Thursday, October 31, 2019

Blog Tour ~ Road to Nowhere - Eyeshine: Book #2 by Cy Wyss

Road To Nowhere by Cy Wyss Banner

 

 

Road To Nowhere

by Cy Wyss

on Tour September 1-30, 2019

 

Road To Nowhere by Cy Wyss

Synopsis:

 



PJ Taylor, the feline shapeshifter, is back! Someone is kidnapping people’s pet cats and holding them for ransom. When PJ’s beloved niece is catnapped, the trail leads PJ to Nowhere, a tiny hamlet north of her hometown of Mayhap. What intrigues will PJ find among the inhabitants of this minuscule community? You can bet it involves at least one person up to no good and flushing this person out could be…murder!


 

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Published by: Nighttime Dog Press, LLC

Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Number of Pages: 222

ASIN: B07WCHL75J

Series: Eyeshine, 2

Purchase Links: Amazon, Goodreads






Read an excerpt:

Robert Taylor entered the brownstone via the back door, closing it quietly behind himself. He was in a landing of pale green and gray with tan carpet and stairs leading upward and a sandwich board on the wall with office numbers. The woman he was looking for was in 303, two stories above him. He ascended the two flights, his heart leaden with reluctance.
He considered himself a unicorn – someone special and rare. Not only was he smart and successful (head of his own one-man FBI office in Mayhap, Indiana), the women in his family had the unusual proclivity to turn into cats when the sun set. This made them particularly effective operatives, although in fearing for their safety he often restricted their usefulness. His sister, PJ, had been his most important informant up until her recent death. He couldn’t believe she was gone.
It didn’t seem real. Didn’t cats have nine lives? He somehow expected PJ to rise from her grave and come back to him. Instead, here he was, about to attempt to convince a psychotherapist of his sanity in the face of his recent tragedies. All he wanted was to get back to work. They wouldn’t let him back without the sign-off from this woman, Ms. Julia Herzenberg. Her name conjured images of some ancient Freudian presence, maybe someone who looked like Dear Abby or Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, with copious wrinkles and a severe bun. He shivered at the idea of exposing his inner life to this person.
On the third floor, the stairwell opened into a larger space of muted pastels that smelled of rose and mint. Three doors greeted him, and he pushed through the one whose frosted glass proclaimed it 303. Inside, soft new age music played, and the floral scent was stronger. The culprit was an incense burner on a small table near the door. Thin smoke wafted from a glazed, bulbous pot in gray ombre. The walls of the suite were a soothing blue and the furniture worn leather in earthy browns. Striped pillows and throw blankets abounded, and health magazines lined the coffee table. Robert perched on the edge of a fat armchair and crossed his legs, interlacing his fingers around his knee. He waited, with the demeanor of a man about to face something dire and unwanted.
His first impression of Julia Herzenberg when she opened the inner door was that she looked nothing like an old psychiatrist or supreme court judge. Her hair flowed around her head in generous curls, spilling from her shoulders in waves of auburn silk. Her eyes were a crystalline green the likes of which he had only seen previously on actresses or fashion models. She was tall and thin, with slender, manicured fingers and long legs beneath a plaid wool skirt. She reminded him of a willow – inscrutable and eternal, with Nature’s grace and strength.
“Robert Taylor?” she asked.
It took him a moment to shut his flapping mouth and recover his aplomb.
“Yes,” he finally said, extending his hand.
She shook it firmly, her hand warm and dry. She led him into a brown hallway, and to an office at one end. The room contained the same homey furniture as the waiting area, in neutral shades of soft leather with woven and plush accompaniments.
“Have a seat,” she said.
He stared at the wide couch before him.
“Do I need to lie down?” he asked.
“Only if you want to,” she said.
She sat in an armchair across from the couch with her knees pressed together and her hands folded in her lap. She studied him, an entirely unassuming expression on her porcelain face. Awkwardly, he perched on the edge of the couch and rested his weight on his elbows on his thighs. He let his hands dangle.
She remained still and silent as he took in his surroundings. The paintings on the walls were interesting but not distracting and consisted of abstractions that reminded him of natural surroundings. The lights were incandescent, and the shades partially drawn, rendering the space as comforting as a forest nook where sunlight filtered through the branches above. Dr. Herzenberg even had a small fountain on one side table and the faint sound of running water complemented the illusion. Robert could feel his tension recede, despite his natural wariness and dark mood.
Still, she said nothing. Robert felt her watching him and found he couldn’t meet her gaze directly. Rather, his eyes roved over their environment, never settling for more than a few seconds. Behind and beside her was a narrow bookcase with glass panels and something about it bothered him. He kept returning to it, until he realized why. On the very top of the bookcase was an old-fashioned globe and a statue that looked like a very realistic black cat. It could have been PJ. He stared at the cat, and almost jumped out of his seat when the statue blinked.
“God, that’s a cat!” he said.
Dr. Herzenberg smiled. “That’s Bella.”
“Wow,” Robert said. “I thought she was a statue.”
“She likes to sit up there,” Dr. Herzenberg said. “Many of my patients don’t ever notice her.”
“I’m amazed. You bring your cat with you to the office?”
Dr. Herzenberg shrugged. “She doesn’t like to be alone.”
“You could get her a companion.”
“She doesn’t like other cats.”
Robert chuckled. “Typical difficult feline.”
“Tell me,” Dr. Herzenberg said. “Are you a cat person?”
He remembered his sister, and the fact he’d never see her again. His eyes burned, though he willed himself not to tear up.
“You could say that,” he said.
PJ had turned into a cat every night since shortly after she had hit puberty. He still remembered the first time she’d shapeshifted. He was a rookie cop at the time and looking after her since their parents had died, as her much older brother and legal guardian. They’d been playing video games on the couch when she howled and writhed in pain. He had thought she was dying and called 911.
Imagine his chagrin when they arrived and found no sign of the girl that he’d insisted needed an ambulance. Instead, a black tabby cat watched him explain that he’d had a nightmare and called emergency services by mistake. His colleagues ribbed him for weeks afterward.
Robert was so traumatized, he confined PJ to her room after sundown from that time forward, and he somehow managed to convince himself her transition hadn’t happened. It was only recently, with his own daughter, Nancy, entering puberty, that he’d finally opened up to PJ about her wonderous ability. He had been terrified that Nancy would become a shapeshifter as well. Be the status of that as it may, at least one outcome had been that he had become significantly closer to PJ, a relationship long overdue.
His memories of PJ ran through his mind, and guilt stabbed his heart. If only he hadn’t been so pigheaded, he could have showed his love for her sooner. He could have had years of closeness instead of mere months. They could even, perhaps, have–
No. He wouldn’t let himself think about that. Regret was a demon that ate you alive. It was what it was. He couldn’t change the past any more than he could draw castles in the sky.
“What are you thinking about?” Dr. Herzenberg asked.
Robert blinked several times, his reverie broken. “Nothing,” he said.
She stared at him. His gaze dropped to the coffee table between them.
“I was thinking of my sister,” he said.
“Tell me about her.”
Robert took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He crossed his arms over his chest and studied the carpet under their feet, a confetti-patterned collage of woodland hues. He found himself telling Dr. Herzenberg the truth – something he hadn’t done in decades.
“She’s not actually my sister,” he said.
“Oh?” She raised a delicate eyebrow.
“Well, she wasn’t, I mean,” he said. “My father was her mother’s cousin.”
Dr. Herzenberg appeared lost in thought for a moment. “So, your ‘sister’ was actually your second cousin?”
“Yes,” Robert said.
“Why do you call her your sister?”
“Our parents married,” Robert said. “Legally, PJ was my sister.”
“I see,” she said.
Another wave of regret washed over Robert. He clasped his hands together and hung his head so she wouldn’t see the sheen of tears in his eyes.
“I did read your employment record,” Dr. Herzenberg said. “You’ve had quite the last couple of weeks.”
Robert snorted. “Yeah. You could say that.”
“You failed the bureau’s lie detector test, separated from your wife, shot and killed a man, and your sister – your second-cousin, I mean – died. I’d say all of that qualifies you for a little paid leave.”
Then there was the business with his daughter, which he couldn’t talk about, as well as the thing concerning his infidelity, which he likewise couldn’t bring himself to talk about. His shoulders drooped.
“I don’t want paid leave,” he said. “I want to get back to work. All I do is sit around and mope. If I can work, I’ll feel better.” He looked up, into her concerned face. “What can I do to convince you I’m fit for returning to work – that, in fact, it’ll help me recover?”
She tilted her head and scrutinized him. He fidgeted under the weight of those amazing green eyes.
“You can’t run from your grief, Robert. Turning your attention elsewhere will only cause it to fester and grow into something uncontrolled.”
He sighed. “I was afraid you’d say that.”
On top of the bookcase, the cat stood and stretched elegantly, her back a deeply curved S. She sat on her haunches and used her paw to clean her snout. Robert watched, fascinated.
“Tell me more about your sister,” Dr. Herzenberg said.
Another wave of regret reminded Robert of his failures, and, with it, a twinge of fear piqued his soul. He’d already said too much.
“You were close, I take it,” the psychiatrist said.
“Yeah,” Robert said.
Dr. Herzenberg waited. Robert looked around the room again, his gaze settling on the quarter-height of window, through which a gray fall sky was visible.
“What bothers you most about her death?” she asked.
Robert’s eyes lost their focus as his attention turned inward. Guilt weighed heavy in his heart as he remembered the past two weeks and his role in the whole mess.
“I never…” He couldn’t bring himself to say it.
Dr. Herzenberg perked up. “You never what?”
He stared at the cat, who stared back unblinkingly. The odd sense of unreality overtook him again and he found himself speaking the truth once more.
“I never told her how much I loved her,” he said.
“I’m sure she knew,” Dr. Herzenberg said.
Robert shook his head. “No. She didn’t.”
“What makes you think that?”
“I pushed her away. She wanted more from me. I should have given it to her.”
Dr. Herzenberg’s brow furrowed and her eyes darkened. “What are we talking about, Robert? You’ve told me she wasn’t your blood sister. How did you see her? As your little sister? Or, as something more than that?”
Robert ground his teeth. How did they get onto this topic? He was here to get back to work, not to get himself fired for inappropriate feelings toward PJ.
“I shouldn’t have said it that way,” he said. “Of course, I meant it platonically.”
She studied him. “You know that everything you tell me is confidential.”
He frowned. “I know you have to report what I say to my superiors,” he said.
“No,” she said. “I have to report my overall opinions. Your disclosures are entirely between us alone.”
Robert stared up at Bella, whose golden gaze had never seemed to leave him. He was pretty sure the cat saw right through him, and he wondered how much of that ability Dr. Herzenberg had.
He said nothing.
***
Excerpt from Road To Nowhere by Cy Wyss. Copyright 2019 by Cy Wyss. Reproduced with permission from Cy Wyss. All rights reserved.





Author Bio:

Cy Wyss
Cy Wyss is a writer based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They have a Ph.D. in computer science and their day job involves wrangling and analyzing genetic data. Cy is the author of three full-length novels as well as a collection of short stories and the owner and chief editor of Nighttime Dog Press, LLC.
Before studying computer science, Cy obtained their undergraduate degree in mathematics and English literature as well as masters-level degrees in philosophy and artificial intelligence. They studied overseas for three years in the UK, although they never managed to develop a British accent.
Cy currently resides in Indianapolis with their spouse, daughter, and two obstreperous but lovable felines. In addition to writing, they enjoy reading, cooking, and walking 5k races to benefit charity.

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Blog Tour ~ A Pocketful of Lodestones - The Time Traveler Professor: Book Two by Elizabeth Crowens

A Pocketful Of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens

 

The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two:

A Pocketful of Lodestones

by Elizabeth Crowens

on Tour October 1-31, 2019

Synopsis:

The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A Pocketful of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens


In 1914, the war to end all wars turns the worlds of John Patrick Scott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Rebecca West and Harry Houdini upside down. Doyle goes back to ancient China in his hunt for that “red book” to help him write his Sherlock Holmes stories. Scott is hell-bent on finding out why his platoon sergeant has it out for him, and they both discover that during the time of Shakespeare every day is a witch-hunt in London. Is the ability to travel through time the ultimate escape from the horrific present, or do ghosts from the past come back to haunt those who dare to spin the Wheel of Karma?



The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A POCKETFUL OF LODESTONES, sequel to SILENT MERIDIAN, combines the surrealism of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five with the supernatural allure of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell set during WWI on the Western Front.




The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A POCKETFUL OF LODESTONES was the First Prize winner of the Chanticleer Review’s Paranormal Fiction Awards.




Book Details:

Genre: Alternate History, Mystery, Fantasy Noir

Published by: Atomic Alchemist Productions LLC

Publication Date: August 1st 2019

Number of Pages: 334

ISBN: 9781950384051

Series: The Time Traveler Professor #2

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads



Read an excerpt:

Chapter One: Kitchener’s Call to Arms

August 1914

“Have you ever killed a man before?”
I had, but close to three hundred years ago. So, I lied and just shook my head.
“Your name, son?” the recruitment officer asked.
“John Patrick Scott,” I said, with pride.
The officer handed me a card to fill out. “Write your date of birth, where you live and don’t skip any questions. When finished, bring this over to Line B.”
Born during the reign of Queen Victoria, somehow or other I managed to travel to the 23rd century, feudal Japan, and ancient China long before the Great War started. The army wanted to know all the places I had traveled, but it was doubtful that much information was required.
Since the war to end all wars commenced, recruiting centers sprang up like wildflowers. This one took over an Edinburgh public library. If unaware as to why the enthusiastic furor, one would’ve guessed the government gave away free land tracts with titles.
“Let’s see how clever you blokes are. Tell me the four duties of a soldier,” another enlistment administrator called out.
An overeager Glaswegian shouted, “Obedience, cleanliness, honesty and sobriety, sir!”
The chap next to him elbowed his side. “Takes no brains to read a bloody sign.”
Propaganda posters wallpapered the room with solicitous attempts at boosting morale. Kitchener wanted us and looked straight into our eyes. Proof of our manhood or perhaps stupidity. Queues of enthusiasm wound around the block. Impatient ones jumped the lines. We swore our allegiance to the King over a bible. As long as the war lasted, our lives were no longer our own.
Voices from men I’d never see again called out from the crowd.
“It’ll be over in six weeks.”
“Are you so sure?”
“Check out those men. All from the same cricket team. Play and die together. Medals of Valor in a blink. Local heroes with celebrations.”
“I’ll drink to that.”
A crusty old career soldier yelled out to the volunteers, “Does anyone speak Flemish?”
Suddenly the place got quiet. Then he looked at me. “Soldier, do you know anything besides the King’s English? French?”
“Fluent German,” I said. “That should be helpful.”
“Since when were you with the Bosches?”
“Fourteen years, sir. Before the war.”
“And what were you doing in enemy territory?”
“Worked as a teacher. A music professor and a concert pianist when I could get the engagements and sometimes as an amateur photographer. They weren’t our enemies then, sir.”
“Have you ever shot a rifle, son?”
“Actually, I have…”
“Find a pair of boots that fits you, lad. Hustle now. Time’s a wasting.”
The Allied and German armies were in a Race to the Sea. If the Germans got there first, then England was in danger of invasion. Basic training opened its arms to the common man, and it felt strange to be bedding alongside Leith dockworkers and farmers, many underage, versus the university colleagues from my recent past. Because of the overwhelming need for new recruits, training facilities ran out of room. The army took over church halls, local schools and warehouses in haste. Select recruits were billeted in private homes, but we weren't so fortunate.
Except for acquired muscles, I slimmed down and resembled the young man that I was in my university days except with a tad more gray hair, cut very short and shaved even closer on the sides. No more rich German pastries from former students as part of my diet. At least keeping a clean-shaven face wasn’t a challenge since I never could grow a beard. Wearing my new uniform took getting used to. Other recruits laughed, as I’d reach to straighten my tie or waistcoat out of habit despite the obvious fact that I was no longer wearing them.
While still in Scotland during basic training, I started to have a series of the most peculiar dreams. My boots had not yet been muddied with the soil of real battlefields. New recruits such as I, had difficult adjustments transitioning from civilian life. Because of my past history of lucid dreaming, trips in time travel and years of psychical experimentation I conducted both on my own and with my enthusiastic and well-studied mentor, Arthur Conan Doyle, my nightmares appeared more real than others. My concerns were that these dreams were either actual excursions into the Secret Library where the circumstances had already occurred or premonitions of developments to come.
The most notable of these episodes occurred toward the end of August in 1914. In this dream, I had joined another British platoon other than my own in Belgium on the Western Front. We were outnumbered at least three to one, and the aggressive Huns surrounded us on three sides.
Whistles blew. “Retreat!” yelled our commanding officer, a privileged Cambridge boy, barely a man and younger than I, who looked like he had never seen the likes of hardship.
We retreated to our trenches to assess what to plan next, but instead of moving toward our destination everyone froze in their tracks. Time was like a strip of film that slowed down, spooled off track, and jammed inside a projector. Then the oddest thing happened to our enemy. For no apparent reason, their bodies jerked and convulsed as if fired upon by invisible bullets over the course of an hour.
When the morning fog lifted, the other Tommies and I broke free from our preternatural standstill and charged over the top of the trenches with new combat instructions. Half of our platoon dropped their rifles in shock. Dead Huns, by the thousands, littered No man’s land long before we had even fired our first retaliatory shot!
I woke up agitated, disoriented and in a cold sweat. Even more disturbing was finding several brass shell casings under my pillow — souvenirs or proof that I had traveled off somewhere and not imagined it. I roused the sleeping guy in the next bed and couldn’t wait to share this incredible story.
“Shush!” he warned me. “You’ll wake the others.”
Meanwhile, he rummaged inside his belongings and pulled out a rumpled and grease-stained newspaper clipping that looked and smelled like it had originally been used to wrap up fish and chips.
He handed it to me with excitement. “My folks sent this me from back home.”
The headlines: “Angels sited at the Battle of Mons”
Almost as notable was the article’s byline written by my best friend from the University of Edinburgh, Wendell Mackenzie, whom I had lost track of since the war started.
He begged me to read on.
“Hundreds of witnesses claimed similarities in their experiences. There were rumors aplenty about ghostly bowmen from the Battle of Agincourt where the Brits fought against the French back in 1415. Inexplicable apparitions appeared out of nowhere and vanquished German enemy troops at the recent Battle of Mons.”
“This looks like a scene from out of a storybook.” I pointed to an artist’s rendition and continued.
“Word spread that arrow wounds were discovered on corpses of the enemy nearby, and it wasn't a hoax. Others reported seeing a Madonna in the trenches or visions of St. Michael, another saint symbolizing victory.”
“Now, I don’t feel so singled out,” I said and handed the newspaper articles back to my comrade.
For weeks, I feared talking to anyone else about it and insisted my mate keep silent. Even in wartime, I swore that I’d stay in touch with my closest acquaintances, Wendell Mackenzie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was easier to keep abreast of Arthur's exploits, because of his public celebrity. On the other hand, Wendell, being a journalist, could be anywhere in the world on assignment.
* * *
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie,
I regret having missed Wendell when he never made it over to visit Scotland, and you wonder if someone up above watches over us when we make decisions where to go and when. In my case it was when I decided to take a summer vacation and travel to Edinburgh before the war. Those without passports or proper documentation endured countless detours and delays getting back to their respective homelands. One of Mrs. Campbell’s lodgers had been detained in France.
With nothing to return to back in Germany, I joined the Royal Scots. Military training commenced in Edinburgh, and at least they had us wearing uniforms of pants tucked into gaiters as opposed to the Highland troops who wore kilts. Although I was born and bred in Scotland, as a Lowlander that’s one outfit you’d have to force me into with much duress.
Our tasks would be in the Scots Territorial units deployed on our coastline in case of an enemy invasion. Potential threats could come from spies or submarines, but most say that the worst enemy has been the frigid wind blowing off the North Sea.
As there is always talk about combining forces and transfers, my aunt can always forward letters. It would mean more than the world to hear from Wendell saying that not only is he all right, but also in good spirits.
Yours most devoted,
Private John Patrick Scott
* * *
Dear Arthur,
In our last correspondence, I conveyed that I was unable to return to my teaching post in Stuttgart. With your tour in the Boer War as my inspiration, I joined the military. We learned the basics: how to follow commands, first aid, march discipline and training in all matters of physical fitness. My feet have been in a constant state of rebellion, since my previous profession as a pianist was a sedentary occupation.
Deployment was supposed to be along the coast of Scotland, but the army reassigned me despite first promises because of too many staggering losses on the Western Front. I requested to be part of the air corps and a pioneer in new battle technology, but my recruiting officers had other plans. Our regiment left for Ypres in Belgium. None of the Tommies could pronounce the name of this place, so everyone called it Wipers. You’re no stranger to war, but everyone has been surprised that it lasted longer than anticipated.
Yours Most Devoted,
Private John Patrick Scott
* * *
Troops from all over under the wing of the British Expeditionary Forces piled on to ships to sail out to the continent. The locals from Edinburgh didn’t expect to leave bonnie ole Scotland. They told us we’d defend our shores from foreign invasions. I’d crossed the North Sea before, but then it was a sea of hope and a new life full of opportunity when I got my scholarship to continue my musical studies in Germany, now the enemy.
I turned to the nearest stranger, hoping that a random conversation would break the monotonous and never-ending wait until we set anchor in Belgium. “How was your basic training?”
“Three months at an abandoned amusement park,” the soldier replied. “We trained for the longest time in our street clothes and were told they ran out of uniforms. Probably sent recycled ones after the first troops died. Used wooden dummy rifles until the real ones arrived. What about you?”

“We used an abandoned dance hall. Never could get used to waking at 5:30 a.m.”
“Word got around that in Aldershot soldiers had luxury facilities with a billiards room, a library, private baths and a buffet. I suspect that was for the regulars, the old-timers, not new recruits like us.”
“I should’ve enlisted elsewhere,” I grumbled, not that it would’ve made much of a difference if we’d all die in the end.
He pointed to my face and examined my flawless hands. “You don’t look like much of an outdoorsman. Pale, hairless complexion. No scars.”
“I’m a concert pianist.”
“Not much use on the Front.”
“Probably not. Excuse me, I need some air.” I bundled up in my great coat, wrapping my muffler a wee bit tighter.
Wasn’t sure which were worse — the soldiers with their asphyxiating cigarettes or numbing sleet turning into ice pellets. Hadn’t gotten my sea legs, yet. Stormy swells churned my stomach. Sweet Scotland. Lush green grass and the sky the color of blue moonstone. Never thought I’d be so sentimental. Continued staring until brilliant hues of the shoreline merged into dismal grays of a foggy horizon. In the transition from civilian to soldier, I stepped through a door of no return unless I desired to come back home in a coffin.

Chapter Two: The Other Lost World

Ypres, Belgium Late fall, 1914

A sea of strange men, but all comrades-in-arms, all recent transplants marched to their assignments and followed orders without question to who-knows-where on the way to the battlefield sites. We sallied forth, anonymous troops with a distorted sense of time and distance through the streets of has-been cities, once thriving communities. Poetry in ruination.
As we marched through the Grote Markt (Grand Market) heading out toward the Menenpoort (or Menen Gate) I didn’t expect to get an education. The soldier to my left kept talking out loud and compared notes of local tourist attractions. He was probably unaware that anyone else had overheard his comments.
“That long, distinctive building with the church hiding behind it must be the Hallen… or their Cloth Hall. There were impressive paintings on the interior walls of the Pauwels Room depicting the history of this town and its prosperous textile trade.”
“How do you know this?” I asked, trying not to attract too much attention.
“I’m a historian. Used to teach at a priory school in Morpeth.”
Perhaps I was na├»ve, but I asked, “Why would the armed forces recruit someone with a background in history?”
“That didn’t influence my enlistment although I’m sure it’ll come in handy somewhere. Before the war, I traveled all over Europe when time permitted. I brought original postcards with me as to what this town used to look like. It’s frightening to see the difference.”
“Your name?” I asked.
“Private Watson. What about you?”
“Not John Watson, by any chance?”
“No, Roger Watson, why?”
I shook my head thinking about Arthur and bit my lip to hide a slight smile. “Oh nothing… My name is Private Scott, John Patrick Scott.”
“What brings you to this dismal corner of the earth?”
“Ich war ein Musiklehrer. Pardon me, sometimes I break into German. I’m from Edinburgh but was living in Germany as a music teacher. Can’t be doing that sort of thing now.”
“I suppose not.”
“Roger, sorry to have eavesdropped, but it sounded so interesting. Then you are familiar with the area we just marched through?”
“That was the central merchant and trading hub of Ypres and has been since the mid-fifteenth century. On the north side over there is St. Martin’s Cathedral. You can already see the damage from German attacks.”
There was no escaping the needless destruction by aggressive enemy bombing. We continued marching forward in formation. A little way beyond the city gate, we passed by the remains of a park and children’s playground. The soldiers took a rest break and snacked on portable rations.
Many of them took off their boots and massaged their feet. Not too far away, I found a shattered brick in the rubble of what had been a schoolhouse and brought it back to where everyone was having his makeshift picnic.
Watson noticed that I kept twirling the small fragment in my hand while intermittently closing my eyes. “Scott, what are you doing?”
“Pictures form in my mind similar to movies. It’s the art of psychometry,” I replied.
“Psycho — what?” Another soldier overheard us talking.
“Sounds like something from Sigmund Freud,” one called out.
“Not at all, it’s like a psychical gift or talent. It has nothing to do with psychoanalysis.”
“What’s the point?” the first one asked.
I felt under pressure to put my thoughts into words. “I can understand what building this brick was part of when it was intact and what was here before it was destroyed.”
“That’s incredible!” Watson exclaimed. “If you are able to uncover bygone times by psychical means, I am all ears.”
When everyone else discounted my talent, Watson gave it full praise. Others became impatient and weren’t interested in our sidebar history lesson.
“Can you use those skills beyond inanimate objects?” one soldier asked.
“Find me an object, someone’s former possession,” I said.
Another soldier found a broken pocket watch not far from a trampled garden. He tossed it over, and I caught it with both hands. When I closed my eyes, the images materialized in my mind’s eye.
“A loving grandfather was reading to his grandchildren from an illustrated story book. He was balding. Wore spectacles. Had a trimmed white beard.
“‘Time for bed,’ he said, looking at his watch. Tick tock, tick tock. It was a gift from his father.
“He kissed each grandchild on the forehead as they scampered off. Two girls, one boy, all in their nightgowns. The tallest girl was a redhead with… pink ribbons in her long, curly hair. Then the bombs dropped. Fire. The roof collapsed. All was lost. Then… then… Oh my God!”
“Scotty, what’s wrong?” Watson asked.
I looked at the blank faces around me. “You don’t see him?”
Watson was baffled. “See who?”
“That grandfather,” I said, horrified and clutching onto that timepiece. His ghost was standing right in front of me!
Then I realized that no one else was capable of seeing him. Inside, I panicked until my frozen fingers let go of the watch, and it tumbled into the dirt. That’s when his phantasmal form vanished, but there were still indelible memories impressed upon the ether that refused to fade with the passage of time.
Warning bells tolled from a nearby church. “Quick, run for cover!” our commanding officer shouted.
Double-time over to shelter. Incoming bombs whistled and boomed in the distance. Civilians followed, carrying their most precious possessions, also fleeing for their lives.
The sanctuary already suffered from shell damage that left large gaping holes in its roof. Birds nested above the pulpit. Cherished religious statuary had been knocked over and broken. Several nuns rushed up and motioned the way for us to take refuge in the basement. We joined the crowd of scared families, members of the local community.
“Isn’t Britain giving them haven?” I asked Watson. “I thought most of the civilians evacuated by now.”
“There are still the ones who want to hold out,” he explained. “Wouldn’t you if your entire life and livelihood were here for multiple generations? That’s why they’re counting on us, but the Germans are relentless. Ypres is right on the path of strategic routes to take over France.”
When several farmers brought over their pigs and chickens, our retreat began to resemble a biblical nativity scene. From inside the cellar, we could hear the rumble of the outside walls collapsing.
“We’ll be trapped!” People yelled out in panic.
A group of sisters prayed in the corner. Our trench diggers readied themselves to shovel us out if it came to that. One terror-stricken woman handed me a screaming baby.
“I found him abandoned.” At least that’s what I thought she said in Flemish, but none of us could understand her. Confused and without thinking, I almost spoke in Japanese, but that would’ve been for the wrong place and an entirely different century during a different lifetime.
“What will I do with him?” I said to her in German, but she didn’t comprehend me either. I couldn’t just place him down in a corner. We’d be marching out in a matter of minutes.
I approached a man with his wife and three other children. First I tried English, then German, random words of French, and then I tried Greek and Latin from my school days. Finally I resorted to awkward gestures to see if he’d take the child. But he shook his head, gathered his brood and backed off.
Troops cleared a path out of the cellar. We needed to report to our stations before nightfall.
“Sister, please?” I begged one nun, interrupting her rosary. To my relief, she took the infant.
“Oh Mon Dieu!” I cried out in the little French that I knew. “Danke, thank you, merci boucoup.” Then I ran off to join the others.
Watson slapped me on the back. “Looked like you were going to be a father, mate.”
“Not yet. Got a war to fight,” I replied.
***
Excerpt from The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A Pocketful of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens. Copyright © 2019 by Elizabeth Crowens. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Crowens. All rights reserved.





Author Bio:

Elizabeth Crowens
Crowens has worked in the film and television for over twenty years and as a journalist and a photographer. She’s a regular contributor of author interviews to an award-winning online speculative fiction magazine, Black Gate. Short stories of hers have been published in the Bram Stoker Awards nominated anthology, A New York State of Fright and Hell’s Heart. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, The Horror Writers Association, the Authors Guild, Broad Universe, Sisters in Crime and a member of several Sherlockian societies. She is also writing a Hollywood suspense series.

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elizabethcrowens.com, Goodreads, Bookbub, Twitter, & Facebook!






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Giveaway!!!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Elizabeth Crowens. There will be 8 winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card. Seven (7) winners will each receive A Pocketful Of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens (eBook). The giveaway begins on October 1, 2019 and runs through November 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.
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~ Halloween Book Blast ~

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WELCOME TO THE HALLOWEEN BOOK BLAST! 

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Book Blitz & Giveaway ~ Halloween Academy by Angela Kulig & Angela Sanders


Halloween Academy 
by Angela Kulig & Angela Sanders 
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy


Holidays don’t just happen, but the ghouls and girls of Halloween Academy make it look easy.

Witches, warlocks, vampires, and mummies mingle with strange new monsters as they prepare one fantastic night for us foolish morties in the human world.

Secrets and Sorcery pit a good witch, Harper against a brooding vampire, Cordelia early on, but only one can be crowned the Queen of Halloween, and only one of them even want to be. Bodies, boyfriends, and black cats trip the girls up, as they cast spells, carve pumpkins, and complete the classes that mean they’re truly ready for the magic of All Hallows Eve. 


**Only .99 cents!!** 


Mystic Manor 
A Halloween Academy Prequel 

**Get it FREE!! **




Angela Kulig is an American gypsy, and former pirate. She has been from sea to shining sea--and though she is currently trapped in the desert against her will, she escapes everyday in the form of many books. 







Angela Sanders is an International Bestselling author of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. She's a multi-genre author who also writes psychological thrillers and murder mysteries, her debut novel being, NEVER AGAIN. As a retired Navy Chief, wife, and mother, Angela lives in Kentucky where she enjoys writing, editing, reading, or all three. 

Her son is the key to her heart; he has the writing bug, wanting to be like his mommy when he grows up. She began her writing journey, first in the political world, and then left it all behind to explore the more fantastical world of fiction. With the help and support of several authors pushing her along, she published her first book in June 2017 and has been writing since--twelve books later, and many more to come. 





$25 Amazon , Candy Bar Bundle – 1 winner each





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Book Tour & Giveaway ~ Elemental Magic Series by Brynna Curry


Earth
Enchanted
Elemental
Magic Book 1
by
Brynna Curry
Genre:
Paranormal Romance


Print
Length: 189 pages





Publication
Date: January 6, 2019

A
telepath, an ex-cop, stolen diamonds and a killer on the loose make
for a deadly combination...

When
his wife is murdered, Detective Jackson Roarke gave up his badge in
grief. Two years later, her killer still roams free. When a chance
meeting with another writer turns into something more, Jack is thrown
back into the case. To save the life of his new love, Liv Corrigan,
he must embrace the life he left behind and find his wife's
murderer.
Descended
from fairies and mages, writer Liv Corrigan has unique mental gifts,
particularly the ability to
read
the thoughts

of those closest to her. When she Jack Roarke, afraid of another
failed romance, she decides to keep her talents hidden. When a killer
resurfaces and secrets come to light, she is targeted. Injured, Jack
retreats with Liv to his house under armed guard. But with Liv’s
mysteries rapidly coming unraveled, a diamond-thief and killer to
stop and passion in the air, the safe house is anything but safe for
their hearts!









To
Take Up the Sword
Elemental
Magic Book 2


Print
Length: 81 pages



Publication
Date: January 6, 2019

Missing
diamonds and a killer on the loose…will a schoolteacher and FBI
agent escape with their lives and hearts intact?


Lack
of evidence means the acquittal of Niccolo Gueraldi’s favored
killer for hire, Ashton Smythe. Having failed in his mission to
avenge his partner, Serena Roarke, Agent Gabriel Spiller returns to
Alabama to search in secret for the missing diamonds needed to reopen
the investigation and to lay low from the death threats he’s
received since Smythe went free.

Almost
two years after her sister’s death, Leannan O’Neal feels Serena's
loss now more than ever. A secret meeting before Serena died left Lea
with an ugly figurine and nothing but questions. And then the hang-up
calls, death threats, and finally coming home to a trashed house
remind her of Serena's warning.

With
a killer out for revenge and hot on her heels, Lea goes on the run in
search of Serena’s ‘angel’, but how long can Gabe keep her
alive? And at what cost?









Wait
for the Wind
Elemental
Magic Book 3


Print
Length: 101 pages



Publication
Date: May 25, 2019

Free
to return to Ireland, Ryan Corrigan must face the demons of his past
to reclaim his lost magic and embrace the second chance waiting for
him…


Kate
O’Connell grew up loved by the Corrigan family but secretly
suffered the inescapable reality of her own abusive father. At a
young age she gave her heart and innocence to Ryan. For once
happiness seemed within her reach, until in one horror-filled night,
the monster she called ‘Daddy’ changed everything. Years later,
Kate returns home to open her clinic and raise her daughter, Allaina,
closer to Ryan’s family.

After
his father’s death, Ryan lost touch with his magic and his music,
choosing to focus on filling his father’s shoes. He found love and
hope for future with Kate. Then that future was stolen away, forcing
Kate and Ryan apart. Although he is glad to be back on Irish soil,
the reason he left still haunts him.

To
forgive a terrible wrong takes courage and strength. But it is just
as hard to be forgiven. Can love truly heal even the deepest
scars?

This
book was previously released but has been extensively
revised.

Trigger
warning: This book contains content, although vague, which may (and
should) disturb some readers. It has been revised to allow the reader
to skip this content and enjoy the remainder of the story.









Sea's
Sorceress
Elemental
Magic Book 4


Print
Length: 111 pages



Publication
Date: July 16, 2019


Skye
Corrigan treasures family above all else. Born with the ability to
read emotions, he feels the joy, pain and sorrow of others. When his
best friend, Rhiannon, must face the heartache of losing her father
to cancer, Skye steps in to help her run her family's pub and finds
his match where he least expected...


Rhiannon
O'Malley shares a strong childhood bond with Skye and hopes for a
future with him. Her father's terminal illness has left her in charge
of the family pub. Skye has always been there for her, but when their
relationship changes, will she find the courage to claim the future?
Or will a thousand-year-old curse keep its grip on two hostage
hearts?







Fire's
Ice
Elemental
Magic Book 5


Print
Length: 88 pages



Publication
Date: August 16, 2019

Since
banished from his lands in Scotland, Devin McLoch has watched over
the descendants of his clan. Finally free of his cousin’s spell, he
returns to the highlands, only to find ruins of the past. When Raine
Roarke’s powers emerge, the imprisoned Arianne may be the child’s
only hope for survival, but is he willing to risk everything to save
her? Always.


Ultimate
power, or endless love? Born the son of a Scottish laird a thousand
years ago, but now trapped by his cousin's spell, Devin McLoch has
seen countless battles and death. The erstwhile thief has turned away
from darker pursuits to lead a life of peace, protecting those he
loves and considers part of his clan. However, there is one woman he
can never forget, who must be given a chance to change, to accept her
heart and his.

Arianne
Farrell is just as dangerous and intoxicating as her power.
Imprisoned in an ancient stone dance more than a thousand years ago,
her only chance at freedom from the spell is through love--a love she
denied. When Devin asks for her aid to save another from imminent
death, she realizes there is more at stake than just her freedom or
her heart.









Brynna Curry was born
south of the Mason-Dixon Line in a small Alabama town. Growing up,
books fueled her dreams and imagination, ultimately became her
sanctuary during the hardest times in her life. After living all over
the southern states, she finally landed back in north Alabama where
she met her husband, Jackie. She spent a wonderful twenty-two years
with her hero, raising their three children.
Now widowed, she spends
her free time writing and tending her ‘army’ of feral cats and
rescued strays. Her furry minions, Jace, Styxx, Beerus, and Asheron,
are always willing to keep her company while she works. She insists
love is the truest magic and with it, every day is an adventure.






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HERE
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Book Tour & Giveaway ~ Immortal Redemption - Immortal Protectors by Alana Delacroix


Immortal
Redemption
Immortal
Protectors Book 1
by
Alana Delacroix
Genre:
Paranormal Romance

Print
Length: 355 pages
Publisher:
Self-Published
Publication
Date: October 15, 2019

Cal
Olin is a grudging member of the Immorti. A resurrected Aztec
warrior, he knows he has much to atone for but doesn’t believe
waiting for an enemy who hasn’t appeared in hundreds of years is
the best way to do it. He’d prefer to spend his time in his CEO
role with Civica, an organization dedicated to righting
wrongs.





However,
when Cal sees the unconscious body of a woman near a magical portal,
he knows the long period of peace has come to an end. He’s shocked
to discover the woman is Dr. Iliana Rogers, Civica’s
second-in-command. The beautiful, argumentative thorn in his side has
managed to open the gate and set off a chain reaction that could end
the world. Is she an agent of evil or an unknowing pawn? He has to
find out.

Nightmares
have taken over Iliana’s dreams and with Cal, she no longer feels
alone. But when he breaks into her house and tells her, incredibly,
that he’s immortal, she knows she’s been living an illusion. It’s
a shock to find out he was telling the truth and that her own mother
was an agent of the malevolent Nilohum—and that she herself is
fated to end the world.

As
Iliana searches for the truth, Cal struggles with a terrible choice:
does he help the woman he loves, or does he stop the end of the world
and risk Iliana’s love…and life?




**Only
.99 cents!!**


Alana
Delacroix is a paranormal romance writer based in Toronto, Canada.
Her Masked Arcana trilogy is available through Kensington's Lyrical
Press, and her Immortal Protector series launches Fall 2019. She is
an introvert's introvert who loves true crime, war, and horror
podcasts and is very paranoid. Alana is also addicted to advice
columns.




$10
Amazon 
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HERE
for special content and a giveaway!