Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Fallenwood Chronicles by Leslie D. Soule

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. A randomly drawn winner will be awarded a $25 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to It's Raining Books. If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?
I always thought I might be able to get into a lot of mischief by being able to walk through walls. That would be a fun one.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
I think they’d be surprised to learn that I’m a very organized person who generally likes to keep things pretty tidy, despite by habit of hoarding all the pens I can possibly find.

When writing descriptions of your hero/ine, what feature do you start with?
I usually start with something unique about them, if I can come up with it.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I would say that I’m a bit of both. I generally know where I want the story to end up, but not always how it’s going to get there.

Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so, what?
I did learn something from writing this book – I learned how much my writing means to me, as an expression of my soul. I learned that there’s nothing wrong with me – I just have a classic soul in a modern world.

The Fallenwood Chronicles is the ongoing story of Ash Kensington, a young woman who finds herself transported into a fantasy world, where she must take up arms in a battle of Good vs. Evil, against the Dark Lord Malegaunt. Tragedy strikes her life in the real world, but she finds friends in Fallenwood, like her mentor Will Everett, a talking cat named Greymalkin, and a court jester named Terces. Working together, they battle against the odds as Ash faces attacks from the world and from within. Eventually Ash finds the strength within herself, to attempt the fight against Malegaunt, against overwhelming odds, come what may.

Read an Excerpt

“A dark, difficult, dangerous path lies before you, Ash Kensington.” Ash’s heart grew heavy. In truth, she knew that she was destined to some terrible, dark fate. For so long, her life was filled with sadness and doubt, and one horrible thing after another. What else can I hope for? “But Ash, you must not lose hope. Our world needs you, and you must learn to be strong, so you can find the power within yourself to change things for the better. Prove that you are stronger than your Fate. Prove that you are worthy of this life that you have been given. William Everett has agreed to guide you, and there will be others in this realm that you must learn from. But your future, your life—everything from this point on is up to you. For you have been granted a precious gift—to return to the place and time you left in coming here, once your quest is through.”

About the Author:
Leslie D. Soule received her M.A. in English from National University. She is a scholar, artist, citizen journalist, and martial artist. She has been an established writer for a decade, and has novels published by Melange Books, Terror House Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing, and Nat 1 Publishing. The Fallenwood Chronicles is her 4-book fantasy series and features the novels Fallenwood, Forgetting Fallenwood, Betrayer, and Retribution.


Book One:
Book Two:
Book Three:
Book Four:

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Monday, April 22, 2024

A Cure for Spring Fever by Barbara Robinson

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

For centuries, Gamekeepers have used their magical abilities to create a buffer between the creatures who dwell in the enchanted forest and the sleepy coastal town that sits in its shadow. When Gamekeeper Stan Ross’s magic begins to fail, he must find out what went wrong, then fix it before the two worlds collide. His hit or miss magic has already led to a few close calls so he journeys to the Sacred Isle searching for answers and advice. Finding a cure proves elusive—until Stan encounters a kitchen witch who captivates him body and soul. Lynnette Peters is healing from her own wounds, however, and it isn’t clear whether she’s ready to open herself to the possibility—or the peril—of love.

Read an Excerpt

An as-you-live-and-breathe troll was her MysticMingle match for the evening.

Troll-kin or not, she did her best to engage her date in conversation, but her ‘date’ seemed incapable of responding with anything more than one-word answers and occasional grunts. When the server returned to take their order, it was almost a relief.

“I’ve heard the gumbo is good here,” Lynnette said. “But the roasted vegetable ragout sounds delicious—root vegetables, garlic, lemongrass and spring chives, all served with lashings of butter. I’ll go with that, I think.”

The waitress jotted down her order and turned expectantly to her companion.

“Svith,” he grunted.

The waitress wrinkled her nose. “I’m not sure if that is something Chef can prepare.”

“Svith,” her companion insisted, slapping a crooked-knuckled hand on the table.

“Okay,” she replied, holding up a hand. “I’ll ask him to make it just for you.”

Unfamiliar with the dish, Lynnette asked her date—who had introduced himself by slapping his chest and saying Stink Foot with a discernable note of pride—about it while they waited for their food to arrive.

“Svith good,” he said, but didn’t elaborate.

She had to wait until a large platter was set in front of him to understand what the fuss was about. The dish consisted of half a boiled sheep’s head, the hair singed off, floating in a greasy broth. Watching her date tuck into his svith was enough to turn Lynnette off her ragout, but she struggled through a few tentative bites.

Then he scooped the eye out of its socket with a spoon and presented it to her. “Try svith?”

About the Author: Barbara Robinson is an author of contemporary and historical romance set against a backdrop of magical realism. She is a deep thinker and tea drinker who finds inspiration in myths and folktales, poems and ballads, and academic writing on a variety of subjects. Diagnosed with autism and giftedness as an adult, she enjoys exploring themes of neurodiversity and opposing character perspectives in her writing.

She is an avid gardener and lover of nature who works out plot lines and character sketches while nurturing her garden, walking in the woods, or sitting by the shoreline watching waves. She is known for world building that features rich and immersive detail, supported by meticulous research and careful observation.

Barbara lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, in the shadow of ancient mountains that lie along the Bay of Fundy coast. These rugged vistas shape her story settings, while providing the perfect backdrop for life with her husband, her hounds and her dragon (Pogona Vitticeps). She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of King’s College and a Master of Arts at Dalhousie University, and she recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing from the Humber School for Writers (Humber College, Toronto).



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Thursday, April 18, 2024

On the Threshold by M. Laszlow

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $25 Amazon/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to It's Raining Books. What would we find under your bed?

Nothing. I don’t have a bed, only the box springs and the mattress. Many of the writers of the nineteenth century didn't even have the box springs. As a matter of fact, the German poet, Heinrich Heine, had only a mattress. In the final years of his life, when he was growing steadily sicker with lead poisoning, he would refer to his mattress as his “mattress grave.” This is significant to me because I read that poet’s work in my youth—and he inspired one of the characters in The Phantom Glare of Day.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

Hiking on one of the Greek islands. People should know that when you go hiking on the Greek islands, the earth can be very unstable. Even if something looks stable, it could just be volcanic ash.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what?

Often, Satie is just the thing—especially his early, experimental works for piano. Traditional Chinese music is also conducive to writing. For that matter, you can never go wrong with traditional Japanese music. The sound of a koto is evocative in a way that no other musical instrument could ever be.

What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

If things go well and my writing marches along, there will be a sense of redemption—a sense of having successfully communicated the kinds of ideas that just had to come out. Whether the person is a writer, artist, or musician, the most important accomplishment has to be the furtherance of that sense of redemption that comes with the completion of each new work or opus. Maybe there are other ways of achieving redemption, but the completion of hard work is the only one that really resonates with me.

How long did it take you to write this book?

Back in school, it took two years to write my idea book/journal containing all the ideas that went into this novel. Then that notebook sat in storage up until just a few years ago. As such, it took only a few years to write the book that follows from that aforementioned journal. It’s a funny thing to have a lifetime of diaries and idea books that date back to previous decades. It feels like a blessing and a curse.

Obsessed with learning the origins of the cosmos, the actual meaning of life, and the true purpose of civilization, a fine Scotsman named Fingal T. Smyth dedicates himself to the study of Plato’s most extraordinary ideas. Convinced of Plato’s belief that humankind possesses any and all innate knowledge deep within the collective unconscious mind, Fingal soon conducts a series of bold, pioneering occult-science experiments by which to resolve the riddle of the universe once and for all. However, Fingal forgets how violent and perilous the animal impulses that reside in the deepest recesses of the unconscious mind. And when Fingal unleashes a mysterious avatar of his innate knowledge, the entity appears as a burning man and immediately seeks to manipulate innocent and unsuspecting people everywhere into immolating themselves. Now, with little hope of returning the fiery figure into his being, Fingal must capture his nemesis before it destroys the world.

Read an Excerpt

Fräulein Wunderwaffe did not return the smile. Hand on heart, the little girl drew a bit closer. Then, as the hot, animalistic presence undulated all across Fingal’s body, the little girl’s eyes grew wide. Until the little girl’s expression turned to that of a vacant stare. A moment later, her feet pointed inwards, she removed her hat and undid her long, flaxen hair. Again, he cringed. “If you’ve noticed something, ignore all. This hasn’t got anything to do with you.” A third time, he cringed. A most ethereal, lyrical, incomprehensible hiss commenced then: from the other end of the winding, decorative-brick driveway, each clay block shining the color of blue Welsh stone, a sleek Siamese cat with a coat of chocolate-spotted ivory had just appeared. And now the creature raced toward his shadow. As he looked into the animal’s big, searching, blue eyes, the chocolate Siamese studied the off-center tip of his nose. Then the animal turned away, as if to compare the peculiarity with that of some disembodied visage hovering in the distance. Out upon the loch, meanwhile, a miraculous rogue wave suddenly arose—and now the swell crashed against the pebbly strand. Not a moment later, a cool flame crawled across Fingal’s throat. The strange fire rattled, too—not unlike the sound of fallen juniper leaves caught up in the current and dancing against the surface of a stone walkway. Crivens. By now, the alien, pulsating presence held him so tight that he could barely breathe. Before long, he fell to the earth, and as the dreamlike flame continued to move across his throat, he rolled all about—until the illusory sensation of cool warmth wriggled and twisted and dropped into his neck dimple. About the Author:
M. Laszlo is an aging recluse who lives in Bath, Ohio. Rumor holds that his pseudonym is a reference to Victor Laszlo, a character in the classic film Casablanca. On the Threshold is his first release with the acclaimed, Australian hybrid house AIA Publishing. Oddly, M. Laszlo insists that his latest work, On the Threshold, does in fact provide the correct answer to the riddle of the universe.

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Thursday, April 11, 2024

The Cyborg's Crusade by Benoit Lanteigne

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $25 Amazon/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

When to Tell not Show

Probably the writing advice I’ve heard the most is show don’t tell. Mostly, I agree, but I’m also French Canadian. What does that have to do with anything? Well, in French every rule has an exception and the same holds for “show don’t tell”. That’s why I’m going to talk about four situations where you can consider telling.

#1 Brevity Showing is great and creates more immersive stories, but it comes at a cost: word length. All those descriptions add up and you can have what would be a short sentence turn into a paragraph or more. If you need to keep your text brief, telling might end up being necessary.

#2 Boring stuff This is probably the most obvious example. Some aspects of a story can be boring even if necessary and focusing too much on them can pull the reader out of your story. Let’s take an example. The main characters made a sandwich for their lunch, and the main conflict involves having said sandwich stolen by a coworker. Readers need to be informed there’s a sandwich involved, no question there. But, do you need to show how the sandwich was made? Should you describe how the protagonist found the bread in the armoire? How they buttered those slices? How they cut the tomatoes. Did the juice from those tomatoes leak out under the knife? Should there be paragraphs upon paragraphs of intense sandwich action? Unless your book is about the thrilling world of sandwich making (and who am I to say it isn’t), maybe not. It’s just more effective to mention quickly to the reader the main character has a sandwich instead of boring them with useless details.

#3 Unimportant stuff Sometimes you can have elements of your story that could be compelling, but the story doesn’t need to go over them in detail. In such cases, it’s okay to tell the reader about those elements instead of showing them. Why would you do this, though? Two reasons come to mind, and you might find more. First, decreasing word counts. If your story is so long that it would be hard to attract a publisher and you wish to be traditionally published, trimming the fat can make all the difference. Second, focusing a lot on the non-essential part of your story can distract the reader and take away from the main point.

As an example, in The Cyborg’s Crusade, I have invented a world where a large-scale war happened in the past. The reader must know about that war and some of its aspects, but only limited information is needed.

#4 Absolute clarity There’s a strange paradox about showing. Perhaps you are saying more to be less clear. Let me explain with an example: The person is angry.

If I tell you that, there’s no room for misinterpretation. The character is angry; end of the story. There’s no debate about possibilities. But, if I decide to show their anger through their posture, tone of voice, and so on, then I introduce ambiguity. Suddenly, the readers have their own interpretation that can differ from mine. In many cases, that’s good. It’s the kind of subtlety that makes writing more engaging. However, what if it’s important to you that your intention cannot be mistaken? What if it’s crucial the reader understands the character is angry and failure to do so isn’t an option? Then, telling might be the only way to achieve your goal.

How did it come to this? My life used to be so simple. Back then, I hated it; I found it boring. Let me tell you: boring’s good. Boring’s great! I should’ve been thankful…

It was supposed to be a date like any other for James Hunter, a simple convenience store clerk. Nothing more than watching a movie in the town of Moncton. A place as unknown and unimportant as he considered his own existence to be. And yet, while walking to a cinema, James teleports to another world. There, a hostile crowd surrounds him, including various mutants with strange deformities.

Before he can even gather his wits or make a dash for it, a lone ally presents herself in the form of a winged woman named Rose. An important cultural figure in the country where James appeared, she offers him both protection and a home.

Soon, James learns that this new world is divided by a cold war. On one side is Nirnivia, home to Rose. The other, Ostark, led by a mysterious cyborg. James is unaware that the cyborg has him in his crosshairs, thinking of him as the Deus Ex Machina that will end the war in his favor.

But, the cyborg is far from the only potential threat to James. Soon after his arrival, BRR, a terrorist organisation, kidnaps him.

What would a rogue group out for revenge seeking to turn the cold war hot want with someone like James? Is there anyone also aware of this other world who will try to find him? Or is he on his own? If so, how is he supposed to escape? If that's even an option...

Read an Excerpt

Though initially shocked by the vehicle storming at them, the crowd soon recuperated. They glanced at each other and brandished their fists at the offenders. A few gave chase, but on foot they stood little chance of overtaking the pair. One of the chasers yelled, “Hey, it’s that Wrathchild traitor bitch helping the human asshole.”

Not concentrating on the road, Wrathchild offered her companion a side glance. “Don’t listen. Had veterinarians do test.” She smirked. “Ain’t no female dog.”

Despite their superior speed, she opted for caution and swerved into a small street. James exhaled as he hoped the retreat cut the hunt short. Then a soaring bottle grazed his ear. It shattered on the asphalt with a chink. A rock followed, and next a banana-shaped fruit of all things. The projectiles missed their mark, yet James’s muscles tensed up. He mumbled to himself in an attempt to calm his nerves. His worries proved futile. They outpaced the flock, who vanished in the distance in a second. Before he could relax, a rumbling sound arose from behind.

James gulped. He deduced the implications. Terrified, his brain ordered him not to look, but the temptation ended up too strong. Out of breath, he took a glimpse. A bare-chested thug covered in tattoos had mounted his own bike and raced after them. A lone hand steered; the other wielded a club. The message seemed obvious: he’d prefer to risk an accident than not to pummel them.

About the Author: So, my name is Benoit Lanteigne and I’m a French Canadian (outside of Quebec) who’s trying to write in English. That can be tricky. I’m a computer programmer and I enjoy it. I see many inspiring writers who hate their jobs and hope to quit someday, but that’s not my case. Mostly, I’ve worked on websites and web applications.

Back in school, I enjoyed writing and according to my teachers and classmates; I had a talent for it. Well, not so much for grammar and spelling, but they liked my stories. Once I went to university, I dropped writing as a hobby. There were other things I wanted to focus on, such as my career. Then, in the early 2000s, around 2006 I’d say, I had a flash of inspiration. At first, it was a single character: a winged woman with red hair. I didn’t even know who she was, but the image stuck with me. From there, I began figuring out details about her origins and her world, but I only started writing for real in 2009.

It’s been roughly 10 years now, and it’s not yet finished. That’s in part because I write in my spare time, and in part because the scope of the project is huge. Maybe too much so. Still, I’m getting close to the point where I could release something. The question is what’s next? Self-publishing? Attempt traditional publishing? Nothing? I don’t know the answer yet, I’m trying to figure it out. Frankly, sharing my writing is difficult for me, and whatever I end up doing, as long as I make it available to people I consider the experience a victory no matter what comes out of it.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Red Kingdom by Rachel Demeter

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rachel Demeter will award a copy of the ebook for Beauty of the Beast, the first book of the series, to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Little Red Riding Hood reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

Princess Blanchette’s world shatters when the Black Wolf tears apart her castle and everything she holds dear. All she clings to is the vow she made to her grandmother on her deathbed.

Hailed as the people’s champion, Sir Rowan Dietrich liberates the capital in a quest for vengeance. He takes Winslowe Castle with an army at his back and his wolf, Smoke, at his side.

United by a shared cause and powerful attraction, Rowan and Blanchette embark on a journey of self-discovery and redemption—a path filled with loss, transformation, and ultimately, the healing power of love.

Can Norland’s resplendent princess, with her captivating beauty and spirit, tame the fabled Black Wolf?

Inspired by the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Red Kingdom is a passionate historical romance about the enduring quest for love and the longing for a world at harmony. It is a standalone novel.

Read an Excerpt

Rowan stepped close to Blanchette, and suddenly, the training yard seemed to shrink. He stood over her, his eyes sparkling in the light, the sun’s rays gleaming in his hair’s deep black.

“Have you shot a longbow before?” he asked, his voice a sultry rumble that Blanchette felt move through her bones.

“No,” she said, shuffling back just an inch. Dark memories came tumbling like water through a dam. “But I’ve used a dagger. An axe too,” she added with a nervous chuckle, thinking of that night in the woods.

He closed the space she’d just gained. They were chest to chest, face-to-face, and nearly touching. Blanchette tried to take a deep breath, but her lungs felt tight. Her throat too. Her heart raced in her ears. She was sure he’d hear the sound. He looked down at her for several more moments of jittery silence. “The night of the attack. That was the first time you killed someone.” It wasn’t a question. But she nodded anyway.

“Here,” he said, handing the longbow to her. It fit her much better than Mary. But why did her hand feel so damn clumsy as he wrapped it around the wood and carefully positioned her fingers?

“Keep your elbow up and your gaze on the target. Your eyes will send the arrow where it needs to go.”

Blanchette felt heat emanating from Rowan’s body as he stood behind her, guiding her posture. They fit together perfectly. His breath tickled her neck as he whispered, “That’s it. Now, draw back the string and let it fly.”

As she released the arrow, she couldn’t believe how smooth the motion felt, almost like an extension of her own body. It sailed through the air, hitting the target with a satisfying thump. She turned to Rowan with a smile, and he grinned back at her.

He looked handsome… achingly wholesome, with a boyish look of triumph on his face.

“You’re a natural,” he said, his voice low and husky. “But we can always work on improving.”

Blanchette’s heart skipped a beat as Rowan’s hand rested on her hip. He reached for another arrow. She could feel the heat of his body against her back, and the soft hairs on her arms stood up in anticipation. The hard ridge of his arousal strained against her bottom.

“This time, try to focus on your breathing,” he said, his breath hot against her ear. “In... and out...” How in God’s name? she inwardly screamed. She felt close to fainting. Her skin tightened at the sound of his voice, the way he spoke those words against her neck as if they meant something else entirely.

She was acutely aware of every inch of her body, how her skin felt against the fabric of her dress, how her hair brushed against her cheeks in the cool breeze.

Blanchette felt the heat of his body enveloping her. She could smell his scent—sandalwood and sweat and leather and something indefinable that made her heart race. She was growing wet down there, between her hot thighs.

“You are very good with her. Mary, I mean.”

He hesitated, then met her eyes. “When she was a babe, I was the only one who could put her to sleep. Not Beatrice or the wet nurse. I’d sing to her… I still remember how it felt, her little hand gripping my finger…” His confession faded into silence. Then he shook his head. “It doesn’t matter now.”

“But it does, Rowan. It matters more than anything. She yearns to be close to you. You—”

“Must keep your elbow up,” he whispered close to her ear, his body brushing against hers, his arousal pushing against her hip. She grew wetter, hotter, and little currents sang in her veins. “Yes, right there, Your Grace.”

Blanchette turned to face him. She was met with a gaze filled with a fiery intensity she’d never seen before. She could feel her cheeks flushing as she realized just how close they stood. They were practically one. His hand still rested on her hip, and she could feel the warmth of his fingers seeping through the fabric of her dress.

Rowan’s eyes roamed over her face, taking in every feature, every curve, every nuance of expression. It was as if he was seeing her for the first time and couldn’t look away. Their eyes locked for several weightless moments.

She parted her lips and expelled a long-drawn-out breath.

He studied her mouth.

Kiss me…

“You ready?”

She nodded.

But ready for what?

Blanchette closed her eyes, letting Rowan’s words wash over her. She could feel her body relaxing under his gentle touch and guidance, and she took a deep breath in, holding it for a moment before letting it out slowly. He placed his large hand across her abdomen and applied gentle pressure.

“Good,” Rowan murmured. “Now, draw back... and let go.”

Let go.

But if I let go, I shall fall…

About the Author:
I live in Sunny California with my dashing husband, who inspires my romance novels every day!

Writing has always been an integral part of my identity. Before I physically learned how to write, I'd narrate stories to my mom, and she'd record them for me.

I graduated from Chapman’s film school, where I often received the feedback on my scripts, “Your stories and characters are great, but this reads like a novel!” That’s when I realized my true calling.

In my free time, I frequent reptile expos, lift double my body’s weight, and indulge in dinosaur trivia.

I'm passionate about writing stories that explore what it means to be human and to be loved. My books focus on hope, courage, and redemption in the face of adversity.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

The Location Shoot by Patricia Leavy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Patricia Leavy will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to It's Raining Books. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

Romance has become my genre of choice. I’ve fallen in love with writing about love. Romantic love, yes, but also friendship, love of art and creativity, and love of life itself for all the beauty and tragedy. There’s something so transporting, affectionate, and hopeful when you’re writing a romance. The love on the pages lives inside of you too. It gives me all the feelings. I can’t get enough of it.

What research is required?

It’s different for every book. For The Location Shoot, I did a little research about Sweden. Although I’ve been there many times, I wanted to make sure to get things right. I researched to make sure I was describing a private beach well. I also researched some local foods, which is always fun.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

Life is incredibly short, so we best not squander our opportunities for happiness or stand in our own way.

Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I color code my edits. In my mind, each book I write “feels” like a certain color. During my many rounds of revisions, I’ll only use that color post-it flags to mark my edits.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

Kind of both, but if I had to pick, I’d say pantser. I usually know the characters and overall plot, often down to the last line, before I start writing. But I never know all the scenes and moments that will take me from A to B. I just start writing scenes, out of order, and see where each one goes. I love happy surprises. It’s an amazing process of discovery.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

My antique writing desk. It’s covered with a stack of novel manuscripts.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I loved writing Ella and Finn’s love story so much, that I didn’t want to leave it. My next novel, After the Red Carpet, picks up where The Location Shoot ends. It comes out in September 2024 (She Writes Press). I’m also working on a series of romance novels that explore different dimensions of love. It’s a special project and I can’t wait to share it.

Do you have a question for our readers?

I love a story about a celebrity falling in love with an average—not so average—person. What’s your favorite trope?

Controversial filmmaker Jean Mercier is shooting a film on location in Sweden. While spending the summer creating his latest work of cinematic art, he lives in a nearby inn with his lead actors: Albie Hughes, British veteran of stage and screen; Charlotte Reed, British indie film queen; Michael Hennesey, American TV heartthrob; Willow Barnes, fallen former teen star looking to make a comeback; and Finn Forrester, legendary Hollywood movie star. Mercier invites his friend Ella Sinclair—a beautiful, bohemian-spirited American philosopher known for her provocative writing—to stay with them for the summer. When Ella arrives, Finn is instantly enchanted by her, and soon they fall madly in love. Finn wants to plan a life together, but Ella harbors fears and convinces him to wait until the film wraps to decide their future. In a case of life imitating art, the film they are creating explores “the big questions” and prompts the stars to reflect on the crossroads they face in their own lives. How will their experiences on location affect them when they return home? The answers won’t come until months later, when the cast and crew reconvene on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival—but their revelation will make for one unforgettable night.

Read an Excerpt

Just then, Ella walked in wearing a black sundress and sandals, the chains hanging around her neck tinkling like wind chimes as she moved. Everyone turned to look. She cocked her head and furrowed her brow in confusion as she approached the table of men who were all smiling broadly.

“Well, good morning,” she said. “This is unexpected.” She and Finn exchanged a covert look as Jean scooched over to make room for her. She plopped down and asked, “So, how is everyone this fine morning?”

“I was just telling them about your book,” Jean replied. “Bloody thing kept me up all night.”

“That explains why you look a fright,” she observed.

“We must discuss your description of the erect cock.”

Michael had just taken a sip of espresso, which went flying out of his mouth. He grabbed a napkin to wipe it up. Finn’s faced turned bright red.

“Gee, give a girl a minute to wake up. I haven’t even had a cup of tea,” Ella casually replied.

Jean hollered at the waiter, “Tea!” and he pointed to Ella. He continued, “I’m serious, ma chérie. I’m utterly possessed thinking of it. Your description of hardness and thrusting on page 38 is haunting.”

She giggled and said, “I’m barely awake, Jean. Perhaps you could take it down a notch with the cock talk.”

Finn and Albie laughed.

“I don’t know how I’m going to concentrate on filming today. You’ve got my mind spinning. All I want to do is discuss blow jobs,” Jean said.

“And you wonder why Charlotte and Willow never come to breakfast,” Ella joked.

Finn cracked up.

“I’m serious,” Jean said. “It’s captivating.”

“Perhaps you shouldn’t have read the whole thing in one go. Swallowed more than you could handle, as it were. I warned you there’s adult subject matter,” she jested.

Finn, Albie, and Michael tried to muffle their laughter.

“Do you think that what you wrote about the half-hard, pity thrust is true? Do other women feel this way?” Jean asked.

“I don’t know. Let’s ask one of your three ex-wives,” she joked.

Everyone burst into laughter. Albie nearly fell off his chair. The waiter delivered Ella’s tea and asked, “Would anyone like breakfast?”

“We waited for you,” Finn said.

Ella smiled and said, “A soft-boiled egg and some fruit, please.”

“Same for me,” Michael said, winking at her.

“Oatmeal and berries, please,” Finn said.

Jean and Albie, having already eaten, shook their heads.

As soon as the waiter walked away, Jean handed her the manuscript and said, “I made some notes in the margins.”

“Thank you,” she replied. “You’re a good friend, lascivious though you may be.”

“The vignette about slut shaming was hysterical. I laughed out loud. Oh, but the funniest section was the part about group sex,” Jean said.

“Group sex?” Michael asked, his eyes like saucers.

“It’s very clever,” Jean said. “She wrote it as a scene in a satirical screenplay. At first, the director tries to give gentle, appropriate notes, but by the end he’s barking out vulgarities and ordering them to do outrageous things all while insisting they mind the camera. It’s wickedly funny.”

Ella giggled. “I thought you’d appreciate that.”

“So, Ella,” Michael said, his eyes fixed to her, “what made you interested in writing about sex?”

“She theorizes about pleasure. It’s not done in an effort to be scandalous or salacious. It’s intelligent,” Finn said. He glanced at Ella, who was smiling at him with her eyes. “She’s interested in things that people experience with a oneness or wholeness. Sex is just one topic. She also writes about art, food, and nature; she explores fundamental questions about how we as human beings experience pleasure, and by extension, how we may arrive at the true feelings of joy, peace, and belonging that so often elude us. Or so I imagine.”

Ella smiled softly and said, “Yes, that’s right. At least, it’s what I’m attempting to do.”

“Well, I can’t wait to read it,” Michael said. “It sounds, uh, enlightening.”

The waiter delivered their breakfast and the conversation moved on while they ate.

About the Author:
Patricia Leavy, PhD, is an award-winning, best-selling author. She was formerly Associate Professor of Sociology, Chairperson of Sociology & Criminology, and Founding Director of Gender Studies at Stonehill College. She has published more than forty books; her work has been translated into many languages, and she has received more than forty book honors. Her last novel, Hollyland, was featured on She Reads in “The Most Anticipated Romances of Spring 2023” and was the 2023 Firebird Book Awards 1st Place Winner in Pop Culture Fiction and 1st Place Winner in Summer/Beach Read. Patricia has also received career awards from the New England Sociological Association, the American Creativity Association, the American Educational Research Association, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and the National Art Education Association. In 2018, she was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame and SUNY-New Paltz established the “Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” Patricia lives in Maine. In addition to writing, she enjoys art, reading, and travel. Location Shoot:

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Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Greystone by B.L. Ryan

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. B L Ryan will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

All Mouse could remember about her father was sitting on his lap while he told her stories. She wished she could remember what he looked like. When she hangs a white pendant that belonged to her father in her bedroom window, this wish becomes the key to great adventure in another world. A gate appears with a dragon twirling in the air above a colourful garden on the other side of the gate. Zeeta, the royal dragon, greets Mouse and invites her into the garden. The garden is part of Sweet Water holding, home to Lady Jane, who is the seer for Prince Ruler Jared.

As Mouse and Zeeta struggle to complete a quest, Mouse searches for her father. Their journey takes them across the plains of Norlanda and south to the Border Mountains.

The seers have foretold that a far traveller will appear and lead Norlanda against its enemies. This does not seem likely, as Norlanda is prosperous and peaceful at this time. Meanwhile, dark forces gathered in the Border Mountains have recognized the presence of Mouse in the lines of destiny and have started to move towards her.

How will the presence of a child, a far traveller from another world, affect the destiny of this world?

Read an Excerpt

Six Turns Later

The sky was cast with bands of pink and yellow as the sun set. It was an exceptionally clear evening, and it was possible to see the Singing Mountains across the horizon to the north. As Jared gazed absently at the fringe of jagged peaks, Lord Ravenstock entered the room silently. He waited for Jared to address him.

Without turning, Jared asked, “What have my esteemed councillors decided?”

Lord Ravenstock’s eyebrows rose briefly. His face became an expressionless mask as he related the decision of the Council of Five.

“It has been six turns since the death of your father, King Henry. The Council has decided that the Prince Ruler must select a woman to be his Lady Consort or they will be obliged to select a suitable woman on your behalf.”

The Prince snorted. “They have already given me a list of women they deem suitable.”

About the Author:Born in Saskatchewan, Betty has lived in several areas across Canada, from Ottawa to Vancouver Island while growing up. Her fondest memory as a child is of her father building a tent trailer and her mother sewing yards and yards of canvas for the tent. The family travelled across Canada and down the eastern seaboard of the United States for several summer vacations.

Betty worked as a drawing office assistant in Oxford, England, for almost two years before returning to Canada to work as a topographical clerk in Edmonton, Alberta. She pursued a BSc. in Agriculture with a major in Horticulture from the University of Alberta. While raising her children, Betty worked as an Office Manager for a non-profit society and took writing courses at night school and from the Institute of Children's Literature, Connecticut.

The garden has always been a source of inspiration and joy for Betty, as are all the beloved cats and dogs who have walked into her life. Betty believes stories are the foundation of our life. The stories we enjoy, the stories we tell ourselves, our children and others, reflect how we view the world around us. She enjoys writing fantasy for the youth genre because she feels there is still so much of the wonder of life, and the attitude that anything is possible, from this age group.

Greystone is her first novel. She is currently working on the sequel, Greystone: A New Beginning.

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