Self-Published Saturday/Wilson Indeed

It’s Self-Published Saturday! This is the day dedicated solely to reviews and promotion of self-published authors. Self-published/Independent Authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. SPS is my effort to help those authors in the area of marketing. Today we have Wilson Indeed, the first book in the Wifi of Dreams Series by Steve Walsh. This is an extremely clever and creative novel about the merging of the real world with the world of dreams. See my review below.

BOOK DESCRIPTION & REVIEW

BOOK DESCRIPTION

In The Market Square, the fantastical setting for all his dream activities, Wilson Armitage is able to take night classes on any subject and absorb a wealth of knowledge from just a few hours of sleep.  As though logging into a wifi of dreams to download information.  As his childhood passes, both wary of and reticent to acknowledge his extraordinary ability, Wilson attempts to lead a normal life and stay beneath the radar of family and friends.At the age of seventeen however, his cover is blown by Daisy Meadowcroft.  During a chance encounter in The Market Square, they agree to meet the next day and are propelled from a dream world into the reality of a coffee shop in the centre of Manchester.  Enthralled by their shared gift, they strike up a close friendship and encourage each other to seek a rational, scientific explanation for their unique talents.

Butterfly Assassins, the second book in the trilogy, is available on Amazon.

In a recent survey, 85% of people said yes to the question: “Do you believe there are things out there that science can’t explain?”

If you’re one of those 85%, you’ll love The WiFi of Dreams series.

BOOK REVIEW

I was captivated by this imaginative novel that immediately throws you straight into the action on the first page. At first, this book seems to be going a certain direction, but suddenly you realize you are reading something extraordinary and going on an amazing adventure with the intriguing young Wilson. Going to school in his dreams, Wilson can speak several languages, restore classic vehicles, perform life-saving medical procedures, and more, and he is still a kid. 

When he meets Daisy in the dream state and they decide to meet in the real world, that’s when the fun really begins, and when danger starts to lurk ever closer. From the dream world to the real world, Wilson’s abilities soon become known to the “powers that be.” When Wilson and Daisy investigate the disappearance of Vanessa, the mother of Wilson’s best friend, they truly begin to shake things up. 

Wilson Indeed is a captivating mix of fantasy, science and mystery that will take you on a fascinating ride into the world of dreams. Through Wilson and Daisy, we can explore the possibilities of what can happen when the fantastical world we visit when we sleep crosses into real life. This is the first book in the Wifi of Dreams series. I highly recommend this to fans of Fantasy, Young Adult, Mystery, and Science Fiction, as well as those who love genre mashups.

Thank you to Zooloo’s Book Tours for a copy of this book. I also purchased one on Amazon. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.

COVER RATING

When I first reviewed this book on this blog, it had a different cover, which I thought could have been a lot more noticeable. Since then, it appears to have been updated, and I prefer this cover, which I think “pops” a lot more. My only criticism is that the author’s name should be a lot larger and more prominent so people will see it and remember it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

For twenty years Steve Walsh honed his skills in prose as an advertising copywriter; the ‘ideas’ man in a Manchester based marketing agency that carried his name.

In the late 1990’s he stumbled into the world of the dotcom entrepreneur and his claim to fame is as the creator of the hotel booking service, laterooms.com and the first car insurance comparison site, easycover.com. So, the birth of Meerkats, a Welsh opera singer, and being confused.com might be considered as down to him, for which he apologizes. 

He now uses his vivid imagination and gentle Mancunian wit to write visionary fantasy novels with bold concepts. Wilson indeed, the first book in his trilogy The WiFi of Dreams takes the reader on a richly imagined, fact meets fiction adventure story to which we can relate and feel we can touch. A whimsical interrogation of the inexplicable and fundamental tenets of our lives – the role and meaning of dreams, the nature of the hereafter, hard and soft science, a love story – what more can you want? 

BUY WILSON INDEED ON AMAZON

BEFORE YOU GO

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Self-Published Saturday: August 21, 2021

It’s Saturday, and I’ll be reviewing only Self-Published/Indie books all day. Saturday is exclusively Self-Published/Indie. Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Indie authors market their books. As I always say, Self-Published/Indie authors have to do it all, from editing to cover design to marketing. My hope is that this feature will give them a little help. Please remember that if you decide to review the book, leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else you review the book. This is so important for Self-Published authors. Today I am featuring the wonderful Alice and Trudy mystery series by Valerie Fletcher Adolph, set in post World World II Yorkshire. I actually reviewed Books 2 and 3 for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. I haven’t written a book review for Book 1 yet, but I’m including a book description. My reviews for books 2 and 3 are below. They can all be read as standalones.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Fleeing an abusive husband, Trudy finds herself helping to run a private hotel (The Avalon Hotel) for elderly guests. But only a couple of weeks after her arrival, Alastair Mackie, one of its owners, is poisoned. Suspicion falls on Trudy and on Alastair’s wife, Alice.

Together, Trudy and Alice struggle to find the identity of the killer, or even a reason for the murder. They are helped along the way by Ben, a man from the moors, and by dear Doctor Taylor himself, beloved by the elderly residents of the hotel.

Only slightly in the way are Colonel Starr, who has difficulty telling one war from another, Calvin Hunt with his shocking remarks, the name-dropping Mrs Shand and the frequent fainter (but artistic) Fay Bowen. Oh! I almost forgot Miss Harriet – she is easy to overlook.

While Alice tries to discover the secret behind the killing, Trudy must fight with a husband who is determined to force her back.

Set in a large Victorian house in Yorkshire in 1947, this novel introduces readers to a new pair of detectives – Alice, raised in a country mansion by aristocratic parents, and Trudy, daughter of a butcher from the market.

BOOK REVIEWS

In England in 1947, Princess Elizabeth prepares to marry Phillip Mountbatten. And at the Avalon Private Hotel, sweet, elderly Miss Harriet is planning to marry John Prentiss. But there are obstacles in the way. Neither John nor Miss Harriet is particularly interested in wedding planning, there are issues agreeing on a church, and to top it all off, somebody wants to kidnap Miss Harriet! Alice, Trudy, Kenneth Wilson, the local police detective, and the guests at Avalon band together to try and keep the wedding on track and protect Miss Harriet. Tidbits from Elizabeth’s wedding are dropped throughout the book. This is the second in the wonderful Alice and Trudy Mystery series by Valerie Fletcher Adolph.

This is an entertaining read which alternates between the perspectives of Alice, the owner of the Avalon, and Trudy, who helps her run the hotel. In addition to wedding plans, we are caught up in the other residents—Fay, who is using her considerable talent as an artist to sketch the local dogs; Colonel Starr, whose mind is generally geared to military matters; Mrs. Shand, who does some uppity criticizing of the wedding planning, both royal and non-royal; Calvin, the elderly flirt; and Sophie, who tries to help out in every situation. Alice’s aristocratic family makes appearances, as do Ben, a local man, his dog Yan, and others.

This is a sweet, mild cozy mystery, softer and more comfortable than most. It is a relaxing read about post-World War II England. I loved the characters, especially the elderly hotel guests. Fans of weddings, cozy mysteries, and postwar novels will enjoy this book.

In post-World War II Yorkshire, Alice and Trudy are taken aback when Jeremiah Bickerstaff, the formidable patriarch of the rich and powerful Bickerstaff family, makes the surprising decision to move into a vacant room at the Avalon hotel while recovering from a stroke. Despite begging, conniving, and groveling from his family, he will not move back home. This makes things difficult for Trudy, as Bickerstaff is the grandfather of her abusive ex-husband, Jeremy. Then another young man enters the picture. He bears a strong resemblance to the Bickerstaff grandsons. Is he a long-lost heir? When a death happens on the premises, one of the elderly tenants is quick to point the finger. Was it an accident, or something more? This is the third book in the Alice and Trudy mystery series. It can be read as a stand-alone.

The elderly Avalon gang is back in another delightful mystery adventure. Led by hotel owner Alice and manager Trudy, the aged but active residents lend a hand and plenty of opinions after Mr. Bickerstaff joins their ranks. This series is such a delight to read. I truly enjoy all of these characters, especially Colonel Starr, who thinks everyone should join the Army, and Mrs. Shand, who is always ready with a comment, whether you want to hear it or not. You will laugh at the hijinks of this hilarious crew of lively lodgers. Fans of cozy mysteries will want to rent a room at the Avalon hotel, and stay long-term.

OVERALL COMMENTS

This is a warm hug of a cozy mystery series with characters who keep you chuckling. You will want to continue coming back to the Avalon Hotel.

BUY THE ALICE AND TRUDY MYSTERIES ON AMAZON

Click on each book cover to buy the books on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited Subscribers can read the whole series for free! They are also only $2.99 each to buy the ebook version.

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Agustina De Aragón by Gail Meath–made an Editor’s Choice by Historical Novels Review Magazine.

As many of you know, I’ve been singing the praises of this fabulous historical novel for some time, and other reviewers agree! Historical Novels Review Magazine, the magazine of The Historical Novel Society, made this an Editor’s Choice book for the August 2021 edition, and gave it a fabulous review!

I’m especially happy about this because the author, Gail Meath, a wonderful person by the way, is a self-published author. As you know, I have a heart for self-published authors so I am thrilled to see this book in the magazine alongside books from top traditional publishers like William Morrow and Revell.

Here is a link to my review back in April on a Self-Published Saturday and here is a link to buy this great book on Amazon.

Congratulations, Gail. This book deserves that distinction and more!

Self-Published Saturday, July 31, 2021

This is the newest edition of Self-Published Saturday, where I highlight self-published books and their authors. As you know, self-published authors have to do their own marketing, and I hope with this feature to help spread the word about their books. This week’s feature includes two books, both by Brett Salter. They are books 3 and 4 of his Talisman Series. I reviewed Books 1 and 2 already, and I have provided links below. The Talisman Series is a young adult/middle grade fantasy adventure–with dragons! As always, if you buy the book, please remember to leave a review. This is so important for self-published authors.

Book Review: Windy City Ruins (Book 3)

In Book 3 of the Talisman series, Rome, Julian, and Mrs. Case head to New York to meet with a contact and learn more about the talismans and their mission. Circumstances land them in the “Windy City” of Chicago, and they meet new friends and face new challenges. With targets on their backs and evil drawing ever closer, they continue to search for information on how to defeat the Tyrant King and his armies. I continue to enjoy this series, as Rome and Julian learn even more about talismans and their mission, and they meet fascinating new friends along the way. Rome continues to grow and learn. While I was still frustrated with Julian’s rudeness early in the book, he begins to show some growth as well. The group meets even more players in this game and we are introduced to another type of dragon. There is a shocking surprise that will provide more challenges than ever. I continue to be fascinated by the dragons in this series and the good vs. evil battle as a whole. Brett Salter has given us a fascinating world to explore in the Talisman series.

Book Review: The Battle for Verdana (Book 4)

Rome and Julian’s search for true synergy takes them to the forests of the Pacific Northwest where they search for answers and deal with the ever-pursuing enemy. More surprises and new friends await them in the latest book in the Talisman series.

Wow! Five stars for this one as Rome and Julian continue to grow in strength and humility. There are ups and downs, and a fantastic surprise at the end that will not disappoint. As always, epic battles abound, and I really enjoyed the character growth I saw in this book. This book teaches kids important lessons in integrity, humility, and team building. A team is made up of those with different strengths and talents, and I am glad to see this lesson shown so well in these books. I am looking forward to Book 5 and the adventures that await.

LINK TO MY REVIEW OF BOOK 1: THE SEARCH FOR SYNERGY

LINK TO MY REVIEW OF BOOK 2: RIDERS OF FIRE AND ICE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brett Salter

Brett Salter’s background in writing stems mostly from the inspiration he found as a kid in Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. These include The Chronicles of Narnia, The Xanth Novels, The Time Quintet, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and everything from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss.  In his formative years, he joined several punk rock bands and wrote songs, poetry, and short stories aplenty.  As an adult he took on a dare and wrote The Talisman Series.  He has published four books in this series so far:  The Search for Synergy, Riders of Fire and Ice, Windy City Ruins, and The Battle for Verdana.

BUY THE TALISMAN SERIES

You will find links buy all four books of the Talisman Series by clicking on the photo above.. Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read them for free.

Q&A With Brett Salter

Brett Salter was kind enough to answer some questions for me, and I thank him again for taking the time out to do that. Here is the Q&A below:

What inspired you to write the Talisman Series?  I’ve told this story a bunch of times.  And it’s completely true.  My mother dared me to write a book off a premise we came up with together, and I just went with it.  Before I knew it, I had the first book done and since it ended on a cliffhanger, we were like, “What next?”.  I realized that I liked writing so much that I just kept on going.  Now, I’m sitting on 4 self-published books and 7 more waiting in the wings (get it?)

What is the main message you want readers to take away from this series?  I think the main thing I want to impart on young readers is to always take that first step into adventure.  It could be a situation in real life or cracking open a book and following along with characters.  Preaching creativity is really what I strive for with my life and my kids’ lives.  I want them to be passionate about their interests and always be creative because this world need creativity now more than ever.  

How is Book 5 coming along?  Can you share the title yet, and how many books do you have planned for this series?  I plan on releasing the 5th book of my proposed 12 by winter of this year! It needs an edit or two….or three or four. And it needs some cover art, but it should be out early 2022. Book four ends with a pretty big cliffhanger regarding our heroes and their powers.  Well, that DOES get resolved, but the 5th book opens so much more trouble for our heroes in the form Darkbrand threats. Plus, we get a ton of reveals regarding the “big bad’s” plans, more Talismans, and we maybe, possibly, definitely get to visit a new dragon den???  I have several titles in the mix, but I have not settled on one yet.  This book is going to be a little darker than the previous 4, so I need title reflective of the darker turn in the series.  I’m open to suggestions

In your bio you mention being inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings, among others.  Both series feature scenes with dragons, of course, and Eustace from the Chronicles of Narnia even turns into a dragon at one point.  Obviously Eustace was a boy who was turned into a dragon and Rome finds out he is a dragon disguised as a boy.  However, is Eustace an inspiration of sorts for Rome?  That’s an interesting question.  I think the idea of Rome transforming into a dragon may have unintentionally been inspired by Eustace Scrubb or perhaps a similar character from another work of fiction.  But I will say this.  The main difference between Euastace and Rome is that Eustace’s transformation furthers his character development by forcing him to look at his attitude and behavior and change the way he treats people for the better.  Whereas Rome’s transformation is meant to be more in keeping with his destiny.  Confirming he is a dragon DOES change him for the better, but It’s more of realizing his future than trying to make up for past indifferences.  I do see the similarities though.  

What other authors are you reading now?  I read everything E.C. Meyers puts out because most of his books are cannon side projects to my favorite show RWBY.  I’m reading “The Breadwinner” by Deborah Ellis alongside my son for a school assignment.  I just finished “Sirens of Titan” by Kurt Vonnegut.  And, I intend to start “War for the Oaks” by Emma Bull on a friend’s recommendation.

Do you have any other series planned for the future?  Abso-lutely!  I do have the humblest beginnings of a second series in the works.  I have the plot of the first book and the “Legendarium” already put to paper (or hardrive).  That series will be a work of portal fiction mixed with destiny fiction and entail more adult themes as compared to The Talisman Series.  I came up with the idea in between writing books 8 and 9, and I WILL eventually get around to writing that series.  Maybe after I put out book five of The Talisman Series this winter.

Thanks again to Brett Salter for his great responses to our questions!

Two Reminders before you go:

  1. If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books. This is very important to self-published authors.
  2. Please click on the “share” buttons below and share these books with your Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress followers. A little bit of help from all of us will help self-published authors go a long way!

Self-Published Saturday: July 24, 2021

This is the newest edition of Self-Published Saturday, where I highlight self-published books and their authors. As you know, self-published authors have to do their own marketing, and I hope with this feature to help spread the word about their books. This week’s feature is With Face Aflame by A.E. Walnofer. It is a historical novel set in England, 1610. Below is my review, an author spotlight, links to buy, and a Q&A with A.E. Walnofer. As always, if you buy the book, please remember to leave a review. This is so important for self-published authors.

BOOK REVIEW: WITH FACE AFLAME

In England, 1681, Madge works in her father’s inn and goes out of her way to escape notice. She is constantly trying to hide a flaming birthmark that starts below her eye and reaches to the bottom of her cheek. She lives and dies every day by her birthmark and the reaction of others to it. When she meets a friendly and inspiring minstrel, she learns she can sing, and then she hears her father utter words that shake her to the core. Madge decides to join the minstrel and his companion, a juggler, on their travels, and in the process learns a lot of life and herself.

With Face Aflame is a powerful coming of age historical novel. We are transported right to 1610 England, and we learn so much about what life was like then. The characters are so thoughtfully written and it is easy to see a lot of consideration and care went into their development. The issue of self-acceptance is what makes this book so important and real to readers. Madge limits herself and does not try and reach for her talent because she’s so self-conscious about a birthmark. Many of us can relate to that, as most, if not all, of us have something about ourselves that we feel does not quite measure up. The journey from town to town is also a journey of the soul, as Madge learns truths about herself and others, and event after event leads her to question her perception of herself. I would recommend this book to all, because we all can benefit from a journey of self-discovery.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A.E. Walnofer

A.E. Walnofer has been creating stories since before she could put pen to paper. Presently, she spends weekdays mobilizing the soft tissue and synovial joints of patients, and weekends typing out stories that are incessantly brewing inside her head. There are lots of these tales and she hopes to share many more of them with you in the future.

Q&A WITH A.E. WALNOFER

Tell Us A Little Bit More About Yourself:

By day, I work as a physical therapist’s assistant, helping patients move, function and feel better. On the weekends, I write as much as I can on my works-in-progress. Any other spare time is spent reading or planning the next trip my husband and I will be taking, which usually includes hiking in some lush, green location. 

What inspired you to write “With Face Aflame” and set it in 1681 England?

At my job, I see countless people who would be so thankful to have a healthy body regardless of how exactly said-body looked. That being said, I know that body positivity isn’t a concept that is unique to the 21st century. One day, I got thinking about teenaged girls through the centuries and how they would have handled their physical anomalies both emotionally and socially. Madge and her story were born out of that. My hope is that everyone can have confidence as they love, take care of and appreciate the body they are in. Winnie Harlow is a fine example of this. She is a very unusual looking model due to her vitiligo, but she is gorgeous, confident and successful.

Your book cover is so well done and eye-catching.  I’m always saying that a book cover must really pop, because readers are scrolling through millions of books on Amazon and it must stand out.  Who designed your cover and how important do you think the cover is to sales?

Thank you for saying so! Julie Hopkins of IndieCoverDesign created it and I think she did a great job, too. 

A book’s cover is absolutely vital to sales. We all judge books by their covers, and that often takes less than a second as we’re scrolling on by! 

What are you working on now?

Presently, I’m working on the sequel to my very first book, A Girl Called Foote. It focuses on Beatrice Wellington, the young red-headed scullery maid who was dismissed in disgrace from serving at the Clyde Family’s estate, Whitehall. It’s about eight years after the previous book ends and it’s time for Beatrice to come to terms with some internal demons and to fall in love!

What authors inspired you to write?

Norah Lofts is hands-down my favorite historical fiction author because her characters are so real. The situations and settings in which she put them are generally commonplace, yet she brought them to life in such intriguing ways. She wrote more than fifty books in her lifetime. My hope is to create books with believable, relatable, lovable characters just like she did, though I’m doubtful I’ll accomplish that fifty times over!

Recently, I’ve greatly enjoyed books by Amy Harmon, Allie Cresswell and Deborah Swift.

You have self-published before.  Tell us about your other works.

A Girl Called Foote is the story of a very clever maid at Whitehall, Lydia, who catches the eye of the heir, Jonathan, while she is reading the books she is supposed to be dusting. This begins a series of respectful yet secretive interactions between the two which eventually blossoms into mutual admiration and affection. It’s an amusingly tasteful romance between members of different classes.

Out of the Bower is a bit grittier. It also tells the story of a gentleman, a young street preacher named Barclay, who becomes enamored with a woman born below him, Honora. However, she has just escaped from a brothel, unbeknownst to him. (Note: the book does not contain any gratuitous or detailed scenes of sexual encounters.) The two begin to fall in love, but she is determined to liberate the friend she left behind at the brothel. Will Honora tell Barclay of her past? Will he still love her? Will her friend ever escape from captivity? Read Out of the Bower to find out! 😊

Do you have any advice for new self-published authors?

I guess the first thing I’d suggest is that would-be authors decide exactly what their goals are in publishing. If they simply want to put together a work that they can hold in their hands and say “I created this” then I’d recommend they watch a few online videos about self-publishing on Amazon and go for it. However, if their goal is to make some actual money by selling lots of books to voracious readers, I’d suggest they study the market very carefully for the genre in which they want to write, then watch a TON of online videos on how to write and sell novels successfully, then go for it.

Personally, I’m somewhere between the two types of authors mentioned above. Although I do want my works to get into the hands (or onto the Kindles) of many, many readers, I don’t want to alter the types of stories I enjoy writing just for the sake of making them ultra-marketable. That’s not me criticizing authors who do that as I know there can be a lot of money and satisfaction in doing so. However, I’m content writing compelling, vital books that might be considered a bit quirky even if the audience they resonate with is smaller.

Thanks so much Aimee (A.E.) for your great answers and for sharing your wonderful book with us!

Thanks for asking such great questions, Bonnie, and for giving With Face Aflame some appreciated attention!

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon

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BARNES AND NOBLE

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MY AMAZON REVIEW (“HELPFUL” VOTES APPRECIATED)

SELF-PUBLISHED SATURDAY ON INSTAGRAM (LIKES AND SHARES APPRECIATED)

REMINDERS

*If you read the book, remember to leave a review. Reviews are so important to self-published authors.

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Spotlight: The Robin Hood Trilogy

Below is an adventure-packed trilogy that retells the story of Robin Hood in an unusual way. Book descriptions, links to buy, and a Q&A with the two authors are below. My review of all three books will come later on a future Self-Published Saturday feature. The fantastic book descriptions and the Q&A below have me really excited to read this series!

BOOK DESCRIPTIONS

The Robin Hood Trilogy 

“A Wonderful Retelling Seamlessly Merging History and Legend”

Robin Hood’s Dawn (The Robin Hood Trilogy Book 1)

England, 1154-1194
A kingdom under assault.
A conspiracy born of anarchy.
A hero standing against tyranny.

Falsely convicted of a shocking crime, Robin Fitzooth, the Earl of Huntingdon, finds refuge in Sherwood Forest and becomes Robin Hood. Leading a band of men against the injustices of a malevolent sheriff and his henchmen, Robin begins to unravel a web of treachery threatening the English royal family. 

As shadowy forces gather to destroy the future of a nation, Robin faces deceit, betrayal, and the ravages of war as he defends his king, his country, his people, and the woman he loves from a conspiracy so diabolical, so unexpected, that the course of history hangs in the balance.

From the mists of an ancient woodland, to lavish royal courts teeming with intrigue, to the exotic shores of the Holy Land—Robin Hood leads the fight in a battle between good and evil, justice and tyranny, the future and the past.

Part one of an exciting three-part retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

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Robin Hood’s Widow (The Robin Hood Trilogy Book 2)

Robin’s duty to his king sends him on an odyssey that will unfold from the streets of Paris to the banks of the Danube. From incredible triumphs on the battlefields of the Crusade, to harrowing sea voyages, to a desperate dash across the frozen landscape of Central Europe, Robin Hood must ensure that King Richard safely returns to England.

Meanwhile, the outlaws of Sherwood Forest rise again under a new leader—and she is unwavering in her pursuit of justice against the tyranny of Sheriff de Argentan. Marian endures the heartbreak of widowhood only to find strength and purpose as she leads a small band of devoted men in her quest for vengeance while she protects Robin’s legacy.

Sir Guy of Gisborne, tormented by his conscience and enslaved by the sheriff, faces the wraith-like fury of the woman he once loved. How do you find forgiveness when you have committed an unforgivable crime? He must attempt a daunting journey of redemption, while finding inspiration from an unexpected source.

And through it all, Robin, Marian, and Guy are entangled in a web of treachery spun by the King of France and his sinister advisor, Montlhéry, as the plot to dismantle the Angevin Empire and take the throne of England from the Plantagenets boldly continues. 

Part two of an exciting three-part retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

Robin Hood’s Return (The Robin Hood Trilogy Book 3)

The Legend of Robin Hood is born when he is outlawed after returning from the Holy Land. 

Finally reunited, Robin and Marian, along with their band of men, must face both an army led by the mysterious Sheriff of Nottingham and the wrath of a ruthless Queen Eleanor. Confronting betrayal and forging new alliances, they fight against the sheriff’s tyranny, determined to uncover his secrets.

With King Richard in captivity, Queen Eleanor must collect an unprecedented king’s ransom, while an increasingly reckless Prince John pursues the throne at any cost. As opposing forces battle for control of the English throne, the King of France and his sinister advisor, Montlhéry, conspire to end the Plantagenet dynasty forever.

Dark secrets and unexpected revelations could destroy the future of England. The course of history hangs in the balance. Robin and Marian must prove their innocence while saving both King Richard andPrince John. But can they prevail in the ultimate battle between the future and the past?

A thrilling, fast-paced finale to a unique retelling of the Robin Hood Legend!

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Author Q&A with Olivia Longueville and J.C. Plummer

Olivia Longeville

J.C. Plummer

Q: How does your trilogy compare to the traditional Robin Hood ballads?

We hope all Robin Hood fans will enjoy this retelling. One of our goals was to create a story that was unique, yet respectful towards the original legends. We also wanted to merge history and legend in a compelling, believable way. 

Additionally, we felt that Marian was a character who deserved more attention. All too often she is in the background with little to do. With this in mind, we have created a Lady Marian who takes center stage in Robin Hood’s Widow and Robin Hood’s Return, defeating her opponents with brains instead of brawn.  

Q: What do you consider the heart and soul of your trilogy? Can you give us an overview that goes beyond the blurbs?

The first book, Robin Hood’s Dawn, re-imagines the origins of Robin Hood. Readers are introduced to a young man who has been shaped by two very different parents: a distant, selfish father and a compassionate mother devoted to helping the poor. The themes featured in this book include taking a stand for what is right, recognizing the intrinsic value of every human being, and how the sins of a father can affect the next generation. 

In the second book, Robin Hood’s Widow, Marian, Guy of Gisborne, and the Sheriff of Nottingham believe that Robin is dead. But Robin is alive, and he is with King Richard in the Holy Land.

Robin Hood’s Widow explores themes of grief and redemption, while featuring Marian’s adventures as leader of the outlaws. Her story is told in parallel with Robin’s quest to return home as he fulfills his obligations to King Richard. Despite the difficult subject matter, Robin Hood’s Widow is an inspirational tale of triumphing over adversity. 

The conclusion of the trilogy, Robin Hood’s Return, reunites Robin and Marian. Unfortunately, their joy is overshadowed by the prospect of a vengeful Prince John taking the throne. While Robin labors tirelessly to support King Richard and raise his ransom, the sheriff orchestrates a diabolical plot that causes Robin to be outlawed again. With Marian at his side, he must defeat the sheriff while ensuring the return of the king.

The sheriff’s secrets and the full extent of the conspiracy to end the Plantagenet dynasty are revealed in Robin Hood’s Return. Robin and Marian must prove their innocence while saving both King Richard and Prince John. In addition to the recurring theme of the sins of the father, the story explores themes of trust and forgiveness as Robin and Marian rebuild their relationship after several years apart.

Q: Do you have a target audience for the trilogy?

Readers with a passion for history will appreciate the historical details woven into the story. Fans of Sharon Kay Penman, Alison Weir, and Elizabeth Chadwick will enjoy this medieval trilogy.

How did you become interested in writing the trilogy and working together as co-authors?

Olivia:

The story of Robin Hood’s Widow is very special to me, and I wrote the original version after I experienced a devastating personal loss. Readers might be surprised to learn that Robin Hood’s Widow was written before Robin Hood’s Dawn!

I love to tell stories with multi-dimensional characters. I am multi-lingual, and I enjoy writing stories in different languages. My first published novel was an English-language alternate history featuring Anne Boleyn.

JC:

I’ve worked as a freelance editor for several authors, including Olivia. We connected over our love of history and Robin Hood. I was editing the original version of Robin Hood’s Widow when we were inspired to write a full trilogy with Robin Hood’s Widow as the centerpiece. 

Robin Hood’s Dawn became the origin story, and now Robin Hood’s Return brings the story to completion with a fast-paced, thrilling finale. 

LINKS TO BUY OR DOWNLOAD ON KINDLE UNLIMITED

More good news: Kindle Unlimited subscribers can download all three books for free! The ebooks are also priced very low if you would like to purchase them outright. They are $2.99 each on Amazon US and £2.42 and below on Amazon UK.

BOOK 1: Robin Hood’s Dawn

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

BOOK 2: Robin Hood’s Widow

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

Book 3: Robin Hood’s Return

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

Self-Published Saturday: July 3, 2021

Welcome to another edition of Self-published Saturday, where I highlight another great self-published book and author. This week’s feature is Fire Blossom, written by the talented Gail Meath. Before you check out my review below, please remember that if you decide to read the book, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and other book sites you may frequent. This is so important for self-published authors.

The second thing I’d like to ask is that after you read the review, go to the Twitter and Facebook buttons below and share it on your social media, if you have social media accounts. This will help spread the word about self-published and indie authors even further.

In Texas, 1843, Comanche princess Fire Blossom returns to her village after a secret and passionate liaison with her betrothed, Lone Wolf. She is met with a horrific scene, as almost everyone in her village has been slaughtered by a hateful and violent group of white men. While attempting to flee, she is captured and forced to leave with these men, only because of her blonde hair and blue eyes. After her torture at the hands of one of them, she is left for dead and meets Colton, whose wife was murdered by a Comanche warrior. As she grows closer to Colton, who tries to get her to remember her former life, will she overcome blocked memories and look into her past? Meanwhile, Lone Wolf is on her trail, angry and desperate to find her.

This is a compelling and action-packed romance about a woman who belongs to two different worlds during a time of great turmoil. I learned a lot about the conflict between the white settlers in Texas and the Comanche during the mid 1800s, as they continued to inflict hatred and slaughter upon each other. The upheaval, anger, and injustice of the time is well portrayed by Gail Meath. Fire Blossom is such a likable and interesting character, as she is not just a princess, but an expert horsewoman and skilled fighter with deep love and respect for the Comanche. Caught between two worlds and two men, she struggles to find her true self and her true love. Her resilience and passion are written into every page, and her journey into her past is fascinating and compelling. Fans of historical romance will love this one, and will be thrilled that a sequel is coming in Fall 2021.

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can read it for free. It can also be purchased outright for only $2.99

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Meath

Award-winning author Gail Meath writes historical romance novels that will whisk you away to another time and place in history where you will meet fascinating characters, both fictional and real, who will capture your heart and soul. Meath loves writing about little or unknown people, places and events in history, rather than relying on the typical stories and settings. 

The subgenres of her books vary from action-packed westerns, plot twisting murder mysteries and biographies of powerful women who defied the strict rules of society fighting for the freedom of their countries. Her romances may exclude steamy sexual scenes, yet the intensity between heroine and hero will satisfy your deepest fantasies. 

Outside of writing, she spends loads of time with her two grandchildren. 

BUY FIRE BLOSSOM ON AMAZON

*Just a reminder that if you decide to read the book, please leave a review.

Self-Published Saturday: June 26, 2021

Happy Saturday! My choice for Self-Published Saturday this week is a wonderful book by Grace Mattioli called The Bird That Sang in Color. It’s a gorgeously written novel about finding true meaning in life. As always, just a reminder that self-published authors have to do it all. Their job does not stop at writing the book. They are in charge of cover design, marketing, finances, budget, and everything else. Your support means so much to them, so if you do buy the book, please remember to leave a review. Reviews are crucial for self-published authors.

The Bird That Sang in Color is the saga of a family dealing with death, conflict, grief, alcoholism, and depression. Donna’s father is an alcoholic and she carries that into her married life to Frank, who has a problem with alcohol as well. Donna is devoted to her children and her brother Vince, a talented musician and artist. Donna has long encouraged Vince to get a “real” job, a house, and the other trappings of success, but Vince continues to go his own way. After Vince’s death, Donna finds a picture book in which Vince has drawn different scenes from his life. For Donna, this shows the truth about Vince’s life, and also about hers.

Though the beginning started out a little slowly for me, this is a fascinating story that asks tough questions. What is success really about? Who is really dead and who is really alive? What is real happiness? Do material things make you happy, and are they fitting substitutes for joy and passion? What makes you truly happy? Most importantly, this book asks the reader to look inside themselves to see their own life pictures, assess their lives, and decide what is important and what is not. And for that, it gets five stars.

Kindle Unlimited members can download this book for free or you can purchase the Kindle version for only 2.99.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Grace Mattioli

Grace Mattioli is the author of two novels–Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees and Discovery of an Eagle, and a book of short stories, The Brightness Index. Her forthcoming novel, The Bird that Sang in Color, will be released January 17, 2021.

Her fiction is filled with unforgettable characters, artful prose, humor, and insight about what it takes to be truly happy.  She strongly believes that if people were happier, the world would be a better place.

She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and her cats. She worked as a librarian for over twenty years and has had various other job titles, including jewelry designer, food cart owner, shopkeeper, book seller, substitute teacher, art school model, natural grocery store clerk, short order cook, food server, street vendor, barista, and a giant Twinkie! 

She has been writing creatively since she was a child and has participated in various writing workshops and classes. Her favorite book is Alice in Wonderland. Her favorite author is Flannery O’Connor. Her favorite line of literature comes from James Joyce’s novella, The Dead:  “Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.”

LINKS TO BUY THE BIRD THAT SANG IN COLOR

Amazon
Bookbub

MY AMAZON REVIEW (HELPFUL VOTES APPRECIATED)

Additional Reminder: If you read this book, make sure and leave a review.

Self-Published Saturday: June 19, 2021

Today’s Self-Published Saturday feature is The Search for Synergy, the first book in The Talisman Series by Brett Salter. As always with self-published books, be sure to leave a review if you decide to read it. Reviews are extremely important for self-published authors who have to do all of their own marketing.

#BOOK REVIEW: The Search For Synergy

Rome is a 14 year old boy who suddenly finds himself seeking out fire and danger.  When he accidentally sets the neighbor’s tree on fire in an unusual way,  he catches the eye of a schoolmate, Julian.  Julian begins watching Rome closely and soon discovers what he suspects is true.  Rome is a dragon, and Julian will be his knight counterpart, once they achieve Synergy and get their full power.  They are descendants of dragon and knight families of old.  Together, they can save the world from dark forces that are coming.  Rome soon meets Mr. Jones, who has been training Julian for this moment since he was seven years old, and they begin to try to unlock the secrets of Synergy.

The whole concept of hidden dragon and knight families with special bonds and powers from the time of King Arthur is exciting and interesting.  The beginning 30 percent or so of the book is spent on Rome learning about who and what he truly is.  Then the first epic battle between good and evil happens, and it is awesome.  I enjoyed this hidden world where dragons are real and live among us, knights are still training to save the world, and evil creatures keep trying to break through into Earth from the void.  

The friendship and bond between Rome and Julian is believable and fun.  The evil creatures we’ve seen so far, the Garms, are powerfully described.  Rome’s fantastical transformation is a joy to read and experience along with him. This start to The Talisman Series reminds me a little bit of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia.    I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series, Riders of Fire and Ice. 

Although I have seen this book described as middle grade fiction, which would be roughly ages 8 – 12, I think kids under the age of 13 should read it only with parental supervision, and I would categorize it as young adult instead of middle grade.  The battles with evil creatures could be scary for young kids, and the fact that Julian has been trained by Mr. Jones since he was seven and the two of them keep a lot of secrets from his parents set off some alarms for me. 

Even as someone who is in her 50’s, I truly enjoyed the start to this young adult series.  After all, as C.S. Lewis said, “No book is really worth reading at the age of 10 which is not equally—and often far more—worth reading at the age of 50 and beyond.”

I have rated this gem of a book four and half stars, rounded up to five on sites without a half star option.

I downloaded a copy of this book on Kindle Unlimited where subscribers can read it for free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brett Salter

Brett Salter’s background in writing stems mostly from the inspiration he found as a kid in Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. These include The Chronicles of Narnia, The Xanth Novels, The Time Quintet, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and everything from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss.  In his formative years, he joined several punk rock bands and wrote songs, poetry, and short stories aplenty.  As an adult he took on a dare and wrote The Talisman Series.  He has published four books in this series so far:  The Search for Synergy, Riders of Fire and Ice, Windy City Ruins, and The Battle for Verdana.

BUY THE ENTIRE TALISMAN SERIES ON AMAZON (Kindle Unlimited Subscribers Can Read It For Free)

THE TALISMAN SERIES WIKI FAN PAGE (SPOILERS!)

*REMINDER: AS ALWAYS, IF YOU DECIDE TO READ THE BOOK, PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW. THE AUTHORS APPRECIATE THIS SO MUCH!

Book Review: The Devil Whispered

In the near future United States, Retired Special Forces Commander Jacobi Slate is investigating a brutal murder committed by his former boss, Admiral Ben Oaksley, who has admittedly killed his beloved wife, Mary. As Slate’s investigation continues and more strange murders occur, he begins to suspect that this is tied to his past and that someone in the background is pulling the strings.

This is a thrilling cyberpunk detective noir story with well developed characters and an intriguing premise. It shows a future America even more enmeshed in technology and describes what could be the results of that. I liked the first-person detective noir approach as told through the eyes of a veteran of many wars. This is not your traditional detective noir, as there is a strong female main character, Risa, who definitely proved herself tougher than any of the others, even our protagonist. As indicative of the noir genre, the lines between right and wrong are blurred and the protagonist is well meaning but flawed. The cyberpunk element is crucial as we see technology becoming more and more enmeshed into human life. This is an action-packed novel with revelations that are eye-opening and thought provoking.

I would recommend this to any fans of the the cyberpunk and detective noir genres.

This was another great book on Kindle Unlimited, where subscribers can borrow it for free. It is also available to purchase outright for only 99 cents at the link below.

BUY THE DEVIL WHISPERED ON AMAZON

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shawn Starkweather

Shawn lives in Massachusetts with his wife and the handful of childhood stuffed animals that they’ve been unable to part ways with, even despite the awkward situation in which it occasionally puts their house guests. He wields a coveted Associates of Liberal Arts degree from Greenfield Community College in an overly enthusiastic, flailing manner, and puts it to work writing both fantasy and science fiction stories. Using subliminal codes and hidden messaging carefully placed throughout his books, he plans to captivate the minds of his readers and insidiously manipulate them into purchasing subsequent releases. 

As a novelist, musician, graphic designer, and a purveyor of fine games, Shawn is often confused about exactly who he is when he wakes up in the morning. It’s been said (by him) that perhaps he embodies all of these things so equally that a singular definition could not comprehensively impart a satisfactory description. With your support, and a sufficient demand for more novels, he secretly hopes that he’ll have no choice but to formally acknowledge the prevailing label of ‘author’ and spend the rest of his days providing a sense of wonder and adventure to everyone who helped him solidify his nebulous identity.

Shawn’s Website