Interview with Robert Herold

Welcome, Robert. Let’s get to the questions.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I play sax and flute in a jazz/blues band (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) and love listening to music particularly jazz and classical (I’m totally into Beethoven right now!). I also love to read and watch films and tv shows (particularly dark detective series from Europe).

I also collect books and records. Lately, I’ve been collecting Mexican Lobby Cards for famous horror movies. I have about a dozen, some of which are autographed by famous writers (Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, and Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend). Why Mexican? They are much cheaper than their English language counterparts!

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

Whenever I get the least bit stuck, I ask myself, what is the worst thing that could happen to my characters? It invariably works! 🙂

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

After losing to my wife at cribbage over breakfast, I retreat into the bowels of my house where my office is located. There I spend the first few hours answering emails and doing promo-related work on social media.

During or after lunch I typically spend writing/editing, which I do until around 5:30 when I watch BBC America on PBS. My whole day is punctuated by walks with my 5 ½ pound chihuahua, Jangles.

What’s your dream vacation destination?

My dream vacation is to visit NYC and binge on theater, ethnic food, museums, and jazz clubs. This was a regular pilgrimage until COVID reared its angry head. ‘Hope to resume this as soon as it’s safe.

In what genre do you read?

I have eclectic tastes and tend to read broadly; however, I most enjoy historical mysteries/adventures/horror. I am currently Mexican Gothic.

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

Yup, pet person. We inherited Jangles, our 5 ½ lb. chihuahua, from my sister when she passed away. He alternates between being incredibly loveable and incredibly annoying. Jangles watches television and barks at any animal or animated figure. He also doesn’t like violence. Given my penchant for the news, period pieces (when using horses were common), spooky movies, and dark detective series, he has plenty of opportunities to bark!

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

Horror can be a wonderful vehicle for social commentary in a fun and exciting way. My 19th Century characters are dealing with racism, sexism, drug abuse, and many other social ills that still haunt us today.

The Eidola Project travels to Petersburg, Virginia, to investigate a series of murders in the Black community—rumored to be caused by a werewolf. Once there, danger comes from all quarters. Not only do they face threats from the supernatural, the KKK objects to the team’s activities, and the group is falling apart. Can they overcome their human frailties to defeat the evil that surrounds them?

          Moonlight Becomes You earned two first place wins from the Southeastern Writers Association, including Best Novel!

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EXCERPT

Doc Curtis fought for every reserve of strength and managed to quicken his pace. He could hear them shouting behind him and dared not look back, fearing it might slow him just that much more.

He made it through the field and emerged onto a rough access road running between the cultivated land on one side and the woods on the other. The doctor dashed across the dirt road and through the weeds and scrub bordering its opposite side. The trees stood twenty yards ahead. He would make it, find a thick trunk to hide behind, and fire a warning shot. If he could drive them off, it would be best. If not, he would do what needed to be done. Life had reduced itself to its most basic terms: kill or be killed.

Just five yards from the trees, a gigantic black beast bounded from the woods and landed before him. The doctor skittered to a stop, and his feet went out from beneath him. The creature stepped closer, looming. Its eyes glowed red, and the skin around its muzzle drew back, revealing a mouthful of sharp canine teeth.

The Klan had come at him in two directions, the doctor realized.

He raised his pistol and fired into the snarling face above him.

Snippet from 5+ Star Review From N.N. Light Book Heaven:

“Moonlight Becomes You is exceptional in pacing and storytelling. The reader is captivated in myriad ways… (It) was a great read from start to finish.”

The supernatural has always had the allure of forbidden fruit, ever since Robert Herold’s mother refused to allow him, as a boy, to watch creature features on late night TV. She caved-in. (Well, not literally!)

As a child, fresh snow provided him the opportunity to walk out onto neighbor’s lawns halfway and make paw prints with his fingers as far as he could stretch. He would retrace the paw and boot prints, then fetch the neighbor kids and point out that someone turned into a werewolf on their front lawn! (They were skeptical.)

Mr. Herold has pursued many interests over the years, but the supernatural always called to him. You could say he was haunted.  Finally, following the siren’s call, he wrote The Eidola Project, based on a germ of an idea he had as a teenager. Moonlight Becomes You fulfills his childhood wish to become a werewolf, at least vicariously.

Ultimately, he hopes his books give you the creeps, and he mean that in the best way possible!

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Guest release promotion–The Cowboy’s Embrace by Kara O’Neal

Fate brings his greatest regret back into his life…

 

Sixteen years ago, Lily Spero lost her parents and siblings to a villain on a white horse. When she visits the Swinging A Ranch, her past collides with her present, opening wounds long buried and shockingly creating hope where none had been before.

Deacon Tolbert is the foreman of the Swinging A Ranch. He’s carved a niche in the world all his own. But when Lily Spero arrives, the girl he abandoned years ago, he’s forced to face the most gut-wrenching moment of his life.

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EXCERPT

He would come back soon. He would. He wouldn’t leave her here.

Lily assessed the park with its strong oaks and maples and winding packed dirt paths. She bit her lip and worked hard not to cry. She was a big girl. She was eleven, and he’d asked her to be brave while he was gone.

As she hid in the shade, she sank down to the grass, huddled against a trunk and hoped no one noticed a frightened, stranded, black girl. Where was he? What was taking so long? He only went to find food for them.

Morning turned into noon. People came. Some to eat their lunches on blankets they spread on the ground. Others to walk the picturesque paths. She pulled her knees into her chest and buried her nose in her dirt-caked pinafore. It had been yellow once. A pretty color as bright as the sun.

As she rocked back and forth, she prayed. She repeated over and over the words her mother had taught her. With her eyes clamped shut and her lips moving without ceasing, she implored to Heaven for Deacon to return.

But hours passed. Faces swam before her, asking her questions, giving her food. She couldn’t answer the nice strangers. Just gazed down the path, hoping, waiting, her heart dying.

Where are you? Please come. Please come back.

She silently begged to see his familiar form, dressed in overalls and a threadbare work shirt, coming around the bend to carry her away. But he didn’t come. And the kind people didn’t leave. They took her home with them, and Lily didn’t argue, even though their pale skin struck uncertainty in her heart. She couldn’t think. Deacon, she grieved.

And his name was the pained whisper on her lips every night, the perpetual cold ache in her heart…that could never be filled.

Born and raised in Texas, I had to make the state the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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Blog – The Story Continues

 

Guest promotion for Gemini Rising by Bianca Swan

Monozygotic twins, or identical twins. result from the fertilization of a single egg with a single sperm. Fraternal twins, or dizygotic twins, are the product of fertilization of two different eggs.

In identical twins, as the cells divide and multiply, at some point very early in the embryonic growth, they spit into two individuals. As you can imagine, the genetic material in these twins is identical, hence the name identical twins. Monozygotic twins are always the same sex (except in my dark fantasy Gemini Rising!)

Fraternal twins, can be different genders, look different, and have different characteristics. Even though we call identical twins identical and think of their genetic material as identical, we need to keep in mind that there is another important factor—environmental influences—which means identical twins come from the same genetic material, but, in characteristics they may actually have differences as well.

Whose genes produce monozygotic twins? Only women ovulate. So, the mother’s genes control this propensity to twins, and the father’s genes don’t. This is why having a background of twins in the family matters only if it is on the mother’s side.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) embryos are more likely than naturally conceived embryos to split into identical twins A fertility doctor can transfer just one embryo—in hopes of reducing the risk of non-identical twins—but identical twins may still occur, and more frequently than in the general population.

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Science said male/female identical twins were impossible until the Alastair twins were born. Were Alina and Alain genetically encoded or did growing up in an isolated island castle determine they walk the forbidden trails?

The Alastair twins are a scientific impossibility. To parents who’ve tried every way to have a child, their male and female identical twins are a miracle.

Isolated in their island castle, the Alastair twins Alain and Alina turn to each other for friendship and love. But when their love shifts from fraternal to frighteningly deep, they’ll each dance with their lust in their own way.

A dark fantasy of forbidden longings and midnight pledges, spoken only to be broken or kept. How can these phenomenal twins possibly unleash their innermost desires? The answer will shock you.

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EXCERPT

Rory rushed him, grabbing his shirtfront, his fist drawn back to strike. Alain raised a defense. The horses snorted, hooves scrambling on cobbles. Aiden Alastair strode into the barn hall, assessing the situation at a glance.

“By all that’s holy!” Father’s hands fisted. “Have you both taken leave of your senses?”

Rory freed Alain with a shove. “I’m rearranging your son’s pretty face. You’ve said yourself that Alain’s too pretty for his own good.” The old, familiar humiliation and pain twisted in Alain, but he squared his shoulders, and with blood on his mouth, faced his father. His brother-in-law’s lips curled in a mocking smile. “I was just trying to help you out, Lord Alastair.” He put hateful emphasis on the title.

Alastair crossed his arms, glaring at his son-in-law. “You’re my daughter’s husband and as such this is your home, but I won’t tolerate fighting beneath my roof.”

Rory hung his head, staring at the cobbles, said nothing. His stiff posture sagged.

Father’s eyes found Alain. His expression altered from angry to hurt. “I would have expected more of you. Did you start this?”

Of course, he’d jumped to the conclusion Alain was to blame. He was always ready to believe the worst of his only son. He could tune them out, suppress his feelings and stoically endure. But not this time. Damage, like love and hate, came in degrees. All his life Alain had suffered at this man’s clumsy hand. He arched an eyebrow.

Rory’s gaze lifted to Alain’s face. He gasped, “Don’t.”

“You’ve always been disappointed in me, Father.” The chill in his voice bled into his limbs. “But frankly, I don’t give a damn. Never have. Never will.”

Splotches of anger dotted Aiden Alastair’s face. “How dare you say that to me? You’re a damned fine excuse for a son. If I could, I’d pass the title to Rory.”

The painful attack knocked the wind out of Alain.

To be told he meant less to his father than this bastard, hurt. He hadn’t believed Aiden had the power to break his heart. He collapsed on the wooden bench beside the bridles and stared at the old oriental carpet he used for polishing Spirit’s hooves. Suddenly, he hated the wealth surrounding him.

“Aiden.” Mother strode down the aisle, seized her husband’s arm and shook him. “I overheard. How could you say such a thing? Be so cruel to your son? I’m beginning to question how I feel about you.”

Bianca lives in the Lone Star State with a baby grand piano and Zippy Z, her swift, little sports car. Her two sons are the stars in her crown. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, horses, symphony, theater, etc. She still believes in the power of love—and the power of lust—and enjoys delving into the soul of both the L-Words, bringing to life hot, passionate men and the lucky, fiery women who love them.

 

 

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Interview with Zeppy Cheng

Welcome to my blog.

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I went to college at Louisiana Tech University, studying psychology, but my passion really lies in writing. I watch a lot of anime and play some video games, and I hope to become a full time writer at some point in the future.

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

I start with the story and let the characters do what they want with the thing. It’s an exploratory process.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

My writing style is very freestyle. I am very much a pantser.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I really enjoy dubstep, chillstep, and electro swing.

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

Just keep writing, even if you don’t want to! It’s the only way to truly finish what you’ve started!

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

A sense of adventure, a sense that anything can be done if you really want to do it.

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Forty years ago portals opened all around the world, leading to dungeons with dangerous monsters inside, monsters that can escape into the real world and do incredible damage. At the same time, people began manifesting spirits that allowed them to fight back.

Markus Red just manifested his spirit and it’s a weak one, the weakest one there is. But he squeezes into the position of Adventurer and is sent to Ixtham Academy, where he’ll learn to fight those monsters and destroy the dungeons invading New York City. He is on the lowest rung, but he soon finds an ally in Dr. Barrimore, an eccentric scientist with views that no one else seems to take seriously.

Together the two of them work on a project that will change everything Markus is. But will surviving at the bottom give him the power and courage he’ll need to make it to the top?

Dungeons and Dragons meets Harry Potter in this new, imaginative urban fantasy that will keep you turning pages long into the night!

The Lesser One is available only at Amazon:

EXCERPT

“Good luck,” mouths the commander.

The three of us nod and jump off the tank at the same time. The tank backs away as soon as we hit the ground. The balrog is a block and a half away, striding through the streets with the presence of a movie monster

Corbin kicks in the door of the building closest to us and points to the interior. “I’ll stay here and keep the devils out!”

Esla nods. She and I run inside and start climbing stairs.

I’m happy that I’ve been working out lately. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with her. As it is, I barely manage. We reach the twentieth floor just as the balrog passes by the nearest window. Esla holds up the laser device. There’s a timer. A minute and twenty seconds. She runs to the window framing the balrog and points the laser at the spot between its horns. I make sure my bow is in its place on my back.

A green dot appears on the balrog’s head. Half a second later, it stops and looks straight at us. With a single meaty hand, it claws out the nineteenth floor. The ground begins to tilt. Steel groans.

Esla manages to keep her balance, and keep the dot trained on the balrog’s head.

The balrog rips out another floor out beneath us. I’m starting to slide, but manage to lean against a pillar and hold on.

Esla is not so lucky. She slides towards the window, feet first, and hits the glass. The glass shatters and she falls out. Grabbing the ledge with one hand, she uses the other to toss the device. “Catch!”

I catch the device — a feat I have never managed before in my life. Holding on to it with my free hand, which is now completely green, I notice the time is almost done. Quickly, I point it back at the balrog’s head.

10… 9… 8… 7…

The roar of a huge droneaircraft blossoms overhead.

6… 5… 4…

The balrog smashes the building with its side, sending ripples through the concrete. My hand is now completely green. It is so close, its heat haze drifts over the floor. Worse, I can see the whites of its eyes.

3… 2… 1… 0…

A blast of fire with the intensity of the sun rips through the air and slams into the balrog right where the light was shining. Molten metal and rock flies everywhere. The balrog reels. The pillar I am leaning against collapses, sending me sliding straight towards the firestorm in front of me.

I am in a life or death situation.

I am near a huge monster.

And I don’t even care about what will happen to me next as long as I survive.

I brace my heels against the floor, stabilizing myself for a half-second, then grab my bow and nock an arrow. The fire around the balrog slips down its body, revealing a patch of its head where the red crackling slade-rock armor has been broken. The balrog is still very much alive, and is turning to me with its gigantic, devilish eyes.

My Anima vision spots a tiny point. It’s where the missile hit, about the size of a penny.There, the balrog’s very essence is exposed.

I fire my bow. My entire body turns green, and I am suddenly am convinced that I am a papaya. A piece of fruit sliding off a grocery store shelf.

My arrow buries itself inside the balrog, diving deep. The balrog’s eyes go wide. A light switch flicks in its brain. It staggers, rips some holes in the buildings around it, and stomps on a tank. The flames around it erupt in a display of fireworks that shoots hundreds of meters into the air. The balrog moans, roars, and then collapses to the ground. I slip off the tilting floor and float into the open air.

I am aware of everything. Yet I know nothing. A beam of light cuts open the balrog’s body. A blood-red ring floats out of its chest, spinning, and wraps around my stomach. I am floating, not falling.

Unimaginable power flows through me. My entire being explodes into magic, pain, and the pure essence of reality. I scream without making a sound as I float towards the street.

I land with a bump. My vision snaps back into focus, and so does reality. I am no longer a papaya, and my hands are back to normal — except for the blood-red cracks running through them. They shimmer with a starry radiance, almost as if they are alive.

Zeppy Cheng is a Wisconsin author who loves to write, play video games, and watch anime. He spends most of his time doing one of those three. He has a BA in psychology from Louisiana Tech University.

 

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Guest Release Promotion–Love Leads the Way by Margot Johnson

TAGLINE

She coaches him in team leadership, but do they both need lessons in love?

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Single mom Tessa Shore runs a successful leadership program at work and supports a mother with dementia. She can handle any challenge in her jam-packed schedule as long as nothing spins out of control…especially her feelings.

Engineer Mark Delaney is an expert on pipelines at the same company, but his interpersonal skills need a makeover. Advancing to an executive job requires enrollment in a leadership course he doesn’t think he needs.

When their professional and personal issues entangle, life at the office gets a lot more complicated. Romance is impossible…or is it?

Amazon buy link

EXCERPT

Pacing around Crescent Park in moonlight trimmed with stars, Mark breathed fresh air and slowed his erratic heartbeats from the shock of Tessa’s invitation. Apparently, the woman who directed the class with the precision of an air-traffic controller could flex…at least, a little. She wanted to spend extra time with him, and he couldn’t refuse.

“I didn’t think we’d bump into other participants at this late hour.” She hugged tighter her windbreaker against the cool breeze. “We won’t mix business and pleasure. I’m strictly off duty, and so are you.”

“Okay, Tessa, whatever you say.” Zipping higher his jacket, he strode and sniffed moisture riding the wind. Guilt tiptoed around his collar, and he couldn’t escape the feeling this outing was a bad idea. He should avoid her, except in class, yet he accepted her invitation. But why did she break her own rule and contact him?

“If I can’t discuss work, can I ask you a personal question?” He admired her profile with pert nose tipped to the sky, breathing the fresh night air.

“I guess so since I’m the woman who persuades everyone else to dish.” She laughed and brushed a curl from her cheek.

Streetlights alternated with a full moon to light the pathway. Their footsteps crunched on gravel, and their murmured voices broke the peaceful silence.

“Ready.” She tucked her hands in her jacket pockets.

“Is Mr. Shore waiting at home?” He winced at his forward question. No sense beating around the bush. He shouldn’t pine for someone else’s wife.

Margot is the author of sweet romances Love Leads the Way and Love Takes Flight. She left an HR leadership role for the fun writing life. Her characters love dogs, and her loyal, old golden retriever, Sophie, is the inspiration for the adorable dogs in her books.

 

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Guest Release–No More Secrets by Joanne Guidoccio

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Angelica Delfino takes a special interest in the lives of her three nieces, whom she affectionately calls the daughters of her heart. Sensing that each woman is harboring a troubling, possibly even toxic secret, Angelica decides to share her secrets—secrets she had planned to take to the grave. Spellbound, the nieces listen as Angelica travels back six decades to reveal an incredulous tale of forbidden love, tragic loss, and reinvention. It is the classic immigrant story upended: an Italian widow’s transformative journey amid the most unlikely of circumstances.

BUY LINKS

  Amazon (US) –  https://www.amazon.com/No-More-Secrets-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B08CVTYWWX

Amazon (CA) – https://www.amazon.ca/No-More-Secrets-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B08CVTYWWX

Amazon (UK) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-More-Secrets-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B08CVTYWWX

Amazon (AU) – https://www.amazon.com.au/No-More-Secrets-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B08CVTYWWX/

EXCERPT

Peck. Peck. Peck. It was unnerving to watch Bellastrega attempting to type on a computer keyboard. But if Angelica were to make any comment, the younger woman would pause and smile her enigmatic smile. Or she might rise and make her way to the kitchen where she would brew one of her green teas. Nothing—at least nothing Angelica had observed in the past eight weeks—upset Bellastrega.

When the tall, striking blonde with the smallest of suitcases had knocked at her door, Angelica had known they would get along. And like everything else she had orchestrated in her life; Angelica had not been wrong. Within days of arriving, Bellastrega had reorganized the household, implemented a healthy eating regimen, and given the octogenarian peace of mind.

At last week’s checkup, the specialist oncologist had frowned as flickers of uncertainty appeared in eyes that rarely showed emotion. Taking off his glasses, he had fumbled for words. The rogue cells had not magically disappeared, but there was a reprieve of sorts. Or at least, that’s what Angelica had gathered from the inarticulate sentences and the incredulous look on his face.

Time, that was all Angelica needed. Time to tie up all the straggling bits that remained. But if Bellastrega didn’t finish typing the letter, the process could stall indefinitely.

“It’s done.” Bellastrega pressed print and watched as the two-page letter emerged.

Angelica breathed a sigh of relief as she rose and walked toward the desk. Two months ago, she could barely get out of bed and needed a cane or walker to move about. At first wary, Angelica had listened and followed Bellastrega’s advice. Espressos had given way to green teas, and the white devils—flour, sugar, and bread—had been replaced with whole grain alternatives. Affirmations and morning stretches had improved Angelica’s mood and strengthened her legs. On milder days, the two women took short walks around the neighborhood. Had Bellastrega arrived six months earlier, she could have reversed the diagnosis and given Angelica years—possibly even a decade—of extra life.

Angelica’s sisters resented the newcomer and refused to give credit where credit was due. Instead, they came up with an alternative truth: Angelica had hired a strega, a witch who would betray her employer, steal her valuables, and leave in the dead of night.

When Angelica tried to reassure them, they raised several questions. What normal person decides to move to Northern Ontario in January and show up on a stranger’s doorstep? Who was this woman? Did she have a husband or children? Who were her people?

Who were her people? Angelica tried not to laugh at this last question, one that Italians of her generation often asked when strangers appeared in their lives. It was as if an imaginary bubble existed around each family, and very few people were allowed to infiltrate it. But most of all, the whispers of strega annoyed Angelica. When she had shared this information with her companion, the younger woman laughed and admitted to possessing psychic powers.

Taken aback, Angelica struggled with this tantalizing morsel she would not dream of sharing with her sisters. In their minds, psychic would be translated into witch, and the suggestions that Angelica terminate Bellastrega’s employment would increase in number. Instead, Angelica decided to embrace the younger woman’s gifts. And so Bellastrega—beautiful witch—was born as Lynn Miller faded into obscurity.

A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Joanne Guidoccio writes paranormal romances, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

 

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Website – https://joanneguidoccio.com

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Pot O’ Gold Bookish Event

Today my novella, Perfectly MIsmatched, book 1 in the “Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs” multi-author series is highlighted on N.N. Light’s Pot O’ Gold event featuring Irish characters.

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Her father’s shameful arrest sends socialite Aurelia Northcliffe running to become a mail-order bride in Jubilee Springs, CO. The mining town is tiny but more shocking are the potential grooms–one unsophisticated and the other too discerning. Even if he makes her feel safe.

Initially resistant, mine manager Declan MacNeill remembers his short marriage in Ireland and realizes what he’s been missing. Seeing his potential bride sets his protective instincts on high alert. Everything about her behavior indicates she’s keeping secrets. And Declan is determined to find out why.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win all 23 books.

https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/post/perfectly-mismatched-pog

Inerview with Nancy Brashear

Welcome to the blog, Nancy. Let’s get to know you.

I’m a Southern California gal who grew up in some pretty unusual settings and situations, one of which became the inspiration for Gunnysack Hell. Through life experience, I’ve learned two things (well, more than that!). The first is that God watches out for children. The second is not to judge others; they’re usually doing their best in the moment, and everyone has opportunities to grow into better versions of themselves. A little more about me? I’m living a pretty terrific life at the beach as a faith-filled wife and mother of grown children with seven grandgirls ranging in age from five to twelve. And the sunsets over Catalina Island are magnificent.

What’s the logline that describes your writing themes?

“The truth will set you free.” For example, in GH, one of my main characters struggles against a “big lie” fed to her by the perpetrator. If she can grasp the truth of the situation, she can free herself from silence, take action, and forgive herself. My writing usually includes a character who’s struggling with some kind of a “demon”—an untruth that’s keeping them captive to something.

Do you start with plot or characters first?

The characters usually find me and mull around in my subconscious for a while before they pop onto the page. I begin with the outside perimeter (the general story frame) before I assemble the smaller, interior scenes, which are character driven. It’s a little like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

During the final stages of editing, I morphed into an artistic conductor and orchestrated the visual feeling tone, lengths of paragraphs, and white spaces on the page. It was like I was using visual magic to create a book that would draw the reader’s eyes throughout it from beginning to end. I enjoyed this entirely different creative process after all the hard-core editing and line-by-line proofreading! (By the way, I took Linda Carroll-Bradd’s editing course, and it was very helpful in writing tighter and eliminating reader distractions in my text.)

What other genres do you write in?

I’ve published poetry (and won first place in a poetry contest recently!) as well as short stories in anthologies and stand-alones (a creepy, retold fairytale for grownups). I’ve written two unpublished adolescent novels (science fiction and time-slip fantasy), completed rough drafts of two contemporary adult novels, and have the beginning of another psychological thriller hiding in the wings. As a recently retired English and Education professor, I published in academic venues and designed content for educational publishers and websites. For the last several years, I’ve been reviewing new books for children and adolescents (International Literacy Association website).

What visual aids do you use when writing?

I love, love, love Pinterest! For almost every storyline, I have a separate board. Check out the one for GH (https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/writing-ideas-gunnysack-hell/) with 136 pins, which even includes actors I would cast in character roles. For “Dare to Wish Upon a Star,” the prequel short story to GH (download here: www.nancybrashear.com), I compiled a 1940s board on Victorian mansions, furniture, clothing, tub claws, etc. (https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/claires-story-gunnysack-hell/)

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope readers connect with my stories as “mirrors” that reflect their own experiences or “windows” that give them insights into the lives of others. Either way, I’d like them to come away from my writing with a renewed sense of compassion and hope for themselves and others.

BLURB

“There’s more to fear in the desert than scorpions and rattlesnakes.” It’s the summer of 1962, middle of the Cold War, and the O’Brien family has moved off-grid to the Mojave Desert in Southern California. After all, the desert has to be a safer place to raise a family than the crime-ridden city, and there they can build a new future. But evil also stalks dusty desert roads, and eight-year-old Nonni finds herself harboring a terrible secret: Only she can identify the predator who has been terrorizing the community. And he knows where she lives.

BUY LINKS

Barnes & Noble buy link: Nook and Paperback

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gunnysack-hell-nancy-brashear/1138547553

Amazon buy link: Kindle and Print

https://amzn.to/3pFfBpk

EXCERPT

I read this morning that Donald Fricker was granted parole after serving twenty years in prison. Once I saw his name in print, the decades disappeared in the flick of a newspaper page. My childhood flooded back to eight-year-old me, too scared to identify him and save my family.

It was May of 1962. My family had recently moved to our new home, our grandparents’ one-room homestead cabin in the California high desert with tarpaper and chicken-wire lining the walls. It never occurred to me to ask my father why we had moved from our three-bedroom suburban home by the beach to “off the grid.”

All I knew was that we used kerosene lanterns, the chemical outhouse under the tall water tank, a wood- burning stove, and an old-fashioned ice-box that our father replenished daily with a big block of ice from Jolly’s Corner.

Tessa, my six-year-old sister, and I walked home alone, every school day, from the bus stop, a mile and a half down an isolated dirt road.

That’s when it happened, the thing that changed our family. I’ll never forget that day. I protected Tessa even though I broke all of my promises to Mama I’d made just the night before. To walk directly home from the bus stop, not to talk to strangers, and to stay away from open wells.

That afternoon, when the bus’s hissing air brakes signaled our stop, we leapt from the bottom step onto the dirt shoulder of the road.

I picked the perfect stone from the side of the road. It had to be small and round, with no sharp edges, and light enough to kick all the way home.

Tessa followed on my heels, talking my ear off, and stepping on the heel of one of my tennies. “Gave you a flat!”

“Back off!” I glared at her. Mama said those shoes were like gold, and we were to protect them. I gave the rock a punt and forged ahead.

Oblivious to things going on out there in the desert, we were lulled into a sense of safety and routine. Like Eve, we didn’t feel the danger around us until it was too late to escape. Instead, I should have been paying attention to the truck following us slowly.

Down the deserted road.

Yes, this is our story.

My story.

 

REVIEW COMMENT

“I can’t recall the last time I was so impressed with someone’s writing style. It’s pure genius! Gunnysack Hell, told through the various family members’ point of view, takes the readers down a tunnel filled with mystery, thrills, and excitement. This masterpiece is not to be missed.”~L. C. Hayden, Award-winning and best-selling author, http://www.lchayden.com/

(The Harry Bronson Thriller Series, When Memory Fails as seen on NBC and ABC, and others)

Nancy Brashear lives in Orange County, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their rescue dog, Goldie, where her grown children and seven grandgirls have supported her writing adventures. A professor emeritus in English, she has published short stories, poems, academic articles, textbook chapters as well as website content and writing projects with educational publishers. Gunnysack Hell is her debut fiction novel and was inspired by a true-crime event. And, yes, she did live off-grid with her family in a homestead cabin in the Mojave Desert when she was a child. Visit www.nancybrashear.com to learn more.

WEB CONTACTS

Author website: www.nancybrashear.com

Author FB: www.facebook.com/nancybrashearauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nancybrashearauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/drnancybrashear

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nancy-brashear

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Brashear/e/B083JNZGPR%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/

 

Enter Nancy’s Free eCopy Giveaway Drawing of Gunnysack Hell at her blog (ends February 26) by leaving your name and choice of the version you’d like if you’re one of the three winners: Mobi (Kindle), ePub (Nook), or [scrolling] PDF! Winners will also be mailed a postcard of Gunnysack Hell.

(https://www.nancybrashear.com/february-drawing-for-free-e-copy-of-brashears-gunnysack-hell-ends-feb-26/.)

Also by Nancy Brashear – Ready or Not: A Creepy, Retold Fairytale for Grownups

https://amzn.to/3reLgOK

Guest Promotion–Mrs. Spinney’s Secret by M.S. Spencer

BLURB: Amity Landing is being invaded by Hollywood and Cassidy Beauvoir, chairman of the board of overseers, doesn’t like it. That is, until she meets Jasper MacEwan, the director of American Waterloo: the Rout of the Penobscot Expedition. Their budding romance is interrupted by a series of deadly incidents, sending them on a quest for long-lost English gold. Who will be the next victim? Can they find the treasure before the murderer does?

BUY LINKS

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/3JXWEA

https://books2read.com/MrsSpinneysSecret

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mrs-Spinneys-Secret-M-Spencer-ebook/dp/B08P886V99

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mrs-spinneys-secret-m-s-spencer/1138392573?ean=9781509234486

ITunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/mrs-spinneys-secret/id1543575824

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mrs-Spinney-s-Secret-Paperback/474281367

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mrs-spinney-s-secret

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/M_S_Spencer_Mrs_Spinney_s_Secret?id=kTsTEAAAQBAJ

EXCERPT

Nemo’s

“Speaking of, I think I deserve a raise for hazardous duty. Guess how I spent yesterday?”

“Has to be with the Red Hat ladies. Bunch of old coots in purple dresses who rampage through town harassing the inhabitants like a modern-day James gang. The one in charge accosted me the other day. Ripped me up and down for crossing against the light.” He shivered. “She’s terrifying.”

“That would be Edna Mae Quimby.” Cassidy suppressed a smile.

Sally turned to her. “Quimby, you say? It must be her husband I had to deal with then. The sheriff.”

Cassidy started. “Sheriff Quimby? What did he want with you?”

“He was asking about Rick Ahearn—the subcontractor who found the Spinney house for me. Evidently he’s dead.”

Cassidy thought of the news article Nellie had brought in. “That’s right. They found him a mile from Amity Landing. He was dressed in a sailor suit.”

“Yeah—pretty queer, huh? I didn’t have to ID him, thank God. Wouldn’t have been able to anyway—we only spoke on the phone. The hotel found my card in his room and gave it to Quimby. He wanted to know what my connection was to him. I told him I’d hired him to find sites for the filming, but that I hadn’t heard from him in days.” She blew her cheeks out. “Bit of a jolt to hear what happened to him.”

Jasper drained his beer. “Sailor suit, huh. So they think he fell off a boat and drowned?”

“That’s what they thought at first, but no.”

“No?”

“No. Sheriff told me he was found on this floating barge out in the water.” Sally jumped off her stool and plopped some bills on the bar. “Gotta go. You coming, Jasper?”

“Might stay for dinner.” He regarded Cassidy tentatively. “Fancy a bite to eat?”

She nodded, afraid to speak, afraid he’d see her pleasure at his invitation. She followed him out, but at the top of the stairs remembered her purse. She ran back. Pauline was standing behind the bar, a singular expression on her face. It might have been panic, but the fear was mixed with a hefty dose of sheer bafflement.

Librarian, anthropologist, Congressional aide, speechwriter—M. S. Spencer has traveled the globe. She has published fourteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

WEB CONTACTS

Blog: https://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/msspencerauthor

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/msspencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/msspencerauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/msspencerauthor/

Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-s-spencer

by author Linda Carroll-Bradd