Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Barnabas Tew and the Case of the Missing Scarab Review Tour

Blurb:
Barnabas Tew is a private detective struggling to make a go of it in Victorian London. Fearing that he is not as clever as he had hoped to be, he is riddled with anxiety and plagued by a lack of confidence brought on in no small part by his failure to prevent the untimely deaths of several of his clients. Matters only get worse when Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead, is referred to Barnabas by a former client (who perished in a terribly unfortunate incident which was almost certainly not Barnabas’ fault). Anubis sends for Barnabas (in a most uncivilized manner) and tells him that the scarab beetle in charge of rolling the sun across the sky every day has been kidnapped, and perhaps dismembered entirely. The land of the dead is in chaos, which will soon spill over into the land of the living if Barnabas (together with his trusty assistant, Wilfred) cannot set matters to right. Pulled from his safe and predictable (if unremarkable) life in Marylebone, Barnabas must match his wits against the capricious and dangerous Egyptian gods in order to unravel the mystery of the missing beetle and thereby save the world.


Excerpt:
“Perhaps there’s been a mistake,” he said. “Maybe I’m not really dead. Is there someone I could talk to? Someone who could straighten out this mess?”

“Sorry,” said Anti. “But this is how it is. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t dead.”

“I just would have thought that dying would be, well, more noticeable,” said Barnabas sadly.

“So does everyone,” said Anti. “Almost no one really believes they are dead at first. And it must be especially hard for you, to have gone in such a, well, an unexpected way.”


My Review:
4.5 stars

Going into this story, I wasn't sure what to expect, especially given the colorful blurb and considering that I don't usually read historical books. However, I'm glad I read this mystery as it was a thrilling, entertaining read.

The mystery was suspenseful and intriguing, so much so that I couldn't put this book down. In addition to the mystery, there was much humor woven in, which made the story even more enjoyable. And on top of all that, I was surprised at the detail put into this story. I could definitely see the time and effort the author put into the historical details and in the mystery, which made the story great.

However, my favorite part of the story was the characters. They were all interesting, fleshed out characters with their own fun quirks. My favorite was Barnabas, as I couldn't help but love him and his quirks, even if he is a bit accident prone (or causing). In addition, the banter between Barnabas and Wilfred was amazing and hysterical, which just added to the characters

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*



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Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour.


Author Bio and Links:
Columbkill Noonan has an M.S. in Biology (she has, in turn, been a field biologist, an environmental compliance inspector, and a lecturer of Anatomy and Physiology).

When she's not teaching or writing, she can usually be found riding her rescue horse, Mittens, practicing yoga (on the ground, in an aerial silk, on a SUP board, and sometimes even on Mittens), or spending far too much time at the local organic, vegan market.

To keep up with Columbkill, visit her blog, find her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Love on the Risky Side Book Blast

Blurb:
Falsely accused of the murder of her best friend, Kayla Jenkins is on the run for her life. She ends up lost in dark, snowy woods off some backcountry road in the middle of nowhere. Frightened and colder than she’s ever been in her life, she almost thinks she’s hallucinating when a warrior on a white steed saves her.

In all his years as the sheriff of Peak Town, Colorado, Jake Ryder has never come across a half-frozen woman alone in the woods. She’s terrified…and lying to him, yet something about her calls to him on a primal level.

Even with her trust of law enforcement lower than the harsh temperature, Kayla finds it difficult to keep her secrets hidden from the kind and far too handsome sheriff. But as her faith in Ryder grows, she not only risks the real murderer finding her, but losing the one thing she has searched for her whole life and only just found…love.


Excerpt:
“My name is Jake Ryder, but most folks call me Ryder.” When she didn’t return the introduction, he continued. “Can I ask how you came to be all the way out here in the middle of the night?”

Giving a guarded glance from the horse back to him, she simply said, “Got lost.”

And they say women were chatty. Hell, he had a pet parrot as a kid that talked more than this woman. Not a problem. As sheriff, he was used to interrogating uncooperative suspects. Not that she was a suspect, yet.

“Got lost...” He looked her over. Big, red, winter coat, long dark slacks and—were those high heels? “…shopping?”

Honestly, who the hell wears heels in the woods?

She scowled, wrapping her arms around herself. “My car ran off the road. I—I got out to find help. Wandered off the road and got lost.”

Something about her story smelled like Wind Chaser’s stall after feeding time. “Why didn’t you call Triple A?”

Her gaze darted to the side. “Cell died.”

Yeah, and I’m the King of England.

“You need a ride back to your car?”

Her eyes widened. “On that thing?”

“Her name is Wind Chaser, and yes. Did you think I had a car hidden in the trees?”

Her jaw clenched at his sarcasm. Well, excuse him. It was dark, cold, and the last thing he wanted to do was be out here trying to pull a story out of Ms. Lying-Crazy-Lady.


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Author Bio and Links:
RWA® Golden Heart® Nominated author Mariah Ankenman began writing at the tender age of five. Her first book “George and the Green Glob” received high praise from her mother. Many years, and green glob stories later, Mariah received a playwriting degree from the University of Wyoming. After a few years in Hollywood, working in “the biz,” she came home to the beautiful Rocky Mountains. When she’s not writing Mariah loves to read, crochet, and play her ukulele. She loves to hear from readers.

Website: www.mariahankenman.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mariahkenmanauthor/
Twitter: @MAsBooks

Buy links:
Amazon     |     B&N     |     The Wild Rose Press

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dinner Conversations Blog Tour

Blurb:
“You are going to LAUGH! You are going to then wonder if these conversations actually happened. You are going to wonder what kind of guy would actually say these things to his family.”

The answer is simple—yes, these conversations did actually happen. They occurred over a period of roughly 5 years, mainly at my dinner table.  I took them verbatim and posted them on Facebook so that all my friends could get a good laugh.

I must be honest with you, some of you will are going to laugh and say things like “…that sounds like something I would say or want to say” others are going to think that I am a horrible parent.  I am ok with either thought process.

What I hope is that after laughing, scratching your head and wondering what is wrong with Jay Reid, you realize that you need to create more of your own Dinner Conversations.  


Please join me @ www.Facebook.com/DinnerConversations to read more and post your own.” 

Buy Links:

Amazon  | Barnes & Noble



Excerpt:
Taxes

Kids
"You have to pay how much in taxes?!?"

Jay
"Yep, half or more of my money goes to pay taxes, the rest goes to pay for you guys. I have almost nothing left over."
  
Kids
"That's crazy!”

Jay
"I agree, but I am stuck with all of you."


Author Bio:
Jason Reid is an entrepreneur by trade and a dad by passion. He currently lives in Murrieta, California with his wonderful wife and amazing four children. Over the years he has written numerous business books, a novel, and children’s The Protector Bug book series.

His latest book is the humor/family/parenting book, DinnerConversations.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Riverside Lane NBtM

Blurb:
After arranging a house swap with a debonair antiques dealer, a darkly handsome American named Luca Tempesta arrives in a quaint English village. Tempesta, who claims to run a detective agency in Los Angeles, is supposedly on holiday – but the inhabitants of the village are unconvinced.

Yet, as they attempt to solve the mystery of the stranger in their midst, it gradually transpires that there are more than enough secrets to go around in the village itself, harboured by the local MP and his uptight, ambitious wife; the has-been former game show host; the respectable couple with the jailbird son; the hometown journalist, striving for a scoop that will rescue her from debt; and so on. The place is revealed as a labyrinth of deception masquerading as a picture-postcard hamlet; tension begins to mount in between the dinner parties and evenings at the pub, and soon culminates in an unexpected death.

Behind perfect privets and brightly painted front doors, the lives of Riverside Lane’s residents slowly unravel. Tempesta, guarding his secrets with a vengeance, is suddenly threatened with exposure by the elderly religious zealot Ivy Midwinter, whose own past involved keeping professional confidences. When she challenges him in church, she learns that Tempesta will stop at nothing to protect his privacy ...

Set against the exquisite backdrop of a gastronomic village by the Thames, Riverside Lane is a tautly paced page-turner that also gently satirises middle- class English manners: the upstanding denizens of the village watch and whisper behind a mask of English hauteur, whilst their own fragile lives come undone.


Excerpt:
Ivy bolted the door behind the journalist. Returning to her desk, she locked the drawer and squeezed her eyes shut. “The blind will see, and those who see will become blind,” she intoned, blinking furiously to dispel the strange dots that had started presenting themselves in her vision. They were becoming more frequent; Ivy knew she should visit an ophthalmologist. She hoped it was not un-Christian, but the thought of being unable to read her beloved sheet music upset her more deeply than any of the memories from her past. The Victorian marble clock, which comforted her hourly with its sweet Handel music, proclaimed that there was just enough time to deliver the cheque to the bank and get back to the Village for Evensong.

Standing at the bus stop with the melodious clock chimes still echoing softly in her head, Ivy caught sight of Luca Tempesta walking through the churchyard. Handel, she thought, had been sent to law school by his father, just like this American. The former had abandoned his studies and blessed mankind with the “Hallelujah” chorus; the latter, according to Ivy’s preliminary investigations, had abandoned his to set up a private-detective firm; then, some years later, he had apparently disappeared from God’s Earth without a trace. Except he had not disappeared. He was here in the Village, living in Clive’s house, next door to Frank, smoking Russian cigarettes. And Ivy Midwinter planned to find out why.



Ginger Black – you’re hired!
By Gaynor Pengelly

Little did I know when I set out to write Riverside Lane with Julia Thum that we would end up feeling as if we’d taken part in the hit TV series, The Apprentice.

The ink was barely dry on ‘The End’, when we found ourselves caught up in a whirlwind of Apprentice-style challenges that tested every aspect of our business metal.

Sales, marketing, design, teamwork, negotiation – you name it, we’ve done it to secure the coveted first prize of a publishing deal. Writing an 85000-word novel was a ‘walk in the park’ by comparison.
During our three-year writing odyssey, in which we breathed life into a fictitious community set in the culinary village of Bray on Thames (home to The Waterside Inn and The Fat Duck), Julia and I metamorphosed from happy-go-lucky writers to ambitious, business-savvy entrepreneurs.

Julia and I knew that if we had the tenacity to write Riverside Lane in snatched hours before our families awoke and late into the night after a busy working day, we had the grit and determination to persevere.

So, instead of the long literary lunches we had dreamed about, days were spent designing websites, getting to grips with social media and masterminding PR strategies and press campaigns.

Having set up, run and sold a successful PR business, Julia had a clear advantage over me in the entrepreneurial stakes.  Blessed with bags of energy, an analytical mind and a genius for organisation, she has all the hallmarks of a natural born leader.   There is little doubt she would have been singled her out as the ‘one to watch’ from the get-go.

My approach to enterprise is slightly more haphazard. As my co-author sat surrounded by state of the art technology, tip-tapping genius campaigns and strategies on her high-end Apple Mac, my approach was to scrawl on endless pieces of paper and pluck ideas out of the air.

But while we are polls apart on business challenges, like our writing collaboration, a healthy dose of teamwork and the merging of two different styles – has made it happen.

Our first Apprentice style challenge was to create the Ginger Black website.  Something Julia, who has a propensity for giving everything a go with gusto, quickly abandoned when it was dismissed with howls of mirth from our nearest and dearest.

Luckily, our web-designer, Karl Salter turned out to be a digital marketing guru and taught us how to treat Riverside Lane as a commercial product, rather than a labour of love.

Getting to grips with social media was a learning curve, but we soon discovered the value of tweeting and writing blogs to raise digital awareness of the Ginger Black brand and promote Riverside Lane. Soon our website had more than 700 people signed to its mailing list, which proved a powerful calling card when we approached independent book publishers.

Within weeks, Ginger Black had several offers on the table, allowing us the luxury of signing to Momentum Books, a small team of literary giants whose enthusiasm for Riverside Lane has made the blood, sweat and toil of our business challenges worth every minute.

The days of rattling out a thrilling story and signing to a literary agent have long gone.  Today’s authors must juggle creativity with entrepreneurial flair, good PR and marketing skills, as well as a thorough understanding of social media are essential skillsets.


Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour.


Author Bio and Links:
Ginger Black is a writing partnership between Gaynor Pengelly and Julia Thum.

JULIA THUM
Julia left Somerset for London at 16. She founded & ran her own consumer P R agency representing a range of international brands including Braun, Molton Brown, Clairol & Kleenex. After selling the business she trained as a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders & hosted a phone-in show on Radio Luxembourg.

Julia writes bespoke literature & articles for private clients and visits secondary schools & prisons representing two national charities in providing emotional support to pupils & inmates. A keen kayaker and a passionate cook, she lives in Bray-on-Thames with her husband Nicolas and their four children.

GAYNOR PENGELLY
Gaynor has worked as a national newspaper correspondent for more than twenty years, interviewing everyone from the great and the good to extraordinary people in ordinary lives. The rich variety of her subject matter and their circumstances has given her a rare insight into human nature and the challenges many people face.

Gaynor's great loves include sitting in pavement cafes watching the world go by, National Trust and English Heritage and hiking across the windswept Yorkshire moors. She lives in Bray-on-Thames with her husband Jonathan and their son, Freddie James.


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Beautiful Mess VBT

Blurb:
A fallen star. Four Los Angeles misfits.
And the Marilyn Monroe you only thought you knew.

Del Corwyn is an aging relic. An actor who advanced from errand boy to Academy Award nominee, Del kept company with the elite of Hollywood’s golden era and shared a close friendship with Marilyn Monroe. Today, however, he faces bankruptcy.

Humiliated, Del is forced to downgrade his lifestyle, sell the home he's long cherished, and fade into a history of forgotten legends—unless he can revive his career. All he needs is one last chance. While searching through memorabilia from his beloved past, Del rediscovers a mysterious envelope, dated 1962, containing an original screenplay by Marilyn Monroe—and proof that she named him its legal guardian.

Del surges to the top of Hollywood’s A-list overnight. But the opportunity to reclaim his fame and fortune brings a choice: Is Del willing to sacrifice newfound love, self-respect and his most cherished friendship to achieve his greatest dream?

A story of warmth, humor and honesty, Beautiful Mess follows one man's journey toward love and relevance where he least expects it—and proves coming-of-age isn't just for the young.


Excerpt:
Arnie’s cheeks turned rosy as he grinned at Del. A wide, toothy grin. The discoloration of enamel betrayed a long-entrenched penchant for red wine. He rolled the script and slapped it against his palm.

“Do you realize how many people would dry-hump a flagpole to get their hands on this?” exclaimed the agent. “We’re talking history here! Hollywood’s best-kept secret!”

Del felt a bittersweet quiver in his gut but suppressed it. His life was about to become interesting again.

Arnie paged through the screenplay further, scanning the dialogue. Several minutes ticked past. Del savored the silence which, in this case, was the sound of power.

“Have you read this, Del?”

“I have.”

“Pretty deep shit in here. Dark shit, the kind that scares the hell out of you.” Arnie skipped to the screenplay’s midpoint and read some more. “And talk about explicit. The profanity, the sexual content, everything.”

“She made herself vulnerable, no doubt.”

“Damn, Del. This woman must’ve been more fucked up than we thought.”

Del winced. “Arnie, cut it out.”

“Sorry, I forgot you two were pals.” The agent shook his head in an absentminded manner, his mouth hanging open as he read further. “No wonder she didn’t show this to anybody else. Can you imagine how people would have reacted to this in 1962? The film would’ve been X-rated—if ratings had existed back then—and gotten banned from theaters. People would’ve protested outside. This script would’ve ruined Marilyn Monroe’s career.”

“But today—”

“—it’ll resurrect it.”



10 Facts You May Not Already Know About Marilyn Monroe

Thanks for letting me stop by! My new novel, Beautiful Mess, is a romantic comedy that also delves into the darker side of Marilyn Monroe’s life. The book centers around Del Corwyn, an aging actor, who stumbles across a screenplay Marilyn penned in secret—a screenplay that would have destroyed her reputation, career and freedom if discovered in 1962.

As I researched her background, I came across many surprising facts about her. I thought I’d share a handful of them with you here. So here we go … 10 facts you may not already know about Marilyn Monroe:

1.     Arthur Miller, Marilyn’s second husband, wrote the screenplay for her 1961 film, The Misfits. Yes, the playwright who wrote Death of a Salesman and The Crucible had a direct footprint in Hollywood, too—albeit a small one. The Misfits was Marilyn’s final film release.

2.    Marilyn Monroe was a film producer. That’s right, she was an entrepreneur! And it was rare for a female at the time. She formed her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions, in an effort to gain independence from studio-mandated projects. She produced only one film, but it’s a classic: The Prince and the Showgirl.

3.    Marilyn was raised, for a brief time, by evangelical Christians. She spent much of her childhood in foster care, including a brief stay in an orphanage, before her mother’s friend became her legal guardian. But Marilyn held dear to her heart her first foster parents, the Bolenders, who brought her to church as a child.

4.    Marilyn was locked away—against her will—in a mental institution. Those around her questioned her sanity, betrayed her trust, and committed her to long-term institutional care. Frightened, she insisted on her sanity, begged for her release, which fell on deaf ears until…

5.    Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn’s ex-husband and baseball legend, worked behind the scenes to obtain Marilyn’s release from the mental institution. They rekindled their friendship after their marriage, and that friendship lasted until her death. If it weren’t for DiMaggio’s loyalty and faith in her, we might never have heard from Marilyn Monroe again.

6.    Marilyn’s exquisite diction resulted from a concentrated effort. Natasha Lytess, her first drama coach, drilled it into her. Despite Marilyn’s reputation as a blonde bombshell, she considered herself a serious artist and sought to perfect her craft.

7.    Arthur Miller doctored the script for Marilyn’s 1960 film Let’s Make Love, though his contributions are uncredited. He was unhappy with the original script and sought to enlarge Marilyn’s role.

8.    Marilyn’s final film was never completed. It was called Something’s Got to Give, and shooting was in progress when she died. You can find footage out there, but the project was scrapped.

9.    Rumor had it Marilyn’s second drama coach, Paula Strasberg, earned the third-highest salary for The Prince and the Showgirl. Marilyn valued her drama coaches’ input and derived confidence from having them nearby, so she kept them on the set of her films. This often caused tension on the set. Allegedly, Strasberg’s paycheck was second only to Laurence Olivier and Marilyn herself.

10.                    Marilyn received only $50 for the infamous nude photos that appeared in Playboy magazine. Originally, the photos appeared in a smutty calendar before her film career began. At the time, Marilyn was unknown, a starving artist who agreed to the photo shoot because she needed the cash. Once she became famous, the photographer sold the photos to Playboy for a huge sum—of which Marilyn never received a dime. She was humiliated.

Some of these facts are fun. Some broke my heart and changed my perspective on the legendary actress. And when I watch her films from now on, I suspect I’ll never view her in the same light. When I wrote Beautiful Mess, I aimed to present the Marilyn Monroe we all celebrate while affording her the respect she sought so desperately.

Join Del Corwyn, my protagonist, and his close friend, Marilyn Monroe, for a ride in his 1956 Chevy Bel Air in Beautiful Mess! You never know which other fun facts might hide between the pages.

I love to hear from readers and would-be readers. Feel free to contact me at my website, www.johnherrick.net. My social links are there too. And thanks again for letting me visit the blog. Never give up!


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Author Bio and Links:
A self-described “broken Christian,” John Herrick battled depression since childhood. In that context, however, he developed intuition for themes of spiritual journey and the human heart.

Herrick graduated from the University of Missouri—Columbia. Rejected for every writing position he sought, he turned to information technology and fund development, where he cultivated analytical and project management skills that helped shape his novel-writing process. He seized unpaid opportunities writing radio commercial copy and ghostwriting for two nationally syndicated radio preachers.
The Akron Beacon Journal hailed Herrick's From the Dead as “a solid debut novel.” Published in 2010, it became an Amazon bestseller. The Landing, a semifinalist in the inaugural Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, followed. Publishers Weekly predicted “Herrick will make waves” with his novel Between These Walls.
Herrick's nonfiction book 8 Reasons Your Life Matters introduced him to new readers worldwide. The free e-book surpassed 150,000 downloads and hit #1 on Amazon's Motivational Self-Help and Christian Inspiration bestseller lists. Reader response prompted a trade paperback.

His latest novel, Beautiful Mess, folds the legend of Marilyn Monroe into an ensemble romantic-comedy.

Herrick admits his journey felt disconnected. “It was a challenge but also a growth process,” he acknowledges. “But in retrospect, I can see God's fingerprints all over it.”


Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Chocolatier's Wife and The Chocolatier's Ghost NBtM

Blurb:
The Chocolatier's Wife: ROMANCE, MAGIC, MYSTERY.... AND CHOCOLATE

A truly original, spellbinding love story, featuring vivid characters in a highly realistic historical setting.

When Tasmin's bethrothed, William, is accused of murder, she gathers her wind sprites and rushes to his home town to investigate. She doesn't have a shred of doubt about his innocence. But as she settles in his chocolate shop, she finds more in store than she bargained for. Facing suspicious townsfolk, gossiping neighbors, and William's own family, who all resent her kind - the sorcerer folk from the North -- she must also learn to tell friend from foe, and fast. For the real killer is still on the loose - and he is intent on ruining William's family at all cost.


The Chocolatier's Ghost: Married to her soul mate, the chocolatier William, Tasmin should not have to worry about anything at all. But when her happily ever after is interrupted by the disappearance of the town’s wise woman, she rushes in to investigate. Faced with dangers, dead bodies, and more mysterious disappearances, Tasmin and William must act fast to save their town and themselves – especially when Tasmin starts to be haunted by a most unwelcome ghost from her past…literally.

The Chocolatier’s Ghost is an enchanting sequel to Cindy Lynn Speer’s bestselling romantic mystery, The Chocolatier’s Wife.


Excerpt from The Chocolatier’s Wife:
Time was, in the kingdom of Berengeny, that no one picked their spouses. No one courted—not officially, at any rate—and no one married in a moment’s foolish passion. It was the charge of the town Wise Woman, who would fill her spell bowl with clear, pure water; a little salt; and the essence of roses, and rosemary, and sage. Next, she would prick the finger of the newborn child and let his or her blood drip into the potion. If a face showed in the waters, then it was known that the best possible mate (they never said true love, for that was the stuff of foolish fancy) had been born, and the Wise Woman could then tell where the future spouse lived, and arrangements were made.

For the parents of William of the House of Almsley, this process would turn out to be less than pleasant.

The first year that the baby William’s finger was pricked and nothing showed, the Wise Woman said, “Fear not, a wife is often younger than the husband.”

The second, third, and even fifth year she said much the same.

But you see, since the spell was meant to choose the best match—not the true love—of the heart the blood in the bowl belonged to, this did not mean, as years passed, that the boy was special. It meant that he would be impossible to live with.

On his seventh birthday, it seemed everyone had quite forgotten all about visiting the Wise Woman until William, who knew this of long habit to be a major part of his day--along with cake, a new toy, and a new set of clothes--tugged on his mother’s skirt and asked when they were going. She stared at him a long moment, tea cup in hand, before sighing and calling for the carriage. She didn’t even bother to change into formal clothes this time, and the Wise Woman seemed surprised to see them at all. “Well, we might as well try while you’re here,” she said, her voice obviously doubtful.

William obediently held out the ring finger on his left hand and watched as the blood dripped into the bowl. “She has dark brown eyes,” William observed, “and some hair already.” He shrugged, and looked at the two women. “I suppose she’ll do. I’m just glad ‘tis over, and that I can go on with my life.”

“For you, perhaps,” his mother said, thinking of what she would now have to accomplish.

“Do not fret, mother, I shall write a letter to the little girl. Not that she can read it, anyway.” He petted his mother’s arm. He was a sweet boy, but he was always charging forward, never worrying about feelings.

The Wise Woman rolled out an elegantly painted silk map of the kingdom and all its regions, his mother smoothed the fabric across the table, and then the Wise Woman dipped a brass weight into the bowl. Henriette, William’s mother, placed her hands on William’s shoulders as the Wise Woman held the weight, suspended, over the map.

Henriette held her breath, waiting to see where it would land. Andrew, her younger son, had his intended living just down the street, which was quite convenient. At least they knew what they were getting into immediately.

The plumb-bob made huge circles around the map, spinning and spinning as the Wise Woman recited the words over and over. It stopped, stiffly pointing toward the North.

“Tarnia? Not possible, nor even probable. You must try again!”

For once, William’s mother wasn’t being stubbornly demanding. Tarnia, a place of cruel and wild magic, was the last place from whence one would wish a bride. They did not have Wise Women there, for anyone could perform spells. The Hags of the North ate their dead and sent the harsh winter wind to ravage the crops of the people of the South. Five hundred years ago, the North and the South had fought a bitter war over a cause no one could quite remember, only that it had been a brutal thing, and that many had died, and it led to the South losing most of its magic. Though the war was long over and the two supposedly united again, memory lingered. “I have cast it twice.” The Wise Woman chewed her lower lip, but there was naught else she could do.

“Not Tarnia, please?” Henriette, usually a rather fierce and cold woman, begged.

“I am afraid so.” The Wise Woman began cleaning up; her shoulders set a little lower. “I am sorry.”

William, staring out the window at the children playing outside, couldn’t care less. What did it matter where anyone was from? She was a baby, and babies didn’t cause that much trouble.

“Only you, William,” his mother said, shaking her head. “Why can you not do anything normal?”

This was to be the tenor of most of their conversations throughout their lives.



If I’d never heard of me would I read my book?
If I had never heard of me, I think I would be very happy to read the book.  It contains a lot of the things I love.  I used herb and stone folk lore to base much of the magic off of.  Tasmin is a wonderfully practical woman, William is a realist, but also a romantic.  He writes her letters, even though they were not supposed to meet until their wedding day, sends her presents, supports her studies, and she writes him back, telling of her life, sending him protection amulets.  They fall in love over letters. 

And, of course, mixed in is a murder mystery.  They two of them are trying to come to terms with the reality of each other, while trying to figure out why the local Bishop was murdered and why William was blamed. 

There is also a Regency era feel to it…the world is both fantastical, with wind sprites and palaces of ice, yet I think that Jane Austin would have recognized a lot of the feel of the era she lived in. 

I am also dependent on reviews to help make decisions, so when I went to Amazon and looked up The Chocolatier’s Wife, the reviews would help convince me.  When I read that it was a 10th anniversary, illustrated hardcover, I would be a little impressed, but then, I love hard cover books, especially pretty ones. 

With all that said, I would give it a shot.  And hopefully love it dearly and grab the sequel.  *grins* 


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Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour.


Author Bio and Links:
Cindy Lynn Speer has been writing since she was 13.  She has Blue Moon and Unbalanced published by Zumaya.  Her other works, including The Chocolatier’s Wife (recently out in an illustrated hardcover to celebrate its 10th anniversary) and the Chocolatier’s Ghost, as well as the short story anthology Wishes and Sorrows.  When she is not writing she is either practicing historical swordsmanship, sewing, or pretending she can garden.  She also loves road trips and seeing nature.  Her secret side hobby is to write really boring bios about herself.  You can find out more about her at www.cindylynnspeer.com, or look for her on Facebook and Twitter.

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