Self-Published Saturday: George Haint #paranormal #magicalrealism #audiobooks #BookReview #Q&A

AUDIOBOOK DESCRIPTION

In the old South, a haint was a ghost or evil spirit. George Haint, originally begun by Helen Diessner in 2012, takes us into the most unusual ghost story you will probably ever hear.

It is not only a ghost story but a short story of murder most foul and takes place in the mid-1800s, in the Virginia City, Nevada, area during the gold- and silver-mining days. The story contains a lot of local history of the area.

This book was written by the late Helen Diessner and her sister Marta Moran Bishop. The audiobook is narrated by Christopher Meglin.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

This is a spooky and surprising ghost story. I thought it was going in a certain direction, but then was completely shocked and scared but delighted to go a different way. It’s a bit darker than I usually read, but worth it. In this ghost story/historical fiction mashup, we learn the history of Virginia City, Nevada during the gold rush and we meet some interesting characters with quite a tale to tell. Go on this short ghostly adventure to a town in the past, and prepared to be a little terrified but completely entertained, for that is what a good ghost story does. Fans of horror, magical realism, and historical fiction will love this story.

The audiobook is a story-length (45 minutes) treat read by Christopher Meglin, who does a wonderful job.

I received a free copy of the audiobook. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Triggers: Murder.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marta Moran Bishop walks in the shoes of her characters and weaves the tapestry of their lives with the threads of her dreams.

Ms. Bishop is a prolific and versatile writer, writing in multiple genres, while continuing to stretch herself and her craft.

Her series The Divide: Darkness Descends (book 1) and The Between Times (book 2) tells the story of a bleak world, where society consists of the poor and the rich and the poor live in squalor, depending only on a prophecy for hope of a better future. It has a touch of paranormal within its pages. She is currently working on Book 3 in the series.

George Haint is a story started by Marta’s late sister, Helen Diessner.

She has written three adult poetry books and a variety of fantasy and paranormal stories. A few of them are stories that her mother wrote over forty years ago and Marta finished, while others are new and vibrant stories.

She currently lives on a small farm in New England with her husband, three horses, cats and a conure parrot named Jack. They help her remember to view the world through a child’s innocence and keep her young and imaginative.

Q&A WITH MARTA MORAN BISHOP

Good Morning, Marta, and thanks for answering my questions today.

Marta: It’s so wonderful to meet you and an honor that you invited me to be on your blog.

Bonnie:  Let’s go beyond the bio.  Tell us something about yourself that we might not know from reading your bio.

Marta: I’ve worked as a magician’s assistant, and danced in a few TV commercials.

Bonnie: That is so interesting! Where did you work as a Magician’s Assistant, and what commercials did you do?

I worked as a Magician’s Assistant in Chicago. My brother and I did a disco/jazz act and won a few contests. The commercials were for Sugar Twin and a “Women’s Product.” Lol.

Bonnie:  This story was conceptualized and started by your sister Helen Diessner, who has sadly passed away.  I am so sorry for your loss.  Can you tell me a little bit about Helen and what it means to you to complete this story and have it published?

Marta: Thank you for your condolences. Helen is and will always be so missed. She was one of the most intelligent people I ever met. Interested in just about everything, but in particular history, ghosts, mysteries, and had a love of animals and life, with a great sense of humor.

Bonnie:  At what point in the story did you pick it up?   Did you already know what the ending would be?

Marta: Helen and I had talked over her story, and I read her first few pages, gave a few comments regarding tenses, etc., and at that time she told me who she planned on the first kill to be, but not how to get there. She stopped writing it in 2016 and I didn’t see it again until after her death. What she had written was so good that I knew she’d want me to finish it. She stopped writing about a quarter of the way through chapter three.

Bonnie: Although this is a short story, it contains a lot of information about the mining town of Virginia City, Nevada.  What was your (or Helen’s) historical research process?

Marta: Helen lived in the Gold Hill area of Virginia City for many years, and worked for The Way It Was Museum. She read everything they had in the Museum and knew all the legends. The shack on the cover was a picture she took that helped inspire the story.

Bonnie:  George Haint seems to be going in a certain direction, and then catches the reader by surprise.  Is this something you’ve done in your other writings and can you tell us a little about your previously published work?

Marta: Yes, I have done this in other books and stories I have written or finished that I inherited from my mother’s writings. I am a multi-genre author and prefer to write in first person (even if it is first person horse or cat) when I write I seem to fall into the mind of the characters and they many times surprise me. I’ve written poetry (both children’s and adult), paranormal short stories, dystopian novellas, as well as my award-winning novel Dinky: The Nurse Mare’s Foal, which is written through his eyes about the first year of his life. When a character begins to talk to me too loudly the book or story gets written.

Bonnie:  Magical realism/the paranormal is very present in this story.   Is this true of any of your other work as well?

Other than my animal stories it is present in all of my other books and stories.

Bonnie: Are you currently working on anything else and can you tell us about it?

I’m currently finishing the sequel to my series The Divide, a dystopian series with magical realism and paranormal mixed in to give hope and save the world. I’m also writing a book based on the premise that Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickenson had a love affair through letters.

Bonnie: The Poe/Dickenson love affair sounds intriguing! What was your inspiration for that and will you come back again to talk about it when it’s ready to publish?

Marta: The idea came out of some poems I wrote between them, way back when someone said I was “Emily to his Poe,” and an “inspiring force in his creative process.” They are published in two of my first poetry books. Absolutely I’d love to come back!

Bonnie: Thanks Marta for your great answers and for joining us today! I look forward to speaking with you again!

BUY LINKS

Amazon | Amazon UK | Audible

BEFORE YOU GO

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Saturday #Paranormal #Historicalfiction #KnightsTemplar

I know it’s Sunday, but I’m late with SPS because I have the grandkids this weekend. I’m about to drive them back home, which is a 4.5 hour round trip for me. Here is SPS, and sorry it is late.

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to share self-published/indie books with the readers of my blog in hopes that they will share them with their readers. Self-published/Indie authors have to do it all, and any help with marketing is crucial.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Winner of the Firebird Book Award for Fiction.
Following the traumatic end of the Knights Templar, a remnant band of knights in hiding attempt to make a new life for themselves in the eastern Byzantine Empire. Chaperoning merchants and pilgrims through perilous lands in the midst of a brewing war, their mettle is put to the test on a daily basis. However, this assignment is unlike any other they’ve taken. Braving infamous clans of assassins and an encroaching army of Ottoman forces, they must escort a girl to safety during a time when their faith is shaken and the girl proves to be more than what she seems. Brought to you by the award-winning author of The Angels of Resistance and the Redeem the Knight Trilogy.

BOOK REVIEW

Torn Asunder is set in the early 1300s after the Knights Templar have been persecuted and destroyed by the King of France. It is about a band of surviving Templars who are just trying to get by and stay alive. They take a job to escort a girl to her cousin, but soon realize she is more than she seems.

This book overall is a unique and solid effort. The character of Parisa is wonderful, and the magical realism/paranormal she brings to the story really lifts it up. But Parisa is not really introduced right away and the story moves slowly until she is. At times I felt the plot dragged a bit and I got a little bit weary as we went from battle to battle without much of a break. I did not connect with the other characters as much as Parisa until near the end of the book. But the idea of a surviving band of Knights Templar is certainly intriguing, and the ending was wonderfully done. Overall, this is a solid story with a great ending. I give it 3.6 stars overall, rounded up to four stars.

Anyone interested in the Knights Templar and magical realism should check this one out.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

An award-winning indie dark fantasy and science fiction author from Long Island, David V. Mammina’s novels contain a solid storyline, deep character development, and twists and turns that can challenge any reader. Apart from writing page-turners, he also teaches history to middle school students with learning disabilities. Themes of his work include the redemption of fallen heroes, good versus evil, and the unity of those split by their differences in the face of supernatural adversity. Set in post-apocalypse or dystopian eras, fantasy realms, and the present day, Mammina can satisfy any and all tastes in genre fiction.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON | AMAZON UK

BEFORE YOU GO

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Blog Tour and Exclusive Excerpt: Bonds by Marie Ann Cope

BOOK DESCRIPTION

A four-century-old secret. A vampire curse.

Can she uncover the truth about her family before it destroys her?

Following the death of her grandmother, Becca Martin comes face to face with an ancestor she is unaware of; an ancestor who threatens her very existence.

Antony Cardover bears a vampire curse, and he will stop at nothing to sever his ancient bindings.

As she uncovers the dark truth about her family, can Becca embrace the legacy she now bears?

Or will the mistakes of the dead return to kill her?

If you like A Discovery of Witches and The Vampire Chronicles, you will LOVE Marie Anne Cope’s BONDS series.

Step into a world of magic, mystery and mayhem, buy BONDS today!

EXCERPT

Suddenly, she froze, her fork halfway to her mouth, her breath caught in her chest. She stared at Spook as he cowered down in the garden, his ears back, his teeth bared. The hairs on the back of Becca’s neck were now upright, and she shivered as a sudden draught wrapped itself around her. She caught the scent of him as the draught moved through her towards the patio doors, and she saw a dark shadow advance towards the threatened cat. The fork dropped from her hand as she raced towards the patio doors. She yanked the handle, but it was locked. She fumbled for the key. She always left it in the lock. It wasn’t there.

‘Noooooo!’ she screamed as the shadowy figure crouched down in front of Spook and leaned in really close to him.

‘Leave him alone!’ Becca shouted and banged on the glass, hoping to scare Spook, but it was almost like he was in a trance. He didn’t move a muscle. He didn’t even try to lash out.

Becca picked up a chair and smashed it as hard as she could against the glass, but it bounced off. She dropped to the floor sobbing as she watched the figure reach out towards Spook. Suddenly the cat took off, and the figure stood up and stared at Becca.

‘Noooooo!’ Becca screamed, as she stared into the eyes of Antony Cardover.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marie Anne Cope is an author of contemporary and paranormal fiction. She grew up in Manchester, moving to North Wales in 2005, where she lives with her three cats, Jasmine, Texas, and Stoker.

She writes for women who want to read gripping stories that combine strong female leads with powerful, provocative storylines, which take them to the edge of their comfort zone.

Marie has always had an interest in the darker side of fiction—particularly in crime and the supernatural—but it wasn’t until her mid-twenties that she began taking a serious interest in writing. She published the first novel in her dark paranormal BONDS series in 2013 and followed it with the second and third novels in the quartet, BROKEN BONDS in 2015 and BONDS RE-BOUND in 2018. The journey ended with ETERNAL BONDS in November 2021, the Kindle edition reaching number one in both the Vampire Suspense and British Horror Fiction categories, as well as number three in Contemporary Fantasy Fiction.

The BONDS series is set against both contemporary and historical backdrops, following the story of the complicated and unusual relationship between Becca Martin, a reluctant witch forced to face up to who she is and accept her gift of the Craft, and Antony Cardover, a man who traded his soul for the chance of vengeance and paid the ultimate price – eternity bearing a vampire curse.

BONDS was a finalist for the 2020 Golden Stake Literary Award at the International Vampire Film & Arts Festival, as well as a quarter-finalist for the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Marie has published two collections of dark short stories under the series title TALES FROM A SCARYGIRL. The first volume, entitled DARK AND SCARY, moves from the realms of the supernatural into the borderlands where folklore and superstition meet real-world fear, while volume two, entitled DARKLY SINSITER, delves into the darkest vaults of the human psyche, daring the reader to question what lies beneath the surface.

DARKLY SINISTER came out on Halloween 2020, with the Kindle edition reaching number one positions in the Horror Short Stories, British Horror Fiction and British & Irish Short Stories categories, as well as number two in Psychological Thrillers.

Under the pen name M A Cope, she has also published her first children’s book called THE MISFITS. The story follows an unlikely group of supernatural misfits as they embark on an adventure that teaches them it is okay to be different from who they are expected to be; the important thing is to be happy in their own skin.

Marie is working on several other projects at the moment, including a screen adaptation of BONDS and a contemporary romance novel called CHASING RAINBOWS.

At the heart of everything she writes is a simple aim – to tell stories that captivate the reader.

Facebook|Instagram|Twitter  

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Book Review: The Lives of Diamond Bessie

This is another review I did for the May edition of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. It’s true crime meets magical realism. A fascinating combination.

In 1860s New York, Annie Moore is sent to a convent for fallen women after getting pregnant out of wedlock. After the nuns take her baby, she tries to find the child but ends up going into prostitution just to survive. She becomes Bessie and is soon highly sought after by men. She earns her own money, is showered with jewels, and gets the opportunity to travel. However, she longs for a different life. When the man who she thought would return her to respectability betrays her, she begins to seek revenge. Based on a true story, this is a captivating book with a surprise.

The first half of this book stays very true to the real-life story, but then there is a supernatural element that begins midway through. It makes the novel even more interesting and unpredictable. As Annie, the main character is treated abominably by society and the church. As Bessie, she is used by men and madams but still finds a measure of success. After marriage, she eventually realizes that her husband has no intention of living a normal life with her. But by then it’s too late. We travel with Bessie to Chicago, New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Texas, and then into the world of the paranormal as Bessie seeks revenge. The magical realism aspect of this story really sets it apart. The plight of women in those times is evident, and the theme of revenge is explored. This is an intriguing combination of genres—true crime, women’s fiction, and the paranormal—all woven into a compelling historical novel. Highly recommended.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jody Hadlock’s love of history goes all the way back to junior high, when she was a member of the Junior Historians of Texas, so it’s no surprise her first novel is historical. She studied journalism at Texas A&M University and worked as a broadcast journalist and then in nonprofit public relations before turning her focus to fiction. She also writes screenplays and won the 2020 Dallas International Film Festival’s screenplay contest.

Jody’s Social Media: Instagram|Bookbub|Facebook|Website

BUY LINKS

AMAZON|AMAZON UK|B&N

Blog Tour and Book Review: Shimmer by Alan Meredith #Middle Grade #Fantasy #Cats

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Lyla is having the worst year of her life and then her Mum announces they are moving to a strange new town.

The only silver lining is the signs that a cat has made itself home in the new house.

Lyla quickly finds out though that Shimmer is no ordinary cat….

BOOK REVIEW

Shimmer is a middle-grade fantasy adventure starring a special cat and a girl who is having a rough time. After Lyla’s father dies, her mother decides to move and get a fresh start. Lyla is angry and upset at having to move away from familiar surroundings, and she is instantly bullied at school. On top of that, Lyla would like a cat, but her mother has adamantly refused. Then she begins to hear a cat mewling in the house.

This is a sweet and magical fantasy with a surprise twist in the middle. Although this is a short book, it packs a lot of story into 86 pages and it’s perfect for the middle-grade reader. There are some school fights included, so parents may want to be aware. All in all, this is a sometimes sad, but always sweet adventure with a magical and special feline star. Kids will love it, but so will their parents and grandparents.

I received a free copy of this book via Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alan Meredith lives in sleepy West Sussex with his wife and two children.  He relocated there after suffering a psychosis back in 2000. Writing stories was a childhood love that he lost as he mistakenly believed that imagination had no place in the grown up world.

He likes taking reality and weaving fantastical elements into it.  Alan’s writing reflects his belief that life is a journey of highs and lows and the idea that ‘life should be fair’ is an unrealistic expectation to give anyone, especially kids.  If you are looking for the sugar coated ‘Happy Ever After’ you have come to the wrong place.


Follow him at: Facebook |GoodReads|YouTube

BUY LINKS:

Amazon UK|Amazon US

Self-Published Saturday: The Coronation by Justin Newland

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Self-Published/Indie authors with marketing. These authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing. If I can help even a little bit with marketing, I’m happy to do it. This week’s feature is a The Coronation, historical fiction with a tough of magical realism. It is set in Prussia in 1761.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

It is 1761. Prussia is at war with Russia and Austria. As the Russian army occupies East Prussia, King Frederick the Great and his men fight hard to win back their homeland.

In Ludwigshain, a Junker estate in East Prussia, Countess Marion von Adler celebrates an exceptional harvest. But this is soon requisitioned by Russian troops. When Marion tries to stop them, a Russian Captain strikes her. His Lieutenant, Ian Fermor, defends Marion’s honour, but is stabbed for his insubordination. Abandoned by the Russians, Fermor becomes a divisive figure on the estate.

Close to death, Fermor dreams of the Adler, a numinous eagle entity, whose territory extends across the lands of Northern Europe and which is mysteriously connected to the Enlightenment. What happens next will change the course of human history…

BOOK REVIEW

Justin Newland is known for creating well-researched historical fiction that is touched with magical realism, and he does not disappoint here. He brings us to East Prussia in 1761, and we meet Countess Marion Von Adler, who is trying to keep her people safe and fed during wartime. She meets Ian Fermor, Lieutenant of the Russian Army, who comes to her aid and is abandoned by the Russian Army. Their connection with the Adler, the mythical eagle, takes fascinating turns throughout this novel.

This is a unique take on the Seven Years War that is filled with adventure, suspense, and intrigue. What is the Adler and where is it leading Prussia and the world? How does the Industrial Revolution come into play? The reader will be left with a fascinating ending and a look at the future. Each chapter is headed with passages of scripture, which adds to the theme of the book, because following the Adler is a spiritual journey for Marion and Ian. This is quite a mystical trip into history. Fans of historical fiction and magical realism will enjoy this novel.

I received a free copy of this book from Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

His Books

The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind.

The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times.

Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution.

The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery.

Justin’s Social Media

FACEBOOK

WEBSITE

BUY LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

*If you buy the book, please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

*Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!


Spotlight and Excerpt: The Stars Forgot Us

TheStartForgotUs copy

We’re celebrating the release of The Stars Forgot Us, by bestselling author R.J. Garcia. This beauty will be available on March 30th. Read on for details and a chance to enter a fantastic giveaway – A paperback copy & a $10 Amazon e-gift card (US only) and an e-book edition if the winner lives outside the US! 21-438 RJ Garcia The Stars Forgot Us (1) The Stars Forgot Us Publication Date: March 30th, 2022 Genre: YA Paranormal Publisher: Midnight Tide Publishing Fifteen-year-old Jacob Kelly would love to go back to simpler times. Before his parents’ divorce and the onset of his older brother’s schizophrenia. But when he returns to his hometown, things feel off. After a series of strange occurrences in his new house, Jacob fears the house is haunted, or even worse, he is losing his mind. To his surprise, Jacob discovers a mysterious teenage runaway, Sanctuary Daniels, living in the house. She reveals she has been kept by a figure known only as Mother, in a place where downstairs children are languishing prisoners, and upstairs children do Mother’s bidding. Both Jacob’s investigation into Sanctuary’s allegations and their budding romance are cut short when she is reclaimed by evil beings. Beings who unleash terror upon Jacob and his family. Now he must journey to a real haunted house to save his first love and fight for his life. Add to Goodreads

Excerpt

My eyes snapped open as three words surfaced in my sleepy brain. You’re not alone. A cold settled into my flesh, making the fine hairs on my arm stand up. I sat up in bed, sucking in a deep breath, and stared into the darkness, unsure what had woken me. My lights were off. It was pitch black. Then the distinct pitter-patter of footsteps sounded down the hall.

“Mom?” When I got no answer, I jumped out of bed and scrambled for the light switch. The overhead fluorescent light blinked on, and I immediately noticed the closet door was partway opened again. This time, I was sure I’d closed it, so I started off with slow, measured steps to investigate. I yanked the door open the rest of the way and hit the closet light. I scoured the walls to discover more writing. The single word, HELP, was written in the same marker on the wall. My pulse skyrocketed. It freaked me out.

I crept back over to the bed and grabbed the blanket, swinging it around my shoulders like a cape, settling down on the drafty hardwood floor. With a shiver of anticipation, I kept my eyes pinned to the door, and strained to hear the slightest noise. It was eerily quiet. Even the wind had died down.

Unexpectedly, I heard a girl’s voice, so soft it was hardly audible, as it drifted up from the floor. It was only the word, “I’m.”

I scooted over to the vent and whispered, “Um…hello?” There was no reply. It could have been a ringing or humming in my ear. Yeah, I’d only imagined it was a voice. Yet, I hadn’t imagined the writing on the wall. I mean, what the hell? I got up and decided to have a look around. If someone was in the house, I had to know. I exited my room and began my search.

I stood face to face with a long and quiet hallway—doors on the left and right. My mind was a hot blank space as a thread of fear tugged me along. My mom’s bedroom was kitty-corner to my room, so I stepped in just far enough to take in the visual of her tucked in bed. Her sleeping sounds were somewhere between wheezes and moans.

“Mom?” I whispered, but she didn’t wake up, and I decided to just let her sleep.

I crossed over to the spare bedroom, smacking on the lights. There was only a desk and Mom’s old computer in the corner. Determined, I was now on a serious hunt and rushed to the closet, flinging the door open. There wasn’t anything. Not even writing on the wall.

Next on the list was Michael’s room. I found him sitting up in bed with a vacant stare. The lights were off, but the blinds were open. Moonlight flitted in, creating shadowy outlines above the chest of drawers that appeared incompatible and menacing.

My gaze returned to my brother as I cleared my throat. “Were you just walking around?”

“No.”

“Did you hear a girl’s voice, Mike?”

He came to life. “Yeah. I heard her.”

My mouth dropped. “Holy shit, I hoped I imagined it.”

Michael stared at me with an unsettling intensity. “I heard her in the vents, the drainpipes, and in the walls. If you listen closely enough, you’ll hear them all.”

Oh great, I’m losing it too.

My brother nodded approvingly. Tension slid from his features, softening his mouth and jaw muscles. Misery loves company, I guess.

Be sure to get your copy HERE on March 30th!

About the Author

Balck and white author pic R.J. Garcia is a wife, and proud mom of two smart teens and a chorkie, Zoey She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has been writing short stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels!

RJ Garcia | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Click the link below to enter the giveaway. This will run from today and close at 12 AM EST on March 31st. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway Book Blitz Organized By: R&R Button R&R Book Tours

Book Review: The Valley Walker #HmongPeople #VietnamWar #Magic #Thrillers

Teri Altro is a no-nonsense Special Investigator whose whole life revolves around putting drug dealers behind bars.  The Valley Walker is a soldier who walked away from the Vietnam war, wandering aimlessly until he is taken in by a Hmong woman in Laos.  The meeting in a Michigan drugstore between Teri and the Valley Walker is otherworldly and begins a story that will keep you entranced.

Wow. This is an intriguing combination of crime/thriller,  Hmong folklore/mysticism, and the devastation and trauma experienced by soldiers during the Vietnam war.  It is so much more than a typical crime story.  Hmong shamans, a former soldier with unbelievable abilities, and a mystical “dragon” are interwoven with flashbacks to the Vietnam war, as well as the fight against the drug lords in Asia and the U.S. This book is about battling back against the powerful,  who use whoever and take whatever they want.   Underneath it all, the devastation that the Vietnam War wrought upon so many people is made evident. As T.W. Dittmer puts it so matter-of-factly in this novel, “No matter which side wins a war, the soldiers and their families always lose.” 

I enjoyed the “story within a story” of Bao and her rescue, which shows Hmong mythology and tradition, as well as the fight against evil. 

The Valley Walker is filled with powerful mysticism, intrigue, love, pain, and loss. It is a lesson in Hmong folkore and legends.  It is an absolute adventure ride that slips between reality and myth, normal and paranormal.  But most of all, it is a fight of good against evil, and a story of those willing to sacrifice and fight for others.  Throughout this novel, a mantra is often repeated, once which I think the author, a Vietnam Vet, knows well…”Two salt tablets, a canteen of water, and push on.”

Read this book.  It’s so good on so many levels.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

T. W. Dittmer’s full name is Timothy Watson Dittmer.

He was raised in Gary, Indiana, the son of a steelworker who turned to preaching the Gospel. After high school, he joined the Army, volunteered for service in Vietnam, then reenlisted for service in Vietnam. When his time with the Army was over, he studied music, digital electronics, and information technology.

He started writing music and poetry in high school, and has carried the love of those arts through his life.

He now lives quietly with his wife in Michigan.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

Self-published Spotlight: Love Potion Just in Time by Kerri Hunter

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Savannah knew that money and magic didn’t mix, but the Inn needed Katrina’s money and Katrina needed the love potion. What could possibly go wrong? Well, the love potion for starters, and now Savannah’s in a race against time to find the antidote. Meanwhile, she’s falling for Rylan but will he still feel the same once the love potion is reversed?

READ THIS ON KINDLE VELLA

On Kindle Vella, the first three episodes are free, and then you purchase additional episodes (chapters) with tokens. It costs $1.99 for 200 tokens. 200 tokens is enough for 8 chapters. Amazon may give you free tokens to start.

Book Tour, Q&A, and Book Review: The Old Dragon’s Head

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Constructed of stone and packed earth, the Great Wall of 10,000 li protects China’s northern borders from the threat of Mongol incursion. The wall is also home to a supernatural beast: the Old Dragon. The Old Dragon’s Head is the most easterly point of the wall, where it finally meets the sea.

In every era, a Dragon Master is born. Endowed with the powers of Heaven, only he can summon the Old Dragon so long as he possess the dragon pearl.

It’s the year 1400, and neither the Old Dragon, the dragon pearl, nor the Dragon Master, has been seen for twenty years. Bolin, a young man working on the Old Dragon’s Head, suffers visions of ghosts. Folk believe he has yin-yang eyes and other paranormal gifts.When Bolin’s fief lord, the Prince of Yan, rebels against his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor, a bitter war of succession ensues in which the Mongols hold the balance of power. While the victor might win the battle on earth, China’s Dragon Throne can only be earned with a Mandate from Heaven – and the support of the Old Dragon.

Bolin embarks on a journey of self-discovery, mirroring Old China’s endeavour to come of age. When Bolin accepts his destiny as the Dragon Master, Heaven sends a third coming of age – for humanity itself. But are any of them ready for what is rising in the east?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Justin Newland

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.

His Books

The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind. 

The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times. 

Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution. 

His latest, The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery.

Find Justin online:

Facebook

Website

Q&A With Author Justin Newland

Below is a fun and informative interview with Justin Newland

Let’s go beyond the bio. Tell us a little more about yourself.  What is something most people would not know about you? 

I was born three days before end of the end of the year, making me a Capricorn. Look, someone has to be one. We’re a strange hybrid of half-fish, half-goat. I mean, who would want to be one of those? Capricorns don’t tend to get invited to parties because a. The hosts don’t know whether to feed us plankton or tufts of grass and b. We’re boring, practical people, plodders who just work, work, work. You could either end up with a nasty kettle of fish like Al Capone or Howard Shipman or, better still, a person with deep religious/spiritual views such as Martin Luther King or Jesus Christ. I’d like to think I’m on the religious/spiritual Capricorn spectrum.  

The Capricorn symbol is a combination of the letters ‘V S’, which stands for ‘Very Serious’. To compensate for this onerous skill, I found it necessary to develop a keen sense of humour.

Your specialty is combining history with fantasy and the supernatural, as you’ve done in previous novels.  What inspired you to choose 1400s China for the setting of this book?

The 14th Century was a time of profound change in the history of the world. For example, it saw the end of the feudal system of government, and the start of our modern era with its cult of the individual, the industrial revolution, and propensity for democracy.  In 1368, China ejected the Mongols and formed a new dynasty, The Ming, meaning the Bright. So, in 1400, when the novel is set, China was re-finding and re-building itself, and seeking a new identity with which to move forward into modern times. Even so, it was probably the most advanced nation and culture in the world at the time.

I also chose Chinese society to write about because of its deep-seated belief in demons, ghosts, and gods, which played perfectly into my love of the supernatural.

Having previously read The Abdication, I know that the infusion of magical realism or the supernatural into your work really sets your books apart.  Were there books you personally read earlier in life that inspired that touch of magic in your writing?

My early loves and influences in literature were mostly existentialists: Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Herman Hesse. Only later did I enjoy fantasy writers like Frank Herbert, and magic realism authors such as Borges and Marques.

I believe that we as human beings are much more influenced and guided by the conscious and semi-conscious aspects of our lives – such as dreams, feelings, knowings, clairvoyance, and even coincidences and serendipitous events – than we would readily admit. And I try to reflect this in my novels first by telling a story based in recognizable reality, such as the historical record, so that when I introduce the fantastical or the supernatural elements, I plant a nagging doubt in the reader’s mind as to whether those elements are part of the historical record on not.I also like to use ESP elements such as dreams, and clairvoyance, as plot devices to create mystery and drive the story.

What is the process you go through when researching a new novel, and what advice would you give to new writers just beginning to research historical fiction?

I like to find one book, usually a history book, but it may be an autobiography, that narrates the history of the period that I want to write about. I also want to know not just what happened, but the detail of the setting in which it happened. I want to know what clothes the people wore, what they were made of, what their hygiene was like (if they had any), what their shoes were made of, and what they carried around in their pockets (if they had any pockets at that time). Comment from Bonnie: I could see the evidence of this research while reading The Old Dragon’s Head, as every detail about the characters is so well described. That level of attention really pulls the reader into the story.

My advice to a new author would be – if possible – to write about a period that you have already researched in your life, or a culture that have visited say on holiday, or a period of history that has always fascinated you (preferably all three).

You have independently published several books.  What advice do you have for new authors just starting the Independent/self-publishing process?

Choose you self-publisher carefully. Ask around to find a good one. Join Facebook or LinkedIn groups for authors, and self-published authors, and go on their forums to ask those questions. If you are going to spend your own money publishing your books, then make sure you get your money’s worth. And whatever you do, don’t skimp on getting your books copy-edited and proofread. Comment from Bonnie: I agree. I can’t stress enough how important the editing is. Some reviewers will downgrade your book for just one typo.

Thanks so much, Mr. Newland, for providing such great answers to my questions. 

My pleasure, Bonnie. Thanks for asking such searching questions.

BOOK REVIEW

The Old Dragon’s Head by Justin Newland is a meticulously researched historical novel with a heavy dash of magical realism. It set in China, 1400, in the fairly early years of the Ming Dynasty, which lasted from 1368 to 1644. The reader is instantly swept into this time and place, and we meet a people still struggling to begin a new era. The characters are about as well developed as I’ve ever seen in a historical novel, and their adventures will keep the reader mesmerized. The character of Luli is especially fascinating to me because she is a strong woman in a very difficult time. There are many mysteries in this novel, but the secrets surrounding two of the characters, Bolin and Feng, are especially intriguing. This mystical adventure is rich in Chinese folklore, ancient myths and religious practices, and early 1400s Chinese culture. The Great Wall of China is almost a character itself, holding many secrets and even magic in this story.

The Old Dragon’s Head is well researched and expertly written. Fans of ancient myths, Chinese history, and coming of age adventures will enjoy this book.

I received a free copy of this book via Zooloo’s Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.