Book Spotlight: BECAUSE HOME IS… by Chioma Nnani

Because Home Is… by Chioma Nnani
ISBN: 9789785492217 (ebook)
ASIN: B06XC7QY8N (Kindle edition)
Publisher: The Fearless Storyteller Emporium Ltd.
Release Date: March 13, 2017
Genre: Fiction | Short Stories

BECAUSE HOME IS - CNnami
 Some say that “Everyone is running from, or towards something.” But you run till you get ‘home.’ Everyone wants to go home.

All she’s ever wanted to hear is “Welcome home.” But between narcissistic parents and a recession, is a grafter who’s been told that she’s good for nothing, doomed to become a domestic violence statistic? Or will Cassie find her golden fleece and a home in the entertainment industry?

Felix suffers situational depression, yet has to convince the boss chick he’s been yearning for, that he is full five yards of husband material. But with his secrets hidden in plain sight, her health problems, and all the rumours of blood money, can they find their happily ever after? Or will searching for the truth destroy them both?

When a man from a dysfunctional family doesn’t see eye to eye with anyone who wants to keep him in harm’s way, he’ll stop at nothing to get rid of a gold-digger. When emotional blackmail fails, will Chuks’ broken dreams of meeting ‘the one’ stop him from finding home?

After backlash and notoriety follow a columnist’s latest offering, her radio show unexpectedly becomes a hit. But does Jade have the gumption to transition from radio personality to TV presenter and build a brand in Abuja? Or will the immigrant experience prove too much for her?

Find out today in this collection of short stories about finding home, going home, and being home. 

Meet The Author

Chioma Nnani writes multicultural fiction for women aged 18+ who aspire to be strong, independent and fulfilled.

An LLB graduate of the University of Kent in Canterbury, Ms Nnani also has a Postgraduate Certificate in Food Law from the De Montfort University in Leicester.

She is a UK BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts) Award winner for “Blog of the Year,” and lives in Abuja with her husband.

Connect with the Author:    Goodreads | Instagram
This spotlight brought to you by The Fearless Storyteller House Emporium Ltd.

 

Book Spotlight: HERE WE GO LOOP DE LOOP by William J. Sibley

Virtual Book Tour Banner features a night sky and cacti, HERE WE GO LOOP DE LOOP book cover has a green 1972 Mercury Montego on the top half of the cover, the bottom half features two cowboys in jeans, work shirts, and cowboy hats with one on a horse holding a rope, several fences including a barbed wire fence are seen in the foreground;  HERE WE GO LOOP DE LOOP by William Jack Sibley, "A cowboy, an heiress, her brother's husband...and a badass '72 Mercury Montego." Virtual Book Tour September 13-17

Here We Go Loop de Loop by William Jack Sibley
ISBN-10: 1637527756 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781637527757 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781639880027 (ebook)
ASIN: B09F279GG6 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Release Date: September 1, 2021
Genre: Fiction | LGBT Fiction | Humorous Fiction

HERE WE GO LOOP DE LOOP - WJSibley
 A cowboy, an heiress, her brother’s husband … and a badass 72 Mercury Montego.

This is the story of a her loving a him – who’s in love with another him – and that other him enduring an unrequited love for the original her. With a small-town Texas appreciation, this book is replete with humor, adversity, and the tenacity of survivors unwilling and unable to acknowledge defeat.

Here We Go Loop De Loop by William Jack Sibley has greed, lust, sexuality, spiritual enlightenment, more lust, xenophobia, and the meaning of a life worth living, all woven into a single, outrageous knot in the insulated town of Rita Blanca, Texas. The author, a fifth-generation Texan and a resolute seeker of wisdom, truth, and the occasional virtuosic lie, with humor and reflection, has wrought a story of humanity through characters doing the best they can – just not terribly well. 

Advance Praise:

“A wonderful example of generous escapism and a book to be recommended.”— Kirkus Reviews

“Larry McMurtry meets A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is Sibley’s best yet — a rollicking screwball comedy with a heart as big as Texas.” — Steven L. Davis, Author, Past President, Texas Institute of Letters

“Put me in a car with Bill Sibley on a road trip across the nation and everything will be just fine. His spectacular voice, his aptitude for creating instantly indelible characters in richly funny scenes, his perfect pacing and splendid particularity are dazzling and hypnotic. Storyteller supreme!” —Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People’s Poet Laureate, Poetry Foundation

“A satirical small-town Texas comedy with welcome, surprising heart. Sibley’s boisterous comic novel blends small-town satire and humanist warmth as it unspools its tales of isolated people learning to love. His prose is sharp and evocative. At its best, HERE WE GO … finds these snared coyotes daring to find new ways to love.” — BOOKLIFE Review

“No doubt a different kind of love story with hilarious characters. This is such an entertaining and beautifully written book. The author’s vivid description of what a ranch is and how it works, using the actions and dialogues of the characters, is a big plus to the book. I was enthralled at the effortless and consistent expression of the Texas lingo through the conversations. The biggest positive of this book is the rich dialogue.” – ONLINEBOOKCLUB.ORG

“Happy small towns are all alike; a great place to spend a lifetime but not a weekend. There is right and there is wrong and a million in-betweens. There is white and there is black and dozens of better beautiful shades. There is man and there is woman and God knows what else. Let love figure it out. Well done! Colorful characters, colorful dialogue, good suspense, good ending.” – Robert Flynn, Author, Professor Emeritus, Trinity University

Meet The Author

Author - William Jack Sibley

Award-winning William Jack Sibley is a fifth generation Texas rancher and a versatile writer whose work has spanned from the likes of writing dialogue for television’s Guiding Light to serving as a contributing editor at Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, to seeing his plays produced off-Broadway and regionally. Sibley is the author of a dozen screenplays, nine stage plays, and three novels (Any Kind of Luck, Sighs Too Deep For Words, and Here We Go Loop De Loop).

Sibley’s previous works have won the National Indie Excellence Book Award and USA Best Book Award while succeeding as a finalist in the Lambda Literary Award, Foreword Reviews Book of the Year, and more. Sibley currently is the Secretary of the Texas Institute of Letters, as well as a member of The Dramatist Guild and the Writers Guild of America. He lives in San Antonio. For more, visit www.williamjacksibley.com.

Connect with the Author:  Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website 
This spotlight and blog tour brought to you by PR By The Book

Book Spotlight: THE SLOW MARCH OF LIGHT by Heather B. Moore

THE SLOW MARCH OF LIGHT by Heather B. Moore

The Slow March of Light by Heather B. Moore
ISBN: 9781629729282 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781649330307 (ebook)
ASIN: B09CJLPT2D (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Historical Fiction

 
 Sometimes all you have is hope.

In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing Berlin. Aware of the many whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking her life to help East Germans escape across the Berlin Wall and into the West.

Bob Inama, a soldier in the US Army, is stationed in West Germany. He’s glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Voigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he doesn’t get the chance to say goodbye.

With a fake identity, Bob’s special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany, identifying possible targets for the US military. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and the danger of being caught and sent to a brutal East German prison lurks on every corner.

Best-selling author Heather B. Moore masterfully alternates the stories of Bob and Luisa, capturing the human drama unique to Cold War Germany as well as the courage and the resilience of the human spirit.

Advance Praise:

“Moore conveys extensive historical knowledge without sacrificing the emotional impact of the stories of two protagonists whose Christian faith helps them survive and make a difference in the face of epic adversity.” —Booklist

 

“Outstanding novel is a harrowing account based around actual events. The author chillingly and graphically captures daily existence where the controlling political party, national security apparatus, and media work together to crush all dissent. A timely and cautionary tale. My highest recommendation.” — Historical Novel Society 

Meet The Author

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today best-selling and award-winning author of more than seventy publications. She has lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States, including Hawaii, and attended school abroad including the Cairo American College in Egypt, and the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel. She loves to learn about history and is passionate about historical research.

For author interview requests, please contact Callie Hansen at chansen@shadowmountain.com.

Connect with the Author:  Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website 

Get your Launch Bundle Swag

Help Heather B. Moore get her latest novel, The Slow March of Light, to hit the New York Times best-seller list by purchasing a copy between September 6-11.

Everyone who submits a copy of their receipt and fills out this form during the week of September 6-11 will receive The Slow March of Light – Swag Bundle*.

This spotlight and blog tour brought to you by Shadow Mountain Publishing

 

Book Spotlight: A SEASIDE SUMMER by Josi S. Kilpack, Martha Keyes, & Heather B. Moore

Virtual Book Tour Banner for A SEASIDE SUMMER by Josi S. Kilpack, Martha Keyes, and Heather B. Moore; book tour August 23rd - September 19th; "Summer on the seaside...A perfect place for romance." Book cover features a seaside and a women dressed in a green Regency dress, wearing elbow length gloves holding a lace parasol looking out at the sea.

A Seaside Summer, #17 in the Timeless Regency Collection, by Josi S. Kilpack, Martha Keyes, and Mirror Press LLC
Release Date: August 24, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Historical Romance | Regency Romance | Inspirational Fiction

Summer on the seaside . . . a perfect place for romance.

Join us for three novellas in one collection:

The New Countess by Josi S. Kilpack

Diane knows why the earl asked her to marry him; he needed a mother for his daughter, an heir for his title, and a hostess to assist with his position in Parliament. With two sons of her own, and no security to speak of, she never thought twice about accepting his proposal. Summering at his holiday cottage at the sea was meant to be a reward for a busy first year as the new countess, and a time for her to rest before their baby is born. She is expecting lazy days on the beach with the children, simple meals, and keeping her own schedule. When the earl surprises her with a visit, she does her best not to resent the intrusion. When she learns that he came for the sole purpose of being with her and getting to know her better, she realizes that perhaps this marriage can be more than she expected. Is she ready for him to know her and love her and explore this new possibility together? She wants to be, but it is not an easy thing to let go of expectations and open up to an entirely new way of life.

Mishaps and Memories by Martha Keyes

Judith Jardine’s one chance at a brilliant match is doomed from the start when she is ignored and then mocked by the ton’s most sought-after gentleman. Under a gloomy cloud of failure, Judith is exiled to a seaside cottage to spend the summer helping her sister—and living a life far below the one she experienced for her week in Brighton. When she discovers the man responsible for her misfortune unconscious on the beach, she heeds her better impulses and has him brought to the cottage to be seen to. But James Carlisle has no recollection of who he is, what happened to him, or how he has wronged her, and Judith sees the opportunity to teach him a valuable lesson—unless the deception and her feelings get the best of her first.

Moonlight Summer by Heather B. Moore

Oscar Rosewell’s life is not lacking in many things even though he lives on the fringes of society due to his father’s ruined reputation. He’s sworn off having any personal relationships with ton members—his only interest lies in keeping his business thriving. He’s content with his day-to-day anonymity, and business keeps his heart from getting exposed. It’s safer that way. Until Oscar meets Miss Dorothea Atkinson. A woman capturing his interest is a rare thing, but Miss Atkinson is nearly engaged to a man of her parents’ choosing. Would it be wrong to wish for something to go terribly wrong between the couple? Soon, Oscar learns that wishing can become a reality, but often, the price is an even heavier thing to pay.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible | B&N Nook Book | BookBub | BookDepository.com | Kobo eBook

About the series:

Since 2015, Mirror Press has been presenting the Timeless Regency Romance Collection, a curated anthology of novellas and short stories set in early 19th century England. Featuring bestselling authors from the historical romance genre, the series has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Amazon.com. In October the Timeless Regency Romance Collection will present its 18th anthology, The Inns of Devonshire, including stories by Sally Britton, Annette Lyon, and Deborah M. Hathaway. Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website.

Meet The Authors

Josi S. Kilpack is the bestselling author of several Proper Romance, Timeless Romance series, and a Cozy Culinary Mystery series. Her books, A Heart Revealed and Lord Fenton’s Folly; were Publishers Weekly Best Romance Books of the Year. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children.

Connect with the Author: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

Martha Keyes is a Whitney Award winning author born, raised, and educated in Utah—a home she loves dearly but also dearly loves to escape whenever she can by traveling the world. She received a BA in French Studies and a Master of Public Health, both from Brigham Young University.

Word crafting has always fascinated her, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that she considered writing her own stories. When she isn’t writing, she is honing her photography skills, looking for travel deals, and spending time with her family. She lives with her husband and twin boys in Vineyard, Utah.

Connect with the Author: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Website

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today bestseller and award-winning author of more than seventy publications. She’s lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States, including Hawaii, and attended school abroad including the Cairo American College in Egypt, and the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel. She loves to learn about anything in history and, as an author, is passionate about historical research.

Connect with the Author: Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

Follow the Blog Tour

Join the virtual book tour of A Seaside Summer, a collection of novellas by bestselling authors Josi S. Kilpack, Martha Keyes, and Heather B. Moore, August 23-September 19, 2021. Over twenty-five popular online influencers specializing in Regency romance, historical romance, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of the release of the 17th book in the bestselling Timeless Regency Romance Collection with a spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new anthology set in Regency England.

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
Aug 23 Austenprose (Review)
Aug 24 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)
Aug 24 Getting Your Read On (Review)
Aug 25 The Bibliophile Files (Review)
Aug 26 Heidi Reads (Review)
Aug 27 Our Book Confessions (Review)
Aug 30 The Lit Bitch (Spotlight)
Aug 30 Wishful Endings (Review)
Sept 01 The Book Diva Reads (Spotlight)
Sept 01 Rosanne E. Lortz (Review)
Sept 02 Laura’s Reviews (Review)
Sept 04 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Excerpt)
Sept 07 Probably at the Library (Review)
Sept 08 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)
Sept 09 Books and Socks Rock (Spotlight)
Sept 10 Christian Chick’s Thoughts (Review)
Sept 11 Storeybook Reviews (Excerpt)
Sept 13 From Pemberley to Milton (Review)
Sept 13 My Bookish Bliss (Review)
Sept 14 Bookworm Lisa (Review)
Sept 15 Relz Reviewz (Spotlight)
Sept 15 Reading with Emily (Review)
Sept 16 Lu Reviews Books (Review)
Sept 17 Greenish Bookshelf (Spotlight)
Sept 17 Austenesque Reviews (Review)
Sept 17 Bringing Up Books (Review)
Sept 18 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)
Sept 19 Eli’s Novel Reviews (Review)

Giveaway

Mirror Press is pleased to offer one digital copy of any of the 16 previous books in the Timeless Regency Romance Collection to one unique winner at each stop on the tour.

To qualify, please leave a comment with this blog post before 11:59pm, September 26, 2021. Visit each stop on the tour and leave a comment to increase your chance to win a book.

This contest is open internationally. The winner will be drawn randomly from the comments and announced on each blog on September 27, 2021. The winner must claim their prize before October 04, 2021. Good luck to all! Void where prohibited by law.

This spotlight and blog tour brought to you by AustenProse

 

Book Spotlight: MASTER OF POISONS by Andrea Hairston

Cover for MASTER OF POISONS by Andrea Hairston in yellow and gold tones in hexagonal blocks, much like a beehive; a faint picture of a bee is seen in the upper left-hand corner, centered on the page is a profile view of an African woman; one overly large hexagon block is blacked out and features the text: "Includes an extensive conversational interview between the author and Daniel Jose Older!"' quote on bottom of cover, above the author's name: "Sheer, undiluted brilliance. Epic, courageous, unapologetically fierce." Daniel Jose Older

Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston
ISBN-10: 1250260566 (trade paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781250260567 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9781250260550 (ebook – released on 09/08/2020)
ISBN: 9781250772718 (Digital audiobook – released on 09/15/2020)
ASIN: B082RTK2XT (Kindle edition – released on 09/08/2020)
ASIN: B0876HRFHZ (Audible audiobook – released on 09/08/2020)
Release Date: August 31, 2021 for Trade Paperback
Publisher: Tordotcom
Genre: Fiction | Fantasy | Speculative Fiction

Named a Best of 2020 Pick for Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2020

NEW MATERIAL FOR A NEW EDITION!

This trade paperback includes an extensive, conversational interview between the author and Daniel José Older!.

The world is changing. Poison desert eats good farmland. Once-sweet water turns foul. The wind blows sand and sadness across the Empire. To get caught in a storm is death. To live and do nothing is death. There is magic in the world, but good conjure is hard to find.

Djola, righthand man and spymaster of the lord of the Arkhysian Empire, is desperately trying to save his adopted homeland, even in exile.

Awa, a young woman training to be a powerful griot, tests the limits of her knowledge and comes into her own in a world of sorcery, floating cities, kindly beasts, and uncertain men.

Awash in the rhythms of folklore and storytelling and rich with Hairston’s characteristic lush prose, Master of Poisons is epic fantasy that will bleed your mind with its turns of phrase and leave you aching for the world it burns into being.

 

Praise for Master of Poisons

“This is a prayer hymn, a battle cry, a love song, a legendary call and response bonfire talisman tale. This is medicine for a broken world.” —Daniel José Older

“Hairston dazzles with this complex epic fantasy about people struggling to survive in the world they’ve helped destroy…this is an urgent, gorgeous work.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“This book’s lyrical language and unsparing vision make it a mind-expanding must-read.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Master of Poisons is a lush, literary fantasy novel full of folklore and magic.” —Buzzfeed

“Epic fantasy readers, you’re about to read your new favorite book. With its large cast of characters, stunning worldbuilding, gorgeous prose, and fascinating magic, Master of Poisons will shake you to your core. Andrea Hairston has done it again. All hall the queen.” —Tor.com

“You could practically smell the brine, hear the gulls by the sea, and taste the nut butter and sweet mango slices…This is a vast world that you are dropped in.” —Women of Color Read

Master of Poisons makes me laugh, gasp, and dream of the world we are so desperately holding onto and of a better world yet to come . . . I am so grateful Andrea hasn’t given up on us! May she keep gifting our world with her expansive imagination throughout the years!” —Sheree Renée Thomas

“Nobody does it better than Andrea Hairston, and if you doubt it, just open Master of Poisons and follow her into the light.” —Pearl Cleage

“Andrea Hairston’s writing is not to be missed. Her fantasy is rich with evocative detail, stunning and original, and her characters deeply humane and engaging. This is the kind of fantasy that expands your mind and warms your heart.” —Martha Wells

Meet The Author

Author - Andrea HairstonAndrea Hairston is a novelist, essayist, playwright, and the Artistic Director of Chrysalix Theatre. She is the author of Redwood and Wildfire, winner of the 2011 Tiptree Award and the Carl Brandon Kindred Award, and of Mindscape, shortlisted for the Phillip K. Dick and Otherwise Award, and winner of the Carl Brandon Parallax Award. In her spare time, Hairston is the Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and Afro-American Studies at Smith College. She has received the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts Distinguished Scholarship Award for outstanding contributions to the criticism of the fantastic.

Book Spotlight: CAJUN KISS OF DEATH by Ellen Byron

Cajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron

About Cajun Kiss of Death

Cajun Kiss of Death: A Cajun Country Mystery

Cozy Mystery

7th in Series

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crooked Lane Books (August 10, 2021)

Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 164385738X

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1643857381

Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08N6SMX1J

The next shot from Cupid’s bow may be fatal in USA Today bestselling, Agatha Award-winning author Ellen Byron’s hearty and delightful seventh Cajun Country mystery.

In Pelican, Louisiana, Valentine’s Day has a way of warming the heart, despite the February chill. But the air at Crozat Plantation B&B turns decidedly frigid when celebrity chef Phillippe Chanson checks in. And when the arrogant Phillippe–in town to open his newest Cajun-themed restaurant–perishes in a fiery boat crash, Maggie Crozat’s dear friend JJ lands in very cold water.

Did JJ, proprietor of Junie’s Oyster Bar and Dance Hall, murder Phillippe because he feared the competition? Might Maggie’s mother, Ninette, have bumped off the chef for stealing one of her cherished recipes? Or was the culprit a local seafood vendor, miffed because Phillippe was somehow able to sell oysters for a remarkably reasonable price, despite an oyster shortage?

Maggie had planned to devote her February to art lessons in New Orleans, a present from her sweetheart, Bo. But now she has to focus on helping her friend and her mother cross a murder charge off the menu. Meanwhile, Maggie receives a series of anonymous gifts that begin as charming but grow increasingly disturbing. Does Maggie have an admirer–or a stalker? And are these mysterious gifts somehow related to Phillippe’s murder?

Blood may be thicker than water, but this case is thicker than gumbo. And solving it will determine whether Maggie gets hearts and roses–or hearse and lilies–this Valentine’s Day.

Purchase Links – PenguinRandomHouseAmazonB&NKoboIndieBound

About Ellen Byron

Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won the Agatha award for Best Contemporary Novel and multiple Lefty awards for Best Humorous Mystery. She writes the Catering Hall Mystery series, which are inspired by her real-life, under the name Maria DiRico. Ellen is an award-winning playwright, and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME, and FAIRLY ODD PARENTS. She has written over two hundred articles for national magazines but considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart.

Author Links
Newsletter: https://www.ellenbyron.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ellenbyronauthor/
https://www.facebook.com/CateringHallMysteries/
https://www.instagram.com/ellenbyronmariadirico/
Bookbub:
https://www.bookbub.com/profile/ellen-byron
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/maria-dirico
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/23234.Ellen_Byron?from_search=true&from_srp=true
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19130966.Maria_DiRico?from_search=true&from_srp=true

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

August 16 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

August 16 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

August 16 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 17 – The Book’s the Thing – SPOTLIGHT

August 17 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 18 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

August 18 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 19 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

August 19 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 20 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 20 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 21 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

August 22 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 22 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 23 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

August 23 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

August 24 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 24 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

August 25 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 25 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

August 26 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 26 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 27 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

August 27 – Reading Is My SuperPower – RECIPE

August 28 – ThisIsMyTruthNow – REVIEW

August 28 – I Read What You Write – SPOTLIGHT

August 29 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

August 29 – Dear Reader – REVIEW

Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?

Click Here to Find Details and Sign Up Today!

Book Spotlight: THE BARRISTER AND THE LETTER OF MARQUE by Todd M. Johnson

THE BARRISTER AND THE LETTER OF MARQUE by Todd M. Johnson blog tour banner;  book cover is blue washed featuring a Victorian gentleman in a topcoat, with a walking stick and top hot walking across a bridge, a faint map appears in the overall background; "...a mystery worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle." - Award-winning author Jocelyn Green; book tour: August 2-15, 2021

The Barrister and the Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson
ISBN: 9780764239137 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780764212369 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781493431502 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781705029749 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B0983VZ6XZ (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B08LG91Y95 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Bethany House Fiction
Release Date: August 3, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Historical Mystery | Suspense | Inspirational Fiction

THE BARRISTER AND THE LETTER OF MARQUE - TMJohnson

As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he’s a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king’s regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter—-the sole proof his actions were legal—has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady’s distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he’d imagined.

 

Advance Praise:

“Johnson debuts with a tense story of powerful interests teaming up to thwart a legal challenge in Georgian-era England…Johnson steeps his story in legal maneuvering, layers of intrigue, midnight chases, and even a hint of romance. While faith elements are subtle, this enthralling novel will appeal to fans of both legal thrillers and historical inspirationals.” — Publishers Weekly

“… a mystery worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This richly historical and lively paced story has all the makings of a modern classic.” — Jocelyn Green, Christy Award-winning author of Shadows of the White City

“At once atmospheric and gripping, Johnson’s latest is a luminous and refreshing new offering in inspirational historical fiction.” — Rachel McMillan, bestselling author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code

“A fascinating glimpse into a Regency London readers seldom see.” — Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of Edwardian fiction 

Meet The Author:

Author - Todd M Johnson headshot 2021Todd M. Johnson is the author of three legal thrillers: The Deposit Slip (2012), Critical Reaction (2013), and Fatal Trust (2017), and The Barrister and the Letter of Marque (2021), his first foray into historical mystery. He has been a practicing attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of International Law and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong. He lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and daughter.

Connect with the Author:

BookBub | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Author Website 

Follow the Blog Tour:

Join the virtual book tour of The Barrister and the Letter of Marque, Todd M. Johnson’s highly acclaimed historical mystery, August 2-15, 2021. Over twenty-five popular on-line influencers specializing in historical mystery, suspense, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of its release with an interview, spotlights, exclusive excerpts, and reviews of this new Regency-era novel set in London, England.

Tour Participants
Aug 02 The Readathon (Review)
Aug 02 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
Aug 02 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)
Aug 03 Life of Literature (Review)
Aug 03 Captivated Reading (Spotlight)
Aug 04 Laura’s Reviews (Review)
Aug 04 The Green Mockingbird (Review)
Aug 05 My Jane Austen Book Club (Spotlight)
Aug 05 Reading is My Superpower (Review)
Aug 06 Among the Reads (Excerpt)
Aug 06 The Blue Stocking (Review)
Aug 07 Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)
Aug 07 Reading with Emily (Review)
Aug 08 Storeybook Reviews (Spotlight)
Aug 08 Rosanne E. Lortz (Review)
Aug 09 Heidi Reads (Excerpt)
Aug 09 Bookworm Lisa (Review)
Aug 10 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Spotlight)
Aug 10 Wishful Endings (Review)
Aug 10 My Bookish Bliss (Review)
Aug 11 By the Book (Interview)
Aug 11 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
Aug 12 Books, Teacups, & Reviews (Review)
Aug 12 A Darn Good Read (Review)
Aug 13 Fire & Ice (Review)
Aug 14 The Lit Bitch (Spotlight)
Aug 14 The Book Diva Reads (Spotlight)
Aug 15 Vesper’s Place (Review)

This spotlight and blog tour brought to you by AustenProse

 

Book Spotlight: THE DREAMCATCHER CODES by Barbara Newman

THE DREAMCATCHER CODES - BNewmanThe Dreamcatcher Codes by Barbara Newman
ISBN-10: 1733653473 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781733653473 (paperback)
Release Date: July 27, 2021
Publisher: Green Writers Press
Genre: Fiction | Young Adult | Speculative Fiction

FOUR GIRLS. FOUR DIRECTIONS. ONE PURPOSE.

Powered by the elements earth, air, fire, and water, and secret messages from mystical dreamcatchers, four girls join forces on a quest to recover the stolen piece of the coveted Crystal Horseshoe. Snatched by a giant raven during a raging storm, this sacred talisman holds the Codes of Nature and is the very key to its survival. Maia from the North has been called by Sophia, Guardian of Mother Earth, to find and lead the Crystal Warriors on this daring path into the unknown. Falcon, Ava, and Yue complete the circle of four, and together, bravely face what lies ahead. But time is running out. The bees are dying. The oceans are filled with plastic. Humanity has lost its way. And the girls’ search is threatened by shapeshifters in the sky who want the crystal destroyed. Will this fierce cowgirl sisterhood, mythical horses by their side, overcome the destructive forces of greed and heal Mother Earth? Guided by the ancestors, wisdom from river and rock, symbols and stones, and the plant and animal kingdoms, each girl must rely on her own courageous spirit in order to protect the future of the planet she loves.

The Dreamcatcher Codes builds cultural bridges, unity, and hope, and illuminates two important issues of our time: climate change and girls claiming their voices and vital place in the world.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | BookDepository.com

Advance Praise

“Imagination, adventure and hope rests within these pages” —Great-grandmother Mary Lyons, Ojibwe Elder and Author

“The essence of the divine feminine is captured in the stories within The Dreamcatcher Codes. This compassionate and creative force touches the heart with visions of the natural world and of unity amongst earth’s diverse plant, animal and human nations. It is a call to action to heal humanity’s relationship with the planet.” —Alexis Estes, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe

“This book is a work of art. It is also timely and necessary for it calls the inheritors of today’s world, home to the sacred connection with nature that is their birthright and their teacher if they can remember how to listen, or keep the connection alive. This book is a homecoming, it is medicine for the soul and it is frankly glorious. Savor it, share it, be touched deeply by it.” —Clare Dubois, Founder TreeSisters.org

“Now, more than ever, teenage girls need to step into the possibilities of who they are and have the potential to become. The Dreamcatcher Codes invites them to cultivate their imaginative power and explore how Mother Nature, along with the deep and nurturing bonds of sisterhood, can guide them to know themselves, and connect to their own strengths. At an age when girls are seeking to belong, this mythic and empowering story helps them discover how nature is a part of all of us. The author ingeniously interweaves messages of wisdom and insights from a culturally diverse array of ancient traditions that honor our common humanity as caretakers of our planet, and of each other.” —Ellen Feig Gray, M.A. Parent Coach, Developmental Psychologist, Author, TEDx Speaker

“Barbara Newman is a visionary. Using her pen like an artist uses a brush, she creates landscapes that take us out of ourselves and into worlds of wonder. I flew with the cowgirls through lush pink skies and over the stunning beauty of the open desert. And I didn’t want to stop.” —Jana Laiz, award-winning author of The Twelfth Stone

The Dreamcatcher Codes is a book stuffed to the brim with empowerment, artistry, adventure, and solidarity. It is one of those stories that sticks in your heart and reminds us of the ability to bring about change no matter how impossible it might seem. It is a reminder of hope to those in a generation that feels powerless against a catastrophe that looms, and a reminder that there are few things stronger than the true bonds of sisterhood and love, where friends suffer and triumph together. I believe that every young woman who goes on this journey with these four guardians will come out on the other side a little bit stronger, a little bit braver, and much more aware of her power to change the world.” —Cassandra Taylor, GWP Bennington College Field Work Term Intern

“Weaving magic and womanhood with love of our beautiful planet, the writer has brought a story to life I wish I’d been able to read as a young girl. The Dreamcatcher Codes will inspire you to speak up for what is right, to have hope and above all…be brave… just like a cowgirl.” —Adrian Brannan, singer/songwriter, author Dear Cowgirl

Meet The Author

Author - Barbara NewmanBarbara Newman always wanted to be a cowgirl. Growing up in New York didn’t stop her. She took that can-do spirit and became an award-winning global creative director, leaving an indelible mark on brand culture. After hearing an NPR story about the American cowgirl, she was so inspired, she left the ad world and found herself in Montana, Wyoming, and Texas filming a documentary about their lives. An advocate for empowering girls, Barbara facilitates girls’ leadership programs, and was part of the think tank that inspired the Fred Rogers Center for Children’s Media/Education. The Dream Catcher Codes is her first novel.

Connect with the the author via:

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Giveaway

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway for one (1) print copy of The Dreamcatcher Codes by Barbara Newman courtesy of Saichek Publicity. This giveaway is limited to residents of the United States. Any non-US entry will be disqualified. This giveaway is open from 12:01 AM ET on 07/27/2021 through 11:59 PM ET on 7/31/2021. The winner will be selected and announced by 10:00 AM ET on 08/01/2021. Please note that the book will be sent to the winner by Saichek Publicity. Void where prohibited by law.

Addendum 07/28/2021: Due to issues with my Twitter account (account was hacked/suspended/and is in the process of being reactivated), this giveaway has been amended. Sorry for any problems you might have had with this one in the past 24 hours, Vivian aka The Book Diva.

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This spotlight and giveaway brought to you by Saichek Publicity

Book Spotlight: LOST LOVE’S RETURN by Alfred Nicols

LOST LOVE'S RETURN by Alfred Nicols book cover; sepia-tone pictures, top picture is of WW1 hospital room featuring patients and nurses, bottom picture is of a man facing a woman on a cobblestone street.

Lost Love’s Return by Alfred Nicols
ISBN: 9781953865281 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781953865168 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781953865175 (ebook)
ASIN: B091QBVNT9 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Books Fluent
Release Date: June 8, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Historical Romance

 “Fans of long-lost love will appreciate the sincere bond between Peter and Elizabeth as they navigate the ups and downs of rediscovering each other.” –BookLife

In 1918, in a dramatic battlefield scene on the Western Front, young American soldier Peter Montgomery sustains a severe wound. He’s transported to a British hospital, where he falls hard for Elizabeth, a young English nurse, and she for him. Upon his release, they engage in an intense love affair, forever changing both of their lives.

Separated and shipped home, Peter tries desperately to reconnect with Elizabeth, but the War and the Spanish flu epidemic have the world in turmoil. Despite his every effort, desperate and in great distress, he is unable to reconnect with her. And then, suddenly, all hope is gone.

For the next twenty-seven years, Peter stoically meets many challenges in his life: finding a way to make a living during the Depression; being a devoted father to his son, born eleven months after marriage to a woman he does not love.

This debut novel from Alfred Nicols takes you from the battlefields of Europe during WWI to postwar Mississippi and into WWII and begs one question. Will true love prevail?

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Alibris | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | BookDepository.com | eBooks.com | Kobo eBook

 

Meet The Author

Author - Alfred Nicols

ALFRED NICOLS received undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Mississippi. Following military service, he had a career as a lawyer, a state trial judge, and a federal judge. He and his wife, Mary, live on rural acreage in Mississippi. Lost Love’s Return was written as an effort to leave his children and grandchildren, perhaps others, insight into issues in life and the value of family ties, even to imperfect people.

This spotlight brought to you courtesy of Books Forward

Book Showcase: THIRTY-ONE BONES by Morgan Cry

Book Cover for THIRTY-ONE BONES by Morgan Cry; swimming pool/water background with assortment of Euros in the water; tagline "It can be dangerous out in the sun"

Thirty-One Bones, Daniella Coulston #1, by Morgan Cry
ISBN: 9781951627669 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781951627911 (ebook)
ASIN: B08LF1VZCY (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Arcade CrimeWise
Release Date: May 18, 2021
Genre: Fiction | Mystery | Thriller

When Effie Coulston drops dead on the floor of her bar in a small Spanish town mid-business meeting, her daughter Daniella feels it’s her duty to return for the funeral. But Daniella has been estranged from her mother for over twenty years, and Effie’s life in Spain harbours many secrets . Daniella is soon confronted by a hostile group of ex-pat misfits who frequent the bar and who, along with Effie, are involved in a multi-million-pound property scam. But the money has vanished, and the ex-pats are threatening to implicate Daniella to save themselves.

Meanwhile, a Spanish detective is investigating Effie’s death. He’s convinced Daniella knows more than she is telling. And now a terrifying enforcer has heard about the missing cash. With no idea where the money is and threats coming from all sides, Daniella is up against a seemingly impossible deadline to find the cash. She’s a stranger in a strange town – and she’s seriously out of her depth.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Indiebound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | BookDepository.com | eBooks.com | !ndigo.ca | Kobo eBook

 Read the Prequel to Thirty-One Bones:

 

Elephant in the Room

(Prequel to Thirty-One Bones)

‘Let me get this straight, Mr. Calderwood,’ I say, the noise of the insurance claim floor fading as I stare at the computer screen in front of me. ‘You are claiming that all your furniture in your flat has been destroyed by an elephant?’

‘That’s correct,’ say the voice at the other end of the telephone.

‘And,’ I add. ‘You live on the eleventh floor of a multi-storey flat in Glasgow?’

‘Correct.’

‘An elephant, Mr. Calderwood?’

‘I have pictures.’

‘Of the elephant?’

‘Yes.’

‘You have pictures of an elephant in your home?’

‘Yes.’

‘What size of elephant, Mr. Calderwood?’

‘A big swine.’

‘And you have pictures of it wrecking your stuff?’

‘Actually, the photo is of the elephant after it trashed the place. It’s sitting on my telly.’

‘Sitting on your TV, Mr. Calderwood? You have a picture of a real elephant sitting on your TV?’

‘A real elephant.’

I struggle with the next question but it has to be asked.

‘Are we talking a baby elephant or a fully grown one?’

‘Fully grown.’

‘And how did this elephant get into your home, Mr. Calderwood?’

‘Good question. I’d guess through the front door.’

I lean back in my chair and press mute on my head mike. My name is Daniella Coulstoun. I’m a thirty-six year old insurance claims assistant that has spent the best part of a decade hard-wired to a computer screen fielding claim calls for Just You Insurance. I quickly scan the room to see if anyone is watching me. To see if someone is taking the piss. But not one of my near-on fifty claims assistant co-workers are looking in my direction. I glance at my manager, currently hunched over Tom Rattle’s desk, lost in conversation. No interest in me to be seen from there either.

I flip on the mike on again.

‘Eh, Mr. Calderwood,’ I say. ‘Could you just give me one minute?’

‘Sure.’

I kill the mike once more, subjecting Mr. Calderwood to the specially composed hold music that all our clients seem to hate. I punch up the help menu on the screen. I know there’s a section on animal damage. Dogs and cats are a regular feature in my life. It always amazes me how much damage a deranged pooch or hyper moggie can do if left alone. But I’m sure that if I type in the word elephant into the help-bar that nothing useful will appear. More likely this is one giant wind-up and typing in the word elephant on the screen will be met with a massive round of applause, a gale of laughter and a message on my computer to the effect that I’ve been had. That’s the way that the Just You team members fly. Practical jokes to break the monotony and drudgery of relentless claim handling are all too frequent.

I decide not to give the prankster the satisfaction quite yet and elect to try and catch out the hoaxer.

‘Mr. Calderwood,’ I say, after flipping the mike back on. ‘I’m back. Sorry about that. Could you take me through your story again?’

‘Why? Do you think I’m making it all up?’

Yes.

‘It’s not that, Mr. Calderwood. It’s just that I need all the details.’

Of course, it is entirely possible that Mr. Calderwood could be telling the truth. Or his version of it. He had, by his own admission, been drunk as a skunk when he had come home last night and found the elephant.

‘I told you,’ he says. ‘I’d been out at the pub and when I got home, I noticed that the hall was a mess. When I entered the living room it was also trashed and there was an elephant sitting on my telly.’

‘And you say you have photographic evidence of this elephant?’

‘I can send you it.’

I give him my work email address and a few seconds later his email appears. I click on the attachment and the photo opens. It’s dark but it’s clearly of a living room. A living room that looks fairly wrecked to me. Chairs broken, china smashed, a dining table cracked down the middle. And, right in the middle of the photo, back to me, sits what looks a lot like an elephant. I study the picture and can’t help but eyeball the floor to see if I’m being watched. Certain that I’m not, I zoom in on the photo but the low light it was shot in has given the whole picture a grainy wash when enlarged. Judging by the size of the dining table the elephant is a good eight feet high. With its back to me, I can see its trunk swung out to the left and two flappy ears sit high on its head. The only disconcerting thing, if having an elephant in your front room isn’t disconcerting enough, is that the elephant looks very, and it could be the poor quality of the picture, hairy.

‘Did you get the photo?’ asks Mr. Calderwood.

‘Yes,’ I reply.

‘Well will my policy pay out? The damn thing has done no end of damage.’

I have no idea if elephant damage is contained within any of our policies, let alone Mr. Calderwood’s cut price version.

‘Mr. Calderwood,’ I say, trying to think of a logical flow to my questioning. ‘If you came in last night and found an elephant in your home, did you not report it to the police?’

‘Not last night,’ he says. ‘I went to the bog. I needed to throw up and I fell asleep on the pan. It happens.’

‘And when you woke up where was the elephant?’

‘Gone.’

‘And did you look for it?’

‘Yes. I had a gander at the landing and a peek down the stairs but saw nothing.’

‘And your neighbours?’

‘What about them?’

‘Did any of them see the elephant?’

‘I haven’t asked. Why? Do you think one of them might have been keeping it as a pet?’

I ignore the question. ‘Mr. Calderwood how big is the lift in your block?’

‘Why?’

‘Could the elephant have fitted in it?’

‘Nah. The beast was way too big.’

Can elephants climb stairs?

It’s the next question waiting to be asked. Or specifically can they climb eleven flights of stairs.

‘Mr. Calderwood was your front door damaged?’

‘Nah.’

‘So someone let the elephant in?’

I can’t believe I’m saying this. I thought I’d heard it all. But not this.

It has to be a wind-up.

‘Well it didn’t get in by itself,’ he points out.

‘And you are sure it’s gone?’

‘How the hell would I miss it, if it was still here?’

He has a good point.

‘Mr. Calderwood,’ I say, again looking around. ‘It does seem a little odd that an elephant wrecked your home.’

‘You think? And here’s me figuring it was just another Friday night in Partick.’

‘And have you phoned the police this morning?’

‘I have.’

‘And what did they say?’

‘That they would send someone round.’

‘And have they?’

‘Not yet.’

It’s at times like this that I wish myself away from here. My mother lives in Spain and owns a bar in El Descaro, a small coastal town on the Costa Blanca. I’ve been all but estranged from her since she walked out on me when I was sixteen but, of late, I’ve been thinking of trying to patch things up. Not that mum seems to want to talk but then again what would be better – a row with mum in the sun or an elephant in a multi-storey flat in Glasgow?

‘So, will you pay out?’ Mr. Calderwood asks.

‘It’s not that easy,’ I say. ‘I would need a police report.’

‘Why? If it was my dog would you need a police report?’

‘Eh, no.’

‘So what’s the difference?’

About two tonnes.

I have two choices here. Proceed through the automated menu that will pop up as soon as I start processing the claim or I can call for help. If this is a wind-up then whoever is behind it is stringing it out. The norm around here is more along the lines of taping a week-old kipper under someone’s desk or a quick call from a pay-as-you-go mobile asking if we can provide insurance against premature ejaculation. Elephants are a whole new level.

‘Mr. Calderwood, can I phone you back?’

‘Why?’

‘I need to check your policy and don’t want to keep you hanging on the line,’ I lie. ‘I’ll not be long. I have your number here on my screen.’

I read it out to him, he agrees to me calling back and I hang up.

I run through his details on screen. He’s a bona fide client of ours. Six years and this is his first claim. His phone number checks out, as did the password he gave me when we were first connected. As wind-ups go this is getting on the sophisticated side.

I take a chance and Google ‘elephant’ and ‘Partick’. Nothing. I try ‘Glasgow’ and ‘missing elephant’ – there is still nothing.

How the hell did a fully-grown elephant appear in a flat in the west end of Glasgow, wreck the place and then vanish?

I call Mr. Calderwood back.

‘Can I get back to you,’ he says as soon as he answers. ‘The police are at the door.’

‘Would I be able to talk to them?’ I ask.

‘What for?’

‘I need to check if there have been any reports of a missing elephant.’

I really just said that.

‘Well, okay,’ he replies.

I hear the rustle of the phone being passed on.

‘Hello, can I help you?’ says a new voice.

‘Hi. My name’s Daniella Coulstoun. I’m a claims assistant with Just You Insurance and I’m dealing with Mr. Calderwood’s claim. Am I right in saying he reported an elephant was in his home?’

‘You say you’re the insurance company?’ the voice says.

‘Yes.’

‘And Mr. Calderwood is phoning to claim on his insurance?’

‘He is.’

‘Will you pay out?’

‘I can’t say. I need to establish the facts first. He says the elephant was in his front room.’

‘The place is a mess but there’s no sign of any elephant.’

‘He said it vanished.’

‘Not easy for an elephant to do.’

‘I hate to ask but what do you think of his story?’

‘Normally?’

‘Normally.’

‘Bollocks would be the technical term.’

‘So you think he’s making it up?’

He pauses.

‘No,’ he finally says.

‘You think it’s for real?’

‘We had a couple of reports of an elephant in the neighbourhood late last night.’

‘Where?’

‘On a street near here.’

‘Really?’

‘Really.’

‘Is there a circus in town?’

‘Not that I know of and anyway I’m not sure circuses keep elephants anymore.’

‘Did the reports mention if it was hairy?’

‘What was hairy?’

‘The elephant.’

‘Hairy?’

‘Forget that,’ I say. ‘It’s nothing. So there could have been an elephant in Mr. Calderwood’s house.’

Again, he pauses.

‘Hell knows. If it was, how did it get in? The reports from last night said it was a big swine but the lift here is tiny. And I’m damned if I know if elephants can climb stairs.’

And break into homes before leaving unnoticed.

‘I need to go,’ says the policeman. ‘I’ll ask Mr. Calderwood to call you back when I’m finished.’

I’d like to take time to think on this but I’m driven by the computer and as soon as I hang up I’m allocated another call and say, ‘Hello, Just You Insurance can I help…’

***

‘Daniella,’ says the voice in my ear. ‘I have a Mr. Calderwood on the line. He says he won’t talk to me about his claim. He wants you. Very insistent. It’s not policy to do that. You know you’ll get into trouble.’

‘Thanks, Colin,’ I say. ‘I’ll take the heat if this goes south.’

The rule in here is simple. Whoever answers the call, deals with the call. If a claimant hangs up and re-dials they don’t get the option to talk to the original contact. That way the company maxes our time. Once you give a punter a dedicated handler you can lengthen the process no end trying to get back in touch with each other.

‘Hi Mr. Calderwood,’ I say.

‘I think about twenty grand will cover it.’

‘Cover what?’

‘The damage the elephant did.’

‘Twenty thousand pounds?’

‘Aye. I added it up. Now that the police have said there was an elephant on the loose, you lot can pay me quickly and maybe claim off the owner.’

This is way, way past any practical joke my work colleagues could invent. And it’s starting to smell like an out-there fraud case. I’m beginning to wonder if Mr. Calderwood brought an elephant home with him last night. After all you can buy most things in a Glasgow pub if you know the right people.

But why an elephant? I’ve had my fair share of insurance frauds in my time and sometimes they’re a little eccentric, but an elephant. Who would use an elephant? And where in the hell would you get one. I need to escalate this now. Call in my manager. I should have done it before now.

‘Shit,’ says Mr. Calderwood. ‘What are you doing here?’

‘Sorry?’ I say.

‘I’m not talking to you,’ he replies. ‘The police are back and they have my daft idiot of a son with them.’

His voice fades and I hear, ‘What have you done now you wee bugger.’ Then the line goes dead.

I hit the system pause button to let me contact my manager. This will be interesting.

***

‘Miss Coulstoun?’ the voice says on my head phones.

‘Yes.’

‘This is PC Adam, we talked earlier.’

‘About the elephant?’

‘Yes.’

‘PC Adam, do you know that my manager thinks I’m on drugs.’

That was the polite summation of my talk with him.

‘So does my sergeant,’ PC Adam replies.

‘What happened?’ I ask. ‘Did you get to the bottom of it all?’

‘Have you heard of the film Caveman?’

‘Who hasn’t.’

It’s the years biggest hit. A real surprise at the box office. It tells the story of one day in a caveman’s life. No dialogue. A roller coaster of a film. I saw it a week ago and thought it was great fun.

‘Well we found the elephant,’ the PC says.

‘You did?’

‘Except it’s not an elephant.’

‘What is it?’

‘A woolly mammoth.’

‘A what?’ I say.

‘A woolly mammoth.’

Hairy.

‘Hang on, are you telling me you found a woolly mammoth in Glasgow?’

‘It’s what Mr. Calderwood saw in his living room.’

I look around the call floor again, just in case.

‘I’m sorry,’ I say. ‘But am I to believe that a woolly mammoth trashed Mr. Calderwood’s flat?’

‘No it didn’t. I’m telling you that Mr. Calderwood saw a woolly mammoth in his flat.’

Is it me I wonder, or do I need a break from all of this?

‘I’m lost, PC Adam.’

‘It turns out that Mr. Calderwood’s son decided to have a small party in his dad’s house last night. It all got a bit out of hand. Some local neds got in and played smash and trash before running off. It seems they have some history with Mr. Calderwood. Payback would appear to be the motive for the trashing.’

‘And the woolly mammoth?’

‘A prop.’

‘Sorry?’

‘The local cinema has been using it to promote the Caveman film. It was situated on top of the cinema’s entrance canopy with a caveman next to it. It’s a half fibre glass, half blow up thing. Mobile if you let the air out. The neds nicked it and dragged it to Mr. Calderwood’s place for a laugh. The son hid when his dad came in from the pub and got rid of it when Mr. Calderwood fell asleep on the toilet. We found it floating in the River Clyde this morning. It caused a major incident. People thought an elephant had fallen into the river and needed help. Did you not see the news? It’s all over it.’

‘No. I’ve not had my break yet. So you’re saying Mr. Calderwood saw this woolly mammoth in his living room, fell asleep in the toilet, the son dumped it in the river and what? The son let his dad believe that an elephant, or a woolly mammoth, had trashed his house?’

‘That’s about the size of it.’

I really need out of here.

‘Thanks for calling PC Adam.’

‘That’ll be one for the Christmas show’n’tell,’ he says.

‘I’m so gubbed,’ I say to him. ‘I’ll never, ever hear the end of this. I’ll have bloody elephants and woolly mammoths coming out of my ears.’

I hang up and I’m fed another call thinking there really is an elephant in the room and it’s not the daft prop from the Caveman film. It’s the fact that I’ve hated this job for years and should have quit long, long ago.

***

‘Daniella,’ says the voice on my mobile. ‘This is George Laidlaw. In Spain. We’ve met a few times. I knew your mum.’

I’m back at home and already have two copies of Dumbo on DVD in my handbag courtesy of the humour merchants at my work.

‘George,’ I say. ‘Is something wrong?’

‘I’m sorry to tell you this, Daniella – but your mother died this morning.’

‘Died? How?’

‘A heart attack they think. In the pub. And I need you to come out here and attend to things.’

My world spins.

‘And when I mean come out. I mean come out right now. There are things we really need to talk about.’

Elephant in the Room by Morgan Cry.

Copyright © by Morgan Cry.

All Rights Reserved. Used With Permission.

 

Meet The Author

Author - Gordon Brown AKA Morgan Cry bloodyscotland2019_authorportraits_paulreich003-1Morgan Cry is the alias of Gordon Brown, who has written eight Tartan Noir crime novels and thrillers, including the Craig McIntyre series. He is a founding director of the Bloody Scotland festival that celebrates crime fiction every fall. Thirty-one Bones is his first novel as Morgan Cry. He is married with two children and lives in Glasgow.

Connect with the Author:

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This spotlight and excerpt brought to you courtesy of Arcade CrimeWise