Book Tour: The Unlikely Spy by Sophie Schiller – Genre: Spy Thriller/ Historical Romance @SophieSchiller @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books #HistoricalFiction

Welcome to the book tour for The Unlikely Spy by Sophie Schiller! Read on for more details!

The Unlikey Spy NEW 2022 Kindle

The Unlikely Spy

Publication Date: August 21st, 2022

Genre: Spy Thriller/ Historical Romance/ Historical Fiction

Casablanca meets Notorious in a Hitchcock-style thriller of espionage, romance, adventure, and intrigue.

1917. Emma Christensen is a young widow who returns to the Danish West Indies to reclaim the life and the villa she left behind. When she discovers her husband has disinherited her in favor of his young heir—an illegitimate son—she turns to the one thing she knows, gambling, and soon finds herself deeply in debt.

Emma is approached by Cornelius Smith, a representative of an American shipping line, who offers an alternative: infiltrate the suspicious Hamburg-American Line and spy on its nefarious leader, Julius Luckner, to gain valuable business intelligence for his firm.

It doesn’t take long for Emma to realize that both Smith and Luckner are not as they seem. Close to the Allies but even closer to the enemy, Emma bravely engages in missions that could blow her cover at any moment. But with the Panama Canal at stake, how far will she go to help the Allies?

A gripping and suspenseful World War I spy thriller from an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer.

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Excerpt

From the moment she left the telegraph office, Emma had an eerie feeling that someone was following her. It stayed with her all the way back to the hotel. She felt as if someone was watching her every move although she was quite certain she had slipped past the German in the lobby.

When she returned to her hotel, waited impatiently for Smith’s cable. She called down to the front desk numerous times to ask if any message had arrived for her, but the answer was always no. With no other recourse, she went to bed, tossing and turning half the night, fearing that something terrible had happened to Allendorf and now she was all alone. This was completely unexpected. For several agonizing hours she pondered what she should do, but couldn’t come up with a viable plan. The Germans were watching her every move. She was basically trapped in her hotel room, and Smith was counting on her to complete her mission. But no one could have foreseen such a reversal.

As the hours ticked by, she had an ominous feeling she couldn’t shake, that her life was hanging in the balance. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up and she had an unsettling feeling that would not quit.

When she could no longer tolerate her insomnia, she picked up the phone and ordered a chamomile tea from room service, hoping it would calm her jangling nerves. When the drink arrived, she splashed a bit of rum in it from her trusty flask. Yet she still had a nagging feeling that something was wrong.

Her eyes fell on her purse. It sat on the nightstand near her bed, just within her reach. She opened it, took out the pistol, and rehearsed priming it so she could use it in a tight spot. She needed to have the movements go like clockwork. There was no room for failure in this business. Luckily it only weighed two pounds. That made slipping it into her pocket easier. The magazine was already loaded with seven bullets. Seven chances to save her life. She gripped the pistol in her right hand and racked the slide, then added a bullet to the barrel. Now it was ready. She flicked the lever to “safe” and set the pistol down on the nightstand. Perhaps now she could sleep.

She lay down, pulled the sheet around her, and turned off the light. She closed her eyes and tried to relax, but she could not fall asleep.

Outside, the moon cast a luminous glow on the surroundings. Crickets croaked their nightly serenade and the stars lit up the heavens. The palm fronds billowed in the breeze. The waves crashing on the rocks sent an ominous warning. Emma found it difficult to sleep in a different bed, and impossible to relax when she had so much on her mind, so much responsibility on her shoulders.

She got up and peered outside. Despite the late hour, there were still people milling about, laughing and heading to restaurants and casinos. Horse carriages trotted past while motorcars meandered down the streets, their glowing lights like the eyes of a puma. Sounds of amusement echoed from the restaurant below. Lights shone from the ships in Manzanillo Bay, creating a scene that was idyllic, almost peaceful. Further out, she could see the lights on the ships waiting to enter the canal. There was a long line of them that suspended off to the horizon. Each one had its own purpose and destination. Each one could be sunk at any time by German torpedoes or hidden bombs. She shivered. An explosion along the canal would cause chaos for the Allies. The Kaiser would gloat in his victory. His generals and their underlings would launch even more attacks. Emma could picture Luckner in his office toasting his triumph, patting himself on the back even as the embers of the canal still glowed.

She went back to bed and covered herself with the sheet, trying to block out her worries. But it was impossible. She had a sense of impending doom. And for some strange reason, the hairs on the back of her neck stood up.

Suddenly she heard a scratching noise near her door. A man’s footsteps shuffled just outside. She froze and listened, not daring to move. Someone was fumbling with the lock, trying to break in. She sat up in bed, listening. She felt her heart stop. Yes, somebody was trying to break in.

She fumbled in the dark for her pistol. She grabbed it, flicked the safety to “fire” then eased herself off the bed. Crouching down on the floor, she listened as the noise continued ever so slightly that it was barely detectable. She sat behind the bed, aiming the pistol, not daring to breathe.

The latch turned and the door opened, allowing just enough light from the hallway to illuminate the figure of a man entering her room. When he was inside, he closed the door behind him and latched it. Her eyes widened. He tiptoed toward the bed and raised his hands as if to attack. Emma’s heart pounded as she released the pistol break and held her breath.

Available on Amazon!

About the Author

Sophie Schiller author photo 1

Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ. She is a novelist and a poet. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. Kirkus Reviews has called her “an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer.” Publishers Weekly called her novel, ISLAND ON FIRE, “a memorable romantic thriller”, her novel RACE TO TIBET, “a thrilling yarn,” and her TRANSFER DAY, “a page-turner with emotional resonance.” Her novel, THE LOST DIARY OF ALEXANDER HAMILTON, was called, “an engaging coming-of-age story of heartbreak, bravery, honor, and triumph” by Kirkus Reviews. She graduated from American University, Washington, DC and lives in New York.

Sophie Schiller | Facebook | Twitter

 

Book Tour Schedule

October 17th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@theenchantedshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/theenchantedshelf/

 @readingwithwrin (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/readingwithwrin/

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

October 18th

Book Reviews by Taylor (Review) https://www.bookreviewsbytaylor.com/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/themagicofworlds/

October 19th

@caffeinatedbibliophilia (Review) https://www.instagram.com/caffeinatedbibliophilia/

Stine Writing (Spotlight) https://christinebialczak.com/

Books Blog (Spotlight) www.booksblog.co.uk

Cocktails & Fairytales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

October 20th

Lisa Everyday Reads (Spotlight) https://lisaevrydayread.wordpress.com/

Bunny’s Reviews (Spotlight)  https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

  

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Book Tour: We Do What We Must by Richard Robbins – Genre: Historical Fiction/ Mafia @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Welcome to the tour for We Do What We Must, a gritty novel based on true events!

Must Final Cover

We Do What We Must

Publication Date: October 3rd, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Mafia (Based on True Events)

An immigrant Sicilian family triumphs over The Mafia in turn of the century New Orleans, just not in the way they’d planned.

This fictionalized tale recounts the story of the true life Giacona family, who emigrated from Sicily to New Orleans in the 1890s. They came to the US to escape the influence of The Mafia, only to be confronted by the same challenges in the New World.

Pietro and Corrado, father and son, do what they must to defend their family and business from the dreaded Black Hand, as well as powerful organized crime families. They proceed the only way they know how, through bravery, guile, and tough choices. Although committed to living as ‘Honest Italians,’ their choices lead them down a perilous path.

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Excerpt

Chapter 1 – New Orleans, 1908

Every detail had to be perfect, as if their lives depended upon it. On this night, it just might.

Corrado picked up the pieces of the final place setting, one by one, careful not to scratch the delicate surfaces of the fine silver-plated utensils, the ones brought out for just the most special occasions. He made sure to hold each piece with thumb and forefinger, by their necks, just the way he preferred.

“Here you go, Papa.” He handed the last one to his father, who did not look up from his task.

Corrado watched as his father, Pietro, laid each utensil carefully into place, in perfect formal order, straightening each one after the setting was complete. Always set from left to right, neatly centered, on perfectly folded white linen napkins.
He stood by as patiently as he could, until he could wait no more. “Okay, Papa, it looks good to me.”

When his father failed to reply, he called out, more urgently, “Papa, do you hear me, it’s fine.”

Pietro turned his large, melon shaped head, even larger appearing due to his oversized mustache and shock of unkempt salt and pepper hair. “It is not enough to be good, it must be perfect. We all make choices, and some choose to be good, and others to be perfect. It was my choosing to be perfect that created this business, made it thrive, and bought us this fine home. And I will not choose anything but perfection, especially on this day, which may be the most important day of our lives.”

Corrado suppressed a soft smile. The familiarity of his father’s words momentarily distracted him from thoughts of the evening’s negotiations, thoughts he played over and again while he tossed in bed at night. Distracted him from the fear and excitement, from the anticipation and uncertainty. From the magnitude of his plan, and the possibility of its failure.

He brought himself back into the moment, and addressed his father. “Papa, you speak of choices, and of making good choices.” He paused and twirled the edges of his thin, jet black mustache with his fingers. “But Papa, what if there are no good choices?”
Pietro stopped what he was doing and looked directly into Corrado’s eyes. “There are times when there are no good choices. That’s what happened to me in Palermo, and I made the most of it. Sometimes you don’t get to do what you’d like to do, or what you ought to do. Sometimes you do what you must.”

Corrado paused, signaling respect for his father’s words, then replied in his most considered tone. “Yes, Papa, I know, and we’re grateful for your courage and achievements. Now can you check on the Stigghiola while I go down to the cellar and bring up a case of wine.”

The corner of Pietro’s eyes crinkled as his face pulled itself into a broad smile. “Yes, son, that is indeed a good choice.”

Corrado turned and headed down the steep stairs, taking them two at a time, to the large dusty cellar where they stored their wares. He turned on the electric light, took a moment to admire the brilliant tungsten bulbs they’d just installed, and strolled down the aisles of dusty crates, some covered with fancy labels all in Italian, some with the simple markings of homemade raisin wine, looking for the perfect case.
It must be expensive looking, he thought, but not so expensive as to arouse suspicions. And high enough in alcohol content to achieve its intended effect.

Finally, he settled on a case of Valpolicella. Perfect. Dark, red, and rich tasting. And the highest alcohol content of all the wines.
He hoisted a full case onto his broad shoulder, closed his eyes to let the dust settle around him, headed up the stairs, and placed the case next to the dining room table.
“Papa, I put the wine in the dining room.” He took a moment to catch his breath. “They’ll be here soon, is everything ready?”

“There’s just one thing left,” Pietro replied from the kitchen, then set down the ladle he’d been using to stir the stew, walked into the living room, and opened the doors of the large wooden armoire across from the fireplace. He looked inside for a moment, leaning over and fumbling with some items, moving them from one side to the other, then reached down and picked up something with his right hand, and turned and headed silently back towards the kitchen.

As he passed, Corrado noticed the long, wooden handle of their Winchester repeating rifle in his father’s right hand. Pietro continued into the kitchen, placed the rifle carefully behind the half-opened door, and turned back towards his son.

“There. Now everything is perfect indeed.”

Available on Amazon

About the Author

RR Headshot 1 HD

Amazon Best Selling Author Richard Robbins’ novels explore important moral questions such as the price of fame, the nature of loss and redemption, and the meaning of life, through the lens of family dynamics.  He lives with his wife in New Orleans and New York City, near their adult children, and his work is infused with the flavor of those vibrant and unique cities.

Richard was named Louisiana Independent Author of the Year for 2020, and his works have won numerous awards, including Feathered Quill Book Awards and Readers’ Favorite Book Awards.

Richard Robbins

 

Book Tour Schedule

October 17th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Rambing Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

October 18th

Witchinglybookish (Review) https://www.instagram.com/witchinglybookish/

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

Timeless Romance Blog (Spotlight) https://aubreywynne.com

October 19th

@caffeinatedbibliophilia (Review) https://www.instagram.com/caffeinatedbibliophilia

Sadie’s Spotlight (Spotlight) http://sadiesspotlight.com/

Books Blog (Spotlight) https://www.booksblog.co.uk/

October 20th

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

Books + Coffee = Happiness (Spotlight) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@fle_d (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/fle_d

October 21st

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

@amber.bunch_author (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

 

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Book Tour & Giveaway: The Pain Eater (A Sadie Reed Story) by LaShane Arnett – Genre: Paranormal Thriller @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

We’re thrilled to share The Pain Eater: A Sadie Reed Story with you all today! Read on for more details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

NewCover

The Pain Eater: A Sadie Reed Story

Publication Date: March 2020

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

For most people, discovering the truth of who you are can be a harrowing journey, but when you’re 21-year-old Sadie Reed, discovering your truth can be downright deadly.

After her twenty-first birthday, Sadie has an undeniable vision and learns she’s psychic. She uses her gift to reconnect with her estranged father and spirals down an emotional rabbit hole…

When she has a vision of missing woman, Maxine Powell, being brutally murdered, she learns true evil does exist– and it’s killing gifted women just like her.

With the help of her best friend, Adrian, whom she is falling in love with, and Angel, an old dying Psychic, Sadie embarks on a journey to find the missing woman and quickly learns the path to her full potential lies within death.

Will it be hers, or someone she cares about?

The Pain Eater uniquely touches on the lasting pain associated with loss, the power within true love, and the strength of family.

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Excerpt

Morgan, the mentalist, sat at the next table. He was handsome, thin and very polished in his dark designer suit. He had olive skin, short black hair, and huge pitch black eyes that stared right through you—observed you with dark amusement. He smiled as I approached and spoke directly in my head. ‘Don’t believe a word she says. If anything, she’s the Queen of Lying. She got her boobs done in Mexico ten years ago. But don’t tell her I told you.’ He said with an uncanny smile.

‘I won’t.’  Like a marionette, I was manipulated by an invisible force—drawn to the chair across from him. I sat down with a plop, my arms resting limp on my thighs. I wanted to get up and leave, but I couldn’t move. I was forced to have somewhat of a conversation without speaking.

I’d never really wondered how thoughts could be heard within the mind. Most people don’t because it’s second nature. Everyone thinks. Everyone talks to themselves. Everyone has a thinking voice that is distinctly theirs; they know it when they hear it. Whether it’s encouraging, or it’s criticizing, it’s your own voice.

But there’s a strangeness to hearing someone else talk in your head. It’s different from reading minds. When you’re reading minds, it’s as though someone is on the phone talking and you’re listening in on the other end. You’re removed from the words and the feeling behind them. When someone talks in your head, you hear their voice clearly, as though it’s coming through headphones or they’re right next to you talking into your ear. And they can be anywhere, across the table, or in the next room. Their words are spoken to you, for you.

The first time I experienced it, I was on my way to meet Angel. She had a calming way about her, so her voice in my head didn’t feel like an intrusion. Morgan was different. He had an imperiousness to his skills of telepathy that made me feel violated. It may have been because he caught me off guard, but it felt like he was dissecting me, stripping my power, rather than getting to know me. He was very strange.

‘Angel talked to us about you. Did you know?’ He had a plate full of chili peppers in front of him. He rolled them under his hand—slowly, back and forth. He was talking to me and walking around in my mind at the same time. I don’t know what he was looking for, but I was blocking him. It was making me weak.

No,’ I answered. I got one arm on the table. I was proud that I accomplished that while still keeping him from wandering in my head.

She said that you were a novice but very powerful.’

I pushed him back as hard as I could.

‘Angel saw more than I—’

‘Your telepathy is very good.’  He interrupted, not interested in what I had to say.

‘What other abilities do you have?’

‘Well….’

Lupita appeared, “M’hija, ven, the show.

The invisible force that anchored me vanished. I clumsily rose from the chair.

“Excuse me… Morgan.”

Lupita grabbed my arm, turned and hissed at him, “Sanguijuela.” She said with disgust.

He laughed and bit into a chili.

“What was that?” I asked. My strength had returned. She gave me a one-word answer. “Leech!”

Available for Purchase HERE!

About the Author

Author Pic

LaShane Arnett is an African American poet and author living in Southern California with her husband of thirty+ years. She is the creator of Arnett Publications and the author of The Sadie Reed Series. The first book in the series, The Pain Eater, is highly recommended for anyone who loves Paranormal Thrillers.

LaShane Arnett | Instagram | Facebook | TikTok

For a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-gift card, click the link below!

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Book Tour Schedule

October 10th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@bookish_elise (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bookish_elise/

@caffeinatedbibliophilia (Review) https://www.instagram.com/caffeinatedbibliophilia/

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Breakeven Books (Spotlight)  https://breakevenbooks.com

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

October 11th

@amanda_coffee_books (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amanda_coffee_books/

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

October 12th

@amber.bunch_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

@margiebythebookcase (Review) https://www.instagram.com/margiebythebookcase/

@mysticforestcrafts (Review) https://www.instagram.com/mysticforestcrafts/

@accio_mischief (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/accio_mischief/

October 13th

@all.you.read.is.love (Review) https://www.instagram.com/all.you.read.is.love/

@bookqueenbee (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bookqueenbee/

@itsabookthing2021 (Review) http://www.instagram.com/itsabookthing2021

@wendyreadsforfun (Review) https://www.instagram.com/wendyreadsforfun/

October 14th

Kam’s Place (Review) https://www.superkambrook.com

@thrillersandcoffee (Review) https://www.instagram.com/thrillersandcoffee/

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf/

Book Reviews by Taylor (Spotlight) https://www.bookreviewsbytaylor.com/

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Book Tour & Giveaway: Closer to Okay by Amy Watson – Genre: Book Club Fiction @AlcovePress @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Welcome to the book tour for Closer to Okay by Amy Watson! Read on for more info and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy and some fantastic book swag!

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Closer to Okay

Publication Date: October 11, 2022

Genre: Book Club Fiction/ Modern Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Alcove Press

Book Tour Schedule

October 10th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

@wendyreadsforfun (Review) https://www.instagram.com/wendyreadsforfun/

@calmstitchread (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/calmstitchread/

@accio_mischief (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/accio_mischief/

October 11th

@all.you.read.is.love (Review) https://www.instagram.com/all.you.read.is.love/

Kam’s Place (Review) https://www.superkambrook.com/

@my.bookish.mind (Review) https://www.instagram.com/My.bookish.mind/

Bookish Trisha (Review) https://www.bookishtrisha.com/

@bookish_trisha – https://www.instagram.com/bookish_trisha/

@amber.bunch_author (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

October 12th

@ems_literarycorner (Review) https://www.instagram.com/ems_literarycorner/

Timeless Romance Blog (Spotlight) https://aubreywynne.com/

The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

@the.robin.joyce (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the.robin.joyce/

Cocktails & Fairytales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

October 13th

@booktreasuresau (Review) https://www.instagram.com/booktreasuresau/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

@sarahlillianbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/sarahlillianbooks/

@wolfesbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/wolfesbooks/

@hooksbooksncoffee (Review) https://www.instagram.com/hooksbooksncoffee/

October 14th

@bookish_elise (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bookish_elise/

Riss Reviews (Review) https://rissreviewsx.wixsite.com/website

@fariha_binte_islam (Review) https://www.instagram.com/fariha_binte_islam/

@bookqueenbee (Review) https://www.instagram.com/bookqueenbee/

@caffeinatedbibliophilia (Review) https://www.instagram.com/caffeinatedbibliophilia

Book Reviews by Taylor (Review) https://www.bookreviewsbytaylor.com/

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Book Tour & Giveaway: The Abdication by Justin Newland – Genre: Fantasy/ Supernatural @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #MatadorBooks #BookTour

 

Welcome to the book tour for fantasy novel The Abdication by Justin Newland! Read on for more info and enter the giveaway at the end! You could win a signed copy!

The Abdication - Final flattened. Front cover (titles)

The Abdication 

Publication Date: July 4th, 2021

Genre: Fantasy/ Supernatural

Publisher: Matador

The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity. They built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.

Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo. Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!

The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.

Excerpt

Tula’s swollen ankle ached as she trudged up the mountain. It had moaned incessantly, ever since she had left her home in the city before embarking on this journey. Then again, it had always hurt. Perhaps since birth: she could never remember that far back. She had complained to her parents, who could not afford to get it seen by the doctor.

A gust of wind whipped up particles of sand which spiralled in the fractious air ahead of her. She squinted and pulled her keffiyeh up to cover her nose. At this altitude, the air was a thin gruel, offering paltry nourishment. Her gut was rumbling, but that was nothing new. She had walked uphill all afternoon from Seliga in the valley below and now she was gasping for breath. Her backpack seemed to weigh as much as that boulder up ahead. A vulture circled effortlessly in the azure blue sky. There was another one above the next valley, griffon vultures searching for prey; so long as they left her alone.

Wisps of straw-coloured grass sprouted beside the graves of an unkempt cemetery. The top of the surrounding low stone wall was speckled with reddish spots, like splashes of copper rain. A few of the gravestones had fallen over and kissed the parched earth. This was the summit of a mountain and even the grand old yew trees huddled in one side of the cemetery were bending to the east, bowing to the omnipotent goddess of the winds in her distant unseen shrine.

Between the cemetery and the town lay a vibrant carpet of blue thorns; large cones of tiny blue flowers surrounded by a spiky, electric-blue collar.

Up ahead were the town walls, shimmering in the waves of heat rising from the scorched land. Finally, her journey’s end was in sight. On the side of the road just outside the town’s South Gate was the Welcome Boulder. It towered above her, which was not that difficult because in the city she was constantly mocked as the shortest amongst her peers. Most of the boulder was coated in that brownish-red dust. Towards the top of it was the immortal sign that declared the town’s identity:

Welcome to Topeth.

The First Free Town and

‘The Top’ Town of all.

Long before her arrival, her parents and teachers had fired her imagination with their stories about Topeth. As the sign proudly declared, it was once ‘The Top’ town, not only because it was perched precariously on the highest mountain in the range, but also because it was the living exemplar of humanity’s stumbling progress. Many years before, that epic story had featured Herman, the First Man. It told how he had ushered in a brilliant new freedom for mankind – hence the First Free Town. Yet, after that early spring advance, there was now a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.

Many people asked whether their forefathers had used that freedom wisely. Some answered with a resounding ‘Yes’, but Tula had doubts. That was why she was in Topeth; to find out for herself.

On either side of the entrance road was a row of tall, spiky cacti, standing like pale, bloated fish out of water.

To the west of the town was a large area of open ground. Huge scars pitted the land which was dotted with peaked mounds of reddened earth. A gnarled ghost haunted the land. Crouched amidst its shadow lands were rickety sheds and wooden shacks, all dowsed in the same brown-red dust. Even the town’s walls were tainted in the same hue. This was the infamous Topeth open cast copper mine.

In these dangerous times, many towns shut their gates well before sundown. Thankfully, the main gates to Topeth were still open.

An old man sat cross-legged with his back against one of the gate posts, whittling a long, rod-like piece of wood and chewing on a wedge of tobacco. What an obnoxious substance. Yellow pouting lips glared at her from within a grey, untended beard. On his head, he wore a scruffy, black and white chequered keffiyeh.

“Who’s there?” He completed the question by spitting prodigiously onto the earth.

“Me, I’m Tula. And you are?”

“Can’t you see I’m blind or are you as well?” The man was gruff. He faced her. Empty sockets peered into the void.

“No, I mean yes. I’m sorry, I didn’t notice. I’m exhausted. It’s been a long day.”

“Don’t recognise your voice. You new here?”

“Yes, sir. I’ve just arrived.”

“Got your pass?”

A blind man was asking her for a pass to travel. That she had not expected. She pulled out a wrinkled piece of paper from her knapsack and hesitated, not knowing what to do with it.

“Give it here,” he demanded. “I may be blind, but do you think I can’t see right through you?”

“No, sir. I’m sure you can. It’s just that…” She gave him the travel permit.

He held it to his cheek. He rubbed it first against his left cheek, then against his right, and nodded to himself, as if reading its contents with inner eyes. She gazed at him wide-eyed.

He handed it back to her. “Go on. All in order here.”

“What did you just do?”

“When I hold something against my cheeks, I get pictures in my mind.”

“I never knew that was even possible. What did you see?”

“I saw a fair-haired young woman with blue eyes, sparkling like rays of sunlight dancing on a flowing river. I saw a smile that warms the day, a pretty face. Your fringe and pale skin and freckles will drive the young men crazy.”

“That’s kind of you to say,” she said, failing to hide a blush. “May I ask you something?”

“Carry on. You’re good at asking questions.”

No one was going to intimidate her. No one.

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About the Author

J21A3490

Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

Justin Newland

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Book Tour & Giveaway: Autumn of the Grimoire by J.L. Vampa – Genre: Dark Fantasy/ Adult Fantasy/ Gothic Fantasy @VampaJl @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #AOTG

We are celebrating the official release of the highly anticipated novel by J.L. Vampa, Autumn of the Grimoire and we’re thrilled to be part of the launch! Read on for more details and a chance to win a fantastic giveaway!

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Autumn of the Grimoire (Sisters Solstice Series #1)

Expected Publication Date: September 22, 2022

Genre: Gothic Fantasy/ Dark Fantasy Romance

Publisher: Phantom House Press

Some witches cast spells. Others slay kings.

A mysterious Grimoire. A marriage full of dark secrets. A History sculpted by a quartet of ancient Sister witches.

For three hundred years, Sister Autumn has incited wars, burnt villages, killed kings, and released plagues at the bidding of the Grimoire. Meanwhile, her Sister Winter, Sister Spring, and Sister Summer have brought forth only peace.

When an Order from the Grimoire sends Agatha to the Kingdom of Merveille, she already anticipates the worst. Unless she wants to face the wrath of the Goddess, Agatha must keep her head down and do as she’s commanded.

But when the Grimoire Orders her to marry a pompous prince and play the role of a peasant “accepted” by vicious aristocrats, she finds herself at the center of a war between the classes and an age-old prophecy.

Within the court, many players harbor dark secrets—including her new husband. With her newfound influence, Agatha joins forces with the city’s Blacklisted in order to blur the lines between the common man and the elite, unravel the mysteries in her marriage, and decide once and for all if she will defy the Grimoire and face the brutal consequences.

As secrets unfold, will Agatha continue to slay on behalf of the Grimoire, or forge an uncharted History with her unlikely allies?

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Teaser

The gargantuan doors closed with an ominous clank and Prince Thackery stalked toward her, stopping only a stride away. “How dare you stand there and deign to say nothing?” he ground out.

Her nerves bent a knee to her fury at his unexpected outburst. Agatha let a spiteful smile adorn her lips. “And what would you have me do, then? Throw myself at your feet and argue that I am worthy to be your bride?” Surprise flashed across the prince’s face at her gall, but he swiftly shoved it away. She swung an arm out wide. “Or would you have me faint upon the chaise because of my utter fortune to be your betrothed?” She took a step closer to him. “Because I will do neither of those things.”

His lip curled. “A bit bold for a peasant, aren’t we?” Agatha cursed her cheeks for heating. Perhaps she was a fool not to play the part of a meek little mouse, but she couldn’t stop the storm of rage bubbling up inside of her. “I do not wish to marry you any more than you wish to marry me.” A muscle in the prince’s jaw flexed. “Then help me fight this madness! Deny the proposal that has been asked without my will.” Agatha snickered. “And risk the loss of my head at the hands of our darling Crown?” She crossed her arms at her chest, matching the prince’s stance. “I think not.”

©JL VAMPA

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About the Author

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J.L. Vampa’s four-book New Adult Fantasy series, SISTERS SOLSTICE, will begin on September 22, 2022. Jane Lenore (J.L.) Vampa is a published author of Dark Fantasy and Victorian Gothic fiction. J.L. also owns a macabre-style bookish shop, Wicked Whimsy Boutique. She lives in Texas with her musician husband and their two littles who are just as peculiar as they are.

JL Vampa |  Instagram | Twitter | Wicked Whimsy Boutique

 

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