Tuesday 28 November 2023


Book Details:

Book Title:  Creating Your First Book by Hank Quense
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction, 120 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self Help, ​
Publisher:  Strange Worlds Publishing
Release date:  Oct 15, 2023
Content Rating:  G 
Book Description:

Are you writing your first book? Or are you thinking about writing it?
Do you have any idea what you’re getting into?
No? Let’s talk about it.
Most aspiring authors concentrate on writing the book to the exclusion of all else. However, the reality is that creating a book is a long-term, multi-phase project and writing it is only one facet of the project.
The complete project involves five separate phases:
  • Planning the book
  • Writing the book
  • Publishing the book
  • Marketing the book
  • Author business issues
Unfortunately, planning and writing a book does nothing to prepare the author for the other phases of the project. The only commonality between the phases is that they are about a single book.
Another difficulty with the creative project is that almost all information on the process only discusses one phase of it.
Until now.
Creating Your First Novel covers all five phases.
It is written by an author who has gone through the project over two dozen times. Creating Your First Novel provides a road map to get you through the process without losing your sanity.
Buy the Book:
Self-publishing is easy! (Not!) by Hank Quense
Self-publishing is not as simple or straightforward as you may expect. This is especially true if all your information came from web searches. That is because the internet has a lot of inaccurate and incorrect information on it. It also has stuff that is simply wrong.  Let's look at a few examples of what can go wrong (and right). 
I found an editor and we agreed on a price. Now he says he can’t finish editing my novel unless I give him a thousand dollars more. What’s going on?
Most likely you are being scammed. This is especially true If you asked several editors for prices and the one you chose had the lowest price. The editor low-balled the price to get the business and now he’s blackmailing you to give him more money.
On the other hand, perhaps your manuscript is a hot mess and requires a lot more work than originally estimated. If you provided a writing sample with your query letter, this shouldn’t have happened.
I just got advance review copies of my new book. Man, does it feel good to hold one in my hand!
It does, doesn’t it. It makes one feel proud of all the hard work that went into producing the book.
Amazon is charging me a $1.38 download fee on every ebook I sell. What’s this for?
Amazon (alone among all publishers and packagers) charges a download fee for ebooks. Why does it do that? Because it can. It’s just another tactic to squeeze a bit more money out of the authors. If you have a graphics-heavy ebook, the download charges can actually exceed the price of the ebook. In other words, you lose money on every sale unless you raise the ebook price.
My book has been published. How come no one is buying it?
No one’s buying it because no one knows about it. If you want people to buy the book, you have to tell them about it. And that is called marketing.
I found this website that said it would help me publish my book, but they want me to pay over $6000. Is this a scam?
Maybe yes, maybe no. There are publishers, a lot of them, who think authors should pay through the nose to get their book published. Instead of paying the outrageous fees, query the smaller publishing companies. They are much easier to get acceptance than the major publishers are and they don’t charge.
I uploaded my manuscript to an ebook packager and it was rejected because it violated the Epub3 standard. What does this mean?
What it says is that your ebook manuscript must be formatted in accordance with the Epub3 Standard. This standard means the ebook manuscript ends up being quite different from the print book manuscript. Fortunately, there is a free guide on how to format an ebook so it agrees with the standard. You can get a copy here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52
This short compilation contains a few of issues and problems self-publishing authors can come across.
Have you faced an issue that isn’t described here? Can you tell us about it, please?

Meet the Author:

Hank Quense has self-published his books for over 12 years. His non-fiction books cover fiction writing (Creating Stories), self-publishing (How to Self-publish and Market a Book, Self-publish a Book in 10 Steps), marketing (Book Marketing Fundamentals) and author business (Business Basics for Authors).

He also lectures on these subjects in schools, libraries and on webinars.

Hank recently started https://hankquense.podia.com/ The site provides solutions to pain points (problems) for fiction writers, self-publishing authors and authors who are trying to market their books.

Connect with the Author: Website X ~ Facebook Pinterest YouTube ~ BookBub ~ Goodreads
Enter the Giveaway:
Win a digital copy of CREATING YOUR FIRST NOVEL by Hank Quense (5 winners) (ends Dec 22)
CREATING YOUR FIRST BOOK by Hank Quense Book Tour Giveaway

Monday 27 November 2023

TWIN POWER Series by Ben and Kiyanda Young


Book Details:

Book Title:  TWIN POWER by Ben and Kiyanda Young 
Category:  Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  30-38 pages
Genre:  Children's Book
Publisher:  Twizzler Bees Entertainment
Release date:   June, 2021
Content Rating:  G. This children's book is for everyone.
Book Description:

Sebastian and Simone are not just brother and sister. They are twins! They show little readers some cool things they can accomplish because of their Twin Power.

Join them in their adventures to see how Twin Power and working together make being twins super fun ... and convenient.

The stories and adventures that the twins experience will show all children how to use teamwork to accomplish tasks. Through a series of activities included at the back of each book, little readers will practice memorization, counting, and matching while having fun coloring.

Twin Power Books are products of Twizzler Bees Entertainment LLC. Sign up for our newsletter and find more fun and educational activities at www.twinpowerbooks.com and feel free to reach out with questions or comments at info@twinpowerbooks.com.
Buy the Book
Book Two in the Twin Power Series:

Book Details:

Book Title:  TWIN POWER: THE BEST SNOW DAY EVER by Ben and Kiyanda Young 
Category:  Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  30-38 pages
Genre:  Children's Book
Publisher:  Twizzler Bees Entertainment
Release date:   October, 2021
Content Rating:  G. This children's book is for everyone.

Book Description:

Sebastian and Simone are not just brother and sister. They are twins!

They show little readers some cool things they can accomplish because of their Twin Power.

Join them in their adventure, The Best Snow Day Ever as they learn to use their Twin Power to have winter fun with some neighborhood children. From a snowball battle to making a snowman, working together makes being twins super fun ... and convenient.

The Best Snow Day Ever is the second in a series of Twin Power Books starring fraternal twins named Simone and Sebastian. The twins learn how to work together and teach little readers about what it means to be a twin and a best friend.

The stories and adventures that the twins experience will show all children how to use teamwork to accomplish tasks.

Through a series of activities included at the back of each book, little readers will practice memorization, counting, and writing while having fun coloring.
Buy the Book

What We Love About Being Authors by Ben and Kiyanda Young
There are a few things we love about being authors!
Years ago, we wouldn’t have said we envisioned ourselves as future authors. Now that we’re here, becoming a part of the Indie author community has been great. Many authors support one another and promote good messages and initiatives in the community. It feels good to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
We have loved the opportunity to build a closer relationship with our cousin and editor, Tatia Gordon-Troy, and to experience the talents of our production manager, Shashika Baldwin McLean, first hand! This experience has brought us closer together. Family means the world to us which is reflected in our books. Not being on this journey alone has been truly heartwarming!
We have been blessed with many awards and great reviews. Twin Power started out as an idea from encouraging our twins to work together at home. When we started writing the first book, we could have been content knowing that we had a book, even if it was just for ourselves. Our rewards and reviews make us feel validated knowing that we’re not the only ones who think the books are great. It’s also nice to know that the love and hard work we put into creating the books were not in vain. It’s nice to know that people enjoy them!
Lastly, the children. We’ve been lucky enough to do a few virtual readings with pre-k to 1st graders. Interacting with the children, hearing their thoughts about the books, discussing the special powers they have with their loved ones and seeing the smiles on their faces during our readings have been EVERYTHING!

Meet the Authors:

Ben and Kiyanda Young are the proud parents of an amazing set of fraternal twins, Zara and Owen. As parents, they promote individuality among their children while encouraging their twins to support and rely on one another. The special bond between Zara and Owen is what inspired the Youngs to write Twin Power, the first in a series of award-winning books highlighting the unique relationship that twins share. In addition to being Zara and Owen’s parents, Ben is a gastroenterologist and Kiyanda is a surgeon, both with medical practices in Virginia.

connect with the authors: website X ~ instagram 

Enter the Giveaway:
Win a signed copy of TWIN POWER and TWIN POWER: THE BEST SNOW DAY EVER (one winner) (USA only) (ends Dec 22)

The Twin Power Series by Ben and Kiyanda Young Book Tour Giveaway

Monday 20 November 2023



Book Details:

Book Title:  The Dolphin Dentist: No Sharks Allowed by Cheryl DaVeiga 
Category:  Children's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  44 pages
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
Publisher:  Waterhole Productions LLC
Release date:   November, 2023
Content Rating:  G. This children's book is for everyone.
Book Description:

COMING SOON! A “Fin-tastic” adventure Like No Other!

Fearless Flossy, a mighty great white shark, has a secret—she’s terrified of going to the dentist.  Dr. Dribble, the big-hearted dolphin dentist, has a jaw-dropping fear of his own, and a strict “No Sharks Allowed” policy.  When Fearless Flossy makes an unannounced visit to Dr. Dribble’s office, it’s the start of an underwater adventure like no other!  This ‘fin-tastic’ story is must-read for kids and parents alike. Young readers will be immersed in a tale of courage, compassion, and conquering fear, while giggling and cheering for these unlikely friends along the way.

Dive in with a big Biff Bam Booza smile.
Buy the Book
Biff Bam Booza
add to 

My Favorite Things – Words by Cheryl DaVeiga

Rhyming and punning and words that sound silly Making up phrases that rhyme willy-nilly
Lyrical rhythm and pages that sing These are a few of my favorite things.
As a songwriter and author, playing with words is my absolute favorite thing to do. Homophones, puns, rhymes, double meanings, alliteration, rhythm, and rhyme. Those are the kind of “prose” that brings me joy.
Long after my books are completed and sent out into the world, I think of my favorite wordplay lines in each and smile. In fairness, not everyone relates to my sense of humor. Some may think it’s corny or hokey, and that’s okay. Because I know my books have brought joy to at least a few. I can’t please everyone, but, if you’re into a little silliness, these are a few of my favorite lines.
In War at the Ice Cream Store: Mustachio Pistachio vs Bully Vanilli, General Custard declares: “The Ice Cream Store will NOT stand for intolerance!” and then-- “Unless it’s lactose of course!” said Non-Dairy Strawberry.
In Rocket Red: A Little Ant with a Big Dream-- “Please!” begged Red. “If you don’t step on me, I’ll… I’ll… I’ll rock your picnic. Free entertainment.”
In The Prickly Problem: Dr. Pete the Porcupine, because everyone loves a little “p” alliteration: “Dr. Pete pulled on his puffy coat so he wouldn’t poke his patients.”
In Chocolate Space Bunnies, chocolate-covered bunnies Captain Hop, First Mate Flop, and Skipper Flip discover the Milky Way Galaxy. The premise of the story is wordplay in itself.
Words are my tools. Words have power. They can cut, offend, inspire, persuade, and so much more. I use them to hopefully entertain, promote empathy and kindness, teach, and bring joy. Words—my favorite things indeed.

Meet the Author:

Cheryl DaVeiga is an award-winning children’s book author and singer/songwriter residing in New Jersey. After a career in business, Cheryl’s passion for music caught up with her, and she began writing and recording children’s songs as her alter ego, CADi Grace. She then moved on to adult songs, including an ASCAP award-winning veteran’s anthem, the featured song for the State of Alabama Bicentennial Celebration, the theme song to the philanthropic Where Angels Play Foundation, and a NJ Arts' pick for top NJ summer songs. She’s also written songs for artists on critically acclaimed albums.

You can find her books and animated sing-along song videos on her website for kids and kid-lovers-- BiffBamBooza.com. 
Biff Bam Booza books have received numerous awards and acclaim, including Mom’s Choice Gold, Purple Dragonfly, Eric Hoffer, and Literary Titan book awards, a Readers’ Favorite 5-star rating, and a Kirkus Review Magazine feature.
Cheryl lives in Tucson, Arizona, and spends summers in her native New Jersey.  

connect with the authors:  website ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ twitter ~ bookbub ~ goodreads

Enter the Giveaway:
Win the Biff Bam Booza Collection! War at the Ice Cream Store, Rocket Red, Chocolate Space Bunnies, The Prickly Problem, and The Dolphin Dentist: 5 Books in all! (one winner) (USA only) (ends Dec 15)


Wednesday 15 November 2023

THE MARK OF THE SALAMANDER by Justin Newland + Guest Post

Book Details:

​Book Title:  The Mark of the Salamander by Justin Newland
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  246 pages
GenreHistorical Fiction and Magical Realism 
Publisher:  The Book Guild
Release date:  September 2023
Content Rating: PG-13 +M. Mild sex and cruelty. Mature themes.

Book Description:


Nelan Michaels is a young Flemish man fleeing religious persecution in the Spanish Netherlands. Settling in Mortlake outside London, he studies under Queen Elizabeth’s court astrologer, conjuring a bright future – until he’s wrongly accused of murder. Forced into the life of a fugitive, Nelan hides in London, before he is dramatically pressed into the crew of the Golden Hind. Thrust into a strange new world on board Francis Drake’s vessel, Nelan sails the seas on a voyage to discover discovery itself. Encountering mutiny, ancient tribes and hordes of treasure, Nelan must explore and master his own mystical powers – including the Mark of the Salamander, the mysterious spirit of fire.

THE MARK OF THE SALAMANDER is the first in The Island of Angels series: a two-book saga that tells the epic story and secret history of England’s coming of age during the Elizabethan era.

Guest Post by Justin Newland: My historical fiction novel, The Mark of the Salamander, has just been published. It’s the first title in a two-book series, The Island of Angels, which tells the epic story and secret history of England’s coming of age during the Elizabethan era.

This blog delves into the Elizabethan world in which the novel was set. In those times, folk were much closer than we are today to angels and the spirit world. Some would call that superstition, and perhaps it was. But others might suggest that in those days, religion was their culture. Today, it’s the reverse, because culture is our religion. In other words, they lived in a religious society. We live in a secular one.

In 1588, the Spanish Armada, set sail from Spain to invade England. It was the largest fleet of ships ever assembled to that date, yet it was repulsed by a smaller but more mobile English fleet, and in the end, not one of Spanish soldier set foot on English soil. How much of that was the work, the secret work, of the angels of the Island? Queen Elizabeth was quick to attribute their victory to divine intervention, and penned the phrase: 

‘He (i.e. God) blew, and they were scattered.’ 

In history, this was known the Protestant Wind. 
In some ways, every land is a land of angels, every land has its cohort of angels, every nation is suffused by the charismatic power of its angelic presence. The question being: how much have that people listened to or been guided by the divine intention to which their angels were custodial?

What about the Island of Angels? It’s curious that the first five letters of the ENGLAND are ENGLA, which, changing the letters around, spells ANGEL. Is there evidence of angels in Elizabethan times? Well, yes, as it happens. There was a man who lived in Mortlake, London, who spent many hours conjuring entities from the angelic realms – and you can read about his extraordinary exploits in his books. 
His name was Dr John Dee, the astrologer and adviser to Queen Elizabeth herself. He worked with scryers like Edmund Kelley to communicate with angels, one of whom was a little girl who declared her name as Madima. Scrying is the practice of gazing into a medium, a scrying or show stone, for the purposes of divination. He believed that angels offered wise counsel and could help guide the nation to fulfil its divine purpose. 

Written in the late 1570’s, one of Dee’s seminal papers was ‘Brytanici Imperii Limites’ or ‘The Limits of (British) Empire.’ This provided a vision of the future, a conduit that eventually opened out into the greatness of Britain and her Empire. Sir Francis Drake would have been conversant with this work. I suspect that it was Dee’s vision of a British Empire spread around the world that spurred the Devon sailor to match the feat of the great Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan. The rest, as they say, is history. 

There is another, earlier apocryphal incident that refers to the Island of Angels. It took place around 590 AD. Pope Benedict was passing through a slave market and encountered some fair-skinned children. When asked who they were, he was told ‘Angles,’ to which Gregory replied, ‘Non Angli, Sed Angeli!’ meaning ‘Not Angles, but Angels!’

All of this suggests that the Island of Angels is a special place. Once it was known as the Island of the Mighty. To the Romans, it was called the Cassiterites, because of the presence of the metal tin in Cornwall and elsewhere. It’s also known as the Island of Angels, for it has been said…

‘Ex Insula Angelorum. 
Out of the Island of Angels, no less.
For always was it so and always thus to be.’

Are there angels? Would you know if one came and visited you? Would you know how to conjure one? 
Over to you. 

Justin Newland
5th October 2023

The Spanish Armada
The frontispiece of Dr John Dee’s Brytanici Imperii Limites or The Limits of Empire.
Pope Gregory in the Slave Market in Rome 

Meet the Author:

JUSTIN NEWLAND’s novels represent an innovative blend of genres from historical adventure to supernatural thriller and magical realism. His stories explore the themes of war and religion, and speculate on the human’s spiritual place in the universe.

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

The historical thriller, The Old Dragon’s Head (Matador, 2018), is set in Ming Dynasty China in the shadows of the Great Wall.

The Coronation (Matador, 2019) was another historical adventure and speculates on the genesis of the most important event in the modern world – the Industrial Revolution.

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

The Mark of the Salamander (Book Guild, 2023) is the first in a two-book series, The Island of Angels. Set in the Elizabethan era, it’s an epic tale of England’s coming of age.

His work in progress is the second in the series, The Midnight of Eights, the charting of the uncanny coincidences that led to the repulse of the Spanish Armada.

Author, speaker and broadcaster, Justin appears on LitFest panels, gives talks to historical associations and libraries and enjoys giving radio interviews and making podcasts. Born three days before the end of 1953, he lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

connect with the author: 
website twitter ~ facebook instagram pinterest bookbub goodreads

Enter the Giveaway:
Win an author-signed copy of THE MARK OF THE SALAMANDER by Justin Newland (one winner) (one internationally) (ends Dec 4)


Thursday 9 November 2023

What I know About July by Kat Hausler

RELEASE DATE: Oct 31, 2023

GENRE: Mystery / Suspense / Contemporary Women

BOOK PAGE:  https://meerkatpress.com/books/what-i-know/

Synopsis: Simon Kemper is on the up and up–he’s out of rehab, and his band is gaining moderate success around Berlin. But out of the corner of his eye and over his shoulder, he’s always aware of her. The stalker. She’s at every show, no matter what city. She sends hundreds of postcards to his label. Worst of all, she acts like she knows him. Like she owns him.

When the stalker disappears at one of his shows, Simon is the prime suspect. Initially an effort to clear his name, his search for July quickly becomes a deeper psychological quest: to prove that his fears were warranted? That she couldn’t have given up her obsession that easily?

The threads of July’s disappearance turn out to be tangled into every corner of Simon’s life: a trusted band member, a tenuous new love interest, a resentful ex, and the self he’s supposedly left behind. Narcissistic, insecure, and consummately relatable, Simon is the anti-hero of his own life—trying to want to be better; hoping that’s enough. 

Buy @ Meerkat Press / BookShop.org / Amazon 

Excerpt: ONE

The stalker was literally the only one of Simon’s fans he never thought about sleeping with. No, not literally. His little sister Franzi was always getting on his case about that. You’re not literally dying. Like she’d know. But anyway. Obviously, some of his fans were ugly, some were men, some were too young—pedophile-bait rather than jailbait—and there were the girls who spent his whole show making out with their greasy boyfriends without ever looking up.

But not the stalker. She wasn’t even bad looking. Not that his standards were very high, which worried him since his therapist acted like he was some sex addict with zero ability to commit. The stalker never even glanced at her phone while he was playing. He didn’t mean to look, but there was something magnetic about the intensity of her gaze. As bad as he felt when a woman didn’t show interest, this was worse. His drummer Micha had been the first to call the short brunette with awful taste in lipstick and an endless array of band shirts “the stalker,” even though only Simon felt threatened by her.

She hung around before and after shows. Venue managers made nudge-nudge references like she was some exotic pet Simon kept, and that was probably what she wanted, having her name linked to his as often as possible. As if they even used her name. It was something ordinary like Julia, but she always acted like Simon should know who she was. And he did, some little warning light flashing when he saw her maneuvering through the crowd toward him: Watch out, stalker!

It was this maneuvering and positioning of herself that put him off, even more than her postcards piling up in the mail room of Poor Dog Records. He didn’t know her, or if he did, it was only because she’d forced her acquaintance on him. He assumed she lived in Berlin since she’d made every show in town since their first album came out. She sometimes turned up in nearby cities and had once even accosted him in Munich with a story about visiting relatives. It creeped him out to think of her traveling all that way for him. With someone else, that amount of devotion would’ve stroked his volatile ego enough for a positive response, but seeing her stupid knowing smile in the front row that night had almost cost him his rhythm. What gave her the right?

Micha laughed himself silly at the slightest hint that Simon was afraid of her, and now Tanja had gotten wind of it. She played bass, and teased Simon and anyone she could get her hands on with the mercilessness of an older sibling. Micha had pointed out that, in addition to her obvious talent, Tanja offered certain demographic benefits. Tom, their first bassist, had quit before they recorded anything after a coke-fueled fight over his girlfriend, and Simon had gone on to have a crushing relationship and even more crushing breakup with the willowy blonde who’d replaced him. Nadine had left the band when they’d been just popular enough for people to notice. Since Tanja wasn’t into men, Simon couldn’t start anything with her. She smoked like a chimney but didn’t touch drugs. She was a godsend. The other advantage was her ruthless careerism. Despite the tough, sarcastic impression she made, or perhaps because of it, she’d soon coerced and charmed the band onto a bigger label.

“I don’t plan on dying young,” she’d said. “I need something in the bank for when I’m an old hag.” She worked at a temping agency doing everything from data entry to dishes, but had only the usual Berlin savings account, a shoebox full of change.

“When you’re an old hag?” Micha had asked. They’d gotten close enough to be mean to each other almost right away.

Simon liked Tanja, which Dr. Froheifer said was a healthy development in his relationship to women. Of course, he didn’t buy into everything she said. It had taken him a few sessions to notice she had a doctorate in literature, not psychology, but that was what you got for picking your therapist based solely on proximity to your apartment. Between touring, recording and making overpriced lattes at his day job, he didn’t see her that often. He should’ve had the stalker analyze him. She got more face time.

Mostly, though, he went back and forth between worrying that what Dr. F said was true and he’d never be cured, and coming up with reasons why it couldn’t be. Like the sex thing. He didn’t actually have sex that often. In fact, he never did except after a show. That averaged out to less than with Nadine, though they’d had their ups and downs, and not just in bed. Right now, he happened to be single, which meant he had to divide a perfectly normal amount of sex among different women. He also happened to be incapable of picking up anyone outside of a concert venue.

That was another of Dr. F’s suggestions: meeting someone “the normal way.” He’d tried saying it was normal to meet potential partners at work, but she’d made it into this whole power thing. In actual fact, it was just easier. On his days offstage, he made good coffee and bad small talk if he had a shift at Café Astral, read or listened to music in Volkspark Friedrichshain if he didn’t. A beer with Micha and Tanja was a big night out for him. And when he was himself, Simon Kemper without a guitar or mic, surprise, surprise, women didn’t throw themselves at him.

Sure, he got occasional darting glances. But they always seemed to be asking how far gone he was, whether the downcast eyes and five o’clock-yesterday shadow were intriguing or signs of unemployment, addiction, a life of crime.

Now that Hare vs. Hedgehog was playing bigger venues, people sometimes came up to ask if it was really him. But instead of leading to new love interests, his minor celebrity status only created more distance. He felt slow and clumsy in the harsh light of day, and never managed to say anything clever. They probably thought he wanted to be left alone. He did and didn’t. They never even asked for autographs, just identified him and drifted away to tell their many loved ones about the slightly famous misanthrope they’d run into. The anecdote would be more interesting than the actual encounter.

It was different at a show. Beforehand, they’d sidle up with breathy compliments and talk of great parties later. He didn’t party much anymore, or at all, really, but admitting that made him feel old. The beauty of these pre-show invitations was the idea that there was some cachet in being seen with him. He loved to play the person they saw him as.

Afterward, he’d scribble signatures on tote bags, t-shirts and skin, and get photographed with countless devices and overheated fans whose heartrate tripled when he put an arm around them. It was easier when you knew you were wanted.

He specialized in the very bold and very timid. When he was exhausted, and he almost always was, he liked athletic girls with taut ponytails, fierce smiles and more self-assurance than he’d had on the best days of his life. When he had the energy, though, he chatted up the skittish ones who stammered in search of replies and gulped when he touched their arms. It felt like charity, bestowing his favor upon those too meek to demand it. But in his heart of losery hearts, he knew he had more in common with these helpless wallflowers who’d never know they were attractive, not even when they were in bed together, not even when they did nervous, breath-holding imitations of sleep as he whispered, “You’re beautiful,” as hopefully and hopelessly as if he were talking to himself.

The stalker was neither of these types. She put a steady arm around his waist when she demanded a picture, and acted like she’d known him before he was famous—if you wanted to call it that. In a way, she had, since she’d been at their first show after their first album came out, but that wasn’t the same. She only knew concert-him, which—even if he liked this persona better than his actual personality—wasn’t the real him. And what was she to him? Her face had the impersonal familiarity of a pop-art celebrity, Mao Zedong or Marilyn Monroe. He didn’t feel like he’d always known her, but like he’d always known what she was: a standard feature of his surroundings, like the sticky bars and foul, graffitied bathrooms of clubs—unpleasant, but expected.

It remained unclear whether she was trying to flirt, or so deluded she thought they were friends. Once she hung around so long a bartender told her how talented her “boyfriend” was. Simon said, “I don’t even know her,” but she laughed like it was an inside joke. Being rude to her might backfire since she posted on their website several times a day and was probably all over whatever social network could most effectively spread the word that he was an asshole. The only thing he could think to do was leave with the nearest fan. If the stalker was disappointed, she never let on.

Guest Post by Kat Hausler: How does its Berlin setting influence What I Know About July?

While What I Know About July is a mystery about indie musician Simon Kemper trying to track down his missing stalker, it’s also about Simon trying to put together a good life for himself. Like most big cities, Berlin is a place many people project their dreams onto when they move there, and Simon is no exception. At the same time, it’s commonly discussed as a city that’s unfinished and still in between states, much like Simon himself: While eager to move away from his past, he’s still in the process of deciding who he wants to be and building a new life for himself. Berlin has also traditionally been a city of people getting by one way or another, many of them creatives, without fixed addresses or employment, and sometimes without a sense of direction. Simon is still putting together the pieces, and sometimes it feels easier to find a missing person than to figure out what he wants in life. That makes Berlin something like his natural habitat: creative, messy, full of dreams, damaged and still undefined.

About the Author: Originally from Virginia, Kat Hausler is a graduate of New York University and holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she was the recipient of a Baumeister Fellowship. She is the author of Retrograde and What I Know About July, as well as many shorter pieces. Her work has appeared in Hawaii Pacific Review, 34th Parallel, Inkspill Magazine, The Sunlight Press, The Dalloway, Rozlyn Press, Porridge Magazine, LitReactor, BlazeVOX, failbetter, Rathalla Review and The Airgonaut, among others. She lives in Berlin and is also a translator.

Giveaway: Win a $25 Meerkat Press gift card!


Wednesday 8 November 2023

FELONIOUS FINALE (An Owl's Nest Mystery) by C.S. McDonald

 Join us for this review tour from Nov 6 to Dec 8, 2023!

Book Details:

Book Title:   A FELONIOUS FINALE (The Owl's Nest Mysteries) 
Author:  C.S. McDonald
Category:  Adult Fiction, 268 pages
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  McWriter Books
Release date:  April 2023
Tour dates:  Nov 6 to Dec 8
Content Rating:  G. C.S. McDonald's books are appropriate for YA readers as well as adults--no bad language or sexual content.
Book Description:

Alexa Owl has one burning question: Who killed Bobby Starr?

Out of the blue that ornery angel, Detective Bobby Starr, shows up at The Owl’s Nest Couturier Shoppe. Much to Alexa Owl’s surprise, Bobby doesn’t need her help. Rather, he’s brought along someone else who wants to qualify for Saint Peter’s Guardian Angel Squad. Saint Pete has delegated this new inductee to solve a murder to get into the group, and it’s a doozie: Who killed Detective Bobby Starr? How can Alexa turn this assignment down?

Back in the 60s, Bobby’s fifth wife, Katherine was a diva in a community operetta company. During a performance of The Merry Widow, Bobby was forced to stand-in for a member of the chorus who fell ill. Only, Bobby’s first performance would be his last! The suspects are hitting all the notes as this mystery comes to crescendo!
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This fourth novel in the C.S. McDonald's Owl's Nest Mysteries series is a little different to the previous three because Detective Bobby Starr, a great character in my opinion, plays more of a peripheral role so Alexa finds herself back in the mid-1960s investigating a murder with a new potential Guardian Angel, the rather more strait-laced Detective Slater. So, while I did miss Bobby's humour, I felt there was more emphasis on unravelling the mystery itself in Felonious Finale. The theatrical setting is a lot of fun. The various cast and crew members meant Detective Slater and Alexa had plenty of suspects from whom to choose, and most of them seemed pretty suspicious to me! Back in the present day timeline, Wynona and Louie's storyline was particularly lovely to read. I hope we will see more of these two in future books in this series.

Monday 6 November 2023

Two Rivers: De Trouble I Be See by Bob Rogers

Book Details:

​Book Title:  Two Rivers: De Trouble I Be See by Bob Rogers
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  333 pages
GenreHistorical Fiction 
Publisher:  BookLocker
Release date:  June 19, 2023
Content RatingRMy book is rated R because of foul language, rape, infanticide, and homicide.