Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Paralucidity by Stephen H. Provost



Title: Paralucidity
Series: The Memortality Saga #2
Author: Stephen H. Provost
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance
Publication date: July 15th 2018


Somebody wanted Minerva Rus dead. They succeeded. But Minerva isn’t letting a little thing like death stop her.

After the dangerous adventure that killed her in Memortality, Minerva Rus has reconciled herself to being dead. She and her also-dead boyfriend Raven share an amazing gift that allows them to bring the dead back to life―including each other. Now that Jules, their most dangerous enemy, has been banished from reality and trapped inside her own mind, Minerva and Raven plan on enjoying the eternity of their unnatural lives.

But immortality isn’t safe. Minerva and Raven’s life-giving powers mysteriously fade, forcing them to take refuge in The Between, a shadowy realm of memories that lies between life and death. What’s more, their old adversary Jules is on the loose, partnered with a resurrected Nazi scientist planning a monstrous experiment that will change the destiny of the human race. And now it’s up to a 21-year-old dead girl to save the world―again.


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Excerpt:

      Maybe Raven shouldn’t have been so confident. Sure, he could get them back to his parents’ home in the Between. No problem. What could go wrong?
      Distraction was one thing that could go wrong—very wrong, as it turned out. As he focused his memory on his parents, he was reminded of a story his mother had read to him when he was young. His parents didn’t just read him normal bedtime stories; they read him detailed biographies, historical accounts, ancient myths. The goal wasn’t merely to entertain or send him off to sleep: They were ways to exercise his memory. His parents knew about his gift, and they needed it to stay alive, but they had also wanted him to know as much as he could about the world. “You’ll have an entire library inside your head!” his mother had once told him.
      It had seemed like a good idea at the time. And it had been. But now it had caused his mind to wander at precisely the wrong time. His parents had once read him a series of stories that seemed, in the present moment, to have diverted him from his intended destination to … here.
      Just like the first time he’d entered the Between, he found himself in a forest. But unlike the first visit, when the forest seemed to shift and shudder, this one seemed very much like a real place. The ground felt firm, the sky blocked the sun with a shield of gray clouds, and beside him stood an enormous oak tree spreading in all directions.
      “Okay, what just happened?” Mineva asked.
      Raven shook his head as he looked around, trying to get his bearings. “I’m not quite sure, Min.”
      “Where are we?”
      Raven didn’t answer because where he thought they were didn’t seem possible.
      “I don’t know, exactly,” he said. “How are you feeling?”
      “Better,” Minerva said. “You were right. I think coming here might have allowed us to save some of our strength.”
      There was a rustling in the underbrush off to their right. Raven looked over in time to see a brown hare scurrying away. The hare appeared to have been startled by a rapid, rhythmic tapping from high up in a nearby birch: the sound of a woodpecker announcing its territory. A nuthatch in a nearby rowan tree abandoned its perch, as did a jay, which began chasing it for sport.
      A moment later, there was another rustling nearby, and Raven realized it might not have been the woodpecker that had spooked the hare and the other birds. This rustling seemed farther away, but grew louder as something trampled on fallen leaves. The sound seemed to rip through the thick woods.
      Raven and Minerva instinctively took a few steps backward, sheltering under the massive oak As they did, a twelve-point royal stag burst through a thicket off to their right, bounding past them in a rush of hooves and antlers. Raven found his back hugging the tree as he watched the animal fly past, turning his eyes again toward the place where it had emerged as he heard the sound of branches breaking.       Something, or someone, was in pursuit.
      An instant later, a small man wearing a dirty green cloak over a brown shirt emerged from the thicket. The horse he rode, an unremarkable light brown steed of average size, hadn’t been prepared for the sight of Minerva and Raven just a few steps off its intended course. It reared and nearly threw the man from its back, breaking off the chase. It danced nervously in a circle, backing away from the two strangers.
      “Wearg rounsey!” the man said under his breath in a voice that, even in just those two words, they could tell was thickly accented. He dismounted hurriedly and stomped to the place where his hat had landed in the dirt. “Wearg haet!”
      The man seemed scarcely to be paying attention to them. Raven took Minerva’s hand and started inching toward the other side of the tree. If they could get clear of his field of vision, they could perhaps go unnoticed. He obviously had a temper, and there was no use antagonizing him.
      “What language is that?” Minerva asked, leaning in to whisper in Raven’s ear.
      “English, I think. He said something that sounded like ‘hat,’ and ‘rounsey’ … I think that’s a kind of horse.”
      The man walked up to the horse, which had calmed and stood minding its own business. He swatted at its hindquarters with the cap. The horse, taking offense, whinnied loudly and ran off.
      Minerva continued her conversation with Raven mind to mind. Better not to draw any more attention than necessary. That’s not like any English I’ve ever heard. What does “wearg” mean?
      Probably dammit, or maybe something worse.
      “Incer! Astende!”
The man had turned and was staring straight at them, pointing with a drawn sword. He approached in a measured stride that was as ominous as it was methodical.
      Minerva looked at Raven.
      I have no idea. Either he wants us to stand where we are, or he thinks we’re astounding. Maybe both?
      “No comprendo,” Minerva ventured.
      That won’t work. He’s not speaking Spanish.
      Well, it’s the only other language I know any words in. You got a better idea?
      Raven had to admit he didn’t. What was bothering him was the fact that he’d obviously taken them someplace in the Between where he didn’t know the language. That meant this place somehow existed independently, at least to some degree. It was more a destination than a creation, which meant he had less control than he would have if they had landed in his own memory.
      The man stopped a few paces away, looking them up and down. The anger seemed to have drained from his face as recognition dawned.
      “By the beads of the blessed Mary, thou art one of those!”
      Now he’s speaking like Shakespeare, Minerva offered.
      Maybe he’s bilingual?
      “I’d attempt no escape, were I thou. Anon, mine own men hast encircled this clearing.”
      “We mean no harm,” Raven said, putting his hands down and opening his palms in front of him. “I don’t even know how we got here.”
      “You got here by remembering, lad.” Now his language was closer to modern English, but still with the same thick accent. He stroked his scruffy chin. “I’d say … southwest side of the New World, about the nineteen-hundred and eightieth year of our lord.”
      “Close,” Minerva said. “L.A. area, 2016.”
      He put his cap back on without bothering to dust it. It was plain from his body odor that he’d gone without bathing for days. Or weeks.
      “Can’t get ’em all right,” he shrugged. “The gifted and revived come here from all times. We try to make sense of their tongues when they land, and we do a fair job of it. Those of us who are gifted pick them up quickly enough.”
      So, he’s gifted, Minerva commented.
      Guess so. Looks like there are more of us than we thought.
      The man turned and put two fingers to his lips, letting go a shrill whistle. Almost at once, three men emerged from the undergrowth. Two of them were shorter than Raven and Minerva, barely five and a half feet, but the third was a bear of a man who looked a full foot taller and significantly bigger around than either of his companions.
      The man they’d been talking to, who appeared to be their leader, stepped toward Raven. “I believe introductions are in order,” he said, extending his hand to grip Raven’s. “I’ll begin with myself. Roger is the name, and these are my lands.” He made a sweeping gesture with his hand.
      “Roger,” said Raven, more than a hint of skepticism in his voice. “I would have sworn your name would be …”
      Minerva finished the sentence for him: “Robin Hood?”


Author Bio:

Stephen H. Provost is a veteran editor, reporter and columnists with more than 30 years of experience at daily newspapers in California. He’s currently the managing editor of The Cambrian on the Central Coast, as well as a columnist and assistant city editor for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo.
As an author, he has written historical nonfiction (“Fresno Growing Up” and “Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street”), novels (“Memortality” and “Identity Break”), while also exploring the realms of mythology, fable and ancient history.







King, Duke & Prince by Sheryl Grace


Title: King, Duke & Prince
Author: Sheryl Grace
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: July 1, 2018


Ten years ago, James Miller walked out of prison vowing to leave the past behind. That past included his sons and their mothers and though he told himself that he would return, he never did. Now, he has a new name, a new family, a new career and a best-selling memoir. Meanwhile, the sons he left behind navigated their way to manhood while dealing with the questionable choices of their mothers.

King relies on his looks, charm, and sexual prowess as he methodically plans to find the next successful woman to support his lifestyle. Simply because he works only when he feels like it. When he finds the one, it is not business as usual. But will he reexamine his trifling ways when it nearly causes him to lose those he loves the most?

Darius has a penchant for pursuing the wrong women. However, his mind for business manages to keep him afloat despite his challenges to keep his emotions intact. Working for a stepfather he despises only builds resentment between he and his mother. What happens when the worlds of the two men collide unexpectedly, causing all to question their love and loyalty to one another?

Prince is awkward and highly intelligent. His hard-working mother is thrilled beyond measure upon receiving the news that her son has been given the opportunity of a lifetime. But Prince’s world is shattered by someone he and his mother trusted dearly. The secret is killing him. What will happen when the secret is exposed?

The sons do not know they are brothers but when find out, they are determined to make James pay the price for leaving them behind.

Three Brothers, Three Mothers, One Father and whole lot of drama!
“Charge it to the game cause everybody’s trying to score”



Excerpt from Chapter 6:

“Hi, I just came over to introduce myself. My name is King” He said as he held out his tone and muscular arm in her direction to shake her hand. Still under his allure, she did manage to reach out her hand to shake his and stated “Nice to meet you, I’m Lauren” she stated. “Thank you again for the drink” she said politely while looking intensely at his eyes. “You are welcomed, Beautiful” He said with a deep voice that resounded in her soul and made her tingle inside although she tried all she could not to show it. He followed up with the sexiest smile she had ever seen. This is one tall glass of chocolate milk better yet Kahlua, she thought.


About The Author:


Sheryl Grace is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Louisiana native currently residing in North Texas. Her debut novel "He Calls Her Blue" has received positive reviews. Sheryl is also the co-host of the award-winning internet radio show, The Authors Lounge.








Monday, 30 July 2018

Coti's Unclaimed Mate by Elle Boon


Title: Coti's Unclaimed Mate
Series: Iron Wolves MC, Book 9
Author: Elle Boon
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Shifter/Vampire/Demon
Release Date: July 27th, 2018


Will they find beauty in the ashes as the fire settles, or will they go up in flames?


Coti’s a shifter, but he’s so much more than meets the eye.

NeNe’s a human who’s ready for a change, however is she ready for all that Coti will bring?

The Iron Wolves will face an enemy bent on destroying them in a way no one expected. When the dust settles, and battle lines have been drawn, Coti and NeNe will find who can be trusted and who can’t.

***Warning: Contains a shifter that doesn't want a mate and a tiny human who's more than a handful "wink".

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Excerpt:

“Yoohoo, your fairy dragon is here. Oh, now, who do I need to kill for hurting such a gorgeous girl?” Lula asked, going up to NeNe and rubbing her face over the bears head. “Ah, your fur is so soft, sweet one. Come, you and I will go and run through the fields and get right with the Goddess.”


Coti coughed, drawing the pink-haired female’s attention. “Um, Lula, a word please.”
Lula rolled her eyes, then whispered loudly into NeNe’s ear. “These alpha men are so bossy. Coming, sir.”


“Thank you for getting here so quickly. Ah, yeah, so she’s my mate. Can you tell me what’s going to happen?” Coti put his hands on his hips, the sense he was talking to a being who could wipe the ground with his hide had him deferring to her.


The tiny female leaned in. “Psst. Just so you know, I’d never use your carcass to wipe anything. And, she’s unclaimed as of right now. I sense two claims in her, which is confusing the dear bear. You and the beast who put the beast in her. She’s confused, so me and my dragon are gonna get her unconfused. We’ll be in touch. Toodles,” she waved, and then they disappeared.


Coti jerked backward, nearly falling on his ass. “Shit, she just took her. I didn’t get to say bye.”


Damien clapped him on the back. “Simmer down, she’s fine. Lula will take good care of her as will our Hearts Love. Jenna will make sure she’s well enough to come home, or—”


He glared at the man who spoke. “There is no or. NeNe is coming home to me.” His heart ached. His soul screamed worse than when he’d fought an entire pack of rogue wolves who tried to kill a farmer and his family in order to claim their land. The pack of seven grown shifter men, in their prime, had fought dirty, but he’d killed each and every one of them, sustaining injuries that nearly killed him. Yet, the pain from that battle combined with every other one, didn’t come close to what was coursing through him at the thought of never feeling NeNe’s skin under his hands. Never learning all the things that made her who and what she was.


Coti sheathed his swords with a thought, then dropped to his knees, unable to stand. “I thought nothing could kill me. I’ve tried, throughout the years you know? I’ve tested what could and couldn’t kill me. This, losing her, will kill me.” He would claw his own heart out. A man couldn’t live without his other half, the woman who was made just for him. He didn’t care if she was a bear, a sprite, or even a damn dragon. She was his.
Coti felt his two beings expand inside himself, the wolf and vampire, merging. He wasn’t like Damien and Lucas, born with the abilities of a shifter, but essentially a vampire. He was, or had been, three beings in one body, each one co-existing. Now, they merged, strengthening. His vampire half and his wolf rolled around inside his head, then forged to become the man.


“Damn, I think Grasshopper has become the teacher. Should we call dad and Ezra?” Damien asked, backing away from Coti.


Coti rolled his neck, his skin feeling too tight. “We’re on the same side, right now.”
“What the hell is going on?” Kellen growled, his claws out.


“Well, you see, this one here, is like a superhero being. Kind of like Deadpool of the vampire shifter world, I think. Only, he doesn’t look like an ugly avocado that nobody wants to have sex with. Ouch, fuck! Damien, I will beat your ass if you do that again.” Lucas pulled a knife out of his leg.


Kellen pointed the iron claws at Coti. “Alright, so you’ve got some shit to explain. However, we’re about to be converged on inside this mothereffen train car. The last thing I want is to rumble in a tin can with that,” he pointed at Coti. “I say we get the hell out of here and into an open field.”


Xan held his hand up. “I’d just like to point out, that you shouldn’t be pointing your freaky ass Freddy Krueger like knives for claws at someone and saying shit. Just saying.”


“Don’t kill him, yet. We might need him,” Turo implored.


“I can call Creed,” Lucas said.


“Who’s going to open this tin can up?” Bodhi asked, bouncing on his feet.


Coti raised his hands, but the top of the train car groaned, a hole forming within seconds as the upper half was ripped off.


“Yo, anybody home?” Creed asked, looking in through the top. “Ps. I got pants on, so you boys won’t get dick envy. No need to say thank you. Oh, and there’s like twenty freaky ass shifters heading this way.”


Coti jumped out, landing next to the large red-skinned son of Satan. “Thanks, Creed.”


Creed nodded. “No problem. We need to finish this quickly, my female wants me home, so we can watch chick flicks.”


Xan coughed, the sound of pussy made Coti wince. “Don’t kill him, he’s a good fighter.”


Kellen and the others jumped out of the train car, lining up to face the contingent of shifters coming toward them. “Damn, son, you sure do know how to piss off a man.”


Coti raised his head, sniffing. “Let’s show ‘em what fucking with the Iron Wolves will get them.”


He stood shoulder to shoulder with Damien on one side, Kellen on the other, knowing when the bodies settled, he’d have a lot of explaining to do. But first, his claws itched. “Should we offer them the chance to back off and live another day?”


Creed sighed. “Damn, there’s always one of you who has to be the fun ruiner. Hold please.”


The big man in his partial shift walked forward, eating up the space in long strides, his voice booming. “Stop, you vile beasts. If you want to live so you can go and hump your females another day, turn around, tuck your tails and run screaming to your mamas. Continue on your path now, and I’ll render you from gut to throat and feed your entrails to my pets.”


Xan put his hands up under his chin and sighed. “Goddess, I love him. He has such a way with words. If I were female, and not mated to a male as magnificent as myself, I’d totally look down and want him.”


Creed looked over his shoulder. “I knew it, you dirty bastard. You all looked down. There’s no shame in admitting it. First step in all programs is admittance. Damn, I feel them breathing. They’re continuing on the forward journey, which means they went with option B. Why do the idiots always go with option B? Do they think I have no beasts to feed their insides to?” He turned back around, swatting a couple of wolves away.


“Let’s do this,” Kellen roared.











About Elle:

I’m a full-time wife and mother of two who has loved to read and write since childhood. I survived cancer and decided I could do anything, setting personal goals then and there. Four years later, after meeting many wonderful writers who allowed me to beta read for them, whom I can now call friends, I decided to write a book. Several years later I’ve attained my first goal, becoming a published author.

I love to write and have all kinds of stories in my head waiting to be written. The best part about my new journey is that if I don’t like it, I can re-write it, unlike real life, so I always make sure there’s a happy ending.

I’m creating new worlds, and I hope you all enjoy them with me. I can guarantee you’ll always have a hero or two you’ll love, and a heroine you’ll want to be.






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Saturday, 28 July 2018

The Invisible Case by Isabella Muir



Title: The Invisible Case
Series: Standalone third book in the Janie Juke Mysteries series
Author: Isabella Muir
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Publication Date: 30th June 2018


A shocking death turns a homecoming into a nightmare. 

It's Easter 1970 in the seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, and for one family the first Easter of a new decade brings a shocking tragedy. Amateur sleuth and professional librarian, Janie Juke, is settling into motherhood and looking forward to spending time with her family. When her Aunt Jessica is due back from Rome after nine years travelling around Europe, she arrives back in town with a new Italian friend, Luigi, and the whole family soon get embroiled in a tangle of mystery and suspicion, with death and passion at the heart of the story.

As time runs out on Luigi as prime suspect for murder, Janie has to use all of her powers of deduction in the footsteps of her hero, Hercule Poirot, to uncover the facts. Why did Luigi come to Tamarisk Bay? What is the truth about his family?
As Luigi's story unfolds, tragedy seems to haunt the past, present and unless Janie acts fast, possibly what is yet to come.


Excerpt:

It’s Easter 1970 and Janie Juke is looking forward to her aunt’s homecoming. Jessica has been travelling around Europe for the last nine years and is now returning to Tamarisk Bay from Italy, with a friend in tow. Here, in the first chapter of The Invisible Case we meet Jessica and Luigi on their long train journey from Rome to Calais. They are having breakfast in the dining car and Jessica is beginning to feel irritated with her young friend…


I know my brother. He won’t have changed. Not in the way you are suggesting. Not for the worse. You’re passing judgement when you don’t know anything about my family and precious little about me.’

‘I don’t mean to offend you. It’s just that there are layers to a person that can remain hidden. Their thoughts, their fears, their past.’ Luigi shifted in his seat, looking around at the other people in the dining car, before refocusing on Jessica. ‘And he fought in the war, in Italy? You said he was in Anzio for a time?’


‘I don’t think he fought. He drove trucks, ferrying goods around the place, vital supplies, that sort of thing. To be honest, it’s not something he talks much about, so I don’t know the details. But yes, he spent some time in Italy and he mentioned Anzio. It was fascinating to think he might have walked the same streets I walked. But back then it wasn’t the Anzio you and I know. Anyway, you’ll be able to ask him yourself soon enough. Don’t be surprised though if he doesn’t open up. People don’t like to talk about their war experiences, I’m sure many of their memories must be impossible to cope with.’


She stood, taking her shoulder bag from the seat. ‘I need to go back now, I’ve got a rotten headache. Lack of sleep, I suppose.’


As they made their way back to their compartment, the passport official pushed past them and on into the dining car.


‘I’m surprised to see him still on board. I thought he hopped on, checked documents and got off again at the next station,’ Jessica said, once the uniformed man moved away from them.


‘Perhaps he’s hungry,’ Luigi replied wryly.


As they made their way along the corridor Jessica slowed, so this time Luigi almost bumped into her. ‘This is your friend’s compartment, isn’t it? Looks like he’s popped out,’ she said, trying not to stare at the woman who was now on her own and looking mildly perturbed at the level of interest from two passing strangers. ‘It’s a shame you’ve missed a chance to speak to him, maybe drop back in a while and see if he’s around.’
Luigi shrugged and continued walking, brushing past Jessica.


Once they were back in their own compartment, there was no sign of the Italian family, just a few crumbs left on one of the seats, leading Luigi and Jessica to assume they had got off at the last stop. The couchettes had been turned back into seats and the bedding collected.


‘Ideal opportunity to rearrange my things.’ Jessica said, pulling her suitcase from the luggage rack and opening it out on one of the seats. She smoothed out her clothes to make a fresh space for her washbag, which she had stuffed into the top of her holdall. She squashed it into one corner of her suitcase, closed the case and turned to Luigi. ‘Give me a hand to lift it back up?’


As he raised the case above his head towards the rack, he paused, a frown creasing his forehead. ‘Wait,’ he said, putting the case back down onto the seat.


‘What?’ 


They stood side by side, Luigi staring at the luggage rack and Jessica staring at his face, which was becoming paler by the second. For a moment she thought he might faint.
Then he grabbed the remaining luggage from the rack, thumping it down on the floor in an almost feverish panic. Each of them had brought coats that they had laid over the cases, but now he threw these onto the seat.


‘What on earth is the matter?’ she said, holding tight to her shoulder bag, fearing this would be the next thing he might want to grab. 


He glared at her, banging a fist against the side of the train compartment.


‘My briefcase, it’s gone.’ He stopped moving and stood with his arms outstretched as if pleading for someone to magic the situation away.


‘What do you mean it’s gone?’ 


‘It’s not there, Jessica. It’s been stolen.’


Author Bio:

Isabella Muir is the author of Janie Juke series of crime mysteries - all set in Sussex.

'The Tapestry Bag' is the first in the series, followed by ‘Lost Property’. Now - 'The Invisible Case' - the latest in the series is available for pre-order from Amazon.

The 'Janie Juke mysteries' are set in Sussex in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian with a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Isabella has also published 'Ivory Vellum' - a collection of short stories.

She has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing - she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.



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Friday, 27 July 2018

Chasing Black Gold by Robert Stone


The Incredible True Story of a Fuel Smuggler in Africa

ROBERT STONE was a serial entrepreneur – an enterprising individual, mostly on the wrong side of the law, who spent twenty-five years operating all over the world, before being arrested in Switzerland as a result of an international manhunt led by an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Over the course of his career, Stone earned and lost several lifetimes’ worth of fortunes, went to prison on three continents, used dozens of aliases, saw men die, and masterminded one of the biggest marijuana smuggling operations in criminal history. Fuel smuggling in Africa, trading fuel with generals, rebels and businessman, was both his career high and, ultimately, what brought him down.




Guest Post by Robert Stone:
Chasing Deep Gold 
Part 3

Chasing Deep Gold is the working title for next non-fiction book. It is a prequel to my book Chasing Black Gold and based on my commercial diving career in the 1970’s and early 80’s.

In late August 1976 a couple other divers and myself boarded a private jet in Vancouver and flew to Inuvik in The Northwest Territories in Canada. From there I took a small aircraft and travelled to Tuktoyaktuk which is above the Artic Circle. I walked over to a waiting helicopter which flew me out to a drillship in The Beaufort Sea.

An iceberg had knocked over a wellhead. Gas and water were blowing out of control into sea 200 -300 foot below. The project manager met with us and explained we only had 4-6 weeks left before the ice pack would come in and force us off location.

We went and picked out our hot water suits and other personal gear from the dive locker. Hot water suits are loose fitting suits that have perforated tubes that allow hot water to flow around you and keep you warm. Sometimes it would be too cold and I still have the scars from when it was too hot.

The water here was about 26-27 °F on the bottom. If we lost our hot water supply on the bottom we would have less than a minute before we would lose the ability to function.

There were already 6 divers in Sat and the 3 who had to decompress and come out were not too happy with us showing up to do ‘their’ work. In those days, maybe the same today, there was very little diving off a drill ship so the dive crew were usually not very experienced. Whenever an emergency happened they would have to send for divers who knew how to handle more serious situations.

I made the first bell run and went out to inspect the well head. The water was not quite slush but close. When you swung your arm through the water you could see lines. As I was doing this a seal came right up face to face with me and startled the hell out of me!

They were going to try pumping cement and mud down and it would be our job to hook things up and monitor the situation.

Nothing worked and the well continued to blow. In late September I was on bottom tending my bell partner when topside hollered over the radio to get the diver back to the bell immediately. I started hauling up on his umbilical until it went tight. The ship had had an explosion which blew the steam lines that were heating our hot water. The diver freed his umbilical and I continued to pull him in. He lost consciousness on the way back. He hung up on the chains and I had no choice but to go out and get him.

I put my Kirby Morgan Band mask on, flooded the bell and jumped into the tunnel. The icy water burned me and the shock as the water hit my head almost put me into shock. I grabbed the limp diver and pulled us both back in. I blew down the bell and pushed him against the side as the water level went down pass the opening and I slammed the hatch shut and felt my ears pop as the pressure built indicating we had a seal.

They started to winch the bell up as I took our hats off. I was shaking almost uncontrollably but it took awhile to bring him back around.

The ice pack came in and forced off location. We iced the ship in by Herschel Island in The Yukon. This meant an ice breaker broke up the 16 foot deep ice. We lowered a life boat down and dove off this. We wore a dry suit and you had to wriggle your way down through the ice till you got underneath it then swim to the hull of the ship. There we inflated buoys inside the thruster tunnels so when the water froze it would crush the buoys instead of expanding and breaking the ship apart.

It was -55 °F when we left the Artic.

That well blew out of control for 10 months. Thank God it wasn’t oil.


Author Bio:

Author Robert Stone first came to Aberdeen Scotland in 1973 as a pioneer saturation diver in the early dangerous days of the North Sea. Retiring from diving in the mid 80’s he became a serial entrepreneur –mostly on the wrong side of the law. He spent the next decade operating businesses all over the world from his Aberdeenshire home.

Stone earned and lost several fortunes, went to prison on three continents, used dozens of aliases, and masterminded one of the biggest marijuana smuggling operations in criminal history. Fuel smuggling in Africa, was only one of his many exploits.

His Scottish wife and young children knew nothing of the dark side of his life until the day they were all arrested in Switzerland as a result of an international manhunt led by an Organised Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.


The History Press


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Thursday, 26 July 2018

Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab by Columbkill Noonan



Barnabas Tew, a detective in Victorian London, is having a hard time making a name for himself, probably because most of his clients end up dead before he can solve their cases. His luck is about to change, though, for better or worse: Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead, notices him and calls him to the Egyptian underworld. A terrible kidnapping has occurred; one that promises to put an end to the status quo and could perhaps even put an end to the entire world. It is up to Barnabas (along with his trusty assistant, Wilfred) to discover the culprit and set things to right. Can he turn his luck around and solve the most important case of his life?


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Guest Post:

A bit about Barnabas Tew
Barnabas Tew is a detective (or, at least, he really wants to be a detective). He gets some business, but he’s not always terribly successful at solving his cases. He likes to think of himself as a detective in the mold of Sherlock Holmes, but it seems that he only deduces the identity of the culprit once they’ve already done whatever it is he was meant to stop them from doing.

He feels terribly guilty about all this, of course; but he persists nevertheless, because he is very sure that he is brilliant (and at the same time very much afraid that he is not).

Still, his life is predictable, if not terribly exciting (and, truth be told, he’s not much for excitement, anyway). He likes predictable. He rises early in the morning (as only ne’er-do-wells stayed in bed past seven, in Barnabas’ opinion). He has a nice breakfast of some bland, boiled something-or-other, served by his landlady. Then he spends a few minutes reading the paper before welcoming his assistant, Wilfred, and then together they open their office doors for a proper day of work. Of course, there is precious little traffic through those doors, because Barnabas, whilst an earnest and hardworking man, is, as we said, also not terribly good at detective work; indeed, his clients were just as likely to suffer an untimely death as to have their cases solved, despite Barnabas’ best efforts to prevent such tragic and terribly upsetting occurrences.)

Barnabas, like any good Victorian detective, likes things just-so. Breakfasts ought to be had on time, gardens ought to be properly kept and carefully tended (by a gardener, of course, since once mustn’t get one’s hands dirty), people should be neatly and properly dressed in clothing appropriate to their station in life. Everyone must always do their duty, at the proper time and in the proper way. But, to Barnabas, the most important rule of all is that one must always be polite, no matter the circumstances.

Then, suddenly, one day, everything changes. Barnabas, together with Wilfred, is unexpectedly (and most unpredictably) whisked off to the Egyptian underworld to solve a case for Anubis, the God of the Dead. Here, things are not orderly, not even in the slightest; gardens are decidedly unkempt, nothing is predictable, and people do not dress according to British laws of fashion. Indeed, not everyone even has a proper head, as Barnabas discovers almost immediately when he comes face-to-face with Anti, the ferryman to the Land of the Dead (who has, distressingly, the head and wings of a falcon).

Barnabas, of course, is very confused by his new surroundings (and, to be honest, more than a little distressed, as well). Still, he has been given a duty to do, which means that he will perform it to the best of his ability, bizarre circumstances or no. And, despite the strange things that happen to him, or the odd (and sometimes unsavory) characters that he meets, he still strives to maintain a degree of decorum about him, because one must never be impolite, no matter whom, or what, one is dealing with.

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Author Bio:

Columbkill Noonan lives in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, where she teaches yoga and Anatomy and Physiology.

Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. Her first novel, “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab” by Crooked Cat Books, was released in 2017, and her latest work, “Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Nine Worlds”, is set to be released in September 2018.

In her spare time, Columbkill enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, aerial yoga, and riding her rescue horse, Mittens.

Website 🝊 Facebook 🝊 Twitter

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Wednesday, 25 July 2018

The Clock Flower by Barbara Casey


Title: The Clock Flower
Series: The F.I.G. Mysteries, Book 3
Author: Barbara Casey
Genre: Mystery/Suspense




Mackenzie Yarborough, one of the three FIGs—Females of Intellectual Genius—finds herself facing a terrifying death of an ancient evil dragon while in China working on a secret research project and trying to discover the truth of her birth parents.





Excerpt:

At first Mackenzie just listened, from a distance, like an interested bystander looking through a window and then passing on by untouched by what she saw. Gradually, as more of the story was revealed, Mackenzie allowed the words to get a little closer and started to examine each one and its meaning, holding it up against her body like clothing, as though deciding whether to try it on to see if it fit. Deciding if the pain was too great. Then, slowly, like ripples in a pond eventually reaching the shore, or a far-away echo finally being heard, the words became clear and their meaning understood. All of those years of calculating her numbers to find the answers, of wondering, of wanting to know; now she did. It was real, and it was true. It was her story.

There would be more questions in time, when she was ready to hear the answers, but for now Mackenzie knew what she needed to know. That her mother hadn’t wanted to put her in an orphanage, and she had always loved her. And a father who tried to show his love by taking care of her, even when she was far away and living in an orphanage where numbers were her friends.

As the sun’s first rays cast sparkling glitter over the Yellow Sea heralding the arrival of a new brilliant day, Mackenzie and her mother sat quietly on the wooden seat in an ancient pagoda, loving one another as only a mother and her child could, while the delicate scent of lotus embraced and comforted them, offering reassurance.

Back inside the house, in the wing where Carolina and the FIGs were staying, Jennifer impatiently threw back the bed covers and went to Dara’s room only to find Dara sitting up in bed, also unable to sleep. Without saying anything, Jennifer climbed in next to her best friend, careful not to wrinkle the neatly folded spread, the blanket, and the top sheet, knowing that was how Dara liked it. There in the quiet darkness, the two FIGs sat side by side, one foot touching the other’s, waiting for the black of night to once again give birth to the light of day.

“What I want to know is about that guy’s birthmark he had on his arm—Fu Wang. It was definitely a dragon, and the symbol below it meant ‘Dragon King Ruler,’” said Dara because she was a genius in foreign and obscure as well as obsolete languages.

“Yeah, I saw that. It was fake. Not even a good tattoo—it was just painted on,” said Jennifer, because she was a genius in music and art.

Silently, the first early-morning rays of the sun tentatively reached through the latticed window forming a crisscrossed pattern on the dark, polished wooden floor. “You finished the musical composition you were writing.” Dara said it as a matter of fact rather than a question.

“Yeah.” Then after a moment, “I call it The Clock Flower.” Another moment, “It is Mackenzie’s story.”

“That’s great, Jennifer.”

Then, as though Jennifer knew Dara was thinking about the painting and wondering what it meant, “Ling is Mackenzie’s mother. She is the blue lotus. The yellow dandelion is the research—Yellow Sea Laboratories, and the red dandelion is Mackenzie.”

Dara didn’t ask any questions because in a strange way it made sense. Certainly in Jennifer’s mind, it all made perfect sense because she was a Female of Intellectual Genius.

After another pause, “Dara, Mackenzie has one on her shoulder.” Jennifer didn’t need to explain to Dara what she meant—that Mackenzie had the dragon birthmark.

“I know,” Dara answered.


Author Bio:

Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books where she is involved in acquisitions and day-to-day operations and oversees book production.

Ms. Casey's two middle-grade/young adult novels, Leilani Zan and Grandma Jock and Christabelle (James C. Winston Publishing Co., Trade Division) were both nominated for awards of excellence by the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the National Association of University Women Literary Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award. Shyla's Initiative (Crossquarter Publishing Group), a contemporary adult novel (occult romance/mystery), received a 2003 Independent Publisher Book Award and also an award of special literary recognition by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. The Coach's Wife (ArcheBooks Publishing), also a novel for adults (contemporary/mystery), was semi-finalist for the 2005 Dana Award for Outstanding Novel and listed on the Publisher’s Best Seller List. The House of Kane (ArcheBooks Publishing), released in 2007, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination. Another contemporary novel for adults, Just Like Family, was released at Christmas 2009 when it received “Special Recognition from the 7-Eleven Corporation,” and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary novel written for adults, received a 2013 Independent Publishers Book Award for Best Book in Regional Fiction.

The Cadence of Gypsies, a novel written for young/new adults, was released in 2011 and was reviewed by the Smithsonian Institute for its List of Most Notable Books. In 2012, The Cadence of Gypsies was expanded into a four-book mystery series called THE FIG MYSTERIES: The Wish Rider (2016), The Clock Flower (2018), and The Nightjar’s Promise (to be released in 2019).

Ms. Casey also writes book-length nonfiction for adults. Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly was released in 2016 and has been optioned for a major movie. In 2018 her book Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave was released and it has been signed for a major movie.

Ms. Casey's award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Ms. Casey's essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation). Other award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories.

Ms. Casey is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. She is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and writers’ conferences around the country including the SCBWI Regional Conference, the Harriett Austin Writers Conference in Athens, SIBA (Southeastern Independent Book Sellers Association), Florida Writers Association, and the University of Auburn, Montgomery.

In 2018, Ms. Casey received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and Benton, a hound mix who adopted her.

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Barbara Casey will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.


Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles By J.M. Sullivan



Title: Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles
Author: J.M. Sullivan
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale Adaptations
Publication Date: August 2018
Publisher: Bleeding Ink Publishing


Always protect your queen

Ever since the outbreak of the Plague, life hasn’t been easy, and for seventeen-year-old Alice Carroll, it just got worse. Her sister, Dinah, has contracted the ‘un-deadly’ Momerath Virus and without a cure, will soon be worse than dead. She’ll be momerath.

Alice must leave the safety of the Sector and venture into Momerath Territory to find the antidote - if it exists. Chasing a rumor about a mysterious doctor with the cure, Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wanderland, where ravenous momerath aren’t the only danger lurking.

Coming August 7th 2018!










About The Author:

J.M. Sullivan is a Science Teacher by day, and an author by night. Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee.

If you would like to connect with her for a healthy dose of sparkle, positivity, and a touch of crazy, you can find her on Twitter or Instagram.




Blog Tour Schedule:


July 23rd
Hall Ways Blog ⬪ Review w/ Audio Excerpt 1
A New Look On Books ⬪ Guest Post 1
The Faerie Review ⬪ Review

July 24th
Just Books ⬪ Audio Excerpt 2
The Page Unbound ⬪ Comparison Review
Ishiee's Book Blog ⬪ Author Interview

July 25th
Books and Ravens ⬪ Guest Post 2
Everywhere and Nowhere ⬪ Author Interview 2
Rebecca R. Cahill ⬪ Audio Excerpt 3

July 26th
A Million And One Magazine ⬪ Author Interview 3

July 27th
Turn The Page ⬪ Review



Book Tour Organized By:

Monday, 23 July 2018

Searching by Cindy Cipriano


Title: Searching
Series: The Fading Series, #2
Author: Cindy Cipriano
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: July 20th 2018


How far would you search for The One?

A fast-paced fantasy romance with rich characters and immersive storytelling, Searching is the second book in the Fading series by award-winning author Cindy Cipriano.

To say Leath is traveling light is an understatement. She’s only bringing three things on her trip. One is a silver heart locket—a gift from her longtime best-friend-turned-boyfriend Victor Santana. Next is a wedding token in the shape of a J, from James Turner. And of course, she’s packing her pistol. That’s it. She knows that when she leaves Woodvine, even her own mother may not remember her in the shifted reality that will be left behind. Bringing anything else would be pointless. But she’s driven now, by something that eclipses everything else, something she just got back: her memories. And now that she remembers James—she won’t stop searching until she finds him.




Also available:

Fading
The Fading Series, #1

Seventeen-year-old, Leath Elliott lives with her mother in the microscopic town of Woodvine, North Carolina. Leath's father was killed in a tragic accident when she was fourteen, and her friend Victor Santana has been there for her every step of the way since. But the friendship starts to change when Victor develops deeper feelings for Leath. If that wasn’t complicated enough, newcomer James Turner, an emancipated minor with a dark past, wanders into her sights. Leath is captivated by him and wonders if he might be the boy of her dreams—literally.




Author Bio:

Cindy Cipriano lives in North Carolina with her husband, son and their 27 pets.

Not really.

Just three dogs who think they are children and three cats who think they are raccoons. It only seems as if they make 27. When Cindy isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and the avoidance of cooking.

Cindy's first novel, The Circle, Book One of The Sidhe won the 2014 Moonbeam Children's Book Silver Award for Pre-Teen Fiction - Fantasy. Other titles in the series include The Choice, Book Two of The Sidhe (2015) and The Lost, Book Three of The Sidhe (2017). This seven-book series is published by Odyssey Books.

Miller's Island Mysteries #1 The Case of the Toxic River (2017) is the first in her eleven-book science mystery series (Vulpine Press). #2 The Case of the Catalyst will release in 2018.

Fading, the first book in her young adult series was published in April 2018 by Clean Teen Publishing. Fading is the tale of first loves and the consequence of dreaming up Mr. Right.



Q&A's with Cindy Cipriano

Most embarrassing moment?
Stick around these tend to happen on a daily basis.

Truth or Dare?
Dare
That one time in the middle of the night when we dared each other to go over the local golf course and…

Favorite…
  • Place?
Where ever my family is, that's my favorite place.
  • Food? 
Anything savory. I don’t really have a sweet tooth.
  • Recipe?
Any restaurant works. For any meal.
  • Music? 
I listen to lots of stuff. Favorites are from 2000 to present
  • Scent?
My red velvet candle. Unfortunately, it’s been discontinued>
  • Latte?
Caramel with almond milk.
  • Vacay?
The North Carolina coastline, particularly the Emerald Isle.
  • Inspirational quote?
“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” --- Winston Churchill





Sunday, 22 July 2018

Interview with D.N. Pillay





Earlier this week I featured The Anmorian Legends by D.N. Pillay. Today the author has dropped in to answer a few questions.

Dhesan Neil Pillay is 28 years old and a medical doctor working in paediatrics in South Africa. Both his parents were teachers and he grew up surrounded by books.

Hi Dhesan, welcome to Just Books.
Would you like to start by telling us when you started writing for publication and what made you decide to put your work out there to be read by others?
I started the first drafts of The Anmorian Legends: Wrath of the Exiled in the ninth grade and rewrote it several times before settling on what would become the first iteration of the final version in the tenth grade. For two years after that I considered my work to just be a hobby and did not think too seriously about publishing. In my twelfth grade, I wrote a creative short story for an English assignment and my teacher’s comments gave me the encouragement to believe that perhaps my writing would be interesting to others as well.


What gets your creative juices flowing?
A good cup of coffee! The sound of the sea also has an inspiring effect, but less so than the smell of coffee.


What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?
When you’re unsure what to write, just keep writing. Don’t think of the ideas, try to let them flow. You can always go back later and beat the rough draft into shape but only if you get out of your own way first.


The best thing about being an author is….
Being able to create a world or universe to inhabit and then being able to share the experience of exploring that world with others.


Tell us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
Before I start writing out the story, I plan the entire sequence of events from start through to end. This gives me a rough road map as to where things will go but I am still flexible to adapting as I go along. When it comes to writing out the chapters, because of my working times, I use two segments in the day. The first is early in the morning with a cup of tea and just reviewing my story map notes. Then in the evening I’ll make a cup of coffee and select a playlist that mirrors the mood and environment I want to create.


Tell us about the covers for Wrath of the Exiled and Legacy of the Sentinels and how they came about.
I designed the cover for Wrath of the Exiled. My plan was through the story to look at the villain as this paragon of evil whose name evoked fear, however, the truth of his existence was far more terrifying than most understood. Since the first title was to introduce the world Rezaaran inhabits and that he must protect, plus the villain he must vanquish to fulfil his purpose, it felt fitting to include him on the cover. Furthermore, I opted for a simple style with contrasting colours so that it would stand out on a shelf. I drew inspiration from Avatar for the look and it illustrates Thaedis before he casts a spell.


Legacy of the Sentinels focussed on the Sentinels in their conquest against Thaedis and his forces as a unified force. This amazing cover was designed by the very talented Larry Wilson and we decided on a cover that could display our unique characters as well as visually show the fantasy/sci-fi elements of the story.


Would you give us an insight into your main character, please? What makes him special?
I think what makes Rezaaran Valhara special beside his incredible magical ability, is that he does not think of himself as being special, more so in the second book. He learns humility through some harsh lessons and the fact that he is a growing hero who matures through each experience instead of being a sparkling knight in armour makes him more relatable.


What do you like to do when you're not writing or working?
I enjoy spending time with my fiancé at the beach, watching movies, online gaming and playing soccer.


What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Professionally, nothing is harder than telling a parent their child has died despite your best efforts. Each time this happens feels like it is the hardest thing to do until the next time that it happens. Personally, learning to paint has to be the hardest thing I have ever tried to do.


Your book is being made into a movie, which star would you cast as Rezaaran?
Raymond Ablack, Raza Jaffery or Riz Ahmed.


What is your favourite book and why?
This is a bit of a tough one but I think I’ll give it to Sphere by Michael Crichton. The way the story is narrated is such a gripping thriller that you are hooked and can’t stop reading, but the concept that it is our imagination is our greatest strength, by allowing us to imagine beyond our present circumstance that allowed us to evolve as the supreme species of the planet, as well as the source of our greatest fears. I found the read incredibly fascinating!


Quick fire round:

  • Are you right- or left-handed?
Right.

  • What do you have in your pockets?
A pen.

  • What words and/or phrases do you use very frequently?
I tend to use the word ‘just’ exceedingly often in conversation and am sometimes aware that I may be using it too often.

  • Are you generally introverted or extroverted?
Introverted

  • Name three things you consider yourself to be very good at:
  • 30 seconds, the trivia game.

  • Remembering peoples’ names

  • Identifying songs after hearing a few seconds of the track



  • Thank you for joining us today, Dhesan. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before you go?
    Thank you for this interview opportunity. If any readers would like to get in touch with me and learn more about my writing they can check out these links: