuse and murders going undetected for over twenty years. 

Returning to London, her situation becomes dangerous – is it all more than Tammy had bargained for? 

About the Author




Having never written a dramatic word in my life some thirty years ago, an idea for a short story popped into my head. With the encouragement of my wife and daughter I wrote a tale about a timid and ineffectual man and his pet cat, called Cat and Mouse. Wife and daughter approved so I produced more stories and then joined a writers’ group who also liked what I wrote.

Sir George Everest said, they climbed that mountain, ‘Because it is there.’ The same might be said of writing. Why do we write? because of the idea, the notion, the thought. ‘Because it is there,’ and the irresistible urge to put it down in print.

My inspirations have come from real people, events or situations that have presented themselves. Titles like, I am a Contract Killer, Beads of Blood, Death Zone, License to Kill, are all based on my own lifetime experiences, questions asked, incidents occurring. So far, nobody has been murdered on my watch. But the notion gave rise to the impetus to write my first murder mystery, The Lyme Regis Murders. Could I make the jump after years of writing macabre short stories to a full-length drama? That familiar beating in the gut, said, ‘Yes, try it. Give it a go.’

And so to that cosy coastal town where nothing untoward ever happens. Or perhaps it does. The author seeks to shatter notions, change people’s perceptions, spoil long held views. That was my intention in entering into the world of crime thrillers. I’ve found that ‘nice’ people are not always what they seem. The helpless can be transformed into the most dangerous, the most dangerous become the most harmless. It’s all up to the writer and what they’re hoping to achieve. For me, so far, there have been several children’s books, one collection of short stories, with three more planned and three novels completed, plus a fourth in the mixer.

Whilst a short story might be written with a flurry of adrenalin in the space of a few hours, a book will need more than just a flash of creativity. It will need, perseverance, discipline and dogged determination. But then, isn’t that what is required of every ambition?

Contact Links

Website: https://www.happylondonpress.com/andrew-segal-author

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

Author’s Website: http://andrewsegalauthor.com/about/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/HappyLDNpress

Blog:https://happylondonpress.blogspot.com/

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

Purchase Link

[Release Blitz]: The Devil Whispered by Shawn Starkweather

Genre: Science-Fiction, Mystery, Detective

Date Published: 1st March 2021

Retired special-forces commander Jacobi Slate is drawn into a downward-spiraling vortex of fear and doubt while investigating a brutal murder committed by an old friend. As evidence mounts that someone else might be pulling strings from the shadows, Jacobi struggles to understand a developing connection to his own past, which is quickly catching up to him. 

Near-future cyberpunk collides with gritty detective noir in this fast-paced thriller that shines a light on both the vast shortcomings and the noble heroism of the human condition. To unravel the mystery, Jacobi will pull on every thread while chasing leads from the squalor of the most dangerous streets to the high-tech towers of the wealthy elite on his quest to understand a truth he might not be ready to face.

 Excerpt

My consciousness snapped online with abrupt decisiveness. I had the acute feeling of being alone in a world that was wrongly serene like the silence of the dead. I’d been dreaming of something horrifying, but the details were dancing just outside the boundary of my ability to recall. The panic I’d woken with was caught in my chest. It held me frozen to the sheets as my mind reconfigured to the safety and familiarity of my apartment. Though the context of the dream was faded and surreal, the fear was vivid and raw. It was a visceral terror, compounded by a deeply rooted aversion to vulnerability.

As I lay there, waiting for the sensation of cold dread to die away, the room was unceremoniously lit up by the glow of the wide monitor that comprised the wall opposite my bed. Shielding my eyes from the sting of the sudden light, I heard Ava, my virtual concierge, ask if I would like to receive a call.

“Who’s calling?” I asked with what little energy I’d mustered.

“Pavel Volkov is awaiting your response.” Her voice was always the same, mildly empathetic with a touch of encouragement.

I wrapped the sheet around me and grudgingly pulled myself up to sit on the side of the bed. Looking out from the tall windows that constituted the eastern-facing wall of my bedroom, I saw that it was still deep in the night. The only radiance beyond the panes was generated by the city itself; from the broken lines of luminous code emanating from the trickling streams of traffic far below, and the windows of the high-rises that towered above them – light and dark, the ones and zeroes of a binary skyline.

“Yeah, okay.”

Then, Pavel’s finely kempt visage was smiling keenly at me from my wall. He was standing on a rocky beach, and waves were lapping at the shore behind him. He wore a white silk suit and a bemused expression that seemed inappropriately unapologetic.

“It’s late, Pavel.”

“Good morning, Jacobi. My apologies for contacting you at this hour, but I thought you’d want to know that I’ve located the target.”

“Where are you?”

“I’ll send coordinates to your CUBE.”

Pavel Volkov was a liar and a thief. He’d conned so many wealthy aristocrats that he’d become one himself, but he stayed in the game for the sake of his own twisted entertainment. He was an artist, who specialized in painting perfect illusions. Deception was his medium, but I’d worked with him for long enough that I trusted him when it came to getting the job done. Traces of malaise from my restless sleep were lingering, so the notion of lucid wakefulness was a welcome one.

“I’m on my way,” I said. “End call.”

Pavel’s smirking face faded as the monitor went dark, and I was left with only my thoughts and the reiterating cycles of light from the softly glowing city outside. In the silence, I heard the faint percussion of fiery horse hooves falling away as the nightmare visiting me surrendered the assault and retreated to the depths of wherever dark dreams were designed.

About the Author

Shawn lives in Massachusetts with his wife and the handful of childhood stuffed animals that they’ve been unable to part ways with, even despite the awkward situation it occasionally puts their house guests in. He wields a coveted Associates of Liberal Arts degree from Greenfield Community college in an overly enthusiastic, flailing manner, and puts it to work writing both fantasy and science fiction stories. Using subliminal codes and hidden messaging carefully placed throughout his books, he plans to captivate the minds of his readers and insidiously manipulate them into purchasing subsequent releases.
As a novelist, musician, graphic designer, and a purveyor of fine games, Shawn is often confused about exactly who he is when he wakes up in the morning. It’s been said (by him) that perhaps he embodies all of these things so equally that a singular definition could not comprehensively impart a satisfactory description. With your support, and a sufficient demand for more novels, he secretly hopes that he’ll have no choice but to formally acknowledge the prevailing label of ‘author’ and spend the rest of his days providing a sense of wonder and adventure to everyone who helped him solidify his nebulous identity.

Contact Links

Website: https://shawnstarkweather.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Stark_Books

Blog: https://shawnstarkweather.com/blog/blogpost1.html

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawn-starkweather-465311201/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B08NWGCY9S

Purchase Links

Coming soon…

Giveaway

$5 Amazon Gift Card and eBook Copy

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/408264011305/