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Book Blitz: Women Meditation and Power by Liz Lewinson @LizLewinson @KeriBarnum @RRBookTours1 #NonFiction #GenderStudies #Bloggers

Women Meditation

Congratulations to Liz Lewinson on the release of the latest edition of Women Meditation and Power!

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Women, Meditation, and Power
by Liz Lewinson
Genre: Non-Fiction/ Women’s Studies
Publication Date: January 7, 2020 (New Edition)

Women are the power species on the planet. Why? Because life force or kundalini flows through women more strongly than in men. The primary aspect of the female person is power. The primary aspect of the male person is love and humility. Somewhere back in time, the roles got switched.

Men in charge have unwittingly created a heavy, inflexible power structure that lurches towards destruction. Now is the time for the woman in all of us to up-end the confusion, unravel the deep-rooted lines of misunderstanding, and make it right.

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Author Bio

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LIZ LEWINSON is an award-winning author in biography and Buddhism. Her travels and career in technology and communications have allowed her to observe the inversion of the roles of women and men around the world. She speaks on the topics of women, meditation, and power to students, corporations, and community organizations.

Liz Lewinson

 

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Veiled by Desire by Candace Robinson @LiteraryDust @parliamentbooks @RRBookTours1 #BookBirthday #BookBlitz #Fantasy #BookRelease #RRBookTours

VeildedbyDesire

Congratulations to Candace Robinson on the release of this beauty! Veiled by Desire is the second installment of the Laith series and will be available on November 19th!

Read on for an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card, AND a digital copy of book #1, Clouded by Envy!

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Veiled by Desire: A Laith Novel
by Candace Robinson
Publication Date: November 19, 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: The Parliament House Press

In Laith, when the moons are high, Tavarra is allowed to walk the land as a human for one day, losing her seahorse-like tail. But should she remain out of the water, a curse will overtake her, turning her into a beast with sharp fangs and long claws. A beast that, on some nights, takes the shape of a rampaging, uncontrollable monster.

Rhona, along with her village, are under a sinister leader’s control. Their leader has taken Rhona from the boy she loves, stripped away her abilities and, under the threat of killing everyone she loves, forces her on a dangerous task to retrieve a dark prism that will increase his already massive powers.

When Tavarra and Rhona cross paths, they discover they need each other. Rhona knows how to help the cursed sea creature, while Tavarra knows where to find the dark prism. They embark on a mission that could help them break Tavarra’s spell and save Rhona’s family and village. But with an untamable beast inside Tavarra, nothing is certain..,

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Excerpt

Seven years of this. Tavarra closed her eyes and gripped the chains around the tree that bound her wrists together. She howled with urgency, screamed, and bared her fangs. As she stared up at the twin moons in the darkening sky, she knew her fate was coming. A fire spread throughout her entire body with a wicked touch, and she shook violently.

“The chains will hold this time,” her friend Eza said, landing on Tavarra’s shoulder. If Tavarra killed the pesky bat, there would be nothing, no one, and she had grown to love Eza after all these years.

“Get out of here, Eza! Now!” Tavarra screamed.

“I’ll be right here,” the bat murmured and flew up into the tree above. Eza looked incredibly similar to a fairy except for the thin blackened wings, fangs, and sharper-pointed ears. She was a little taller than the size of Tavarra’s hand from wrist to the tip of the claw on her middle finger.

Tavarra was trying to fight the change. She would win this time. As she breathed in the scents of Laith, Tavarra knew it was a lie, and indeed, she knew she’d failed when her skin began to stretch. She could feel her face taking on a new shape, and that was when the terror came because the night would be unknown to her. That was what haunted her the most. Tavarra held back the tears, unwilling to break, unwilling to bend and show weakness.

All that remained in her soul, heart, and existence, was hunger. She yearned and thirsted for blood, meat, and bones.

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Clouded by Envy (Laith #1)

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Brenik has always been envious of his twin sister, Bray. Growing up as fairy-like creatures, known as bats, everything came easier to Bray. While Brenik spent his time in her shadows, never feeling he was enough. After escaping their world of Laith, and living on Earth for ten years, Brenik attempts to strike a deal with the Stone of Desire to become human. Though true humanity is not an option, he will accept the curse that will alter him to get as close as he can.

Living in a tree trunk for the past year hasn’t been easy for Bray, more so after her brother disappears again. When a human boy and his brother, Wes, find her, a new friendship is struck. Through Wes, Bray learns there can be more to life than waiting within a tree. But worrying over where Brenik has vanished to always remains in the back of her mind.

When Bray reunites with Brenik, she realizes she must help him break the curse after she discovers the need for blood is beginning to overpower him. The curse not only damages those who get close to Brenik, but it could also destroy whatever is blooming between Bray and Wes.

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Author Bio

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Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words and hoping to one day find her own DeLorean time machine. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, watching classic movies, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas—where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next.

Candace Robinson | Literary Dust | Twitter

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Mercy by Stephen Bentley @StephenBentley8 and @Shalini_G26

ResizerImage360X540Mercy by Stephen Bentley
Detective Matt Deal Thrillers, #1
Genre: crime fiction (noir)/thriller/urban fiction with some graphic scenes and language.
Publication Date:  November 30, 2019

His daughter was taken. He’ll never get her back.

Set in the near future, Matt Deal is a British businessman married into a wealthy Florida family.

Mercy, his fifteen-year-old daughter, is the glue in his rocky marriage to Lorey. His life is changed forever after Mercy is brutally sexually assaulted on a Destin beach leaving her in a persistent vegetative state.

Trusting the local detectives to bring the rapists to justice, mixed martial arts expert Deal concentrates in vain on his Florida gym business, only to have his world further explode on learning the men responsible for his daughter’s injuries may escape justice. Deal is isolated and at his wit’s end after his rich father-in-law sends death threats blaming him for all these ills.

Who can he turn to? Where can he go? What will he do? Who can he trust?

Will he return to a post-Brexit Britain or ultimately will he seek revenge?

Fans of Jack Reacher, Barry Eisler, and any vigilante justice novel will love this book.

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Excerpt

As much as he tried to hide it, Deal felt nervous as he knocked on the door of Internal Affairs.

The voice resonated in his head. “Enter.”

It was the tone, the command, the authority in the voice that reminded him why he was nervous. One false word, one false move and I’m fired, he thought.

Reading the open file, Emily Breen looked up through heavy-rimmed glasses before speaking again. “We meet again, Detective Deal. Sit.”

Breen pointed to a regular-looking seat on the opposite side of the desk from her high-backed executive chair. She continued reading. Deal sat watching her in silence.

Peering over her glasses, Breen said, “Remind me. When was the first time we met?”

“I think you know. It’s all there in my file. Larry Etchwell, Coroner’s Court. I was still with the Human Trafficking Department.”

Breen was silent. She appeared to be deep in thought.

Her next words broke the silence. “The psych evaluation is all good. Says you are fit to remain on active duty.”

“Good. I knew that but it’s good to hear the experts say it too.” Deal emphasised experts. The sarcasm wasn’t missed by Breen.

“Deal. You know the score. Why do you make things difficult for yourself?”

Deal ignored caution. “I always do things the hard way. Haven’t you heard?”

Breen ignored him. “What is this thing with the stutter?”

“How do you mean?”

“You’ve seen the report. What you told the shrink.”

“Remind me. What did I say?”

“If you were a rattlesnake, the stutter would be your rattle.”

Deal smiled at the thought of that meeting with the shrink. “Yeah. That’s what I said. It’s a fact.”

“But why? Why a stutter?”

“I don’t fucking know why. Why does a rattlesnake have a rattle?”

“There you go again, Detective Deal.”

“What?”

“Not helping yourself.”

“Are we done?”

“No. We are not. I have to tell you, one more loss of control. One more death, self-defence or not, you are finished. Do you hear me?”

“I hear you.”

“Good. Is there anything else you wish to say?”

“Can I ask a question?”

“You may.”

“Why does a bird fly?”

“What do you mean?”

“Asking me why I stutter if threatened is like asking a bird why it flies. Why an elephant has big ears. It’s just so. And one other thing – ask these guys what they were going to do to me.”

“I can’t. You killed them.”

“Too right. Before they killed me.”

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then it will be $3.99.

Author Bio

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Stephen Bentley is a former UK Detective Sergeant, barrister, and author of a bestselling undercover cop memoir. He also writes crime fiction.

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Beneath London’s Fog by Iona Caldwell

Beneath London’s Fog
Iona Caldwell
Published by: FyreSyde Publishing
Publication date: October 30th, 2019
Genres: Occult Fiction, Ghost Story, British Literature

Jonathan is the immortal master of Raven Hollow Manor – a decrepit mansion riddled with superstition, murder and restless ghosts. Beneath it lies a restless malice.

Its previous owner driven mad, violently kills his guests with a rusted ax, creating the perfect venue for Jonathan to seclude himself in a prison of his own device.

When the streets of London begin to run red with blood; the bodies exhibiting disturbing signs and baffling wounds, the identity of the killer remains elusive to police.

The bodies are just the beginning of Jonathan’s troubles. A mysterious letter accusing Jonathan of committing the murders appear, raising suspicion in the police. Hidden beneath the mangled bodies, Jonathan soon realizes he is being forced to face demons he thought died in a forlorn past he attempted to escape.

One thing Jonathan knows for certain: He must deal with the demons of his past if he is to survive his future. Not only him but those he has come to love as well.

For fans of Jim Butcher, Stephen King, Darcy Coates and Nick Cutter.

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EXCERPT:

The Streets Ran With Blood

I want it known before this tale begins – I am not a hero but a villain. I want no sympathy from whomever reads this recalling of my story; no mourning for the tragedy that befell my life. I am not an innocent man but a sinner forced to face the ravaging demons and ghosts of his own creation.

My story began as many do – a lie, a fire and murder. One of my kind murdered the woman I loved in the coldest of blood in one of history’s darkest times at the behest of a possessive noble.

After a run in with him in Nottingham, I soon found myself fleeing for my life from hunters, framed for a murder I had not committed.

Forgive me, I am getting ahead of myself.

Let me begin where this part of my story took place.

A bloody civil war ravaged London followed shortly by the Great Fire in 1666. A glorious time for me and those like me to take advantage of the chaos and remain hidden in the shadows.

I managed to pursue the one responsible for nearly getting me killed two centuries prior to the plague which befell London before the fire.

Within the shadows of the flickering flames of St. Peter’s Cathedral, I struck him down and departed the city, thus avoiding my demise.

I had yet to escape him, however, when his vengeful spirit devoured the souls of the innocent in a mad bloodlust.

Though greatly injured, I managed to drive his spirit to my new home Raven Hollow Manor in London, imprisoning him in stone coffin in the crypt beneath it.

Peace resumed in my life and nobles of all kinds enjoyed lavishly hosted parties within the halls of my estate.

Unfortunately, the short-lived splendor at the hands of the hauntings filled the ears of the locals and my beloved home decayed into a tangled web of blood-filled rumors and superstition.

My once glorious halls became infested with dust, its crystal chandeliers covered with cobwebs, their spiders fat on the insects buzzing around the decay and mold-covered wallpaper.

Yet, there I remained as it proved a decent place to not only contain my greatest sin but served also as a castle of solitude.

The tides of time swept by in a cacophony of modernization and the movement from superstition to things only mortal science could explain.

I still needed to venture into the city, not only to feed but also to purchase other items needed for everyday living.

It wasn’t until the winter of 1910 that my silence would be disrupted in the form of a girl named Holly, a young street urchin accused of theft. I took her with me after using a bit of “persuasion” on the local officers to let her go.

They did not need to know where I would take her and she soon grew into a wonderful messenger on my behalf. She became a rather attractive young woman with bouncy blonde curls who kept me company with stories of what went on in the city.

I am sure, at one time, she became infatuated with me. It did not surprise me. To mortals, my kind held a certain allure they found difficult to ignore. I ended her infatuation quickly following a stern talking to and dousing with cold water.

One day, while in my labyrinthine garden, Holly came to me in tears.

When the people of London learned where Holly lived, the townsfolk dubbed her a practitioner of black magic.

One day, I found Holly sitting on one of the marble benches in the garden, sobbing. I picked a flower and put it in my daughter’s hair, sitting next to her beneath the statue of a praying angel.

“You need not worry about them, dearest. Mortals are always quick to place labels on what they do not understand.”

Holly sniffled and sobbed, wiping her nose and offering me a smile. “But why do they avoid this place, Jonathan?”

“Mortals fear what they cannot comprehend. Pay them no mind. You are a wonderful young woman,” I purred, brushing a blonde curl from her face.

The words appeared to have placated her as she smiled and joined me in a moonlight stroll through the garden.

***

Around midnight, after dinner with Holly, I dismissed her to bed. Once she departed, I sought out sustenance in the city.

A dense fog rolled in due to the cool winter weather and the recent days of rain.

Combined with the darkness of the streets and alleyways, I managed to meet a young working woman on the corner and wooed her into joining me for a walk to the park. As with other women, I made sure she understood I respected her body with gentle caresses and loving words murmured into her ears.

Once I placed her deep under my spell, I kissed the tender flesh of the woman’s throat and exposed shoulder, thanking her for her gift.

My fangs pierced her flesh, earning a moan of pleasure as her body surrendered its precious life force without any significant damage. Her body pressed against mine, her moans increasing with pleasure at my kiss.

I preferred this method to those of many of my other brethren who tore their victims apart during a feeding, choosing power to subdue instead of sexual allure.

When signs of weakness began manifesting I released my hold, picking her up after licking the small puncture wounds, my saliva healing them, leaving no marks or scars.

To assure she received care, I took her to the nearest hospital and deposited her on the steps without anyone noticing.

As always, I used hypnotic suggestion to erase her memory and leave her with a pleasant dream.

During the wee hours of the morning, I tended to enjoy the calls of the birds and the chirping of the crickets to help relieve the burden on my mind.

Not a soul roamed the streets near the bridge where I liked to sit and write poetry or read a book.

In the midst of the silence, a horrifying shriek caught my attention, almost startling me.

My pupils narrowed to those one might see in a viper or a cat. I let my body dissipate into the form of a black mist, hovering over the city in search of the source of the scream.

I found it in the shape of the body of a mangled man.

The whites of his eyes consumed most of the portion of the glossy orbs in his skull, mouth gaped open mid-scream.

I knelt before him, my own brows furrowed in frustration at the recognition of the familiar puncture wounds on the man’s throat. This cannot be. No other has hunted here in centuries.

The disturbing find made something clear.

Many of my kind preferred not to hunt in one place occupied by another of higher status, or in another’s territory for that matter. We changed due to the growing number of human hunters who would kill any of us they came across.

Despite the city’s size, my reputation often kept others out of my hunting grounds, for which I remained grateful.

This new kill had been malicious.

If I allowed such behavior to continue, it could draw the attention of the hunters or the local police to my home.

Whomever the responsible party, I needed to locate them and have a word with them or kill them if necessary.

My eyes closed, a heavy sigh drawing up from within my lungs. I placed my fingers over the man’s eyes, using a gentle touch to close them. “Forgive whichever of us did this to you. You did not deserve to die in such a horrific manner.”

Searching through the pockets of his trench coat, I located his identification card and vowed to send some money and roses to his family.

Sounds of sirens and the calls of the corner watchmen announced the arrival of the authorities. I left them the man’s wallet so they could inform his family of their loss.

I lurked in the shadows listening to the inspectors scrutinizing the scene.

“Bloody mystery, it is. This is the second mangled body we found this week. One has to wonder if we might be witnessing the birth of another blighter of a serial killer.” One of the inspectors scratched his head beneath the dome shaped hat.

I recognized him as Bertrand Abrams, a well-known officer and one of the only men who aided Holly during her visits to town.

From his looks, one would expect him to hail from Scotland. A bushy mustache and stringy hair with the consistency of sheep’s wool held the color of fire. Dimples set into high cheekbones and a double chin made me smile. A portly belly betrayed his affinity for too many scones and perhaps Scotch.

He had been wrong. This death held no mystery. I merely needed to find the one responsible before it resulted in too much of a personal dilemma.

Following the release of the corpse to the medical examiner, I took the form of black mist and drifted back to Raven Hollow.

The beginnings of my night would be haunted by dreams of a past filled with love, vengeance and pain.

It would be filled with shining auburn locks and eyes the color of the fresh leaves of spring.

 

Author Bio:

Iona Caldwell is the lover of all things arcane, folklore, nature and magic.

She is the author of the British Occult Fiction, Beneath London’s Fog set to be published by FyreSyde Publishing October 2019. Her second title, Hell’s Warden is forecasted to release in February of 2020. When she’s not busy weaving worlds of the arcane and dark, she’s spending time out in nature. An avid lover of books, Iona claims her biggest inspirations are H.P Lovecraft, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Edgar Allen Poe.

She believes storytellers should tell the stories they want to tell. As such, most of her titles are stand-alone novellas she hopes will leave her readers immersed in magical worlds.

She is also an extremely active book blogger who will review primarily horror, suspense, supernatural thriller, mystery, and occult/gothic fiction.

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New Releases

Book Blitz: Dark One’s Bride by Aldrea Alien

Dark One’s Bride by Aldrea Alien
(Dark One’s Trilogy #2)
Publication date: October 31, 2019
Genres: Young Adult Gothic Romance

A royal wedding. A fiery heroine. And a brazen act of sabotage that could topple a kingdom.

It has been five months since Clarabelle Weaver saved the life of the infamous Great Lord and happily accepted his unexpected marriage proposal. With their wedding less than a week away, she is finally stepping into the unfamiliar world beyond her village to face nobility she never knew existed.

But it’s not only them who are interested in her presence.

The enemy is also stirring for this historic occasion. Their focus not on the man they see as their reviled “Dark Lord”, but on her as the young woman who supposedly carries his heir.

Clara must weave a path through attempted assassinations and poisonings whilst also proving to the court that she’s suitable to become their ruler’s Great Lady… all before taking their vows. But has her training prepared her for an attack that could send the kingdom into war?

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Sequel to:

EXCERPT:

The door took them out into a narrow, vacant corridor. Cool air caressed her face and took the edge off the wretched sogginess that had grasped her limbs. Clara breathed deeply as they walked, willing her stomach to stop fluttering and disgusted it wouldn’t obey such a command. It was empty bar a half-cup of liquid. What was left for it to protest?

Lucias ran his hand up and down her back in light, reassuring strokes. The action was somewhat at odds with the concern plastered across his face and the anger evident in the flicker of silvery-blue light in his eyes. Small though they were, the sparks still flashed in the gloom. “How are you feeling now?”

“Still terrible,” she mumbled. Even away from the warmth of the kitchens, the unbearable heat continued to plague her.

He nodded as if expecting that very reply. There was a hitch in his stride as he fumbled with something in a small pouch on his belt. “Here,” he whispered, pressing a slim glass vial into her hand. “Drink this. It should fix that.”

Clara uncorked the vial and downed the brown sludge without a second thought. Her very hair seemed to shudder at the bitterness coating her tongue. She gagged. Her stomach rolled, still deciding on whether to reject this strange concoction. “What was that?” The words barely escaped her without her biting her tongue.

“It’s the antidote for a large variety of poisons.” He took the vial back from her and returned it to the pouch. “I always keep a few on me.”

Heat drained from her face. She wasn’t certain if it was due to the vial’s effects or the implication that… “Someone tried to poison me?” She hadn’t even been here a day. How could there already be people in place to make an attempt on her life? And why hadn’t they gone straight for Lucias?

“Well, it’s was either that or the food was far too rich for you. But I’d prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to your wellbeing. I’ll bring a few vials for you in the morning. Right after I send a few of my people to interrogate the kitchen staff.”

 

Author Bio:

Aldrea Alien lives in New Zealand with their family, including a menagerie of animals, most of which are convinced they’re just as human as the next person. Especially the cats! By day, they wrangle the family, often writing romantic fantasy by night.

Visit their website to sign up for their newsletter so you can stay informed about new releases.

To get behind the scenes, join Aldrea’s Facebook Group.

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Book Blitz: Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets by Sherrill Joseph @MysteryAuthor7 @RRBookTours1 #Mystery #MG #MiddleGrade

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Have you heard about Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, by Sherrill Joseph yet? Check it out and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom!

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Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets
by Sherrill Joseph
(A Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries #1)
Expected Publication Date: February 1st, 2020
Genre: MG/ Middle Grade/ Mystery (Ages 9 – 12)

World-famous Egyptologist Dr. Winston Thornsley died suddenly two months ago in disgrace. His widow, Ida Thornsley, remains convinced her husband was falsely accused of stealing an ancient burial urn he discovered in Egypt last summer, but local and federal law enforcement officers are stumped.

Mrs. Thornsley, desperate for answers, calls in her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, Moki Kalani, and Rani Kumar. Their exciting mission? To find the urn and its real thief, bring the criminal to justice, and exonerate Dr. Thornsley so his spotless reputation can be restored.

A roomful of venomous snakes, the poisoned Egyptian pond, and Dragon Pit Man are just a few of the tests awaiting the four tech-savvy teenagers. As the detectives begin to unravel the sinister plot, the mystery takes a dangerous turn. Answers are at their fingertips—if they can only convince their parents to let them solve the case.

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Excerpt

Uncle Rocky did his best to join the kids on the floor but resorted to an old, overstuffed club chair instead. No sooner had the man gotten settled when Rani’s face changed.

“What’s that?” she said.

Flashing lights were beaming into the attic through the little window and dancing wildly around the room. The group quickly clustered around the opening.

Lanny grabbed the binoculars hanging nearby and trained them on the source. It took some time before the light show stopped interfering with his vision. “It’s Mask Face! On the Quince Street Footbridge!” he shouted, lowering the binoculars.

Lexi yanked them from her brother, taking his neck along with the strap, and aimed them out the window. “You’re right. Eww! It’s creepy,” she replied as goosebumps ran down her arms.

The figure had turned the flashlight onto its mask, creating the illusion of a disembodied head floating across the bridge.

Coming Soon!

Egyptian Secrets, in paperback and eBook, will be available for purchase on Amazon, February 1, 2020!

For your chance to win a digital copy of the book, book swag — a bookmark, a sticker, and a postcard, And a $25 Amazon gift card, click the link below to enter!

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Note: Prizes mentioned above are available to the U.S. only. A digital copy of Egyptian Secrets will be given away for international entries!

The giveaway will run from November 4th to November 7th. Good luck!

Author Bio

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Sherrill Joseph’s debut novel, Nutmeg Street: Egyptian Secrets, had been inside her head for decades. The mystery genre took hold of her as a fifth-grader when she discovered Nancy Drew and Phyllis A. Whitney mysteries. Years later, it still hasn’t let go.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s in education, Sherrill spent the next thirty-five years as a K-12 literacy teacher. When she retired from teaching in 2013, the Botanic Hill Detectives and their mysteries finally sprang to life.

Forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools, the author has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives mysteries with children of various abilities, cultures, and interests. She strongly believes that embracing diversity is the key to a better world.

Sherrill is a native San Diegan where she lives in a ninety-year-old house in a historic neighborhood with her bichon frisé-poodle mix, Jimmy Lambchop. In addition to her dog, the city of San Diego, reading and writing, the author loves her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She must also include dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, staircases, the color purple, and daisies. She is a member of SCBWI and the Authors’ Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

Sherrill Joseph | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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Book Blitz: The Alchemist and an Amaretto by Annette Marie

The Alchemist and an Amaretto
by Annette Marie
(The Guild Codex: Spellbound #5)
Published by: Dark Owl Fantasy Inc.
Publication date: October 11, 2019
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy

As a guild bartender, I can handle pretty much anything—mages, sorcerers, witches, the occasional demon. But show me anything family-related and I’d rather run for the hills. It doesn’t even have to be my family.

So I have no idea why I thought spending the holidays with Aaron’s mom and pop was a good idea.

Meeting his famous parents is already terrifying enough, but I’ve got a bigger problem. Students of his family’s renowned mage academy are being attacked on the grounds—and somehow no one has seen a single assailant? Unexplained tracks litter the nearby woods, rumors of forbidden alchemy are circulating the campus…and Ezra has been acting strangely since we arrived.

Something deadly is brewing in the shadow of Sinclair Academy, and the longer we take to uncover it, the more dangerous it becomes. But no matter the risk, we’ll protect the students.

And Aaron’s parents too, I suppose. If we have to.

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Excerpt

Ezra stopped, hands on his hips as he surveyed the lazy slope that swept up to the towering manor. “All right. Time for our final sprint.”

I snorted. “Yeah, uh-huh.”

“I’m serious. We always finish our workouts with something competitive.”

Like competitive pushups. I shivered at the reminder.

“This is the starting line. That tree is the finish. First one there wins.”

“What’s the prize?” I folded my arms, eyeing the distance. Not that far but not twenty yards either. “You, Aaron, and Kai always bet something.”

He rubbed the hint of shadow along his jaw. “Winner’s choice, I guess.”

Ooh, I liked the sound of that. Grinning, I got into a starting position. “You’re on.”

He took the same position. Clearing his throat, he deepened his voice to mimic a sports announcer. “On your mark. Get set. G—”

“What’s that?” I gasped, pointing behind him.

He snapped around to look—and I launched into a mad sprint, arms pumping. Ezra swore and took off after me, but I had a head start. I would reach the finish first and totally win this.

Right as I drew level with the target tree, hands caught my waist. Ezra swept me off the ground, still running—an impossible feat if not for his inhuman strength. He stopped just past the tree, laughing too hard to hold me up. My back slid down his chest and my feet landed in the grass.

“I can’t believe I fell for that,” he said breathlessly. “You’re such a cheater.”

Whirling to face him, I smirked. “I was manufacturing a combat advantage, not cheating. Kai’s been teaching me.”

“A race isn’t combat.”

“Maybe I was running for my life.”

“From me?” He arched a playful eyebrow. “Does that mean you don’t like being chased?” “Depends who’s doing the chasing,” I shot back teasingly.

“Oh? So is it the chase you prefer, or the catch?”

I tossed my hair with pretend haughtiness. “You think you could catch me?”

“Pretty sure I already did.”

My heart did a crazy tumble through my chest and a grin stretched my mouth. I couldn’t hold it back any more than I could stop the blush heating my cheeks.

“Well,” I began dramatically, spreading my arms as I stepped backward, “do I look—”

My heel caught on a tree root hidden in the grass. Squealing, I pitched over, arms wind-milling. My back hit the ground, the air punched from my chest, and I blinked dazedly at the overcast sky.

Damn it.

Ezra’s face appeared above mine. He crouched at my side, his expression drawn into grave concern. “Tori, are you still with me?”

I choked on a laugh and whispered, “Ezra? Is that you?”

“I’m here.” He took my hand and patted it gently. “Just hang in there.”

I fluttered my fingers. “Everything is growing dark.”

“Go toward the light, Tori.”

My eyebrows quirked. “Shouldn’t I go away from the light?”

“It doesn’t have the same ring,” he decided. “You’ll have to go toward the light.”

“Toward the light it is.” I waited a moment. “Now what?”

He took my hands and folded them on my chest in the classic body-in-casket pose—and I lost it. Cackling with laughter, I sat up and checked the grass stain on my elbow.

“Next time, I’ll make you laugh first,” I promised. He grinned as he stood. “You can try.”

Author Bio

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

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