Tuesday, October 15, 2019

New Release: Western Christmas Wishes by Brenda Minton and Jill Kemerer




Two tales of holiday homecoming.

Spend the holidays with family in these two Western novellas!

Home is where the heart is in His Christmas Family when Laurel Adams comes home and discovers a foster kid and a seriously charming horse trainer living on her grandmother’s ranch. And in A Merry Wyoming Christmas, single mom Leann Bowden is starting over when she and her daughter are rescued from a snowstorm. Might the dashing cowboy be the Christmas gift they’re dreaming of?

Series: Love Inspired
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired; Original edition (October 15, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1335479511
ISBN-13: 978-1335479518

Click here for online retailers!

Monday, October 7, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Oct 7



It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

In case you hadn't noticed, life has been CRAZY! Didn't mean to drop off the blogging world. Not much reading going on either. For one thing, too darn tired. For another thing, been busy working all kinds of ridiculous hours.

The week of October 21 should bring with it a better schedule. Fingers crossed.

Like I said, not much reading. I have to write the review for this one.



Still reading this one.



Next up are these three:







Not sure after that. I am not planning to request any others for review. The last quarter of the year I need to focus on my writing.

What is going on in your reading and blogging world? Anything new to share?

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Book Blast & Giveaway: Lone Survivor by Anya Summers



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anya will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly chosen winner via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



She needed a fresh start…

ICU Nurse Sadie Montgomery moved to New Orleans after her entire world fell apart. The idea was borne of desperation as she sank further into a depression so deep and dark, she had stopped feeling. It isn’t until she crosses paths with Ram that she finally feels a spark of life return. The only problem is, she doesn’t want to be dependent upon anyone. The pain of losing it all is still too fresh. Not to mention, in Ram’s world, the women submit themselves body and soul.

He wasn’t looking for love…


Former Army Ranger, Ramsey O’Malley, is not looking for a long-term commitment from a woman beyond a scene or two at Club Underworld. He doesn’t have the time nor the inclination to begin something he cannot finish, not as a single dad with a thriving psychology practice. Except, he is drawn to his newest patient. She’s forbidden, like the apple in the garden of Eden, and all he wants to do it take a bite.

But they could not deny their desire…


When Sadie makes a surprise appearance at Club Underworld looking to take a walk on the wild side, Ram knows he cannot let another man have her. He wants to be the one to introduce her to submission. But can he convince her to submit to his brand of lovemaking? And will just one night be enough?

Publisher’s Note: This steamy contemporary romance contains elements of power exchange.


Read an Excerpt



Later that afternoon, Ramsey was at home putting together a lasagna for dinner.

“Dad.” Rocky sat at the kitchen table, a pack of colored pencils beside him as he worked on his latest comic book sketch. His dirty blond hair had grown in the two months he had been in New Orleans. Ram added getting him to the barber to his mental to do list before taking him and his sister back to Dallas.

“Yeah?” He slid the pan into the oven and then turned, leaning against the counter to look at his teenage son. Jesus, how could he be thirteen already? Ram could still remember how tiny he’d been, and just how terrified he’d been of taking care of a toddler on his own after he and their mom had split when Rocky was two. It did something to him, staring at the boy on the cusp of manhood, and thinking back over the years. He would hit a growth spurt in the next year or so and be as tall as Ram.

“Do you think it’s possible that aliens exist?” Rocky asked, never looking up from his drawing. Ram had no idea how the kid came by his artistic talent. Certainly not from him. Although Rocky’s Aunt Becca, Ram’s baby sister, was an artist. So it was definitely there in the family tree.

“I think it’s a distinct possibility.” This planet had enough problems without adding aliens to the mix. Talk about throwing the world into a panic.

“Then why haven’t they come to Earth yet?” Rocky asked, lifting his face. It always filled Ram with wonder when he looked at Rocky and saw a younger version of himself in everything but eye color. Rocky’s eyes were a clear jade, just like his mom’s.

“And how do you know that they haven’t?” he teased his son.

“Because we would know. With technology the way it is, someone would have gotten a picture or video that proves their existence.”

“Have you considered the possibility that if they flew billions of lightyears to get here, it’s more likely that their technology is much more advanced than ours and they would be able to hide from detection?” Ram said with a smile hovering over his lips.

“Yeah, for all we know, the aliens left you with us at birth. It would explain a lot.” Hurricane Angela waltzed into the kitchen, her smartphone in her hand, and grabbed an apple from the fruit basket on the counter. Ram sighed. His daughter was fifteen going on twenty-five, with enough sass to outlast Satan.

“Then you should watch yourself. We like to suck out human souls at night. It would explain a lot about you,” Rocky countered.

Angela rolled her eyes. “You’re such a dork.”

“Ang, watch it. You can talk to your friends for an hour and then screen-time is done for the night,” Ram stated, hearing echoes of his own dad as he said it. Ram didn’t know how, but he had turned into his father. He’d like to think of himself as much cooler, down to earth, and more level headed. But yeah, it had happened. And the thing was, Ram loved being a dad—although the teenage years were going to give him a head full of gray hair.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Anya grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Anya never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Anya is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance under the name Maggie Mae Gallagher. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Visit her website here: http://www.anyasummers.com

Visit her on social media here:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AnyaSummersAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anyabsummers

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15183606.Anya_Summers

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Anya-Summers/e/B01EGTVRKC/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/anya-summers

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anyasummersauthor

Newsletter: https://anyasummers.com/newsletter/


Don’t miss these exciting titles by Anya Summers!

Dungeon Fantasy Club Series

Her Highland Master, Book 1: https://www.amazon.com/Highland-Master-Dungeon-Fantasy-Club-ebook/dp/B01E9UB8SO/

To Master and Defend, Book 2: https://www.amazon.com/Master-Defend-Dungeon-Fantasy-Club-ebook/dp/B01FNG23HI/

Two Doms for Kara, Book 3: https://www.amazon.com/Doms-Kara-Dungeon-Fantasy-Club-ebook/dp/B01GXGOAK0

His Driven Domme, Book 4: https://www.amazon.com/Driven-Domme-Dungeon-Fantasy-Club-ebook/dp/B01IIUY8Y2

Her Country Master, Book 5: https://goo.gl/YWhLqm

Love Me, Master Me, Book 6: https://goo.gl/QlTE9u

Submit To Me, Book 7: https://goo.gl/Or8pYr

Her Wired Dom, Book 8: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRJY9TF/



Pleasure Island Series

Her Master and Commander, Book 1: https://www.amazon.com/Master-Commander-Pleasure-Island-Book-ebook/dp/B06Y5SVVB9/

Her Music Masters, Book 2: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711R9D1H/

Their Shy Submissive, Book 3: https://goo.gl/ufyJLn

Her Lawful Master, Book 4: https://www.amazon.com/Lawful-Master-Pleasure-Island-Book-ebook/dp/B073SRDNNT

Her Rockstar Dom, Book 5: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075VSGP8Q

Duets and Dominance, Book 6: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075TG9RYC

Her Undercover Dom, Book 7: https://goo.gl/HKhVba

Ménage In Paradise, Book 8: https://goo.gl/qce2BD

Her Rodeo Masters, Book 9: https://goo.gl/HDZw6v



Cuffs and Spurs Series

His Scandalous Love: https://www.amazon.com/Scandalous-Love-Cuffs-Spurs-Book-ebook/dp/B079GBB57Z

His Unexpected Love: https://www.amazon.com/His-Unexpected-Love-Carter-Beginning-ebook/dp/B07C2NBGLQ

His Wicked Love: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B661RP1

His Untamed Love: https://www.amazon.com/Untamed-Love-Cuffs-Spurs-Book-ebook/dp/B07D9ZDHMH

His Tempting Love: https://www.amazon.com/Tempting-Love-Cuffs-Spurs-Book-ebook/dp/B07HYT1GVQ

His Seductive Love: https://www.amazon.com/Seductive-Love-Cuffs-Spurs-Book-ebook/dp/B07KXP3MMF

His Secret Love: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NKN5Y2S

His Cherished Love: https://www.amazon.com/Cherished-Love-Cuffs-Spurs-Book-ebook/dp/B07SBDTVMV




The Alcyran Chronicles

Taken by the Beast: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYNT21L

Claimed by the Beast: https://www.amazon.com/Claimed-Beast-Alcyran-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B07Q3HNP26/

Loved by the Beast: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W3QFLJW/ref=sr_1_1

Seduced by the Beast, Book 4 – Coming Soon

Chosen by the Beast, Book 5 – Coming Soon



Crescent City Kings

Lone Survivor, Book 1: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X4JN5DX

Far Reaching Consequences, Book 2 – Coming Soon

The Right To Remain Silent, Book 3 – Coming Soon

Bound To Protect, Book 4 – Coming Soon

Self Sacrifice, Book 5 – Coming Soon

Never Surrender, Book 6 – Coming Soon

Oath and Indenture, Book 7 – Coming Soon



Boxed Sets

The Dungeon Fantasy Club: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H6FPSFV

The Pleasure Island Collection: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N2NLY3L/


ENTER FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 23, 2019

Author Interview: Ross Victory, Author of Views from the Cockpit

Ross Victory is an American Marketing professional, travel enthusiast, and author of the new memoir, Views from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son. He spent his early years collecting pens, notepads and interviewing himself in a tape recorder. With an acute awareness for his young age, he was eager to point out hypocrisies and character inconsistencies in children and adults through English assignments. He delighted in provoking a reaction from his English teachers with writing that seemed to wink and smile. 

He enjoys writing non-fiction and fiction projects--stories of captivating, complex characters expressed in all their dimensions usually on a path to self-discovery through suffering. After the loss of his father, Ross has married his love for writing to create a compelling memoir to inspire the world. Ross received his B.S. in Business Administration & Marketing Management.


Where did you grow up?

I grew up in sunny, Los Angeles, California land of taco trucks, celebrities and traffic!

When did you begin writing?

My earliest memory of writing would probably be in a 3rd or 4th grade writing class. I recall I once wrote a story that was “so scary” for an English assignment that the teacher reached out to my parents about it. My first love is songwriting, I’ve been creating songs since 5 or 6 years old.

What is this book about?

Views from the Cockpit: The Journey of a Son is a memoir born from pain about my relationship with my late father, Claude B. Victory. It covers our earliest memory, which was plane watching at LAX to our last memory, which was, unfortunately, the discovery that his cancer had metastasized, and he was a severe victim of elder abuse. The book uses comparative analysis between an airplane journey and an actual life journey to engage readers.



What inspired you to write it?

It was a part of my healing process—the process I needed to go through to cope with the loss of my dad. It was extremely cathartic. But, honestly, friends and family encouraged me to express my voice and that it was worth sharing.

How is it similar to other books in its genre? How is it different?

Memoirs are usually about people’s personal stories, which range from experiences to childbirth to loss of dogs, etc. So, it’s very authentic and a real-life story. I think it’s different because I used a lot of metaphors and symbolic meanings in the book and also fictionalized some aspects to give it a proper narrative arc, so it wasn’t just an overload of subjective information and facts. There’s a beginning, a climax, a twist and an end.

What is the most important thing readers can learn from your book?

My goal is for people to walk away and contemplate the programming they received in their childhood. I want people to ponder and ask questions about what they’ve been told is true and their relationship with authority. Of course, I want them to answer the question that I said, “What is the view of the cockpit of your life—what do you see? Are you cruising? Are you nosediving? Etc.” If readers can gain a sense of awareness in order to make a positive change, then that is success to me!

Where can readers purchase a copy?

The book is available worldwide online. It is on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play Store and some local L.A. bookstores like Booksoup, Maliks Books & Café, Skylight Books and Vroman’s in Pasadena.

What is up next for you?

For the past two months, I have been recording the audio book of Views from the Cockpit for readers who are interested, but don’t have time to read. As you know, L.A. is famous for its traffic, so traffic is a good place to enjoy the message. I have also recorded a promotional single called “Savor the View” which is accompany the audio book version. It was recorded at Good Vibez Studios in Burbank and produced by Pnxcho! It’s really something special. It’s a stand along song and solid in its own right, but my goal was to tie in audio and my vocal and songwriting abilities.

Is there anything you would like to add?

September 13, 2019 would have been my father’s 76th birthday. Views from the Cockpit in its entirety is an expression of love and gratitude to my dad for the gifts he passed on to me. The gifts AND the cautionary tales/life lessons. I hope readers get to know him and enjoy everything he has shared with me.


★★★★★ORDER YOUR COPY★★★★★

 Barnes & Noblehttps://tinyurl.com/y2ydegrg



Book Spotlight: Wolves At our Door by Soren Paul Petrek




The Allies and the Nazis are in a deadly race to develop the ultimate weapon while supersonic V-2 rockets rain down on London. Madeleine Toche and Berthold Hartmann, the German super assassin who taught her to kill, search for the secret factory where Werner von Braun and his Gestapos masters use slave labor to build the weapons as the bodies of the innocent pile up. The Allied ground forces push towards Berlin while the German SS fight savagely for each inch of ground.

Finding the factory hidden beneath Mount Kohnstein, Hartmann contacts his old enemy, Winston Churchill and summons Madeleine to his side. While she moves to bring the mountain down on her enemies, Hartmann leads a daring escape from the dreaded Dora concentration camp to continue his revenge against the monsters who ruined his beloved Germany.

Together with the Russian Nachtlexen, the Night Witches, fearsome female pilots the race tightens as the United States and the Germans successfully carry out an atomic bomb test.

Germany installs an atom bomb in a V-2 pointed towards London, while the US delivers one to a forward base in the Pacific. The fate of the Second World War and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.

Read the first chapter at Booksie and don’t forget to give it a like!



ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon



***********


Soren Petrek is a practicing criminal trial attorney, admitted to the Minnesota Bar in 1991.  Married with two adult children, Soren continues to live and work in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Educated in the U.S., England and France Soren sat his O-level examinations at the Heathland School in Hounslow, London in 1981.  His undergraduate degree in Forestry is from the University of Minnesota, 1986.  His law degree is from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota 1991.

Soren’s novel, Cold Lonely Courage won Fade In Magazine’s 2009 Award for Fiction.  Fade In was voted the nation’s favorite movie magazine by the Washington Post and the L.A. Times in 2011 and 2012.

The French edition of Cold Lonely Courage, Courage was published January 2019, by Encre Rouge Editions, distributed by Hachette Livre in 60 countries.  Soren’s contemporary novel, Tim will be released along with the rest of the books in the Madeleine Toche series of historical thrillers.

Website: https://www.sorenpetrek.com













Thursday, September 19, 2019

New Release: Eastbound from Flagstaff by Annette Valentine



A love story based on Annette Valentine’s father, Eastbound From Flagstaff portrays an individual who comes to recognize the significance of family, loyalty, and the richness of his heritage.

Simon Hagan is running from a lie, intent on believing his own efforts and perseverance can overcome anything. He abandons roots that are his foundational strength and hides behind his charm, living every moment as if life’s daring him to fail―again. He’s reckoning with his father’s God who could have delivered better outcomes but didn’t.

This first installment in an epic trilogy that begins in the 1920’s, unique in its purposeful illumination of the human condition and its ideological indifference to God, asks the question: “Why was God silent when I needed him?” Simon’s return to the notion of forgiveness is the catalyst for a new beginning as it reunites Simon to the place he once thought was the impossible dream. The answer for Simon isn’t blowing in the backwinds of his dream chase; rather, it unfolds in the outstretched hand of a villain.

“A wonderful read, a well-fought redemption story.”
– Darrell Waltrip, author, American motorsports analyst, and former racing driver


Paperback: 334 pages
Publisher: Morgan James Fiction (September 17, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1642793345
ISBN-13: 978-1642793345

Available at:

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
INDIEBOUND.ORG



Annette is an inspirational storyteller with a flair for the unexpected. By age eleven, she knew that writing was an integral part of her creative nature. Annette graduated with distinction from Purdue and founded an interior design firm which spanned a 34-year career in Lafayette, Indiana and Brentwood, Tennessee. Annette has used her 18-year affiliation with Toastmasters International to prepare her for her position with the Speakers’ Bureau for End Slavery Tennessee and is an advocate for victims and survivors of human trafficking and is the volunteer group leader for Brentwood, Tennessee. Annette writes through the varied lens of colorful personal experience and the absorbing reality of humanity’s search for meaning. Mother to one son and daughter, and a grandparent of six amazing kids, Annette now lives in Brentwood, a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and their 5-year-old Boxer. To learn more about Annette’s life and work, please visit https://annettehvalentine.com


Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Silent Meridian by Elizabeth Crowens



Silent Meridian by Elizabeth Crowens Banner


 

The Time Traveler Professor, Book One:

Silent Meridian

by Elizabeth Crowens

on Tour August 18 - September 21, 2019



Synopsis:


The Time Traveler Professor, Book One: Silent Meridian by Elizabeth Crowens

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is obsessed with a legendary red book. Its peculiar stories have come to life, and rumors claim that it has rewritten its own endings. Convinced that possessing this book will help him write his ever-popular Sherlock Holmes stories, he takes on an unlikely partner, John Patrick Scott, known to most as a concert pianist, but a paranormal investigator and a time traveler professor to a select few.

Like Holmes and Watson trying to solve a mystery, together they explore lost worlds and their friendship is tested to the limits when they go back in time to find it. Both discover that karmic ties and unconscionable crimes have followed them like ghosts from the past, wreaking havoc on the present and possibly the future.

The Time Traveler Professor, Book One: SILENT MERIDIAN reveals the alternate histories of Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Houdini, Jung and other luminaries in the secret diaries of John Patrick Scott, in an X Files for the 19th century. First Prize winner of Chanticleer Review's Goethe Award for Turn-of-the-Century Historical Fiction and First Prize for Steampunk in the Independent Press Awards. Stay tuned for A POCKETFUL OF LODESTONES; Book Two in the Time Traveler Professor series by Elizabeth Crowens.

Book Details:

Genre: Alternate History, Mystery, Fantasy Noir

Published by: Atomic Alchemist Productions LLC

Publication Date: June 12th 2019

Number of Pages: 384

ISBN: 9781950384 (ISBN13: 9781950384044)

Series: The Time Traveler Professor #1

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


Read an excerpt:


Edinburgh, 1898


Scotland was just barely crawling its way out of the nineteenth century. I was a naïve, but ambitious student studying music at the University of Edinburgh hurrying over to meet Arthur Conan Doyle, the man who would change my life forever.

“John Patrick Scott, sir,” I said and approached Mr. Doyle, who was already seated at a back corner table of the Deacon Brodie, the pub that inspired the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

I extended my hand to greet him and removed my rain-soaked hat, while my overcoat slipped out of my hands and fell on the floor by accident. It was still hard to believe that good fortune finally brought us together, but we were both nervous. “Mr. Conan Doyle, or should I call you Doctor Doyle?” I was unsure how to address him.

Doyle scrutinized me from top to bottom as he signaled the waiter. “John, call me Arthur.”

“Sir, I’m so honored that you agreed to discuss this matter. Perhaps you can enlighten me in a way that I’ve failed to comprehend.”

I wanted to ask him about my unusual turn of events straight away but he caught me off guard and was dead set on pulling me into the swift current of an unexpected conversation.

“Can I assume you believe in the transmigration of souls?” he asked.

“Until now, I haven’t given it a lot of thought,” I said, unsure as to which direction he was leading.

“Did you ever read those books about that Swiss doctor who felt his body and soul had been taken over by a Benedictine monk? That presented a curious case. He claims that he was approached by the spirit of an elderly monk before he died, and that the monk needed to rent his body to continue his spiritual mission.”

“Rent?” I choked in disbelief.

“We truly don’t take anything with us when we pass on, do we? This monk knew he was dying and therefore needed to replace his physical body with something more youthful and vital.”

“That’s incredible. It debunks the theory that you need to die and be reborn as an infant to carry on your spirit.”

Mr. Doyle had the tinge of excitement in his voice.

“John, here’s another instance. I’ve had my suspicions about a famous musician who had an obsession about a notorious and controversial mystic. You’d surmise by his overwhelming attraction to that person he might’ve been him in a previous lifetime, but facts were clear he was born three years before the mystic died. My understanding is the mystic was aware he didn’t have long in his present incarnation. Therefore he made plans for some sort of partial soul transference while he was still alive to imprint his essence upon the child. That would’ve allowed him to carry on and accomplish unfinished business, which couldn’t have been executed otherwise. Essentially he had the ability of being two places at once.”

“Sounds more like Spiritualism,” I replied.

“Honestly, John, I don’t think there are any steadfast rules when it comes to this matter. That’s what makes it so intriguing.”

I sensed he had a secret agenda.

Doyle reloaded his churchwarden pipe with fresh tobacco and continued, “This is not at all like anything you’ve ever read from H.G. Wells or Jules Verne. We’re poking holes in every treatise written on the subject — the idea of being able to reincarnate a part of yourself while you are still alive into another soul.”

Our conversation was quickly becoming like a speeding train ready to jump the tracks. Realizing this, Doyle slowed down the pace and took a deep breath. He carefully composed his next statement.

“Fiction it may seem to be but it’s not hocus pocus. Don’t you also find it strange that you somehow found yourself initiated into a mystical order on a commuter train bound from London to Edinburgh when the instigators kept on mistaking you for me? There are no accidents.”

I became silent for a moment, stalling for time as I slowly raised my glass of ale to my lips. As soon as I fished a small red book out of my coat pocket and placed it on the table in front of us Arthur eyed it intently. It had been the source of intrigue, which led me to Doyle in the first place and piqued his curiosity as much as it did mine.

“Could I have done something terrible in my youth that caused this to happen?”

“You have no recollections, John?”

“I remember so little of my childhood. I wish I could.”

“You’re a smart young man. I’m sure you’ll come up with a clever deduction.”

Mr. Doyle paused to relight his pipe. He had an unnerving look in his eye, which I vainly tried to read into, but he took me for a spin when he brought up the next topic.

“On another note, John, have you ever considered that people are capable of communicating without speech, and I’m not talking about writing letters?”

“Pardon me?”

“Imagine communicating by mere thoughts. I’ve always wanted to experiment with someone open to these concepts. God knows — my brothers at the Society for Psychical Research certainly talk enough about it. My wife, Touie, has been an unwilling subject and is not the most objective choice.”

I looked at him, somewhat perplexed. “Are you asking me to accurately guess what you’re thinking?”

“Come now. We’ll play a game. I’ll form an image in my mind, and for the next minute I will try to project it into yours. Clear your thoughts of any distractions and be as receptive as possible,” he explained.

As much as I tried, I couldn’t have been more preoccupied. Images of that fateful event flashed through my brain. My recollections revealed my rain-soaked train ticket. I kept arguing with the steward about putting me in the wrong cabin. An erroneous judgment had been made when three strangers insisted I was Arthur. We were so different in physical appearance. He was a large, athletic man with a distinguished moustache. On the other hand, I had baby smooth skin and couldn’t grow facial hair to save my life. I was nearly twenty years younger and much shorter with wild auburn hair that resembled Maestro Beethoven’s with the exception of premature strands of gray.

So why was I singled out? Was there laudanum in my brandy? Details spun like a whirlwind. I must’ve been in a drug-induced stupor but I was initiated into some secret Masonic-like society, and when it was all over those mysterious men were gone. What remained were an engraved silver ring on my finger and an ominous red book on the seat beside me.

“Looks like you’ve seen a ghost.” Arthur broke my trance and realized my thoughts had been elsewhere.

“I felt like I had.” Barely able to articulate, I tried to tame my wild mane in place. Visions faded in and out. Timelines jumped. So I gulped down another swig of ale to focus on the present.

Arthur leaned in closer. “I can see you’re still worried about that event on the train. Those men have been after me for some time. Why? It’s hard to fathom. I’ll dilly dally with notions here and there about Sherlock Holmes and his partner, Watson, who fancy themselves as detectives. Me? I’m just a simple doctor and writer with interests in Spiritualism trying to find scientific explanations for the unknown.”

“Arthur, what would anyone want with an unassuming music student like me?”

“Personally, I don’t think this was A Case of Identity,” Arthur replied with a smile.

Obviously he meant to say my dilemma was not a case of mistaken identity, not the name of one of his famous Sherlock stories. He was pleased I caught the humor of his play on words.

“Perhaps it has something to do with that book,” he said pointing to the one I brought.

“I’m concerned it’s dangerous, that it’s a curse. I wish I had never found it.” I shoved it back into my pocket and drained my glass.

* * *

One week later as I was returning home from school, my landlady, Lydia Campbell, yelled from the kitchen as I trudged my muddied shoes through the front door of her boarding house. “John, a letter from Undershaw arrived for you today! I wonder whom it could be from? You don’t know anyone from Undershaw, do you?”

Oh, yes I did. I grabbed the letter and ran upstairs so fast I nearly tripped on my muffler and fell on my face. I poured myself a glass of port to calm my nerves, doffed my wet garments and sank into my most comfortable brass-studded leather chair I affectionately named my thinking chair, where I created many a melody in my head, could think deep thoughts, and drift off to dreamland.

* * *

Dear John,

I wholeheartedly enjoyed our conversation at the Deacon Brodie and kept my promise of a prompt reply. By now, you are well aware of my passion to explore the realms of Spiritualism and related paranormal phenomena far surpasses any personal interests involved with Sherlock Holmes. Public demand for my writing, however, exerts a strain on how much I can overtly reveal to even my most trusted colleagues. Whenever I indulge in any activity, be it a simple séance, investigating a revered medium or attending a meeting of the British Society for Psychical Research, it never fails to raise the eyebrows of my wary publishers and critics. It’s God’s honest truth that I believe in many of these inexplicable accounts. Even my father painted beautiful renditions of fairies, which I trust he witnessed with his own eyes. The betterment of mankind rests on embracing such theories once they are proven to exist by the scientific community. Thus, I’ll have to continue more controversial and debatable endeavors in utmost secrecy, or at least for the time being until more evidence can be brought to light.

Since you seem to be an open-minded young man who has already experienced some effects of the preternatural, this is my proposal: At midnight every night, we should conduct a variety of remote operations with the primary purpose of communicating through means of telepathy. Since I have a tendency to travel, we’ll have to make some sort of adjustment to take into account the different time zones. Of course, you must share this secret with nobody. Besides us, only my wife will know, although she will not participate.

When you shared the account of the strange commuter train incident that was enough to convince me that you would be the perfect partner for this private undertaking. Most assuredly, there was something you did in the past in the realm of the arcane to warrant such a chain of events. That was not mere happenstance, and now since you possess that enigmatic red book, I’m sure it will affect your life in ways you’ve never imagined.

My intentions have been to perform similar trial and error enterprises with Harry Houdini, a rising star whose stage performances have been astounding audiences, but his busy schedule has made it nearly impossible to coordinate such engagements with any sort of regularity. One of these days we’ll catch up. Meanwhile, I collect whatever news comes from across the herring-pond. At one point, he and I will develop a special relationship based on mutual interests.

Regarding the two of us, however, we’ll back up our observations with letters or telegrams as often as possible as proof of results, but those must be destroyed as soon as they are read. Once again, I cannot over emphasize the importance of confidentiality. Regardless, we must keep a faithful agreement, as skill will come with practice.

If you are willing to put aside any apprehensions regarding trains, I’ll pay for you to travel down to Undershaw and visit me on weekends whenever possible. My driver can meet you in London at a pre-arranged time. You’ll stay in one of our guest bedrooms, and as long as you don’t mind the children and can tolerate what our kitchen staff provides, you’ll be well taken care of. That’ll give us the opportunity to expand our repertoire and commence further psychical experimentation with ectoplasm, spirit photography and astral projection. And bring the red book. I’d like a chance to look at it.

I’ve also desired a partner to accompany me for ghost sightings and occult investigations. For all we know with the knowledge gained, we might even break through the barriers of time. That would certainly give Bertie (H.G. Wells) a shock to the senses, proving his imagination does not merely dwell in the realm of fiction. We’ve been at odds on this topic for years.

Regarding telepathic technique, I can only suggest you conduct yourself in a way as you see fit. Personally, I don’t give credence to things like magical amulets, but if it helps to have an etheric link, use this letter you hold in your hand, as it contains my heart, soul and signature with a drop of blood, which I added to the ink. You might wish to reciprocate.

Let’s raise our glasses to honor the quest of conquering the unknown.

Arthur Conan Doyle

* * *

So, Arthur was serious when he first brought up the subject. When he and I left the pub, I really didn’t know what to think. After all, he was a famous author, and I was merely a student. What possessed him to choose me for such an engagement?

I shuffled through my schoolwork to find my pen and ink and a fresh sheet of paper. Blood, I needed blood. Ah, my razor! That would work. I fetched my shaving kit and winced as I drew a few drops. I scribbled a swift, affirmative reply with the blood-tainted ink, mailed the letter the following day and looked forward to our first otherworldly encounter.

***

Excerpt from The Time Traveler Professor, Book One: Silent Meridian by Elizabeth Crowens. Copyright © 2019 by Elizabeth Crowens. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Crowens. All rights reserved.





Author Bio:

Elizabeth Crowens



Crowens has worked in the film and television for over twenty years and as a journalist and a photographer. She’s a regular contributor of author interviews to an award-winning online speculative fiction magazine, Black Gate. Short stories of hers have been published in the Bram Stoker Awards nominated anthology, A New York State of Fright and Hell’s Heart. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, The Horror Writers Association, the Authors Guild, Broad Universe, Sisters in Crime and a member of several Sherlockian societies. She is also writing a Hollywood suspense series.



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