Tattoo of Crimson by Sarah Chislon: Author Guest Post and Giveaway



Hello all, please join me in welcoming author Sarah Chislon to my blog today. Sarah is on virtual tour for her book Tattoo of Crimson and she’s stopping by today to discuss her Top Ten Writing Practices. Read on for details about her book and also for a chance to win a $25.00 Amazon gift card. Details below.

Book details:

Tattoo of Crimson by Sarah Chislon
(Blood of the Fae, #1)
Publication date: January 17th 2023
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Mystery

Synopsis:

Society, suitors, and…serial murders?

As much as she desires to please her family, gently-bred herbalist Jessa Caldwell has no intention of making a suitable match—not when she’s seeking the truth about the taint of the fae that lies within her. If she’s to escape the madness brought on by fae-touch, she must devote her energies to seeking a cure.

But then mysterious tattoos begin to appear on the citizens of Avons. None recall receiving these harbingers of death, but all die at the hand of an untraceable killer days or weeks after being marked.

When the tattoo appears on her beloved mentor, Jessa seeks the Magistry with information on the case—yet they refuse to consider her findings, so she must risk both social censure and her own safety to hunt for the killer herself.

Her one possible ally represents her greatest fear—the encroaching Otherworld consuming her mind—and may well undo all her efforts to control her fae-touch. Yet if she forsakes the offered aid, the killer will go free.

Something sinister stalks the streets of her city, and she must decide…how far will she go to stop the killing?

Tattoo of Crimson, a gaslamp fantasy novel, is the first book in the Blood of the Fae series. If you like quick-minded heroines who solve cases with logic and intuition, beautiful yet deadly fae, and Otherworldly intrigues, then you’ll love this mystery set in a world of manners and mythical monsters.

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63216952-tattoo-of-crimson

Purchase links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3GOMlGz
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tattoo-of-crimson-sarah-chislon/1142912533?ean=9781958755037

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/tattoo-of-crimson/id6444664981
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/tattoo-of-crimson


Top Ten Writing Practices
by Sarah Chislon

When I consider my writing practices, I find that I must start with mindset, which provides the foundation for developing the more technical skills needed to write fiction. Without further ado, here are ten tips for writers.

1. Know your strengths and utilize them in your writing. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of Clifton Strengths, I highly recommend checking out the resources offered by Becca Syme, which help interpret the Clifton strengths for the writing community. The central concept behind Clifton Strengths is that we go further faster using our strengths to approach any area of work, life, and creativity. So it’s worth learning your own unique combination of strengths and using them as a springboard for success.
2. Don’t compare your process to others. Certainly, learn and glean from those before you on the path—and be willing to experiment—but don’t expect to fit into the same exact box as another writer (see the first point about unique combinations of strengths).
3. Keep your creative well filled. Enjoy great books, long walks in nature, quiet and meditation, or the company of others—whatever keeps your mind and creativity stimulated.
4. Cultivate curiosity, an inquiring mind, and a sense of wonder. As Albert Einstein once said, “imagination is everything.”
5. Never stop learning craft. Read books on writing. Take courses. Read excellent books in your genre and outside of it.
6. Be willing to write a mediocre first draft. Like all these tips, your milage may vary, depending on your strengths, but I find it invaluable to let the words pour out in the first draft without worrying about perfection. Then I flesh things out and polish during edits.
7. Track your time. I’m in the middle of writing a series with preorders, and the fact that I’ve tracked my time writing prior books has given me the knowledge of how long it typically takes me to draft, edit, and produce a finished novel. That’s been immeasurably helpful in allowing me to set deadlines for preorders with more confidence.
8. Know your why. Why are you writing—in general and for a particular story? It will shape the decisions you make during the process.
9. Seek excellence. I want to know that I’ve crafted each story I release into the world with as much skill and excellence in craft as I currently possess. Of course, as writers, we’re learning and growing with each book, but take the time to develop your work well, whatever that looks like for you. 10. Enjoy the journey. It’s a gift to write and create, so if you find you’re approaching burnout/not enjoying the process, then take a step back and make time to reignite the spark that got you writing in the first place.


Giveaway Details:
Tour-wide giveaway (INT)
$25 Amazon gift card
Ends Feb 2nd

CLICK HERE TO ENTER TO WIN Good luck!




AUTHOR BIO:

Sarah Chislon lives in Virginia with her husband and three daughters. When she’s not writing, she’s homeschooling her children and running a web development business with her husband. As an avid reader and a lifelong story-weaver, she delights in creating fantastic worlds and exploring them alongside her characters.

To find out more about her, visit sarahchislon.com.


Special thanks to Xpresso Tours and thank you Sarah! Click here for the rest of the tour stops.

Book Spotlight: The Road to Christmas by Sheila Roberts


Hello all. Today I’m spotlighting The Road to Christmas by Sheila Roberts which seems like a wonderful holiday read. Read on for more plus an excerpt…



About the Book:

Title: The Road to Christmas
Author: Sheila Roberts
Publisher: Harlequin (MIRA)
Pages: 320
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Romance

BOOK BLURB:

Michelle and Max are not planning on a happy holiday. Their marriage is in shambles and the D word has entered their vocabulary. But now their youngest daughter, Julia, wants everyone to come to her new house in Idaho for Christmas, and she’s got the guest room all ready for Mom and Dad. Oh, joy.
Their other daughters, Audrey and Shyla, are driving up from California and hoping to meet a sexy rancher for Audrey along the way. What they don’t plan on is getting stranded on a ranch when the car breaks down.

The ones with the shortest drive are Grandma and Grandpa–also known as Hazel and Warren. It’s still a bit of a trek, and Hazel doesn’t like the idea of driving all that way in snow, but Warren knows they’ll have no problem. They have a reliable car–and snow tires and chains if they need them. They’ll be fine.

Surprises lie in store for all three sets of intrepid travelers as they set out on three very different adventures, all leading to one memorable family Christmas.

Book Information
Release Date: January 21, 2021
Publisher: Harlequin (MIRA)
Soft Cover: ISBN:978-0778386568; 320 pages; $15.29; eBook $11.99
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3BOS5yL
Walmart: https://bit.ly/3UAwIZs

Book Excerpt:
Chapter One

Michelle Turnbull would have two turkeys in her house for Thanksgiving. One would be on the table, the other would be sitting at it.

“I can’t believe he’s still there,” said Ginny, her longtime clerk at the Hallmark store she managed. “You two are splitting so why not pull the bandage off and be done with it?”
Pull the bandage off. There was an interesting metaphor. Pulling off a bandage implied that a wound was healing. The wound that was her marriage wasn’t healing. It was fatal.
She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and went to unlock the door. “Because I don’t want to ruin the holidays for the girls.”
“You think they aren’t going to figure out what’s going on with you two sleeping in separate bedrooms now? Don’t be naive.” Ginny may have been her subordinate, but that didn’t stop her from acting like Michelle’s mother. A ten year age difference and a long friendship probably contributed to that.
Michelle turned the sign on the door to open. “I’ll tell them he snores.”
“All of a sudden, out of the blue?”
“Sleep apnea. He’s gained some weight.”
Ginny gave a snort. “Not that much. Max may have an inch hanging over the belt line but he’s still in pretty good shape.”
“You don’t have to be overweight to have sleep apnea.”
“I guess,” Ginny said dubiously. “But, Michelle, you guys have been having problems on and off for the last three years. Your girls have to know this is coming so I doubt your sleep apnea excuse is going to fool anyone.”
Probably not. Much as she and Max had tried to keep their troubles from their daughters, bits of bitterness and reproach had leaked out over time in the form of sarcasm and a lack of what Shyla would have referred to as PDA’s. Michelle couldn’t remember the last time they’d held hands or kissed in front of any of their daughters. In fact, it was hard to remember the last time they’d kissed. Period.
“You have my permission to kick him to the curb as of yesterday,” Ginny went on. “If you really want your holidays to be happy get him gone.”
“Oh yeah, that would make for happy holidays,” Michelle said. “Audrey and Shyla would love coming home to find their father moved out just in time for Thanksgiving dinner and their grandparents missing.”
“If you’re getting divorced that’s what they’ll find next year,” Ginny pointed out.
“But at least they’ll have a year to adjust,” Michelle said. “And this is Julia’s first Christmas in her new home and with a baby. I don’t want to take the shine away from that.”
The coming year would put enough stress on them all. She certainly wasn’t going to kick it all off on Thanksgiving. That would make for happy holidays.
Happy holidays. Who was she kidding? The upcoming holidays weren’t going to be happy no matter what.
“Well, I see your point,” said Ginny. “But good luck pulling off the old sleep apnea deception.”
Their first customer of the day came in and that ended all talk of Michelle’s marriage miseries. Which was fine with her.
After work, she stopped at the grocery store and picked up the last of what she needed for Thanksgiving – the whipped cream for the fruit salad and to top the pumpkin and pecan pies, the extra eggnog, for Shyla, her eggnog addict, and Dove dark chocolates for Audrey and Constant Comment tea, which was Hazel’s favorite. Hazel. World’s best mother-in-law. When she and Max divorced he’d take Hazel and Warren, her second parents, with him. The thought made it hard to force a smile for the checkout clerk. She stepped out of line. She needed one more thing.
She hurried back to the candy aisle and picked up more dark chocolate, this time for her personal stash. She was going to need it.

Hazel and Warren were the first to arrive, coming in the day before Thanksgiving, Hazel bringing pecan pie and the makings for her famous Kahlua yams.
“Hello, darling,” Hazel said, greeting her with a hug. “You look lovely as always. I do wish I had you slender figure,” she added as they stepped inside.
“You look fine just the way you are,” Michelle assured her.
“I swear, the older I get the harder the pounds cling to my hips,” Hazel said.
“You look fine, hon,” said Warren as he gave Michelle one of his big bear hugs. “She’s still as pretty as the day I met her,” he told Michelle. “Yes, all twenty new wrinkles and five new pounds. On top of the others,” she said with a shake of her head.
“Who notices pounds when they’re looking at your smile?” Michelle said to her. “Here, let me take your coats.”
Hazel set down the shopping bag full of goodies and shrugged out of her coat with the help of her husband. “Where’s our boy?”
Who knew? Who cared?.
“Out running errands,” she said. “I’ll text him that you’re here. First, let’s get you settled.”
“I’m ready for that,” Hazel said. “The drive from Oregon gets longer every time.”
“It’s not that far,” said Warren, and followed her up the stairs.
Half an hour later Max had returned and he and his father were in the living room, the sports channel keeping them company, and the two women were in the kitchen, enjoying a cup of tea. The yams were stored in the fridge and the pecan pie was in its container, resting on the counter next to the pumpkin pie Michelle had taken out of the oven. A large pot of vegetable soup was bubbling on the stove and French bread was warming. It would be a light evening meal to save everyone tummy room for the next day’s feast.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the girls,” Hazel said.
“So am I,” said Michelle.

She hated that all her girls had moved so far away. Not that she minded hopping a plane to see either Audrey or Shyla. It wasn’t a long flight from SeaTac International to either San Francisco International or LAX, but it also wasn’t the same as having them living nearby. Julia wasn’t as easily accessible, which made her absence either harder to take. She’d been the final baby bird to leave the nest, and her departure had been hardest. Perhaps because she was the last. Perhaps because it seemed she grew up and left all in one quick motherly blink – college, the boyfriend, the pregnancy, marriage, then moving. It had been hard to let go of her baby. And even harder with that baby taking the first grandchild with her.
Maybe, in some ways though, it wasn’t a bad thing that her daughters were living in different states because they hadn’t been around that much to see the final deterioration of their parents’ marriage.
Michelle hoped they still wouldn’t see it, hoped like a magician she could use the art of misdirection. She consulted her phone. It was almost time for Audrey’s flight to land. Shyla’s was getting in not long after.
“Audrey’s going to text when they’re here,” she said.
“It will be lovely to all be together again,” said Hazel. “Family is so important.”
Was that some sort of message, a subtle judgement? “How about some more tea?” Michelle suggested. And more chocolate for me.
Another fifteen minutes and Max and Warren were on their way to pick up the girls, and forty minutes after that they were coming through the door, Shyla’s laugh echoing all the way out to the kitchen. “We’re here!” she called.
“Let the fun begin,” said Hazel, and the two women left the kitchen.
They got to the front hall, in time to see her husband heading up the stairs with their suitcases and Warren relieving them of their coats.
“Hi Mom,” said Audrey, and hurried to hug her mother.
Shyla was right behind her.
“Welcome home,” Michelle said to her girls, hugging first one, then the other. “It’s so good to have you home.” “It’s not like we’ve been in a foreign country,” Shyla teased.
“May as well be,” Michelle said. “And before you remind me how much we text and talk on the phone, it’s much better having you here in person where I can hug you.”
“Hugs are good,” Audrey agreed.
“We brought you chocolate,” Shyla said, handing over a gift bag.
Michelle knew what it was even before she looked inside. Yep, Ghirardelli straight from San Francisco. “I know you can get it anywhere, but this is right from the source,” said Shyla.
More important, it was right from the heart.
“And you don’t have to share,” Audrey said. “We brought Dad some, too.”
Sharing with Dad. There was little enough she and Max shared anymore. “That was sweet of you.”
“We figured you might need it,” Audrey said.
Was she referring to Michelle’s troubled relationship with their father?
“After last Thanksgiving,” Shyla added. Michelle breathed a sigh of relief. Of course, they were talking about the power outage, which had ruined both the turkey and the pie she’d been baking.
The girls had loved it, settling in to play cards by candlelight. Michelle had been frustrated. And far from happy with her husband who’d said, “Chill, Chelle. It’s no big deal.”
It had been to her, but she’d eventually adjusted, lit the candles on the table and served peanut butter and jelly sandwiches along with olives and pickles and the fruit salad she’d made. Hazel had declared the meal a success.
“Oh, and this.” Shyla dug in the bag she was still carrying and pulled out a jar of peanut butter. “For just in case we have to eat peanut butter sandwiches again.”
Hazel chuckled. “You girls think of everything.”
“Yes, we do,” Audrey said, and from her capacious purse pulled out a box of crackers. “In case we run out of bread.”
“Now, we’re set,” said Michelle, and smiled. It was the first genuine smile she’d worn since the last time she’d been with the girls. It felt good.
“Oh, and I have something special for you, Gram,” Shyla said to Hazel. “It’s in my suitcase. Come on upstairs.” And see where the girls were staying and wonder why they were stuffed in the sewing room and not the other guest room. “Why don’t you bring it down here?” Michelle suggested.
“I should stir my stumps,” Hazel said, and followed her up the stairs.
Audrey fell in behind and Michelle trailed after, her stomach starting to squirm. Suddenly she wasn’t so sure about that excuse she’d invented for changing the sleeping arrangements between her husband and herself. Which she was now going to have to do as her daughters’ sleeping arrangements had been changed because of it. Trying to sell their parents’ separate bedrooms to her daughters in front of her mother-in-law. The squirming got worse.
But sharing a bed had become a joke and the joke was over. After their last fight the D word had gone from threat to reality. They were nothing more than roommates – rotten ones at that – and roommates didn’t share a bed.
They passed the first bedroom at the top of the stairs, which had once been Audrey’s and had been serving as a guest room ever since she graduated from college and got her first apartment. It was where Warren and Hazel slept when they came to visit. Then came the second room, which had been Julia’s but was serving as Max’s new bedroom. The door was shut, hiding the evidence. Shyla reached for the doorknob, assuming she’d be sleeping in it as she often did.
“Not that room,” Michelle said quickly. “I have you girls together,” she said, leading to Shyla’s old room, which was serving as the sewing room. It still had a pull-out bed in it for overflow sleeping when Michelle’s brother’s family came to stay. She hurried to open it, revealing the girls’ luggage sitting on the floor. Audrey looked at Michelle, her brows pulled together. “We’re in the sewing room?”
“You girls don’t mind sharing a room, right?” Michelle said lightly.
“What happened to Julia’s old room?” Shyla asked.
“We’re not using that room for that now,” Michelle hedged.
“More storage?” Shyla moved back down the hall and opened the door. “What the …?”
“Your father’s sleeping there,” Michelle said. Hazel looked at her in surprise, igniting a fire in her cheeks. “Dad?” Audrey repeated.
“He snores,” said Michelle. “Sleep apnea.”
“Sleep apnea,” Hazel repeated, trying out a foreign and unwanted word.
“Has he done a sleep test?” Audrey asked.
“Not yet,” said Michelle. She smiled, kept her gaze averted from her daughter’s eyes.
“Gosh, Mom, that’s a serious sleep disorder.”
“How come you didn’t tell us?” Shyla wanted to know.
“Has he done a sleep test? Is he getting a CPAP machine?” Audrey sounded ready to panic.
“Don’t worry, everything’s under control,” Michelle lied. Audrey looked ready to keep probing so Michelle hustled to change the subject. “Shyla, what did your bring Gram?”
“Wait ‘til you see it. It’s so cute,” Shyla said, hurrying to unzip her suitcase. “I found it in a thrift shop.”
“Still shopping smart. I’m proud of you,” Hazel said.
“I learned from the best – you and Mom.” She pulled out a little green stuffed felt cactus inserted in a miniature terracotta pot and surrounded by beach glass. “It’s a pin cushion,” she said as she presented it. “That is darling,” said Hazel.
From where she stood by the doorway Michelle let out a breath then took another. Like a good magician performing sleight of hand, she had directed attention in another direction and pulled off her trick. you see trouble, now you don’t.
How long could she keep up the act?

About the Author 

USA Today and Publishers Weekly best-selling author Sheila Roberts has written over fifty books under various names, ranging from romance to self-improvement. Over three million books have been sold to date. Her humor and heart have won her a legion of fans and her novels have been turned into movies for both the Lifetime and Hallmark channels. When she’s not out dancing with her husband or hanging out with her girlfriends, she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends and chocolate.

Her latest book is the women’s fiction/romance The Road to Christmas (Harlequin/Mira, September ’22)

Visit her website at http://www.sheilasplace.com. Connect with her at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Special thanks to Pump Up Your Book Promotions.

Author Guest Post: Operation Mom! by Reenita M. Hora

Hello everyone. Please join me in welcoming author Reenita M. Hora as she stops by for a guest post today. I have to say I’m impressed about George Michael! First, a bit about her book, Operation Mom!.


Synopsis:
Ila Isham has a lot to worry about – the angst of being an Ali Zafar groupie and the extra layers of fat she has inherited from her Punjabi lineage. Add to this separated parents, an enthusiastic best friend, Deepali, whose idea of variety means dating three guys at the same time and Aunty Maleeka, mom’s BFF, whose savvy skills throw up more problems than solutions.

Ila’s life takes an exciting turn when she decides to hunt for the perfect partner for her mother. With a little help from Deepali, Aunty Maleeka and Dev of the inviting chocolate-pool eyes, she’ll have to brave it all – from Lagaan.com and Ok-cupid profiles to handlebar-moustache colonels and middle-aged psychos, if she wants to succeed in her quest!

Guest post:
Operation Mom – an opportunity to whack the funny bone.
In general, I think life would be more fun if we took it down a notch. I am a huge proponent of stand up comedy and improv because I think it helps us let go of our Type A existence, be spontaneous and have a laugh or two. That goes for the performers as well as the audience members. So many of us take ourselves way too seriously and really need a whack of our funny bone from time to time.

I grew up reading very serious novels, most of them Classic British literature. It wasn’t until I moved to the United States many years later that I discovered the American sense of humor – so basic, so subtle and so able to lighten your mood on any given day. It made me think about how I had so material right here in my home.

In Indian life, be it in or outside of India, there is an element of predictability and safety that underscores practically every decision — it’s a classic example as to why Indian parents want their kids to go into ‘safe’ professions like medicine and engineering. There is plenty of comedy in that itself – you just need to dig for it. And when it comes to predictability, you don’t typically find an Indian situation in which the daughter is setting up her mom – usually it happens the other way around. You don’t find stories which expose you to a variety of cray cray ethnic situations strewn around Mumbai – all ripe for comedic interpretation. That’s what I wanted to do with Operation Mom — in many ways it is an LOL window into my life and circumstances. As a Mumbaikar I feel like I have many affinities – to the Punjabi way of life, to the Parsi community, to places like Swati Snacks and Worli Seaface…all these are part of my ordinary world that I wanted to share with folks everywhere. I wanted to highlight the contextual comedy that is such a huge part of my people and in these places. And the fun with writing fiction is that through it, you can make the ordinary, extraordinary.

My relationship with my own mom has been fairly laid back. She definitely played her role of ‘Classic Punjabi Mother’ during my younger years but as any Punjabi will tell you, the moment you enter into the institution of marriage, the Punjabi mother becomes completely hands-off. My book actually has nothing to do with my own mother but her ridiculous Punju traits definitely carry through all the humorous set-pieces. For anyone familiar with the quirks of this particular community, the anecdotes will resonate.

When I was a kid, she was highly skeptical of anything concerning me – where I went, who I met and why I pursued the things I wanted to do. Her old-school Punjabi mindset had her believe that if I was too ‘interesting’ or ‘determined’, then it would naturally become an impediment to ‘marrying me off’. So when I successfully stalked George Michael, my teen pop idol, it truly stressed her out.

Who is George Michael, you ask? Well, back in the eighties, he was the lead singer of Wham! Okay that completely gives away my age 🙂 I was one of many teenage girls in the eighties who was completely obsessed with him. Determined to meet him in person, I went through lengths to stalk him one summer holiday in England. It took practically all summer for me to track him down, and mind you this was long before the age of internet or social media, so I really take great pride in my grass roots research skills! I made my way to his father’s restaurant in Edgware, and then followed his cat to his house in Bushey Meads where I had a long chat with his mother, who finally pointed me to the office of his manager in Central London, where I eventually met him. I was fifteen then, obsessive to put it mildly…or perhaps I should say, ‘determined.’ But this event propelled me to teen stardom…as pathetic as that sounds! And the story has kept listeners marveling and laughing with each re-telling these last thirty-five years. So I chose to copy-paste the George Michael story from my life and into my novel, almost verbatim.

What’s wrong with the Comedy of Obsessiveness? Like I said, life would be so much more fun if we took ourselves a little less seriously.


Author Bio:
Reenita Malhotra Hora is a founder, executive-level content, operations & marketing leader, and prolific writer. With multiple years of experience in media, entertainment, communications, tech/innovation and wellness industries in the USA and Asia, she grows organizations, ranging from early stage startups through mid-size businesses, through storytelling, creative marketing and business strategy.

Reenita has written seven books – five non fiction and two fiction. She is the writer, anchor and executive producer of Shadow Realm and True Fiction Project podcasts and founder of the Chapter by episode fiction app. She has contributed to The Hindu, South China Morning Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNN, Asian Investor, Times of India, National GeographicKids, Cartoon Network Asia, Disney, and more.

Website: http://www.reenita.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReenitaMalhotraHora
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reenita_storyteller/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/reenymal

Special thanks to A Marketing Expert!

Author Guest Post and Giveaway: Nunzio’s Way by Nick Chiarkas

Hello all, please join me in welcoming author Nick Chiarkas as he stops by today for a wonderful guest post about the positive influence one of his teachers had on him when he was 9 years old. Read on for a bit about his latest book, Nunzio’s Way which is the sequel to his book titled Weepers. Also, find out how you can enter to win a copy of the book and an Amazon gift card at the end of this post.



“In this city, you can have anything you want if you kill the right four people.” ~ Nunzio Sabino In Weepers (Book 1), Angelo and his gang, with a bit of help from his beloved “uncle” Nunzio Sabino, defeated the notorious Satan’s Knights. Now, in this standalone sequel to Weepers, it’s 1960 and Nunzio is still the most powerful organized crime boss in New York City, protecting what’s his with political schemes and ‘business’ deals.
Against this backdrop of Mafia turf wars, local gang battles, and political power-plays in the mayoral election, the bodies begin stacking up. An unlikely assassin arrives fresh from Naples after killing a top member of the Camorra to avenge the murder of her family. She blends seamlessly into the neighborhood and with the focus on the threat from the Satan’s Knights, no one suspects that Angelo’s father and Nunzio are next on her hit list. Nunzio has lived his entire life by the mantra; Be a fox when there are traps and a lion when there are wolves. Will Nunzio be a lion in time?

Praise for Nick Chiarkas:
“Writers are always told, ‘Write what you know.’ Nick Chiarkas knows New York, organized crime, and how to write an engaging story. Nunzio’s Way is gritty and thoroughly gripping.” John DeDakis, award-winning Novelist and former editor for CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer”

Book Details:
Genre: Crime Thriller / Historical
Published by: HenschelHAUS Publishing
Publication Date: October 2022
Number of Pages: 261
ISBN: 978159595-908-6
Series: Weepers, #2
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Author Guest Post:A Lakefly Question by Nick Chiarkas

I was recently asked if I attribute my achievements to defiance. It was at a recent writers’ conference in Wisconsin, I was presenting a session on self-editing, and my bio was posted in the conference brochure.

My bio: “Nick Chiarkas grew up in the Al Smith housing projects in the Two Bridges neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. When he was in the fourth grade, his mother was told by the principal of PS-1 that “Nick was unlikely ever to complete high school, so you must steer him toward a simple and secure vocation.”

Instead, Nick became a writer, with a few stops along the way: a U.S. Army Paratrooper (101st Airborne Division); a New York City Police Officer; the Deputy Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations; the Deputy Chief Counsel and Research Director for the President’s Commission on Organized Crime; and the Director of the Wisconsin State Public Defender Agency. On the way, he picked up a Doctorate from Columbia University; a Law Degree from Temple University; and was a Pickett Fellow at Harvard.
How many mothers are told that their children are hopeless? How many kids with potential surrender to despair? That’s why Nick wrote Weepers and Nunzio’s Way — for them.”

Obviously, the question was about my wanting to prove the principal wrong. Usually, I respond to this question by saying it could have been a wee bit of a desire for a reckoning and let it go with that. But these were writers like me; they ought to know the power of their words. The truth. So, here’s the truth I shared that day.

I was nine years old, sitting outside the principal’s office, it was the end of the day, and his secretary was gone. Just me, and I could hear every derogatory word he was telling my mother about me. My mother was a poor Italian second-generation immigrant who thought God ordained principals. A teacher who had left for the day to pick up a bag of groceries had returned to the school to retrieve papers she inadvertently left on her desk. She stopped in front of me. Clearly, she could hear the principal. She took my hand, and we went to the teacher’s lounge. She made a pot of tea for us. At this point, I was feeling like a big shot. She took a poundcake with white frosting out of her shopping bag and asked if I liked cake. I said, “Yeah, especially the icing.” She unwrapped and cut the cake horizontally, leaving about an inch of cake and a half-inch of icing. We enjoyed tea and cake, and we talked. We talked about her growing up, and then she asked about me. What I think about. What I care about. She gave me a book of poems, Yesterday and Today, by Louis Untermeyer (I still have it). She told me to read it. I said, “I can’t read poems like these.” She said, “I believe you can. Read them and read everything and anything you can find.” And then she said, “And, Nicky, always eat the icing off the cake.”

When I was eleven, I had a job delivering groceries and would have money in my pockets when returning to the store. Gangs knew that and would chase me. I was good at running across the rooftops, jumping from roof to roof, they would give up, and I would go to the New York Public Library, gaining access from the roof, and hide in the fiction section, and I would read and read until it was safe to leave.
When I received my doctorate, I tracked down that teacher and mailed it (actually a copy of it) to her with a note that said, “See what you did.” That teacher made me feel valued, her advice empowered me, and reading gave me wings. I hope teachers, writers, and all those who take a moment to share a thought know how powerful their words are. That kids remember you. That we readers remember your words. That you can make a child fly.



About the author:


Author Links:
NickChiarkas.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @AuthorNickChiarkas
Twitter – @chiarkas
Facebook – @NicholasChiarkasAuthor

Giveaway details:
There will be FIVE (5) winners for this tour.
1 – Grand prize: $10 Amazon.com Gift Card & gift ebook (epub) of Weepers and Nunzio’s Way
4 – Runner Up prizes of Nunzio’s Way ebook (epub)

CLICK HERE to enter to win!



Special thanks to Partners in Crime Tours

Tour Stops:
10/24 Review @ I Read What You Write

10/24 Showcase @ BOOK REVIEWS by LINDA MOORE
10/25 Showcase @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS
10/26 Guest post @ The Bookworm
10/27 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
10/28 Guest post @ The Mystery of Writing
10/30 Review @ Guatemala Paula Loves to Read
11/08 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
11/09 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
11/1 Interview @ I Read What You Write
11/13 Review @ Paws. Read. Repeat
11/16 Guest post @ The Reading Frenzy
11/18 Review @ The Page Ladies

Shifting and Shenanigans by Elizabeth Pantley Review and Giveaway



book source: free review copy via Partners In Crime Book Tours

About the book:
Paige and her adventurous Aunt Glo inherit a country inn from eccentric GeeGee. They pack up and hit the road, arriving at the charming place they both loved since childhood. Finally! They can get into the secret room in the basement that GeeGee kept locked! They discover it’s a wonderful library filled to the brim with mystery books. But more than the room was a secret – it’s a magical place that houses enchanted books. Paige and Glo find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a murder mystery, along with a motley group of book club friends. The club will need to work together to solve the case in order to get out of the book and back to their home.

Praise for Shifting and Shenanigans:
“A book club cozy mystery with a wonderful twist!” – Judi, Amazon Reviewer

“I’m ravenous for the next book!”- @mullanewayne

“The concept is nothing short of brilliant!”- Book Bites

“A must-read mystery!”- JACW, Amazon

“A unique twist to the cozy mystery genre! I was enchanted.”- Cozy Up with Kathy

Book Details:
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: July 15th 2022
Number of Pages: 210
ASIN: B0B3WLF7CW
Series: Magical Mystery Book Club #1
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Excerpt:

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said the locksmith. He took a step back and scratched his head. He’d been at it for twenty minutes and still hadn’t opened the door. “It doesn’t make sense. This takes a skeleton key. It should be a simple task. People can do it with a couple of Allen wrenches. I’ve even done it with a pair of paperclips.”

“So, what do we do now?” Glo asked.
“Best thing is to contact a carpenter. Since the hinges are inside, he’ll have to drill the lock. It’ll destroy the lock and damage your door, though.”
“We don’t have much choice. We want to get into the room, so we’ll have to do it,” I said.

After the locksmith left, we looked up a couple of local contractors, but any openings were days away. We texted Theo but hadn’t heard back from him yet.
We decided to start the day by sorting out the kitchen. There were plenty of dishes and dry goods, but the organization was an absolute mess.
“How in the world did she work in this disaster?” Glo mumbled. “You’d spend half your time searching for things!” She was emptying out a cabinet. She pulled out an odd assortment of dishes, pots, cleaning supplies, and canned goods. She started to laugh and held up a hundred-piece puzzle in one hand and a shoeshine kit in the other.
“Now this makes perfect sense.” She was snorting. “Make dinner, clean up, shine your shoes and do a puzzle.” I held up a few treasures from the cabinet I was working on. “And here you go. In case you need a spare pair of socks, a stack of plastic containers – no lids – and printer ink.”
“It’s like a treasure hunt! It’s good for us to sort through all this anyhow.”
“True,” I agreed. “Then we’ll know what we’ve got. Let me find some paper and a pen and we’ll start a list of things we need.”
I began to sort through the typical drawers most people would use for things like pens and scratch paper, then groaned. “You know what’s in her junk drawers? Talcum powder, coffee creamer, clothespins, and aha! The soup bowls!”
“Where’s the very last place you’d look for a pen and paper? Try that first,” snickered Glo.
“Probably the bathroom,” I joked. “I’ll just make a list on my phone.”
I opened another cabinet and groaned at the stack of boxes and plastic containers jammed into every inch. They were filled with random stuff. I took them to the table and dumped them out.
“Holy Toledo! Glo, look at this!” I stood up and did a little dance around the kitchen. I shimmied over to her, then held up a very old-looking skeleton key.

~ ~ ~

“I feel like we should have a drum roll or a trumpet fanfare—”
“—or fireworks!” laughed Glo. “At least a countdown. Five … four … three … two … one! Blastoff!”
I turned the key and heard the click as it unlocked. “Houston, we have liftoff.”
I twisted the knob and pushed the door open. There was a set of stairs to the basement. At the bottom of the stairs was another door. We opened it. Impossibly, there was another set of stairs. At the bottom of those stairs was yet another door. It required a skeleton key to open. I stared at the key in my hand. “You better work,” I told the key.
The key worked smoothly, and I opened the door.
Our jaws dropped and neither of us spoke. You could have heard a cotton ball drop.
Finally, Glo broke the silence. “Holy macaroni! This is insane!”
“How could she have kept this secret our whole lives?” I wondered.
“WHY did she keep this secret?” Glo added.
“This room is the size of the entire house! It’s enormous. Ginormous!” I whistled.
“This secret space is underneath the inn! How is it two stories high? Is that even structurally sound? This is bizarre.”

The room was indeed two levels high, connected by a brass spiral staircase. In the front area, where we were glued to the spot, was a large seating area with eight cozy floral patterned armchairs. A beautiful wooden coffee table sat in the middle. There was an antique globe on a brass stand, and a stone fireplace like the one upstairs. This one had an intricately carved wood mantle and a stone hearth. A large statue of a woman holding a book was centered on the mantle.

“Look at all these books!” exclaimed Glo, spinning in a circle.
“This is the library GeeGee referred to in her will! Remember? She said she’s putting us in charge. That it’s priceless!”
“I am beyond confused, Paige. How is this even possible? GeeGee was just a sweet little innkeeper. She was the lady who baked us cookies and homemade stew. And she was hiding all this right under our feet?!”



My Thoughts:

Shifting and Shenanigans is book 1 in Elizabeth Pantley’s cozy paranormal mystery series. As the story starts, newly divorced 30 year old Paige and her bff Aunt Gloria have inherited their grandmother’s lakeside Colorado inn called the Snapdragon. Grandma a.k.a. GeeGee said the ladies have to also take care of the library there. Soon enough the ladies discover the huge library in the basement and meet a talking Siamese cat named Frank. If this awesome start doesn’t draw a reader in, I don’t know what will.

Gloria and Paige are informed that the book club of 8 members is mandatory when owning this library. So the ladies pick the members and have their first club meeting when they realize this a magical mystery book club. The book club members get transported into their current mystery read and can come back home once they solve said mystery. When the group find themselves transported into a small-town murder mystery, they start meeting the locals to try and solve the whodunnit. The Snapdragon Inn remains in the bookish world providing the club members a place to stay.

The story took off from page one and I was entertained throughout. I enjoyed trying to figure out who the killer was as the book club members went around questioning the local townspeople. I do wish there was a little more character development with the central characters but hopefully that happens as the series progresses. The talking cat Frank was definitely my favorite character, he made me laugh out loud a few times with his antics. Frank had even had me worried about him at one point, I’ll leave it at that lol.

The author does a wonderful job at bringing the setting to life and I could easily envision the Snapdragon Inn with it’s lakefront views and the themed guest rooms as well as the mystery book setting. With a few twists to the storyline towards the end, this was a fun cozy and the perfect start to a new series, and I breezed through it in one sitting. I recommend Shifting and Shenanigans if you’re in the mood for a fun cozy paranormal mystery.

Tour stops:
10/12 Review @ Avonna Loves Genres

10/12 Review @ Scrapping&Playing
10/14 Review @ Waterside Kennels Mysteries
10/15 Review @ Review Thick And Thin
10/16 Review @ Guatemala Paula Loves to Read
10/19 Review @ The Bookworm
10/19 Review @ Totally Addicted to Reading
10/20 Review @ Fredas Voice
10/20 Review @ Pick a good book
10/21 Review @ nanasbookreviews
 

Giveaway:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Elizabeth Pantley. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.
The giveaway is for: One $10 Amazon.com Gift card PLUS a choice of one eBook from the Magical Mystery Book Club series OR the Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic series.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER TO WIN



Author Bio:

Elizabeth Pantley says that writing her Mystery and Magic book series is the most fun she’s ever had at work. Fans of the series say her joy is evident through the engaging stories she tells. Elizabeth is also the international bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, a beautiful inspiration for her enchanted worlds.

Catch Up With Elizabeth Pantley:
www.NoCrySolution.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @DestinyFalls
Instagram – @destinyfallsmystery
Facebook – @DestinyFallsMysteryandMagic



Disclaimer:This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. My copy of Shifting and Shenanigans by Elizabeth Pantley came via Partners In Crime Book Tours in exchange for my honest thoughts on it.