Book Tour Sign Up: Rain City Lights by Marissa Harrison (Nov 22 -26) Genre: New Adult/ NA Mystery @marissa_hrrsn @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

Hey Guys!

I’m organizing a tour for an NA mystery called Rain City Lights by Marissa Harrison. The tour will run from November 22nd to the 26th and I am looking for hosts! Reviews will take priority but there will be room for spotlights etc… Review copies are available in print for US readers, and digital for international readers. 

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Rain City Lights

Publication Date: February 2021

Genre: NA/ NA Mystery

Coming of age and mystery blend in this stark, yet atmospheric tale of love and loss. A young woman is pushed onto the streets where she learns the harsh realities of what it means to survive, to serve justice, and to fight for the man she loves. As they navigate their way through Seattle’s Underground, Monti & Sasha will break and warm your heart!

In the summer of 1981, a serial killer preys on black, teenage prostitutes working Seattle’s arterial highways. But the eyes of youth are blind to danger, and Montgomery “Monti” Jackson is distracted by her own problems. She’ll be starting high school soon, and the return of her mother’s boyfriend heightens the tension in her fractured household.

To add to her worries, Monti fears she may be in love with her best friend Sasha. But as close as they’d once been, now they couldn’t feel further apart. Sasha is a burnout punk rocker, and has befriended the neighborhood drug dealer. And when an eviction notice is posted on Monti’s door, a strange dynamic forms between them.

One night, an altercation leaves her family penniless. So Monti turns to the very streets where a killer stalks and ensnares young women, beginning her journey towards understanding one, simple truth – sometimes your only choices in life are to love and survive.

Rain City Lights is a gritty, urban love story that explores how poverty, addiction and abuse is passed from one generation to the next.

Trigger Warnings: Adult content and some violence

Goodreads

About the Author

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Marissa Harrison is the author of her debut novel, Rain City Lights. She began her career by reading as many books as she could get her hands on, and would fondly wander the aisles of her neighborhood Target to pick the hottest reads for her enjoyment and education. She caught the bus from her job in Downtown Seattle to take classes and workshops offered around the city, and eventually completed her first novel during the early morning hours while watching the trains roll by from her apartment window. She is an avid reader of mysteries, true crime, and heart wrenching love stories, and explores these themes in her own writing.

In her spare time Marissa enjoys running, hiking, dramatic miniseries’ and a great glass of wine. She lives in Seattle with her husband and four guinea pigs.  

Marissa Harrison | Twitter | Instagram

 

Book Tour & Giveaway: The Cuts that Cure by Arthur Herbert @HerbertWriter @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #Books

Welcome to the tour for chilling new thriller, The Cuts that Cure by Arthur Herbert! Read on for an excerpt and a chance to win a signed edition of the book!

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The Cuts that Cure

Publication Date: May 11th, 2021

Genre: Dark Suspense/ Inverted Mystery

Publisher: White Bird Publishing

Alex Brantley is a disgraced surgeon whose desperation to start a new life outside of medicine leads him to settle in a sleepy Texas town close to the Mexican border, a town that has a dark side. Its secrets and his own past catch up with him as traits he thought he’d buried in the deserts on the frontiers of the border rise up again to haunt him.

To the citizens of Three Rivers, Henry Wallis appears to be a normal Texas teenager: a lean, quiet kid from a good family whose life seems to center around his first girlfriend and Friday night football. That Henry is a cultivated illusion, however, a disguise he wears to conceal his demons. Both meticulous and brutally cruel, he manages to hide his sadistic indulgences from the world. But with that success, his impulses grow stronger until one day when a vagrant is found murdered.

When Alex’s and Henry’s paths cross, a domino effect is created leading to mangled lives and chilling choices made in the shadows along la frontera, where everything is negotiable.

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Excerpt

          After fifteen minutes in the car, the pounding rain didn’t show any signs of letting up. Lozano sighed and hit pause. He found his glasses, zipped up the yellow rain slicker with SAPD stenciled on the back in large black letters and flipped up the hood. Swapping his loafers for rubber boots, he steeled himself before popping the car door enough to quickly open an umbrella and walked out into the pelting rain.

          He legged it around an ambulance parked in the spot closest to the trailhead, and as the backs of his thighs became damp he broke into a trot, headed in the direction of a small pavilion covering a single picnic table. Once under the pavilion, Lozano had just collapsed his umbrella when a Parks Department vehicle drove by too fast, throwing a wall of spray on him.

          A gangly young man with shaggy blonde hair that stuck to his cheeks like a Centurion’s helmet sat before him on the picnic table. His soul patch wicked water down his chin, and his gray Parks Department uniform—open to his navel and framing a puka necklace—now clung to his torso like he’d stepped out of the shower. He was shivering despite the warmth of the rain.

          The downpour thrummed on the pavilion’s tin roof, amplified so that Lozano had to raise his voice. “Morning, sir. I’m Detective Lozano. You the man who called this in?”

          A forlorn, “Yeah.”

          “Your name?”

          “Mitchell. Mitchell Gansereit.”

          “Mr. Gansereit, can you tell me what happened? Start from the beginning.”

          “Me and Colin McPherson was detailed to pick up some trash out of the crick that runs through the back side of the park. We knew it was ’posed to rain today so we wanted to hurry up and get to it so’s we didn’t get soaked.

          “We was at it for couple’a hours and was getting close to done when a man come up to us while we was working back there. He said he was jogging on the other side of the park over where all them cedars is and that he come up on a smell that was somethin’ awful, like somethin’ died.”

          “Did you get that man’s name?” Lozano asked, interrupting the man’s story.

          “No, he just took off jogging again. Me and Colin didn’t think much of it, lotta deer back in here, we figured one had died.

          “Anyway, I told Colin I’d go check it out, mostly just so’s I wouldn’t have to carry the bags of trash back out to the truck.

          “I went back up in them cedars and right off I could smell what the fella was talking ’bout. Smelled like Bigfoot took a shit on a pile of rotten eggs. I followed to where it was getting stronger, kept thinking I’d come up on a carcass, you know?”

          Lozano nodded.

          “Smell took me up to a blue tent about a hunnert feet off the trail. Once I figured out the smell’s comin’ from there, that’s when I started getting a bad feeling. Little sick to my stomach, not just from the smell. There’s ’bout a dozen homeless guys more or less live up in here full time. Generally, they don’t do no harm to nobody so’s we mostly don’t bother ’em. Figger live an’ let live.

          “So I come sidling up to that tent, calling out, like. ‘Hello? Anybody home? Knock, knock’, like that. But I didn’t get no answer. Man, I didn’t wanna go look up under that tarp for nothing.”

          His speech had been rapid to that point, but it slowed and he looked down between his feet where they rested on the table’s wooden bench, as though trying to read the graffiti carved there.

          He cleared his throat then continued, “Finally, though I decided it was time to nut up. I come ’round the back of the tent and looked inside.

          “Sir, if I close my eyes right now, I can see it perfect, just like I’m sittin’ here looking at you. I seen this fella, laying on his side, knees pulled up, hands folded under his head like this”—Mitchell demonstrated, pantomiming sleep—“like he was sleeping or something. I called out loud to him, ‘Hey! Wakey wakey!’ You know? But he didn’t move a muscle. Smell by then was so bad I had to pinch my nose and try just to breathe through my mouth, but that smell was so goddam strong I could taste it. It was like burning up in my eyes, my nose, all sick-sweet.”

          Here he gave another shiver, closed his eyes and shook his head.

          “I went to give him a shake, but when I took aholt of his leg, it was reeeeal cold. Then when I tried to turn him over onto his back, at first he wouldn’t budge, not an inch. Just stiff as a board. Finally, I just pulled hard on his leg and his whole body come up, but still without bending his arms an’ legs. They was frozen in place, just sticking out in the air like they was one a’ them dummies you see in a store window.

          “That’s when I seen his face and hands was all purple and green and puffed up, like somebody’d blowed him up all full of air or something.

          “But sir, it’s the last part that’ll haunt me for the rest of my days. God as my witness, it was somethin’ I’ll take with me t’ my grave.

          “When he come up off the ground, his mouth was open just a little bit, and dear sweet baby Jesus I heard him make this long moan sound, like he was in pain, and for a half a second I thought he was gonna open his eyes wide and reach out to grab me, gonna grab me and hug me to him.

          “Lord help me, I went ass over tea kettle backwards. I just remember gettin’ tangled up on that rope and that plastic and then runnin’ like the devil hisself was after me. Ran all the way back to the truck.”

          Now his voice cracked. He reached into his shirt pocket and took out a pack of cigarettes, hands trembling. He tapped one out and put it to his lips, but his fingers shook so badly he had difficulty lighting it.

          He took a long drag and restlessly bounced his leg. “Colin wasn’t no help. I asked him, hell, begged him to call it in. Chickenshit asshole kept saying that going to check out dead bodies ain’t in his job description. The son of a bitch.”

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobel

About the Author

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Arthur Herbert was born and raised in small town Texas. He worked on offshore oil rigs, as a bartender, a landscaper at a trailer park, and as a social worker before going to medical school. He chose to do a residency in general surgery, followed by a fellowship in critical care and trauma surgery. For the last seventeen years, he’s worked as a trauma and burn surgeon, operating on all ages of injured patients. He continues to run a thriving practice.

His debut novel, The Cuts that Cure, will be released by White Bird Publishing in Austin Texas on May 11th, 2021. He’s begun work on his second novel, a mystery with the working title Strutting Through the Storm.

Arthur currently lives in New Orleans, with his wife Amy and their dogs. He loves hearing from his readers, so don’t hesitate to email him at arthur@arthurherbertwriter.com

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Book Tour Schedule

May 17th

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

Books, Rambling, and Teas (Spotlight) https://booksramblingsandtea.com/

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

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

May 18th

Horror Tree (Guest Post) https://www.horrortree.com

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

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

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

Musings of a Final Girl (Review) https://musingsofafinalgirl.wordpress.com/

May 19th

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com/

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

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

Meli’s Book Reviews (Review) https://melisbokreviews.wordpress.com/

May 20th

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

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

@isbn_reading (spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/isbn_reading/

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

May 21st

@amysbooknook8 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amysbooknook8/

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

@addictedtobooks86 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/addictedtobooks86/

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

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Publication Day: Weathering Old Souls by Didi Oviatt & James J. Cudney @jamescudney4 @Didi_Oviatt @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #WeatheringOldSouls

Congratulations to Didi Oviatt and James J. Cudney on the release of their novel, Weathering Old Souls!

Read on for details, an exclusive excerpt and a week full of fantastic giveaways!

Release Week Giveaways!

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $40 Psychic Services
  • 1 eBook of Weathering Old Souls
  • 1 physical book of Weathering Old Souls (US Only)

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Weathering Old Souls

Publication Date: May 15th, 2021 🎉🎉🎉

Genre: Contemporary Fiction with historical interludes, metaphysical elements, past life regression, suspense & mystery.

Publisher: Next Chapter

Abigail has always struggled with strange voices appearing inside her head. From the relentless tyranny a woman faces on an antebellum plantation to the unknown prison camps in America during World War II, our heroine discovers the past in a way that forever changes her future. There are moments from previous periods that serve as guiding posts for the country’s growth, but they also mark the transitions for Abigail’s own personal history. Her best friend, Margaret, partners with Abigail to discover the identity of these voices while focusing on her passion and quest to become a United States senator. Through it all, a serial killer torments the country, romance blossoms between some of the people they meet during the journey, and secrets long thought buried come to light in devastating ways. With the twisting of elements, numerical alignments, and the trauma of spiritual entanglements, no one will be the same… and just a few might not even be around anymore.

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Excerpt

One morning as winter should’ve been transitioning into spring, an eight-year-old Abigail awakens with a piercing scream. She bolts upright and snails herself to the edge of her bed, placing a heavy hand on her chest to help steady herself and catch her breath. Her body twinges as though she’s fallen down a flight of stairs or been slammed by a double-decker trolley. The agony starts in the muscles behind her shoulder blade. From there it feels like a rocket exploded, escaping through her chest, leaving only traces of burning gases to snake their way through the rest of her fragile body. She coughs violently as her system tries to rid itself of unknown toxins.

The bedroom is dark and frigid because the pipes broke the previous day and her father was too busy sleeping off a hangover to call a contractor to fix them. Oliver has no mechanical knowledge or experience with home repair, but he tells Abigail that the Stauntons will address the issue since their heating system has also experienced problems with the winter storms that year. It’s been an unpredictable season, much more so than the usual winter in South Carolina. Some days Abigail has played outside all afternoon, hardly catching a chill. Others she wakes to a beautifully ominous layer of frost clinging to every blade of yellow grass as if its very life depends on it. 

A thin glint of light pushes through the crack between the bottom of the broken shade and the splintered windowsill. Abigail watches as the sparkly dust settles on the foot of her bed and shines brightly. It reminds her of the quartz necklace dangling on the neck of the woman in her scary dream. It was gorgeous and made the woman feel safe and comforted as it has in every dream where it made an appearance. Abigail’s told Margaret about the necklace many times, wishing she could hop out of bed today and do it again. It’s only been two months since she saw Margaret, but missing her is more than just a faint feeling. It’s soul crushing. She aches for Margaret’s companionship like any other child would her own sibling who’s grown up and gone on without her. 

In her nightmare, Abigail was stuck inside the body of an old lady running through a field, sweat pouring from her head down the curves of her hollowed and withdrawn cheeks. It was pitch black, and there were trees all around her, the wind shaking the branches such that they whispered secret directions in an unknown language. They resembled monsters with claw-like arms and vicious teeth, ready to bite her flailing limbs. Someone had been chasing her, but Abigail never saw the figure’s face.

Confusion rocks her body. Part of her is the small innocent child who wants to scream for Elizabeth, but a stronger piece of her feels much older, more mature, as if she’s lived for decades, maybe even centuries. She shakes through the aftermath of terror, unable to make sense of what happened in her sleep. All she knows is that it was horrific and made her fear something awful was destined to happen. Abigail wonders if her nightmares relate to the bits of conversation she’s overheard between Elizabeth and Bradford in the past. Elizabeth once said something about a killer coming after them again, but they’d ultimately agreed they were much safer now.

After deliberating with Imaginary May for a few moments, Abigail announces, “I can handle this on my own. I am a big girl. Margaret’s gone, but she taught me to be strong.”

She cuddles the teddy bear that Elizabeth gifted her last month for Valentine’s Day. Elizabeth had always bought one for Margaret when she was a child, the kind of mother and daughter tradition that Abigail has always yearned for. This is the first year that Margaret has been away for Spring Break during Valentine’s Day. Elizabeth missed her daughter immensely, so she purchased two identical teddy bears at the local toy store. One for Margaret, who would be home on Spring Break soon, and one for her favorite little neighbor and second daughter.

With a heavy sigh, Abigail stretches her arms above her head, extends her legs, and spreads her toes apart. Then she drops her chin to her chest, before rolling her head around in big circles. Four times each direction, one for every major element. She studied them in school that year. With each round of her neck, Abigail breathes in and counts to ten, then she lets out the air and reminds herself of everything she has to be grateful for. Margaret once taught her this morning routine, to help her ease the body tremors brought about by a nightmare, as the last doctor she saw refused to give any pain medication or advice. The stretching and breathing exercises help, and her pains slowly evaporate like a faint mist over a swamp.

An oblong mirror that’s mounted to the wall across from her window offers Abigail a dust-clouded view of her messy hair as it knots and sticks out in every direction, along with her worn-out unicorn covered nightgown. She chuckles at the sight of herself, and the last of her anxiety and spasms disappear. She imagines the body aches to have a color, a dull shade of lilac, as they lift in a swirling pattern like hazy smoke and exit out of the beam of light coming through the window.

“Stay away, you filthy bloke,” she chastises the imaginary swirl of colorful pain. 

Available on Amazon

Weathering Old Souls

About the Author: Didi Oviatt

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Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search for Maylee, Justice for Belle, Aggravated Momentum, and Sketch, along with multiple short story collections. She’s collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology, The Suspenseful Collection. Most recently, she published her first romance novella titled Skinny Dippin’ which was originally released as a part of the highly appraised Anthology, Sinners and Saints. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and sun-bathing in the desert heat play an important part of her day to day lifestyle.

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About the Author: James J. Cudney

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James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, mind, and body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels, and suspense thrillers. I conjure characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies, or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read two books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review, and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Blogger & Thinker

I have combined my passions into a single platform where I share reviews, write a blog and publish tons of content: TRUTH. I started my 365 Daily Challenge, where I post about a word that has some meaning to me and converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have had weekly segments called “Ryder’s Rants” or “Baxter’s Barks,” where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real. And that’s why they are me.

Genealogist & Researcher

I love history and research, finding myself often reaching back into the past to understand why someone made the choice he or she did and what were the subsequent consequences. I enjoy studying the activities and culture from hundreds of years ago to trace the roots and find the puzzle of my own history. I wish I could watch my ancestors from a secret place to learn how they interacted with others; and maybe I’ll comprehend why I do things the way I do.

James J. Cudney | BlogAmazon | Next Chapter |BookBub | Twitter | FacebookBraxton Campus Mysteries FB

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Book Blitz: Weasel Words (Bernard and Melody Capers Book 1) by Dale E. Lehman @lehket @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours

Today we’re celebrating the release of crime caper, Weasel Words by Dale E. Lehman, with an exclusive excerpt and a chance to win a print copy of the book!

Weasel 2Weasel Words (Bernard and Melody Capers Book 1)

Expected Publication Date: February 15th, 2021

Genre: Humor/ Crime Fiction

Between them, Bernard and Melody Earls have looks, charm, brains . . . everything but money. That’s why they steal from the rich and give to themselves. So when Alexander Hamilton Plaskett hires them to nick a silver statuette of a pine marten from his brother Paul Revere Plaskett, they’re happy to oblige. But it won’t be as easy as it looks. For one thing, the little beast is guarded by Fitzroy Fortresses, the best security system money can buy. For another, the five Plaskett siblings are obnoxious buffoons. Still, a job is a job, and this one may offer more than it appears.

At least, that’s Bernard’s theory. The pine marten isn’t particularly valuable, so why do the Plasketts contest its ownership so fiercely? To find out, he and Melody insinuate themselves into the Plasketts’ world and enlist a college geek to hack the unhackable Fitzroy system. Failure means poverty. Discovery means prison. And the biggest obstacle to Bernard’s brilliant schemes? Melody’s penchant for running off-script!

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Excerpt

Bernard had to admit to some fascination at the floorplan being revealed in shaky lines by Ruggles’ quaking hand. If it proved at all accurate, he could use it to plot his movements almost to the second. “Pretty good for having seldom been there,” he commented.

Ruggles tapped his temple. “Muskrat trap.”

“Not much gets away from one of those, huh?”

“Not much the size of a muskrat. Bears would be another matter.” The butler set the pen down and pushed it and the napkin back to Bernard. “And you are walking into a den full of bears, Mr. Earls. If you ask me, Bear Trap Falls is aptly named.”

“Bears and one weasel. Got it.” Bernard tucked the napkin and pen into an inside pocket.

“Do you take this matter at all seriously?”

“Very seriously, Mr. Ruggles. Seven thousand dollars plus expenses seriously.”

Ruggles gave Bernard’s suit careful scrutiny. Admittedly it wasn’t a Christian Dior, but surely it didn’t warrant that dismissive smirk. “Do you consider that a large sum?”

“For a few hours’ work, sure.” Bernard performed a quick burst of mental math. “It equates to an annual salary of over four and a half million, you know.”

Had he been standing, that revelation would have rocked Ruggles back on his heels. Sitting on the bar stool, it nearly dumped him backwards onto the floor. He grabbed the edge of the bar just in time and righted himself. “I didn’t realize that.”

“Oh yes, there’s good money in my business.” If only, he didn’t add, we could actually work something approaching full time. As it was, they were lucky to pay the rent some months.

The bartender returned and slid a plate of cheese fries in front of Bernard. “Hot,” she said. He thought she probably had been, a decade or so back, but she couldn’t hold a candle to Melody, not then and not now, so he didn’t give her a second thought.

“Just relax,” he told the butler, who didn’t seem capable. “Here. Drink your drink and eat some of these. They say the bacon is real good.”

Ruggles watched the bartender move down the bar to another customer. “No doubt you wish to inspire confidence.” He pulled a fry from underneath the mass of gooey yellow, then held it as though it were poison while it dribbled cheese all over the bar. “So why am I more terrified now than when I came in?”

Bernard shook his head and shoveled a few fries into his mouth.

The bacon, it turned out, was nothing to write home about.

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About the Author

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Dale E. Lehman is a writer, veteran software developer, amateur astronomer, and bonsai artist in training. He principally writes mysteries, science fiction, and humor. In addition to his novels, his writing has appeared in Sky & Telescope and on Medium.com. With his wife Kathleen he owns and operates the imprint Red Tales. They have five children, six grandchildren, and two feisty cats. At any given time, Dale is at work on several novels and short stories. Visit Dale at https://www.DaleELehman.com for information on his books, activities, and more.

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Book Release Blitz: Six Strings by C. Billie Brunson @CBillieBrunson @RRBookTours1 #RRBookTours #SixStrings

Today we’re celebrating the upcoming release of C. Billie Brunson’s genre-bending novel, Six Strings – Available on February 16th!

SStrings Digital coverSix Strings

Expected Publication Date: February 16, 2021

Genre: New Adult/ Magical Realism

Publisher: Liminal Books

Carl Percival (Percy) VanNess inherits a guitar from his father. He’s intent on learning to play and wants to use it as a roadway to fame and riches. But this guitar is not as benign as it appears. In fact, the music produced when it is played incites anyone within earshot to murder whomever is in sight.

Troubles escalate when Carl lets his buddy Peyton borrow the Gibson. Next, Mat, Peyton’s older brother, gets caught up in the same diabolical intrigues surrounding the instrument.

Only Stacey, Carl’s enduring sweetheart, is aware and seems immune to the Gibson’s evil persuasion. Is this due to some latent magic she holds within, dumb luck, or something else entirely?

Can she, with the help of her loyal Lab, Diva, convince her friends to let go of something they cherish before it tears their friendship apart? Might two Djinn token seekers who are after the guitar to fulfill their own agenda put the brakes on her efforts?

Excerpt

“Carl, this is dope. You got some sick strings right here. I’m serious, bro.” Peyton said, picking up the guitar to admire it up close and test its weight.

“Well, duh. Isn’t that what I’ve been saying?” Carl replied, feeling almost giddy with pride.

“I heard. Didn’t get it, though.” Peyton improvised a few notes. “But I do now.”

“You can’t help but to.” Watching his peer strum a few more chords caused a possessive anxiety to rise within Carl and he ran his hand through his hair. It wasn’t long before he felt impelled to intervene. “Enough, newbie. Hand it over. Let the pro show you how it’s done.”

“Hold on, bro. I’m rippin’ some sweet sounds.”

Carl took a deep breath in an attempt to ease the tension that resulted from seeing his precious Charlene perform so sweetly for another. “You’re not too bad. H-how’d you learn to play?”

“My big brother had a guitar for a while. We used to take turns foolin’ around with it. Then, he lost it over a stupid bet,” Peyton said, pausing for only the few seconds it took to say the words.

“Aw, tough luck, Man.”

“Yeah.”

“Right. Fine. Now hand her over. It’s my turn.”

Peyton played on as if he didn’t hear. With eyes closed, he reveled in the sumptuous notes coming from the guitar. Shoulders dancing, his head bobbed in time with the rhythm.

Indignant over being ignored and at the way Peyton’s fingers seemed to grope his precious girl, Carl raised his voice in a near growl. “I’m warning you, Peyton. Better not try me. For the last time, hand her over.”

“Just hold on, bro. I’m ‘bout to throw it dowwnn!”

Unwilling to bear or listen to what that meant, Carl turned, scanning his room for a more assertive means of getting his demand across. A sturdy desk used for homework and other projects offered a mess of school work paraphernalia, among this lay an opened box of pre-sharpened writing pencils.

Without sparing a thought about his next move, Carl stepped over to the desk and pulled a pencil from the package. Holding the pencil like a crazed butcher, he pivoted while lifting the pointed end high. His eyes zeroed in on Peyton’s jugular.

Peyton kept playing, his eyes closed in blissful ignorance of imminent and fatal assault.

Carl drew the uncommon weapon in his hand back and up high as he could, making no sound or alarming movement.

In the next second, the door swung wide and Stacey burst in, coming close to hitting Carl with the door. Startling from his violent mission he dropped the pencil. He deftly shoved it somewhere out of sight with his foot.

“Okay. Where’s this guitar you–Oh, right here. Wow! Carl, you weren’t kidding. This is sooo nice.’”

Peyton jarred from his plucking revelry. “Yeah, uh, ain’t it though? And it sounds amazin’.” Turning to Carl he begged, “Dude, you gotta let me borrow it for a few days.”

“Nope, I don’t gotta. And I won’t.” Carl said reaching and grasping the neck in one hand. “You can let go of it now.”

Instead of conceding, Peyton tightened his grip on the instrument and replied. “What’s the big deal? I promise I’ll bring it back.”

“You don’t need to promise ’cause I’m not lending it.”

“How ’bout if I pay you? A buck a day.”

“No thanks.”

“Two, then.”

“No way, man. She’s not for hire.”

“Oh, so it’s like that, then.”

“Yep. Take it or leave it.”

“I thought you was my bro. But, I guess yer nothing but anotha punk.”

Instead of responding, Carl simply jerked the Gibson free of Peyton’s grasp.

Peyton protested. “Heeey! What the hell? What’s yer problem, fool? Somebody need to show you what it means to share?”

“Yeah? And I guess you think you’re the guy for it.”

“Maybe I am.”

“Bring it, then.” Carl quickly set the guitar aside and turned back to Peyton. He clinched his hands into two stumps of rage and raised them up to punching level. “We’ll see who can teach who.”

They faced-off and moved in a tight, threatening circle.

Stacey rolled her eyes as she broke between them. “Before the two of you throw any punches, I think you should know I’m not impressed.”

Carl and Peyton both let down their guards at the statement. Each looked at Stacey with questioning expressions.

Stacey explained. “I mean if you want to impress a girl with your beat-down skills, at least let the fight be over the girl. Am I right?”

Carl scoffed. But he did move away from Peyton. He picked up the Gibson, slung the strap over a shoulder so she could hang comfortably at his front and sat down on his bed.

Peyton stood grumbling and staring at his feet a few seconds before plunking down onto the small chair beside the desk.

Stacey parked herself on the bed next to Carl. “There. This is good. Way better than getting all to’e up over a guitar. A pretty awesome one, for sure. But it’s still only wood, strings and a few metal knobs—that’s all.”

Carl rushed to correct her viewpoint. “Carlotte’s not just any ol’ guitar. She’s way better.”

Stacey scoffed. “Charlene?”

“Yes, Charlene,” Carl said. “What’s funny ‘bout that?”

“Yeah, Stacey lots of guys who play guitars name ‘em. Mat named his Maxine,” Peyton said.

“And Mat is?” “Who’s Mat?” Stacey and Carl both asked at the same time.

“My brother.” Peyton cleared his throat and made a show of not looking at Carl. “Who knows how to share things.”

Stacey cut off Carl’s low growl. “Whatever, Peyton.” She looked at Carl. “But what makes you say this guitar—I refuse to call it any name—‘better’ than any other one?” She held up a hand. “Wait. I know. Your plan is to use it as a babe magnet, huh? I know how you boys think,” she said, narrowing her eyes in a reproving glare.

“It might be a tired ol’ plan but…Sure. Why not?” Carl teased, giving Stacey a mischievous nudge. “Besides, it gave you enough reason came by today, didn’t it?”

Crossing his arms, Peyton said, “Yeah. Well, havin’ a guitar to catch a girl’s attention is one thing. It’s another to really know how to play? That’s what the honeys go for.”

Stacey said, “I hate to be a…uh, ‘honey.’ But, Carl, can you play something for me? Please?”

Foregoing a verbal response, Carl stood and faced her, purposefully presenting his backside to Peyton.

After making a show of loosening his arms, his shoulders and flexing his fingers, Carl launched into the captivating tune he’d mastered that morning in the garage.

Within seconds, the ambience of the room shifted as he progressed through the melody. Though the light coming through the lone window in the wall behind him did not dim, a cold, sinister presence invaded the air.

Stacey hugged her body and rubbed her hands over her arms against the chill as she tried to listen to Carl’s playing. Movement at the edge of sight caused her to look across at Peyton. She watched with a perplexed frown as he pulled out a drawer to retrieve a pair of heavy-duty scissors meant for cutting poster board or thin plastic sheets. Her frown deepened as she surmise the sleepless, nightmarish parody developing before her eyes.

Peyton pushed up from the chair and took a step in Carl’s direction, holding the scissors ready for effective spiking.

At last determining what she saw was legit instead of crazed illusion, Stacey flung her arms out in alarm. She gesticulated a frantic warning and yelled, “Stop! What do you think you’re doing?” But the frigid, melodious aura swallowed her voice.

Carl, intent on performing as he was, misinterpreted her actions as encouragement. He played with more vigor.

Stacey reached the point of leaping from the bed to tackle Peyton when bone-cracking thumps sounded against the window.

Carl stopped playing the song mid-refrain.

Peyton jolted and stepped back as though hit by some invisible stun gun. His attention went to the scissors he held in his hand. For a brief moment, he stood staring down at the now deadly-weapon-turned-crafting-tool and then twisted around to lay it on the desk. He turned back, wiping the palm of his hand on his clothes as though to clean away something vile.

Stacey sat on the edge of the bed huffing and puffing in relief when their gazes locked and she sensed the passing of his moment of murderous insanity.

Oblivious because he’d turned his attention towards searching out the source of the thumping noise, Carl said, “Oh, my dreamcatcher fell.” Then he stepped over to retrieve it from the floor and hang it back on the nail in the wall.

“Uh-huh.” Stacey said. “But…no. It couldn’t have made such a loud sound by landing on the floor.”

“What are you talking about?” Carl asked.

Stacey said, “I think the noise came from the….” Her words trailed off when she noticed the window.

She gasped at the splatter of blood already drying on the sun-drenched pane.

Grab yourself a copy from Amazon on February 16th!

About the Author

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Billie Brunson enjoys writing novels that don’t necessarily fit in any genre “box.” Six Strings, is her second published book, the first of which is Heart of Malice (2015) and she has a number of other manuscripts in the pipelines.

Born in Chicago, IL, C Billie Brunson lived for several years in Indiana and, later, Iowa before moving to Arizona in the 1990s where she has settled in Scottsdale. She’s the mother of two and loves all animals, especially cats.

If you want to connect, you’ll catch her on Twitter more so than any other social media platform.

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Blog Tour: Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse (A Botanic Hill Detectives Mystery) by Sherrill Joseph @MysteryAuthor7 @RRBookTours1 #MG #Mystery #MGReads #RRBookTours

To celebrate the release of the next exciting book in the Botanic Hill Detectives mystery series, Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse is going on tour!

We have an excerpt for you to read and a chance to win a signed, personalized paperback copy of the book, and some matching book swag!

Ebook_EucalyptusStreet_GreenCurse_02(1)Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse 

Publication Date: October 20, 2020 (Today

Genre: MG Mystery/ Middle Grade

(For fans of Nancy Drew type mysteries)

In 1945, Isabela de Cordoba’s great-grandfather, the famous silent movie actor Lorenzo de Cordoba, mysteriously hid a legendary, multimillion-dollar emerald somewhere on the family’s sprawling Eucalyptus Street estate. Seventy years later, the gem remains concealed. Nicknamed the “Green Curse,” the emerald is blamed for the Southern California familia’s numerous, untimely deaths.

On her twenty-first birthday, Isabela receives a secret letter with a cryptic poem. These documents from the long-deceased Lorenzo invite her to hunt for the gemstone. But first, she must decipher the poem’s eight stanzas for clues.

To assist, Isabela hires her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the four Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, and their best friends, Moki Kalani and Rani Kumar. Eerie footsteps inside the mansion, unexplained occurrences in the adjacent cemetery, and the mysterious tenant in the backyard casita challenge them. But they ingeniously make progress on the poem’s meaning with startling discoveries. Sliding wall panels, a secret room, and hidden passages reveal much. The detectives aren’t the only ones looking for the emerald. The perilous race for the de Cordoba treasure is on!

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Excerpt

Lanny is awakened at four a.m. by the sound of footsteps coming from the room overhead. He and Moki head to the third floor to explore:

Their eyes had adjusted to the darkness. Lanny pointed to the door of the suspected room and flashed Moki an A-OK sign. They turned off their flashlights, noticing the room’s door was slightly ajar, and listened for any sounds. Nothing but the mournful “who-who” sound of the resident barn owl in the old magnolia tree outside. They waited two more minutes, shivering and wishing they hadn’t forgotten their bathrobes and slippers. Still no sounds came from the room. Even the owl became silent. Moki felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up.

Finally, Lanny pushed the door open slightly and slipped into the room. Moki followed.

Available in paperback and for Kindle!

About the Author

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Sherrill Joseph will be forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools where she taught for thirty-five years before retiring and becoming a published author.

She has peopled and themed the Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries with children and adult characters of various abilities, races, cultures, and interests. Sherrill strongly believes that children need to find not only themselves in books but others from different races and social situations if all are to become tolerant, anti-racist world citizens.

In addition, the author created her detectives—patterned after her own fifth-grade students and twelve-year-old twin cousins—to be mature, smart, polite role models that will appeal to parents, teachers, but especially to kids who seek to realize their greatest potential with courage and self-respect.

Sherrill is a lexical-gustatory synesthete and native San Diegan where she lives in a 1928 Spanish-style house in a historic neighborhood with her poodle-bichon mix, Jimmy Lambchop. Other loves include her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter. She can’t leave out dark chocolate, popcorn, old movies, purple, and daisies. Having never lived in a two-story house, she is naturally fascinated by staircases. Sherrill is a member of SCBWI and the Authors Guild and promises many more adventures with the squad to come.

Sherrill Joseph | Newsletter | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Giveaway:

2 lucky winners will receive a signed, personalized paperback copy of the book, and some matching book swag (US only this time)! Giveaway will be open until October 31st!

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EucalyptusStreetBT

Blog Tour Schedule

October 26th

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

@the.b00kreader (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the.b00kreader

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

Jennifer Mitchell, Bibliolater (Spotlight) https://www.jennifermitchellbooks.com

October 27th

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

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight) https://didioviatt.wordpress.com

On the Shelf Reviews (Spotlight)  https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

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

Sophril Reads (Spotlight) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

October 28th

LauraLoopyLou (Review) https://www.loopyloulaura.com/

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

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Spotlight) www.bansheeirishhorrorblog.com

October 29th

The Consulting Writer (Spotlight) https://theconsultingwriter.wordpress.com

Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com

Book Dragons Not Worms (Spotlight) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

October 30th

Lunarian Press (Interview) https://www.lunarianpress.com/

Meli’s Book Reviews (Review) https://melisbokreviews.wordpress.com/

Rosie Writes (Spotlight) http://rosemariecawkwell.wordpress.com

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