#BlogTour The Keeper of the Night by Kylie Lee Baker #bookreview #YA #fantasy #darkfantasy

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

With the mention of a Reaper who collects souls and the Japanese underworld, my interest was immediately piqued. I had no idea what I was in for with this book – I totally underestimated it.

As a half British Reaper and half Japanese Shinigami, Ren has never been accepted by her British peers, who bully her on a regular basis. Her own father and stepmother offer the basics of food and shelter – love and concern don’t figure into the equation. Neven, her half brother and also a Reaper, is the only person who cares for her. Your heart immediately goes out to Ren. After losing control of her abilities, she and Neven quickly depart to Japan, where Ren has two goals: one, serve the Goddess of Death as a Shinigami and finally gain acceptance, and two, find her mother.

I’ve always been a fan of morally gray characters, so it was a wicked kind of delight to see Ren gradually cross the boundaries of what she’d previously considered acceptable. The author puts her into situations requiring impossible choices. The relationship between Ren and Neven is an interesting one. Reapers aren’t supposed to be capable of feeling love, but these two are loyal to each other. Neven even chooses to abandon his parents and country to go with Ren so she won’t be alone. Early on it’s clear Ren is thicker-skinned and actually enjoys her job, whereas Neven takes in stray cats and dreads reaping souls. Character development is a strong point.

The Japanese underworld isn’t a place you’d want to vacation. It’s dark (literally) and full of dangerous creatures, so Ren and Neven are fortunate to come across Hiro. He assists in navigating the underworld, and then travels with them to help complete the tasks assigned by the Goddess of Death. Hiro is persona non grata with the goddess and hopes his assistance will get him back into her good graces. I’m not a fan of insta-love, but the spark between Ren and Hiro ignites almost immediately. Then their relationship goes to places I never saw coming and becomes a key plot point.

If you’re a fan of dark fantasy, morally gray characters, and Japanese folklore, jump on this one. After that jaw-dropping cliffhanger, I’ll be one of the first in line for the sequel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About the Author

Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.

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Excerpt – Chapter Two

At the far edge of London, somewhere between nightmares and formless dreams, the Reapers slept by daylight.

The only way to enter our home was through the catacombs of the Highgate Cemetery, through a door that no longer existed. It had been built there long ago, when the Britons first came to our land and Ankou carved a hole in their world so that Death could enter. But humans had sealed it shut with layers of wood, then stone, then brick and mortar, all in the hopes of keeping Death out.

By the nineteenth century, humans had mostly forgotten about the Door and what it meant. Then, when the London churchyards began to overflow with bones, the humans had searched for a place just outside of London to bury their dead. By chance or fate, they’d built their new cemetery right on top of the Door. It turned out that Death drew all of us close, even if we weren’t aware of it.

No streetlights lit the path through Highgate at night, but I didn’t need them to find my way home. Before I’d even passed through the main gate, Death pulled me closer. All Reapers were drawn to him, our bones magnetized to the place of our forefather. As soon as I entered the cemetery, a humming began just under my skin, like a train’s engine beginning to whir. My blood flushed faster through my veins as I brushed aside the branches of winter-barren lime trees and low-hanging elms. My boots crunched shattering steps into the frosted pathways as I ran.

I stumbled through jagged rows of ice-cracked tombstones on uneven ground and through a village of mausoleums, finally reaching the gothic arched doorway of the catacomb entrance. The pull had grown unbearable, dragging me along in a dizzy trance as I descended the stairs into the cool quietness of damp bricks and darkness. The labyrinth would have been unnavigable if not for the fervent pull.

At last, my hands came out to touch the wall where the Door used to be, but now there were only damp bricks and an inscription on the arch overhead that read When Ankou comes, he will not go away empty in rigid script. I dug one hand into my pocket and clutched my clock, pressed my other hand to the bricks, then closed my eyes and turned time all the way back to the beginning.

Time flowed through the silver-and-gold gears, up into my bloodstream and through my fingertips, dispersing into the brick wall. Centuries crumbled away, the mortar growing wet and bricks falling loose. One by one, they leaped out of their positions in the wall and aligned themselves in dry stacks on the ground, waiting once again for construction. Objects were easy to manipulate with time, for I could draw from their own intrinsic energy rather than siphoning off my own. Rather than paying in years of my own life, I could borrow years before the bricks crumbled and quickly repay the debt when I put them back.

I stepped through the doorway and the pull released me all at once. I breathed in a deep gasp of the wet night air, then turned around and sealed the door behind me. The bricks jumped back to their positions in the wall, caked together by layers of mortar that dried instantly, the time debt repaid.

The catacombs beyond the threshold spanned infinitely forward, appropriated as resting places for Reapers rather than corpses. Mounted lanterns cast a faint light onto the dirt floors and gray bricks. It was almost Last Toll, so only the last Reapers returning from the night shift still milled around, their silver capes catching the dim light of the tunnels, but most had retreated to their private quarters for the morning.

I turned right and hurried down the block. The low ceilings gave way to high-arched doorways and finally opened up to a hall of echoing marble floors and rows of dark wood desks. Luckily, there was no line for Collections this close to Last Toll.

I hurried to the first Collector and all but slammed my vials into the tray, jolting him awake in his seat. He was a younger Reaper and seemed perplexed at having been awoken so unceremoniously. When his gaze landed on me, he frowned and sat up straight.

“Ren Scarborough,” I said, pushing the tray closer to him.

“I know who you are,” he said, picking up my first vial and uncapping it with deliberate slowness. Of course, everyone knew who I was.

He took a wholly unnecessary sniff of the vial before holding it up to the light to examine the color, checking its authenticity. The Collectors recorded every night’s soul intake before sending the vials off to Processing, where they finally released the souls into Beyond. He picked up a pen from his glass jar of roughly thirty identical pens, tapped it against the desk a few times, then withdrew a leather-bound ledger from a drawer. He dropped it in front of him, opened the creaky cover, and began flipping through the pages, one by one, until he reached a fresh one.

I resisted the urge to slam my face against the desk in impatience.

I really didn’t have time to waste, but Collections was a necessary step. I didn’t consider myself benevolent in times of crisis, but even I was above leaving souls to expire in glass tubes instead of releasing them to their final resting place, wherever that was. And besides, a blank space next to my name in the Collections ledger meant a Collector would pay a visit to my private quarters to reprimand me. The last thing I needed was someone realizing that I’d left before Ivy could even report me.

But when the Collector uncorked my fourth vial and held it up to the lamp, swirling it in the light for ten excruciating seconds, I began to wonder if I’d made the right decision.

The bells of Last Toll reverberated through the bricks all around us, humming through the marble floors. In this hazy hour between night and day, the church grims came out in search of Reaper bones to gnaw on. Night collections had to be turned in by then, while day collections had to be processed by the First Toll at dusk.

The Collector sighed as he picked up my fifth vial. “I’m afraid I’ll have to mark your collections as late.”

My jaw clenched. “Why.”

“It’s past Last Toll, of course,” he said.

My fingers twitched. The lamp on the Collector’s desk flickered with my impatience, but I took a steadying breath.

“I was here before Last Toll,” I said, trying to keep my voice even.

“According to my ledger, your collections still have not been processed,” he said, spinning my fifth vial in his left hand.

I sighed and closed my eyes. Of course, I knew what he was doing. Chastising a “latecomer” would earn praise from higher management. It was the easiest way for him to climb the ranks—to exert his power over the half-breed. He would be praised for his steadfastness and gain a reputation as a strict and immovable Collector, while I could do nothing to complain. I could explode his lamp and send glass shards into his eyes, but that wouldn’t make him process my vials any faster. The fastest way to get out of there was subservience.

“Forgive me, Reaper,” I said, bowing my head and dropping my shoulders. I let my voice sound timid and afraid. “I apologize for being late.”

The Collector blinked at me for a moment, as if surprised that I’d given in so quickly. But he looked young and power-hungry and not particularly perceptive, so I wasn’t too afraid that he’d see through my tactic. As expected, he sneered as if I truly had offended him, finally beginning to process the fifth vial.

“It’s a great inconvenience to both Collections and Processing,” he said, “though I wouldn’t expect a half-breed to understand the workings of the educated Reapers.”

The only believable response to his goading was humiliated silence, so I hung my head even further and tried to make myself as small and pathetic as possible. It wasn’t hard, because the memory of the night’s events was still wringing my heart out like a wet rag and my skin prickled with nerves so fiercely that I wanted to claw it all off and escape before Ivy could find me, yet here I was, brought to my knees before a glorified teller. I imagined being a High Reaper, being able to reach over and smash his face into his blotter and shatter his owlish glasses into his eyes for delaying and insulting me.

His lamp flickered more violently and he paused to smack it before finally finishing with my last vial. He placed all seven in a tray and pressed a button that started the conveyor belt, sending the souls down to Processing. The moment he put a black check next to my name in the ledger, I stood up straight and turned to leave.

His hand twisted into my sleeve, yanking me back.

I shot him a look that could have melted glass, but he only pulled me closer.

“There’s the matter of your sanction,” he said.

“My sanction,” I said, glancing around the office to see how many people would notice if I simply twisted the Collector’s neck. Too many.

“For your tardiness, of course,” he said, smirking sourly. From his position stretched across the desk, the lamplight caught in his glasses and turned them into two beaming white moons.

The standard punishment for failing to make curfew was a night on the pillory, hands and feet nailed to the wood and head locked in a hole that was just slightly too tight, letting you breathe but not speak. The other Reapers could pull your hair or pour mead over your head or call you a thousand names when you couldn’t talk back. But the worst part wasn’t the nails or the insults. It was the Reapers who did nothing but look at you and sneer like you were nothing but an ugly piece of wall art, like they were so perfect that they couldn’t fathom being in your place. And far worse than that was my own father and stepmother walking past me and pretending not to see.

“Come back at First Toll,” the Collector said. “We’ll find a nice place to hang you up by the Door.”

It took every ounce of restraint I had left to keep my expression calm. This was the part where I was supposed to say, Yes, Reaper, and bow, but he was lucky that I hadn’t smashed his glasses into his face with my fist.

As if he could smell my defiance, he pulled me closer. His glasses fell out of the lamplight, revealing a deep frown.

“Scrub that look from your face,” he said. “Remember that I’ll handle your collections in the future.”

The future, I thought.

Luckily, I didn’t have a future.

The light bulb flashed with a sudden surge of power, then burst. Glass shards rained down over the desk, forcing the man to release me as hot glass scored his hands. Some of his paperwork caught fire, and he frantically patted out the flames with hands full of shards.

“Yes, Reaper,” I said, bowing deeply so he wouldn’t see my smirk as he sputtered about “bloody light bulbs, I knew we should have kept the gas lamps.”

Then I turned and rushed off to the West Catacombs.

Excerpted from The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker, Copyright © 2021 by Kylie Lee Baker. Published by Inkyard Press. 

#BadMoonRising A Ghost and His Gold by Roberta Eaton Cheadle #supernatural #paranormal #ghosts

Poetry, children’s books, young adult, cookbooks, adult – today’s author writes in all of these genres. She also works in a demanding profession, is raising a family, and maintains several blogs. Makes you wonder if she ever sleeps. She learned about tarot cards from a fellow blogger (bet I know who) and incorporated them into her featured novel. Welcome Robbie Cheadle!

Have you ever had a tarot card reading?

I have never had a tarot card reading. I don’t know where you would go to get one here in South Africa. I learned about tarot cards through a series of posts by a fellow blogger and found them fascinating. They interested me so much that I researched the meanings of all the different tarot cards and wove them into my book, A Ghost and His Gold.

My main character, Michelle’s, best friend reads tarot cards and I have a few scenes with readings. I also closed out the tarot card readings as part of the conclusion of the story.

Here is a short extract:

“Alice turns over the card on the left. It’s the Moon. Paling slightly, she draws in a deep breath.

“The Moon in the past position, as it relates to romance, could mean that you have an inaccurate perception of your partner. It is possible that your partner has not been completely honest with you and has hidden secrets.”

Michelle grimaces, “That is rather concerning, especially considering the poltergeist, or whatever she is, said he was a lying cheat and that I was a traitor to my sex for marrying him. What can it all mean?”

“I’m not sure, Michelle, but it may not mean what you think it does. Let’s consider the next card and what it tells us about your relationship?”

Alice flips over the middle card and reveals the Ten of Swords.

Starting visibly, Michelle sucks in air through gritted teeth. “That’s not a good card in the context of a relationship,” she hisses.”

Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack o’ lantern?

I have never dunked for apples but have read about it. I have actually assisted my dad with carving a Jack o’ lantern. Halloween is not celebrated much here in South Africa although in the past 10 years, a few people have parties on 31 October. I have always enjoyed the idea of Halloween and loved horror stories from a young age.

A few years ago, our local grocery store got carving pumpkins and we bought few to make Jack o’ Lanterns. They came out well, but sadly, I forgot to take a picture.

As you can see from this picture, our local pumpkins aren’t suitable for carving due to their thin skins and flat shape. When I was a girl, I used to wonder how on earth anyone managed to carve a pumpkin, I didn’t know there were different types of pumpkins.

Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

I have seen figures in my peripheral vision, but sadly they are not ever ghosts or spirits, but usually my cat who likes to slink up behind me.

My character, Michelle, on the other hand, does see otherworldly shadows in her peripheral vision. This is evidenced in the following short extract:

“She inspected the board and, after removing the plastic covering, the planchette. There were no instructions on how it should be used. “I must look up how it works,” she murmured to herself.

A shadow shifted on the far wall of her office and an unexpected cold draft made her shiver. Glimpsing a subtle movement out of the corner of her eye, she swung around quickly, but saw nothing at all. There was no shadow on the wall.

Michelle picked up the Ouija board and planchette and placed them next to her laptop. As soon as I finish my work, I’ll do some research on these and how they work.”

Would you and your main character get along?

My main character, Michelle, shares similar characteristics to me in many ways. She is a chartered accountant [just like me] who has elected to leave full time employment and run her own small accounting business so that she can develop her career as a writer [I haven’t done exactly this but I do work reduced hours – in theory anyway]. Michelle’s husband is a chartered accountant [just like mine], but unlike my husband, Tom is the personification of everything I dislike in select individuals in the profession who participate in excessive drinking and extra marital affairs and who become the target of office gossip and speculation.

I think that Michelle is probably nicer and softer than I am. I don’t know if I would be able to forgive my partner misleading me and telling outright lies. I think, when I created Michelle, I made her a better version of me.

If you decided to write a spinoff of a side character, who would you choose?

Hmmmm! For me this question should be could you write a spinoff of a side character. I am not sure I could for the simple reason that, for me, when a book is finished and I sign off for the publisher to go ahead, all the characters disappear out of my head. So far, none of them have returned to tickle my writing fancy again. I only have three novels though so there is still time for it to happen. Somehow, I don’t think it will though. I am not a person who ever looks back or who is good at staying in contact with colleagues and acquaintances from the past. It is always about the future and something new and exciting for me. I’m even like this with baking, never creating the exact same cake or dish twice.

What are you working on now?

That is an interesting question, Teri. I seem to be having a bit of trouble settling on one idea at the moment, so I am working on five books at the same time. I like to write sections in my books from the perspective of different characters and so I am finishing a piece by a character or a chapter, as relevant, and then moving to another WIP.

The one I am currently progressing is called The Soldier and the Radium Girl and is a historical paranormal book about the First World War. I am writing from the American perspective which is quite interesting for me. I have to make sure I don’t slip into language like bloody which is not a term an American would use. I have an American Beta reader who is checking this for me. I am currently at 15,000 words with this story.

I am also working on the first book in a series about climate change and the fourth industrial revolution. This is a sci fi book, but it is heavily entrenched in reality and real future predictions for mankind. I am doing a lot of research for this book too, as I need to get the details of genetic engineering, climate change, pollution, and the future of the pandemic correct and then extrapolate these predictions forward. The writing and research for this book are quite intense which is why I need to take breaks from it. This book is approximately 45,000 words to date.

I am working on the sequel to While the Bombs Fell, a historical novel for teenagers about my mother’s life growing up in a small British town during WWII. I have progressed this document to about 15,000 words.

I am also writing a biography of my own childhood growing up in South Africa in the 80’s. It is stilled along the lines of My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards and is called The Girl Who Loved Dolls. This one is approximately 10,000 words to date.

Finally, I am working on a new Sir Chocolate book called Chocolate Fudge saves the sugar dog story and cookbook which is due out before Christmas. All the artwork is finished and I am just finalizing the recipes before it goes to my publisher.

After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904.

Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle? 

After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lies in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.

Purchase Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s books

TSL Books (paperback)

https://tslbooks.uk/product-tag/roberta-eaton-cheadle/

Lulu.com (ebook)

A Ghost and His Gold: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/robert-eaton-cheadle/a-ghost-and-his-gold/ebook/product-d858km.html?page=1&pageSize=4

Amazon US

Roberta Eaton Cheadle author biography

Roberta Eaton Cheadle is a South African writer and poet specialising in historical, paranormal, and horror novels and short stories. She is an avid reader in these genres and her writing has been influenced by famous authors including Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Amor Towles, Stephen Crane, Enrich Maria Remarque, George Orwell, Stephen King, and Colleen McCullough.

 Roberta has short stories and poems in several anthologies and has 2 published novels, Through the Nethergate, a historical supernatural fantasy, and A Ghost and His Gold, a historical paranormal novel set in South Africa.

Roberta has 9 children’s books published under the name Robbie Cheadle.

Roberta was educated at the University of South Africa where she achieved a Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1996 and a Honours Bachelor of Accounting Science in 1997. She was admitted as a member of The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2000. Roberta has worked in corporate finance from 2001 until the present date and has written 7 publications relating to investing in Africa. She has won several awards over her 20-year career in the category of Transactional Support Services.

Follow Roberta Eaton Cheadle at:

Website

https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog

https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19631306.Roberta_Eaton_Cheadle

Twitter

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Amazon


#BadMoonRising Undercover: Crime Shorts by Jane Risdon #shortstories #mysteries #thriller

Today’s author lives in England, but when she contacted me, she mentioned her featured book was being used by a class at Western Kentucky University. Which is located ten minutes from me. It’s a small world, my friends. She’s also experienced some hair-raising moments with figures in her peripheral vision. Making her debut at BMR, welcome Jane Risdon!

Hello Teri, thanks for hosting me on your fab blog. I hope your readers my answers to your questions.

Have you ever had a Tarot card reading?

Actually, I’ve had many. Years ago, when I was still working in the international music business we (my husband and I) were asked to get involved in a series for the new and revolutionary Satellite television which was all the rage. One production company asked us to put together a show about Mediums, Clairvoyants, Spiritualists, and Witches – it was in return for some favours.

It involved us spending a year going the length and breadth of England interviewing all manner of people and during many such interviews, we—of course — had Tarot card readings.

Some readings were hilariously ridiculous but one or two were rather hair-raising. Suffice to say we filed it all away for the programme, which sadly, didn’t transpire because the production company lost their funding. But from our point of view, we put it down to experience. We are still waiting for what the cards told us, to come true.

Do you ever see figures in my peripheral vision?

I haven’t seen any for many years but when I was first married, we had a grotty flat in an old Georgian house — my husband’s band was still struggling back then – and the flat was all we could afford, especially with a new baby, and many landlords back then refused to entertain allowing babies and children in their accommodation; I used to see many figures out of the corner of my eye. Shadows walking out of a cupboard and across the room, a feeling of not being alone when I knew I was.

Prior to my experiences at the flat, I had also had an experience when I was pregnant and lived in another flat, also in an older property, when I used to get the feeling that someone was watching me while I slept. My husband and his band were way on tour, and I was alone. I was often woken by sensation of being observed and a few times I opened my eyes to see an old lady, dressed like an Irish crofter, leaning over me staring. In fact, when my husband returned from tour, she appeared again, and he saw her too. I went into labour the next day.

Candy Apple or Candy Corn?

In England we call an apple covered in toffee, a toffee apple, and I gather that is what you mean. Although I have lived and worked in America, I have never had candy apple or candy corn, so I cannot say yes to either. I have had toffee apple, but not for many years. I value my teeth.

In response to your questions, Teri, I’d like to talk about my latest — as yet unpublished novel –  Ms. Birdsong Investigates, which is the first in a series and is out with my agent now.

Would you and your main character get along?

Ms. Birdsong Investigates: Murder in Ampney Parva, is the title of my series about a former MI5 Intelligence Officer who has been forced into early retirement due to a joint operation with MI6 — involving the Russian Mafia and Ukrainian people traffickers — going pear-shaped. Lavinia Birdsong tries to find her way back into the Security Services when a local woman goes missing and she has the opportunity to investigate her disappearance, hopefully inveigling herself back into the Security Services.

I think Lavinia and I would get along really well. We both love rock music, and good wine.  She is an intelligent woman, and she is a martial arts expert and a crack shot — and that is where we part company — I am most definitely neither. She does not tolerate fools gladly and has a wicked sense of humour. Lavinia is a true patriot, a ruthless opponent with a keen sense of right and wrong.

I am fascinated by the secret world of spies and criminals where Lavinia Birdsong has spent most of her adult life. I know we’d get on like a house on fire.

A ‘taster’ chapter can be found in my crime collection – Undercover: Crime Shorts which is available now.

If you decided to write a spin-off character, who would you choose?

I’ll stick with my new series, Ms. Birdsong Investigates for this. My spin-off character would be Michael Dante, MI6 Intelligence Officer.

Lavinia has worked at MI5 for twenty years and during that time she has worked in several areas of the Security Services, including being on secondment to MI6 for some years. She met Michael Dante, whilst working with a team of MI5/MI6 officers sent on a mission, Operation Matryoshka.  

Michael is her former lover when my books begin, but he is a great candidate for a spin-off character. Michael and Lavinia have unfinished business in the series, and who knows what might happen, but he would be good to follow in a spin-off series throughout his career and his investigations as part of MI6. He is a determined man, ruthless in his pursuit of terrorists and criminals just like Lavinia is. He has a strong love of country and justice.

What do you do to get inside your character’s heads?

I am a crime writer mostly, and my writing often features my past career in the international music business and also my earlier career working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Both careers are a gift to a crime writer for so many reasons. However, I have also written Women’s Literature (Only One Woman with Christina Jones) which is available now, and in various other genres which can be found in many of the anthologies I’ve contributed toward with short stories, and my experiences in music and in public service have definitely influenced my writing and how I mould my characters.

Using my experiences and memories from those times in most of my writing, it is easy for me to get inside the heads of my characters because I have worked in these areas, have met people similar to my characters and observed them. I know what makes most of them tick. I can put my experiences and knowledge into my work because of my past careers. And I know where to look for information, and I have detectives I can call upon to assist me if I get stuck.

In order to ensure my writing is as accurate as it can be, and to ensure that I don’t have Lavinia or any of my characters in any of my books do something which is wrong or impossible — when tracking and investigating terrorists or criminals — I decided some years ago to educate myself in the basics of Forensic Science and Criminal Justice. I took several courses especially designed for crime writers who want to ensure their writing is as correct and accurate as it can be. These courses also helped me get inside the heads of my characters, not only the investigators but the perpetrators too.

I read a lot of crime novels, thrillers, and mysteries, as well as watcing True Crime on TV too. This helps me with writing my characters and trying to see events from their point of view.

This has been fun Teri, once again, many thanks for letting me loose on your blog.

Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.

Purchase Link

Amazon

Author Bio and Social Media

Jane Risdon is the co-author of ‘Only One Woman,’ with Christina Jones (Headline Accent) and ‘Undercover: Crime Shorts,’ (Plaisted Publishing), as well as having many short stories published in numerous anthologies. She writes for several online and print magazines such as Writing Magazine, and The Writers’ and Readers’ Magazine.

Undercover: Crime Shorts was the February Free Book of the Month on the virtual library and festival site, MYVLF.com, and her live video interview features in their theatre. She is a regular guest on international internet radio shows such as theauthorsshow.com, chatandspinradio.com and The Brian Hammer Jackson Radio Show, as well as podcasts and online video interviews including Donnas Interviews Reviews and Giveaways and Be Bold and Break the Mould.

Undercover: Crime Shorts is being used by Western Kentucky University, Kt. USA, in an Intro to Lit Class for second year students Autumn 2021. Jane will be doing a Zoom Q&A session with the student in October 2021.

She is the Lead Panellist, next March (2022), for an online discussion of The Intersection of Literary Fiction and Women’s Literature at LitCon, an author’s conference out of New York USA.

Before turning her hand to writing Jane worked in the International Music Business alongside her musician husband, working with musicians, singer/songwriters, and record producers.  They also facilitated the placement of music in international movies and television series.  In her early life Jane worked public service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Ministry of Defence and other government departments.

In December 2020 Jane signed with Linda Langton of Langton’s Literary Agency in New York City, New York USA. You can contact Jane via Linda at: www.langtonsinternational.com

Jane’s Links:

Ms. Birdsong Investigates has her own private Facebook Group and you can join her here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/msbirdsonginvestigates

You can find Jane on:

https://janerisdon.com

https://www.facebook.com/JaneRisdon2/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5831801.Jane_Risdon

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jane-risdon

https://www.instagram.com/janerisdonwriter/

#BadMoonRising Corral of Blood (Son of Earp #5) by Chuck Buda #horror #western #vampires

This isn’t the first appearance at BMR for today’s author, but he sure has been busy writing since he was here last. Today he’s featuring the fifth book in his Son of Earp series. He’ll also make you think twice before accepting drinks from other folks. Welcome Chuck Buda!

Which urban legend scares you most?

The urban legend which scares me the most is the organ thief. It is horrifying to imagine waking up in a bathtub with my kidneys missing. Too many times in my life, I have accepted drinks in bars and at parties that could have been easily laced with a substance to render me unconscious. The thought of someone rooting around in my innards, removing the precious cargo and leaving me to fend for survival is truly terrifying. STAY OUT OF MY BELLY!

What’s your favorite season of American Horror Story?

Rather than show my age and admit that Season 9: 1984 is my favorite, I would choose Season 2: Asylum. I found the second season extremely satisfying in how the characters from the first season were reimagined with different roles and personalities. Yet, some of the intricacies of the first season were utilized to increase the depth of the story. I can’t remember enjoying such a twist in celluloid. The second season twist reminded me of Stephen King’s books, The Regulators and Desperation, which did something similar.

If you watch horror movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, covers your eyes, or falls asleep?

When I watch horror movies, I typically cheer on the monster or the killer. I do empathize with the protagonist but there is something visceral about living vicariously through the eyes of evil. Covering your eyes during the “good parts” defeats the purpose of the scare. And nobody should speak to the screen at home or in the theater. I’m not sure how one could fall asleep during a horror film but I am going to have to try it out. The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre might be a good choice to attempt such a feat!

Would you and your main character get along?

I believe James Johnson, the main character in the Son of Earp series, embodies many facets of my own life. So I would answer in the affirmative. James and I would get along famously. James is young in spirit and tries to always do the right thing. Me too. James gets himself into lots of trouble, allowing his emotions to get the best of him. Me too. James is a champion of underdogs and stands up for what he believes in. Me too. James is a lover of adventure and a romantic dreamer. Me too.

What do you do to get inside your characters’ heads?

My stories involve multiple character point-of-views. Jumping into different heads in alternate chapters allows me, as a storyteller, to add depth and perspective to the tale. Spending an entire novel in one character’s mind is not always appropriate for getting the most out of a story, but it can serve a purpose. However, I find the added value of multiple viewpoints refreshing and necessary to round out the tale. It also enhances the suspense of opposing motives between characters.

If you could spend the day with another popular author, who would you choose?

If I could spend a day with another popular author, I would have to choose Bernard Cornwell. His historical fiction is incredible. The characters are so rich and the realism of the settings and periods are breathtaking. In my humble opinion, his books are instant classics and should be revered as much as James Clavell and Gore Vidal. I would study at his side the entire day, absorbing the masterful techniques that breathe life into his fiction.

Dark forces collide in the O.K. Corral.

James Johnson, illegitimate son of the legendary Wyatt Earp, strikes out on his own with his mentally disabled friend, Carson. They travel to the legendary Tombstone, Arizona where fortunes are made or men die in their pursuit of riches. With gold in the nearby hills, folks are too busy toiling in the hot sun to notice the dangers that exist within their town.

After stepping boot first into a new line of work, the boys befriend an odd loner who doesn’t quite fit in. And James falls for an angel. But people have secrets and their pasts follow them like a dusty shadow. James and Carson must survive multiple threats to their lives as a new showdown comes to Tombstone. One which pits vampires against witches.

Can James and Carson avoid burial in Boot Hill? Or will the battle lines drawn in blood send their souls straight to Hell? This is a nerve-rattling tale of supernatural horror. Read this book to continue the terrifying series today! Corral of Blood is the fifth novel in the Son of Earp series by Chuck Buda.

Purchase Link

Amazon

Author Bio and Social Media

Chuck Buda writes across multiple genres including westerns, horror, and crime thrillers. He loves to eat pizza, drink whiskey and craft beers, listen to Norwegian Black Metal and search for answers about Bigfoot and UFOs. Plus, he works very hard to fit quotes from Seinfeld or Big Bang Theory into every conversation. That’s a ton of fun in one man.

Join his mailing list for free stories and things of weirdness:

https://www.authorchuckbuda.com

Follow Chuck on BookBub:

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/chuck-buda

Follow Chuck on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/Chuck_Buda

Chuck Buda co-hosts The Mando Method Podcast on Project Entertainment Network with author, Armand Rosamilia. They talk about all aspects of writing.

WEBSITE

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

Son of Earp Series

Gushers Series

Debt Collector Series

Beers And Fears Series

Keyport Cthulhu Series

#BadMoonRising The Things in Heaven and Earth by Michael Scott Hopkins #paranormal #supernatural #horror

Ghosts, demons, possession – all of these words excite me when any are mentioned in a book description, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when all three popped up in the blurb of today’s featured novel. It’s his first time at BMR, so let’s give a big welcome to Michael Scott Hopkins!

Have you ever had a tarot card reading?

Lots of times. When I was a kid, my parents had friends who claimed to be psychics. I had lots of readings, not one of which has come true yet. But it was fascinating at the time.

Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack o’ lantern?

Carve a Jack o’ lantern. I completely lack the artistic skills to make one that looks good, but I hate pumpkin so much there’s a certain satisfaction that comes with plunging a knife into one. There is considerably less chance of drowning as well.

Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

When I was a kid, I did. Quite often. This was when I had a paper route (tells you how old I am), and the paper deliveries had to be made at four or five a.m. It was still dark outside, and the streets were deserted. I was literally the only soul around. But I would see movement out of the corner of my eye, look fast to try to catch whatever it was, scared as heck, and then there was nothing there. But I had a sense that something was always there and following me. That’s why I seldom managed to actually hit the porches when I threw the papers.

Would you and your main character get along?

We would unless he was on one of his murder rampages, since he kills people he likes.

What do you do to get inside your characters’ heads?

I run. It’s a great way to clear your mind of the usual distractions and work out who your characters are, their backstories and motivation. I mean, aside from sweating, what else are you going to do?

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?

Hopefully, everyone. However, the novel is meant for readers who want to be challenged a bit, to engage with uncertainty of what is happening to the main character along his journey and his emotional growth.

“…plenty of the unpredictable chills and excitement horror thriller fans appreciate.” -Kirkus Reviews

Nash Baxter is a liar.

He’s the famous skeptic who rides his motorcycle across the country debunking hauntings everywhere he goes. Yet he knows ghosts are real – suffering remnants of the departed, held fast to this world and tormented by demons. Hell, it seems, exists all across the land, side-by-side with the living world. Nash has the power to see into that hell and destroy the demons by a force of will.

But sometimes demons fight back…

When they do, they possess Nash and force him to commit murder. Not that Nash minds. He does not feel emotions. Not fear. Not horror. That is until a mysterious woman comes into his life and convinces him nothing was ever as it seemed. He has one purpose in life – to save the world from the truest evil, an evil that lives and breathes inside of Nash Baxter himself. 

Purchase Link

Amazon

Author Bio and Social Media

Michael Scott Hopkins grew up on San Leandro, California. He joined the United States Air Force out of high school and served for eight years, working as an avionics technician on F-4 Phantom aircraft. After being honorably discharged, he worked as a mechanic for the U.S. Postal Service. While working for the Postal Service, he earned a BA in English and went on to graduate studies, earning his master’s degree from Governors State University.

After earning his MA, Hopkins started a career in public relations and as a speechwriter. He also taught English literature as an adjunct professor for his alma mater, GSU. While working in public relations, Hopkins started law school, graduating cum laude from The John Marshall Law School, where he was a member of The John Marshall Law Review.

He lives in Joliet, Illinois, with his wife of more than 30 thirty years, Carla, his golden retriever, Charlie, and two black cats named Lolli and Pop.

He and Carla have three grown sons, Tyler, Kyle, and Eric.

Hopsfiction.com

https://www.facebook.com/MichaelScottHopkinsAuthor

#BadMoonRising Vinnie the Vegetarian by Victoria Zigler #childrensbooks #zombie

BMR isn’t just for adults. I always enjoy featuring books for a variety of ages, and this isn’t the first time this one has been promoted here. As a big zombie fan, I adore the idea of one being a vegetarian – what a twist! The author is certain she and her main character would get along – it’s a win/win for both of them. Welcome Victoria Zigler!

Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack o’ lantern?

I’d rather carve a jack-o-lantern.  In fact, I carve one most years (even the years we lived several floors up in an apartment where no trick-or-treaters were even slightly likely to show up).  But I have issues with things being near my face, so the one time I did bob for apples I didn’t find it even slightly fun, and I’m definitely in no hurry to do it again.  So, I think I’ll stick to carving my Mr. Pumpkin-Heads, which is what each jack-o-lantern has been called since I wrote the poem “Mr. Pumpkin-Head” back in 2008.  And, just for fun, here’s the poem:

Mr. Pumpkin-Head

© 2008 Victoria “Tori” Zigler

In a pumpkin patch

Near a big red barn

Looking out over the fields

Of a very big farm

Lived Mr Pumpkin-Head

All day he’d sit in the pumpkin patch

Wishing he could do something good

“If only,” he said to himself one night

“Pumpkins could be more than just food.”

Then one day, when the air was chilly

And the trees were almost bare

Someone came to the pumpkin patch

Who’d never before been seen there

She was just a child – no more than six

With hair the colour of gold

Wearing a pretty little pink coat

To protect herself from the cold

She looked at Mr Pumpkin-Head

And all his friends in the ground

Then knelt beside Mr Pumpkin-Head

Making hardly a sound

She put her hand upon him

And smiling said, “You’ll do!

You’re coming home with me, you are.

I’ll make a jack-o-lantern out of you!”

And now…

In the window sill

Of a little house

Looking out of the window

Beside an ornamental mouse

Sits Mr Pumpkin-Head

His smile may be carved on

But inside he’s grinning too

For he thinks a Jack-O-Lantern is

A great job for a pumpkin to do

That’s why you’ll never see a pumpkin smile

As wide as Mr Pumpkin-Head

Candy apple or candy corn?

I’ve never had candy corn.  The closest we have over here is sweet popcorn that’s basically caramel or toffee sauce allowed to set on popcorn, and I’m not a huge fan of it to be honest.  I’m told candy corn is loads better, and it probably is, but I’m still going with candy apples, because I know I love those.

If you watch horror movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, covers your eyes, or falls asleep?

None of the above.  Well, unless I’m really tired, and then I might fall asleep, but that can happen with any kind of movie if I’m tired enough, even movies I love.  Usually though I’m the person sitting quietly observing, and sometimes also wondering what I’d do if I was the person currently on screen and in the same situation.  I’m not sure if it’s the writer in me, the fact I don’t find most horror movies scary, or something else, but it’s what I generally end up doing.  Don’t get me wrong, I love horror movies.  I just don’t see any reason to attempt to hide from what’s on the screen, and know the only thing yelling at the characters will achieve is to make me potentially miss hearing something that may be happening on screen (and since, being blind, I rely on my hearing to know what’s going on, that would be a very bad thing).

Would you and your main character get along?

I expect so.  Vinnie and I both love our veggies, so I’d have plenty of them on hand that he could help himself to if he showed up at my house, which would make him one happy zombie.  And not being zombie-chow would make me happy too; as I’m sure you can appreciate.  Both of us being happy while enjoying some fresh fruits and veggies sounds like getting along to me.  What do you think?

Which book have you read more than once?

There are several I’ve read more than once, some in particular I consider favourites so constantly re-read.  I’ve read the entire “Harry Potter” series so many times I’ve lost count.  In fact, I’m just finishing up my latest re-read of that series.  I’ve also read Michelle Pavers “Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness” series and her book “Dark Matter” a couple of times.  Oh, and Jean M Auel’s “Earth’s Children” series and Bernard Cornwall’s “Stonehenge” are favourites of mine I’ve read too many times to count as well.  There are others, but I think that’s enough to be getting on with.

What are you working on now?

The last two years haven’t been the best when it comes to writing progress for me, though I did manage to write enough poetry to publish some new poetry collections earlier this year.  I had some genuine reasons for a lot of the time, but then procrastination took over.  The result being that I’ve got a load of stories I’ve started, which I’d hoped to make decent progress on this year, but it hasn’t happened.  So, what I’m actually working on right now is tackling my procrastination issues, which formed when I let genuine reasons become excuses, and allowed too much time to go by before forcing myself to put my butt back in the chair and get to work.  The trouble is, I keep getting… Ooohhh… Shiny!

When Vinnie the zombie smashes his way in to the fruit and vegetable shop where six year old Annie is waiting in hiding for her Mother to come back for her, Annie isn’t sure what to do.  But Vinnie isn’t like other zombies.  A vegetarian in life, it looks like Vinnie may also be one in death, and it may not be Annie who’s in danger after all.

Purchase Link

Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Children/Vinnie-the-Vegetarian-Zombie-Audiobook/B07CX44QY6

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/459076

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/vinnie-the-vegetarian-zombie-victoria-zigler/1119982818

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/vinnie-the-vegetarian-zombie

Chapters-Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/vinnie-the-vegetarian-zombie/9781311948908-item.html

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/vinnie-the-vegetarian-zombie/id900774428

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/audiobook/vinnie-the-vegetarian-zombie-unabridged/id1383256619

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Vinnie-Vegetarian-Zombie-Victoria-Zigler/1512324256/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/d/cka/Vinnie-Vegetarian-Zombie-Victoria-Zigler/1512324256/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/d/cka/Vinnie-Vegetarian-Zombie-Victoria-Zigler/1512324256/

The Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Vinnie-Vegetarian-Zombie-Victoria-Zigler/9781512324259

Author Bio and Social Media

Victoria Zigler is a blind vegan poet and children’s author.  Born and raised in the shadow of the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, she moved away from Wales three times: once to spend six months living in Alberta, Canada, the other times to spend a few years living near Hastings on the South-East coast of England, UK, each time returning to Wales.  Now she lives in Wales again, along with a chinchilla named Mollie, a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie, a Cavapoo named Logan, a Hermann’s Tortoise named Artemis, and her Canadian husband, Kelly.

Despite spending far too much time in hospital, and eventually losing her sight to Congenital Glaucoma, Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, with no plans to stop any time soon.  So far she has published 11 poetry books and 46 children’s books.  Tori is also a contributor of the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II, as well as the Poetry Treasures anthology.  Additionally, her Hermann’s Tortoise, Artemis, was featured in both the Magnificent Pets Coloring Book For Children and the Magnificent Pets Mandala Coloring Book For Adults.

Vegan due to both a love for animals and dairy allergy, as well as an Eclectic Pagan, Tori describes herself as a combination of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books: Hermione’s thirst for knowledge and love of books, combined with Luna’s wandering mind and alternative way of looking at the world.  She has a wide variety of interests, designed to exercise both the creative and logical sides of her brain, and dabbles in them at random depending on what she feels like doing at any given time, but is most likely to be found playing with her petkids, curled up somewhere with a cup of tea and a book, or trying to keep one step ahead of those pesky typo fairies while writing her own books.

Links:

Website: http://www.zigler.co.uk

Blog: https://ziglernews.blogspot.co.uk

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/toriz

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/victoriazigler

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCakYxH7BNyc2Lxr1g1nbP9w

Find Tori’s books on…

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/toriz

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Victoria-Zigler/e/B00BHS9DQ6/

…Along with a variety of other retailers, such as Audible, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

#BadMoonRising Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts (Minstrels of Skaythe #2) by Deby Fredericks #fantasy #paranormal

It’s hump day here at Bad Moon Rising, so I’m hoping today’s interview will give you that extra boost you need to make it through the week. Most of these authors have had strong opinions on candy apples or candy corn, but not this one. Don’t make her choose. Welcome, Deby Fredericks!

Have you ever had a tarot reading?

 Yes, at one time I did them myself. I found that the cards “told” me things I didn’t want to hear, so I trusted them. These days, I’m not as worried about my future, so I haven’t read for a while.

Candy apple or candy corn?           

Yes please. Oh, I was supposed to choose one? Then with the candy apples I could kid myself that I was eating something nutritious along with the delicious-but-sticky caramel.

Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

Sort of. There’s a window where I sit to read, and a fence post just outside. I often think there’s a person standing there, but when I look, it’s just the fence post. So I know it’s an optical illusion caused by the window screen.

If you decided to write a spin-off of a side character, who would you choose?           

In my Minstrels of Skaythe series, there is a group of mages who each feature in their own volume, so in a way, the whole thing is a spin-off. However, if I had to do a completely separate side project, it would probably feature Cylass and some of his adventures before he had to be rescued by Tisha.

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?

My routine is that I have to get some writing done before I can play video games, so when I’ve finished a project, I get more time to play video games! This lasts maybe two days, and then it’s back to revision, submitting, social media, etc.

What are you working on now?

I have an ongoing novella series, Minstrels of Skaythe. Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts is part of it. There’s one more volume to go, so that’s what I’m focused on.

“He’s dead. He just doesn’t know it yet.”

Mortally wounded, Cylass is abandoned on the battlefield by comrades who would just as soon have him out of the way. But as he waits for death, a strange savior appears. The dancer, Tisha, heals him with her forbidden magic, but also draws the wrath of his cruel former lord.

Soon guardsman and renegade mage are on the run. Will Cylass help Tisha, as she helped him? Or will he do the smart thing, and turn her over to the vicious Count Ar-Dayne?

Purchase Links

ISBNs

Epub    978-0-9977807-9-6

D2D:  https://draft2digital.com/book/496360

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZXLHC62

Mobi   978-1-7339227-2-2

About the Author

Deby Fredericks has been a writer all her life, but thought of it as just a fun hobby until the late 1990s. She made her first sale, a children’s poem, in 2000. 

Fredericks has six fantasy novels out through two small presses. More recently, she self-publishes her fantasy novellas and novelettes, bringing her to 14 books in all. Her latest is The Minstrels of Skaythe. Her short work has been published in Andromeda Spaceways and selected anthologies.

In addition, she writes for children as Lucy D. Ford. Her children’s stories and poems have appeared in magazines such as Boys’ Life, Babybug, Ladybug, and a few anthologies. In the past, she served as Regional Advisor for the Inland Northwest Region of the Society of  Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, International  (SCBWI).

Social Media

Blog:                           https://wyrmflight.wordpress.com

Facebook:                   https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDebyFredericks

Twitter:                       https://twitter.com/DebyFredericks

Sarah is FREE Today Only! #TuesdayBookBlog #freebook #YA #horror #paranormal

I hate to post twice on the same day, but my publisher let me know a few weeks ago the Sarah ebook would be free today only across all makets on Amazon – just in time for Halloween! It’s not a slasher/gore type of story, it’s more about the bonds of family and friendship – and a vengeful ghost just happens to be hanging around the house. But it also contains a good amount of humor and a really awesome black cat named Eby (inspired by my cat, Shadow, who gave me the idea for this book). I hope you’ll download Sarah today HERE!

I’m also over at Robbie Cheadle’s blog today answering some of my own Bad Moon Rising questions. Click HERE to visit. She’s currently on tour with her most recent release, A Ghost and His Gold, so make sure to check it out!

Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.

A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.

Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house – but exorcising her isn’t that easy. She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain. With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.

#BadMoonRising Eternal Road: The Final Stop by John W. Howell #paranormal #supernatural #thriller #TuesdayBookBlog

If today’s author’s name isn’t familiar to you, I’ll bet you know his lovable furry friends Twiggy and Lucy from the pics of them on his blog (they totally steal the spotlight). Discussion has been made on previous BMR posts about the hazards of dunking for apples in the time of COVID, but I think this author has come up with a viable alternative. You just may not be sober once you finally latch onto that apple. Welcome John W. Howell!

Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack o’ lantern?

I would rather carve a Jack o’ lantern. Before I get into why I like to carve Jack o’ lanterns, let me point out in the time of COVID how creepy it is to dunk for apples. Someone is coughing up a storm and then placing an unmasked head into a vat of apples floating in the water. They come up with one, and the excess water runs out of both sides of the mouth back into the vat. Can you say Sleeping Beauty or Snow White side effects? Good gravy, folks. Let’s not even think about dunking for apples unless they are floating in 200 proof moonshine. Now to the Jack o’ lantern part of the question. I have been carving them for at least 70 years. I love to make pictures and words and funny faces. I also backlight my creations with a candle and parchment paper over the openings so the candle flame doesn’t show and ruin the effect.

If you watch horror movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, covers your eyes, or falls asleep?

When watching horror movies, I’m the one up in the grill of each stupid character. You know the ones. They back into a dark corner of a cellar or run for the car. Come on, people. How many movies do you have to see to catch on? Also, you don’t say something stupid like, “Well, I guess Jason is dead.” You have to know you are just jinxing yourself. And to that one who absolutely must take a shower right in the middle of all the mayhem. I have no sympathy for you at all. I do enjoy seeing you streak through the woods, trying to cover up with a towel and screaming your head off. Was the shower worthwhile?

Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

Whoa, this question just scared the pants off me. I can’t imagine that seeing figures in your peripheral vision was a thing. I thought it was just me and some weird brain abnormality. I have been seeing figures in my peripheral vision for years. Those little black suckers dart in and out of my field of vision. I have pretty much come to the point of ignoring them. Why not? They pretty much ignore me. I have tried to make contact, but nooo. They jump behind me and then dare me to make a fool of myself by twirling around to see if I can catch them. It becomes a problem in the line at Starbucks. Just when I get my grande and before I put in cream, I see ‘em and twirl around only to lay a coffee-colored swath across some poor civilian’s white outfit. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little, but it could happen.

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?

Finishing a book seems to be a challenging point in time to pinpoint. There’s the first draft which I guess could count as finishing a book. But it is usually a mess, so I wouldn’t want that to be my celebration point. Next, there is the final draft. Sure, I guess that could be the finish, except then there is the professional edit. So not yet time to celebrate because after the edit comes the formatting. Holy Crap, when is this dog ever going to be finished? After formatting comes publish. All right now, we’re talking—time to celebrate. Yeah, but my stomach is still rolling from the tension, so I doubt anything will stay with me. Well, let’s just say when my books are complete, I have a giant slug of Keopectate and a bourbon.

What do you do to get inside your characters’ heads?

The more accurate question as it applies to me is what do my characters do to get inside my head. I’m usually minding my own business working on the book when all of a sudden, I get this call from the blue. There is no ringing like a telephone, but there is a connection. Before I know it, I’m having a conversation with a being that is a figment of my imagination. Under these circumstances, I am definitely at a disadvantage because I maintain an arrogant view that I understand my creation. Nothing is further from the truth. These things have a mind of their own, and I’m just glad they can’t use the keyboard. If they did, there is no telling what kind of story could get written. I’m the only thing standing between them and what I could describe is an outrageous collection of narcissistic rambling with my name on it.

What are you working on now?

I am working on the sequel to Eternal Road – The last stop. It doesn’t have a title yet but is a story of the two main characters from Eternal Road who can help rescue another soul lost on the Eternal Road. The soul is a combat pilot who stayed with his fighter in Afghanistan rather than bailing out, knowing the plane would crash into a school. His name is Ryan Sanders, and he is being escorted on the Eternal Road by none other than Eddie Rickenbacker. It seems Eddie and Ryan have come up missing, and there is speculation that Lucifer has had a hand in their disappearance. They were last seen in aerial combat over France in 1918. Sam and James must find the pair and help Ryan chose his Eternal Home.

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things

1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older.

2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save mankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

Purchase Link

Kindle Universal link  mybook.to/EternalRoad

Author Bio and Social Media

John is an award-winning author who, after an extensive business career, began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact John

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter –https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Goodreads –https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page –https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

BookBub  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/john-w-howell

#BadMoonRising Ailuros by Matt Doyle #horror #LGBTQ #scifi

If you’ve been a regular at BMR over the years, you’re probably familiar with today’s author. Their featured book is classified as ergodic (a new word for me!), and the format is explained below. Oh – and they might have lived with a ghost cat in a previous house. No biggie. Welcome Matt Doyle!

Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack o’ lantern?

Oh, pumpkin carving, definitely. It sounds odd, but I can’t swim, so apple dunking kinda freaks me out a little. Plus, I’ve been terrible at it the times I’ve done it. Pumpkin carving, I can do though. My brother is better at it, he does some really intricate designs. Like, he once did a Frank the Rabbit form Donnie Darko that was superb. Mine are a little more simple, but I still enjoy it.

If you watch horror movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, covers your eyes, or falls asleep?

I’m actually none of these. I do get frustrated with character choices if they’re poorly written, but never enough to actually shout at the screen. I’ve not fallen asleep in a horror film yet. I don’t cover my eyes, but I have been freaked out a few times. Like, the first time I watched A Tale of Two Sisters, for example. I was living with my parents at the time. There’s a scene with a girl under an oven, and my parent’s had a similar looking oven. I remember, after the film finished, my first thought was, ‘Now I have to walk past that oven.’ I literally ran to my room that night.

Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

Yup, a few times. I’m convinced we used to have a ghost cat in my old house. I’d catch sight of it running under the table, and a couple of times, my old dog would chase it. It was spooky, but not really scary. When it comes to ghostly type stuff, I’m more likely to smell something than see it though.

If you could spend the day with another popular author, who would you choose?

The sadly departed Terry Pratchett would be one, as he was notoriously a really nice person, and always willing to give advice. His books had a massive impact on my childhood too, and continue to be favorites now. Failing that, if we’re looking at living authors, Mark Z. Danielewski. His House of Leaves was a big influence on how I view fiction, and what I’m trying to do with AILUROS. He has a great mind for storytelling and trying something new, so I think he’d be fascinating to chat to.

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?

Hmm…that’s a tough one, because AILUROS is an odd book. I’d say the ideal reader is one who is willing to try something a little different. The layout is unusual. The paperback is split with one story on the right-hand pages told through prose and audio transcripts, and a second story on the left-hand pages told through notes on the first story. Meanwhile, the eBook is the same but with the notes set up as pop-up endnotes. The ideal reader for it needs to be willing to embrace that, I think. Outside that, enjoying a sci-fi setting, more than a dash of horror, and LGBTQ protagonists certainly helps too.

What are you working on now?

I’m not actually sure, believe it or not! At the time of writing, I’m mostly working through trying to build hype for AILUROS, so I haven’t started anything new. Once I start the next one though…I have a few things to choose from. I have a choose-your-own-adventures style book that I want to work on. There’s also another experimental one that I’m thinking about, but I’m still trying to finalize the story in my head. And then there are the Simon Tell rewrites, plus a D&D campaign for friends…there’s so much!

#Begin

In the <present//future>, Josh and Alex must face <a//their own> monster if they are to salvage <their relationship//Ailuros Unit 23>.

These are/are not separate stories.

The following report represents a summary of the incident involving the abandoned microgravity holiday destination, Ailuros Unit Twenty-Three, and the crew of the Salvagers Guild Three ship, The Orca. The report is comprised primarily of the official transcripts of both the aforementioned events onboard the unit and my interview with Guild Director, Sarah Walker. The final entry consists of my summarizing thoughts on the case.

As is often the case in investigations such as this, in the end, Ailuros itself is as much the key to understanding the events as the people involved are.

Circumstances, as well as personal choices, are important, after all.

Purchase Link

Amazon – Fractured Mirror Publishing

Author Bio and Social Media

Matt Doyle is a speculative fiction author from the UK and identifies as pansexual and genderfluid. Matt has spent a great deal of time chasing dreams, a habit which has led to success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.

These days, Matt can be found working on multiple novels and stories, blogging about pop culture, and plotting and planning far too many projects.


Website
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