[Guest Post]: Weird Writing Quirks by Collin Glavac, the author of a spy thriller “Ghosts of Guatemala”

My today’s guest is a thriller author, Collin Glavac. His spy thriller “Ghosts of Guatemala” was published in November 2019.

Collin Glavac’s Weird Writing Quirks

I’ve been writing for a long time now, and I suppose I was bound to develop some strange habits along the way. Here is a weird list of my writing quirks:

Fingerless Gloves: I like to wear fingerless gloves when I write because they keep my hands warm and add a bit of protection but mostly because they make me feel super cool. Sometimes I light incense or candles so I get a mystical vibe going on too.

Coffee: I like to have a steady IV drip of coffee going. Tea is also acceptable. While the nectar of the gods flows, so do the words. I also keep water at my desk because drinking coffee doesn’t quench my thirst, so I sort of alternate between the two. Surprisingly, I don’t need snacks while I write (but snacks are always good, let’s be real). My guilty treat is late-night coffee. I write some really weird stuff when that happens.

Hoodie: I really like writing with my hood up so I feel all hunkered-down when I hit the keys. I sometimes wear a cloak as well to really bundle up, and sit cross-legged in my chair. I stopped being self-conscious about how this looks a long time ago.

Headphones: Big noise-cancellation over-the-ear headphones are key. I listen to whatever will keep me in a flow and rid me of distraction, but I need up-tempo stuff to keep me moving. I wish I could say I listen to beautiful sweeping fantasy soundtracks but I actually find trashy pop music to be the best thing to listen to while I write.

Tech: Besides headphones tech-wise, I also LOVE my mechanical keyboard and dual monitor setup. I like to bang my keys so each letter feels like a hammer working at an anvil. My mechanical keyboard (blue switches, thank you very much) make me feel like I’m typing on an obnoxious typewriter. It’s great, although not for anyone unfortunate enough to be in the next room over. Once I upgraded to a dual screen setup there was no going back. I keep my writing document on my primary screen and use the secondary screen to display my notes, music, and any research I need to pull up. It is chef’s kiss perfect.

So there you have it, my weirdo writing quirks. Basically, I look like a gremlin in a cave when I write. Don’t worry what you look like when you write! And honestly, what I’ve learned to appreciate most is being able to write without any of these things. This is a wishlist. I used to only write when inspiration came, and I realized how much I was limiting myself. Inspiration doesn’t always come, and it only chains you to the muse. I think it’s important to murder your muse so you can write anywhere, anytime, with only a pen and paper if need be (yes, even without coffee).

What are your weird quirks? Happy writing! 🙂

About the Book

Genre: Spy Thriller

Date Published: 25th November 2019

Who can you trust when corruption and danger are a way of life?

The CIA never left Latin America, and is facing catastrophic blackmail at the hands of an erratic Guatemalan drug lord: the infamous patrón of Antigua – Pablo Puentes. Desperate for a swift solution, the agency calls in their black operative fixer: John Carpenter.

John is a cold-blooded professional ready for the job. But the mission doesn’t have a simple fix. Pablo has a disastrous kill switch in place.

John is still haunted by the mysterious death of his best friend who died on a far too similar mission, and now is uncertain about how much he can trust his handler or his sensual partner.

Back at the agency, tensions are running hot as the stench of corruption is growing to a boiling point. If things aren’t put to rights – and soon – the entire mission will go up in flames and take the CIA down with it.

Only John Carpenter can bring this drug lord to justice and get the answers he deserves.

Because this mission is personal…

If you like the relentless tension of Daniel Silva and the gritty reality of Lee Child then you’ll love this first book in the John Carpenter Trilogy.

About the Author

Collin Glavac is a Canadian born actor and writer who lives in the province of Ontario Canada. He has written, directed and acted in two original stage plays, In Real Life, and LoveSpell. He completed his Dramatic and Liberal Arts B.A. and M.A at Brock University.
Ghosts of Guatemala is his first novel.
Collin loves hearing from readers, so please don’t hesitate to contact him by email at: collinglavac@gmail.com

Contact Links

Website: http://www.collinglavac.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Collin-Glavac-Books-1121304391410779

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CollinGlavac

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48946944-ghosts-of-guatemala

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

Purchase Links

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghosts-of-guatemala-collin-glavac/1135107120?ean=2940163708420

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/ghosts-of-guatemala

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1489118360


eBook or signed copy


[Release Blitz]: Killing Time by Mike Murphey

Physics, Lust and Greed Series, Book 3

Genre: Humorous Science Fiction

Date Published: 11th May 2021

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

At every crossroads he has encountered in life, Sean Brody has made the safe choice. In the year 2046, at the age of ninety-three, Sean is given one final opportunity to deal with his greatest regret.

Sean is the only man Marshall Grissom and Marta Hamilton can find who might be able to save Sheila Schuler, their friend and fellow traveler lost in the distant reaches of time. If Sean accepts the task of traveling to his childhood in a parallel universe—with no guarantee that any aspect of the past can be changed—Sean must also accept his death in the only world he knows.

About the Author

Mike Murphey is a native of eastern New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. He left journalism in 1998 to form a business related to adult amateur baseball. At the age of 60, he stopped procrastinating and revived his life-long ambition to write a novel. He is author of Sections, an award-winning coming of age novel set in Eastern New Mexico where Mike grew up. He is also author of The Conman … a Baseball Odyssey, another award-winning novel. Killing Time is the third novel in his Physics, Lust and Greed Series. Mike splits his time between Spokane, Washington and Phoenix, Arizona where he enjoys life as a writer and old-man baseball player.

Contact Links

Website:  http://www.mikemurpheybooks.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mike.murphey.author

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

Purchase Links


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[Book Blitz]: Parker’s Choice by Mike Nemeth

Genre: Suspense, Mystery

Published: March 2021

Publisher: Southern Fried Karma

Framed for murder and on-the-run an innocent man is forced to become an outlaw. Hiding from his troubled past in Atlanta, Parker can’t escape his enemies. His former business partner blackmails him and when she’s killed, Parker becomes the chief suspect, but he fears his wife did it.

His boss coerces him to commit fraud, but he and his clever colleague, Sabrina, uncover evidence that his elusive birth father is involved in the scheme and Parker’s innate moral code is stressed to the limit. Parker must solve a riddle within a quandary within a puzzle within a mystery to save the lives of those he loves.


Three Years Ago

Parker watched her on the doorbell camera on his phone. It shouldn’t have to end this way; his future shouldn’t depend on the risky odds that he was right about what would happen tonight. He weaved around over-sized furniture and peered through the small square window in his front door. She wore a red, V-neck sundress exposing two inches of cleavage, reminding Parker once again that this woman’s sexual magnetism radiated like heat waves off a blacktop road. Her body an eye-catching confluence of tanned, sweeping curves, her hair long and blonde, and her eyes sapphire blue, she was a woman in her prime who Parker knew enjoyed the attention of men of all ages. He wiped his sweaty palms on his shorts and opened the door. On-time and all smiles,  Meredith walked into his arms as though she were his lover arriving for a romantic evening.

Awkwardly, Parker extricated himself from her embrace. He led her to the dining room in his cramped beach bungalow where the papers to dissolve their partnership in Advanced Fraud Analytics, LLC were laid out on the table.

“You surprised me by agreeing to this,” he said.

She shook her head, and her long hair flew off one shoulder and onto the other. “Time to get off the investor-schmoozing merry-go-round and kill our ‘baby.’”

“Sad it’s come to this, but it’s a good deal for you. You’re relieved of all company debts and obligations and indemnified against any lawsuits; in return, I retain full ownership of the fraud detection algorithms and computer programs. Okay?”

She tapped the stack of papers with her ruby nails but did not take a seat. “Let’s do this outside. It’s such a lovely evening.”

Outside, Parker knew he would lose a measure of control, but he had planned for this situation. He swept up the legal documents and carried them to the pebbled glass table in his lanai. Five feet beyond the wall of screens, a swimming pool filled the backyard that ended in a gentle slope to the Intracoastal Waterway. A wooden shed, in which his center-console boat sat in a lift sling, flanked his rickety dock and to the right of the pool a large, four-person hot tub squatted on a slab, shielded from his neighbor’s sight by thick hibiscus. The sun was a dying ember on the horizon, so Parker turned on the underwater pool lights. It wasn’t a romantic gesture; he wanted a little indirect lighting.

“Do you have any wine, Parker? May as well make this pleasant.”

He hesitated; he had no weapons in the house. “White or red?”

“White if you have it.”

He nodded. “You can read the documents while I’m pouring the wine.”

When he returned to the patio with a chilled glass of Chablis and a sweating bottle of Tecate, he found Meredith standing at the edge of the pool with her naked back to him. She stepped out of red thong panties and flipped them with her foot onto the Cool Crete surface surrounding the pool where her outer garments and lacy bra were strewn in disarray. Naked, she grinned at him over her shoulder. He returned her smile as he admired the perfect contours of her high ass and the smooth tapering of her legs.

“Come on in,” she said. “You can’t have a free show.” Then she dove into the pool.

If he didn’t suspect that she wanted him in the water so he’d be less mobile, Parker would have been tempted to join her. He squatted at the edge of the pool and extended the glass of wine to her. He couldn’t resist watching her wade toward him, her breasts parting the rippled water like the prow of a ship plowing through ocean waves. She gave him permission with her eyes, but she couldn’t resist a quick glance over her shoulder at the bottom of his property where it met an inlet off the Intracoastal Waterway. He followed her gaze and saw it then, a white Boston Whaler silently drifting up to his dock. He had thought the odds would be in his favor, and now they weren’t. She noted the look of recognition on his face and made a grab for her purse at the edge of the pool, but Parker was quicker. He snatched the unusually heavy bag and tossed it into the deep end of the pool. Then he kicked her clothes into the water.

Shrieking, “Help! Rape!” Meredith climbed out of the pool and dashed into the house.

A rangy man in military fatigues, wielding a double-barrel shotgun as though it were a natural extension of his hand, leapt onto the dock and advanced toward Parker.

“Get the fuck off my property,” Parker snarled.

The man raised the shotgun with one hand as Parker ducked to evade the blast that shattered the sliding glass doors at the back of the house. Bent at the waist, Parker hustled into the protective shadows at the side of his house. Cowering behind his hot tub, he watched the man slowly approach in a stealthy semi-crouch, like a big game hunter stalking his prey. The terror Parker felt was what an antelope feels when it is about to be eaten alive by a pride of hungry lions. Now would be good time to rescue me.

When the hunter reached the hot tub and crept around the far side, Parker shuffledclockwise to remain on the opposite side. He took shallow breaths through his nose to mask the sound of his breathing as he listened to the blood coursing through his carotid artery—whoosh, whoosh. Where is she?

When they had made half a turn around the hot tub, and the predator’s back was to the boathouse where she had been hiding, he saw her emerge in the crepuscular light, fifteen feet away on his dock, and assume the shooter’s stance she’d been taught at the gun range. She never said a word, gave the hunter no warning, just fired her compact Beretta once, and the man crumpled onto the Cool Crete surface with a thud and a rush of expelled air. That hadn’t been the plan. She was only supposed to balance the threat Parker suspected Meredith had posed. She wasn’t supposed to shoot anyone. But Meredith had out-schemed him. It’s so easy to get these things wrong.

A scan of the house’s back windows revealed no sign of Meredith. Parker motioned for the woman to hurry into the shadows and put a finger to his lips—don’t talk. The wounded man moaned softly, and Parker’s quick glance confirmed that he was semi-conscious and neither moving nor watching. Parker took the woman’s pistol and shoved her toward the neighbor’s property. The snowbirds who owned the place were away enjoying the Canadian summer during the Florida off-season.

“Run,” he whispered.

She did as she was told. He counted to twenty—one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi—then he dialed 9-1-1.

About the Author

Mike Nemeth is an Army vet and former high tech executive who lives in suburban Atlanta with his wife, Angie and their rescue dig, Scout. He is the author of the Amazon bestselling and award-winning novels “Defiled” and “The Undiscovered Country.” Creative Loafing Atlanta named him Best Local Author for 2019.

Contact Links

Website: http://mikenemethauthor.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nemosnovels

Facebook: https://facebook.com/people/mikenemethauthor

Promo Link: http://bookbuzz.net/blog/mystery-suspense-parkers-choice-by-mike-nemeth/

Purchase Links

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/parkers-choice-mike-nemeth/1138982602?ean=9781970137149

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781970137149

[Book Blitz]: The Sun at Twilight by N.L. Holmes

Empire at Twilight, Book 4

Genre: Historical Fiction, LGBT+ Historical Fiction

Published: February 2021

Publisher: WayBack Press

Which would you choose: love or peace in your Kingdom?

In the twilight years of the Hittite Empire (1230s BC), Tudhaliya IV comes to the throne as a usurper’s younger son, determined to rule according to the traditional values of justice and clemency, despite the harder advice of his ambitious mother and his questionably loyal older brothers.

When his cousin Kurunta, with whom he was raised as someone dearer than a brother, decides his own claim to the throne is stronger than Tudhaliya’s, the latter must decide whether to apply the brutal pragmatism of his advisors or risk appearing weak, and how to manage to leave his own son an empire that is finally free from civil war. The cost will be the sacrifice of his deepest friendship.

About the Author

N.L. Holmes is the pen name of a professional archaeologist who received her doctorate from Bryn Mawr College. She has excavated in Greece and in Israel, and taught ancient history and humanities at the university level for many years. She has always had a passion for books, and in childhood, she and her cousin (also a writer today) used to write stories for fun.

Contact Links

Website: https://www.nlholmes.com/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/nlholmesbooks

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/n.l.holmes/

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/nlholmes

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/n-l-holmes/

Purchase Links

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-sun-at-twilight-nl-holmes/1138854967

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-sun-at-twilight/id1554292879

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-sun-at-twilight

[Release Blitz]: A Wider World by Karen Heenan

The Tudor Court, Book Two

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: 25th April 2021

Publisher: Authors 4 Authors Publishing

Memories are all he has…

Now they could save his life.

Returning to England after almost five years in exile, Robin Lewis is arrested and charged with heresy by the dying Queen Mary. As he is escorted to the Tower of London, Robin spins a tale for his captor, revisiting his life under three Tudor monarchs and wondering how he will be judged—not just by the queen, but by the God he stopped serving long ago. 

When every moment counts, will his stories last long enough for him to be saved by Mary’s heir, the young Queen Elizabeth?

Other Book in the The Tudor Court Series:

The Tudor Court, Book One

Publisher: Authors 4 Authors Publishing

Published: November 2019

She has the voice of an angel…

But one false note could send her back to her old life of poverty.

After her father sells her to Henry VIII, ten-year-old Bess builds a new life as a royal minstrel, and earns the nickname “the king’s songbird.”

She comes of age in the decadent Tudor court, where the stakes are always high, and where politics, heartbreak, and disease threaten everyone from the king to the lowliest musician.

Her world has only one constant: Tom, her first and dearest friend. But when Bess intrigues with Anne Boleyn and strains against the restrictions of life at court, will she find that constancy has its limits?

You’ll love this richly-detailed historical novel, because we all want to know what goes on “backstairs at the palace.”

About the Author

Karen Heenan was born and raised in Philadelphia. She fell in love with books and stories before she learned to read and has wanted to write for nearly as long. After far too many years in a cubicle, she set herself free to follow her dreams—which include gardening, sewing, traveling, and of course, lots of writing. She lives in Lansdowne, PA, not far from Philadelphia, with four cats and a very patient husband.

Contact Links

Website: https://www.karenheenan.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karen_heenan

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karen.heenan/

Publisher’s Social Media:

Website: https://www.authors4authorspublishing.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/A4APublishing

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authors4authorspublishing

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authors4authorspublishing/

Purchase Links

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-wider-world-karen-heenan/1138639216?ean=2940165176029

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-wider-world

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-wider-world/id1549435633

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Karen_Heenan_A_Wider_World?id=7F4kEAAAQBAJ

[Book Blitz]: Now & Then by Justin M. Kiska

A Parker City Mystery

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Published: February 2021

Publisher: Level Best Books

Parker City now . . . Parker City then . . . Every city has its stories and secrets.

In the spring of 1981, Parker City is rocked by a series of brutal murders. Unthinkable crimes the likes of which are unheard of in the close-knit community. Under great pressure from the powers-that-be, it is made clear to newly minted Parker City Police Detectives Ben Winters and Tommy Mason that their first case could very well be their last if they can’t catch the killer.

Decades later, after distinguished careers in law enforcement, Ben and Tommy find themselves on the eve of retirement. But in their final days on the job, their very first case comes back to haunt them in a heart-wrenching twist leaving everyone to wonder – did they get it wrong all those years ago? Has the killer been on the loose all this time?

The investigation unfolds simultaneously in the ‘80s and the present as the case of the Spring Strangler looms large over Parker City.

About the Author

When not sitting in his library devising new and clever ways to kill people (for his mysteries), Justin can usually be found at The Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, outside of Washington, DC, where he is one of the owners and producers. In addition to writing the new Parker City Mysteries Series, of which Now & Then is the first installment, he is also the mastermind behind Marquee Mysteries, a series of interactive mystery events he has been writing and producing for over fifteen years.

Contact Links

Website: http://www.JustinKiska.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justinkiska

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/JMKiska

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/justinkiska

BookBub: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/justin-m-kiska

Purchase Links

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/now-then-justin-kiska/1138821763?ean=9781947915961

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/now-then-9

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/now-amp-then/id1553221751

BookShop: https://bookshop.org/books/now-then-a-parker-city-mystery/9781947915961

[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


$20 Amazon Gift Card


[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