Friday, December 02, 2022

New Release : The Crimson Daughter by J.I. Hens #ParanormalRomance

“The demons I fought to keep in their cages had broken free and I had the messy job of rounding them up one by one and putting them back where they belonged.”


The Crimson Daughter 
The Dark Blood Chronicles 
Book One
J.I. Hens

Khris sits in a bar in Soho, trying to figure out how to keep her job. The only way to do that is to persuade her co-worker from revealing her secret.

But before that can happen, she stumbles onto a mystery nobody wants her to know, one that threatens to change her life completely. The moment she leaves that bar, someone is on her trail, and he'll stop at nothing.

Lucien comes from a long line of Dark Bloods, a race descended from rogue knights who use dark magic to gain power and influence. Their number one rule is not to get too close to humans. It always causes trouble. Which makes him wonder why he's doing exactly that.

Still, he can't shake the thought about the strange human female, but navigating his feelings should be the last thing on his mind, considering the murder scene he must solve, and this woman seems to be at the centre of it.

Read The Crimson Daughter and discover your next favorite paranormal romance story.


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Thursday, December 01, 2022

Fix: The Flint Chronicles Book One by Melodie Bolt #UrbanFantasy


Fix 
The Flint Chronicles
Book One
Melodie Bolt

Genre: Epic Urban Fantasy

Date of Publication: December 1, 2022 
Number of pages: 412
Word Count: 95,411
Cover Artist: BRoseDesignz

Tagline:  Fix will do anything to get home, even murder. 

Book Description: 

The magical creatures in Flint are being murdered and Koko and Damien hardly know each other, let alone how to track down serial killers. 

Each death is tipping the balance toward something darker. The killers have their own agenda: to leave the mortal world and live their fairytale ending in Fairy, and they will kill everything they can to get there. 

How can Damien and Koko find and stop them before the real evil unfolds?


Meet the Cast of Characters

Fix - Changeling from Fairy who wants to return home. He thinks he can get there with the help of Jira's shark magic.

Jira - a Japanese Italian heiress who longs for a place called home and someone to share it. She’ll do anything to help the love of her life including murder.

Damien - A golden born dragon. Smart with no street smarts. Definitely doesn't know how to track down serial killers. Might like Koko.

Kishona - Koko- daughter of the Sekhmet line. Granddaughter to the Flint Guardian. Trying to find her purpose and understand her path until finding serial killers becomes her purpose.

Amera - Fix's Fairy mother who wants a life with her Unseelie lover, Sting.

Sting - Fix's Fairy father who believes love can undo everything.


Excerpt

The Fairy Midlands

Sting Crowwing, tall and thin in his fairy form, exited the Unseelie portal and led out his ebony stallion, Carrion. Sting was counting down the hours as the Change grew closer. He had one chance to build his own future, and he was determined to make that happen. But first things first, he needed Amera. As the runes faded the door disappeared into the trunk of the massive, rotted oak, closing the way to Omnion and the Court.

Sting slipped the heavy black reins over the large head of his war horse. The reins brushed the cat skulls and dog bones woven into Carrion’s mane. Sting pulled a silver clasp from his pants pocket, gathered his long black hair, and fixed it at the nape of his neck. Carrion stood still as Sting slipped his leather boot into the stirrup and mounted. He adjusted his over-long black wings on either side of the saddle. The fairy checked his weight in the stirrups, then gathered the reins and commanded the stallion forward into the night.

Carrion picked his way through the tangled roots and moved slowly through the Unseelie-marked land. Sting breathed a sigh of relief. The rules and expectations—the Court’s and his father’s—shackled him to a future he didn’t want. Outside Omnion, it was just him and his own desires.

He stopped the horse at the edge of the forest and studied the long grass undulating in the breeze, the feathered seed tips of which just brushed Carrion’s belly. The greens and tans looked like smoke under the night sky. Sting cast an invisibility glamour and, as they crossed the meadow, the massive horse and his rider appeared as nothing more than shadow.

Slowly, they approached the rolling hills of Seelie land. Honeysuckle and roses sweetened the wind. The trees appeared fuller, sharp branches softened by foliage. Sting listened to the cricket and frog songs, the harsh wildness of his home replaced by the touch of Seelie creativity and mirth. Even the moon appeared gentled, suspended like a white boat riding the dark currents of night.

When they arrived at The Hill Sting halted Carrion, and they waited in front of the massive rose-covered mound that housed the portal to the Seelie Realm.
Sting’s father had laughed at him when he’d found out about the girl, but instead of discipline his father didn’t seem to care that Sting kept slipping outside the Court to visit her, even though it was forbidden. His father had just smiled, showing his sharpened teeth, and warned the boy,

“Become what you are.”

But what did his father know? Old and wing-clipped, he lived according to all the rules and disciplines of the Unseelies. His father was an Enforcer, Vollstrecker of House Orba Alis, the Dark Queen’s punisher. He delighted in pain. There were plenty of Unseelies who loved his father’s lash, but none lasted. His father used them and tossed them aside. The thought sprinted across Sting’s heart and chilled his blood: maybe his father didn’t love anything, even their queen. Wasn’t he, even now, tacitly helping Sting by ignoring visits like this?

Sting studied the fully open blossoms on the hill and noticed that, like the grassland, Night, deity of the Unseelies, had her effect on Seelie land. In daylight, these roses reminded him of Amera’s lips and tongue, but under the moon they appeared the color of bones.

He smiled and let his thoughts wander, loving the sweet agony of waiting. The thought of Amera’s lips pressed against his, the smell of her hair, made his aching body thrum with magical possibility. Carrion tugged on the reins, seeking to lower his head and graze for insects. Sting let them fall slack. But then a buzz, like a trickle of lightning, got his heart pumping, indicating Amera’s approach.

He felt a coldness still clinging to him from the Dark Forest, and he shook his shoulder blades and wings to shrug the chill away. His chest feathers ruffled then smoothed down. His stallion, sensing Amera’s mare, tossed his head, the bones in his mane sounding like Brownie percussion. Carrion’s ears pricked forward, and he whickered softly.  

With a shimmer, the gem-encrusted golden door appeared then solidified in the hillside. Seelie runes glowed blue, one of the sacred colors of the Seelie Court as it signified life and purity. The door swung open.

A palomino mare entered the meadow, prancing and moving until she finally stood head-to-head with Carrion. The horses blew softly at each other; Carrion stood stock still while the mare, Pear Blossom, tossed her head and shifted on her feet, dancing with impatience. But Sting’s eyes fixed on Amera, who walked out and closed the Seelie door. She glanced shyly at him and smiled. Her long golden hair glowed white under the moon and her dark skin appeared washed out, looking almost as bloodless as his own. Odd, he thought, then grinned at her, eager to touch her. She gracefully swung onto the mare’s bare back.

They both looked at the door to make sure no one had followed her out. It thinned, shedding solidity until it billowed like a ghostly curtain and vanished, the runes fading like fireflies in the dawn.

The horses started moving, knowing the way. As Sting looked at Amera, her shoulders sagged and her head angled downward. Her hair, which normally curled over her shoulders, thinned and drooped, and her youthful face sagged and wrinkled like a rotten apple. Her long, slim fingers curled claw-like, knuckles knobby and protruding. Startled, he reached for her.

She glanced at him and smiled faintly. The crone image flickered and disappeared. Slipping out of his reach, she urged Pear Blossom forward. The mare broke into an easy canter, and Sting and Carrion followed.

Once they left the meadow and entered the unclaimed land Sting and Amera began changing the landscape, moving toward their bower and far away from prying eyes. The final point of passage was a golden gate locked with mixed magic. He sang the lock open with a deep note laced with darkness, and her laughter, light and golden, pushed the barricade out of their way. They dismounted, leaving the horses outside, and entered the bower together.

As the gate swung closed soft candles flickered and caught, ringing the small room. Thrumming with anticipation he watched her, waiting for her transformation. Her forest- green riding tunic swirled into a sky-blue dress of spider webs and dew drops that sparkled in the soft light. His breath caught as he studied her face—high, sharp cheekbones, summer-sky eyes, and skin the color of a black deer’s hide.

He knew she had bespelled him but, in the radiance of her glamour, he didn’t mind. She was so unlike any of the dark females in the Unseelie Court that leaving her made his heart all the more shadowed. How he relished the sting of separation.

“I’ve missed you,” he said.

Amera reached up and tenderly stroked his cheek, but where light usually beamed in her smile sadness gathered across her face. She had dark shadows under her eyes and her aura appeared dull and flat. She embraced him, pressing her cheek against his chest feathers. He frowned, bewildered by the sadness that didn’t belong to her. He bent his head and breathed in the scent of her hair. He felt her tears spilling against his feathers, eliciting a nip of pleasure. He pushed it away.

“What’s troubling you?” he said.

Amera looked up, blinking wet lashes. “We’re in trouble.”

“What? Do your parents know?”

She shook her head. “No, not that.” She studied his face and frowned. “Do yours?”

Sting raised an eyebrow. “No.” The lie spilled off his lips.

Her eyes darted away.

“So, tell me already,” he prodded. Patience felt strange to him. He needed answers. Sweat gathered between his wings as her brow creased. He knew she was trying to find the words, was struggling.  

“It’s better if I show you.”

She stepped away from him and circled her hand in front of her dress. Sparks glimmered and spun in the air, spiraling and brightening to reveal an object wrapped in green blankets. It hung suspended in front of her, and she reached out; taking it in her arms, the light faded. Sting stepped closer and looked as she carefully peeled the blanket away like a leaf of cabbage.

“What is it?” he asked.

“A mistake. You have to fix it. I-I can’t.” She tilted the bundle so that he could see the golden face of a sleeping baby.

A little bit of fluffy black hair stood upright. Sting frowned at the straight, ink hair with the tanned skin. It didn’t look right. The Seelie hair curled tightly. Some said from their laughter catching in the strands. While the Unseelie hair hung sleek, letting fear and love slip away from their minds. Amera waved her palm over the baby’s face and its eyes opened, revealing one sky blue one like hers and one toxic green like his own. He stepped back and hissed in surprise and disgust. Amera bespelled the child back to sleep, tears rolling down her cheeks.

Sting knew without asking that the baby was theirs. As impossible as it felt, somehow their need for each other contained just the right elements to make life.

“When did that show up?” he asked.

“Last night, I guess. I woke up with it next to me in bed this morning.”

A chill ran up his spine. The mixing of light and dark magic was forbidden to manifest life. Mixed magic had no place in Fairy; it belonged to neither the Seelie nor Unseelie Court. Whether plants or animals, they always caused trouble and heartache. But a child! There would be consequences, punishment for them both. And Amera! Did the Seelie have Enforcers? They must. Sting couldn’t bear the thought of someone’s lash nipping and slicing Amera’s silken skin. He looked at her tear-streaked face and knew he had to do something. This abomination had to disappear. Or, better yet, die.  

“Give it to me,” he said. As he took it, he could feel the weight dragging on his magic. He looked at Amera, who smiled and stood straighter. Her aura brightened and the shadows under her eyes faded.  

He placed the bundle on the ground and ran his hands over his feathers. He felt the magic blur his body, sharpening his nose and chin into a beak, feet into claws. His arms merged with his wings. His claws took hold of the baby and lifted it skyward. Amera glamoured the bundle, lightening the weight so he could fly with ease, and she camouflaged it to reflect the surroundings so that it was near invisible.

Sting flew toward the edge of Fairy. When he returned, Amera would owe him for this favor. He was going to enjoy making her pay.


About the Author:

Melodie Bolt has lived in and traveled to many places. She understands how location influences culture which is why she chose Flint for her debut novel, Fix. Although Flint is well known for the Water Crisis, which Melodie is a part of, there are many beautiful sites and people with a can-do attitude for rebuilding. Many locations in Flint are featured in her novel. Having both PTSD and rapid-cycling Bipolar, Melodie is always building and rebuilding her writing. 






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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Art of Always by Patricia Friedrich



The Art of Always
Patricia Friedrich

Genre:  Women’s Fiction/Historical
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: Jan 19, 2022
ISBN: 978-1509237791
ASIN: B09KQY4W8L
Number of pages: 372
Word Count: ~ 90K
Cover Artist: Diana Carlile

Tagline: The biggest mystery is why we lie to ourselves

Book Description:

Art history student Darcey Mendes needs a new topic for her thesis in order to graduate, but time is against her. Family debts are pressing. She fears she must give up all hopes of an academic career. Yet, without her degree, would she earn enough to provide for her secret daughter's future? 

Archie Northwood, rich and from a privileged family, suddenly reappears in her life to offer the chance that could save her--the story of his Brazilian great-grandmother. His ancestor was Modernist painter Ana Eça, who, on the verge of stardom in the 1920s, mysteriously vanished from public view forever. 

Choosing to unveil Ana's story is a complicated proposition for them both. How will they be able to work together to resolve the decades-old mystery when Darcey cannot allow Archie to guess her secret?

Amazon     BN     Google

Excerpt:

A thin mist had covered the city. Inside the fog, cobblestone pavers and streetlamps gave the streets a dreamlike feel, which Ana experienced from the other side of her window. Watching the movement of neighbors hurrying to catch a train or walk to work, she knifed a small wedge of butter and slathered it on a piece of toast. The flavors of the morning, fresh coffee and jam, delighted her. It was a moment of perfection, a fleeting one, full of ideas about art and success, so she took full notice of it. But soon the pleasure of warm French bread and sweet coffee was replaced with worry. Her morning with Joaquim and the strange intuition she had about it kept her heart prisoner and made her attention falter. The strange prophecy and the knot in her stomach alerted her to be careful. As she fell asleep the night before, she had made up her mind that the recent encounter would be their last time together. She reminded herself that no matter the powerful hold Joaquim had on her, she could do whatever she wanted.

About the Author:

Patricia Friedrich is a Professor at Arizona State University, having received her Ph.D. from Purdue University. She teaches courses in composition, linguistics, peace, and culture. She writes non-fiction about the intersection of those areas. Her non-fiction work has appeared in eight books and in over 40 book chapters and journal articles. Her fiction has been published in several literary magazines including Eclectic Flash, The Linnet's Wings, and Birkensnake, as well as in the anthology Flash in the Attic. Her novel The Art of Always was awarded first place at a regional RWA competition, was the winner of a National Indie Excellence Award, and was published in 2022 by The Wild Rose Press. She is also an author of historical romance under the pseudonym Eliza Emmett. All the Parts of Your Soul, her next novel (with Jen Jensen), is forthcoming. She lives in Arizona.











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Monday, November 28, 2022

Release Day Blitz Martyr by Linda Robertson Reinhardt


Martyr     
The Immanence Series
Book Three
Linda Robertson Reinhardt

Genre: Dark Fantasy
Publisher: Igni House Publishing
Date of Publication: Nov 28, 2022   
ISBN:   9781685440091
Number of pages:  635
Word Count: 148,000 
Cover Artist: Linda Robertson Reinhardt

Series Tagline: A renegade angel once changed human society forever… now a new angel will change it again.   

Book Description: 

Jovienne’s quest to understand her power and claim her freedom leads to a shocking discovery--one that will shake the foundations of modern society and sends her straight to Hell.

Listen to the Immanence Soundtrack



About the Author:

Linda Robertson Reinhardt is an internationally published novelist and her short stories have appeared in several anthologies. In 2022, she released The Immanence Series, a dark fantasy trilogy for which she created the covers and all the interior artwork. A life-long musician, she’s also an award-winning composer, so it’s no surprise she also wrote and produced a 72-minute original orchestral score to accompany the new books. She has even scored a few short, independent films. Her music is available on most streaming channels. She is also a graphic artist and a painter, and her artwork is available through Redbubble. If that’s not enough, she makes jewelry and hand-blends/hand-bottles fragrances that she sells on her Etsy store. A mother of four boys, Linda is married and lives in Ohio.
 







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A Haunting at Marianwood by E.M. Munsch


A Haunting at Marianwood
Dash Hammond 
Book Six
E.M. Munsch

Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Mystery and Horror, LLC
Date of Publication: October 18, 2022
ASIN: ‎B0BJ4GYGD2
ISBN-10: ‎1949281213
ISBN-13: ‎978-1949281217
Print length: ‎217 pages

Book Description: 

Life is good for Dash Hammond. He's recently remarried his childhood sweetheart, Dr. Maevis Summers, and together they're raising his four-year-old son, T.J. in the Hammond family homestead in Clover Pointe, Ohio. A retired Army colonel, Dash now keeps himself busy fixing everything from a leaky faucet to an unsolved murder.

It is no wonder that his cousin Billy McCafferty calls on Dash for a road trip to Kentucky when  his oldest sister is in trouble. The president of a religious order, Sister Miriam Patrice, Miri Pat to those who knew her before she took the veil, has been hearing things, seeing things and misplacing things. A very competent woman, she refuses to accept an unearthly reason for all this.

Marianwood, the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Blessed Mother of God, is located on an old plantation thought to be haunted by its original inhabitant, Miss Victoria Harris, who is rumored to prowl the grounds and cemetery in search of her murdered beau. 

When the Ohio contingent arrives, they discover that things are not as simple as your ordinary haunting. 

In a battle of wits, will the victor be supernatural or a very corporal retired Army colonel?


Excerpt:

A HAUNTING AT MARIANWOOD

Sister Miriam Patrice slid back from the kneeler. The quiet of the church soothed her as it wrapped its velvet cloak of serenity around her. She sat, hands folded, once in prayer but now to stop the trembling. Glancing at the sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows casting a rainbow on the empty pews, she drew in deep slow breaths. She looked at the watch pinned to her tunic. Time to get back to work. She rose to leave the church, her place of refuge, a place free from the distractions of the running the community and the new retirement home the sisters established to help make ends meet.

The members of the Sisters of the Blessed Mother of God found their numbers dwindling. New recruits, as Sister Miriam Patrice called them mimicking her cousin Dash Hammond’s military jargon, were very rare. The teaching congregation once had more than a hundred sisters. Vocations, callings to either the religious or the educational side of the community, had fallen to less than a handful each year.

As she walked down the aisle to the back of the church, she heard it again. Tap, tap, tap. She stopped to listen, making sure she wasn’t mistaken. That sound sent shivers down her spine. Squaring her shoulders she walked to the doors next to the church exit. One led up to the choir loft, the other down to the cellar. In days past she had gone up the stairs; today she would go down.

Pulling the doorknob, Miriam Patrice met the resistance of a locked door. She pulled out her keys and unlocked it. She struggled with the door, suggesting to her that no one had gone to the cellar in a while.

The stone steps were worn but sturdy. She moved cautiously into the darkness, one hand on the wall to steady her nervous knees, the other searching for the handrail. Her hope was that the security guard forgot to close the door one day and some critter, not two legged, was trapped down here and making the tap, tap, tap sound. Logically she knew this was wrong, but the alternative could be worse.

Decades ago they discovered one of the newer buildings constructed during a period of rapid expansion had been built on an underground spring. It wasn’t long before the building tilted, as did their finances. What a waste of time and money. Fearful that what she would find was a tell-tale pooling or bubbling of water, she moved forward slowly. She said a silent prayer that she would not stumble into a puddle, a precursor of the inevitable unwelcome news.

Her trek seemed unnecessarily slow though reason told Miriam Patrice she should alert one of her sisters where she was just in case she lost her footing. But her reasoning had not been the sharpest of late. She blamed her sleepless nights, not because of an uneasy conscience but an overabundance of concern for her congregation and its uncertain future, both financially and individually.

After spending a half an hour poking into the corners, searching for the origin of the sound, Miriam Patrice gave up. She needed a flashlight if she wanted to do a proper search. Next time she would be prepared. Next time, she told herself, she would be less skittish, more confident that she could deal with whatever sprung up from the tap, tap, tap. After deciding this, she nodded to herself. At least she didn’t hear a drip, drip, drip.

The sound had stopped so she returned to the church. As she locked the door behind her, the tap, tap, tap began again, louder this time. If she permitted herself, she would have said damn.


About the Author:

Elaine Munsch is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, but has spent her adult life in Louisville, Kentucky.  She graduated from Nazareth College of Kentucky located outside of Bardstown and attended The Ohio State University for her graduate work. She has been a bookseller for fifty years working in both large and small, chain and independent bookstores. She opened the first Barnes & Noble in Kentucky where she set up a mystery reading group which is still active today. She also taught classes in the mystery genre for the Veritas Society and joined the local chapter of Sisters in Crime.
  
With Susan Bell, she co-edited MYSTERY WITH A SPLASH OF BOURBON, an anthology of bourbon related stories.

As E.M. Munsch, she writes the Dash Hammond series set on the shores of Lake Erie. The latest title, A HAUNTING AT MARIANWOOD, is set to be released at the end of October.






Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Bewitching Book Tours Holiday Sale



 Bewitching Book Tours Holiday Sale

20% Off Any Virtual Book Tour Package

Reserve a Tour Now for Any Time in 2023

This offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, sales, or special offers.

This sale ends on December 1

Sign up here: http://goo.gl/dNgqXv

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#HolidaySale #VirtualBookTour #HolidayBookSale #BookPromotion #BookMarketing 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Release Day Blitz A Raven Remix Paranormal Penny Box Set by Sarah Hualde


A Raven Remix
Paranormal Penny Box Set 
Books 1, 1.5 and 2 
Sarah Hualde

Genre: YA Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Date of Publication: 11/15/22
ISBN:  9781736756645
ASIN:   B0BKFLD85D
Number of pages: 550
Word Count: approx 80,000
Cover Artist:  OlivaProDesign

Book Description:  

Most people run from death,
But not Penny.
She chases it down.

Penny's premonitions put her friends in peril. Join her as she stalks the bird of death by following the musical clues he leaves behind.

Will she and her cheeky cat, Spades save the day?
Or will the Raven be one step ahead?

This Paranormal Penny Boxset features books 1, 1.5, and 2 in the Paranormal Penny Mystery Series.

Join Penny and Spades as they thwart murderers before they strike.


Amazon     Kobo     Apple     BN

Excerpt:

It wasn’t life that flashed before my eyes as Betty Fae thwacked me between the shoulder blades. It was death and disaster—replays of all the faces of shock and sadness worn by acquaintances of my past. Death of one sort or the other followed that stupid Raven.

I remembered them all. Vividly. The writer, the homeschool mom, the surfer, the politician. They were among the near-strangers I’d encountered and endangered.

Following their faces came the really painful pictures. The friendly child advocate, the sweet boy next door, and losing my aunt and uncle. After them, but always above them, followed the loss of my sister and father.

All because of the same intolerable bird. Gracious enough to give me a glimpse of their perils before nudging them to the brink. Impending doom sat, staring at me, from the cup of the only friend I had in town- Janice Rockland. It lingered there amid the froth bubbles, telling me Janice Rockland had twenty-four hours, at most, left to live.

My eyes watered. My throat closed all the tighter. Even after it dislodged my Belgian waffle. Air battled past my suffocating emotions. I gulped it down, despising myself and fearing for my boss.

Janice and Betty Fae offered me a glass of water and napkins, thinking they’d saved the day. Little did they know. Trouble had just landed in their small town.

Janice watched me through the rest of the meal. If I told her she was about to die, would she be able to eat? I sipped my coffee and avoided conversation.

Long ago, I’d explained my weird glimpses to one of the Raven’s victims. Instead of believing me, my friend grew increasingly sarcastic about my confession. He mocked me. I didn’t blame him. I’m not sure I would’ve believed me, either. In the end, his sarcasm killed him.
Laughing and gesturing like a mad bird to make fun of my premonitions, he’d lost control of his bicycle and collided with a garbage truck just as it was lowering its load.

No, I wasn’t about to tell Janice about her Raven. I’d keep watch. Stay sharp. Once the bird made an appearance, he wouldn’t leave until his prey was dead. Accidentally or with malice aforethought.

The next song, movie quote, television commercial, or anything ominous could clue me in on how to save her. At least I could give it a shot. If I didn’t keep a constant eye on Janice, her death would be on my head.


About the Author:

Sarah lives in California, in a home that brings her happiness and hay fever. She loves God, loves her family, and loves freshly brewed coffee. She has a husband who cooks, a son who stop animates, a daughter who loves animals, a dog that follows her everywhere, and a turtle who scowls at her condescendingly.

Her mother raised her on Mary Higgins Clark, Diane Mott Davidson, and Remington Steele. Her grandmother shared True Crime stories with her as they plotted how to get away with the perfect murder. It's no surprise that Sarah became an award-winning spinner of suspenseful tales brimming with quirky characters. Mysteries are in her blood. Not that she could survive one of her own stories. She confesses, "I'd be snuffed out by chapter two."











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The Man Who Came and Went by Joe Stillman #MagicalRealism #Fantasy


From the writer of "Shrek" comes "The Man Who Came and Went," a magically realistic novel about a grill cook who can mind read orders, and a small town diner that changes lives. 

The Man Who Came and Went 
Joe Stillman

Genre: Magical Realism / Mature YA / Literary Fiction
Publisher: City Point Press
Date of Publication: 3/1/22
ISBN: 9781947951389
Number of pages: 240
Word Count: 64,000
Cover Artist:  Barbara Aronica-Buck and Susan Stillman

Tagline:  
A grill cook who mind-reads orders.  
A diner that changes lives.
Tips appreciated. 

Book Description:

Fifteen year old Belutha Mariah, our storyteller, is the oldest of three kids from three different fathers. Her life’s goal is to keep her dysfunctional mom, Maybell, from procreating yet again and then to leave the coffin-sized town of Hadley, Arizona the second she graduates high school. 

Along comes the new grill cook at Maybell’s Diner, Bill Bill, a mysterious drifter with the ability to mind-read orders. As word spreads, the curious and desperate pour into this small desert town to eat at Maybell's. Some believe Bill knows the secrets of the universe. Belutha figures he’s probably nuts. 

But his cooking starts to transform the lives of locals and visitors, and Belutha finds her angry heart opening as Bill begins to show her the porous boundary between this life and what comes after.

Amazon     BN     BaM     Bookshop     Indiebound


Excerpt

            That day, the day Bill arrived, my mom was serving up eggs and complaints.

            “Dammit, that daughter a mine,” she yelled to Dolene, across the diner. Shes like walking birth control. Does she think Im trying to have babies? Scuse me, Darlin’” Maybell gave Clovers bubble walker a little kick, sending it between tables 4 and 6 so she could get by and dump a load of dishes behind the counter.

            Dolene was homegrown, like the tumbleweed, with eyes like a golden retriever that never quite looked at you directly. She was smart enough to add up a check, but you could tell she was never getting out of Hadley. I take it you didnt get laid last night.”

            Maybell pointed to her sour puss. Does this say laidto you?”

            There was a harrumphfrom booth 5 by the window. That was Rose. Rose was an old woman by the time she was 30. Now she was in her late 60s, a widow since before I was born—in other words, forever. She liked to spend her afternoons at Maybells Diner, reading her book and keeping an eye on the goings on around her, as if she was the towns homeroom teacher.

            “Look at Saint Rose,” Maybell said, stuffing dirty plates into the plastic tub under the counter. Thinks she smells better than Mentos. I aint running a library here, Rose. Next time bring Readers Digest!

            There was another sound from Rose, something between a welland a pfffft.She never took her eyes off her book.

            The door opened with a DING from the bell that hung on it. No one noticed Bill entering. He was about average in height, but his skinny frame made him look taller. You could tell from his face that he was in his mid-20s, but those were hard years he had lived, and his body looked frail and geriatric. His clothes were old and clung to him like an extra layer of skin, with a smell that would never wash out.

The angles of his face were sharp and careworn. But his eyes, those were different. His face was hard and weathered, but his eyes were soft. They seemed brand new.

No one in the diner even looked. If they did they would have seen those eyes taking in every little detail: the people talking, forks carrying food, the string lights behind the counter, Dolene ringing up a check. But what drew Bill more than anything else was the grill. Harley, the grill cook, must have had four meals going at once, each with its own set of sounds and smells. Most of those meals involved eggs. His spatula made a metal-on-metal scrape as he turned them. Bill was riveted. He went to sit at the counter to watch.

            Down the counter, a porkish-looking man named Earle—probably one of three men in town who had never slept with my mom—raised his empty cup. Can I get a refill, Maybell?”

            Maybell stopped and faced him. Seriously, Earle? Is it so goddam much trouble for you to get up off your ass and get it yourself? Cant you see Im working here?”

            “Well…” he stammered. I just—was I—I was—”

            Maybell pointed to the coffee pot. How far away is that? Two feet?”

            “Sure, I guess…”

            “Am I your personal slave, Earle? Is that why God put me on earth?”

            “No, I dont think youre—”

            Maybell grabbed the pot and sloshed coffee in his Earles cup. There. You happy now?”

He nodded meekly.

            While she had the pot in her hand, Maybell filled the cup sitting in front of Bill. Ill be by to take your order in a minute, hon.”

            Maybell walked on. Bill just sat there and stared at the coffee. For him, there was no diner anymore, no Maybell, no clanking dishes or dumb conversation. He leaned closer to that cup like it was the only thing in the world. And there he was, smelling coffee for the first time. And it smelled like life. Like a whole world. Like this is how a planet smells if youre up in space and could take a deep breath. Bill was motionless for who knows how long. And then, when he was good and ready, he took his first sip.

            Those eyes, the ones that didnt belong on his head, they closed as if he was praying. No, more like he was hearing a prayer. The coffee was praying to be heard, and Bill heard it.

 

About the Author:

Joe Stillman co-wrote “Shrek” for Dreamworks which earned him an Academy Award® nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and the Annie and BAFTA Awards.  Other produced features are “Beavis & Butthead Do America”, “Shrek 2”, “Gulliver’s Travels”, “Planet 51” and “Joseph King Of Dreams”. 

In television, he was co-producer and writer on “King of the Hill,” for which he received two Emmy Award® nominations. He was a writer and story editor for Nickelodeon’s “The Adventures of Pete and Pete” and a writer on MTV’s “Beavis and Butthead”. More recently he worked on Nickelodeon’s “Sanjay And Craig” and “Kirby Buckets” for Disney. Other TV credits include “Albert” for Nickelodeon, “The War Next Door” for the USA Network, “Clueless”, “Doug” and “Danger And Eggs” for Amazon.

Joe is currently working on “Curious George” and “Half-Baked 2” for streaming on Peacock.










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