Archive for the ‘Recommended Reading’ Category

Baby, It’s Hot Outside: A Christmas Down Under
Publication date: October 31st 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Holiday, Romance

Baby it’s Hot Outside – A Christmas Down Under
Seasonal Summer Multi-Author Novella Collection

100% pure SUMMER Christmas.

Come Down Under for a hot and steamy SUMMER festive season.

Escape those winter blues with 12 summer Christmas novellas.

A fabulous collection of sexy Down Under summer Christmas romances. Hot sun and hotter men, friends to lovers, reunion stories and more. Come visit a world of hot, sultry kisses and long, lazy days in the sun. It’s Christmas Down Under and just another day at the beach!

Join USA Today bestselling author, Bronwen Evans with ten of her fellow Australasian authors. Warm your heart, and maybe a little bit more, too, with 11 never before published sexy novellas of Down Under lovin’ in the Christmas sun. Only 11 – aren’t there 12? There are! The 12th story is a collaboration between the 11 authors in this boxed set. Each author is writing a chapter of THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

  • Twelve standalone novellas (never before published)
  • 99c Pre-Order Price rising to $4.99 week of release
  • Only available until the end of January 2022 – get your copy today!

We are running a contest for this box set. You can win a Kindle Fire HD and a collection of stories…

Twelve perfect indulgences to get you in the Christmas spirit:

ANNA FOXKIRK – The Worst Noelle
ANNIE SEATON – Her Christmas Star
BRONWEN EVANS – Fast Track To Love

JACQUELINE LEE – Unrequited Love

JAYNE KINGSLEY – Twelve Days Of Christmas

KENDRA DELUGAR – Something In The Water
KRIS PEARSON – Summer Santa
MEGAN MAYFAIR – The Season For Second Chances
RAY COLLET – Home For Christmas
SOFIA GREY – A Christmas Retreat (Falling For The Colonel’s Daughter)
SUSANNE BELLAMY – Red Dirt Christmas
COLLABORATION – The Week Before Christmas – A collaborative novella with a chapter from each of the authors in this box set. We will be running a fabulous contest of guess who wrote what chapter!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

SNEAK PEEK:

The Week Before Christmas – All authors in the box set….

Ryan had been a vet for a while now. He’d thought he’d seen it all when it came to the mayhem animals could create. It turned out these puppies, even at eight weeks old, were advanced players in the game of chaos.

Oscar’s spaceship themed bean bag had met its match with puppy teeth, and the filling was now scattered all over the wooden dining room floor. Shelby’s row of pot plants along the hearth of the disused fireplace in the lounge had also definitely come off second best after their puppy encounter, with dirt tipped all over the carpet.

Shelby extracted one puppy from behind the television where it had been happily chewing on cable. Holding the squirming bundle close to her chest, she walked back to the laundry.

He was scanning the room to locate the other offenders when one trotted in from the hallway carrying something in its mouth.

“What have you got there, little buddy?” He caught the puppy and gently pried the plastic object out of its mouth. His brow furrowed. What was it? One of Oscar’s toys? It was the shape of a dolphin but appeared to be battery operated. He pressed the button and the tip of the dolphin’s snout suddenly vibrated.

Oh shit. He suddenly realized exactly what the object was.

He raised his gaze to Shelby, who’d just come back into the room and was staring at the object in his hand. He couldn’t help letting a chuckle escape at her expression. It was an exact mirror of her face when he and Paul had convinced her to watch Nightmare on Elm Street when they were teenagers.

She closed the distance between them and all but snatched it out of his hand.

“It was a gag gift from Amanda,” she said.

His chuckles had simmered down to a smirk, but there was no way he could wipe that off his face right now. “Sure it was.”

God, she was beautiful even when she was embarrassed. Cheeks flushed, the blush spreading down her neck, turning her creamy skin a light pink.

“They must have got into the storage boxes in my wardrobe,” she said as she retreated down the hallway.

“I’d disinfect that if I were you,” he called after her, still not able to disguise the amusement in his voice.

So, that had been mildly hilarious. Was it really a gag gift that she’d held on to? Or something she used to enjoy herself on a lonely night?

Okay, he wasn’t going to let his imagination drift too far down this line. It wouldn’t be good for his sanity. Or the tightness of his pants.

Shelby, coming back into the room with a cloth, trod on some of the tiny balls—now coated with oil—from Oscar’s bean bag, and started to slip.

And then he was on his feet, catching Shelby just as she stumbled, his arms bracing her shoulders as her hands flew to his waist to help her regain her balance.

For a few seconds, they both breathed hard, still clinging to each other.

She glanced up at him, making no attempt to retreat from his arms. “Thank you.”

“No problem.” He couldn’t tear his eyes away from hers. Their gazes remained locked tight.

Kiss her. Kiss her. Kiss her. A voice rose in his mind. He couldn’t tell from what part of him the voice was loudest.

What part of him wanted Shelby the most? The part that wanted to take care of her, love her, be a dad to Oscar, protect her from anything bad that could ever happen…

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Death Rang The Bell by Carol Pouliot Banner

Death Rang The Bell

by Carol Pouliot

October 1-31, 2021 Book Tour

Synopsis:

Death Rang The Bell by Carol Pouliot

21st-century journalist Olivia Watson thinks traveling back in time to 1934 to attend a Halloween party with her friend Detective Steven Blackwell will be a lot of fun. And it is…until she witnesses the head of the Shipley Five-and-Dime empire murdered, and fears the killer saw her face.

The smart move is to return to the safety of the present, but Olivia possesses a secret and is about to defy the unwritten rules of time-travel. She convinces Steven to let her stay in his time and help unravel the motives behind the murder, even if it means risking her own life to save another.

When Steven delves into the investigation, he discovers how a bitter relationship, a chance encounter, and a fateful decision converged to set the stage for murder. In a maze full of unreliable clues and misdirection, dark secrets refuse to stay buried and forgotten ghosts won’t fade away. Steven is reminded that old sins cast long shadows.

Can Steven catch the killer before time runs out for Olivia?

Praise for Death Rang the Bell:

“This highly inventive series serves up a real treat–a perfect combination of mystery, time travel, and romance.”
~~ Deborah Crombie, New York Times Bestselling author of the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novels

“Pouliot has the period details mastered, adding realism and depth to this wholly satisfying read.”
~~ Marni Graff, author of The Nora Tierney English Mysteries

“With engaging characters, a murder mystery, and a trip back in time, Carol Pouliot’s Death Rang the Bell will keep you turning the pages all night!”
~~ Nancy Allen, New York Times Bestselling Author

“A Halloween setting, a house where time folds back on itself, and a crime with deep roots in the past make Carol Pouliot’s Death Rang the Bell a joy for fans of crisp writing and twisty, character-driven plots.”
~~ Connie Berry, Agatha-nominated author of the Kate Hamilton Mysteries

“A delightfully immersive story, filled with surprising twists and turns, a touch of romance — plus a heroine you will happily follow as she jumps between decades, Death Rang the Bell is a truly great escape.”
~~ Alison Gaylin, USA Today and international bestselling author

“This intriguing and beautifully written series will draw you in and make you feel right at home in a time period you’ll wish you could visit.”
~~ Grace Topping, USA Today bestselling author of the Laura Bishop Mystery Series.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery (Traditional Police Procedural with a Time-Travel Twist)
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
Number of Pages: 311
ISBN: 978-1-68512-000-9
Series: The Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mysteries, #3 || Each is a Stand-Alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | BN.com | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

NOVEMBER 1916 − SYRACUSE, NEW YORK

Chapter 1

Hot coffee spilled over the rim and burned her hand. Lillian wanted to cry. At nine in the morning, she’d been on her feet since six and had seven long hours to go. She didn’t know how much longer she’d be able to keep it up. She was constantly exhausted and the struggle to breathe was worsening; some days it was nearly unbearable. She knew the disease was going to overpower her, and that moment was coming soon.

Lillian slid around some tables and set a heaping plate of eggs and bacon, potatoes, and toast in front of Arnie McCormack, then topped off his cup from the pot in her other hand. McCormack lowered his newspaper and leered, pinching her behind as she stepped away. Rude bastard. She’d like to pour the scalding coffee over his head and dump his breakfast right in his lap.

The only thing that kept her going every day was the thought of her beautiful little boy. Well, not so little anymore. He was growing up fast, nine years old in January. She managed a smile and wiped away a tear before it became a flood. Best not to think too much about things. Especially money. Lillian knew if she didn’t get the money somehow, she’d never see her son grow into a man.

And what about her letter? It had been four weeks since she’d mailed it. Surely he should have written back by now. She hadn’t been unreasonable, hadn’t asked for much, only enough to pay for treatment at the Little Red Cottage in Saranac Lake.

Dr. Trudeau’s Little Red Cottage. It sounded like heaven. Lillian had heard wonderful things about people being cured there. Imagine, cured! The thought made her dizzy.

Lillian returned to the lunch counter, using the backs of chairs for support. When she arrived at the griddle, she was breathing hard.

Tomorrow, she thought, if I don’t get an answer tomorrow, I’ll send another letter.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 1934

Chapter 2

The Three Witches of Macbeth were doing a swell job. Annie, Molly, and Lilly led the parade of pirates, sailors, and fairy princesses through Knightsbridge, picking up ghosts, goblins, and a mummy along the way. Crowds of families followed the costumed children down Victoria Avenue to the entrance of The Elks Club, where, from the top of the staircase, The Three Witches hissed, “Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and caldron bubble.”

Molly cried out, “Beware, all ye who enter here.” Then she thumped a tall gnarled staff on the stone step, and Annie and Lilly grasped the thick iron rings with both hands and heaved. As the massive oak doors creaked open, the masquerading children flew up the stairs and into the community room, awash with the scents of apples and cinnamon.

Carved pumpkins flickered in the semi-darkened room, revealing white cobweb-filled corners and big black spiders and bats hanging so low that adults had to duck. Seeing colorful bags piled on black-draped tables, one little boy jumped up and down, clapping his hands in glee. A girl grabbed her friend’s hand, and they did a little dance, and three teenagers slapped each other on the back. A Halloween treat awaited each of them. Eager to explore, the kids fanned out.

“Ooh! I feel like I’m ten again,” said Olivia, shaking the black-and-orange tin noise maker. “Why didn’t we wear costumes?”

Steven gave her a look. “What if I had to rush out for an emergency?” he asked.

“You could’ve dressed like a cop.” She smirked.

“Hi, Steven.” Decked out in an eye patch and pirate gear, Jimmy Bourgogne appeared from behind Olivia, swept off his hat, and gave a courtly bow, bending low to the floor. “Miss Watson.”

“Jimmy, you look fantastic,” exclaimed Olivia. “I didn’t recognize you with that mustache and goatee.”

“Congratulations, Jimmy. You fellas did a swell job,” Steven said.

“Thanks, but the credit really goes to Leon here.”

A slender young man with light brown hair joined them. He sported a plaid shirt with a tin sheriff’s badge pinned over his heart, red kerchief around his neck, and holster holding a toy gun attached to a leather belt.

“Hi, Leon.” Steven extended his hand. “This is my friend Olivia Watson. Olivia, Leon Quigg is my mailman.”

“Nice to meet you, Miss Watson.” Leon said, nodding as he doffed his cowboy hat.

“I’m glad to meet you, too. This is a wonderful party.”

Jean Bigelow sidled up to Olivia, yelling amidst the racket. “You made it!”

“Jean! Isn’t this swell?” Olivia chuckled to herself. Liz and Sophie would crack up hearing her talk like a real 1934 person.

After several months, acting like she belonged here had become second nature, but Olivia Watson didn’t belong here. She lived in 2014 and only visited 1934 from time to time.

This week Olivia was spending several days in Steven’s time. No passport, no suitcase, no plane ticket required. All it took was a simple step across the threshold of her bedroom door into Steven’s Depression-era house−simple but the key to her recently discovered ability to time travel.

“What are you reading tonight?” Olivia asked the librarian.

“Edgar Allan Poe. ‘The Cask of Amontillado.’”

“That’s the one where the guy gets walled up, isn’t it?”

Jean nodded. “I’ve been practicing creepy voices for days.”

“Well, you look the part. I love your cape, very 19th-century.” Olivia touched a fold of Jean’s costume. “Ooh, velvet. I wish I’d worn that.”

The organizers had packed the evening full of entertainment. Steven and Olivia watched a magician pull pennies out of children’s ears and a rabbit out of his top hat, and wondered how he made the mayor’s watch disappear. The kids bobbed for apples, the water sloshing out of the metal washtub soaking the floor. The younger children played Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey and Drop-the-Handkerchief, while the older ones played charades and told ghost stories.

At seven thirty, the kids crowded along the row of tables where members of the Elks handed out treats. Noses in their black-and-orange bags exploring the treasures within, they moved to the far end to select their favorite soda, handing the tall glass bottles of Hires Root Beer, Orange Crush, and Coca-Cola to Jimmy Bou and Leon Quigg, who were armed with metal bottle openers.

The evening culminated with story telling. The village librarian led the young children into a side room, spooky picture books in hand. The older ones gathered behind the curtain on the shadow-filled stage where Jean Bigelow waited in flickering candlelight. When they’d settled in a circle on the floor, Olivia among them, the librarian cleared her throat and began.

“The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge….”

***

Excerpt from Death Rang the Bell by Carol Pouliot. Copyright 2021 by Carol Pouliot. Reproduced with permission from Carol Pouliot. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Carol Pouliot

Carol Pouliot holds a BA in French and Spanish and an MA in French. She has taught French, Spanish, German, and English. She owned and operated a translating agency for 20 years. Her work has been published in Victoria magazine.

Carol is the author of The Blackwell and Watson Time-Travel Mysteries, which includes Doorway to Murder (book 1), Threshold of Deceit (book 2), and Death Rang the Bell (book 3).

Carol is passionate about the world and other cultures. She has visited 5 continents thus far and always has her passport and suitcase at the ready.

Catch Up With Carol Pouliot:
www.CarolPouliot.com
SleuthsAndSidekicks.com
BookBub – @cpouliot13
Goodreads
Instagram – @carolpouliotmysterywriter
Facebook – @WriterCarolPouliot

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways! 

10/01 Guest post @ Novels Alive
10/02 Interview @ A Blue Million Books
10/03 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
10/04 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
10/04 Showcase @ The Reading Frenzy
10/05 Review @ sunny island breezes
10/06 Review @ Avonna Loves Genres
10/07 Review @ Dont Judge, Read
10/07 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews Blog
10/08 Showcase @ Silvers Reviews
10/08 Showcase @ The Book Connection
10/09 Guest post @ The Book Divas Reads
10/10 Review @ curlygrannylovestoread
10/11 showcase @ Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
10/12 Guest post @ Quiet Fury Booksa
10/13 Review @ Wall-to-wall Books
10/14 Review @ 5 Minutes for Books
10/15 Review @ Pat Fayo Reviews
10/16 Interview @ I Read What You Write
10/17 Showcase @ Brooke Blogs
10/19 Showcase @ Nesies Place
10/20 Review @ nanasbookreviews
10/20 Showcase @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS
10/20 Showcase @ The Authors Harbor
10/21 Interview @ CMash Reads
10/22 Review @ Books to the Ceiling
10/26 Review @ FUONLYKNEW
10/27 Review @ Jane Pettitt
10/30 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

Don’t Miss Out on This Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Carol Pouliot. There will be Four (4) winners for this tour. Two (2) winners will each receive a $15 Amazon.com gift card; Two (2) winners will each receive 1 print edition of Death Rang The Bell by Carol Pouliot (US Only). The giveaway begins on October 1 and ends November 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 



Top 10 Things to Keep in Mind when Writing About Ghosts

My upcoming book They Stay is about ghosts. I spent two years designing, implementing, and writing about my ghost world, and so I learned a lot about how to worldbuild using ghosts.

This is a list of the 10 most important questions you need to ask yourself when building a ghost world. There are many different types of worlds you can build involving ghosts. You can write a horror story about ghosts who terrorize a family. You can write a story similar to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Bookwhere the ghosts are friends to your main characters. You can write a story where ghosts are an allegory for mental illness or another type of trauma. Before you even get into this list of questions, you need to figure out what you want the purpose of your ghosts to be because that is going to inform your answers to the rest of these questions.

The more readers know about your ghosts, the less scary your ghosts will be to them. Creating a cast of terrifying ghosts requires you to make your characters powerless against them and ignorant of how your ghosts function, and make your ghosts powerful and able to do brutal things to your characters. If you want your ghosts to be friends, write them as you would any other character. Regardless of how much information you want to give your readers about your ghost, here are the top 10 questions you need to answer about your ghost world before writing.

  1. Do ghosts stay on earth forever after dying?

Or do they fade away? Is the earth populated with the ghosts of everyone who has ever died roaming around everyone who is currently living? Or do they go somewhere else?

  1. Does everyone become a ghost?

 Are there just some people who don’t become ghosts? What determines whether or not you are going to become a ghost?

  1. Does becoming a ghost change the way you act?

 In a lot of horror movies, ghosts can act pretty erratically. Do only erratic people get turned into ghosts? Or does being a ghost take your normal brain and twist it into an erratic version of itself?

  1. What is life like as a ghost? Is it miserable? Is it ok?

Having to live a miserable existence would make my brain pretty twisted, to be honest.

  1. Can ghosts move through things?

If so, are there any materials that they can’t move through?

  1. Do ghosts retain their physical appearance on earth, when dead?

 If they died in a house fire, does their ghost look all burnt? Do they take on the physicality that they had at their Prime? Do they look like the age they were at when they died?

  1. Can ghosts affect the physical world?

 Can ghosts kill people? Can ghosts make books all off of shelves? Or do they just pass through stuff? What kind of ghosts can affect the physical world, and what kind of ghosts aren’t?

  1. Can anything kill, deter, or summon ghosts?

 Does salt or iron deter ghosts? Are there any incantations or weird spells that can summon ghosts? Do Ouija boards work?

  1. Can ghosts move everywhere or are they bound someplace?

 Are ghosts bound to objects that were important to them in real life? if you get rid of that object, does it get rid of the ghost? If you move the object, does the ghost move with it?

  1. Is there a place where ghosts go after they become ghosts? Do they stay ghosts until the end of time?

Does an afterlife exist? If so, what does it look like? Do all ghosts go there, or do only the people who are rejected from the afterlife become ghosts?

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, I have made a YouTube video about worldbuilding with ghosts which can be found here. I run a YouTube channel called Write with Claire Fraise  where I share specific and actionable writing tips that helped me make my own writing better.

They Stay
Claire Fraise
(They Stay Series, #1)
Publication date: October 12th 2021
Genres: Supernatural, Thriller, Young Adult

For fans of Stranger Things comes a suspenseful YA mystery about a missing kid, a girl who can see ghosts, and a horrifying crime only four outcasts have the power to stop.

What if the only person who could help you find your missing brother was dead?

Nothing is as important to sixteen-year-old Shiloh Oleson as her little brother Max. So when the six-year-old goes missing without a trace, a heartbroken Shiloh refuses to believe nothing can be done and sets out to find him.

When one of Shiloh’s classmates says she knows where Max is, Shiloh hesitates to believe her. Francesca is creepy. She says she can see ghosts, but everyone knows ghosts aren’t real … right?

But Francesca says that Max is going to be murdered.

And a ghost told her where he is.

As the line between the dead and living begins to blur, Shiloh starts to think Francesca might not be as crazy as she believed. One thing is becoming clear. Someone has gruesome plans for Max, and Shiloh must confront her worst nightmares to find him before it’s too late.

THEY STAY is the first book in the They Stay Series. Read on if you like ghost stories, plot twists, enemies-to-friends, creepy circuses, budding romance, and unlikely heroes.

Content Warnings: This book contains death, kidnapping, domestic abuse, references to suicide, bullying, and mild adult language.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

 

Author Bio:

Claire Fraise earned her B.A. in English from Tufts University. She is also the author of YA dystopian novel Imperfect (winner of the San Francisco and Beverly Hills Book Festivals), which she published when she was 16. When Claire’s not writing, she likes crocheting amigurumi animals, reading, and hanging out with her dogs. Even though it goes against every introverted bone in her body, she is on social media. Connect with her on Instagram at @clairefraiseauthor, on YouTube at Write with Claire Fraise, or visit her website at clairefraise.com.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Youtube / Pinterest

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