Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Read an excerpt from Quest for Atlantis (The Mermaid Chronicles, Book 2) by Marisa Noelle #FantasyRomance #NewRelease @MarisaNoelle77

Today, I have an excerpt from Marisa Noelle's new release to share with you!

Quest for Atlantis
(The Mermaid Chronicles, Book 2)
By Marisa Noelle


They are no longer safe in the human world.

When one of their closest mermaid friends is imprisoned in a science lab, Cordelia and Wade insist on taking up the quest to find the lost island of Atlantis, a sanctuary for all the water species. But the island is guarded by the dragon kings, an ancient and formidable race who are determined to keep it for themselves.

Cordelia and friends must travel to distant pockets of the earth to collect the magical jewels that open the portal to Atlantis. But no one remembers how the jewels work, instructions are non-existent, and tensions are rife as Wade’s ex-girlfriend appears on the scene.

Cordelia’s heart breaks as she watches the love of her life waver. If they can’t repair their broken relationship and defeat the dragon kings, the mermaids will be captured by the humans and face the threat of extinction.

Perfect for fans of the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Crush by Tracy Wolff, Mermaid’s Return by A.L. Knorr, and The House of Night series by P.C. Cast

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Grab a copy HERE!

Get a signed copy HERE!


Wade and I pressed ourselves against the rocks, out of view, and waited for the ranger to leave. When the coast was clear, we skirted around the rock face, splashing through the gathering waves. 

The hit of the water soothed me immediately, and I felt it’s pull beckoning me further out. But I didn’t have time to turn mermaid now. I resisted the urge to change, and followed Wade along the rocks as the waves buffeted us and dragged us in the wrong direction.

Soaked, we reached the entrance to the old pirate cave. Despite my chattering teeth and saturated clothing, a flare of excitement bloomed in my chest. We’d been waiting so long for this.

“Here.” I chucked the bundle of key rings in Wade’s direction. One sapphire, two opals. I knew the opals represented Dylan and I, as opal was the birthstone for October. But I’d never figured out what the small sapphire represented. Or maybe it had nothing to do with us at all. Just coincidence.

Wade caught the jewels and stood in the center of the cave. The water level rose, but we were protected from the currents and threatening rip tide. Wade turned in a slow circle, stumbling against the water, scanning the rocks with flashing black eyes.

“Can you remember where the slots are?” I asked.

“I think it’s this one.” He approached a rock that protruded from the jagged wall, then ran his fingers over it. “A-ha!”

He pulled the three jewels from their metal chains. First was one of the opals, no bigger than a child’s marble, and he slotted it into a small hole. Then the second. Then the elongated sapphire. As soon as he pushed the blue jewel into its hole, all three were simultaneously sucked into the rock, somewhere deep inside.

“Wade?” I questioned. We’d come too far for this to be a dead end.

“Give it a minute,” he cautioned.

As if his words were a magic spell, the rock vibrated. The top section of the rock slid away, as though attached by a well-oiled hinge, to reveal a hidden chamber within the rock.

Wade and I approached. Together, we peered into the dark crevice. Wade switched on his flashlight. Nestled inside was a rolled scroll tied with a piece of string. As Wade removed the ancient paper from its resting place, the string disintegrated and fell into the water.

“Careful,” I warned.

“I know,” Wade replied, handling the scroll as if it were a recently resuscitated selachii.

I peered over his shoulder. “What is it?”

“I think it’s a map, but I’m not going to risk opening it now.”

“Is there anything else?”

“Yes,” Wade lifted a leather pouch fastened with a drawstring from the hole. “This.” His hand went in a third time and he removed a circular object, another jewel.

“It’s a pearl,” he whispered. “A black one.”

He held the new jewel aloft. About the size of an egg, it was completely black. But on closer inspection I noted striations of color, just like the white pearl we’d used to call the High Council.

Suddenly a light shone through the corroded gridiron of the old metal jail. “It’s the beach patrol,” Wade said. Reflected light bounced off the cave walls. “We need to hide.”

Marisa Noelle is the writer of middle grade & young adult novels in the genres of science-fiction, fantasy, horror & mental health including The Shadow KeepersThe Unadjusteds Trilogy (The Unadjusteds, The Rise of the Altereds, & The Reckoning), The Mermaid Chronicles – Secrets of the Deep & Quest for Atlantis, & The Unravelling of Luna Forester. She is a mentor for the Write Mentor program that helps aspiring MG & YA authors. With dual citizenship, Marisa has lived on both sides of the Atlantic and uses settings in both the USA and UK as inspiration for her novels. When she’s not writing or reading or watching movies, she enjoys swimming. Ocean, lake, or pool, she’s not fussy, as long as she can pretend she’s a mermaid. Despite being an avid bookworm from the time she could hold a book, being an author came as a bit of a surprise to her as she was a bit of a science geek at school. She lives in Woking, UK with her husband and three children. You can find her on Twitter @MarisaNoelle77, TikTok @MarisaNoelle12, or her website www.MarisaNoelle.com

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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Find out about the research behind Justin Newland's book, The Old Dragon’s Head #HistoricalFantasy #SupernaturalThriller @Matador @drjustinnewland @cathiedunn

The Old Dragon’s Head
Justin Newland

The Great Wall of China may be constructed of stone and packed earth, but it is home to a supernatural beast – the Old Dragon. Both wall and dragon protect China’s northern borders from Mongol incursion. Just beyond the fortress of Shanhaiguan, the far eastern end of the wall protrudes into the Bohai Sea – that’s the Old Dragon’s Head.

Bolin, a young man working on the Old Dragon’s Head, suffers visions of ghosts. The local seer suspects that he has yin-yang eyes and other supernatural gifts. Bolin’s fief lord, the Prince of Yan, rebels against his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor. In the bitter war of succession, the Mongols hold the balance of power. While the victor might win the battle on earth, China’s Dragon Throne can only be earned with a Mandate from Heaven – and the support of the Old Dragon.

In every era, a man endowed with the powers of heaven – the Dragon Master – is born. Only he can summon the Old Dragon, providing he possesses the dragon pearl. It’s the year 1402, and neither the Old Dragon, the dragon pearl, nor the Dragon Master, has been seen for twenty years.  

Bolin’s journey of self-discovery is mirrored by that of old China, as both endeavour to come of age. When Bolin accepts his destiny as the Dragon Master, heaven sends a third coming of age – for humanity itself. But are any of them ready for what is rising in the east? 

Publication Date: 28th November 2018
Publisher: Troubador Publishing Ltd.
Page Length: 257 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural Thriller, Speculative Fiction

Grab a copy HERE!

Now I will pass you over to Justin Newland, to talk about what research he undertook to write this book!

The Old Dragon’s Head is a story set in 1400 and played out in the shadows of the Great Wall of China, at the far eastern end of the wall, where it meets the sea for the only time. I set the story in that century for specific reasons. In Europe, the Dark Ages had drawn a curtain over the tentative advances of the Roman Empire, and nothing much had happened for over 1000 years until, in the 1400s, came the Renaissance. 

In China, it was no different. Just as Europeans looked back to the Golden Age of the Greek sages, so they looked back to Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tzu, and the Buddha. But China was invaded by Genghis Khan in 1211. 

Believing in karma, they thought they must have been living badly to invite the Mongol invasion in the first place. When they defeated them in 1368, they sought a new identity in harmony with the heavenly powers. This began the Ming Dynasty. And, as in Europe, the seeds of the modern world were sown.

But what research did I do? To answer that question, I need to answer the questions, how do I think about history, and how do I think about research?

Research of history involves a gathering of facts to answer such questions as what happened at the time and who were the main players. But research is more than that. In my novels, I strive to empathise with the people living at the time I am writing. In other words, I don’t just want to research the historical period; I want to try to understand how the people thought, or at least get an appreciation of how they thought. That means their mental and emotional arrangement, beliefs, superstitions, fears, hopes, and the structure of society at the time.  

This method means that the prime historical material is whatever was written at the time of the Ming Dynasty. Any material written before that period is valid since it would influence those who lived in that era. However, anything written after, say, the 1500s by modern novelists or historians can only be biased to one degree or another by their mental arrangement. It can be read, but it becomes more difficult to filter out the writer’s bias. 

Fortunately, several novels were written during the Ming Dynasty. I read The Story of the Stone aka The Dream of the Red Chamber, a Chinese Classic, vol. 1., The Golden Days by Cao Xueqin. I also read The Golden Lotus, volume 1 by Jin Ping Mei and Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong. I particularly enjoyed Stories Old and New, a Ming Dynasty Collection compiled by Feng Menglong.

I renewed my acquaintance with some of the classics of Chinese thought and philosophy, notably The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The Book of Chung Tzu by Lao Tzu, The Book of Mencius, The Tao Te Ching, The I Ching, and The Analects by Confucius. 

The main non-fiction book I delved into was a modern translation by Yonglin Jiang of The Mandate of Heaven and the Great Ming Code. 

I did read some modern stories about ancient Chinese times. They were two Robert van Gulik novels about his character Judge Dee, notably The Emperor’s Pearl and The Chinese Maze Murders. The other was an old favourite, Franz Kafka’s short story, The Great Wall of China.

When I talk to folks about my historical fiction novels, they often ask whether I visited China. Sadly, I did not. The best I could do was to re-visit the China Gallery in the British Museum and the China collection in the British Library. 

When researching, I’ll view paintings, sculptures and other artefacts. I’d read their poetry and study the architecture of the time – the room layouts, the courtyards, the rooves etc.

In the research of history, you are trying to conjure and re-evoke the spirit of their times. 

And that brings to mind the Ancient Chinese blessing:
May you live in interesting times.’ 

Or is it a curse? 

You’ll have to read The Old Dragon’s Head to find out.

Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His historical novels feature known events and real people from the past, which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural.

His novels speculate on the human condition and explore the fundamental questions of our existence. As a species, as Homo sapiens sapiens – that’s man the twice-wise – how are we doing so far? Where is mankind’s spiritual home? What does it look or feel like? Would we recognise it if we saw it?

Undeterred by the award of a Doctorate in Mathematics from Imperial College, London, he found his way to the creative keyboard and conceived his debut novel, The Genes of Isis (Matador, 2018), an epic fantasy set under Ancient Egyptian skies. 

Next came the supernatural thriller, The Old Dragon’s Head (Matador, 2018), set in Ming Dynasty China. 

His third novel, The Coronation (Matador, 2019), speculates on the genesis of the most important event of the modern world – the Industrial Revolution. 

His fourth, The Abdication (Matador, 2021), is a supernatural thriller in which a young woman confronts her faith in a higher purpose and what it means to abdicate that faith.

His stories add a touch of the supernatural to history and deal with the themes of war, religion, evolution and the human’s place in the universe.

He was born three days before the end of 1953 and lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

Website • Facebook • LinkedIn • Instagram • Amazon Author Page • Goodreads

Follow the tour HERE!

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Read an excerpt from The Sleeping Giant (The Acadian Secret, #2) by Tammy Lowe #HistoricalFantasy #YoungAdult #TimeTravel @XpressoTours

The Sleeping Giant
(The Acadian Secret, #2)
By Tammy Lowe

When a tormented man begs 17-year-old Elisabeth London to travel back in time to save his life, she reluctantly agrees. Assuming Scotland is the destination, she ends up in Ancient Rome instead.

The good news is she finds the man; now a bold 17-year-old named Aquarius. The bad news is he’s an indentured slave, sentenced to death in the arena, and doesn’t even know her yet.

Elisabeth helps Aquarius escape and becomes an outlaw herself. Armed with her wits and his rock sling, the new friends are on the run from a relentless slave dealer, Rufus Leptis.

Elisabeth soon realizes she’s not here to save Aquarius from Rufus, but from the doomed city of Pompeii. Although trying to be brave, the thought of remaining in Aquarius’ swashbuckling world a minute longer than necessary is inconceivable.
At least, it used to be.

Before that darn, happy-go-lucky slave stole her heart.

Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: September 21st 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Time-Travel, Young Adult 

Add to Goodreads!
Grab a copy HERE!


The thundering sounds all around them seemed to fade into the distance as Elisabeth stood pinned against the side of the cliff. Her gaze darted up to the grassy overhang. There were only two ways off this ledge; the tunnel or the rushing river that would sweep them over the falls within seconds. About to hyperventilate, Elisabeth buried her face in David’s back. Every millisecond moved at an unbearable speed. She held her breath as the inevitable moment drew nearer. Their only chance would be if Rufus didn’t step outside of the tunnel, but that would take a miracle. David looked prepared to fight, but from the side of a mountain ledge with a giant of a man? That could end up a bigger disaster.

She pushed a pile of rocks aside with her foot and shuffled as far along the ledge as possible so David could step back and they’d be flush against the wall. When they heard Rufus grumbling, she knew he had to be near the end of the tunnel. Her leg muscles tightened. Elisabeth wanted to run, but there was nowhere to go.

He was so close.

Too close.

She dared not look to see if he had walked onto the ledge. He would only need to step outside to see them.

What was that noise?


Elisabeth felt the color drain from her face, and then turned ever so slightly to look at the ground beside her.

She gasped, and the sound of her heartbeat thrashed in her ears. If anyone thought the situation couldn’t get any worse, they’d be wrong. Coiled at her feet, next to the dislodged rock, was a snake, looking as startled as Elisabeth. Her mouth fell open, repulsed, but unable to look away from the creature.

“No…no…no…” she whimpered.

An adventurer at heart, Tammy has explored ruins in Rome, Pompeii, and Istanbul (Constantinople) with historians and archaeologists.

She’s slept in the tower of a 15th century castle in Scotland, climbed down the cramped tunnels of Egyptian pyramids, scaled the Sydney Harbour Bridge, sailed on a tiny raft down the Yulong River in rural China, dined at a Bedouin camp in the Arabian Desert, and escaped from head-hunters in the South Pacific.

I suppose one could say her own childhood wish of time traveling adventures came true…in a roundabout way.

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Monday, September 19, 2022

Read an excerpt from A Turbulent Peace by Paul Walker #HistoricalFiction #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub @PWalkerauthor @cathiedunn

A Turbulent Peace
By Paul Walker

January 1919.

Following the armistice, Mary Kiten, a volunteer nurse in northern France, is ready to return home to England when she receives a surprise telegram requesting that she report to Paris. The call comes from her Uncle Arthur, a security chief at the Peace Conference.

Within minutes of arriving at the Majestic Hotel in Paris, Mary hears a commotion in the street outside. A man has been shot and killed. She is horrified to earn that the victim is her uncle. The police report the attack as a chance robbery by a known thief, who is tracked down and killed resisting arrest.

Mary is not convinced. Circumstances and the gunshot wound do not indicate theft as a motive. A scribbled address on Arthur’s notepad leads to her discovery of another body, a Russian Bolshevik. She suspects her uncle, and the Russian, were murdered by the same hand.

To investigate further, Mary takes a position working for the British Treasury, headed by J M Keynes.

But Mary soon finds herself in the backstreets of Paris and the criminal underworld.

What she discovers will threaten the foundations of the congress. 

Grab a copy HERE!
This novel is free to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription.


We arrived at the junction that led to Avenue Beaucour and paused. Two children were playing with hoops and sticks by a doorway twenty paces from us, but the remainder of the street was deserted. We strolled past staring children to the arched entrance in a plastered and whitewashed wall of about twenty feet in height. The door was old, formed of thick, dark wood panels ribbed with iron straps and a large keyhole that looked as though it had survived several centuries. Adam turned the iron handle. It was locked and we headed off to locate a parallel street to discover what was on the other side of the wall.

The only way to exit Avenue Beaucour was to retrace our steps. It was a short walk to Rue Daru, which ran in the same direction. We stopped at the location, approximating a direct line through to the ancient doorway.

‘A church.’

‘Not any old church,’ I replied. ‘It’s Russian Orthodox.’ A faded and paint-blistered wooden board displayed its name - Cathédrale Saint-Alexandre-Nevsky. Even without a sign, it was unmistakably Russian with its colourful domes, golden cross and the icon of a Christ figure above the central arch. ‘Ahhhh.’ An involuntary rush of air escaped my mouth. ‘The name. That’s it.’ 

‘What do you mean? Whose name?’

‘The name scrawled by Arthur on a piece of paper next to the Rue Gustave Courbet address. It was an abbreviation for church followed by Nevsky – not a misspelling of Chersky, as I thought. This church must be connected in some way to their murder.’ 

Adam pushed at a small iron gate, and we started down a stone path towards the church entrance. The main door was closed. Adam inclined his head, and I followed him around the side. There was little ageing to the stone, and the church was clearly a relatively recent construction. Its clean vertical lines lent a dominant air with spires reaching above the tops of the buildings on either side. Did the land it occupied stretch back to Avenue Beaucour? We rounded a corner and viewed the wall, about twenty feet high, marking the rear boundary. Surely, the same wall, but I couldn’t see the doorway. The middle part of the bottom half of the wall was blocked by a squat, dilapidated construction of darker stone detached from the body of the church, and sunk into the ground with only small, shuttered windows. Much older than the church itself, I guessed it was probably used for storage.

‘The doorway will be behind this old storehouse,’ I said, pulling Adam’s sleeve to follow me.

There it was. With only a ten-yard gap between the high wall and the building, it could only be seen close up. We retraced our steps to an open space and surveyed the scene. The old, sunken structure was the only one in the grounds with a roof apart from the church itself. Whatever was taken from the cart was likely to have been stored in there. We edged around the wall until we found the door, down a flight of stone steps. I was about to descend and check the lock on the door when Adam caught hold of my arm.

‘Someone is coming.’

Two men were making for us in a manner that suggested they were not pleased. One, wearing long black robes and a white headscarf, was short, slight and bespectacled. The other, at least twice his size and with wild, staring eyes, was brandishing a large cudgel as though impatient for its use. Adam flexed his shoulders and edged forward to meet them. The two men were shouting, threatening. It looked bad. How could we avoid a bloody encounter? Quickly, I pushed past Adam and performed an elaborate curtsey.

I said, ‘Bonjour messieurs, veuillez excuser nos mauvaises manières,’ offering my sweetest, most innocent smile. They stopped, unsure how to react to this unexpected show of contrition. I continued, ‘My boss here is an architect from America. He is most interested in the beauty of your Cathedral and wishes to incorporate some of its features into a commission he has in Texas. I realise we should have sought your permission before entering these grounds, but - he is American, doesn’t speak French and has rather rough manners. Our humble apologies for any offence we may have caused.’

The clergyman held out his arm to halt the progress of his burly companion. He adjusted his spectacles, then examined Adam and me in turn before replying.

‘You must leave this sacred precinct directly. Your intentions may be blameless, but this place is a target for thieves and delinquents.’ His partner grunted and pointed his weapon at Adam. ‘If you wish to study or sketch our church, you should put your request in writing. It will be considered in due course.’

I bowed my head and murmured thanks for his understanding. Reaching behind, I took Adam’s hand and led him away, hoping he was also adopting a submissive and meek attitude. When we had gone far enough to be out of earshot, I hissed ‘Don’t look behind,’ in English. He squeezed my hand and laughed.

‘I understand enough French to appreciate your genius as an actress. That was well done, Mary.’

Paul lives in a village 30 miles north of London where he is a full-time writer of fiction and part-time director of an education trust. His writing in a posh garden shed is regularly disrupted by children, a growing number of grandchildren and several dogs.

Paul writes historical fiction. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first two books in the series – “State of Treason” and “A Necessary Killing”, were published in 2019. The third book, titled “The Queen’s Devil”, was published in the summer of 2020.

Travel forward a few hundred years from Tudor England to January 1919 in Paris and the setting for Paul’s latest book, “A Turbulent Peace”. The focus of the World is on the Peace Conference after WW1 armistice. Add a dash of Spanish Flu, the fallout from the Russian Revolution, and you have a background primed for intrigue as nations strive for territory, power and money. 

Follow the tour HERE!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Read an interview with Elisa A. Bonnin, author of Stolen City #YoungAdult #Fantasy @eabwrites @XpressoTours

Stolen City
By Elisa A. Bonnin

Twin thieves attempt to pull off a daring heist in Stolen City, the sophomore fantasy novel from Dauntless author Elisa A. Bonnin.

The city of Leithon is under Imperial occupation and Arian Athensor has made it her playground.

In stealing magical artifacts for the Resistance, bounding over rooftops to evade Imperial soldiers, and establishing herself as the darling thief of the underground, Arian lives a life wrapped in danger and trained towards survival. She’ll steal anything for the right price, and if she runs fast enough, she can almost escape the fact that her mother is dead, her father is missing, and her brother, Liam, is tamping down a wealth of power in a city that has outlawed magic.

But then the mysterious Cavar comes to town with a job for the twins: to steal an artifact capable of ripping the souls from the living–the same artifact that used to hang around the neck of Arian’s mother. Suddenly, her past is no longer buried under adrenaline but intimately tied to the mission at hand, and Arian must face her guilt and pain head-on in order to pull off the heist.

As Arian and Cavar infiltrate the strongest fortress in Leithon and Liam joins the Resistance as their resident mage, the twins find themselves embroiled in court politics and family secrets, and the mission becomes more than just another artifact theft. The target is now the Imperial rule, and Arian will go to any length necessary to steal her city back.

Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: September 20th 2022
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult 

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Grab a copy HERE!


Writing Interview questions.

What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always really enjoyed heist stories. I love the mix of clever banter, problem solving, and unexpected twists that make up a well-done heist, and I always knew that I wanted to write one someday. At the same time, I had these characters that my best friend and I developed in high school. I knew these characters inside and out because we had spent years putting them in various situations, and I thought they would make the perfect POV characters for a heist. When I asked my friend if I could use them, she agreed, and so STOLEN CITY was born. 

Can you share something about the book that isn’t covered in the blurb?

The book has four POV characters: the twins, who are mentioned in the blurb; Cavar, a stranger who comes to town looking to hire the twins to steal back an artifact from him, and Zephyr, a traitor who works for the Empire. The book also has autism representation. Liam, one of the POV characters, is autistic, and although I didn’t specifically intend it, some early readers have spotted autistic tendencies from Arian, the protagonist. If they’re there, it’s unintentional, but since I’m autistic myself, it’s entirely possible that I could have written it in without meaning to. 

If you had to describe your protagonist(s), in three words, what would those three words be and why?

I would say Arian is independent, lonely, and conflicted. Independent because she’s determined to live life on her own terms, without relying on anyone else or being beholden to anyone else. Lonely, because she’s a young woman who has lost most of her family and close contacts in an extremely traumatic fashion and despite what she says, she misses them terribly and is desperate to hold on to the ones she has left. And conflicted, because she has to make a decision that will define her, and one that you’ll have to read the book to learn more about. 

What was the most challenging part about writing your book?

I mentioned before that the book has four POV characters. Each of these characters has different goals, and many of those goals clash and overlap. They each exist on a different point along the spectrum between the Empire and Leithon and are each dealing with the occupation of the city in their own ways. 

One of the most challenging parts of writing this book was making sure that each POV was important to the story and that each character had a role to play that was both relevant to the plot and not redundant with any of the other characters. I also had to make sure each character’s arc ended in a satisfactory way, even though the characters couldn’t get everything they wanted. I had to fix this a few times in revision, but I’m happy with the way it worked out in the end.

Was there anything that you edited out of this book that would have drastically affected the story, should it be left in?

The original draft of Stolen City had flashback chapters, telling the story of the twins’ parents and Cavar’s mom when they first met in Leithon as teenagers and accidentally kicked off the events of the plot. That ended up getting removed because there were already too many POVs in the book without getting three more, and because all the information in the flashbacks is later revealed over the course of the story. If they were kept in, it would definitely be a much longer book, and I’m not sure that it would have been much better. 

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a project that will be published in 2024. The working title is Exiles of Ellery West, but the title will probably change in revision. It’s a YA contemporary fantasy / dark academia about a Filipino-American girl in her last year of magic school. The year before, she and her best friend used some dark magic and her best friend is believed to be dead. She enters her last year on probation. If she can keep her head down for a year, she’ll graduate, but if she gets into any more trouble, she’ll be expelled. But it turns out that her friend isn’t actually dead, so she and the other probationary students must team up to get her back. 

I’m finishing up the first draft of the story now, and I can’t wait to tell you all more about it when it’s ready. 

What would you tell an aspiring author who had some doubts about their writing abilities?

That depends on where in their writing journey they are. If they’re just starting out, I would tell them that the only way to get better at writing is to do more of it, and as long as they’re writing what they enjoy, they will eventually improve. If this is you, just remember that everyone starts somewhere. If you keep at it, you definitely will improve, and in the meantime, you should try to have as much fun as you can. Trust the process. 

But for writers who have been writing for a while, I have noticed a tendency to get doubtful about one’s own skill. It’s common to compare your first drafts to someone else’s final product, or to worry that we’ll never write anything as good as our favorite books. So for those writers, I’d like to remind them that everyone’s first draft is bad. The first draft is you telling the story to yourself, and it’s allowed to be messy. No one writes a perfect first draft, and the whole point of editing is to make it better. 

Also, many writers are terrible at seeing the good in their own work. We spend so much time with our stories that it’s like we’re looking at our words up close, with a magnifying glass. Small flaws or things that someone else might not even notice become enormous to us. Sometimes, it can help to let a trusted friend read your writing. You might be surprised at how much good someone else can find in your work.  

Personal Interview questions.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I’m an enormous nerd, so I really enjoy reading and playing video games. I love games and books that take me to different worlds or alternate realities. My non-writerly hobbies include baking, and I’ve recently gotten back into cross-stitch. I also really love to travel, and I live in Europe now so I do try to make sure that I get out of the house every now and then. 

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A writer. I started writing when I was eight and since then I made it my mission and my dream to become published. I haven’t really stopped writing since then. I wrote my first full-length novel at 12, and I’ve been working on refining those skills ever since. 

What’s for dinner tonight? What would you rather be eating?

This year, my partner and I decided we wanted to learn more dishes, so we signed up for a meal-prep subscription box. We ended up cancelling once we accumulated a lot of recipe cards, but we still go back to those cards and make those meals. Tonight, I’m making chicken saltimbocca with a side of oven-roasted veggies and chickpeas. I like learning how to cook different kinds of recipes, which is why I sometimes pick up new cookbooks for fun! But when I cook Filipino food, I can never get it to taste like my mom’s cooking, which is why I’m happy I’ll be going home for Christmas this year. 

What would be a perfect day?

A day at the beach! Switching between swimming in the ocean and curling up in a lounge chair in the sun. Reading a book, sipping a cold drink and feeling the breeze. I grew up always making trips to the beach with my family, and I still really love the ocean. Nowadays, beach trips are my favorite part of summer. 

What is the best part of your day?

That moment in the evening where I realize that I’ve finished all that I want to do today and that my time is my own. I can do whatever I want. I can read a book, or play a video game, or watch something on TV with my partner, or sew. I like working on a schedule, but I also really enjoy my unstructured time too. 

Either or!

Tea or coffee: Coffee

Hot or cold: Hot

Movie or book: Book

Morning person or Night owl: Night owl

City or country: City

Social Media or book: Book

Paperback or ebook: Paperback

Elisa A. Bonnin was born and raised in the Philippines, after which she moved to the United States to study chemistry and later oceanography. After completing her doctorate, she moved to Germany to work as a postdoctoral scientist. A lifelong learner, Elisa is always convinced that she should “maybe take a class in something” and as a result, has amassed an eclectic collection of hobbies. But writing will always be her true love. Publishing a book has been her dream since she was eight years old, and she is thrilled to finally be able to share her stories. Dauntless is her first novel.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Read my review of Shy Girls Can’t Date Billionaires by Milly Rose #Romance #YoungAdult #RomCom @XpressoTours

Shy Girls Can’t Date Billionaires
By Milly Rose

I never existed until the wrong guy took notice...

I was born shy. And near him, I fall apart. No wonder he can’t stand the sight of me.

After a fire destroys our home, my family is taken in by a billionaire tycoon. His mansion has countless bedrooms, yet my room is next door to his son, Thomas Ashworth III. Yes, he’s as pompous as the name suggests. And, for some reason, he hates my guts.

Even though his arrogance drives me crazy, his chiseled features turn me into a stammering, awkward mess. I hate being stuck with someone I can’t stand. And when he does something unexpectedly kind, it confuses my heart.

When I bump into him in the middle of the night, I’d never guess it lead to us sharing secrets.

He’s impossible to get out of my head. But he wouldn’t consider dating someone like me. Would he?

You will love Christie and Ash. They are stuck together in forced proximity, becoming practically roommates. He is a billionaire, alpha male type who is learning to love. She is the new girl in school, dealing with past trauma. Together they will go from enemies to lovers in an adorable young adult romance.

Publication date: September 5th 2022
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Young Adult 

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When Christie’s family home burns down, everything she’s ever known falls as ash around her. The near future seems bleak, until Mr Ashworth, the man who runs the company her father works for announces, within the night, that he will take them in, and they are driven to his mansion. A new house, in a new area, and now Christie must live with people she doesn’t know? And worse, Mr Ashworth’s, pompous son, Thomas Ashworth III lives in the room next door to Christie’s new room.

Christie has never been a people person, but suddenly she is thrust into a world where she is the centre of attention, and she must talk to people other than her parents on a daily basis. But late night conversations and some almost considerate gestures from Thomas (Ash) Ashworth III make Christie start to wonder why she is starting to enjoy Ash’s company.

The end of the blurb perfectly sums this book up. A forced proximity enemies to lovers young adult romance. There is no better way to describe it. Neither Christie nor Ash want to be living together, least of all have to talk to each other, but for the sake of peace, they do. No matter how uncomfortable Christie is, she would be homeless if not for Mr Ashworth, so she has to show her appreciation, even though she would much rather live next to her parents than next to Ash.

Christie’s world is thrown more out of balance more than it seems on the surface. She has only ever really talked to her parents, and they are very close. But living in the manor means they are almost a world apart, and suddenly, instead of spending evenings with them, the adults stick together, and the ‘children’ are not invited. The way the generations are separated really amplifies how close Christie is with her parents, in comparison to how distant Ash is from his.

I really enjoyed the layout of the romance itself in this book. Christie and Ash aren’t immediately friends, rather they are far from it, but they do tolerate each other, and both have things going on in their private lives that affect how they interact with each other. But, as they start to spend more time together, they start to talk, and as always, one thing leads to another. There is the typical young adult trope of miscommunication, a break up, an explanation, and a soppy reunion, but I’m not sure any young adult romance book is truly complete without it! Underneath everything, Ash is an incredibly caring young man, who definitely helps Christie come out of her shell and make friends for the first time in her life.

This book does not just focus on the relationship between Christie and Ash, which really helped to make the story feel real. There are fleshed-out side plots, with characters who bully Christie, and those who would try to jeopardise her and Ash’s relationship, but there are also friendships that are built. I did have some suspicions throughout the whole book that there was something slightly more sinister going on, and my suspicions were addressed nearer the end of the book when Christie starts to think the exact same thing. If you’ve read this book, you’ll know what I mean! The fact that the book had me thinking those things way before the idea was even thrown out there really goes to show that the way this book has been written is very clever, and I certainly had a sense of unease throughout. I almost felt as though I were Christie, feeling on edge even though there is seemingly no reason to be.

One thing in particular that I loved was that Christie and Ash both have hobbies that are important to them, but those hobbies don’t dictate their lives. In so many young adult books I’ve read, the main character’s hobby is the only thing that defines who they are, and what they do with their time. But both Christie and Ash have hobbies that are important to them, that they’d like perhaps make a career out of, but their lives don’t revolve around them. This detail made the characters so much more realistic to read about.

This is not what I would call a particularly long book, although some may disagree. It is a very quick read, although that may be due to the fact I couldn’t put it down, and less because of the actual length of the book! I read this book within a day. 

If you’re a fan of young adult romance as a genre in itself, you’re bound to love this book. I know I did! This is a new author to me, but I will definitely be looking out for more of their work in the future.

Milly Rose is an animal-loving romance enthusiast with a swoon-inducing book formula. Shy girl + hot guy + first kisses. Her YA sweet romance books will have you falling in love every instalment. Milly Rose is the quintessential shy girl, who you can contact via her mailing list and reply to her monthly email blasts! Milly spends her days vying for her cat’s affection, dreaming up her next book boyfriend, and writing a fun meet-cute under candlelight with a lovely brewed cup of tea.

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Sunday, September 11, 2022

Have a look at The Muse of Freedom, a Cévenoles Sagas novel, by Jules Larimore #HistoricalFiction #BlogTours #TheCoffeePotBookClub @jules_larimore @cathiedunn

The Muse of Freedom 
a Cévenoles Sagas novel 
By Jules Larimore

First in the series from The Cévenoles Sagas is THE MUSE OF FREEDOM.

“Brilliantly told, a story that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page . . . fresh and compelling, as relevant now as it was then.”

~ Janet Wertman, award-winning author of The Seymour Saga trilogy

A French Huguenot apothecary’s legacy of secrets, a mystic healer’s inspiration, a fateful decision.

In the mysterious Cévennes mountains of Languedoc, France, 1695, Jehan BonDurant, a young nobleman forcibly held in a Dominican prieuré as a child, comes of age only to inherit a near-derelict estate and his Huguenot family’s dangerous legacy of secrets. While he cherishes his newfound freedom apprenticing as an apothecary, his outrage mounts over religious persecutions led by King Louis XIV’s Intendant Basville, who is sent to enforce the King’s will for “One King, One Law, One Faith”. 

The ensuing divisions among families and friends and the gradual revelation of his own circumstances lead Jehan to question his spiritual choices. A journey deep into the heart of the Cévennes in search of guidance, unfolds in a way he least expects when he enters the enchanting Gorges du Tarn. There he discovers his muse, Amelia Auvrey, a free-spirited, mystic holy woman who reveals ancient healing practices and spiritual mysteries.

Together they quest for peace and spiritual freedom by aiding the persecuted until the Intendant’s spy reports their activities and the King’s dragoons are sent out after them. To retain their freedom, they must choose to live in hiding in a remote wilderness, join a festering uprising against the persecutions, or flee their cherished homeland with thousands of other refugees in search of hope.

Inspired by the true story of Jean Pierre Bondurant dit Cougoussac, distilled and blended with Cévenole magic lore, this is an inspiring coming of age story and family saga of courage, tenacity, and the power of love in a country rife with divisions under the control of an authoritarian king obsessed with power. 

Fans of Poldark, Magic Lessons, The Lost Apothecary, and The Huguenot Chronicles will find thematic elements from those stories melded into this thrilling and obscure slice of French history.

Publication Date: September 13, 2022
Publisher: Mystic Lore Books
Page Length: 454
Genre: Historical Fiction / Renaissance Fiction / Sagas

Grab a copy HERE!

Jules Larimore writes emotive, literary-leaning historical fiction to inspire positive change for the oppressed and refugees, and to encourage an intimate relationship with the natural environment.

Influenced by a background in freelance travel writing, Jules uses captivating historical settings as characters. Then distills and blends them with a dose of magic, myth, and romance to bring to life hopeful human stories. A previous career in marketing offered an outlet for creative writing used to romance brands with mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life.

With a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University, Jules has studied medieval history, ancient Greek culture, anthropology, folklore, narrative composition, and architectural design, and has trained under writing geniuses Libbie Hawker/Olivia Hawker and Roz Morris. While investigating the ancestor who inspired The Muse of Freedom, Jules researched late 17th century Languedoc customs, politics, and spiritual traditions specific to the little known Cévennes mountains of south-central France, culminating in a rich repository to feed future novels about the Cévenol people and culture.

Jules lives primarily in Ojai, California, with time spent around the U.S. and in various countries in Europe gathering more treasures in a continued search for authenticity.

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