Friday, September 30, 2022

#Excerpt: FOREVER ASKOLE by Gail Koger

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gail Koger will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

My name is Ella McAllister, I’m a psychic witch and a healer. My life is kinda nuts. Not only do I have the Coletti hunters chasing me, but now I also have a very determined Askole High Commander after me. Why? I shot his ship down and it crash landed, and it blew up. Yep, itty-bitty pieces everywhere. My bad, but his ship was a dead ringer for a Rodan Marauder, and it was my civic duty to blow the enemy spacecraft out of the sky. Wasn’t it? Any hoo, I healed his owies and boogied.

I thought that was the end of it, but oh no. For some unknown reason, Sariel, the Askole High Commander, decided I would make him the perfect mate. As if. I think the blow to his head made him completely bonkers.

Sariel informed me the mating dance had begun and there was nothing I could do to stop it. The idiot had obviously never dealt with a witch before. I didn’t have the time to play games with him, so I did a little abracadabra alakazam and ran.

Sigh. The persistent Askole found me. Now I have a decision to make. Keep running or surrender to the High Commander. He is a damn good kisser.

Would the mating dance bring two lonely souls together? Who knew?


“He was your lover?” Sariel queried in disbelief.

I cringed with embarrassment. “Briefly. I fell for his lies and didn’t see his true nature until he tried to sell me to the hunters.”

“I will never betray you or lie to you,” Sariel stated.

“So, you keep saying, but I’m not looking for a mate nor do I need one.”

Sariel’s tentacles stood out from his head. “A lie. Your loneliness drove you to bed a traitor.”

Ouch! “Okay, fine. I’m lonely, but…”




“Mating with you,” I enunciated clearly.

“As a warrior, you can challenge me to combat to stop the mating dance.” Sariel’s rather toothy grin was alarming. “Do you dare duel with me?”

In hand-to-hand combat I wouldn’t last ten seconds. “How about I teach you a little-known fact?”

Sariel’s helmet formed over his head, and he asked warily, “What would that be?”

“Never mess with a witch. It doesn’t end well.” I shouted my power word, “Sufflamine!” A thunderous cracking boom rent the air. A second later, a shockwave of energy hit Sariel and flung him out into the ocean.

He hit with a big splash and sank beneath the surface. “Excellent tactical move.”

Seriously? He sounded almost proud of me. “Stay away from me or next time I won’t be so gentle.”

“There is no where you can run that I cannot find you,” Sariel replied.

About the Author:
I was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for the Glendale Police Department, and to keep from going totally bonkers – I mean people have no idea what a real emergency is. Take this for example: I answered, “9-1-1 emergency, what’s your emergency?” And this hysterical woman yelled, “My bird is in a tree.” Sometimes I really couldn’t help myself, so I said, “Birds have a tendency to do that, ma’am.” The woman screeched, “No! You don’t understand. My pet parakeet is in the tree. I’ve just got to get him down.” Like I said, not a clue. “I’m sorry ma’am, but we don’t get birds out of trees.” The woman then cried, “But… What about my husband? He’s up there, too.” See what I had to deal with? To keep from hitting myself repeatedly in the head with my phone, I took up writing.



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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

#Review: THE DUKE'S RULES OF ENGAGEMENT by Jennifer Haymore


  4 of 5 stars

Joanna Porter has had much success as a matchmaker, especially finding love matches for her clients, but when the Matthew, the Duke of Crestmont, hires her, she's determined to find the reserved duke a love match. That is, if she can keep her own feelings for the duke under wraps. Matthew was burned once before when he opened his heart to love and he vowed he'd never let it happen again. He hired Miss Porter to find him a perfect duchess, one that would be an asset to him in her position. He needn't love his wife, just make sure she gave him an heir and a spare. That's all he needed or so he thought. Can the feisty matchmaker show him that he's deserving of love?

I really enjoyed this story. Joanna worked so hard for her clients and her family. It was only through her hard work that they were able to survive in London. I loved her feisty spirit never backing down against the duke. Even when her feelings overwhelmed her, her first priority was for finding the duke the perfect match. Ms. Haymore does a great job of teasing out Matthew's background to his aversion to opening his heart to love once again. I don't think the evil uncle showing up near the end of the story added much to the story though. The uncle had done his damage early in Matthew's taking of the title. Just when everything seemed to be going smoothly, misunderstandings happen threatening to tear Joanna and Matthew apart forever before they finally get their HEA. 

I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

#Review: DUKE MOST WICKED by Lenora Bell


 4 of 5 stars

Brandan Delamar, Duke of Westbury, is on the path to total destruction until he's told by his sister's prim and proper music teacher, Viola Beaton, that he's also ruining his sister's lives. Determined to try and mend his wicked and scandalous ways, West finds it's not so easy to turn things around. He's nearly bankrupt with all his drinking and gambling, and he needs to marry an heiress to refill the duke's coffers, except the more time he spends with Viola, he realizes that she is the only woman he wants to marry. Viola Beaton, the daughter of a disgraced composer, has had a tendre for the Duke of Westbury since she met him, but she's not duchess material. She's penniless and has no social connections that West needs. Falling in love with the duke is the last thing she should do, but it's hard to tell her stubborn heart what to do. Can she keep her distance while instructing his sisters in their music lessons or will she throw caution to the wind and succumb to his wicked ways?

This was an enjoyable story. I loved that Viola was an accomplished music composer in her own right even though no one knows that. Everyone believes it's her father's work, but West convinces her she should claim the winning composition as her own. Viola grew from a shy retiring wallflower to a brilliant and confident woman. I loved West's growth throughout the book from only caring about himself to realizing that he dearly loves his sisters and that his growing affection for Viola is something he can't deny any longer. Ms. Bell teases out the details of West's cruel childhood, and there's a much-needed redemption for him regarding his ducal properties. West's sisters are a delightful addition to the story. I look forward to reading the next story in the series.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.



4 of 5 stars

The second book in the series features Finn Ransome and Tabitha Seaton who both need to marry as quickly as possible--Finn for financial reasons and Tabitha to gain entrance to an intellectual society. What starts out as a marriage of convenience soon turns into something neither of them ever expected. Can these two work together to gain their goals while trying to keep their growing attraction at bay?

I loved that Tabitha was the intellectual powerhouse in this story. It was a nice departure from the usual alpha male story. Tabitha's growth in emotional maturity was a welcome relief as she learned that there was more to life than just book knowledge. Finn was such an honorable man always supporting Tabitha in her aspirations. His self-doubt about his own intellect was heartbreaking until Tabitha begins to show him that his business smarts and insight are as powerful as book smarts. These two grew in emotional maturity and after a few bumps in the road, got their HEA. I can't wait to read Dom's story.

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Monday, September 26, 2022

#Excerpt: THE WILD ROSE AND THE SEA RAVEN by Jennifer Joy Walker



In this dark fairy tale adaptation of a medieval French legend, Issylte must flee the wicked queen, finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the forest. Fate leads her to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her life as a healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom. Tristan of Lyonesse is a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his king or lose everything. When he becomes a warrior of the Tribe of Dana, a gift of Druidic magic might hold the key he seeks. Haunted and hunted. Entwined by fate. Can their passion and power prevail?




“Every tree, plant, flower and herb has an essence. A spirit. A life force.” She gestured to the verdant forest all around. 


Issylte raised her eyes to the lush canopy of trees overhead, the blue sky peeking through the fluffy clouds. She inhaled deeply, the green notes of pine mingling with the rich scent of earth and the tangy fragrance of blossoms in the early summer breeze.


“The essence of the forest can be beneficial. Benevolent. Essential for healing.” She picked up a sprig of red clover and handed it to Issylte with a knowing smile. “Yet others are harmful and deadly.” Maiwenn gestured to the alluring deep purple flowers before them.


Issylte’s breath caught in wonder. She sensed an aura. A tingle in her veins.


Maiwenn’s chestnut eyes bore deeply into hers. “Have you ever felt the thrum of the forest in your veins?” 


Issylte nodded, her eyes wide with discovery and delight. She held Maiwenn’s gaze, nearly breathless with anticipation.


“That, Églantine, is power.” Maiwenn’s eyes were deep brown, like the nourishing earth of the Hazelwood Forest.


“You, my dear princess, are a forest fairy. Like me.” 


With a quick intake of breath, Issylte placed her hands over her mouth in wonder.


“The Goddess has blessed us both with a divine gift. The ability to sense the essence of a plant. To wield its power. The warm, soothing aura of a beneficial herb. The icy sting of a poison.”



AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Enthralled with legends of medieval knights and ladies, dark fairy tales and fantasies about Druids, wizards and magic, Jennifer Ivy Walker always dreamed of becoming a writer. She fell in love with French in junior high school, continuing her study of the language throughout college, eventually becoming a high school teacher and college professor of French.


As a high school teacher, she took her students every year to the annual French competition, where they performed a play she had written, "Yseult la Belle et Tristan la Bête"--an imaginative blend of the medieval French legend of "Tristan et Yseult" and the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast", enhanced with fantasy elements of a Celtic fairy and a wicked witch.


Her debut novel, "The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven"--the first of a trilogy-- is a blend of her love for medieval legends, the romantic French language, and paranormal fantasy. It is a retelling of the medieval French romance of "Tristan et Yseult", interwoven with Arthurian myth, dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande, and otherworldy elements such as Avalonian Elves, Druids, forest fairies and magic.


Explore her realm of Medieval French Fantasy. She hopes her novels will enchant you.








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Friday, September 23, 2022

#FREE: September 24-26, THE UNEXPECTED WEDDING by Debra Elizabeth



Lady Elizabeth Tyndale has endured a string of bad dates. She’s not sure if sharing her opinions and business sense scared potential boyfriends away, but what’s the point of having an opinion if she never expresses it? When her brother and sister-in-law invite her to join them on a trip to San Diego, she reluctantly agrees. Besides, what does she have to lose? She’s certainly not burning up the dating scene in England.

Computer Programmer Jackson ‘Jack’ Stanfield doesn’t date much. He’d rather bury himself in code because computers are simple, but people are complicated. When his college buddy invites him to a BBQ, Jack reluctantly agrees to attend. He’s not prepared for his intense reaction when he meets Elizabeth Tyndale. Can the British beauty draw Jack out of his shell and open his heart to love?

Customer Reviews:

"A fantastic and heartwarming second addition to the series. This is romantic, funny and will keep you turning those pages until the end. I adored the characters and could definitely relate to them. The writing was in such a comfortable and easy-going style and pace." Dark Raven Reviews

"I enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting. It had laughs and sorrows and a Clean romance which I appreciate in a book. It flowed seamlessly from one scene to another. Characters were well defined and the writing was very smooth and unpretentious." Amazon customer

"What an adorable and heartwarming story! I loved this fun and funny little romance so much. The characters were captivating and the story was refreshing! The worldbuilding and plotline were easy to follow and made for a relatable story. It was a smooth and easy read. Yay for the HEA/HFN but I didn't want it to end! I'll be rereading this one again!" Amazon customer


Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

I’d love to! Shy Girls Can’t Date Billionaires is a young adult sweet romance about Christie Klein and Thomas Ashworth III. It’s an enemies-to-lovers trope… These two despise each other upon first meeting! Plus, it’s a billionaire romance. Thomas is the heir to an empire and can have anything he wants with a snap of a finger. Christie meets him after her house burned down and is left with nothing but what she could carry. She constantly questions  his intent, and realizes her own biases when Thomas begins to question her.


Do you have a favorite character?

It has to be my main character Christie. I wrote her like I was inside her head. How could I not love her? She’s ultra shy and hates eye contact. She has difficulty expressing her emotions, but does so through painting artworks that she puts her soul into.


Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?

There’s a character named Meghan who wasn’t in my outline, I just needed someone to say hi to Christie before she moved into a romantic scene. Suddenly, Meghan is playing a vital role in the story! It didn’t change the ending, but it helped develop conflict in the story. I can't wait for you to meet her!


What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?

I like the sense of control and being able to set my own schedule. The freedom really allows me to rapid release if I choose, or if inspiration doesn’t strike, I can push releases back.


What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?

It depends. When I first started writing, I would always listen to music. I would even write while watching TV. I don’t know how I did that. I find it so distracting now! Mostly I write in silence now, which I find really helps me focus. Sometime I’ll listen to ambient music and find that when I do that, I don’t look at my phone!


Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?

ALWAYS OUTLINE! I’m so lost if I don’t and my stories go nowhere. But, I do like to let subplots naturally come about as I write. For example, the above mentioned subplot with Meghan. There is another story in the book that was also not outlined. As long as the main romance is plotted bet by beat, I’m usually good to go.


Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?

Yes! I got a copy edit and a proofread completed before I published. It was definitely money well spent.


What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?

My newsletter has been going strong. If anyone wants to join they can click this link and they will get a free ebook! Also I’m on Instagram and Tiktok - I prefer Instagram, and don’t really understand Tiktok, ha ha!


Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?

Oh my gosh, yes! I tend to forget to post anything about the book when I’m deep into writing the next book. It’s a big struggle. I find if I create a lot of reels ahead of time I can keep up. But if I don’t have that time, I find it really hard.


What’s next for you?

My next book is Shy Girls Can’t Date at Christmas. It’s in the Shy Girls Sweet Romances series and follows a new couple, Ava and Beau. The books aren’t direct sequels, so they will be able to be read out of order. I’m still working on developmental edits and hope to get it finished very soon! It comes out late November.

Shy Girls Can’t Date Billionaires
Milly Rose
Publication date: September 5th 2022
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Young Adult

I never existed until the wrong guy took notice…

I was born shy. And near him, I fall apart. No wonder he can’t stand the sight of me.

After a fire destroys our home, my family is taken in by a billionaire tycoon. His mansion has countless bedrooms, yet my room is next door to his son, Thomas Ashworth III. Yes, he’s as pompous as the name suggests. And, for some reason, he hates my guts.

Even though his arrogance drives me crazy, his chiseled features turn me into a stammering, awkward mess. I hate being stuck with someone I can’t stand. And when he does something unexpectedly kind, it confuses my heart.

When I bump into him in the middle of the night, I’d never guess it lead to us sharing secrets.

He’s impossible to get out of my head. But he wouldn’t consider dating someone like me. Would he?

You will love Christie and Ash. They are stuck together in forced proximity, becoming practically roommates. He is a billionaire, alpha male type who is learning to love. She is the new girl in school, dealing with past trauma. Together they will go from enemies to lovers in an adorable young adult romance.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Author Bio:

Milly Rose is an animal-loving romance enthusiast with a swoon-inducing book formula. Shy girl + hot guy + first kisses. Her YA sweet romance books will have you falling in love every instalment. Milly Rose is the quintessential shy girl, who you can contact via her mailing list and reply to her monthly email blasts! Milly spends her days vying for her cat’s affection, dreaming up her next book boyfriend, and writing a fun meet-cute under candlelight with a lovely brewed cup of tea.


(You will sign up to Milly Rose’s Newsletter and are free to unsubscribe anytime!)

Follow along on Instagram + Tiktok

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Thursday, September 22, 2022

#Review: A LADY NEVER SURRENDERS by Bronwen Evans


  4 of 5 stars

This was a very enjoyable book in a new series. I loved that Tiffany was intelligent, and Wolf recognizes that and doesn't try to minimize her. The more time he spends with her, the more he appreciates her wit and investment strategies. The villain was easily recognizable, but the plot moved along nicely with a few twists and turns to keep me turning the pages. A couple of minor criticisms were there were so many ladies in the story, and it was hard to remember who was who. Also, throughout the book, everyone kept saying Tiffany would make a fantastic countess, but if she married Wolf, she would be a marchioness, not a countess. That was irritating, but certainly not a fatal flaw in the story. I look forward to the next book in the series!

I voluntarily read the advanced reader copy and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Interview with Elisa A Bonnin, STOLEN CITY

 Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?

Stolen City is a YA fantasy heist novel about twin thieves who live on an island city-state that’s been recently colonized by a foreign empire. They work to steal magic artifacts back from their city’s colonizers, but when someone hires them to steal an artifact that once belonged to their mother, they set off a chain of events that ends up with them stealing the city back in the process. At the moment, it’s a standalone, but I would love to write more books if I had the opportunity. 


Do you have a favorite character?

When I was drafting Stolen City, Arian was my favorite character to write, which is why she ended up becoming the protagonist. I loved her fire, how she was always ready with a snarky comment, but also how she is really conflicted deep down and just trying to keep it together. Figuring out how she would eventually resolve her conflict was one of the highlights of writing Stolen City


But when I was revising Stolen City, I really enjoyed working on Liam, Arian’s brother. Like me, Liam is autistic, and I loved getting into his head and working through why he would react to certain situations in certain ways. I also loved writing about magic from his point of view since he has much more experience with it than any other member of the cast. 


Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all? Did the character become the hero/heroine of their own book?

Kaolin is a major character in Stolen City, but he didn’t start out that way. Originally, I meant for his role to be filled by his father, but as I was writing the first draft, I realized that it would be a lot more interesting to see the Empire from the perspective of a citizen roughly the same age as the cast. I switched his father out for Kaolin and haven’t looked back since. 


How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel?

I decided I wanted to be an author when I was eight years old, wrote what I could call my first full-length novel at twelve, and was querying agents by sixteen. But although I didn’t stop or slow down at any point after that, I didn’t get my first book deal until I was twenty-eight, a full twenty years after I’d first started writing. That book deal was for Dauntless and Stolen City, and by the time I got it, I had more than ten completed novels under my belt that I ended up shelving and so many incomplete projects that I’ve honestly lost count. I’ve been rejected hundreds of times, and I didn’t get an agent or offer or representation until two years after that, for what will become my third published novel, Exiles of Ellery West


Since I started so young, I quickly became used to rejection, but I won’t say that it didn’t affect me. By the time I got around to Dauntless, I could feel myself starting to give up, and I submitted Dauntless to Swoon Reads in part so I could give myself a productive break from querying. I’m so happy that Dauntless got chosen for publication, and I wouldn’t change anything about my journey. 


What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?

I listen to music when I write, but it has to be instrumental, because listening to anything with lyrics distracts me. I usually like film or video game soundtracks for this purpose because those are already designed to go with a narrative scene or evoke an emotion in someone who is watching the film or playing the game. Video game soundtracks are especially good because they’re designed to not distract the player, and I find that it’s not hard to write to them. Sometimes, I’ll pick songs that match the scene I’m trying to write and sometimes I’ll put my playlist on shuffle just to see where things go. 


Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?

It totally depends on the book and my answer is different for each project. Stolen City, the book that’s about to be released, was originally written without an outline. When I was finished with it, I realized I would need to tighten up some things, so I made a quick outline for my revision. But Dauntless, my debut novel, was written with a very brief outline that I ended up changing as I went along, and my third novel out in 2024, Exiles of Ellery West, had a full outline as part of its submission process. 


I like writing without an outline because it allows the story to surprise me as well as the reader. It makes writing really fun, like I’m telling a story to myself. But writing with an outline helps me too, especially if I have a deadline. I write faster with an outline, because I don’t have to think about what I’m doing next. 


Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book? Do you try to write every day or carve out certain times during the week?

Since I’m traditionally published, I don’t have to do all the marketing for my book myself, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to do anything. I’ve had to learn how to do quite a lot of marketing for my book, including making regular posts on social media and reaching out to other authors for virtual events. I think this is still an area where I am learning how to manage my time. I enjoy writing, and while I love talking about my books, doing the marketing work is a bit more difficult for me. Thankfully, while I occasionally struggle to carve out time for social media, I haven’t had too much trouble finding time to write my next book.


I write almost every weekday. I treat writing like part of my job and schedule time to write in my daily calendar. I write on weekdays, but just like my regular work, I try not to write on weekends and holidays. Having that rest time is important to me because it helps me manage my energy and be a more effective writer later on. I usually block about half an hour to an hour each day to write, and that’s been working well for me so far.


Besides writing, do you have any other passions?

I’m a complete nerd so I love reading fantasy and science fiction novels and playing video games, especially role-playing games. Thanks to the pandemic, I’ve also gotten back into cross-stitching. I’m horrible at art, but I’m great at following instructions, and I love seeing the picture come together over time. I also love travelling, and I’ve been trying to do more than that ever since I moved to Europe about three years ago.


Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?

Dogs, chocolate, coffee, text and daytime definitely! 


What’s next for you?

I’ve mentioned it a few times in this interview, but I have another book coming out in 2024. It’s called Exiles of Ellery West and is a YA contemporary fantasy / dark academia about a Filipino-American girl named Faith who is returning to magic school for her final year. 


The previous year, Faith and her best friend accidentally awakened something in the forest outside their school, and her friend went missing. Faith is back, but on probation. If she messes up once, she’ll be expelled, and her magic sealed away forever. Except it turns out her friend isn’t actually gone but is being controlled by the entity they awakened. To save her and the rest of the students at the school, Faith will have to team up with the other probationary students. It’s a story about magic and loss and found family and being yourself, and I can’t wait for you all to read it!

Stolen City
Elisa A. Bonnin
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: September 20th 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Twin thieves attempt to pull off a daring heist in Stolen City, the sophomore fantasy novel from Dauntless author Elisa A. Bonnin.

The city of Leithon is under Imperial occupation and Arian Athensor has made it her playground.

In stealing magical artifacts for the Resistance, bounding over rooftops to evade Imperial soldiers, and establishing herself as the darling thief of the underground, Arian lives a life wrapped in danger and trained towards survival. She’ll steal anything for the right price, and if she runs fast enough, she can almost escape the fact that her mother is dead, her father is missing, and her brother, Liam, is tamping down a wealth of power in a city that has outlawed magic.

But then the mysterious Cavar comes to town with a job for the twins: to steal an artifact capable of ripping the souls from the living–the same artifact that used to hang around the neck of Arian’s mother. Suddenly, her past is no longer buried under adrenaline but intimately tied to the mission at hand, and Arian must face her guilt and pain head-on in order to pull off the heist.

As Arian and Cavar infiltrate the strongest fortress in Leithon and Liam joins the Resistance as their resident mage, the twins find themselves embroiled in court politics and family secrets, and the mission becomes more than just another artifact theft. The target is now the Imperial rule, and Arian will go to any length necessary to steal her city back.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Author Bio:

Elisa A. Bonnin was born and raised in the Philippines, after which she moved to the United States to study chemistry and later oceanography. After completing her doctorate, she moved to Germany to work as a postdoctoral scientist. A lifelong learner, Elisa is always convinced that she should “maybe take a class in something” and as a result, has amassed an eclectic collection of hobbies. But writing will always be her true love. Publishing a book has been her dream since she was eight years old, and she is thrilled to finally be able to share her stories. Dauntless is her first novel.

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Monday, September 19, 2022

#Excerpt: THE UNLIKELY SPY by Sophie Schiller

The Unlikely Spy
Sophie Schiller
Publication date: August 21st 2022
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance, Thriller

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.

Goodreads / Amazon


Smith took her arm and led her outside. They walked in relative silence as they headed to the park beside the Grand Hotel where they settled on a bench beneath the rustling trees.

“Tell me about your husband,” he said. “Why did he cut you out of his will?”

She rubbed her arms, trying to comfort herself. Slowly she told him about her life, how Axel had started drinking, how their marriage had crumbled. She related her shock at discovering that Axel had had an affair with the housekeeper. And how he had an illegitimate son to whom he’d left his entire estate. She told him how she hoped to get her house, but it seemed as if the only way to achieve that goal was by gambling.

Smith listened all the time, never taking his eyes off her. When she had finished, he emitted a low whistle. “If you continue gambling, you’ll lose a lot more than your shirt. You could end up in serious debt. You’re a smart woman. You should know how risky it is.”

“But what are my options?” she said.

Smith lit a cigarette and took a few puffs. “You’re one of the most capable, determined people I’ve ever met. You’re a problem-solver by nature, a tactical thinker. I see it in your eyes. I see it in the way you play cards. You can do whatever you set your mind to it. But if you continue down this path of self-destruction, you’ll end up like your father.”

“That’s easy for you to say. I’ve got nothing to fall back on. Gambling is the only thing I know. I feel like I’m caught in a vicious trap.”

“Emma, listen to me,” he grabbed her by the shoulders. “You have to quit this gambling before it ruins your life.”

“What do you care so much?” she asked. “That’s the one thing I don’t understand.”

“Because I think you can help me.”


“Yes, I think you can help me. I think you can be useful to me and I to you. I think we can help each other.”

“Can you be more specific?”

“I’ve been watching you these past few days. You’re smart, you think fast on your feet. You have a good memory, and you’re highly observant. But above all, you don’t quit. You go after what you want and let nothing get in your way. You have all the right qualities for a job I have in mind.”

“What kind of job? And even if you had a job, it couldn’t possibly pay me enough to buy my house back.”

He looked at her inquisitively. “How badly do you want your house back?”

“Very badly.”

“Then I have a proposition for you. If you’ll agree to work for me, I’ll buy your house back. I’ll pay you enough money to give you a second chance at life. You’ll never have to gamble again. You’ll have everything you want.”

She eyed him skeptically. “Why would you do that for me?”

“Because I need your help.”

She thought for a moment. “You still haven’t told me about this job of yours. I have to know what it entails. Of course, there are some things I will never do.”

His face turned serious. “It’s a job that requires discretion, trustworthiness, and first-rate observational skills, all the qualities I’ve seen in you. It also requires extreme caution. But the person I hire must also be courageous. You have to have nerves of steel.”

She got up to leave. “Something about your job sounds suspicious and I’m not sure I can trust you. Besides, I want my freedom. I don’t want to have to answer to anybody. Can you understand that?”

“What good has all your freedom gotten you?” he asked. “You’ve been free to make all the wrong choices in your life. You’ve been free to get into debt. You’ve been free to gamble everything away. I’m offering you the chance to break free of all that. I’m offering you a second chance, Emma. Not many people out there get a second chance. Think about it. Did your father get a second chance?”

“You think I’m just a hopeless gambler like him.”

“No, Emma. If I did, I wouldn’t be offering you this job.”

The look on his face startled her. She knew he was serious.

She backed away from him, shaking her head. “I’m sorry to have taken your time, Mr. Smith, but I’m not interested. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s getting late and I’ve had too much to drink.”

Emma hurried through the park, back to her villa on Norre Gade, far away from Mr. Smith and his intrusive meddling. She had no intention of working for him or anyone else. She would make it on her own. She didn’t need his job to get her house back.

She didn’t know how wrong she was.

Author Bio:

Sophie Schiller is an author of historical fiction and spy thrillers. 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.” Kirkus Reviews called her latest novel, THE LOST DIARY OF ALEXANDER HAMILTON, "an engaging coming-of-age story of heartbreak, bravery, honor, and triumph." Her latest novel is THE UNLIKELY SPY, a historical spy thriller set during WWI. She graduated from American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Interview with Colette R Harrell, LATER

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series? 

I am excited to share my latest book, Later, with you and your followers. This book is so different from anything I've done before. It's a historical set in 1859 and current in 2022. It's YA as one of the pivotal characters is a 12-year-old enslaved genius, Junie. It's an interracial romance as enslaved Sarah, and ex-Special Forces officer Zachary Trumble create a unique connection across time. It's science fiction and suspenseful because our protagonists are chased across two periods. Ooh, I sharing too much? Get your copy now and snuggle up in your easy chair for what I consider a great read (IMHO).

Do you have a favorite character? 

How do you choose your favorite child? I travailed and birthed each one. I have unconditional love for even the ones who are bad to the bone. How could a good mother not love them all in spite of themselves?

Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all? 

Did the character become the hero/heroine of their own book? 

Later was a book about two adults in a forbidden love affair. Then comes the little heroine's younger brother, Junie. He's wily, strategic, humorous, and flawed. He grew on me, and his role expanded in the book. He brings justice to an unjust system. I want to know Junie in reality.

Did you try the traditional route to publishing, i.e. querying agents/publishers? 

Yes. I have traditional books and an agent and Later is on audio through a traditional publisher. However, Later is also my first indie published book in paper and e-book format. I'm taking an opportunity to do this myself and step out on faith.

How long before you got your offer of representation/your first contract? Was it for your first novel? 

Yes, my first novel was picked up a month after my agent shopped it. The stars aligned.

What factors influenced your decision to go with a particular agent or publisher? 

My first agent was introduced to me by someone I trusted in the industry. She's a New York Times best selling author and has several books to film. It was a wonderful opportunity.  I'm grateful. My  new agent is someone I met in the industry who works with hybrid authors who want to do something different in choosing what is under contract and what is an author's indie effort. I find it the best of both worlds.

Briefly describe your journey in writing your first or latest book. Have you joined any FB author groups to inspire and help you along the way?  

I fell and broke my ankle in three places. Bed bound, Later evolved from an idea to my newest novel. I'm in numerous Facebook author groups, and I love supporting their work and hearing the latest publishing news through their connections. They are also instrumental in providing tidbits of literary knowledge that enhance my skills. I've learned so much.

What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?

 Like most people, you weigh the pros and cons and then take an educated step toward your pros. I did the work to the best of my ability and didn't skimp on editors, book covers, or interior design. I'm praying I can put Later in enough hands for my indie debut to be profitable.
If you used a graphic designer/publisher’s designer, how involved were you during the creative process for your cover? 

I was very involved. My first cover and designer didn't work. I lost money, but I wanted my cover art to draw an audience. My current book cover is the result of a lot of research to find the right designer. After outstanding communication and her expertise in fulfilling the vision, I was more than pleased. She's amazing!


What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?  

Silence is golden. However, when I write something that has me dancing around, a little celebratory jig is in order!

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?  

I start with a seat of my pants flow. Once I get the gist of where I'm headed, I outline. Then I promptly dismantle the outline as I continue to write because, at heart, I'm a pantser.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing? 

My manuscript went through three levels of editing. It's costly, but my readers deserve it. My editors are professionals with contracts with multiple publishers. One of them was my editor at the publishing agency where I had my former contract, and she's someone I trust.

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?  

I learned I didn't know half of what I thought I did. Thank goodness for the right people being open to guiding this journey.


Is your book available in audio format? Briefly describe how your narrator was chosen?  

Yes, it's in audio. This was a contract I have with an audio publisher; they picked the narrator. I'm looking forward to the reaction from my listeners.

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?  Do you try to write everyday or carve out certain times during the week? 

I write Monday through Friday, even if it's editing what I've just written. I also write in creative spurts, at 2 am, on weekends, on my phone . . .

What advice would you give a new author just entering the self-publishing arena? 

Don't skimp on quality. You'll have to spend money for skilled, experienced assistance. It's so worth it. Research your choices and trust their guidance. Attend workshops, read well-reviewed writer's how to books.

Besides writing, do you have any other passions? 

Reading! It's fundamental. I'd rather be reading than most extracurricular activities.

Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night 

I love this list. Let's go! Dog. Vanilla (does that make me boring?). Tea. Talk. Day and night.

What’s next for you? 

I'm going to finish my book, A Life Kissing Frogs. It's a grown-up romantic comedy fairy tale. Yessss!!!




In 1859, Junie Benson was a twelve-year-old genius and enslaved. His older sister, Sari, had her own difficulties, including being auctioned to the highest bidder. She was also beautiful, flighty, and had a repetitive dream about a hazel-eyed white stranger. 


Everybody with the good sense God had given them knew even her dream was forbidden. 

In 2022, three things troubled ex-Special Forces Lt. Colonel Zachary Trumble . . . his new job as director of security for Burstein Labs, his loveless marriage, and the green-eyed siren who won’t let him sleep in peace. 


Then time’s fickle hand brewed a recipe for a miracle . . . Stir in three runaway slaves, an avalanche, one mad scientist, and an unhappy, in-love hero to create a dish for revenge best served . . . Later.


Book Information

Release Date: September 1, 2022

Publisher:  Intentional Entertainment LLC

Soft Cover: 204 pages; (Price TBA); eBook $4.99



About the Author


Colette R. Harrell made her debut as an author with the book; The Devil Made Me Do It. As a published author, she has enjoyed meeting her readers; for her, it’s all surreal. She holds a master’s degree and worked as a director of social services, which allowed her a front-row seat to the conflict and struggles of everyday people. 


Her day is filled as an Author, Playwright, Story Editor, Wife, Mother, Grandmother, and child of God. She wears many titles allowing twenty-four hours a day to meet the challenge. 


 Her goal in writing is to engage readers and provide them with golden nuggets of wisdom that feed and titillate. Her biggest lesson is that it takes a village to raise a dream. She loves and appreciates her village. 


She prays everything God has for you manifests in your life. And that you stretch and reach for it! 


Colette’s latest book is the historical/interracial/supernatural/paranormal Later.


You can visit her website at  or connect with her on TwitterFacebookGoodreads or Instagram.