Monday, 6 April 2020

A Venomous Love by Chris Karlsen



Title: A Venomous Love
Series: Bloodstone Series, #3
Author: Chris Karlsen
Genre: Historical Suspense
Publication Date: February 28, 2020
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Number of Pages: TBD
ISBN: 979-8600864139


The killer whispered-“A pretty damsel...worth a pretty risk."

A veteran, Detective Rudyard Bloodstone has fought a brutal battle and witnessed war horrors that haunt his nightmares. Now one of those horrors has followed him home from Africa.

A vicious predator, the Cape cobra, can kill a man in thirty minutes. A suspect using the snake as a weapon in robberies is terrorizing London.

When the crimes escalate into murder, a victim’s daughter, Honoria Underhill, becomes the focus of the killer. After several attempts on her life, Scotland Yard threatens to take over the high profile case. With few leads to follow, Bloodstone and his partner must now fight department politics and catch the killer before Underhill becomes another murder victim.


Excerpt:

Heading?

Puzzled, Ruddy asked, “You say the body is still in the chapel? Couldn’t the nurse bring an exam table to put him on and start treatment?”
“She did. Young and I attempted to help but he suffered violent convulsions. Because the hospital is for children, they don’t have restraints. The head nurse instructed us to leave him back on the floor. She was afraid he’d fall off the table.”
“Makes sense.” The timeframe of Underhill’s death didn’t make sense. At minimum it usually took an hour and more often, hours for the venom to kill. A horrible thought occurred to Ruddy. What if it was a different suspect with a different lethal snake? “But he died while you were still here?”
“Yes. He convulsed brutally hard a few more times and an excessive amount of drool came out his mouth. Then he lost consciousness. A nurse put a blanket over him and a pillow under his head. He died as she was making him comfortable.”
“Strange. This is abnormally fast even for cobra venom.” Flanders stepped up on Ruddy’s right. “What is it, constable?”
“Shall I leave you to start my search?” Flanders asked.
“Yes. Collect anything, and I mean anything, you find that looks out of the ordinary,” Archie told him. “This case is so unusual we can’t be sure what is important and what isn’t.”
The nurse led them to the curtained-off bed. Honoria Underhill lay on her side softly sobbing. Her legs were curled up so she fit on the short bed meant for a child. The nurses had covered her with a blanket. When she saw Ruddy and Archie, she sat up and swung her legs down to the side of the bed.
“Yes. We know this is traumatic for you but we need to ask you to repeat what happened with as much detail as you can recall,” Ruddy told her.
“I understand.” Her shoulders trembled. She buried her fists in her skirt and kept her head down as she fought to control her emotions.
Ruddy brought the conversation back to the crime. “Did the suspect say anything when he attacked?”
“’A pretty little damsel, worth a pretty risk,’ he said as he rushed toward us. Then he leapt at me with the snake in hand inches from my face. Father pushed me out of the man’s reach and stepped between us. My father tried to knock the man’s hand away and swatted at the animal.”
She dabbed at her nose again and then offered the handkerchief back to Archie who waved off the return. “It happened so fast,” Honoria continued. “In the time it took me to blink, the snake’s throat blew outward, like a fan opening.” She demonstrated the action with her hands. “A second later it lunged and struck."

Excerpt from A Venomous Love by Chris Karlsen. Copyright 2020 by Chris Karlsen. Reproduced with permission from Chris Karlsen. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write three different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters. The newest is The Bloodstone Series, which is historical suspense with romantic elements. Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and four wild and crazy rescue dogs.



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Chris Karlsen.
There will be Three (3) winners.
One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card and Two (2) winners will each receive A Venomous Love by Chris Karlsen (eBook).
The giveaway begins on April 1, 2020 and runs through May 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.







On Tour April 1 - April 30, 2020

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These are the stops on the tour as of March 17 and are subject to change.


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Friday, 3 April 2020

iRemember by SV Bekvalac



Title: iRemember
Author: SV Bekvalac
Genre: Dystopia / sci-fi
Publication Date: 30th March 2020


The city of iRemember shimmers in the desert haze, watched over by the Bureau, a government agency that maintains control through memory surveillance and little pink pills made from the narcotic plant Tranquelle.

It looks like an oasis under its geodesic dome, but the city is under siege. ‘Off-Gridder’ insurgents are fighting to be forgotten.

Bureau Inspector Icara Swansong is on a mission to neutralise the threat. Her investigation leads her into iRemember’s secret underbelly, where she finds herself a fugitive from the very system she had vowed to protect.
She has to learn new rules: trust no one. Behind every purple Tranquelle stalk lurk double-agents.


A sci-fi noir with a psychedelic twist, iRemember explores the power the past holds over us and the fragility of everything: what is, what once was, and what will be.

For a limited time, iRemember will be available for only 99p.
Amazon



Author Bio:

SV Bekvalac was born in 1987 in Croatia, in what was then Yugoslavia, but grew up in London.

She studied German and Russian at Oxford, and went to film school in Prague. After almost becoming a film-maker and then an academic, researching cities and films, she found herself writing fiction about cities instead. She started off with screenplays and short stories, but they got longer and longer. iRremember is her first novel.

She has lived in cities all over Europe. Now she lives in London, or in one of her own imaginary cities.


Q&A with SV Bekvalac:


What inspired you to write iRemember?
I’m obsessed with memory – both literally and metaphorically. When I was still deciding whether or not to become an academic, I wrote a Masters thesis about cinematic memory. I researched memory and history, memory and space (i.e. place), archiving and why we store things, and the thing-ness of memory. iRemember was a way of taking all of that research and those crazy, rather ephemeral ideas about how and why we archive and how and why we remember, and fictionalising them: throwing them into a sandbox and seeing what interesting castles I could build with these bizarre concepts. So as well as being a really fun, psychedelic sci-fi, the novel is also a kind of extended game of free-association about how memory actually works and its significance in our civilizations and our emotional landscapes. The best thing about writing the novel was that I was suddenly allowed to make use of all the puns and punch-lines and adjectives I couldn’t put into the rather serious and dry academic thesis.

So you were inspired by academic research. Do you really believe in ‘inspiration’? What does the word mean to you?
It’s an interesting word with a really fascinating history. And an interesting idea – that we are just receptors for these ideas that come from somewhere else. Somewhere spiritual maybe. I think it has its etymological root in the Latin for ‘breathing in’ – I hope I got that right, or the rest of this answer will just be nonsense. I like the breath idea, that when we’re writing we’re breathing in and breathing out. There’s something really beautiful and evocative about the idea of writing being as important as breath. If only writing were as easy as breathing! There is sometimes a feeling, with really good ideas, that you’ve inhaled them, that they came from somewhere else. Ultimately though I think the hard work part, the artificial respiration part, when you’re not feeling ‘inspired’ is actually much more important and that’s really where the good stuff, the best writing, actually happens. When you write even when you’re not in the mood, or when it doesn’t ‘feel right’.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done when you just couldn’t get inspired, to combat writer’s block?
Flew to Budapest. There’s a statue there that is supposed to bring you inspiration if you rub its pen. For the avoidance of doubt, the statue is holding a stylus. And it’s super creepy – a Death-like figure in a hood, without a face. About twice the size of a normal person. I guess it worked. The magic took a while to kick in, but after about six or seven years I found I’d written a novel that got published, so you know…it’s worth a try.

That sounds like quite a literary trip. Have you ever gone on any other literary trips?
I visited Highgate Cemetery in London a few years ago. There are some amazing literati laid to rest there. I saw George Eliot’s grave. And I think Douglas Adams is also buried there. There’s something really special about feeling you’re somehow sharing a space with a literary voice you respect, a voice that still lives on, on people’s book shelves. There’s a pun a writer better than me could make with tombs and tomes – but having spent ten minutes thinking about it, I can’t make it work! Highgate itself has an amazing history as well. I hear there was a vampire problem at the Cemetery at some point in the 70s. No-one believes in vampires, right? Yet they actually had some of the tombs bricked up. Just in case. We’re living in a fantasy novel.

George Eliot famously wrote under a pseudonym. Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I thought about this for ages, and bored my friends with discussions on the pros and cons of writing under a pen name at dinner parties and over coffee. There is a ‘safety’ to writing under a pseudonym that was very appealing to me. It’s easier to distance yourself from the writing process if you have a ‘persona’ you can inhabit just for writing. In the end though, I went with my own name for two reasons. The first of which was so silly I feel I have to disclose it here. I envisaged myself telling people: ‘I’ve published a book’, and showing them an entry on Amazon with a pseudonym on it. And then I thought, what if they don’t believe me?! The other reason is a lot loftier, so I’ll end with it. My surname is one of those ‘difficult’ names, that people can’t always pronounce or spell. I especially remember this being an issue in programmes for school plays, and actually even at my graduation ceremony later on. It marks me out in certain circles as a bit of an outsider. And because that identity has sometimes weighed heavy on me, I felt I wanted to own it. Use the ‘difficult’ name. I wish I could say this was the more important of the two reasons. If I’m honest… it wasn’t!

What was the last book you read? What are you reading right now?
I’m dipping in and out of lots of books at the moment. I’m reading The Secret World, which is non-fiction, and is a history of global espionage. It deals a lot with all kinds of real-life Bureau’s that are not unlike the Bureau in iRemember. I kind of wish I’d read it before I wrote the book. It’s a doorstop, an absolute monster of a book, so I’m balancing it with some Russian short stories, and I’ve just finished the Tea Master and the Detective, which is a wonderful novella that blends sci-fi with detective fiction.

Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
While revising iRemember I got a pretty bad case of reader’s block. I found that when I was trying to refine my own sentences, I didn’t really have space in my head for anyone else’s. And every time I read anything I’d think: ‘Oh God! That reminds me I need to go back to that bit where Icara does that thing and add that other thing.’ Also, I was re-reading my own work so often that, between my unglamorous day job and edits, there was hardly any time to read anything longer than a Tweet. Which made me sad. Reading for pleasure is better than almost anything else to deal with stress, so it was a stressful time.








Thursday, 2 April 2020

Dog Town by Debbie Richardson



Title: Dog Town
Author: Debbie Richardson
Genre: Middle Grade fiction


Harry loves to race around the streets of Dog Town. When he stumbles upon the lost city of cats, he finds himself in a race against Dog Town’s fastest canine, Grizzly.

The winner of this race will have the power to save Cat World, or destroy it.

Harry wants to win, but there is one small problem. The race is in the ocean, and Harry is terribly afraid of water.

Can Harry overcome his fear of the water and save Cat Town?


Excerpt:


HARRY was dreaming that a cat fell out of the sky and landed on his head.

He woke at once. It was dark inside his kennel. He was uncertain if it was very late or very early, but he was wide awake and puzzled about the cat in his dream.

Cats were unheard of in Dog Town. The way summers without mosquitoes were unheard of. Or non-fattening chocolate bars were unheard of.


Baffled, Harry tried thinking about something else. Instead, he became consumed by visions of cats. As he struggled to find meaning behind his odd dream, he became convinced it meant something horrible for dog-kind.

The blanket at his feet offered a good place to avoid thinking on his dream any further. He hid under the blanket, until the heat of the summer’s night made it hot enough to cook a roast.

Harry pushed his nose outside his kennel. It was hot and humid tonight, and there wasn’t a breath of wind. Vastly different to that afternoon when the wind’s temper had set every door in the house banging.

Even though it was too hot inside his kennel, he didn’t want to leave it. Outside in his backyard, shadows skipped across the treetops. Shadows that didn’t belong to the moon or to the wind.


Author Bio:

Debbie Richardson has published fiction novels as D L Richardson. She has published three young adults supernatural fiction novels, and science fiction and supernatural thrillers for adults. This is her first children’s book.

She was born in Dublin, Ireland and grew up in Australia. It was always crowded and noisy in the family home. At one stage there were also three dogs, a cat, a budgie, and three mice living with seven people the same house.

Debbie learned to find a quiet space within books.

She now lives in the south coast of New South Wales with her husband and a small dog named Teeka.



Debbie Richardson will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by:

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Paragon by Shauna Alderson



Title: Paragon
Author: Shauna Alderson
Genre: YA Fantasy


Now that high school is over, Randi just wants to live her quiet life in her little town, but it doesn’t feel right without her friends there. Ever the daredevils, they’ve gone to seek adventure in the capital city of Grandin, and Randi can’t help but feel left behind. Not to mention she definitely can’t stop thinking about that kiss she and Eddy shared before he left.

When Randi discovers a mysterious mark on her skin that matches an illustration in “A Handbook on Paragonhood”, she’s thrown into a world of powerful gods and ancient magic that she thought only existed in the myths. She’ll have to step out of her comfort zone—and into the dangerous streets of Grandin—to find a way to protect herself and the people she loves.

Randi’s not the only one with a secret, though, and she finds herself questioning who she can trust. Randi will have to wrestle with what it means to be a Paragon and how far she’s willing to go to do what’s right.

With the fate of the world on the line, can she live up to being one of the chosen?

AmazonB&NKoboIndigo

Excerpt:

Granite floor, walls like black static, and out of the moving darkness looms a door. I push its handle down, opening the door to a huge space.

A man and a woman circle each other like raptors, each brandishing a knife. The static-fuzz wall to my left is covered in weapon racks—everything from maces to swords to guns—and stone braziers, while the wall to my right is lined with punching bags and benches. A seemingly spaced-out old man sits on one of the benches, and a middle-aged guy fiddles with something on the furthest bench.

I don’t think I’m supposed to be here.

The middle-aged man lifts his head to watch the fight and sees me. “New girl,” he tells the others.

Everyone stops. The other two men simply seem bewildered, but the lady-predator with the knife might just kill me, judging from her glare.

“Uh, sorry, I'll just go,” I stammer. I pivot on my heels, but behind me, I only find blackness. No door.

My gut drops.

“Don’t be afraid,” the male fighter says. “We won’t hurt you.”

I peek over my shoulder as he discards his weapon onto the floor. That's not a hazard at all. “Where am I?” The words come out in a squeak.

He scratches the side of his head. “It’s—well, it’s hard to explain.”

“We call it the dreamscape,” the woman says. “We Paragons come here to hone our skills. You being here means you found out.”

She must be referring to the mark and the myths. I found out what I am, and now I show up here. Makes sense in a dream-logic sort of way.  


Author Bio:

Shauna Alderson began writing teen fantasy even before she was a teen. After she “grew up", she completed creative writing courses (and a BA in Development Studies) at the University of Calgary. When not reading or writing, she can usually be found teaching ESL, composing on the piano, creating art, or volunteering abroad. She also enjoys dessert, Studio Ghibli films, and being the silliest person she knows.



Shauna Alderson will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by:

Monday, 30 March 2020

Beyond The Yew Tree by Rachel Walkley


Title: Beyond The Yew Tree
Author: Rachel Walkley
Genre: Ghost story / Women’s Fiction Mystery - contemporary
Publication Date: 27th March 2020


Beyond the Yew Tree
Whispers in the courtroom.
Only one juror hears them.
Can Laura unravel the truth by the end of the trial?

In an old courtroom, a hissing voice distracts shy juror, Laura, and at night recurring nightmares transport her to a Victorian gaol and the company of a wretched woman.

Although burdened by her own secret guilt, and struggling to form meaningful relationships, Laura isn’t one to give up easily when faced with an extraordinary situation.

The child-like whispers lead Laura to an old prison graveyard, where she teams up with enthusiastic museum curator, Sean. He believes a missing manuscript is the key to understanding her haunting dreams. But nobody knows if it actually exists.

Laura is confronted with the fate of two people – the man in the dock accused of defrauding a charity for the blind, and the restless spirit of a woman hanged over a century ago for murder. If Sean is the companion she needs in her life, will he believe her when she realises that the two mysteries are converging around a long-forgotten child who only Laura can hear?



Ordinary women.
Extraordinary experiences.



Excerpt:

Night after night, the same bad dream pesters Laura, a young woman who is stuck on jury service in Lincoln crown court. Believing that it’s something to do with the building and the old prison next to it, she decides to escape to a different town and spend the night with a friend. Optimistic that she’ll have a decent night sleep, she’s about to find out she’s wrong…


      This time the tormented woman touched Laura’s arm, and Laura woke up screaming. The dream had followed her. A scantily clad Amelia ran into the room, convinced Laura had seen a burglar – there had been a spate of them recently on the housing estate. Sporting underpants and an uncovered tattoo of a dagger on his chest, Jordan searched every room armed with a sixteen-weight bowling ball. Laura’s pleas for him to stop only elicited more embarrassment.
      ‘Sorry, I’m so sorry,’ she said, struggling not to cry. The dreadful dreams had become intrinsic to her deepest sleep and perversely mesmerising. ‘It’s just a bad dream.’
      Amelia handed her a glass of milk. ‘You’re white as a ghost—’
      ‘Please, don’t use that word. I’m not seeing ghosts. It’s just ever since I’ve started jury service…’ She stopped. She didn’t say the courtroom was in a castle with a long and violent past. The unnerving intrusion, the whispering, troubled her more and more. It had to be linked to the nightmares, but how?
      Amelia’s eyes widened. ‘Is it a murder?’
      ‘No.’ Laura wished it was as it might justify the nightmares; bad dreams in her experience needed a trigger, a connection to the real world. ‘Nothing gruesome. Something else is bothering me. Look, forget it. I’ll be fine.’
      Laura had never spoken of the other nightmares, and Amelia was only vaguely aware of the accident; she’d been at university in Portsmouth when it had happened.
      ‘Sure?’ Jordan appeared over Amelia’s shoulder, the bowling ball gone.
      ‘Yes. Sure,’ Laura said firmly and wiped her eyes. She plastered her usual prosaic face over the troubled cracks that Amelia and many others failed to spot, except her mother, Angela, and Marco, who had, on the odd occasion, nearly seen past them.
      She burrowed into the sleeping bag. Coming to Amelia’s had been a mistake. She’d brought along something evil, and it had tainted her friend’s house. The details of the dream persisted, cementing themselves deeper in her waking memories: the cell, the marks around the woman’s neck, the pleading tone of strange whispers, coming not from the prisoner’s mouth, but originating within Laura’s head, just like at the courthouse. Any hope of detaching herself from the fear they created had to lie waiting for discovery in the castle. She remembered hurrying through the creepy graveyard. If there were clues, they might be within those stone walls. She should visit the Lucy Tower and take a closer look at the names engraved upon the headstones. If Brader’s trial was dull, at least the intervals between sessions might provide answers to her dreams and a cure for her affliction.





Author Bio:

Aspiring writer who pens Women's Fiction and magical tales about family secrets.
What else?
An East Anglian turned Northerner - almost.
Information professional, always.
Biologist, in my memories.
Archivist, when required.
Amateur pianist and flautist.
Reluctant gardener.
Scribbler of pictures.
And forever.... a mother and wife.
Oh, not forgetting, cat lover!




If the winner is in the UK then it will be a print copy, otherwise International winner is e-book.
Giveaway to Win One copy of The Last Thing She Said or The Woman of Heachley Hall (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions - Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.







Saturday, 28 March 2020

Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze by Veronica Elle Butler



Title: Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze
Author: Veronica Elle Butler
Genre: Fantasy
Age Category: Middle Grade
Publication/Release Date: 25 March, 2020


Twelve-year-old Chloe Rose lives a quiet, happy life in her hometown Wilmoton, but she’s haunted by the same nightmare night after night—one with guns and swords and lost fathers. When another brewing battle has her town preparing for war, Chloe’s fears are made into a reality. Promises are left unfulfilled, her family is torn apart, and she must leave her comfy life in Wilmoton behind when she and her mother move into the King’s palace. Living in a castle seems like a dream come true, like the new beginning they need, but Chloe’s not convinced. After a series of altercations, Chloe Rose is kicked out, more desperate for hope than ever. To restore what she’s lost, Chloe travels to an enchanted maze where wishes come true and fairies rule. But with evil forces working against her and her new friends, can Chloe complete the trials of the maze or will her heart’s desires be left unfulfilled?


Chloe Rose and The Enchanted Maze is a powerful story of bravery, friendship, grief, and love.


Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze is a perfect story for children in military families, mixed race families, or for readers looking for more #ownvoices stories. Discussion questions and teaching materials are available.

Excerpt:

CHLOE ELOISE ROSE

The wind sang through the meadow under the open bright skies of Wilmoton, the land advanced confidently with warmth. Each new day, the promise of spring drew near as wildflowers rose from the earth. The Langerfield battle had ended two years ago, and peace had once again returned to Wilmoton. So, Chloe Rose spent some time alone in her special place. 

This was where she felt lighter and happier; its warmth spread to her heart. Here, Chloe’s favorite spot was on a little hill in the middle of a meadow that overlooked Wilmoton. It was one of the most beautiful views that her hometown had to offer. 


Surrounded by gentle whispers of nature, it was also Chloe’s special place to draw flowers and pick them for her mother. The sun glared down at her from the sky, and the breeze brushed her sun-kissed skin while she let her curly brown locks down. She smiled with every twirl on her dress on the soft-bedded grass. For a moment, everything was peaceful and her heart had a steady, calm beat. Here, she was not afraid of what haunted her thoughts, that which caused her to squeeze her eyes shut to make go away. Nor did she worry about the nightmares that came every night after those thoughts. Everything is brighter and calm here, Chloe thought now.


As time crept up on her, Chloe finished her drawing and brushed the pencil shavings and eraser crumbs from her dress. She walked down the slope of the Meadow and back home to her mother, Catherine. She picked some rosebuds for her mother—Mom likes to watch the petals expand slowly as they bloom. She also grabbed the sketch of her view of the meadow, which she made for her father, Michael. 


Chloe’s affection and admiration for her parents were unfathomable. She liked to believe her father had superpowers. Her father was the captain of the Wilmoton’s army. The ongoing dispute between Wilmoton and Cottondale was as old as time. A dispute over land and who owns what and who was the first one on the more fertile land. 


Cottondale’s features ranged from cracked sidewalks and deteriorated houses that either had weathered paints along their walls or were in ruins from previous conflicts. Remnants of broken swords and shields littered its fields. The people of Cottondale showed no inclination to repair these damages. Instead, they carried on with their lives in the only way they could, with the hope of reusing the broken swords and broken shields, whenever the situation would inevitably call for it again. 


Wilmoton was a quaint town with unsurpassed colorful cottages and a huge bell tower named “Armstrong” at the heart of its harmonious infrastructure. The women learned to sew and weave every day in workshops. The people of Wilmoton were hardworking, and it showed. It was the type of place where almost everyone knew each other and people greeted each other with a smile. Wilmoton was ruled by King Francis II, a kind king who protected his people. 


Apart from the never-ceasing war between Wilmoton and Cottondale, Chloe loved living in her hometown. As she skipped along the sidewalk, her pink gown flared up and down in the wind with every bounce. She soon spotted Mr. Andrews with the evening newspaper— a worried look on his face. 


The Andrews family lived a couple of cottages away from the Roses, and their two daughters Chloe Rose and Thyra Andrews were best friends. Like Chloe’s father, Albert Andrews was in the army, too. 


During one of the many conflicts between the two towns, someone abandoned a baby in a wicker basket on the boundaries of Wilmoton. Disturbed by this little bundle of joy’s being abandoned, Mr. Andrews hurried back to his home with the baby, showing her to his wife, Ava, who had no child of her own. Ava Andrews was overjoyed, so they adopted the baby and named her Thyra.


Upon seeing his worry, Chloe waved her hand to say, “Hello, Mr. Andrews!” Her broad smile revealed her glittering brown eyes, which could cheer up any sad face on a normal day. This time, it did not. 


“Hello, Chloe,” Mr. Andrews replied in haste, his whole face lit up with worry and confusion. Chloe did not know how to interpret the look on his face, so she continued home. 




Catherine Rose was the envy of almost all the women in Wilmoton. Not because of her luscious, black hair or delicate porcelain skin. Not even because of her high cheekbones or dainty nose that perched so delicately above her rosebud lips. No, she was the envy of the town because of her advantageous marriage to the captain of the army.

“Go and wash up for dinner, dear,” Catherine told Chloe as she entered their cottage. 


Wanting to rid the image of Mr. Andrews’ uneasiness from her mind’s eye, Chloe’s thoughts turned to her wonderful day in her happy place. She held out her hand with a bunch of rosebuds, “I picked these for you, mother.” 


Catherine smiled, but disquiet sat in her eyes when she replied, “Thank you, my sweet girl. It’s impossible to have a dull day around you. You lighten up any room! I hope you’re hungry for some delicious shepherd’s pie.” 


Chloe glowed with delight. She loved shepherd’s pie. “Shouldn’t we wait for daddy?” She peered at her mom with a curious look as she tilted her head to the side. 


“No, honey. Daddy will be home later. Come, let’s eat for now,” her mother suggested. Although there was evidence of warmth in her voice, her eyebrows were creased with worry. 


Chloe was unaccustomed to see such anxiety on her mother’s face. The distress she saw there mirrored that of Mr. Andrews earlier. I wonder if mother and Mr. Andrews have the same thoughts. Something’s up, I can feel it …but what? … Maybe mother would tell me if I asked. Picking up on the trepidation in the air but not knowing how to address it, Chloe cupped her elbows with her hands and asked her mother, “Is something the matter?” 


Catherine let out a deep sigh as her heart skipped a beat. She was tempted to explain what had been published in the evening newspaper, but she did not want to worry her little eight-year-old. “No, we’ll be all right.” She couldn’t quite believe her own words as she sat across from her daughter's cute, puzzled face. 


Despite Catherine’s platitudes, Chloe wished she could read her mother’s mind. I bet it’s the Queen. Everyone knows she’s been sick for a while now. She doesn’t make appearances anymore. Chloe’s mind then revisited that thought that haunted her nights, another idea nagging at her brain. She quickly shook it from her mind, Surely it can’t be; it must be some bad news about Queen Anne.


Her mother sat at the dinner table with her apron on. She checked the clock: He was late. Her food tasted like dust, so she placed her spoon on a napkin next to her dinner plate and turned her gaze to the evening sky, staring at the gray skies outside the kitchen window as the street lamps came on. 


“May I be excused, mother?” Chloe asked, bringing Catherine’s mind back to the present. 


“Yes, darling. You may.” Catherine’s eyelids drooped with worry. She didn’t notice that Chloe never touched her shepherd’s pie either. 


Chloe’s steps were now rather heavy as she dragged herself to her bedroom and prepared for bed—she no longer skipped with happiness as she did earlier. Like her mother, Chloe was unsure of what this night would bring.




Catherine looked down at the table and saw Chloe’s untouched dinner. Once again, she sighed deeply and checked the clock on the wall. Her heart weighed down with worry. Catherine sat up and waited for her husband. Meanwhile, Chloe remained in her bed and dwelled on that other thought. What if dad’s in trouble? What if those nightmares are real? Mom definitely knows something, but she won’t tell me because she thinks I won’t understand. So, Chloe thought up ways to take her mind off the wave of thoughts that clashed her mind. She picked up her favorite book on botany, but it only piqued her interest further since it was her favorite subject. She got out of bed and walked out of her room to check on her mother. She plodded into the kitchen and stood in the doorway. “Is dad home yet?” Chloe asked. 

“No. What are you still doing up?” 


Chloe told the truth, “I couldn’t go to sleep.” 


“Me either. Come here.” Her mother cuddled her. 


“Why can’t you sleep, mom?” Again, Chloe wanted to know the heaviness that had fallen upon the night. 


So, Catherine decided to be as honest as she could. “Well, I am waiting for your dad to get home. Once he does, we will know more for sure.” 


Chloe let out a yawn and adjusted her position in her mother’s embrace. They snuggled up with the beautiful quilt that Catherine had just finished the day before and eventually drifted off to sleep.





As thunder clapped angrily in the distance in the wee hours of the morning, someone barged into the Roses’ cottage in a hurry, causing both Catherine and Chloe to jump from their sleep. 


“Daddy!” Chloe leaped out of her mother’s embrace and ran straight into her father’s arms. 


“I’m sorry that I couldn’t make it to dinner last night. I promise, after this, I will take the whole day off just for you. What do you say?” Michael asked as he searched his daughter’s eyes for an answer. 


“I haven’t told her yet,” Catherine confessed.


“Told me what?” Chloe asked. 


Her father spoke up again, a small smile on his face, “We have to protect Wilmoton once again. I have to protect you from the villains next door. I worked all night to map out our strategy. I didn’t want to leave without bringing a goodbye kiss with me.” 


Michael was a hero to everyone in Wilmoton. When he led and won one of the greatest battles between Wilmoton and Cottondale, he became even more popular. He looked every inch the courageous warrior, with strong, broad shoulders, glossy hair, and bronzed skin. His facial features appeared as though every detail had been chiseled to perfection. He had the strength of three men put together coupled with a heart as soft as wool. 


Upon his declaration, Michael kissed Chloe on her forehead and placed a pink rose in the palm of her hand, turning then to Catherine to warmly embraced her with a kiss to her forehead, too. “I will be back before you know it, Chloe!” 


“I know, Daddy. You always come home.”


Michael embraced them again and dashed out. He hated saying goodbye to his girls.





About the Author:

Veronica Elle Butler is a Middle-Grade Author. Growing up, her childhood dream job is to become a doctor like most children but her life path leads her to a different role; wife, mom, twin daughters in a nutshell . She conceives the idea of an Enchanted Maze one night after reading bedtime stories to her twin daughters. She wants to create a world she could share with her daughters and other children as well, so, she begins to map out her story on a notebook every night when it’s quiet without distractions. Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze pulls the reader into a world of mystery that overlaps our mortal world all consisting of grief, pains of rejection, a curious twist of fate, heart of courage, and forming lasting friendships, she delivers an unforgettable adventure to her readers. She’s an avid scrabble player, enjoys documentaries and, learns along side of her husband the roles of a Military Man when she’s not writing. She enjoys spending time with her daughters and being a Mom. Her twins absolutely love Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze and she hopes every child would fall in love with it as much as they have. To find out more you can follow her on Twitter @MazeEnchanted.





This is my stop during the book blitz for Chloe Rose and the Enchanted Maze by Veronica Elle Butler.
I hope you enjoyed reading.


The book blitz runs from 25 till 31 March.


This book blitz is organized by:









Friday, 27 March 2020

Merlin Raj and the Santa Algorithm by D. G. Priya



Title: Merlin Raj and the Santa Algorithm
Author: D. G. Priya
Genre: Early Reader


My name is Merlin Raj. Usually, I only have to worry about being the best service dog. I help my boy, Matthew, walk at school. But when my human Mom has to go away for winter break, getting ready for the holiday becomes a mess. I might be a super-smart golden retriever who wears glasses, but could I help my best friend with more than a disability?

Gulp.

Will a class on algorithms get me barking up the right Christmas tree?


Merlin Raj, The Santa Algorithm is the first installment in the Merlin Raj, Computer Science Service Dog chapter-book series. With a Computer Science degree and a passion for preparing kids for the future, author D. G. Priya blends technology with animal stories to stimulate a desire to read. Each book in the series introduces a new programming skill, complete with study guides for educators. If you or your child like delightful dog tales, practical examples, and accessible learning tools, then you’ll love D. G. Priya’s tail-wagging adventure.



Excerpt:

As Miss Babbage said, a task could be done using an algorithm.

Algorithm 1: I could nudge Matthew into distracting Peter and throw the jingle-bell Sugar-O’s into the cart. Then, Dad would notice and throw them right back out.

So, algorithm 1 = fail.


Author Bio:


D.G. Priya is the pen name of Bestselling Author Priya Ardis. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin, #6 in the world (Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2014) and #8 (US News, 2020) in Computer Science. Her advocacy of early education in computing and the challenges of childhood disabilities come from her experience as a parent and volunteer. Her love of dog stories comes from the antics of her own golden retriever.


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