Monday, November 11, 2019

Dear Reader, Love Ethan Proud

Dear Reader…

Welcome to the small mountain town of Northgate and the setting of my latest novel, Witchwood. Having grown up in a small town, attended college in a small town, and started a career in a small town, I have found that I enjoy being isolated from traffic jams, public transit, and shopping centers that take up more than a single block. Northgate embodied the ideals of my childhood, where neighbors and locals are friendly and go back for generations, but larger businesses and corporations threaten to overtake the qualities of small town life and turn them upside down.
Northgate is ran by a handful of elected officials, and one of the protagonists is Sheriff Ruckstead who can’t see beyond the letter of the law. Naturally he clashes with the woodswitch Artemisia Corax, and has arrested her on several occasions. Yet when a herd of cattle and an entire family are slaughtered at opposite ends of the town in a single night, he knows he isn’t dealing with a run-of-the-mill criminal. He enlists to aid of the witch and finds himself enthralled in a journey that crosses planes, demons, and goddesses. As to not give away too much of the plot, we’ll leave it at that.
Many of the details of this book are drawn from nature and given a magic twist. One of my least favorite weeds in my day job as an invasive plant manager in Colorado is black henbane. It is a highly toxic plant which is capable of killing livestock and produces a million seeds and degrades our native ecosystems. In Europe where it is native, black henbane was used in pagan rituals and is responsible for the popular image of a witch riding a broom. I took the plants medicinal/magical qualities and did a little research to see what witches would have used it for and tied that together in Witchwood. I must add though, there is a fine line between medicinal and lethal and many of the herbs used by Artemisia Corax will kill you-so do not practice herbalism at home!

With that in mind, I hope you enjoy reading Witchwood,

Ethan Proud

About the Author

Ethan Proud was raised in Pinedale, Wyoming and that is where he fell in love with reading, writing, and the outdoors. He published his first series the Rebellion Trilogy with his older brother, Lincoln. Ethan is an avid adventurer, whether it is on the page or in nature and when he is not writing or reading he can be found backpacking, rock climbing, or snowboarding.

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About the Book

Gripping and tense, Witchwood tells the tale of a witch and sheriff turned unlikely allies to stop the
town of Northgate from being destroyed by dark forces.

Sheriff Ruckstead reluctantly asks his nemesis Artemisia Corax, the woodwitch, for help when a string of murders unsolvable by mundane means occurs in one night.  As he cooperates with the witch, his reputation is called into question and he faces conflict with one of the wealthier business families of Northgate.

While Sheriff Ruckstead faces his own challenges, Artemisia discovers that she will need aid in bringing the murderers to justice and enlists the support of a demon. When the interplanal denizen escapes her control, she finds that she and Ruckstead have more on their plates than they bargained for. Including the wrath of a goddess.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Dear Reader, Love Michael Bowen

Dear Reader,
         Thank you in advance for giving False Flag in Autumn a shot.  I am a reader as well as a writer, and my shelf of books waiting to be read is always daunting.  Time is the most precious thing a reader has, so it will mean a lot to me if you’re willing to invest half-an-hour or so in reading FFA’s first few chapters to see if the story will work for you.
         I could be wrong – there’s a first time for everything – but I think it will.  FFA is a Washington crime story with a heroine, Josie Kendall, who will never be mistaken for Nancy Drew.  She’s a particularly charming (and wryly humorous) version of the kind of D.C. apparatchiks who actually populate not the halls of power, exactly, but the side streets and back alleys of power in these head-spinning political times.  She is cheerfully manipulative, pragmatic, unapologetically ambitious, and relentlessly unsentimental (except about her devoted husband, Rafe).  She says frankly that, “You don’t do politics with choir girls.”  In the story’s first paragraph she tells the reader, “I have no objection to the truth, but I don’t let it push me around.”
         I’m sure some readers would prefer an earnest, idealistic policy wonk with an untarnished halo – but I don’t write science fiction.  In today’s Washington, earnest policy wonks don’t get to the bottom of nefarious schemes hatched by rogue White House aides.   Instead, they either keep their heads down and stay on the sidelines, or end up as D.C. road-kill.  By contrast, Josie compares her methods to a spikes-high slide into second base:  “It ain’t pretty, but that’s the way the game is played.”
         In FFA, Josie uncovers planned campaign season surprises intended to manipulate the media and control headlines.  (“Welcome to Washington,” as Josie would say.)  These plots, however, go beyond standard confected news efforts.  They involve loud noises and body counts that will end with flags at half-staff if they succeed.  Josie will have to decide whether to step out of the Beltway cocoon, where the weapons are spin, winks, and leaks, into a darker world where the weapons are actual weapons.  As she puts it, the choice she makes “made me feel good – but it didn’t make me feel smart.”
         I think that reading FFA will make you feel both good and smart – and I promise you’ll have plenty of fun along the way.
                           Michael Bowen

Title: False Flag

Genre: Political Thriller
Author: Michael Bowen              
Publisher: Farragut Square Publications

Find out more on Amazon

About the Book:  

Josie Kendall is an ambitious political apparatchik whose memoirs will not be titled Nancy Drew Goes to Washington.  Josie has no objection to the truth—but she doesn’t let it push her around.  When a rogue White House aide tries to use her as an unwitting pawn in a plot for a spectacular October surprise before the 2018 mid-term elections, Josie calls on her D.C.-insider husband, her edgy uncle, and colorful denizens of the Louisiana demi-monde to help her out-hustle the hustlers.  But then Josie finds herself facing an even more daunting question:  is there a false-flag attack planned in order to influence the 2020 presidential election?  Josie will be forced to decide whether to venture out of the Beltway cocoon—where the weapons are leaks, winks, nudges, and spin—into a darker world where the weapons are actual weapons.  Josie will end up on the side of the angels even if, Josie begin Josie, the angels play a little dirty. 

About the Author: 

Michael Bowen recently retired from a 39-year career as a trial lawyer. The author of nineteen published novels, as well as scholarly and political commentary, Bowen is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where he served on the Harvard Law Review. Bowen and his wife Sara, a noted lecturer on Jane Austen and Harvard Law graduate, live in Fox Point, Wisconsin.

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Dear Reader, Love Shami Stovall

Dear Reader,

Thank you for taking the time to read my novel, Dread Pirate Arcanist. It’s the sequel to my award-winning fantasy novel, Knightmare Arcanist, and should probably be read after the first, but it can work as a stand-alone.

Most importantly—I hope you enjoy fantasy adventures with memorable characters and villains. I hope books with heroes who are heroic are what appeal to you. I hope you’re drawn to witty dialogue, funny situations, and heartwarming scenes between siblings. I hope you root for the good guys to win, and the bad guys to fall. I hope you’re the kind of person who wants to think, “will they make through this mess?” and waits at the edge of your seat, flipping each page, until you know the heroes are safe. I hope you admire a fantasy world where there isn’t discrimination based on race or sexual orientation. I hope you love amazing action scenes and powerful crescendos.

Because those are the kinds of books I write.

I love amazing characters and dialogue. I love true heroes and vile villains. I love adventure in all forms, but especially those with a solid set up and payoff. I have so many things I love it’s hard to put them all in one book, which is why I wrote a series! I want the swashbuckling, the treasure hunting, the passionate romance on the open ocean! I want the bad guys to plot and scheme, I want the good guys to learn awesome magic!

There are so many amazing things I want to write, I just can’t contain it all.

And I’m going to be honest with you—I write to find people like me. I want to write stories for those who enjoy fun and adventure, and who want a fast-paced tale with a happy ending. Sure, I want to surprise you with plot twists and crazy scenarios, but I don’t want to get lost in “subverting expectations” that I forget the warm feeling of a happily-ever-after.

When you put down my book, Dread Pirate Arcanist, I hope you think to yourself thinking, “Wow, that was a lot of fun.”

Then—and only then—will I know I have succeeded.

So, again, thank you for giving my novel the time. I hope you enjoy. It was written to entertain.


About the Author

Shami Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family earning a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was at that moment Stovall realized story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world and she hopes you enjoy.


About the Book:

While protecting the newborn griffins on the Isle of Landin, Volke Savan and his adopted sister, Illia, run afoul of the Dread Pirate Calisto, the same cutthroat who carved out Illia’s right eye. As a master
manticore arcanist, Calisto’s strength and brutality are unrivaled. When Illia suggests they bring him to justice, Volke wonders if they’ll have what it takes to fight the corsairs on the high seas.

A fast-paced flintlock fantasy for those who enjoy How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Unsouled (Cradle Series) by Will Wight, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

Praise for the Frith Chronicles!

Perfect for those who enjoy the Codex Alera series, the Homas Wildus series, and the Harry Potter series. Stovall is quickly becoming a name I look for.”
Seattle Book Review

An addictive series. Shami Stovall has produced a mesmerizing story of magic, intrigue, and true adventure.”

Absolutely brilliant.”

Now continue the Frith Chronicles with the second book, Dread Pirate Arcanist!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Dear Reader, Love, Susan McCormick

Dear Reader…

The Fog Ladies is a cozy murder mystery with a group of spunky older women and one overworked, overtired, overstressed medical intern who all live in an elegant apartment building in San Francisco where old ladies start to die. The story morphed quite a bit as my writing progressed, but the name of the book and the idea for the group of women came to me instantly, before anything else about the story. The women call themselves the Fog Ladies because you can count on them like you can count on San Francisco early morning fog burning off by midday. I tried to create a memorable cast of quirky yet identifiable characters and concocted murders around them. Mrs. Bridge falls off a stool cleaning bugs out of her kitchen light. Mrs. Talwin slips on bubbles in the bath and drowns. Plausible, like the young intern thinks, or murder, like her feisty elders assume?

Years ago, I lived in an apartment building much like the one in The Fog Ladies, minus the murders, when I did medical training in San Francisco. Elegant apartment buildings are found throughout San Francisco, especially in Pacific Heights, where the story is set. Being a life-long cozy lover, I always thought this would be the perfect setting for a mystery, with tenants of all ages living together for years, providing a cast of characters and cozy-type enclosed setting ripe for a series of murders. The victims and the killer are all known to each other and it is hard to hide.

Though I thought I knew my characters well, during the magic of writing, the tale took unexpected twists and turns. One of my characters, Enid Carmichael, discovers Starbucks lattes at the ripe old age of eighty. She loves the bitterness, the froth. I wrote that. Then she craved more, and the next thing I knew, she was stealing Starbucks coupons from her neighbor’s newspaper to feed her addiction. She did that. Not me. A character wrote herself onto life support and expected me to cure her health issues. This is my favorite part of writing, when characters I created do unexpected things and get themselves into trouble.   

The Fog Ladies’ characters and setting were planned out in advance, but I am happy I gave the ladies space to be themselves, because the surprises they brought delighted me and I hope they delight you, too.

Susan McCormick

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