How to Publish with KDP: Part Three

I missed sharing this with you on Friday, due to being unwell, so here it is for any of you who haven’t seen this yet … my latest post in the Publish to KDP series over on Story Empire >>>

Hello SErs. Harmony here. As promised earlier, here is the third installment in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer and…

Source: How to Publish with KDP: Part Three

5 Indies I loved (Just in Time for Valentine’s Day)

My little romance got some love on Friday over at Jacqui Murray’s place, along with four other great-looking books. I’m late reblogging as I was under the weather on Friday. Back up to speed now though! >>>


If you like the variety and the uniqueness of Indie novels, here’s a great selection for Valentine’s Day. They aren’t all romances, just all good: Jock of the Bushveld–one o…

Source: 5 Indies I loved (Just in Time for Valentine’s Day)

#BookReview: Serang by Craig Boyack @virgilante

Hi everyone. Today, it gives me great pleasure to share my review for fellow author and friend, Craig Boyack, and his latest book, Serang.

I have to say, I adore the cover for this one.

About the Book:

Monastic life is all about duty, service, and harmony. For Serang, a young girl abandoned at the temple by her mother after the death of her father, that life becomes all she knows. The monks give her purpose, and become her new family.

When political upheaval brings chaos throughout the land, Serang again loses everything and everyone she loves. Alone, she struggles to survive. She convinces a wandering monk to take her under his wing and complete her training. Thus begin her adventures through strange lands and her trials to become a confident, capable, independent adult.

This is a coming of age story set in fantasy world. It’s filled with monsters and martial arts, difficulties and dangers. The serious situations preclude the story from the levity of it’s predecessor, Voyage of the Lanternfish, but it provides a compelling look at the origin of one of the saga’s most fascinating characters.




My Review:




After thoroughly enjoying Serang’s character in Craig Boyack’s earlier book, Voyage of the Lanternfish, I looked forward to reading all about her in her very own story.

It was great fun to read about Serang as a wilful child who had to learn to adapt to change and find a whole new way of living after family tragedy struck, and to see her grow into a formidable y0ung woman.

This is a fun fantasy read filled with a strong sense of humour as well as more serious moments. The writer has done a great job with world building and characterisation, and has obviously done his research on the subject matter.

Although this is a spin-off from a character from Voyage of the Lantern Fish, it works well as a standalone novel. Having read the first book, it’s wonderful to learn where Serang’s propensity for Huangjiu came from! Equally as fascinating is reading about her trials and tribulations set within the vast upheavals that beset the China of the day with an emperor bent on war and total domination.

A number of spelling issues, missing words, and missing or misplaced quote marks let down what was otherwise a brilliant read. However, for entertainment value and a rip-roaring read that will grab you by the throat and pull you right in, I can’t recommend Serang highly enough. It gets a wonderful, solid 4 stars from me. And I’m eagerly awaiting the next book, Grinders, from this author.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.



4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.

3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.

2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.

1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

Amazon Links:

UK …

US …

© Harmony Kent 2020

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Dual Use of Fiction Meta-Content Part 1

Check out this great post on how to develop your marketing material at the same time you develop your book by P H Solomon over at Story Empire today >>>


Good morning Story Empire readers, P.H. Solomon here with you today with a few questions, and maybe a few answers, about your content development. Do you struggle with developing marketing content …

Source: Dual Use of Fiction Meta-Content Part 1

#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1 by Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara has a great book review over at her place today for Wake-Robin Ridge … I have this and book 2 on my ereader waiting for me, and after reading this review, I can’t wait to get around to reading this series >>>

I had a bit of a mix-up with another author’s post, and ended up rescheduling her review for next Tuesday. That left me with an opening this morning, and I decided to indulge myself by sharin…

Source: #ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1 by Marcia Meara

Character Archetypes: The Mentor

Check out a fun and interesting post today on Characters by Craig Boyack over at Story Empire today >>>



Hi gang, Craig with you today. This is post number two in the character archetypes series. In the Hero’s Journey, there are some common characters that are likely to show up in all stories. This do…

Source: Character Archetypes: The Mentor

Hode’s Hill Series .99c Sale #GhostFiction #SupernaturalSuspense #ParanormalMystery

A great deal on Mae Clair’s Hodes Hill Series of books today … check it out at her place >>>

Hi, friends. I’ve been away since last Friday afternoon for an extended weekend at the beach. The weather was awesome and it turned out to be one of the best vacays DH and I have had. I got s…

Source: Hode’s Hill Series .99c Sale #GhostFiction #SupernaturalSuspense #ParanormalMystery

Week In Review

A funny confession, a lovely photo, and some great writing-related links today from Joan Hall over at her place today >>>


Sometimes I’m beginning to think doing NaNoWriMo caused some of my brain cells to disappear. For some reason, I can’t seem to get it together. I scrambled at the last minute to get the …

Source: Week In Review

Using Goodreads Listopia to Promote Your Books

Check out this great post from Mae Clair over at Story Empire today … are you brave enough to ask someone to add your book? >>>

Hi, SEers! Mae here today with a small promo tactic you may not be using. This one involves some help from your friends, but it’s another avenue to get your work noticed. Have you ever search…

Source: Using Goodreads Listopia to Promote Your Books

Wednesday Weirdness: The Ghosts of Time, Part 1

Fun with Wednesday Weirdness over at Mae Clair’s place today >>>

We’ve often heard the expression “time stopped.” But can it really? As much as I love time travel speculating about traversing centuries, time flows in a single direction–forward. Despite col…

Source: Wednesday Weirdness: The Ghosts of Time, Part 1

#CoverReveal: Grinders by C S Boyack @virgilante

Hi everyone. Today, I have great pleasure in hosting fellow author and friend while he tours the blogosphere revealing the cover for his latest book, Grinders. Having read and enjoyed Craig’s other books, I’m so looking forward to this next one … but not too soon, Craig, because I still have to read Serang, lol! Okay, enough with my messing around … let’s hear from Craig >>>

I’m here to reveal my newest cover and talk a bit about Grinders. This time, I’m tackling a cyberpunk world. It’s one of those worlds where the Internet and being connected too much controls our lives.

One of the things I like about science fiction is the ability to project current events into the future. I call this, “Poking things with a stick.”

I poked a lot of things in this book, but most of them are in passing. Some of them show up in advertisements, which are invasive in this world. Others might just be a news blurb. There are times when I dive a bit deeper, and not everything is negative. Here is a small list of things that show up in the story:

  • Global warming
  • Plastic pollution
  • Helicopter moms
  • Cyber shut-ins
  • The energy crisis
  • New ways for package thieves to operate
  • Police who can’t carry guns until they are five-year veterans
  • Homeowner associations

There are a lot more, and most of them are pretty subtle. Cyberpunk is not known for deep plots, but I wanted one anyway.

Grinders is set about a hundred years in the future, in San Francisco. The main characters are cops assigned to the Grinder Squad. This is the duty nobody wants, and you almost have to screw up to get this assignment.

Grinders exist today, but I ramped them up for this story. These are people who surgically modify themselves, or each other, in basement surgeries, beauty salons, and tattoo parlors. Real world examples are those who implant chips under their skin to allow themselves to unlock doors or start cars without a key. There has even been one who injected dye into his eyeballs in an attempt to see in the dark. In that example, it actually worked but the results were temporary.

My story involves the downside of these modifications, why they’re illegal, and most of them are a bit more extreme than the real world versions. For example, you’ll meet Brandi, who has moth-like antennae implanted into her forehead. They aren’t just cute, they allow her to taste virtually everything. She’s almost like a bloodhound, only using the sense of taste.

Grinder Squad rarely ever does anything, but the new girl on the squad, Jimi, wants to bust a grind shop in the worst way. She feels like it could be her ticket off this crap detail and on to better duty.

One of my silly goals was to release the book in time for Chinese New Year. I’m not going to make it. I still need to finish my final pass, send it to the formatter, and get my promotional posters. It’s going to need a blurb, too.

I targeted this date because in the story, it’s the Year of the Rat. An important part of the story takes place at San Francisco’s annual parade. There are even a couple of rats in the story that play a pivotal role. Aside from that, I was born in the Year of the Rat.

Readers won’t actually care about my silly target date, and it’s more important to give everything the final polish. What I did get in time was cover art. So Gong Hei Fot Choi, everyone, and enjoy the cover. The story will be available before you know it, and I’ll announce that on my blog.

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews- #WritingProse Harmony Kent, #Fantasy Jack Eason, #Thriller Allan Hudson

One of my older publications … Polish Your Prose, which is all about how to self-edit your book, is getting some love over at Sally Cronin’s place today, along with a revisit of a recent 5 star review that I’m still doing a happy dance over >>>

Welcome to the second edition of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week where I share recent reviews for authors on the shelves. The first author with a recent review is Harmony Kent for her non-…

Source: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews- #WritingProse Harmony Kent, #Fantasy Jack Eason, #Thriller Allan Hudson

#BookReview: Order No.227. From Stalin With Love by Marina Osipova @marosikok

Hi everyone. Today I share with you my second review of the week. This one is by an author I came across via Sally Cronin’s Cafe and Bookstore. I’ve haven’t read anything from this writer before, and being a fan of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, I had to give this book a go. I’ll let my review say the rest >>>

About the Book:

“It is necessary to defend each position, each meter of our territory, up to the last drop of blood, to cling for each plot of Soviet land and to defend it as long as possible.” – from Order No. 227.

Based on the actual events on the Eastern Front of World War II, this short story is a rare account of a Soviet penal company, told from a perspective of a real person, the military prosecutor, Jakov Antonovich Krivenkov, and a fictional character, an ordinary Russian woman, Matryona, both caught in the horror of an impossible situation.
427,910 Soviet men shed their blood in defending their motherland in penal military units. They were to stop the enemy regardless of cost. Eighty percent of them did not survive. This is the story of thirteen of them.

My Review:

This is a short read at about 40 pages. But for all of its small size, it packs a lot in.

The story is told from two different points of view: the main character is based on a real person–the author’s grandfather–and the second character is a fictional woman in her late thirties, who is the only remaining person in an abandoned village as the fighting front approaches.

The content and style put me in mind of many of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s books. However, many errors let the read down. We have things like ‘waived’ instead of ‘waved’, ‘caving’ instead of ‘cawing’, ‘glowed’ instead of ‘glowered’, ‘in mass’ instead of ‘en mass’, and ‘down’ instead of ‘dawn’, etc. Also, some sentence structures read strangely … for example: ‘And what for would she need it?’ instead of ‘for what’, and ‘What kind of life she had?’ instead of ‘What kind of life did she have/ (or) had she had?’, etc.

The errors were numerous–I had 18 notations for so few pages, and I don’t start notating until something has occurred a few times. All of which brings my rating down by a star.

With that said, I connected to the main character, but not so much with the village woman. The story is a familiar and brutal one, where prisoners and convicts are sent to the front to fight as a ‘penal troop’, and such men were expected to fight to the death to defend every last inch of ‘the motherland’.

The author portrayed well the complexities of war, and showed that both sides are simply human–often young men barely out of boyhood–rather than outright monsters. Of course, some were monsters, on every side of the war, but there were plenty of good people caught up in a bad situation.

The story itself (minus errors) merits 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed this book, and overall it gets a solid 3 stars from me, which means it was good (see below).


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.


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Character Archetypes: The Hero

Check out a fun post from Craig Boyack today over at Story Empire >>>

Hi Gang, Craig here today. Put on your tinfoil hats, because I’m about to create a wormhole in the writing world. Once Upon a time, I wrote a series about The Hero’s Journey, also known as th…

Source: Character Archetypes: The Hero

The Light by @MarciaMeara

Hi everyone. Today, I am delighted to host fellow author and friend Marcia Meara, who is showcasing her latest book, The Light. I’ll let her tell you all about it >>>

Thanks so much for having me here today, Harmony! I’m truly excited to be sharing an excerpt from my fourth Wake-Robin Ridge Book, The Light, with your followers, and I hope they’ll be intrigued. Rabbit came along in the second book of my Wake-Robin Ridge romantic suspense series and usurped the entire thing. Happily, my readers seem to love him more than all my characters, so I think he did me a favor.


Excerpt from The Light: Midway into Chapter 2





Rabbit has convinced his mama and daddy to take him to see if the infamous Brown Mountain lights will make an appearance on Halloween night.


By the time full dark fell, Branna was asleep in her backpack carrier, her head resting on Mac’s shoulder. Rabbit had stopped pacing and stood leaning against the stone parapet, eyes glued to the east toward Brown Mountain.

A few stars twinkled above, and I had turned on our small, LED camping lantern, but overall, the night was inky-black and almost unnaturally quiet—until the growl of an approaching vehicle broke the shivery, anticipatory silence. A few minutes later, a young man lugging photography equipment trotted into view, slightly out of breath, even though the short, paved path was an easy walk from the parking lot. He came to an abrupt halt when he spotted us.

“Oh. Hi. I didn’t expect anyone else to be here on Halloween, especially with a kid.” He glanced at Rabbit and shrugged. “No candy here, I mean.”

Rabbit eyed the newcomer then offered a friendly grin. “We thought Halloween would be the most fun night to see the lights. Is that why you came?”

It shows how much both Mac and I had learned to trust Rabbit’s gifts—he’d become some sort of litmus test for strangers. If he relaxes around them, we tend to do so, as well. In this case, the young, probably college-aged man smiled back and introduced himself as Austin Dupree. He confirmed my guess when he added, “I’m planning to do a dissertation on unexplained phenomena in North Carolina, and these lights are at the top of my list, so I come here a lot. You don’t mind if I set up my cameras, do you?”

Mac and I didn’t mind a bit, and Rabbit was more excited than ever. He watched Austin’s every move, staying well out of the way but making comments now and then and asking the occasional question.

“That there’s the biggest camera I ever seen. Why’s it so long?”

“Telephoto lens. It will let me zoom right in on anything we see. The second one is for video.”

“You get any pictures on other visits?”

“Nope. Only managed to see the lights once, and they were gone almost before I realized what I was looking at. I’m hoping tonight’s my lucky night.”

“Me, too! I really wanna see ’em, an’ it’d be pretty interestin’ to be here when you finally get you some good pictures.”

Mac was following the conversation with obvious curiosity. “Have you tried any of the other viewing areas?”

“Only Brown Mountain Overlook, but I like this one better. I think if I’m ever going to capture the lights on film, this is where it’ll happen.”

“Do you have any theories on what the lights could be?” I asked.

“No, ma’am. I’m trying not to form any preconceived ideas. I want to be open to whatever the actual images suggest.”

Whoa! He ma’amed me. I liked it when our son did it, having been raised, myself, in an environment where children were expected to show that courtesy to adults. But Austin was a grown man. And he just ma’amed me! Was he being exceptionally polite, or was I getting that old?

Mac looked away, biting his lip as he tried not to laugh at my consternation. It seemed to be a struggle for him, and I was debating whether to be more upset by the ma’aming or by my husband’s obvious amusement. I was leaning toward the latter when Rabbit’s shout interrupted everything.

“Mama! Daddy! Look! Oh, just look at that!”


AND LOOK WE did! Goosebumps rose along my arms as I stared, all else forgotten. Far away, over the flat ridge of Brown Mountain, a dozen or more orbs floated and bobbed in the darkness. Most were white, but a few were blue or green, hovering over the ridge.

The soft whirr of Austin’s videocam was accompanied by a rapid-fire click, click, click, as he snapped stills, one after the other, whispering “Yeah, yeah. Oh, yeah!”

The rest of us gaped in open-mouthed wonder, hardly able to breathe as the mysterious lights floated in the distance. As we watched, more and more joined in the display. While I wasn’t quite ready to believe the lights were anything paranormal, I also wasn’t buying a single online explanation Rabbit told us about.

I’d seen ball lightning. This wasn’t it. Nor did it look like it could be lights from passing trains. Whatever it was, it was beautiful, and mesmerizing, and I wished I understood what was happening.

“I don’t,” Rabbit said when I told him that. “It’s the not-knowing that makes it so special.”

Mac sided with Rabbit. “He’s right. Understanding what it is just might make it less fun.”

“I thought you guys were all about solving mysteries?”

“This here mystery ain’t ’bout someone who needs our help, like Sissy Birdwell’s mama did. It’s just somethin’ beautiful an’ sorta spooky, an’ I don’t need to know what it is to like it.”

“What about people who think this might be a sign of something bad, like dangerous aliens from another planet?”

“Aw, Mama, I ain’t feelin’ nothin’ like that at all.”

Mac tilted his head, studying him in the dim light. “You can sense something about these orbs from all the way over here?”

“I can’t say what they are, Daddy. I ain’t never seen nor felt anything like ’em before. But what I do feel seems natural, an’ not like nothin’ bad. It feels like somethin’ that belongs. Like plants, an’ trees, an’ animals do.”

Mac nodded. “So, a normal part of the environment and not something manmade?”

Rabbit stared at the lights again, frowning in concentration, then turned back to his daddy with a smile. “Yeah, like that. Maybe we don’t know what they are, but that don’t mean they ain’t natural. I reckon there’s lots of things in this here world we haven’t figgered out, right? Least, not yet. An’ whatever causes these lights don’t feel like nothin’ that should worry us. Might be they’re one more beautiful thing that’s part of these here mountains, an’ we should enjoy ’em just for that.”

Austin’s hesitant inquiry interrupted our discussion. “Excuse me? Am I missing something, here?”

Mac and I exchanged a quick glance, but before either of us could think of an explanation, Rabbit answered the young man. “It’s only that sometimes I know things like this here, even if it don’t seem like I should. That’s all.”

Austin’s brow wrinkled, then he gasped, and his eyes flew wide. “Oh, my God! You have it! The Sight, I mean.”

About Marcia:

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and one small dachshund.

When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. She enjoys nature. Really, really enjoys it. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. The exception would be spiders, which she truly loathes, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.

Spiders aside, the one thing Marcia would like to tell each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish a book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?


Marcia has published seven novels, two novellas, and one book of poetry to date, all of which are available on Amazon:


Wake-Robin Ridge

A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2

Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3

The Light: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4


Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novel

Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2

That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3


The Emissary: A Riverbend Spinoff Novella
The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody


Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love


Marcia’s Amazon Author Page


You can reach Marcia via email at or on the following social media sites:

The Write Stuff



Twitter: @marciameara

I haven’t read the Wake-Robin Ridge series yet, but I do have book one on my ereader waiting for me to get to it. After reading and enjoying the Rivervend series, I’m looking forward to this one. Best of luck, Marcia. It’s been wonderful having you visit today 🙂

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#BookReview: The Bright Side of Darkness by J E Pinto

Hello everyone. Today I have another book review for you. This one is a book I’ve come across on a couple of blogs just lately. As the review says, it put me in mind of S E Hinton’s The Outsiders with its feel and beat. I’ll let the review say the rest >>>

About the Book:

What is a family? Rick Myers is a despondent seventeen-year-old who just lost his parents in a car wreck. His family is now the four teenage buddies he’s grown up with in a run-down apartment building. Fast with their fists, flip with their mouths, and loyal to a fault, “the crew” is all he has.
At least he thinks so until he meets Daisy, an intelligent, independent, self-assured blind girl. Her guts in a world where she’s often painfully vulnerable intrigue Rick, and her hopeful outlook inspires him to begin believing in himself.
But when the dark side of Daisy’s past catches up with her, tragedy scatters the crew and severely tests Rick’s resolve to build his promising future. Fortunately, his life is changed by a couple with a pay-it-forward attitude, forged out of their personal struggle with grief and loss. Their support makes all the difference to Rick and eventually to the ones he holds most dear as they face their own challenges.
“The Bright Side of Darkness” is a story of redemption and the ultimate victory that comes from the determination of the human spirit.

My Review:



This is a story about tragedy and triumph and, somewhat, about coming of age … all told from life on ‘the wrong side of the tracks’. Much of the first half has a strong resonance with S E Hinton’s The Outsiders.

The author brought the characters to life, and the read played with my emotions. While some parts were sad and poignant, others proved amusing and hopeful. Some of the characters’ actions and decisions had me shaking my head, but then we all have to learn better at one point in our lives or another, and The Bright Side of Darkness portrayed this aspect of maturing well.

Sometimes the story left me wanting, but on the whole this was an entertaining and enjoyable read. It gets a solid 4 out of 5 stars from me.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

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How to Publish with KDP: Part Two

Over at Story Empire today, I have the first in a series of posts on how to get your manuscript into both ebook and paperback. For essential formatting necessities, check out today’s installment >>>


Hello SErs. Harmony here. As promised earlier, here is the second installment in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer an…

Source: How to Publish with KDP: Part Two

Week In Review

Joan Hall shares some great writing-related links today and a gorgeous photo shot from her front porch … take a look over at her place >>>

Wow! It’s already Friday again. Not that I’m complaining, especially since I have a three-day weekend coming up. But time is flying and we’re already over halfway through January.…

Source: Week In Review

The BookBub Experience

P H Solomon shares an insightful post about advertising with BookBub and how it worked for him. Check it out over at Story Empire >>>

Hello, Story Empire readers! We seem to be sharing our November experiences this week. Wednesday it was Joan’s lessons from NaNoWriMo but today it’s another book trip where you get to s…

Source: The BookBub Experience

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews #Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Fantasy Fiona Tarr, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach

Check out some great reads and reviews over at Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore today >>>

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Author Update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves of the bookstore. The first author and poet today is Bette A. Stevens and a recent review for her p…

Source: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews #Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Fantasy Fiona Tarr, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach

Lessons From NaNo ~ Planning Ahead

Check out Joan Hall’s post on writing and planning over at Story Empire … are you a planner, a pantser, or a plantser? >>>


Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you today. Some of you know I participated in NaNoWriMo back in November. (Thanks, Mae!) In case you aren’t familiar with this annual event, the goal is to write 50,000 n…

Source: Lessons From NaNo ~ Planning Ahead

#NewBook: Inferno

Hi everyone. Today, it gives me great pleasure to host All Authors Publishing with the launch of their latest anthology, Inferno, which I am proud to be a part of >>>

Greetings, one and all!


Today is the launch day for our latest Anthology, Inferno: Concordant Vibrancy 4 …


One story has the ingredient of Purpose, brought up by Adonis Mann in “Express-Oh”.


Another looks at Commitment with Carol Cassada’s contribution, “Not Always Like This”.


A firey tale is all about Consequences, and Harmony Kent delved deep into this ingredient with her story, “The Fireman”.


Love is also examined with Beem Weeks’ tale, “The Complications of Fire”.


And we have the ingredient of Reinvention as told by C. Desert Rose’s story, “Calliope’s Inferno”.


In another story, we see that Tenacity is an important ingredient no matter what the circumstance through Y. Correa’s, “Moxy”.


Synful Desire’s, “Antipode” touches on how the ingredient of Risk can be as scolding as any.


Da’Kharta Rising shows us in “The Chronicles of Aidan” how Conviction is as good an ingredient as any to keep the fire roaring.


And last but never-ever least, Queen of Spades indubitably demonstrates how Empathy is the most powerful of ingredients when maintaining our soul’s fire burning in, “The Calefaction of Insight”.


Now that the picture has become clear and Inferno’s stew is bubbling, come serve yourself a bowl. Come get your copy of, “Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno”.



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January Book Reviews! @JacqBiggar @Virgilante @MaeClair1 @teagangeneviene @rhanidchae

Some great books and reviews over at Denise Finn’s place … well worth checking out for your next reads >>>

One Dyke Cozy by Rhani D’Chae  “One Dyke Cozy” is a short story about two girls that became best friends at eight years old, Shy and Gabby. They are complete opposites but balance each other.…

Source: January Book Reviews! @JacqBiggar @Virgilante @MaeClair1 @teagangeneviene @rhanidchae

Resolutions for Writers

Check out an intersting post from Mae Clair today, on Story Empire, all about writing goals and resolutions. How do you do it? >>>

Hello, SEers! You’re with Mae today, and I’ve got a New Year’s question for you—did you make any resolutions? I rarely do. Well, at least not any I take too seriously, but this year I got to thinki…

Source: Resolutions for Writers

#BookReview: Strangers by C L Taylor

Hi everyone, today I have another book review for you. This was another quick and fun read >>>

About the Book:

The Sunday Times bestseller and Richard & Judy Book Club author of Sleep returns with her most gripping book yet.

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

The million-copy bestseller returns with a gripping new novel that will keep you guessing until the end.

My Review:

Thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for a free ARC of this book.

I first came across this author late last year when a supermarket had a twofer deal on a couple of her paperbacks. I grabbed them and quickly devoured them. I loved C L Taylor’s writing so much that I put her other books on my Christmas list and now have a further five to read when I get the chance. So, when I saw this title available on NetGalley, I jumped at the opportunity to review it. Strangers did not disappoint.

As the description tells us, we meet and follow three very different people, who are strangers to one another. The writer weaves these three separate and disparate threads together nicely. I connected with each of the main characters, but my favourite was Ursula. To me, she seems to have the most character of them all and makes for a strong female lead.

The plot, pacing, characterisation, and scene setting are all done well, and I found this to be a quick and fun read, perfect for a dark winter’s night. The identity of both the Harbourside Murderer and the Stalker kept me guessing right up until the end. I give this book a solid five stars and am looking forward to reading more of C L Taylor’s books.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

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Macro vs. Micro Thinking

Craig Boyack has a fun post today over on Story Empire all about writing >>>

Hi Gang. Craig here, and you get me twice this week. I was on vacation when I wrote this post. It will go live shortly after I return to my paycheck job. I’d just put in a decent day of writing (20…

Source: Macro vs. Micro Thinking

Week in Review

Joan Hall has some useful writing links in her weekly roundup today >>>

I’m still trying to get back into the swing of blogging. Amazing what taking a few weeks off will do. Some of you might know I was home with the flu for over a week. (Yes, I took a flu shot, …

Source: Week in Review

#BookReview: Deadly Waters by Dot Hutchison

Hi everyone, it gives me great pleasure to share my latest book review with you all. This read is another NetGalley ARC … darn you, Mae Clair, for getting me onto NetGalley! I have enough to read without adding more, lol! 🙂

While my review says it all, I have to say that I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a book as much as this as far as I can remember. It’s not a Stephen King, but it’s just different … and immensely enjoyable and well written. Okay, I’ll stop gushing now and give you the details >>>

About the Book

From the bestselling author of The Butterfly Garden comes a suspenseful new series for the #MeToo era about vigilante justice, close friends, and getting away with murder.

Florida journalism undergrad Rebecca Sorley is like any other college student. She tries to keep up with her studies, her friends, and her hot-tempered roommate, Ellie, who regularly courts trouble with the law.

When a male student’s remains are found in alligator-infested waters, the university warns students to stay away from the reptiles. But then a second body shows up, and the link is undeniable. Both men belonged to the same fraternity and had a reputation for preying on and hurting women.

Ellie has previously threatened to kill men who don’t take no for an answer. Rebecca and her friends thought Ellie was kidding. But now a vigilante killer is roaming campus—someone who knows how to dispose of rapists. Someone determined to save female students from horrible crimes.

With each passing day, those who know Ellie become more convinced she’s responsible. But if she is, stopping her might not be in everyone’s best interest…



My Review






Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas and Mercer for a free ARC of this book.

This is definitely one of those blow-you-away reads that I wish I could award 10 Stars instead of 5. What can I say … this is an amazingly good book. So good, in fact, that I feel any review I offer, even an absolutely raving one, will not be able to do it justice.

For sure, I will be following this author around from now (online, lol!) and reading more of her books.

So, what got me so hooked? When I came across this book on NetGalley, the cover caught my attention, and then I read the book description … oh boy. I was delighted when I received the ARC but thrilled as soon as I started reading. It is rare that a narrative will grab me like that on the first line and keep hold of me until and even after the very last word.

In many ways, the subject matter is not an easy one to read; however, the author flipped it on its head and interspersed some much-needed humour at the darkest moments … I found myself rollercoasting from frowning deeply and trying not to leak tears to not just laughing out loud but actually guffawing. And much to my husband’s dismay, even went so far as to read him some of the cornier jokes, which I felt were just perfect for that specific point in the story.

It’s a sad testament to modern life that what happened to these young college students is all too common, as is the reaction (or lack of) to such awful events. When the police and authorities fail to protect them or take the perpetrators of sexual assault into hand, one student enacts her own vigilante justice. We don’t find out the reveal of which one of a group of seven she is until the end of the book; however, I did have a vague idea before then but my hunch only added to the fun of the read, watching the subterfuge that abounded.

Normally, I’m not at all one for vigilante justice or revenge killings … or revenge at all for that matter … but, most surprisingly, I found myself rooting for all of the girls, even the one leading the drunken young men to hungry alligators. I absolutley did not want her to get caught or punished. Yep … I’m still chewing over that one.

Not a single one of the characters was a cardboard cut out, not even the most minor of them. I connected with them all, and felt as though I was tagging along with the main character and her friends, rather than simply reading about them. The scene setting, plot, and pacing were spot on. The only negative is that the book had to end, lol. I call that a job way well done.

So, in case you haven’t guessed yet, Deadly Waters gets a resounding 5 (wishing for 10) stars from me.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

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#NewBook: Eventide by Mae Clair

Hi everyone. Today, it gives me great pleasure to host fellow author and friend Mae Clair, who is showcasing her latest book, Eventide. Take it away, Mae >>>

Hi, Harmony! Many thanks for welcoming me today to your blog. It’s fantastic to be here promoting my new release, Eventide. The book is part mystery and part supernatural suspense and uses dual timelines to examine the lives of people living in the same house, in separate centuries.


My main character (in the present) and her sister are both empaths. Everyone has a measure of empathy in them, but some people have it in abundance. It’s easy for them to tap into the feelings of others and put themselves in another’s shoes. This can be a good—allowing an individual to see multiple sides of a given situation—but there are also drawbacks.


When empathy becomes too strong, it can be overwhelming. A person with strong empathic abilities has to learn to disconnect. Otherwise they can drown in the sorrow. It’s great to be able to feel elation and happiness, but empaths often tap into misery, desperation, and fear.


Madison Hewitt, the lead in Eventide is rebuilding her life after witnessing the murder of her husband three years ago. Because of her empathic abilities, she experienced a complete shutdown when she witnessed his death. Afterward, she spent three years in a care facility, never speaking a word. You can learn more about what happened to Madison in the previous book, End of Day.


In Eventide, she is thrilled to be independent again, the new owner of property located outside of town. But no sooner does she move in, then she senses someone is watching her. Someone who knows about her past and isn’t ready to let her forget.


Madison breathed deeply, savoring the quiet. Already, the air grew heavy with the heady mustiness that blooms around water at dusk. She loved the smell. Relished the fickle skip of breeze wafting from the creek. A few bats flitted between trees. Further away, a mourning dove cooed from somewhere among the branches.


As much as she enjoyed being outside, there was still unpacking to do. Maybe later, she’d relax on the balcony with a glass of wine and watch night settle. Alcohol didn’t mix well with meds, but she’d been off her pills long enough. She deserved the treat.


Warmed by the thought, she headed toward the house. The sight of a dead squirrel sprawled by the front door crushed her sense of tranquility.


“Damn.” The animal must have been injured, crawled up on the porch, and died. It was an odd place for a wild creature to seek shelter in the waning moments of life, but the area was infested with small rodents. The poor thing had probably tussled with a fox or a raccoon. She peered closer but didn’t see a mark on it. As unpleasant as the task was, she’d have to dispose of it. Part of living so far from town meant dealing with the occasional critter in her yard or home.


Inside, she located a trash bag and a pair of plastic gloves. When it came time to put the carcass in the sack, she averted her eyes. The little body hung limp in her hand, faintly warm through the thin layer of her gloves. She bundled the bag shut and glanced to the rickety floorboards, praying she wouldn’t discover blood.


A chill prickled her spine.


The squirrel’s body and tail had concealed a single word stenciled in capital letters on the doormat. One that might have been inviting under other circumstances, but now seemed sinister.




Madison glanced over her shoulder, the swiftly falling night abruptly unsettling. She sprinted across the driveway to the detached garage, then dumped the bag in a trash can. Of course, no one was watching her, but it was hard to squash old fears.


How many women survived seeing their husband butchered with a knife? How many people knew what it felt like to be murdered?


This is just the beginning of problems for Madison. To get to the root of her troubles, she’s going to have to unearth what happened to the people who occupied her home during the late 1800s when it belonged to a family named Stewart. Curious? I hope so. J


Hopefully, you’re curious enough to order Eventide which is available from all major booksellers online. You’ll make this author very happy. Thank you in advance for your consideration! J


Universal Purchase Link




The darkness is coming . . .

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?

Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…


Order Eventide HERE

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up
Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media


And, in case you missed it, here’s my review for this fantastic read >>>


Thanks to NetGalley and Lyrical Underground for an ARC of this book.

I have read all of Mae Clair’s Hodes Hill books, and this one is by far my favourite. I loved the mix of the supernatural with typical ghosts spiced up with a deadly and terrifying ghoul. All in all, this is a great series that works well both to read as a run on and for each book to stand alone, although you get more by seeing the character progression throughout the series if you read them in order. Having read of Madison, the main character, in previous books and seeing her struggle through the eyes of others, it is nice to see her getting a book to herself, and what a strong heroine she turns out to be.

The plot runs both in the past (1800s) and in the present day and gives you plenty of mystery, suspense, and twists in both timelines. While I sussed out that something was up with the historical brothers early on, I completely failed to work out what it was, so kudos to the author for that bit of cunning.

I highly recommend this book and will be reading more from this writer. A solid five star read.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

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#BookReview: The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Hi everone,

Today, I share my first review for 202o! This was a free ARC book via NetGalley, and I loved it. I’ll let the book description and the review say the rest >>>

About the Book:

‘A gripping novel . . . Beautiful and chilling’ Madeline Miller, author of Circe

BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick 2020

On Christmas Eve, 1617, the sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardø is thrown into a reckless storm. As Maren Magnusdatter watches, forty fishermen, including her father and brother, are lost to the waves, the menfolk of Vardø wiped out in an instant.

Now the women must fend for themselves.

Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of Vardø to heel. With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God and flooded with a mighty and terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs.

Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s The Mercies is a story about how suspicion can twist its way through a community, and a love that may prove as dangerous as it is powerful.


My Review:

Thank you to NetGalley and Panmacmillan for a free ARC of this book.

I haven’t read any of Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s books before this one. The book premise pulled me right in, even if the cover didn’t, as the imagery fails to show the brilliance of the narrative.

Apparently, the author has written previously in YA and children’s literature. All I can say is that I’m delighted she has now produced an adult book. This is a fantastic read. The author has obviously done her research well and transplanted this into spectacularly gripping fiction. I will be looking out for more books from this writer.

As the description shows, this story is set in 1617 and centres around a small island off Norway. The conditions are bleak, and to survive, everyone must pull together. Unfortunately, after tragedy strikes in the form of a deadly storm, zealous witch-hunters break into the new-found and fragile solidarity of the survivors–mostly women–and bring yet more pain and destruction in their determination to dominate. Set amdist this dramatic time and place are two women who discover an unlikely love for one another. This only adds to the tensions and need for secrecy. Another even more deadly storm brews–this one on the earth rather than from the heavens, but no less menacing for its man-made ferocity.

I found the world building, scene setting, plot, pacing, and character development excellent. This was a book I could not put down. Usually, I shy away from historical fiction because it’s just not my thing … The Mercies, however, managed to grab me by the neck and didn’t let go until I’d finished every last word. In short, I loved this book. If you want tension, suspense, a hint of a thriller, and strong female characters, then this is the book for you. Don’t worry about the genre. Seriously, go read this book. I give it a solid five stars and want to see more adult fiction from Kiran Millwood Hargrave.

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