Thursday, August 29, 2019

Flickers of Fortune Review Tour

Seeing the future is a nuisance. Ariel does her best to shut it out, until she stumbles on a group of clairvoyants using their talents to get extremely rich. They have her attention. Then she meets a second bunch obsessed with surviving an upcoming near extinction event.

Both factions seem dangerous and, to be honest, a little crazy. They don’t get along. As they learn more about her, however, each group decides Ariel’s particular abilities are hard to find and exactly what they need.

There is no possible way to help them both. Aligning with either may be a bad idea, but staying out of this mess is no longer an option.

“I’d really like to think about it.” She said it as calmly as she could while she crinkled the papers between her thumb and index finger, trying to learn more.

“We’d like to get the paperwork started before the end of the week,” the man from HR said. “Tomorrow is Friday.”

“Right. Let me take this information home and I’ll give you my answer in the morning.”

As she stepped outside for air, she had a pretty good idea of what her answer would be. The nice man from HR hadn’t noticed her placing her hand against the wall after handling his manila folder, and he had no way of knowing it was to steady herself against a kaleidoscope of new visions rushing at her while a tiny percent probability turned into an almost certainty.

“Holy crap.”

Ariel muttered it as she made her way out of the building, her eyes half closed as she tried to calm her mind.

“Holy crap.”

She sat down on the cold concrete steps to steady herself.

“Holy crap.” She couldn’t quit saying it. 

What Clyde didn’t know, couldn’t know, would never know, was that in making his proposal he probably affected the fate of the world. Many weeks from now, Ariel was likely to discover she had a chance to play a role in the survival of the human race. She couldn’t see how, she couldn’t see when, and as the flashes of little specks of her most distant visions whirled their way through her brain, all she got with any clarity was that her going to Ireland mattered. A lot.

Yes, she ought to accept the transfer.

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

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Author Bio and Links:

Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.She published her first science fiction short story and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next tale. When it finally came, it declared to her it had to be a whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.

The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down. He explained that, in a fit of practicality, she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and had spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was she found it at least mildly entertaining and ridiculously well-paying. The bad news was the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.

Apparently she was now Mrs. Cronin, and the further good news was they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved dearly, even though to be honest that is where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words.

Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was the book informed her it had grown into a six book collection. Sherrie decided she better start writing before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away.

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In Pursuit of Perfection VBT

The next man in Macy Rollins’s life must be perfect. She’s had enough impostors and isn’t willing to settle for anything less. All she has to do is get through the company contract negotiation season and she will get that promotion she has been working so hard for. Avery Malveaux – one of Philadelphia’s most eligible bachelors – has been hired to work with her as legal counsel for the company. From the moment they are forced to work together tensions are high and expectations are low. He questions her ability, she questions his intentions. After Macy is suspected in an accounting shortage, she accuses Avery of betraying her confidence. Has she once again been deceived by a man she thought she could trust? Can she clear her name and win her job back? And can there be any hope for Macy’s pursuit of perfection.

Macy rubbed her forehead. Right now, wasn’t the time to fire Michelle and start interviewing for a new assistant. The world needed to stop spinning for just a few moments. Her job depended on finding that money. She picked up the phone and dialed accounting.

“Connie, I need your help,” she said. “Can you run monthly balances on my account, starting with January?”

“You want everything? That’s a lot.”

“Yeah. How soon can you get it to me?”

“Give me a day or two.”

“Connie, one more thing. I’m seeing a lot of new accounts. Several that I don’t recognize. I know we’re going after market share, but I didn’t expect this many. If I send you a list of the names, what information can you provide on them?”

“Well, I can tell you when the account was set up, by who, and purchasing activity. What else would you need?”

“That’s a good start. Thanks.”

Macy ended the call, but the nagging didn’t subside.

One of my most asked questions.

As a writer I’m often asked two questions. Where do I get my ideas and how long have I been writing? I try not to be too flippant, so I gave the question some serious consideration. The last time someone asked where I get my ideas, I decided I needed to have an answer to this question.

Ideas have never been an issue for me. I have more ideas than I have time to write them all. My oldest memory of creating make-believe is from grade school. My love of writing and drawing came together in a mural of portraits I taped to my bedroom wall. Each drawing came with a story that I made up. Believe me the stories were as different as the pictures I’d drawn. My sister and I didn’t just play with Barbie dolls, we made up grand adventures whenever we pulled them out of the box. I can find story ideas almost everywhere. I can hear a news story, read an article, overhear a conversation, listen to family histories and wonder, what if. I love to challenge the norm and rewrite an ending that I can control. Yes, I’m one of those writers, who has a note pad beside the bed and in my purse, so when a story pops into my head, I can jot down the details. I actually have an ideas book.

My story ideas, cross a wide range of genres too. But for now I’ve decided to stick with romance and women’s fictions. One of these days, I’m going to branch out and write some of those more bizarre stories floating around in my head.

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Author Bio and Links:
Men and women have always sought the promise that only love can offer. Jacki invites you into an intriguing world where romance abounds around every corner and down every street. You’ll be amazed at the crazy things we do and don’t do for the promise of love.

Jacki has been writing since her fourth grade teacher made her keep a journal for a grade. Now she does it to keep track of all the fascinating and heartbreaking moments that life throws our way. Poetry, personal essays, short stories and novels have all occupied space in her heart and her hard drive.

Jacki lives in the northeast where the winters are too cold and the summers are warm. But, she wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else, well maybe for a fabulous house on the sunny sands of Miami Beach in February. Her loveable husband and adorable floppy eared dog endure her long periods behind the computer creating happy-endings for her amazing hero and heroines. Romance makes the world go round and Jacki is enjoying the ride.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Escape from the Past Review Tour

"...will grip the reader's total attention from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for school and community library..." -Midwest Book Review

" entertaining and fast-paced read that guarantees to thrill any young reader's/gamer's wish to be a hero in faraway time." -Historical Novel Society

When nerd and gamer, Max Anderson, is lured into trying an experimental computer game, he doesn’t realize he's playing the ultimate history game, time-traveling into the past...anywhere...anytime. Survival is optional. To return home he must decipher the game's rules and complete its missions--if he lives long enough. To fail means staying in the past--forever.  

Now he’s trapped in medieval Germany, unprepared and clueless. It is the year 1471 and he quickly learns that being an outcast may cost him his head. Especially after rescuing a beautiful peasant girl from a deadly infection and thus provoking sinister wannabe Duke Ott. Overnight he is dragged into a hornets' nest of feuding lords who will stop at nothing to bring down the conjuring stranger in their midst.

NOTE: The book is only $0.99.

Something moved ahead. There at the edge of a clearing cowered the man in rags holding his right elbow. He trembled and now that I was closer, I saw blood dripping from his wrist. The three riders had surrounded him, their blades pointing toward the man’s neck. One rider dismounted, his face shadowed by a half helmet and curled brownish beard, his hands covered by steel gauntlets like lizard scales. The other two sat motionless, waiting. I tried to get a better view of what the horsemen were doing when I looked down.

And froze.

I stood on the gnarled root of an oak tree. Surely I imagined things. But those were definitely my Nikes I’d forgotten to take off when I returned home. I moved my foot. Leaves crackled. A twig snapped. Something terrible had happened, something I couldn’t wrap my mind around. I blinked and looked to my right. Trees and undergrowth were losing themselves in the gloom. I remembered the mouse in my right hand, but when I lifted my arm, my fingers came up empty—except for the smear of something sticky on my palm. Blood. I was bleeding.


The bush next to me was covered in blood. Not mine, I realized with relief. Disgusted I wiped my shaking hands with a fistful of leaves and turned to look behind me. The woods stretched into darkness—shadows within shadows nearly black.

My room was gone.

My Review:
3 stars

I liked the concept of the story, and the overall plot grabbed me from the beginning and never let go. On top of that, realistic descriptions of life in medieval Germany, detailed descriptions of the time travel/transportation technology, and interesting side characters helped bring the story alive.

However, I had a hard time connecting with the main character, Max. Whether because there was very little time to get to know the character since the story starts so abruptly or just a lack of explanations, I had a hard time grasping the character. For example, he conveniently knows uncommon details about history and natural medicine, but there’s no explanation as to how/why he learned that knowledge. So instead of being a character development moment, it comes across as a convenient plot device.

I also felt like there were numerous holes in the plot, partially due to so much happening so quickly, lackluster dialogue, and missing context. I kept wondering if there was a book before this that I missed that would have contained some of those missing explanations and backgrounds that would have helped this story make more sense.

Overall though, this. As someone who has a hard time getting into YA reads, I still enjoyed the story, as it was an interesting story with a fun premise. Would recommend it to YA fans.

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

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Author Bio and Links:
Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past.

Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, won multiple awards, including the 2017 U.S. National Indie Excellence Award. Her historical time-travel trilogy, Escape from the Past, takes readers to the German Middle Ages and the Wild West. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries, festivals and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she recently returned to her home, Solingen, Germany where she lives with her husband and old mutt, Mocha.

Pinterest: annoppenlander

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Finally Home Book Blast


Ben McTavish is besotted when he sees a vixen in striped leggings own a cringe-worthy moment and turn it into a hilarious bit. He can’t stop thinking about her even though he puts his foot in his mouth every time he tries to get to know her. Ben would love to spend some time with this woman who has captivated him, but he needs to get his farm established before the bank takes back the land.

Kate Bloomington is all about whipping her life into shape, including getting to know her grandmother who she is now caring for. When she meets Ben, also known as Saint McT since he helps all comers, she pushes him away. Somehow, he shows up at every inopportune moment, mortifying her and enticing her at the same time. She learns that he needs help as much as she does, and together they create a love that is unbreakable.

True to his word, Ben was at my door right before eight in the morning. I was running a little late because I was struggling to focus. My emotions were a tumble, and while I was unable to deny my excitement at seeing him despite the fact he was Saint McT and I was a hot mess, I was still trying to bury the events of Friday night. Images of Frank would pop up, and I questioned my decision to do nothing. But the system wasn’t fair. I needed to move on. I had just started to get my life back, to feel like I belonged, and after being alone for so long, I simply couldn’t go back. It wasn’t right, but I couldn’t see any other option.

“Do we have time for coffee?” he asked as I got into his truck.

“Of course,” I said trying not to turn into mush as I took him in. He was dressed casually again, and while I missed the suit I’d caught a glimpse of, his navy woolen jumper and fitted, faded jeans had my mouth watering.

“Great,” he said and drove us straight to the bakery. While we ordered coffees, every local in the place stared at us. Their gazes sharpened when Ben put his hand on the small of my back as we walked out. I wanted to tell them all he was just being Saint McT, but it was hard to concentrate because my body came alive at his touch and I was within smelling distance. Yes. That’s right. The pastries held no sway now. I was all about Ben and his sexy, fresh soap smell. This trip was going to be a nightmare. Would it be easier or harder on the back of his bike?

“Do you not ride your bike often?” I found myself asking, trying not to sound hopeful.

“Not as often as I’d like. I didn’t think you’d appreciate it in that skirt,” he said grinning wickedly at me. I blushed.

“Have you ever been on one?”

“No way, my mother forbade them.”

“Well, anytime you want a ride…” he trailed off and I laughed, blushing.

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About the Author: 
As a girl growing up in Australia, Laura was lost in the world of Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. During high school, volleyball dominated her life. There had to be something positive about being 6’1” with red hair. Representing Australia from a young age she eventually took a scholarship at the University of Iowa. Living in America and being a full time athlete in a college town was an eye-opening experience and lots of fun (from what she can remember). #gohawkeyes

Returning from the States, her career took a different turn as she started working at the Red Cross and completed her Masters of Law in Human Rights. As one of the few non-lawyers in the class, her essays were far more floral than the rest, something that caused the discerning professors to shake their heads. Through working and studying, she realised there are other ways to win hearts and minds.

While she’s spent the last 14 years as an advocate against poverty and homelessness, the desire to change the world through storytelling has only got stronger. She now lives in the Alpine Valleys of North East Victoria, Australia with her husband, daughter, son, two dogs and seven chooks. When she’s not doing the whole mum thing, working at a homelessness agency, renovating her farmhouse, or trying to do laundry bleary-eyed at midnight, she is writing.

Say G’day to Laura:

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Monday, August 26, 2019

The Carousel VBT

…Like the Wild Geese of Old Ireland, five boys grew to manhood despite hunger, war, and the mean streets of New York...

The War had left him blind to beauty…

Kieran Donnelly is a gifted artist who has sworn never to paint again. He saw and did too many things during the war to extinguish the ugliness that lies in his heart. But a chance to work with some of the most magnificent paintings brings him close to the world he still loves…and an extraordinary woman who sees his true heart.

Darkness couldn’t extinguish the light in her heart.

Blind from the age of four, Emily Lawrence yearns to experience the outside world. When she hires Kieran Donnelly to catalogue her father’s paintings, he offers her a glimpse at life outside her exquisite home…and a chance for a future.

Can Kieran and Emily emerge from the darkness to find happiness and love?

Queenstown Harbor, Cork, Ireland, 1847

“Take your fill of it, lad. Remember it all.”

Ten-year-old Kieran Donnelly clutched the icy metal of the ship’s railing, his gaze locked on the wild, rocky coast as the Sally Malone moved slowly out of the harbor.

The long voyage to America had begun.

He heard Gran’s keening wail, filled with grief as she lamented the loss of their homeland. Da’s hand rested on her shoulder, his silent grief palpable. His brother’s spirit, full of anger and despair, reached out to him.

None of it touched his heart.

His eager gaze sought the mist-shrouded green hills, distant, dotted with tiny white cottages. Empty cottages, no sign of the ever-present gray turf smoke rising from their rich, dark thatched roofs.  The fields were black with the stinking slime of the blight, but hawthorn and gorse and wild strawberries still dotted the landscape with bright splotches of white, yellow, and scarlet.

The water bucked and spat white-capped waves, gray-green with angry sorrow under the cloud-smudged sky. A single bright ray of sunlight broke through the clouds, as if to bid the desperate refugees a fond farewell. A patch of sky, so pure a blue it made his throat ache, brought a rush of tears to Kieran’s eyes.

Oh, to capture the image that would forever be in his mind on paper before the ship sailed! The colors, the hues, the light and shadow. The crowds of skeletal people scurrying about, weeping as they waved good-bye, the lone fiddler playing them away with a desolate lament of parting and grief.

One day. He struggled against the harsh sob that clawed at his throat. One day I’ll paint this scene and the whole world will know the sorrow that gripped Ireland in its cruel fist.

I’ll call it The Parting.

 A Heroine to Be Proud Of

Hello, and thanks so much for having me as your guest today! I’m thrilled to be able to share The Carousel with your readers!

As a romance novelists, I’ve created many a fictional hero and heroine. And I’ve been lucky enough to have real ones in my own family. The Carousel, Book 7 of my Wild Geese Series, is dedicated to the memory of my paternal grandmother. She was a heroine any girl would be proud of.

Her name was Emma Laflamme, and she died when she was 88 years old. She raised a family of nine children in a tiny farmhouse on the wind-swept Gaspé Peninsula in the province of Quebec, Canada.

She was also blind from the age of 40.

It must have been difficult for her to look after her children and take care of the house on her own. I only had two children, and well I remember the merry dance they led me at times!

Yet it never seemed to bother her. I remember watching with utter fascination as she kneaded a loaf of bread (made from scratch, no less!), and marveling at how easily she did it. It was even more fun to devour the wonderful results. To this day, whenever I smell bread baking, I think of her.

One of my most tender memories of my grandmother was the way she greeted us when we’d arrive each summer. She would smile and run her toil-worn hands over each of our faces, “seeing” in her own way how we’d changed since the previous year.

I can’t remember ever seeing her stumble, although I know she must have. She never shuffled, but stepped proudly across a room. I even remember coming into the living room, where I was ensconced in the big, comfy chair with a book, and handing me a glass of chocolate milk. How did she know where I was, or who I was? I wondered. I believed it was a sort of magic that only my grandmother possessed.

My heroine, Emily Lawrence, is also blind, and has been since she was four. I based her on my grandmother in many ways.

I hope she’s proud of both Emily and me.

Thank you for having me as your guest today, and for sharing The Carousel and my grandmother with me.

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Author Bio and Links:
I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of  Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.

My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.

A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three.

I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond, and The Wild Geese Series, in which five Irish heroes return from the American Civil War to find love and adventure.

I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America and Hearts Through History Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero. I have two adult children.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Alice: A Memoir VBT

Few, if anyone, could have had a life like Alice Gilmore. It was almost unbelievable yet carried on under the cover of a respectable middle-class existence.

You might strongly disapprove of what she did, but Alice was determined. She overcame insurmountable obstacles to keep the love she longed for.

Her single-minded fight to live out her love makes a gripping, riveting story that one eminent literary person called ‘staggeringly readable’. It is shocking. Her methods will upset some, but are you with her or against her? Your decision.

This is no misery memoir. It’s a story told with joy, wit and fervour – the astonishing story of the overwhelming love Alice Gilmour was determined to live out.

I am going to tell you our story, my darlings. It is really only for you three and one other (you know who) but I can’t help hoping that the world will read it, which is why I shall probably publish it. But not for some years. When you’re fully grown up and have flown the nest. God knows what they will make of it, the world I mean, whoever they are, but I am not suggesting that any rules or taboos should be changed by our story, or new rules made. Leave all that alone. Our story, perhaps I should say my story, just is. You could tritely call it the exception that proves the rule. Perhaps that is just what it is: unique. I doubt that but it is certainly extraordinary. I have carefully chosen those words. Any old event of yawning banality is called ‘amazing’, ‘fantastic’, ‘unbelievable’, ‘fabulous’ in our current jargon. Whatever else people may call my story it is certainly extraordinary.

It is, above all, a love story, an all-consuming love story, though I have never felt consumed by love, rather continually renewed. But isn’t that what love should do to you? Consume you and renew you constantly like the phoenix. And it brought with it another constant emotion: fear. And pain. The fear of pain. The fear of the pain of losing it, this wonderful state. The word love doesn’t fully express what I/we felt. Another word that is more or less totally debased.

What would we find under your bed?
Dust and anything that needed storing that I didn’t have room for elsewhere.

What was the scariest moment of your life?
I was driving a car in the USA when I first went to live there and in a rural situation a school bus pulled up in front of me, red light flashing. I pulled out to overtake, not realising that the school bus red light meant that I must stop to  let children cross the road. As I passed the bus a boy ran out from behind it. He was quick witted and stopped dead as I just swished past his nose missing him by nothing. There were shouts from behind and I looked in the mirror. The boy was clearly all right, staring after me, and the bus driver was furious so I just kept going. There was no point in my stopping to explain I was a foreigner. I said it was a rural setting so I was going at more than the urban speed limit. I still wake up at nights, or am brought to a dead halt every time I see a US school bus stopping, lights flashing. I was 100% in the wrong and my life would have been wracked with guilt and completely different if I had hit him, probably killing him, to say nothing of the effect on him and his family had he been so unjustly killed.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
Now that I’m back in the UK I often have Radio 3 on in an adjoining room so that it is background. In the USA I would have in the kitchen a player or an appropriate radio station that played serious music of many sorts. Occasional jazz and popular music OK but never rock ‘n’ roll or contemporary pop of any sort.

What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
A novel that is widely praised and widely read, in that order. Prizes? Yes, I don’t really care and don’t think a first novel from a middle-aged should win any prizes, except New Writer ones of course. Come to think of it leave those for younger, needier, more ambitious writers than me (I? Me? Me, I think).

How long did it take you to write this book?
Years for the first part, as I lived it. Then in a rush, only weeks, after my husband was murdered and I needed to have it done before events blew my cover.

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Author Bio and Links:
If you want to know about my life and background read this book. I can scarcely add to what I have written about myself in there. I earnestly hope that the rest of my life is too uneventful to even consider writing anything else, I am no novelist. The life I have described was full enough and rich enough for me. God knows what I would come out with if I had to invent. If you find you need a good chef I shall consider anything not too energetic – which rules out most jobs in the kitchen.

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

13 Steps to the Cellar Blurb Blitz

There were thirteen steps to the cellar. They were steep and they were narrow—but was a fall down them enough to have caused the twenty-seven deep lacerations to her aunt’s head?

Callie Harris travels from her home in Alabama to her aunt’s former mansion in Maine to unravel the haunting forty-year-old mystery of Dr. Laverne Harris Doss’ brutal death.

Why wasn’t a murder weapon found? Was her uncle justly convicted of the killing? Was his mistress involved? Or was the murderer the bearded stranger rumored to have arrived by train that night?

In the charming town of Richmond, located on the banks of Maine’s historic Kennebec River, Callie uncovers the community’s darkest secrets—a botched police investigation, a betrayed widow’s lie, a dead woman’s blackmail, and a wealthy philanthropist’s shame. The web of intrigue extends far beyond Callie's suspicions and its connection to her personal story pierces her to the core.

In passing, she leaned and straightened the flowers in the urn on her aunt’s grave. Squatting, she ran her fingers across the dates on the headstone, calculating her aunt had only been thirty-six years old when she died. She inched closer and studied the inscription, Dr. Laverne Harris Doss. Beloved doctor, daughter, and sister.

“My father’s beloved sister,” Callie whispered. “Oh, how he grieved for you, Aunt Laverne.”

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About the Author:
Teresa Mathews is a graduate of The University of South Alabama. She’s a member of the Mobile Writers Guild and serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Nursery and Landscape Association.

An avid gardener and artist, she has multiple book covers to her credit. Several years ago after visiting the site of her real-life aunt’s murder, Teresa discovered another passion–storytelling. Although inspired by an actual tragedy, Thirteen Steps to the Cellar is fiction.

Raised on the Gulf Coast, Teresa, her husband, and son now live on a farm with a second home on the sparkling white sands of Fort Morgan, Alabama.

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