BEHIND THE BAR – #New Release in Behind the Love Trilogy

I’m thrilled to announce the release of Behind the Bar, Book Two in the Behind the Love Trilogy. Behind the Bar picks up right where Behind the Altar ended–at the wedding of Dean and Leah. This time it’s Susie and Reggie who must struggle to find out if their love can endure through a separation and rivals trying to drive them further apart. Reggie’s gambling and Susie’s struggle with her past push them further apart. Join the crew at the Victory Tavern, including Sally Jean, Charlie, and of course, the cheerleaders and best friends of Reggie and Susie–Dean and Leah.

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BOOK REVIEW FRIDAY – GOING AGAINST TYPE

GoingAgainstTypeLargeGoing Against Type by Sharon Black (click here for Author Wednesday guest post) went toward my type of delightful light-hearted contemporary romance set in Dublin, Ireland. The genre hearkens back to the 1950s with mismatched lovers such as Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, albeit with Irish eyes and tastes.

Charlotte “Charlie” Regan yearns to find her place in a world dominated by men as a sports’ reporter and columnist. The hero of the story also fights for his place in the world of fashion writing where men are in short supply. It doesn’t help matters that they work for harshly competitive newspapers and somehow find themselves pitted against one another when Charlie steps into the world of fashion by criticizing the footballers of Ireland for advertising popular name brands.

The novel reverberates with authenticity of the life of a journalist always under pressure to be fast, accurate, and edgy. Ms. Black, herself a journalist, paints a realistic picture of both Charlie and Derry despite their opposite views. I liked the twist in the story that turned stereotypes on end. It reminded me a bit of the movie with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, You’ve Got Mail. For most of the novel, neither Charlie nor Derry know the other one is the author behind the viperous attacks in the two rival columns written anonymously. In the meantime, they begin dating, enjoying their time together more each time.

If you want to escape for a few hours into the world of Irish football, fashion, and foibles, you won’t be disappointed with Going Against Type. I think it’s the first Irish novel I’ve read that wasn’t historical, which makes it both refreshing and light.

Purchase Links

Going Against TypeAmazon US

Going Against Type – Amazon UK

Going Against Type – Amazon Canda

Grab your copy today

Author Wednesday – Sharon Black

cropped-typewriter.jpgToday Author Wednesday features a guest post from author Sharon Black. She’s recently published her first novel, Going Against Type, a contemporary romantic comedy set in Dublin. I welcome Sharon and her post about the creation of her first novel.GoingAgainstTypeLarge

The Creation of Going Against Type by Sharon Black

I was a journalist. When I was younger, I worked as a features writer for a national newspaper here in Dublin. After taking a substantial break when my children were small, I then wrote for another national paper for a couple of years.

By the time I was ready to write my debut novel, it seemed natural for me to write about what I knew.

Going Against Type is set in the world of Dublin-based national newspapers. But because the setting was familiar, it was important to me that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

The story is about two rival newspaper columnists, who write under pen names. They fall in love, without realising that they are bitter enemies in print. They have good reason to keep their alter egos safe from each other. As their relationship develops, each of them is blissfully unaware of whom the other is. Until they are forced to reveal themselves….

The idea for the rival columnists came after I remembered one of the fabulous old Hollywood films that I adored when I was a teenager. (They were shown at odd hours on Irish TV – I’m not old enough to have seen them on the big screen!)

In Woman of the Year, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracey, she plays a high brow pundit, who rubbishes sport in one of her columns. Tracey is a sports columnist who leaps to attack her, and so they start to spar. In the film, however, they meet quite quickly and despite knowing who the other person is, they fall in love.

What I did in Going Against Type, was to turn the stereotypes on their head. It meant making my heroine the sports buff. At the beginning of the story, she is given a chance to write the new, anonymous sports column, Side Swipe.

My hero, Derry, is a fashion writer and also writes the back page gossip column The Squire for the rival paper. They fall in love, but they don’t discover that they’ve fallen for their bitter rival until half way through the book.

While that whole build up was really fun to do, it was also extremely challenging. I had to ensure  Charlotte and Derry’s columns were quite acerbic. That way, you could see a huge contrast between their views in the papers – their weekly banter – and how they were with each other. It also meant there was more at stake.

The hardest columns to get right were Charlotte’s. Paradoxically, she turned out to be a wonderful character to write. I personally know very little about sport, having never been sporty myself. But I admire people who are, and I believe team sports, in particular, are so important.

So to make Charlotte real, I had to do a lot of research. I read a lot of sports’ columnists, I checked all my facts, and then I tried to put myself into the head of a feisty, twenty-something woman, working in an area that’s largely dominated by men.
Her columns took a lot of writing and re-writing. I wanted them to be sharp, funny and very controversial. There was one thing that held me back a bit during early drafts. Initially, when I was writing Charlotte’s character, and the other female characters, I was terrified that I would inadvertently write bits of myself in.

It wasn’t something I wanted to do. Going Against Type is a romantic comedy. It’s light and escapist and fun. I couldn’t allow it to be even slightly about me. It’s just not that kind of novel. But because I deliberately made Charlotte very different from me, it meant I could write her freely, and that was fantastic.

A lot of people are surprised when they see that my hero is a gossip columnist and fashion writer. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but mainly these are areas in journalism that tend to be dominated by women. Quite apart from wanting to just shake things up, I wanted to write a strong male character, who is completely comfortable in his own skin, not to mind his fabulous tailor made suits! He is manly, yet completely relaxed with having a female boss and working in a features department, surrounded by women. Actually, he likes that a lot!

It sounds like a terrible cliché, but writing this book was a huge learning experience. I had written short stories down the years, and had some of them published. And I’d started so many books – but had never finished them.

This time, I armed myself with the tools: the nuts and bolts of novel structuring. And I knew I had a good story. I was determined to see it through. I’m so glad I did. I became an author, and I’m so grateful for that. And I’m very proud of my debut.

Sharon 254 bAbout Sharon Black:  Sharon grew up in Dublin. She studied history and politics at University College Dublin and then did post-graduate in journalism at Dublin City University. She has worked for national newspapers, including The Evening Herald and The Irish Examiner. She had short stories published in U Magazine and won the 2010 Dromineer Literary Festival short story competition. When she is not writing, she reads, walks, and sees friends. She co-founded a local book club fourteen years ago. She loves theatre, old Hollywood films, science fiction, and good stand-up comedy. She lives in Sandymount, Dublin, with her husband and their three children.

Links

Going Against Type by Sharon Black - 100Going Against TypeAmazon US

Going Against Type – Amazon UK

Going Against Type – Amazon Canda

Amazon Author Central

Author Wednesday – Ebony Clark

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Today Author Wednesday takes a little bit of a departure and visits with Ebony Clark, the author of the children’s book, Sebastian Scouts . . . The 7 Wonders. The protagonist, Sebastian Scouts, and his friends take on an amazing adventure – and the chance to beat a world record – on their latest daring mission to see all seven World Wonders in three days. The book, for ages 3-10, is only available in hardcover, but at $9.99 on Amazon, it would make a fantastic gift for grandchildren! 

Click on cover to purchase hardcover edition

Click on cover to purchase hardcover edition

Welcome, Ebony. I don’t often feature authors of children’s books on my blog, so I’m very pleased to take a step out of the world of adult fiction and into the playful world of the child. Tell me a little bit about your inspiration. Who has most influenced your writing?

Children were the inspiration for the book but now, my two young sons (four and eighteen months) inspire me. I have always marveled in the wonder and boundless imagination and possibilities of a child. My hope is to foster that wonder (and hopefully wanderlust) for every child who reads my books. Often, I think children grow up too quickly. I hope to encourage and inspire children to be curious. Be adventurous. Dream big. Impossibly HUGE, and for as long as possible; they’ll have the rest of their lives to conform to the rigid constructs of reality.

Excellent. I love watching kids play, especially the youngest of them, who are still in the throes of life as magic. If you can inspire kids to keep that throughout their lives, you will have done a great service to the world. I sense that you’ll be writing more about Sebastian and his crew, so what will be the common thread?

The common theme is of adventure. Travel. Boundless curiosity. Every book in the series will focus on a world phenomenon, a country, a natural genre (space, oceans, etc.), and the excitement of becoming a citizen of the world.

Perfect. What made you choose this particular theme?

I’ve chosen not only to write about travel but also the incorporation of imagination because like I mentioned earlier, my hope is to foster wonder and wanderlust in children while they still believe that they actually can accomplish anything to which they set their minds – or imagination. I want to always cultivate their innate and infinite wonder, their sense of adventure, their curiosity, their limitless imagination.

I’m guessing setting must be important to your books.

The setting(s) is paramount; it is the sixth character in the books. Without the setting, Sebastian and his crew have nowhere to ‘scout.’

What kinds of techniques do you like to use in your writing?

For children’s books, I really like the use of rhymes. Not only does it make the content more palatable for the listener, but it also facilitates memorization. And since my books are what I lovingly refer to as ‘thinly veiled education,’ I use rhyming stanzas to very sneakily help children (unwittingly) memorize history, geography, science, and nature.

You trickster! I’m sure they’ll never figure it out. Are you planning to continue writing in the same genre?

Absolutely! As long as there are places to travel or wonders to explore, Sebastian and his crew will be there. The possibilities of the series are nearly limitless, like a child’s imagination!

I always tell writers they have to sell a book in twenty seconds or folks lose interest. So tell me the one sentence pitch for Sebastian Scouts.

Sebastian Scouts and his friends take on an amazing adventure – and the chance to beat a world record – on their latest daring mission to see all seven World Wonders in three days!

How did you choose the title?

Interestingly, the original title came to me in the middle of the night while sleeping, so I jotted it down in my phone. It was originally slated to have a young female protagonist with a very similar premise – going on imaginary adventures. But then I had my sons. So it was back to the drawing (writing) board for a title for the series that would feature a young male protagonist, with strikingly similar features to my son. Sebastian’s pronounced ears, for example, are one of a few little ‘Easter Eggs’ in the book to acknowledge my biggest (little) inspiration.

I get some of my best ideas while sleeping. I keep a notepad nearby just in case. How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published?

Can I say ‘TOO DAMN LONG?’ If you ask my husband and my family, I’m sure that would be their answer. The idea and inspiration came to me maybe five or six years before I put pen-to-paper, so to speak. Then life, as it tends to do, got in the way of my best intentions. I got married … I had a baby … I started and left a lucrative career in sales and started my own business … then I had another baby. And I kept making excuses, kept procrastinating. Then – if I’m being completely honest and transparent – I wanted to have a third child. And my husband didn’t. So he set a few goals for me. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately for me), he underestimated my determination. One of the goals was to finish my book. He now admits that he expected that I’d hand him some folded construction paper with words and doodles. So my love of children LITERALLY inspired to me to stop saying and start doing. And incidentally, after exceeding each of the three goals he set for me, I added a fourth – to travel before having our third. So a trip to Spain is booked for this summer!

So a third child can’t be far behind, can it? That’s funny and a very good story to tell, especially when you read this book to No. 3. Is the book traditionally or self-published?

The book is self-published because, at least initially, I wanted to own and control its direction. I want to build my audience and brand before considering it dimensional enough for a publisher, if that even makes sense.

It makes perfect sense. And you may discover after all that the Indie Author route is still the best one for you. What is the message conveyed in your book?

Without sounding trite or overstated, I want it to encourage children to never stop dreaming, wondering, being curious. Maybe it should just be ‘Please – PLEASE – never grow up!’ since that is ultimately what I tell my boys every day. HA!

It will happen, but at least you’ll still have your books. And they will always be your babies, no matter the age. What is the best thing someone could say about this book?

The absolute best thing someone could tell me about this book is that it inspired them – it inspired them to learn more about the world around us. That it inspired them to travel more. That it inspired them to dream big – or – bigger.

Thank you so much for stopping by today, Ebony. You’re charming and well on your way to a successful career as a children’s author. My best to you on your travels and on the next child.

EbonyClarkAbout Ebony Clark: With a passion for weaving words and dreams into vivid imagery, Ebony Clark fosters the innate and boundless imagination, curiosity and wonder our little ones have about the world around us.

She has a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and with her insatiable wanderlust, she inspires little ones – including her two little sons – to become citizens of the world, following Sebastian’s adventures from space to sea, and every nook, cranny and creature in between.

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Book Review Friday – The Healer by Christoph Fischer

The healerThe Healer by Christoph Fischer contains an expansive grab bag of issues found within the confines of the medical community. It attacks pharmaceutical companies, cancer, chemotherapy, traditional Western medicine, and New Age healing techniques. At the center of all the swirling concepts and philosophies stands Erica, who I immediately disliked. However, as her situation is slowly revealed by the author, her aloofness, selfishness, and determination coalesce into a woman desperate to live.

Her willingness to go into the guru-style therapy with the once-famous and now reclusive Arpan shows plenty about her quest. She doesn’t really believe in anything beyond the scientific, so turning herself over to something that requires blind faith in the unseen and untouchable, gave her believability and eventually likability.

The frantic search for a cure-all for the evil cancer drives the plot of this novel through all its gyrations and mysteries. The mystique of Anuj, the disappearance of Hilda, and the vitriolic of Julia all add to the suspense. The magic healer Arpan keeps his own secrets as does Erika, or rather Maria, as she presents herself to Arpan. The unraveling of it takes up the second half of the novel, while the first half revolves around the sped up healing process for Erika.

I won’t give any spoilers, but I will say the final links in the mystery at the end took me by surprise. I thought several times I had the mystery of all the characters solved, and then the author throws another hairpin curve on the road to discovery.

Arpan’s specialty for healing is pancreatic cancer. I recently lost a friend to this devastating disease. I found Erika’s search for a cure and disgust with the effects of chemotherapy believable. My friend probably would have signed a pact with the devil to first, be done with the ravages of chemicals surging through her body to unsuccessfully kill the cancer, and second, to live without pain, and third, but certainly not least, to simply live. When the reader first meets Erika, she has arrived at that point.

The Healer is not a light read. The discussions between Arpan and Erika expose many of the problems with Western medicine’s practices. The desperation of pharmaceutical companies to find the magic elixir rings true in the author’s exploration within the tension-filled plot. The drawbacks to putting all one’s faith in another who claims to have special powers is also a central theme of the book. Who is the culprit? Who is the victim? The answers lie within the pages of The Healer.

I marvel yet again at Christoph Fischer’s ability to write about relevant issues that impact us all. His leap from historical fiction to writing works about contemporary dilemmas represents his measure and ability as an adept storyteller, no matter the genre.

Click here for an Author Wednesday interview with Christoph Fischer.

Click on the titles below to see my other reviews of Christoph Fischer’s novels.

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The Luck of the Weissensteiners

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Time To Let Go

 

Author Wednesday – Lori Ericson

cropped-cropped-typewriter.jpgWelcome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome author Lori Ericson who recently released her debut novel, A Lovely County, a suspenseful mystery, published by Oghma Creative Media. The book description provides a haunting and provocative one liner about her book. 

Welcome to a lovely county, where innocence finds no justice, and monsters run free. 

A Lovely County Front

Welcome, Lori, and congratulations on the publication of your first novel. I’m always interested in when other writers discover their voice. Do you remember when it happened for you? 

I dabbled at writing short stories when I was very young, but doubted my ability to make a living at it. Consequently, I pursued a journalism degree in college. I was a newspaper reporter for twenty years. During that time I came across various events and issues that I thought made good fodder for a novel and dreamed of being a writer. Yet, it wasn’t until I really started working through the first draft of my first novel that I found my true voice and began to own it.

That’s interesting that you didn’t consider yourself a writer as a journalist. I also started as a reporter and called myself a writer then, but it wasn’t until a few years ago, after the publication of my fourth novel, when I could refer to myself as an author. Did you make that distinction for yourself?

Funny you should ask that, because I refused to even call my first novel a book for years, instead calling it “my project.” I worked on plot, characters, and scenes for years before I joined a writer’s group and got serious about putting it together. The writer’s group gave me the courage to call it a book and the knowledge to know that it had become something I could publish.

You certainly have the right to call yourself an author and to call A Lovely County a book. It’s about time and well deserved. Tell me a bit about your writing rituals.

I work full-time and that makes it hard to crank out a significant word count on a daily basis, so I’m a somewhat sporadic with my writing. The toughest part is getting my butt in the chair! I usually will read over the previously written scene and then plunge in. I try to write at least one full scene in one setting, leave it, and then come back with a fresh mind for edits. It flows better that way for me.

I like that idea. It’s a sound practice. I tend to write that way as well. Even without working outside of the home as in my case, it’s still hard to get that rear end to sit in the chair to actually write. Beyond your writing practices, do you have any other knowledge to share with other writers?

Don’t worry too much about grammar as you’re getting your story down. That will come with edits. Just push forward while the story is sharp in your head. You can go back repeatedly to study each sentence for grammar, read aloud to hear repeated words and flow, and add a strong sense of place with sounds, smells, casts of light, etc.

Excellent advice. I always remind myself that the delete button exists for a reason, and no one else has to see what I write in those first drafts, unless I want them to see it. The concept behind A Lovely County is a little spooky, so tell me why you’ve chosen to write about this particular theme?

My first novel A Lovely County is about a reporter struggling in her career. Danni Edens is investigating corruption in a state prison program, while also writing about a serial murderer that has targeted young boys. The idea came from a series of newspaper stories I did about the Arkansas 309 inmate program and some trouble in the way it was administered in a local jail. There’s some truth among all the fiction. My second novel A Lovely Murder, which I’m writing now, is about the same reporter and how she continues to find trouble while pursuing her career.

I find my fodder in current events, also. Does setting play a role in your novels? 

Although reporter Danni Edens is much different than I am, (she’s tougher, single and probably more driven) she comes from the same area of northwest Arkansas where I grew up. Also, like me, she grew up in her family-owned cemetery. The cemetery will play an even larger role in future novels in the Lovely series.

Interesting. Growing up in a family that runs a cemetery is certainly a unique perspective and perfect for writing a suspenseful mystery. Are you planning to continue writing in the same genre?

I want to continue writing about Danni Edens and have plans for at least two more books in the series, but I have a thriller about a hit man that I’ve started and will finish eventually. I’ve also written some short stories that are thrillers as well. I love mysteries and thrillers. I doubt I’d ever write a romance or western.

Good for you! I’m sure you’ll never run out of fresh ideas. What’s your one sentence pitch for A Lovely County?

The sadistic murder of a young boy and corruption at the county jail have small town reporter Danni Edens scrambling to beat the competition to the story and redeem her tattered career, but if she’s not careful her efforts may cause her to lose everything important including her life.

Who is the antagonist in your book? How did it feel to create this character?

A Lovely County includes a number of very short chapters told from the viewpoint of the killer. I’ve had a lot of comments about the creepy nature of these chapters. The serial killer in this book is also a depraved pedophile and is based on a child molester I interviewed as a reporter. Although he wasn’t a killer, the man I talked to about his crimes presented an attitude that he simply wanted to love his victims and didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I used the knowledge I gained from that interview and a twelve-page letter he wrote to a victim to create this character. I used my disgust with this sick and depraved man to create my villain.

That is a little creepy, but it’s a valid way to bring motivations and tension into the novel. I look forward to reading it very soon. Lori, it’s been a pleasure to have you visit today, and I hope you’ll come back when the second book in this series is published.

ALoriEricsonbout Lori Erickson: Lori was raised in her family-owned cemetery in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She spent nearly twenty years as a newspaper reporter winning a number of journalism awards from the Arkansas Press Association and the Associated Press, and a national award from the Press Women of America, all under the byline Lori Harrison-Stone. She now writes fiction and works as a city planner. She and her husband Lloyd live in Bella Vista, Arkansas.

Links:

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Email: loriericson.author@gmail.com

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Work in Progress Blog Tour

My WIP

My WIP

I’m excited to participate in a different kind of blog tour today. Darlene Jones over at Emandyves tagged me to participate in a Work in Progress (WIP) Blog Tour. Click here to see my interview with her on Author Wednesday. I also reviewed the first novel in here Em and Yves series, Embattled. I’m honored this talented author chose me for this virtual tour. Check out her WIP by clicking here.

There are rules for this tour, and I’ve completed the first step by linking to Darlene’s delightful blog. I love reading her vignettes of her life traveling and living. I hope you’ll visit her site!

Next, I’m to nominate two other author/bloggers to participate in this tour. This way you’re introduced to three other author/blog sites besides mine. I’m delighted to share my nominees with you. They are both talented writers. I first met Christoph Fischer when I read one of his reviews and asked  him if he would review my novel Trails in the Sand. He said he would add it to his TBR list, but within the week, he not only had read that novel, but he’d read all of my books and posted thoughtful reviews for all. Christoph is a prolific writer and the lead man when it comes to supporting Indie Authors. Through him, I met Lori Crane, who has become one of my dear Internet buddies. She’s a gem who writes historical fiction and makes me laugh with her lovely, positive, and humorous approach to life. But don’t take my word for it. Check them out yourself.

922159_10151345337037132_1303709604_oWriter Christoph Fischer – Christoph Fischer is an independent writer from Germany, based in the UK. He is also a reviewer of independent books, and on this site he features interviews and reviews of the books that have most captured his attention and appreciation by genre. He writes historical fiction as well as contemporary fiction that address such topics as Alzheimers, mental illness, and drug companies.

 

w-1-9A Day in the Life of Patootie is Lori Crane’s blog. “Best-selling and award-winning author of Southern historical fiction and the occasional thriller. Dueling pianist. Cute shoes. From Lori: “A Day in the Life of Patootie is named after my puppy. So far, he’s chewed up 7 rugs, 2 pairs of shoes, and every throw pillow in the house. I love him!”

“Lori Crane is a Southern storyteller of the first order.”~Writer’s Digest

I’m so very pleased that these award-winning and bestselling authors agreed to be a part of this tour, but now it’s time for the rest of the requirements. I’m to share the first sentence (or two) from the first three chapters of the WIP.

My WIP is a contemporary romance novella that I’m writing for a box set, Score One for Love, to be released in August. All of the novellas within the set must feature an athlete at the center of the story. Other authors are featuring hockey, football, and soccer stars, along with a race car driver, and lots more. I chose baseball because it’s one of my favorite spectator sports. Most of my novels are set in Florida, which you probably know if you follow my blog. However, I decided it was time to write a story set in Pittsburgh where I now live, and what better way to write a baseball story than to feature the Pittsburgh Pirates who have come from a losing team to almost winning their division this past season. To paraphrase, Leslie Gore, It’s my novellaso I’ll have them win if I want to. The hero, Tomas Vegas, from Puerto Rico hopes to emulate the example set by the Pirates own Roberto Clemente. His love interest, Adriana is young, wealthy, and widowed, but her tight-knit Italian family in Pittsburgh may keep her from getting anywhere near third base, let alone home, with the handsome and talented Tomas.

Chapter 1 – Adriana – Larson made love to me all night, caressing my cheek and rubbing my breasts with his large and rough hands. I woke up smiling, until daylight shot bolts of reality through my psyche. It infuriated me that he only came to me in my sleep now.

Chapter 2 – Tomas – I let the shower wake me. It also took me away from her incessant chatter.

“Why do I have to go to this house today?” Madrid kept asking me as I drank my coffee.

Chapter 3 – Adriana – “I’m honored to be able to turn the key to this new bungalow over to you and your family,” I said, standing on the front stoop of the white two-story home just off Liberty Avenue. I handed the key over to John and Samantha Chapman with tears forming behind my lids.

And there you have it–my current WIP–along with the opportunity to meet three talented authors with interesting blogs.

bb_PBOOK005I’ve been getting emails and messages from folks asking about the second book in the Behind the Love trilogy. I’m thrilled to say that Behind the Bar is in the final stages of production and should be available within the next few weeks. Rest assured, I’ll keep you posted.

I don’t say it enough, but thank you to all stop by my blog, like the posts, and leave comments. You’re all appreciated and virtually hugged.

 

 

Author’s Cave eZines

Romance eZine

I’m pleased to announce the publication of Author’s Cave eZines, featuring a variety of genres. The eZines are stocked full of talented authors and their books. My novel, Native Lands, is featured in the romance edition. Click on the cover to the left to go to the Deep Thoughts from an Author’s Cave blog to view all of the eZines. I think you’ll be impressed.

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