Thursday, 18 October 2018

The Scythian Trials by Elizabeth Isaacs



Title: The Scythian Trials
Author: Elizabeth Isaacs
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: October 16th 2018


Descendants of the Amazons, the Scythians work alongside prominent governments but answer to no one. Warriors living on the fringe of civilization, they live by one credo: Strength through Equality. Power through Knowledge.

Nya Thalestris is the brightest Scythian of her generation. Strong, capable, ruthless, she is sure to earn a spot in the Trials, a time-honored mating ritual responsible for the evolution of her species.

Abducted by their sworn enemy, the Drahzda, Nya is forever altered and spirals out of control. The Society sends in Jax Nickius. Infamous psychologist and one of the most brutal warriors of their kind, he discovers triggers planted in Nya’s mind. As Nya solidifies her spot in the Trials, Jax develops a plan to help her heal—while pursuing her as a mate. But, Nya’s attraction to Jax is at war with her instinct to never let anyone get too close.

During the Trials, Nya’s repressed memories surface, revealing a new enemy—one from inside the consulate walls—and a traitorous alliance on the horizon that could irrevocably change the course of history.

Since before the Bronze Age, the Society has managed to safeguard humanity from itself … until now.

AmazonB&NKobo

Excerpt:

      Nya knelt, her fingertips grazing the embedded paw print in the dark soil. Deep grooves on one side revealed the mountain lion had been favoring its right flank. The impressions were fresh, which meant they were closing ground.
      Her prey had led her deep into the heart of the dense forest.
She slowly rose from her crouched position. The bright moon’s light broke through the thick clouds, casting a soft glow on the path ahead. The cat’s lopsided tracks wove between the trees, skirting dangerously close to the mountain’s ledge.
      She glanced over her shoulder, watching Jax weave through the trees. He chose to stay a few hundred yards back. She had mixed feelings about the gesture. Tomorrow was her last challenge before graduating from the academy, and Jax was giving her the rare gift of space, which she appreciated. But he also insisted she lead, which made her leery.
      In her culture, being treated as an equal was a dangerous thing.
      Nya picked up the pace, following the path until it ended at the edge of a bluff. She stopped for a moment to watch the brooding mist that crept along the valley’s floor. From this vantage point, the streetlights looked like fireflies trapped under frosted glass.
      The average human, or Allos as her people called them, knew little of her kind. They stayed on the forest’s fringe, consumed with the newest technology, choosing instead to take in the mountain’s beauty through windows and distant porches. Most Allos lacked the physical stamina to reach her compound, and those foolish enough to venture too close never came back.
      Her stomach flipped as the hair on the back of her neck prickled. Even though Jax hadn’t made a sound, she knew he was behind her.
      “Do you think the cat fell to his death?” His deep voice, always so calm, muttered in her ear.
      She shivered. Jax officially was the academy’s weapons expert, but he also carried a Ph.D. in psychology and had been her counselor since her first year. He knew she hated people getting in her space. Until a few weeks ago he’d always respected the boundary. Now, he seemed to go out of his way to cross it.
      Her brow lowered. “What do you think?”
      “You’re the tracker. You tell me.”
The tension eased as she stepped closer to the ridge, putting some distance between them. She looked at the steep angle leading to the small town below. “I don’t think it’s down there.”
      “And why not, Vtachi?”
Nya scowled, hating the nickname only he used. He’d given it to her the first time she snuck out of the compound. It meant ‘little bird’ in her native language, Dacian, and it made her feel small and weak. “Stop calling me that. I have more in common with that mountain lion than I do a helpless vtachi.”
      Jax’s perceptive eyes held her gaze. He sighed. “Sadly, that may be true. But it’s become my priority to help you change that. Now, how do you know the cat has not fallen to his death? Answer the question, please.”
      The stubborn part of her wanted to stay silent, but knowing Jax, he’d keep her there all night discussing the finer points of tracking. Or worse, he’d delve into the significance of her having more in common with a wounded predator than an animal gifted with flight.


Author Bio:

Elizabeth is an author, teacher, and publishing professional who began her career as a national presenter for Resource Profiles, where she developed teacher seminars designed to foster creative brain stimulation. Moving into formal education, she helped at-risk students improve their writing skills as well as created and implemented a creative writing/blogging program that centered on teaching the 21st-century learner. Works stemming from this initiative were published online and seen in over 40 countries.

Elizabeth receives invitations to speak nationwide at schools and book clubs. She co-founded the popular book site, Chirenjenzie, which reaches thousands of people throughout the world. The writer support and reader interest group promotes and interacts with followers on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and various other blog sites. Elizabeth has a Master's degree from Austin Peay State University, where she studied classical opera. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

"The Light of Asteria" received Honorable Mention at the New York Book Festival.



Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek & Dave Philpott



Title: Dear Mr Pop Star
Author: Derek & Dave Philpott
Publisher: Unbound (September 20, 2018)
Publication Date: September 20, 2018

A collection of hilarious letters to iconic pop and rock stars with fantastic in-on-the-joke replies from the artists themselves: Eurythmics, Heaven 17, Deep Purple, Devo, Dr. Hook and many, many more…

For more than a decade, Derek Philpott and his son, Dave, have been writing deliberately deranged letters to pop stars from the 1960s to the 90s to take issue with the lyrics of some of their best-known songs. They miss the point as often as they hit it.

But then, to their great surprise, the pop stars started writing back...

Dear Mr Pop Star contains 100 of Derek and Dave's greatest hits, including correspondence with Katrina and the Waves, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, The Housemartins, Suzi Quatro, Devo, Deep Purple, Nik Kershaw, T’Pau, Human League, Eurythmics, Wang Chung, EMF, Mott the Hoople, Heaven 17, Jesus Jones, Johnny Hates Jazz, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Chesney Hawkes and many, many more.




“If you don’t like this book, then you’re no friend of mine.” Ivan Doroschuk, Men Without Hats



My Review:
A fabulous, laugh-out-loud book!
Have you ever wanted to write to a pop star to find out the meaning behind their lyrics, or tell them the lyrics don't make sense? That's exactly what 'The Philpotts' did, and a lot of the stars wrote back!
The letters Derek and Dave wrote are funny and some of the replies are even funnier.
The book kicks off with a letter to the Doctor, from Doctor and the Medics questioning the band name and the difference between a doctor and a medic and the awesome reply from 'Duck Tour'.
This is a humorous collection of those letters and replies. a must read for any music fan!




Derek and Dave Philpott are the noms de plume of two ordinary members of the public, working with help from a worldwide social networking community.






Goddess Fish Promotions Tenth Anniversary Party and Giveaway


Welcome to the Goddess Fish Promotions Tenth Anniversary Month Long Celebration!

Who is Goddess Fish Promotions? And what do we do? We're glad you asked!


Goddess Fish Promotions was established November 14, 2008. Why?

Well, when Marianne became a published author and got her the first taste of trying to promote a book on a budget, there was only one other virtual book tour company in place at the time, and their fees were simply too high for a small press author. After coordinating and running her own tour, she knew other authors could use the same service for a reasonable price. Thus, Goddess Fish Promotions was born.

Because both Judy and Marianne were authors and editors prior to running Goddess Fish Promotions, they approach the business with a unique point of view, and treat their clients how they would expect to be treated.


We didn't want your visit here to be dry and boring, so we decided to have a poetry competition and put what we do into verse. Here are the initial entries:

Marianne:

Roses are Red.
Violets are Blue.
I'm awful at poetry.

Coffee.

Judy:

We can edit your book
find things you didn't see
It will be fun to look
at the changes from me.

Yeah, for some reason, Judy won!
Even better, her poem is correct. We DO offer editing as one of our options.

Here are a couple of testimonials from clients:

I worked with Marianne on a complete edit and was very happy with the results. Her feedback was clear, easy to follow, and she probed on things I hadn’t thought of. She was also responsive whenever I had questions and helped me work through a few issues. Her feedback and guidance improved the quality of my manuscript, all at a very fair price. I’m working on my next book and plan to use their services again.

– J B Glazer, author, In Search of Mr. Anonymous*


Choosing the right editor for a project is incredibly important to an author. Let’s face it, we want the best for our books. When I was considering editors for my first indie-published book, Regenerate, I naturally thought of Goddess Fish Promotions–and I’m so glad I did.

Marianne Arkins and Judy Thomas are incredibly attentive and professional during the entire editing process. Their input was invaluable and the story is much stronger because they cared enough to help unsnarl plot points and find order in the chaos..

I can’t wait to work with them again. Truly, a top-notch editorial team!

– Sarita Leone, award-winning author of Regenerate

We also offer Virtual Book Tours, Graphic Design, Social Media Promotion and more.



And now, more about us... The people behind the fish


Judy Thomas - The Goddess

Judy has a college degree in English and she’s worked in retail, education, at her local library as well as an editor for a small press and for the now defunct ShadowKeep Ezine. She’s also a published author so can see things from both sides of the fence. In 2013, she “retired” and now spends her days helping authors make their dream come true—as well as working as much as she can with her local theater group.



Marianne Arkins - Fish

Grammar freak and coffee lover, Marianne wrote her first novel at ten years old, built her first commercial website in 2000, and published for the first time in 2006. She worked as a professional editor for just over a year, and knows what it’s like to write, edit and promote a book on a budget.






One of our interviews during the tour explains our nicknames ... keep visiting daily to find out!



We hope you enjoyed getting to know us a little and we'd like to do the same. We'd LOVE to see a little poem that tells us a bit about you in the comments.

We'll be awarding random book giveaways and $5 Amazon GCs to some of the best poetry we find. It might not be at every stop, but when something really makes us smile, we'll reward it!

Come on, be daring!



Now, the goodies ... want to win stuff? Here are the rafflecopters:

For Everyone:


For Authors:



Don't forget to follow the tour and comment on each stop to earn more entries to win!



Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Ben by Anne L. Parks


Title: Ben
Series: The 13, Book 4
Author: Anne L. Parks
Genre: Military Romance/thriller/suspense
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Cover Designer: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.


They say you can’t escape your past. Especially when it takes you hostage. When Mia Rowland is taken hostage, nothing will stand in Ben Wells’ way. Not his career as a Navy SEAL. Not even his life.

Mia Rowland wants nothing more than to start her life with the man she loves. But when terrorists kidnap her as she testifies against a US Senator, her dreams of “happily ever after” are, once again, jeopardized.

Ben Wells is anxious to propose to the woman who has stolen his heart. However, his hopes for a lifetime of love and happiness with Mia are put on hold as he embarks on a desperate mission to rescue her—from an enemy he never saw coming.

Ben and Mia are on a perilous race to reclaim their future—before catastrophe separates them forever.


Excerpt:

Ben sat on the end of the aisle and watched one of his new best friends get married. He was happy for Mason, but he also couldn’t seem to swallow the bit of jealousy lodged in his throat. This should be Mia and him standing at the alter, vowing to share their lives forever.

Mia…God, how he missed that woman. The closer it got to her wrapping up her testimony against Senator William Hutton, and finally being released from protective custody, the more Ben grew antsy.

She was probably in court now. Was she nervous? He had wanted to be there, to support her. But she loved Mason and had insisted that one of them be at his wedding. Since she had other obligations she couldn’t get out of…she made him promise he would represent both of them.

Ever since she had discovered that Hutton’s charitable foundation had been a front for money laundering to fund the RRA, Ben, Mason, and Lance had been there to protect her. Mason and Lance had been the ones to care for her while Ben was recovering from a gunshot wound he received rescuing Mia from being beaten to death in an RRA compound in Colombia.

Mason barely waited for the officiant to announce he could kiss the bride before wrapping Jess up in a tight embrace and kissing her deeply. The room filled with hoots and howls of support, and a few playful admonitions of “get a room.”

Ben’s phone buzzed in his pocket. He pulled it out, hoping it was a phone call from Mia. Instead the Newport office number lit up the screen.

“Wells,” he said as he answered the call.

“Humps,” Ryan Flaherty greeted him using Ben’s call sign. Flaherty was Riley’s computer specialist and one of two assistants she had.

But what the hell was he calling Ben for? Was he trying to get Lance or Riley?

“I thought you’d want to know as soon as possible—there was an active shooter at the federal courthouse in DC.”

Ben’s scalp prickled. He stood and walked to the back of the room, his emotions heightened. Mia’s fine…there’s nothing wrong.

Ben closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Where?”

“Inside the courtroom where Hutton’s trial is being heard.”

The one where Mia was supposed to be testifying at that moment. A chill moved down his spine and intensified the quiver in his gut.

“There were apparently at least four men with guns. No one knows for sure how they got in with weapons, but all indications are that it was an inside job.”

Cold fear washed over Ben. “Mia?”

“I can’t get confirmation on her whereabouts, but everyone has been cleared from the courthouse and the wounded taken to the hospital. I’ve checked her name against the people admitted for treatment. Ben…it’s not looking good.”

Ben cleared his throat, the fireball of fear dropped into his gut. “Maybe she’s still inside the courtroom.”

Flaherty exhaled. “The only ones left in the building are all dead.”














Author Bio:

Born and raised in the Rocky Mountains, Anne L. Parks has spent the last 28 years moving all over the United States. Married to the Navy – well a Commander in the Navy – Parks has lived in various locales throughout the United States. She currently resides in the Washington D.C area. When not writing, she spends her time reading, doing yoga, mountain biking, and keeping track of four kids and a very spoiled rescue German Shepherd. And drinking wine.

Author of nine novels (Tri-Stone Trilogy, Return To Me series, and Strangers) and four novellas that have been published in anthologies, she loves to create stories with mystery, plenty of twists and turns, and loaded with suspense.

With a military husband, it was only a matter of time before she broke into the military romantic suspense genre, where she feels right at home amongst highly trained, somewhat jaded, ready to take out terrorists alpha males and the strong, brave women who love them. Parks first military romance, MIA, went to #1 on Amazon’s Kindle World. Thirteen more books will be released in her new series The 13. Two other series are being planned.








Monday, 15 October 2018

Three Mages and a Margarita by Annette Marie


Title: Three Mages and a Margarita
Series: The Guild Codex: Spellbound #1
Author: Annette Marie
Genre: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publication date: September 14th 2018


Broke, almost homeless, and recently fired. Those are my official reasons for answering a wanted ad for a skeevy-looking bartender gig.

It went downhill the moment they asked me to do a trial shift instead of an interview—to see if I’d mesh with their “special” clientele. I think that part went great. Their customers were complete dickheads, and I was an asshole right back. That’s the definition of fitting in, right?

I expected to get thrown out on my ass. Instead, they…offered me the job?

It turns out this place isn’t a bar. It’s aguild. And the three cocky guys I drenched with a margarita during my trial? Yeah, they were mages. Either I’m exactly the kind of takes-no-shit bartender this guild needs, or there’s a good reason no one else wants to work here.

So what’s a broke girl to do? Take the job, of course—with a pay raise.


Note: The three mages are definitely sexy, but this series isn’t a reverse harem. It’s 100% fun, sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy.

Excerpt:

Aaron laughed. “Hey Kai, how do you start an argument with a ginger?”

“Say anything,” the dark-haired guy answered with a smirk. “You realize you’re a ginger too, right? You’re insulting yourself.”


I shot them a furious glare. Why were they making my night worse? Why couldn’t they move their sexy asses to a table? The fact they were hot just made me angrier. All that drool-worthy sex appeal wasted on jackasses—well, maybe not the scarred guy. He was possibly not a jackass. He hadn’t said much so I wasn’t sure.


The three of them looked like goddamn models, but each from a different magazine. Aaron, he might have just galloped across a meadow on horseback, lassoing wild cattle—or beautiful women. He wasn’t dressed like a cowboy, but he had the same ruggedness to him. And he had the muscles to back up that impression, with toned biceps and hard forearms displayed by his gray t-shirt.


His buddy Kai could have walked right off a luxury car ad—the guy behind the wheel, adjusting his sunglasses as he casually careened his sports car down a winding mountain road while the camera panned across his face. His tousled dark hair, fair skin, and arresting features could sell anything.


The third guy was trickier. Ignoring the scar, he had amazing olive skin and rumpled dark brown curls, with a cultivated five-o’clock shadow that scruffed up his jaw in the sexiest way possible. Handsome as hell but not too striking, he was the kind of guy businesses used to advertise men’s casual clothing—wear our jeans and you, average man, can also turn females into quivering masses of desire.


Yep, they were hot shit and, in Aaron’s case, totally knew it.

Author Bio:

Annette Marie is the author of Amazon best-selling YA urban fantasy series Steel & Stone, its prequel trilogy Spell Weaver, and romantic fantasy trilogy Red Winter. Her first love is fantasy, but fast-paced adventures and tantalizing forbidden romances are her guilty pleasures. She lives in the frozen winter wasteland of Alberta, Canada (okay, it's not quite that bad) with her husband and their furry minion of darkness—sorry, cat—Caesar. When not writing, she can be found elbow-deep in one art project or another while blissfully ignoring all adult responsibilities.






Saturday, 13 October 2018

Mythicals by Dennis Meredith


Title: Mythicals
Author: Dennis Meredith
Genre: Science fiction, Fairy tale
Publication Date: December 8, 2018


They’re real: fairies, pixies, werewolves, ogres!
They’re aliens!



Drunken journalist Jack March can’t believe his bleary eyes when he stumbles onto a winged fairy! She vaults away into the night sky, and his unbelievable—and unbelieved—encounter leads to a stunning revelation that all the creatures of myth and legend are real!

Fairies, pixies, trolls, werewolves, ogres, vampires, angels, elves, bigfoot—all are alien exiles to the planet. For their crimes, these “mythicals” are serving out banishment disguised in flesh-suits enabling them to live among the planet’s natives.

Jack reveals their secret to the world, along with a horrendous discovery: they have decided that the native “terminal species” must be eradicated before it ruins its home planet's ecology.

In this riveting scifi/fairy tale, Jack joins with sympathetic fairies, pixies, and ogres to attempt to save the planet from the mythicals, as well as the mysterious alien cabal known as the Pilgrims.


Excerpt:

Jack was sloppily, unacceptably drunk, so Anna hauled her stumbling soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend up the stairs to the residence floor. She looked desperately up and down the hall to see if they'd been detected. Muttering curses, she shoved him through a guest bedroom door.

"You are not just embarrassing me! You could cost me my job!" She scolded.

"I'm sorry, Anna, I just—"

"Yes, I know you lost your job. That is not an excuse! Now you have also lost your girlfriend!"

"Please, please, please! I'm sorry. Look, I'll straighten up. I'll take a little time and sober up and come downstairs and be fine." He gestured at the door to the suite's bathroom. "I'll wash up, straighten up. You go on down."

She spat a curse that called him an intimate body part, and turned and left.

"I deserve that," mumbled Jack to himself. He lumbered into the bathroom and closed the door. He pulled off his tie, jacket, and shirt, ran cold water in the sink and plunged his head into it, submerging his face as long as he could. He raised up to see in the mirror the dripping, bleary-eyed face of a drunken young man, sopping hair in disarray. He plunged his face into the water again, coming up. His head was clearing.

He was drying his face, when he heard a faint thump in the bedroom.

Oh, no! He thought. Somebody’s here! Maybe to go to the bathroom. He quietly locked the bathroom door and waited. Nobody tried to enter. There were no more noises. He was safe. He put on his shirt and jacket, not attempting to knot his tie. He was still too tipsy. He cautiously unlocked the door and ever-so-quietly opened it.

He peeked out into the room. Nobody there. He eased out of the door, and was turning to leave, when a flash of movement in the corner of his eye caused him to turn back into the room.

He gasped in shock at the sight. Standing by the window was a slim, naked girl, with creamy, smooth skin and lustrous, silver hair. But she had wings!

Wings!

The creature had her back to him, struggling to step out of a rubbery-looking pile of flesh-colored stuff on the floor. Beside the pile lay a dress and shoes.

"Damnity-damn!" exclaimed the creature.

"Jeez!" Jack grunted in surprise at the creature's curse.

The creature spun to look at him with brilliant, piercing blue eyes. She let out her own gasp, freed her delicate feet from the fleshy pile, flung open the large double windows, and gathered everything up, clutching it tightly to her chest.

Her large transparent wings began to beat furiously, filling the room with an intense hum. They became a blur, as they lifted her smoothly off the floor. Hovering, she turned for just an instant to look once more back at him with wide, frightened eyes and sailed out the window into the dark sky.

Jack stood unsteadily for a long moment, mouth agape, stunned into immobility by what he had seen. Then, his reporter's instinct kicked in and he lurched to the window, leaning out into the bracing, crisp night, peering upward.

Nothing. He saw nothing but dark sky lit from below by the glow of the city's lights.

But he had seen something. Really something!



Meet The Author:

Dennis Meredith brings to his novels an expertise in science from his career as a science communicator at some of the country's leading research universities, including MIT, Caltech, Cornell, Duke and the University of Wisconsin. He has worked with science journalists at all the nation's major newspapers, magazines, and radio and TV networks and has written well over a thousand news releases and magazine articles on science and engineering over his career.

He has served on the executive board of the National Association of Science Writers and has written numerous articles and guidebooks on science writing and science communication. He has also served as a judge and manager for the NASW Science-in-Society Awards and the AAAS Science Writing Awards.

He was a creator and developer of EurekAlert!, working with The American Association for the Advancement of Science to establish this international research news service, which now links more than 4,500 journalists to news from 800 subscribing research institutions.

In 2007, he was elected as a AAAS Fellow "for exemplary leadership in university communications, and for important contributions to the theory and practice of research communication." In 2012 he was named the year's Honorary Member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.

He holds a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Texas (1968) and an M.S. in biochemistry and science writing from the University of Wisconsin (1970).

He is currently writing science articles, non-fiction books and science fiction novels. He also develops and conducts communication workshops for researchers seeking to enhance their communication skills, both professional and lay-level. He has developed workshops for researchers at universities, research foundations, and government agencies and laboratories.


Be sure to pop back next week, when Dennis Meredith will be joining me for an interview!


Friday, 12 October 2018

The Secrets Of Chateau Swansea by R.C. Matthews


Title: The Secrets Of Chateau Swansea
Author: R.C. Matthews
Genre: Gothic Romance
Publication Date: October 1, 2018


A grisly murder leaves a haunted estate without an heir, and a powerful medium scrambles to find answers from beyond the grave.

Determined to escape the nightmarish memories of her childhood, heiress and psychic Maribeth Sommerset pursues the adventurous life of a psychic investigator, beginning with a murder and the spirits who hover behind at the haunted Chateau Swansea

Meanwhile, devoted steward of the chateau Arthur Dunn plays a dangerous game of deception to shield his employer's good name, landing himself at the top of Maribeth's suspect list.

Amid scandalous secrets and destructive lies, will Maribeth uncover the secrets of Chateau Swansea before the killer strikes again?

Don't miss out on this thrilling Victorian gothic romance!

Amazon ⬪ Barnes & Noble ⬪ Kobo ⬪ iBooks


Excerpt:

The Orange Blossom Room

         Arthur had assigned her to a child’s bedroom? Strolling farther inside, she picked up a book from the bedside table. Flipping to the first page, she read a few lines aloud. “The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat. They took some honey, and plenty of money, wrapped up in a five-pound note.”
         Peals of laughter rang in her ears and warmth spread throughout her body. She closed her eyes, savoring the sense of happiness reverberating through her. The young girl who owned this book had cherished every word.
         Hello, little girl, are you here? Come speak with me. We can be friends, if you like.
         “A silly story, if ever there was one,” Arthur said, disturbing the quiet moment.
         Maribeth grinned as she stroked her hand over the colorful illustration. “This was one of my favorites as a child, especially when a brooding pirate read it to me. Before meeting Eveline, my guardian—”
         The steward’s brow shot up and she snapped her mouth shut, tossing the book onto the bed. She shouldn’t share such stories with a stranger. Better she get on with her purpose for being here. She turned her attention to unbuttoning her coat.
         “Go on,” he said. “You had a fascinating childhood. I would love to hear more.”
         Arthur leaned his shoulder against the wall, folding his arms over his chest while scrutinizing her. Why did he study her so intently with that enigmatic turn of his lips? Men never watched her every move with interest or engaged her in more than small talk. Her fingers trembled, and she looked away. Speaking about her childhood was out of the question.
         “I’m told the daughter of Madame Brown favored that book as well,” he finally said.
         “The child who slept here?” she asked.
         The gleam in his eyes was inscrutable. “No one else has stayed overnight in this room since the child disappeared many years ago.”
         Her chest tightened, and she swallowed past the bile rising in her throat. Something terrible had happened to the girl, every fiber of Maribeth’s being confirmed the truth of the matter.
         “I thought perhaps…” The steward pressed his lips together as if thinking better of voicing his thoughts aloud, but the cat was out of the bag.
         “You thought my sleeping in this room might nettle the ghost of her mother into seeking me out?”
         He rubbed his jaw with a small measure of contrition reflected in his eyes. “Rather coldhearted of me, I suppose. Would you prefer accommodations in the servants’ quarters?”
         “Certainly not.” As her gaze swept through the bedroom, a tingling foreboding grew in her belly. “Your intuition was spot on.”
         “Does anything scare you, Maribeth?”
         He sauntered behind her and peeled the coat off her shoulders. His left hand brushed hers as he tugged on one of the fitted sleeves. She held her breath, attuned in every way to his presence; his heady scent, the sound of his soft breathing, his body heat radiating on her back. She wanted…
         She truly could not say. Her experiences with men outside her family circle were limited. But she had witnessed Edith with her husband in unguarded moments when they thought no one was looking. Did she wish Arthur would press his lips on her nape or steal a kiss?
         Maybe.
         “I have nothing to fear from the ghost of Madame Brown,” she said, turning to gaze up at him. But his nearness and the way he purred her name in that seductive baritone was more than a little unsettling. Ghosts rarely gave cause to be feared. But a handsome man who consumed her with every look…
         He folded her coat and placed it on the end of the bed.
         “I’ll settle in here later,” she said, clearing her throat. “What was the little girl’s name?”
         “Ah, ah, ah.” He shook his head. “I’m afraid you must discover that on your own.”
         Her eyes narrowed. “A test of my skills? I could simply inquire with Mrs. Hawkins.”
         “But you won’t. I sense your pride doesn’t permit you to travel the easy route.” He smirked.
         Bastard. Of course his observation was dead on. She dearly loved a challenge.


About R.C. Matthews:

R.C. Matthews is the author of contemporary and historical romances featuring bold, sassy heroines and magnetic alpha heroes. Warning! The chemistry between her characters is off the charts hot, so read at your own risk. She resides in the Midwest and is surrounded by men: her husband and three sons. During her free time you'll find her watching The Walking Dead, reading a fabulous book or hanging out with her family.





Guest Post by R.C. Matthews:

The Secrets of Chateau Swansea combines my love of gothic romance with a cozy mystery. My research of the Victorian era was so much fun. After I learned so much about how spiritualism reigned during that period from the 1840’s to the early 1900’s, I absolutely had to write books that involved mediums. Mediums, clairvoyants, séances, psychics, talking boards, ghost hunting, and more were explored to the fullest. So much so that in 1882, the Society for Psychical Research was founded and their website states they are “the first organization established to examine allegedly paranormal phenomena using scientific principles.”

So the question remains: Is anyone truly capable of communicating with ghosts?

I don’t know, but it sure is fun to write about. If you love stories with mediums and the supernatural, check out The Secrets of Chateau Swansea as well as my Tortured Souls series.

Here are some fun facts I learned while researching for this book.


Fun Fact #1 – Ouija board was originally known as ‘talking’ or ‘spirit’ board.

The Ouija board was patented on July 1, 1890 by Elijah Bond, however, psychics had been using ‘talking boards’ or ‘spirit boards’ for a long time before the Ouija board became a household board game.

As part of the spiritualist movement that began in the 1840’s, mediums started wide-spread use of talking boards as a means of communicating with the dead. Some Christian denominations warned that using talking boards could result in demonic possession. But that did not keep the general public from falling in love with the idea of communicating with the dead through use of the Ouija board, which became a household brand. Ouija is to talking boards as Kleenex is to facial tissue.


Fun Fact #2 – Séances were held at the White House

The Victorian era was the height of spiritualism and séances in both the United Kingdom and the United States. There were many famous mediums from the Victorian era.

According to the article “Odd Details About Victorian Era Spiritualism” written by Amanda Sedlak-Hevener, two séances were held at the White House in order to contact the dead.

One was arranged by Abraham Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, after the death of her son Willie. Mary was well-known for her spiritualist beliefs. The President himself was reputedly present during at least one of the many séances that Mary arranged for, which were conducted by famous mediums like Cranston Laurie.

The second was arranged by Jane Pierce, wife of President Franklin Pierce. She invited the Fox sisters, Margaret and Kate, to come to the White House to hold a séance to communicate with their son died who in train accident shortly before President Pierce took office in 1853.


Fun Fact #3 – Death Photography was a ‘thing’

Morbid, but true. Taking pictures of the dead was quite common in the 19th and early 20th century when people died at home so death was a normal part of everyday life. People wanted to preserve their loved ones through a picture which would be taken shortly after death. With this such a common practice, it lead the way to ‘spirit photography’. William H. Mumler is one of the 19th century photographers credited with starting the trend of spirit photography. His double exposure of a photo looked like a ghost lurking behind his subjects. He started doctoring his photos for grief-stricken families during the U.S. Civil War.


Fun Fact #4 – Ghost hunting became highly popular in the Victorian era

Ghost hunting was huge in the Victorian era and one could regularly find reports of ghost sightings in newspapers across the country. This is no wonder considering this was also the time that spiritualism exploded.

The term ‘ghost-hunter’ can be traced back to at least 1833 when Michael Banim published his fictional novel titled, The Ghost-Hunter and His Family. But they didn’t have all the fancy tools back then that we do today. They relied on mediums, cold spots, eerie sounds and strange movements.

These days you can buy a ghost hunting kit for upwards of $800!





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