Monday, April 24, 2017

Guest Blogger: F.M. Meredith, Author of Unresolved (Rocky Bluff P.D. Series)


Rocky Bluff P.D. is underpaid and understaffed and when two dead bodies turn up, the department is stretched to the limit. The mayor is the first body discovered, the second an older woman whose death is caused in a bizarre manner. Because no one liked the mayor, including his estranged wife and the members of the city council, the suspects are many, but each one has an alibi.

Copies may be purchased from Book and Table by emailing bookandtablevaldosta@gmail.com with a 10% discount and free shipping.

Books may be ordered from all the usual places as well.

One of My Favorite Characters in the Rocky Bluff P.D. Series

Cheryl asked me to tell about my favorite character in this series, but instead, I wanted to tell you about a fairly new character that I’m growing fond of, the new Chief of Police, Chandra Taylor.

Chandra, the second African American on the RBPD, came to Rocky Bluff from the San Francisco Police Department. She knew her chance of advancing beyond lieutenant were nil. Though the small beach town of Rocky Bluff certainly didn’t compare to San Francisco, it didn’t take long before Chandra began to enjoy her job, the police officers who worked under her and the community itself.

In A Crushing Death, Chandra’s life was threatened by a man she’d arrested in the past and Detective Milligan and his wife, Officer Stacey Milligan, not only protected her but became friends in the process.

When the mayor is murdered and the other members of the city council all become suspects, Chandra finds herself attracted to the man who has become the new mayor, Devon Duvall. Whether or not this attraction will develop, of course, depends upon Devon’s innocence.

It’s always fun for me as an author, when new and interesting characters become a part of the Rocky Bluff series. I hope that readers will enjoy this new twist as well.



F. M. Meredith lived for many years in a small beach community much like Rocky Bluff. She has many relatives and friends who are in law enforcement and share their experiences and expertise with her. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for 10 years, and was an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 21, 2017

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray

Her Secret

by Shelley Shepard Gray

on Tour April 17 – 28, 2017



Synopsis:

Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray begins a new series—The Amish of Hart County—with this suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker.

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone—even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she'll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he's misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

Book Details:

Genre: Amish Fiction

Published by: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: March 14th 2017

Number of Pages: 272

ISBN: 006246910X (ISBN13: 9780062469106)

Series: The Amish of Hart County #1

Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 



Read an excerpt:


CHAPTER 2


Someone was coming. After reeling in his line, Isaac Troyer set his pole on the bank next to Spot, his Australian shepherd, and turned in the direction of the noise.

He wasn’t worried about encountering a stranger as much as curious to know who would walk through the woods while managing to disturb every tree branch, twig, and bird in their midst. A silent tracker, this person was not.

Beside him, Spot, named for the spot of black fur ringing his eye, pricked his ears and tilted his head to one side as he, too, listened and watched for their guest to appear.

When they heard a muffled umph, followed by the crack of a branch, Isaac began to grow amused. Their visitor didn’t seem to be faring so well.

He wasn’t surprised. That path was rarely used and notoriously overrun with hollyhocks, poison oak, and ivy. For some reason, wild rosebushes also ran rampant there. Though walking on the old path made for a pretty journey, it also was a somewhat dangerous one, too. Those bushes had a lot of thorns. Most everyone he knew chose to walk on the road instead.

He was just wondering if, perhaps, he should brave the thorns and the possibility of rashes to offer his help—when a woman popped out.

The new girl. Hannah Hilty.

Obviously thinking she was completely alone, she stepped out of the shade of the bushes and lifted her face into the sun. She mumbled to herself as she pulled a black sweater off her light-blue short-sleeved dress. Then she turned her right arm this way and that, frowning at what looked like a sizable scrape on it.

He’d been introduced to her at church the first weekend her family had come. His first impression of her had been that she was a pretty thing, with dark-brown hair and hazel-colored eyes. She was fairly tall and willowy, too, and had been blessed with creamy-looking pale skin. But for all of that, she’d looked incredibly wary.

Thinking she was simply shy, he’d tried to be friendly, everyone in his family had. But instead of looking happy to meet him or his siblings, she’d merely stared at him the way a doe might stare at an oncoming car—with a bit of weariness and a great dose of fear.

He left her alone after that.

Every once in a while he’d see her. At church, or at the market with her mother. She always acted kind of odd. She was mostly silent, sometimes hardly even talking to her parents or siblings. Often, when he’d see her family in town shopping, she usually wasn’t with them. When she was, he’d see her following her parents. With them, yet separate. Silently watching her surroundings like she feared she was about to step off a cliff.

So, by his estimation, she was a strange girl. Weird.

And her actions just now? They seemed even odder. Feeling kind of sorry for her, he got to his feet. “Hey!” he called out.

Obviously startled, Hannah turned to him with a jerk, then froze.

Her unusual hazel eyes appeared dilated. She looked scared to death. Rethinking the step forward he’d been about to do, he stayed where he was. Maybe she wasn’t right in the mind? Maybe she was lost and needed help.

Feeling a little worried about her, he held up a hand. “Hey, Hannah. Are you okay?”

But instead of answering him, or even smiling back like a normal person would, she simply stared.

He tried again. “I’m Isaac Troyer.” When no look of recognition flickered in her eyes, he added, “I’m your neighbor. We met at church, soon after you moved in. Remember?”

She clenched her fists but otherwise seemed to be trying hard to regain some self-control. After another second, color bloomed in her cheeks. “I’m Hannah Hilty.”

“Yeah. I know.” Obviously, he’d known it. Hadn’t she heard him say her name? He smiled at her, hoping she’d see the humor in their conversation. It was awfully intense for two neighbors having to reacquaint themselves.
By his reckoning, anyway.

She still didn’t smile back. Actually, she didn’t do much of anything at all, besides gaze kind of blankly at him.

Belatedly, he started wondering if something had happened to her on her walk. “Hey, are you okay? Are you hurt or something?”

Her hand clenched into a fist. “Why do you ask?”

Everything he wanted to say sounded mean and rude. “You just, uh, seem out of breath.” And she was white as a sheet, looked like she’d just seen a monster, and could hardly speak.

Giving her an out, he said, “Are you lost?”

“Nee.”

He was starting to lose patience with her. All he’d wanted to do was sit on the bank with Spot and fish for an hour or two, not enter into some strange conversation with his neighbor girl.

“Okay, then. Well, I was just fishing, so I’m going to go back and do that.”

Just before he turned away, she took a deep breath. Then she spoke. “I’m sorry. I know I’m not making any sense.”

“You’re making sense.” Kind of. “But that said, you don’t got anything to be sorry for. It’s obvious you, too, were looking for a couple of minutes to be by yourself.”

“No, that ain’t it.” After taking another deep breath, she said, “Seeing you took me by surprise. That’s all.”
Isaac wasn’t enough of a jerk to not be aware that seeing a strange man, when you thought you were alone, might be scary to a timid girl like her.

“You took me by surprise, too. I never see anyone out here.”

Some of the muscles in her face and neck relaxed. After another second, she seemed to come to a decision and stepped closer to him. “Is that your dog?”

“Jah. His name is Spot, on account of the circle around his eye.”

“He looks to be a real fine hund.” She smiled.

And what a smile it was. Sweet, lighting up her eyes. Feeling a bit taken by surprise, too, he said, “He’s an Australian shepherd and real nice. Would you like to meet him?”

“Sure.” She smiled again, this time displaying pretty white teeth.

“Spot, come here, boy.”

With a stretch and a groan, Spot stood up, stretched again, then sauntered over. When he got to Isaac’s side, he paused. Isaac ran a hand along his back, then clicked his tongue, a sign for Spot to simply be a dog.

Spot walked right over and rubbed his nose along one of Hannah’s hands.

She giggled softly. “Hello, Spot. Aren’t you a handsome hund?” After she let Spot sniff her hand, she ran it along his soft fur. Spot, as could be expected, closed his eyes and enjoyed the attention.

“Look at that,” Hannah said. “He likes to be petted.”

“He’s friendly.”

“Do you go fishing here much?” she asked hesitantly.

“Not as much as I’d like to. I’m pretty busy. Usually, I’m helping my father on the farm or working in my uncle’s woodworking shop.” Because she seemed interested, he admitted, “I don’t get to sit around and just enjoy the day all that much.”

“And here I came and ruined your peace and quiet.”

“I didn’t say that. You’re fine.”

She didn’t look as if she believed him. Actually, she looked even more agitated. Taking a step backward, she said, “I should probably let you get back to your fishing, then.”

“I don’t care about that. I’d rather talk to you.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh?”

“Jah. I mean, we’re neighbors and all.” When she still looked doubtful, he said, “Besides, everyone is curious about you.”

“I don’t know why. I’m just an Amish girl.”

He thought she was anything but that. “Come on,” he chided. “You know what I’m talking about.”

Looking even more unsure, she shook her head.

“First off, I’ve hardly even seen you around town, only on Sundays when we have church. And even then you never stray from your parents’ side. That’s kind of odd.”

“I’m still getting used to being here in Kentucky,” she said quickly.

“What is there to get used to?” he joked. “We’re just a small community in the middle of cave country.”

To his surprise, she stepped back. “I guess getting used to my new home is taking me a while. But that doesn’t mean anything.”

Aware that he’d hurt her feelings, he realized that he should have really watched his tone. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just saying that the way you’ve been acting has everyone curious.  That’s why people are calling you ‘The Recluse.’ ”

“ ‘The Recluse’?”

“Well, jah. I mean you truly are an Amish woman of mystery,” he said, hoping she’d tease him right back like his older sister would have done.   

She did not.

Actually, she looked like she was about to cry, and it was his doing.

When was he ever going to learn to read people better? Actually, he should knock some sense into himself. He’d been a real jerk. “Sorry. I didn’t intend to sound so callous.”

“Well, you certainly did.”

“Ah, you are right. It was a bad joke.”

“I better go.”

Staring at her more closely, he noticed that those pretty hazel eyes of hers looked kind of shimmery, like a whole mess of tears was about to fall. Now he felt worse than bad.“Hey, are you going to be okay getting home? I could walk you back, if you’d like.”

“Danke, nee.”

Reaching out, he grasped Spot by his collar. “I don’t mind at all. It will give us a chance to—”

She cut him off. “I do not want or need your help.” She was staring at him like he was scary. Like he was the type of guy who would do her harm.

That bothered him.

“Look, I already apologized. You don’t need to look at me like I’m going to attack you or something. I’m just trying to be a good neighbor.”

She flinched before visibly collecting herself. “I understand. But like I said, I don’t want your help. I will be fine.”

When he noticed that Spot was also sensing her distress, he tried again even though he knew he should just let her go. “I was done fishing anyway. All I have to do is grab my pole. Then Spot and I could walk with you.”

“What else do I have to say for you to listen to me?” she fairly cried out. “Isaac, I do not want you to walk me anywhere.” She turned and darted away, sliding back into the brush. No doubt about to get covered in more scratches and poison ivy.

Well, she’d finally said his name, and it certainly did sound sweet on her lips.

Too bad she was now certain to avoid him for the rest of her life. He really hoped his mother was never going to hear about how awful he’d just been. She’d be so disappointed.

He was disappointed in himself, and was usually a lot more patient with people. He liked that about himself, too. And this girl? Well, she needed someone, too. But she seemed even afraid of her shadow.

***
Excerpt from Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray.  Copyright © 2017 by Shelley Shepard Gray. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.




Shelley Shepard Gray



Author Bio:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.


Catch Up With Ms. Gray On:





Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Wendy Corsi Staub and William Morrow. There will be 2 winners of one $25 Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 15th and runs through May 2nd, 2017. This giveaway is for US residents only. Void where prohibited by law.
a Rafflecopter giveaway




Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Interview & Giveaway with Shelley Schanfield, Author of The Mountain Goddess

Shelley Schanfield’s passion for Buddhism and yoga arose sixteen years ago, when she and her son earned black belts in Tae Kwon Do. The links between the martial arts and Buddhist techniques to calm and focus the mind fascinated her. By profession a librarian, Shelley plunged into research about the time, place, and spiritual traditions that 2500 years ago produced Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. Yoga, in some form, has a role in all of these traditions. Its transformational teachings soon prompted Shelley to hang up her black belt and begin a yoga practice that she follows to this day.

Because she loves historical fiction, Shelley looked for a good novel about the Buddha. When she didn’t find one that satisfied her, she decided to write her own novels based on the spiritual struggles of women in the Buddha’s time. She published the first book in the Sadhana Trilogy, The Tigress and the Yogi, in 2016 and will publish the second, The Mountain Goddess in early 2017.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS

Where did you grow up?

I grew up near Minneapolis on beautiful Lake Minnetonka. Summers were filled with swimming, canoeing, and water skiing; winters with ice skating and skiing. Our house was filled with books, so when it was too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter, I never ran out of reading material.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

I had a fortunate childhood and lots of good memories, but in a way they blur together so I wouldn’t single out just one.  I did have a rather mystical experience when I was maybe eight or nine, which both exhilarated and terrified me in a way that only began to make sense when I began Buddhist meditation and my yoga practice. It even figures in my second book, The Mountain Goddess. It happened when I stretched out on the grassy hill that overlooked the lake we lived on and looked up at the sky. It was a favorite pastime, but on this warm summer day as I gazed at the constantly changing clouds, the overwhelming sensation that I was falling up and would keep falling (or was it flying?) until I flew through the clouds and out of earth’s atmosphere into dark, infinite space entirely seized me. I felt huge and unbounded, truly like I was part of the universe, but at the same time tiny and insignificant. I could never call up the feeling but sometimes it struck me unawares. Even nowadays, it will sometimes come in my meditation practice, but it takes focus and concentration.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing fiction seriously in about 2000, seventeen years ago. It was around the time my husband’s father died. He was a very accomplished man, an aerospace engineer, a wonderful father-in-law and grandfather. Not long before his death he encouraged me to follow my dreams, whatever they might be. I took his advice to heart and signed up for my first writing class.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I love to get up around 1 or 2 a.m., when the world around me is asleep, and either take up a journal and write with black ink on a pristine white page or else sit at my computer and fill the screen. That’s the best time to create new work. I can pretty much edit any time of day.


What is this book about?

The Mountain Goddess is about the young woman who became the wife of Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. She’s a fierce warrior and a spiritual seeker in her own way. It’s the second book in the Sadhana Trilogy, which follows the transformational journeys of women of the Buddha’s time. The first book, The Tigress and the Yogi, takes a Buddhist legend about a man who becomes a vicious outlaw and gives it a feminist twist—the outlaw is a woman who escapes life as a low cast slave to seek vengeance as the ruthless leader of her own army.

What inspired you to write it?

An interest in Buddhism from childhood was reawakened when my son and I were earning out black belts in Tae Kwon Do. Did you know that Prince Siddhartha and many of his followers were warriors? Many Asian martial arts have links to Buddhist techniques for calming the mind and centering concentration. The more I began to read about the Buddha, the more the women of his time and place (2500 years ago in Northeastern India) began to interest me.                                                                                  
Who is your biggest supporter?

My bemused and patient husband.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

Yes, I have a fantastic critique group with which meets weekly and gives honest and helpful feedback. Sometimes it hurts; sometimes I don’t implement it; but I always listen to them and consider their thoughtful input.

Who is your favorite author?

Impossible to pick one. I’m a voracious reader—historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, literary fiction, as well as books on history, philosophy, and religion, and that’s just a sampling of my interests.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I had one for a year. It meant a lot when I signed with her that someone thought they could sell my book. We parted ways when she didn’t, and by that time self-publishing was well-established and made complete sense for me.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Fairly smooth sailing to publication. The tough part is discoverability: getting the word out when there are hundreds of thousands of titles published every year is daunting.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Oh, of course. But I’m not sure my experience would be useful for others. Everyone’s path is different. The main thing is just to keep writing.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Both my books are available in paper and e-book editions now from all major on-line retailers. Bookstores can also order paperbacks from Ingram or directly from my distributor, Thomson-Shore. Links to all are on my website.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

My website has links to some interesting resources and brief bibliographies that include a small selection from what I used while writing.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

I’m not the greatest promoter, but one thing I knew was that I had to put a quality product out there. Many experienced publishing gurus say that word of mouth is what really sells a book, so you should write the best book you can. Viewed that way, I would say that the best investment I made was in a great developmental editor, Jane Ratcliffe, and Meghan Pinson , a great copyeditor. Next to that, it was a really talented book designer, Glendon Haddix at Streetlight Graphics.
           

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Trust your own gut about your story.

What is up next for you?

Right now I’m working on Book Three of the Sadhana Trilogy. Sign up at my website to get updates!

Is there anything you would like to add?

Keep writing!




Terms & Conditions:

By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
Five winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to win one free e-copy of The Mountain Goddess.
This giveaway ends midnight April 28.
Good luck everyone!



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Interview with Ellen Meeropol, Author of Kinship of Clover

Ellen Meeropol is fascinated by characters on the fault lines of political upheaval. Previous work includes a dramatic script telling the story of the Rosenberg Fund for Children which has been produced in four U.S cities, most recently in Boston. Elli is the wife of Robert Meeropol, youngest son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Elli is a former nurse and independent bookstore event coordinator and the author of two previous novels, House Arrest and On Hurricane Island. She is a founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild. Short fiction and essays have appeared in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, and the Writer’s Chronicle.  Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.


Where did you grow up?

In the Washington, D.C. area. I was born in the city, then lived in various towns in Virginia and Maryland. It was a particularly wonderful place to be a teenager. Every Saturday my friend Susan and I took the bus into Georgetown for the bookstores and coffeehouses, and then on downtown to visit museums and art galleries. And one of the back stories for this new novel actually comes from my teen years living in a community near Glen Echo Amusement Park, which was segregated and the site of a major civil rights integration movement in 1960.

When did you begin writing?

I always wrote as a child – bad poetry and melodramatic plays, an essay about my parents’ square dance obsession that was published when I was 12, a column in my high school newspaper. But I didn’t start writing fiction, and writing seriously, until I was in my 50’s. I consider myself a literary late bloomer.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

My writing habits have changed with my life circumstances. When I started writing fiction, I worked as a hospital-based nurse practitioner, so my day started early and ended when the last clinic patient was seen. I wrote after dinner until my eyes closed. When I left my job to write full-time, I continued that pattern until writing my second novel, On Hurricane Island. It’s a political thriller, and working on it before sleep gave me nightmares, so my writing schedule had to change. Now I write mostly in the morning and early afternoon, when I’m the most fresh and alert. And – sorry to say – frequently I also write in the wee hours, when insomnia strikes.

What is this book about?


Kinship of Clover is about how we try to make right the things we care about in the world that are wrong. The main characters are a botany college student who is desperate to save endangered plant species, and a lifelong radical activist who is losing herself to Alzheimer’s. These characters are linked by a 16-year-old girl who uses a wheelchair and has her own battles to fight regarding inclusion and change. The book has elements of magical realism that totally surprised me!

What inspired you to write it?

Jeremy, the college botany student, insisted I write it. He was a nine-year-old in my first novel, House Arrest, and he wasn’t done with me. I imagined him whispering in my ear, “Don’t you want to know what happened to me?” And, I did want to know. The other thing that inspired me were the notebooks I kept, recording conversations and bits of memory about my mother, who died in 2008 from complications of Alzheimer’s. Flo, the character in the book with Alzheimer’s is quite different from my mother, but they do share some personality traits, like being totally bossy and outrageous!

Who is your favorite character from the book?

I am very attached to the four main characters in the novel, Jeremy, Flo, Flo’s son Sam, and Flo’s granddaughter Zoe, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair for mobility. The fact that I love them all was one of the reasons I chose to write this book using an omniscient point of view. This allowed me to freely move from one character’s perspective into another, and sometimes pull way back and look at the story from a distance. Writing this way also provided a lot of anxiety – I had never tried it before, and it wasn’t easy to figure out how to make it work. If I use an omniscient POV again, maybe it’ll be smoother the second time around.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

With this book, the road to publication was smooth. It’s my third novel with Red Hen Press and I love working with them. I sent the manuscript to my editor and she liked it and that was that (well, not exactly of course. There’s always the contract to negotiate, and the title and jacket art, and revisions and editing, but those are easy issues compared to finding a publisher.) Having a press that’s a good match for my work, a literary home, is an enormous gift.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Anything different in writing this book? Not really. Sometimes I wish I were a more cerebral writer, that I knew where I was going when I started, but I don’t. I start with an image, or a “what if,” or a character’s demands whispered in my ear, and I follow my nose. One of my favorite quotes about writing is something I heard E.L. Doctorow say, that writing a novel is like driving a car on a dark forest road at night with just your parking lights. You can only see right in front of you, but that’s all you need. In general, that’s all I need, and I love exploring the road and seeing what the light illuminates, a little at a time.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

I work part-time in an independent bookstore, so my preference is always that readers go to their favorite local bookstore and, if they don’t have my book, ask them to order it. You can find a bookstore near you via Indiebound or purchase Kinship of Clover online.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

The best investment I’ve made is hiring an independent publicist, one who with decades of experience, particularly promoting small press books. I call Mary Bisbee-Beek my fairy godmother, because …. well, because that’s what she is!

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Two pieces of advice: First read a lot, widely and deeply and read as a writer. When something strikes you, savor it and figure out why it works. I’ve learned so much from reading the books of writers I admire. Secondly, don’t give up. Writing is hard and it takes years for most of us to get good at it.

What is up next for you?

I’m finishing up my next novel, tentatively titled Her Sister’s Tattoo. It’s the story of two sisters, who are very close but become estranged after a political demonstration that goes wrong, and their lives change drastically. I say “finishing” with quotes and a small laugh because I’ve been working on this story for 17 years, and I’m still not sure I’ve got it right. Soon, in a few months if I’m lucky, I’ll send it off to my editor and see what she says.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for the opportunity to “meet” your readers - it’s one of the biggest rewards of having a book out in the world.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Pre-order What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman


Somewhere in the Embers Lies the Truth

A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. Someone intended to kill Vernon Frey. But who would want to kill Vernon? Well, practically everyone—Amish and Englisch alike.

When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he's tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. His close friend and neighbor, Emma, encourages Henry to follow God's leading.

Could the clue to solving the case be locked somewhere deep in his memory? Will Henry find the courage to move forward in faith and put the right person behind bars? Is his friendship with Emma becoming something more?


What the Bishop Saw
is a story of extraordinary talents, the bonds of love and friendship, and the unfailing grace of God.

Series: The Amish Bishop Mysteries (Book 1)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (May 1, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736966471
ISBN-13: 978-0736966474

Pre-order here!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Book Spotlight: The Spirit of Love Volumes 1, 2 & 3 by The Spirit of Love, Known as Glen


Title: THE SPIRIT OF LOVE
Author: the spirit of love, known as glen
Publisher: Aurora House
Pages: 196
Genre: Spirituality/Poetry


The Spirit of Love is a collection of short writings, poems and phrases written by a man who took himself into some of the darkest and most destructive depths that one can go with drug and alcohol addictions back in his early twenties.

The collection of writings contained within The Spirit of Love are the result of one man’s healing journey within himself and the deep questioning that has arisen from within it.

With the love, support and guidance of his dear friend Edwina, in helping to bring these writings from the handwritten scribbles on paper to how they are presented today, The Spirit of Love is a reminder that no matter how dark, desperate, alone, helpless or trapped one believes they may be, the sheer beauty of the perfection of life in its totality is silently and patiently living within us all, and its love is so powerful that it can heal anything that has come to pass.

Excerpt

6.
Take me now so that I need never feel again
Screaming inside I keep everything in
Release me now so I may tear this skin from off my shell
For free can I not be from this living hell?

7.
Why are you afraid?
Swept along without giving a moment to stop
Why are you going to the next place you want to be?
What’s wrong with where you are now?
Is the next place going to be any different or better?
Funny how unwilling you have become to look
Can it be that bad inside?
Afraid to feel life no more
Oh, how the voice is clever
Feeding the prey so as not to be hunted.

9.
Staring at you the battle begins
Nightmare’s voice always wins
Fighting so strongly against my will
Oh, the insanity contained in a pill
Within gulp of water’s cup
Battle lost I’ve given up
Slowly the chemicals suffocate my brain
The next few hours surely insane.

10.
How can you label I and in turn yourself?
For labels change as frequently as the weather
I am changeless – eternal
Let your sight not fool you into a world of form
Enjoy thy magic and mystery
Play with it joyfully and compassionately
But see yourself not of it
Are you your job?
Is that the limit of your destiny?
Why do you choose to do what you do?
Is it really you doing it?
Look what the eternal search has brought
A searching with no end to wanting
That which you truly not need.

11.
Stop it, stop it, I hear you scream, the voice constant in its demands of you
But what can be done if broken you have become?
Bound to a meaningless death whilst your feet still walk
Bow to grace as freedom is you just in being
See the butterfly kiss the wind as a graceful dance
What have you become outside yourself?
Smash all mirrors as they do not allow you to see what lies beneath
Seven colours formed of white
Form holds the illusion together not wanting it to be seen
All that allows it to be is what’s in-between
No sense I make, so that your mind can move beyond the hours of 9 till 5
I lie timeless for you.

20.
Is mankind reflecting upon itself?
From and within the boundless nothingness that I Am
Nothing more or less than degrees of variation
Like a leaf throughout the seasons of its cycle
Come within so that I am released from form
And journey from stillness back to stillness
As infinite space and eternal grace dance together in the hands of thy children
Mention not a word of I, nor a thought, nor emotion, invisible I remain
See that star in your eye?
It is your world beneath your world
A diamond in the form of a stone
Belong to silence, cometh to existence through seed of breath, even and pure.

24.
Cannot you feel the spirit within her? Why? Why? Why?
You poison her veins with fluorescent venom
Yet still she gives you soil to grow your food
You shatter her body with each bomb that tears at her skin
Yet still she gives you air to breathe
Your chemical mind soaks away her pure clear blood
Yet still she gives you water to quench greed’s thirst
Great Mother Earth, you inspire me to a love that holds no enemy
Take not a moment more to cleanse your soul from our mistrust
Seeing you create your balance now
A new earth awaits your presence
And yet still you wish to give us abundance’s dance
Your wisdom singing peacefully within thy true self
A self of love, a selfless love
My weeping heart bleeds its last drop into your soil
Take it and send me to my grave with your earthy kiss
For you have earned your rest from the hand of man.

37.
Is thy being too simple for belief?
A simple being of love sets everything free

40.
For whilst thoughts, emotions, content, story and experience is a part of the journey, it is a mere ripple on the surface of the vast depthless ocean of thy being, of which I know nothing.

PURCHASE AT:


Amazon | Barnes& Noble


At the peak of his destructive cycle glen was so consumed by addictions, that on any given day saw the abusive consumption of cocaine, MDMA powder, special K, ecstasy, crystal meth, marijuana, prescription drugs (anti-depressants, sleeping pills) and alcohol.

A time that saw him attempting and failing to out race police cars through the streets of a Melbourne suburb one night, to experiencing a near death experience while bleeding out from a glass injury when holidaying overseas, a time of daily self-harming with the prospect of suicide never being far out of reach.

However, through the unconditional love of his parents, glen found himself backpacking though South America where a collection of events and direct experiences with the local people and Mother Earth herself, triggered the beginning stages of what would later become known to him as the shattering and dissolving of the false identity of the illusionary mind-made-self and its “poor me” story.

An inner-journey that awakens the spirit of love, known as glen, to not being a personal identity as such but rather a way of being, a way of simplicity, a way of the heart, a way that embraces and dances with the perfection of the present moment like no other.

You can visit the author’s website at www.spiritoflove.com.au or his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thespiritoflovebook.



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Book Blast & Giveaway: The Castle by Skye Warren


Safe in the ivory tower…

Gabriel Miller swears he’ll keep me safe. Enemies lurk outside, waiting to strike. An army held back by these walls.

Except some animal instinct warns me the danger is much closer. It’s already here. Is Gabriel my protector or my enemy? Is this house a castle or a cage?

There’s nowhere for me to go, no one left for me to trust.

No escape from a past determined to capture its prize.


Excerpt

“Still giving orders, little virgin? Is that something you’re born with in the St. James family, or did they teach you that along with your ABCs?”

Rage tightens a knot in my stomach. “I’m not a virgin.”

“No?” he asks, lifting a hand to my face.

I stand very still as he captures my chin between his thumb and forefinger, torn between wanting to wrench away and wanting him to kiss me. How can he make me feel alive when I’ve been sleepwalking for months, years? What sick twist of fate let the hands of this man bring me pleasure?

“You made sure of that.” I mean the words to come out cold, unhurt. Instead I sound breathless and somehow inviting. The white carpet may as well be streaked with red. We’re both back in his bedroom, both flushed and sated and ripped to shreds from what he’s just done.

He lifts my face, almost tender. “I put my cock into your warm little hole. Pushed right through that thin hymen to do it. It felt like fucking heaven to break you open.”

I’m a tuning fork in his hands, and the sound I make is pure arousal. “I despise you.”

“You were so wet,” he says, almost thoughtful. “But some of it was blood, wasn’t it?”

“I’m going to find a way to get my house back.”

He bends his head slightly, enough that our lips are an inch away, the words a tickle of breath against my lips. “I got off on the slide of your blood on my cock. I came that way, spilling salt into the fresh open wound.”

There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to him, no line I wouldn’t cross in this moment. My anger takes an unholy shape, rearing back with all the fury and fear of a wild horse ready to trample his enemy. “And God help me, I’m going to ruin you. The way you did my father. I’m going to break you.”

He nudges my chin higher, exposing the vulnerable line of my throat. His mouth drops to the tender skin, a whisper of a kiss. “Do you want to make me bleed, little virgin?”

The violence takes me by surprise. My swing is wild, aimed straight for his face with all my strength. He catches my wrist midmotion, the abrupt stop shooting pain down my arm. We’re frozen that way, him holding me, breathing each other’s air.

“Don’t call me that,” I say between clenched teeth.

“Little virgin.”

“I’m not. You saw the proof of it. You paid a million dollars for it.”

“Actually,” he says, voice deceptively mild. “I paid a million dollars to use you for a month. And as that month isn’t over yet, I think I’d like to collect.”

Shock courses through me, singeing every angry intention. “No.”

“And as for your virginity, there are a hundred ways you haven’t been taken. A thousand ways you haven’t been fucked. A million dollars left to earn.”

“That money’s mine. You sent me away.”

“And yet,” he says, echoing his earlier words, “here you fucking are. This is what you wanted. This is what you came for. Did you really think you’d see me and walk away without my come inside you?”

My gasp sounds virginal even to myself. “Of course I did.”

He uses the hold on my wrist to drag me closer, off balance, almost falling into him. His warmth surrounds me, along with a musk my body remembers. Alarm bells ring more than they did this morning. A strange man could hurt me, but Gabriel—he’s worse. My own kryptonite.

“Here’s the thing about fucking a virgin,” he whispers, breath a caress on my temple. “You gave me your pretty little hymen, the small spill of blood. The first feel of those walls squeezing my cock. And there’s no way to get it back, not ever. No matter who else you fuck. Even if you settle down with some prep-school fucker and let him climb on top of you every single night, I’ll always be your first. You will always be my little virgin.”

The show of possession does something strange to me. It should be offensive. It’s meant to be offensive, but the humiliation turns liquid and hot inside my body. And the worst part is, I can’t even deny the truth. He left an imprint inside me. I can still remember the stretch of him, the burn. The very shape of that heavy thickness I can feel against my stomach now. And anyone who comes after him, they’ll never quite fill the space he carved inside of me.

“That’s right,” he murmurs, soothing now that I’ve acquiesced. “I’ve got you.”

“No, we can’t—”

He releases my wrist only to run a finger along my cheek. “So young. You look so young like this.”

“It’s the makeup,” I say with difficulty. And the hair. And the clothes. In a thousand ways I was different before, the society princess. What am I now? Almost homeless. Definitely scared.

His eyes gentle, more brown than they’ve been before. “You didn’t think you were getting fucked today. You got dressed and took the bus and came up the elevator having no idea.”

“Don’t feel sorry for me.”

A slight smile. “Not enough to stop. Take off those clothes. Let’s see what you look like when you’re just a sweet, innocent college girl and not the toy I bought at auction.”

Purchase at:





Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance such as the Chicago Underground series. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, two sweet dogs, and one evil cat.

Website - http://skyewarren.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/skye_warren
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/skyewarren
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/skyewarren

Skye will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


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Monday, April 3, 2017

Book Spotlight: His Last Resort by M. A. Malcolm


Driven and focused, business owner and future pastor Robert Marsden knows exactly what he wants… and what he doesn’t. The Do Not Disturb sign he’s placed on his heart is his way of discouraging the ‘wanna-be first ladies’ who’ve set their sights on him... ladies like Claire Foxwood. The way he sees it, Claire and others like her are clearly more focused on impressing others than on their eternal souls.

Claire can’t help her attraction to Robert, but his decision to make a public spectacle of her hurts to the core. Part of her wants to give him a piece of her mind, but the rest of her remains infatuated with the man who’s too attractive for his – and her – own good. If only she didn’t feel like he has a role to play in her destiny!

Can Ruby “Aunt Ruby” Crawford’s words of godly wisdom peppered with a hint of humor help the misguided pair look deep within themselves and discover God’s plan for their lives?

Excerpt



“Do you go out of your way to be offensive to everyone? Or am I special?” She folded her arms and looked crossly at Robert. Chaz stood alert, as if he was aware of his owner’s mood.

“Excuse me?” He wondered if he’d heard her right.

“I’ve wracked my brain, Mr. Marsden. I’ve gone over every minute of every conversation we’ve ever had, and the only time I remember being even a little bit rude to you was that day at your church. Clearly, my defensiveness that day made more of an impact than I thought, so please let me apologize. I’m sorry for my behavior that afternoon. I was annoyed that you had so easily forgotten me, although I obviously remembered meeting you. It was childish, and if I was rude or out of line, I’m really sorry. Now, if you don’t mind, I need to go.”

She stepped away from him, but Robert moved in front of her and stood with his legs wide apart and his hands on his hips, effectively blocking her path. It was amazing how attractive she was with her face free of makeup and covered in perspiration. If circumstances were different, he might be tempted to lean forward and kiss the bead of sweat from just above her top lip and then maybe he’d—

He caught himself mid-thought and tried to remember what she had just said.

As if she were aware of the direction his thoughts had taken, she retrieved a small towel that had been tucked into the waistband of her pants and mopped her face.

“Thank you for the apology, as unnecessary as it was. Exactly how have I ever been offensive to you?”

She gave a wry laugh. “I guess the word is not so much offensive as it is judgmental.” She moved towards the nearby park bench, but remained standing.

“Me? Judgmental?” He was quite confused. Was he hearing right?

“You. Judgmental...."


Purchase links:



M. A. Malcolm, a native of Jamaica, is a wife, mother, stepmother, daughter, sister and aunt. She is a freelance copy editor, administrative service provider and self-publishing consultant who also works part-time as an educator. With a passion for enhancing the work of Christian writers, she is certified in copyediting and is the founder of Nitpicking with a Purpose (NitpickingwithaPurpose.com). Over the years, she has worked with a host of local and international authors and authors-to-be.

When she published her first book, "His Last Hope: A Contemporary Christian Romance" in July, 2015, she fully expected it to be ‘one and done.’ She had no intention of writing another book of any kind; however, readers have demanded more, and the Lord has made it possible for her to comply. Not only has He allowed her more time to write; He has also given her more messages to share.

With the anticipated publication of "His Last Resort," the first part of her relatively recent vision of turning "His Last Hope" into a series has come true. She is currently working on two more manuscripts in the series, and has plans for a third.

In 2016, she also became a children’s author with the publication of her first children’s book, "So very… Max!"—a modern-day response to Hans Christian Andersen’s "The Ugly Duckling."
Mrs. Malcolm has been a part of Faith in Christ Ministries in Westmoreland, Jamaica, for more than ten years. She divides her time among her family; work and writing projects; dogs; to-be-read list, and catching up on much-needed sleep.

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Musing Monday - Mar 27


Musing Monday is hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker It is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

I’m currently reading…
Up next I think I’ll read…
I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
I can’t wait to get a copy of…
I wish I could read ___, but…
I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK'S RANDOM QUESTION: What was your favorite picture book as a kid?

Happy Monday! Hope all is well. Things are good here. Too much to do and too little time, but that's the story of life.

The real estate market has been nuts: not enough houses but tons of buyers. Prediction is that April will have more traffic than ever before. I'm meeting with new clients all the time.

As far as reading goes, I've been tackling Food Junkies. It's a fascinating look into food addiction. I'm learning a lot.


Other than that, I have some book reviews I'll be posting soon, including The Joyful Business Planner by Kate Martin.

What are you reading these days? Anything you would recommend to me?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Book Blast and Giveaway: Second Chance Marquess by Jessica Jefferson


When Wilhemina Turner’s younger sister runs off with a young Lothario, she has no choice but to turn to the notorious rake who broke his promise and her heart, for assistance. George Bartlett, the Marquess of Chesterton, hasn’t forgotten the woman who hurt him so many years ago, but can’t deny her request, knowing that his brother’s reputation, and fortune, is at risk. A series of misfortunes leave the straight-laced widow and committed bachelor stranded, sharing both close quarters and old secrets. But when morning comes, will this unlikely pair find a second chance at love?

Book Excerpt:

“Fine.” He looked away first, turning his attention back to the items he’d collected upon his desk. “If you want to join me, then you may.”

She squared her shoulders and stood a bit straighter having won their duel of wills. “Good.”

Without another word or a single glance, Chesterton left the room.

Not one to be left behind, Wilhelmina hurried after him, through the study and up the stairs.

“Where are we going?” she asked once they’d reached the top, breathless from the burst of activity.

He strode down the corridor, seemingly unaffected by the brisk climb. “To my bedroom.”

She immediately stopped. “Your bedroom? Why ever would we go in there?”

Chesterton turned back to her, one sardonic eyebrow arched high. “To change,” he answered. “You didn’t expect me to head out in this, did you?” He turned and continued toward the room, looking back at her before entering. “Are you coming?” he asked, voice smooth as warm chocolate.

This wasn’t the first time she’d been lured into George’s bedroom. He’d been an earl, the courtesy title bestowed upon him at birth, but more than that, he’d been a gentleman. Apparently, he’d lost that when he’d inherited the Marquisate. His bedroom was no longer an inviting sanctuary, and this invitation was not one of love as it had once been, but a lewd proposition, tenderness replaced by cruelty, as he watched expectantly for her reaction.

“I don’t think that’ll be necessary,” she stuttered, trying in vain to remain calm and collected as he started to untie the sash about his waist holding his robe closed. He let it fall to the ground and the robe opened, revealing his chest and torso in all its naked glory.

And it was indeed glorious.

She quickly averted her glance, whipping her head around and staring attentively at the painting on the wall.

“Is something the matter, Mrs. Turner?”

She was not about to play this game. She didn’t have the time, and he didn’t deserve the enjoyment it would undoubtedly bring him to see her suffer so. And most importantly, she couldn’t play because she knew good and well that she had no chance of winning.

Purchase now at Amazon for only 99 cents!


Jessica Jefferson makes her home in Almost-Chicago with her husband, two young daughters, French bulldog Lulu, and English bulldog Pete. When she's not busy trying to find middle-ground between being a modern career woman and Suzy-Homemaker, she loves to watch "Real Housewives of [insert city here]" and performing unnecessary improvements to her home and property.

Jessica writes Regency-era historical romance with a modern twist where she invites her readers to fall in love with romance again.

Links and social media:

www.JessicaJefferson.com and www.embracingromance.com
Like me at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Jefferson/545243542195152
Follow me at https://twitter.com/authorJessicaJ/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7376474.Jessica_Jefferson
Amazon Author Page- http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Jefferson/e/B00GI20W2K
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorjessicaje/


Jessica will be awarding a $25 and a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to two randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Book Spotlight: Comes Before Winter by Elizabeth Golibart Honaker

Write Now Literary is pleased to announce Come Before Winter, a Christian Historical Fiction with author Elizabeth G. Honaker, March 20-24, 2017.

ASIN: B00PPTR5C2

ISBN-10: 1502598353

ISBN-13: 978-1502598356


About The Author

Elizabeth Golibart Honaker hails from Sparta, Tennessee, where she teaches writing support and English at Motlow Community College. Her undergraduate degree is in Liberal Arts, and her first MA is in Theology. This has given her the breadth and scope to write over fifteen full-length passion plays in the last twenty years – seven of which are in print with others being prepared for publication – as well as dozens of shorter scripts, short stories, and poems on Christian topics. Her first historical fiction novel, Come Before Winter, was published in 2014. In that same year, she completed her second MA in English and Creative Writing (Fiction) at Southern New Hampshire University.

When she is not writing or tutoring, she spends her time devising new home projects for Allen, her husband of 45 years. She also enjoys communicating with her two wonderful grown children and buying (and making) trinkets for her four lively grandchildren. She is passionate about sharing Christ, missional activities, and her local church. She also loves gardening, sewing, piano playing, and Star Trek as time permits.



About The Book

This novel skillfully mixes historical people and events from the first century A.D. with fictional characters to create a riveting narrative. What was it like to be confronted by common people from the Roman Empire who believed in an uncommon Savior? Tribune Justinius Plaxus Glatonis, a powerful member of the Imperial Guard in Rome, finds out.












It was sundown when Justinius, Tribune of the Roman Imperial Guard, entered his cubicle and wearily removed his plumed helmet. After placing it in its proper place in the crudely-crafted cupboard near his cot, the warrior stretched and flexed his arms. In the name of Mithras, he thought, am I getting old? My muscles never ached as badly as they do today. He withdrew his broad sword from its scabbard and placed it next to his pilum – the expertly-crafted Roman spear. His shield had shifted slightly on its peg, and he adjusted it to its proper position. Septimus, his tesserarius,1 had already lit his oil lamps, and a welcome cup of wine was placed on the table. Justinius stood to drink it; he awaited Septimus’ help to remove his breastplate and underlying tunic and could not relax until that was accomplished. However, as a good soldier, he was patient – he knew that Septimus would not keep his commander waiting without cause. He drank the cup slowly, savoring the r ich fullness of the wine produced but a few stadia from the gates of Rome. Wine of such quality is not to be found anywhere else in the empire, he mused. I am fortunate to be stationed in Rome herself, the Queen of Cities.

Roman aide-de-camp

Septimus entered and saluted Justinius. His commander nodded, returned the empty cup to the table, and raised his arms so that his aide could more easily access the straps and belts that attached one piece of the breastplate to another. As his aide removed the back piece, Justinius momentarily held the front piece so it would not fall to the ground. It was a heavy, durable section of armor, but the tribune did not want it scratched up unduly. As a good warrior always did, he took care of his own kit himself, polishing it daily. Each piece stood proudly in its assigned place. As Justinius’ aide, Septimus’ job was to assist his commander only in necessary tasks. He was not a servant; he was subordinate only to Justinius. However, there was a certain affection reflected in Septimus’ actions. Indeed, he went beyond the normal scope of a soldier assigned to assist an officer. It was not so much in the big things that he sought to aid his superior; he tried to notice the little things that could smooth the way for such an admirable leader as the tribune he served. His eyes fell on the tattered brown cloak with the curious stripes that draped itself over a partially-concealed scroll. He reached for it to tidy its appearance, but Justinius spoke to him with uncharacteristic sharpness: “Don’t touch that!” “Sir, I only meant…” “I will handle it myself. Do not touch it.” “Yes, Tribune.” “That will be all.” Justinius stood still until Septimus had left the room. Why did I speak to him in that manner? He asked himself. Now I have raised suspicion…What a foolish thought! Who cares whether a moth-eaten cloak and an ill-penned scroll sit in my quarters? Still… Justinius glanced once more toward the door; it had been securely latched by his aide, so he felt more secure. He stood before the cupboard, struggling with himself whether to touch the cloak and the scroll once more or no. What have I to fear from such objects – the cloak of a fanatic and the scroll of a deluded fool? Justinius sank down onto his cot. The apparatus was wellworn and had seen over fifty campaigns – like its owner – but it was sturdy and serviceable, like everything else in Justinius’ cubicle. There were plenty of other things to claim the soldier’s attention; the weekly slabs with their figures and lines and reports had to be read and digested, and more reports had to be made to superiors up the line. There was his armor to polish once again. But Justinius could not concentrate on anything but the two maddeningly distractive articles. He stood and went to the cupboard. This fear is insane. He reached out to pull the cloak from its resting place, and as he drew it closer to his body, he smelled its lingering aroma of travel and sweat and contact with horses and camels and ships. It was somehow reassuring to smell that smell again.