Spotlight: Winterset Hollow, by Jonathan Edward Durham

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Winterset Hollow
by Jonathan Edward Durham
Dark Fantasy

Everyone has wanted their favorite book to be real, if only for a moment. Everyone has wished to meet their favorite characters, if only for a day. But be careful in that wish, for even a history laid in ink can be repaid in flesh and blood, and reality is far deadlier than fiction . . . especially on Addington Isle.

Winterset Hollow follows a group of friends to the place that inspired their favorite book—a timeless tale about a tribe of animals preparing for their yearly end-of-summer festival. But after a series of shocking discoveries, they find that much of what the world believes to be fiction is actually fact, and that the truth behind their beloved story is darker and more dangerous than they ever imagined. It’s Barley Day . . . and you’re invited to the hunt.

Winterset Hollow is as thrilling as it is terrifying and as smart as it is surprising. A uniquely original story filled with properly unexpected twists and turns, Winterset Hollow delivers complex, indelible characters and pulse- pounding action as it storms toward an unforgettable climax that will leave you reeling. How do you celebrate Barley Day? You run, friend. You run.

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About the Author:

Jonathan Edward Durham was born near Philadelphia in one of many satellite rust-belt communities where he read voraciously throughout his youth. After attending William & Mary, where he received a degree in neuroscience, Jonathan waded into the professional world before deciding he was better suited for more artistic pursuits.

He now lives with his partner in California where he writes to bring a unique voice to the space between the timeless wonder of his favorite childhood stories and the pop sensibilities of his adolescent literary indulgences. His debut novel, Winterset Hollow, an elevated contemporary fantasy with a dark twist, is mined from that same vein and is currently available everywhere.

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You can find my review on See Sadie Read.

Spotlight & Excerpt: Heir of Elriyon + Giveaway

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Heir of Elriyon
By K. Michele Moseley
Young Adult Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 301 Pages
August 20, 2021 by Uncommon Universes Press

Aenya’s destiny could cost her freedom.

After years of compulsory training to become an elite warrior, sixteen-year-old Aenya plans to run away with her friend Lewin. However, her plans crumble when she is chosen to be Elriyon’s new figurehead and wife to the future ruler, Rieve.

But Aenya has a secret: she is a Darcara—one chosen by elusive dragon-like beings, the Dargun, to receive the wisdom that once governed her people.

When the current rulers decide to stop a growing rebellion by killing the remaining Dargun, Aenya flees to Elriyon’s mysterious interior. Still, the Dargun’s words burn into her mind. They have a new task for her: return to her people and speak the truth, no matter the cost.

With escape close at hand, Aenya must choose between a dangerous calling or finally being free.

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A few weeks ago, a vision came in the night, when the images are strongest. Sometimes I see a single color, or many blended together in different patterns. Sometimes the images resemble real things or at least an impression of them. That night, I saw the purest rows of silver and bronze, and they could have stretched on for miles, like open fields of shimmering grass. The next morning, I scratched the shapes in the sand, trying to explain the colors and what they meant to Lewin.

“Out there!” I said, gesturing to the high, stone wall which separates the Councilhold from the sands and sea.

Lewin’s brow furrowed in question, puzzled.

“Not Seagate, further. The land outside. The Dargun are out there somewhere. There must be people who aren’t part of the Councilholds. And why would I have visions unless—”

His face relaxed, but his eyes remained wide with wonder, knowing what I was about to say but not letting himself fully believe it.

“Unless we’re supposed to be out there too.”

At that moment, we started to plan our escape. For the first time in years, we remembered what it felt like to talk about the future with excitement. It was like it was before the Eluit and the farm, honor and shame, tried to divide us. I was sure the visons would guide us every bit of the way.

Excerpted from Heir of Elriyon by K. Michele Moseley, Copyright © 2021 by K. Michele Moseley. Published by Uncommon Universes Press.

About the Author

K. Michele Moseley found her love for storytelling on a Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the third grade. Though she struggled with dyslexia, her passion for stories allowed her to overcome the challenges that came with telling them. While she writes in many genres, what she likes best is creating stories for young adults that place real-life obstacles into fantastic worlds. When not inventing new realms, she spends her time chasing after her two sons and playing “Netflix Roulette” with her husband.

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Tour Giveaway

Paperback of Heir of Elriyon by K. Michele Moseley, a set of two loose-leaf teas, a set of character art, and a bookmark (US Only)

Ends September 29, 2021


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Spotlight & Author Interview: Dark Ride Deception, by Mark S. Bacon

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Dark Ride Deception
Nostalgia City Mysteries
by Mark S. Bacon

The entire $22 billion US theme park industry is about to be eclipsed by breathtaking new technology. The Perception Deception Effect will rocket Arizona’s Nostalgia City theme park decades ahead of the competition—and possibly alter the way we view what is real and what isn’t. But the secret technology is missing. And so is its scientist creator. Is he dead? On the run?

An FBI agent theorizes the People’s Republic of China is responsible for the disappearance. The Nostalgia City CEO, however, is convinced a rival theme park is behind the theft. He drafts ex-cop turned theme park cab driver Lyle Deming to fly to Florida to find the missing computer scientist and recover his secrets.

Does this have anything to do with the severed human finger Lyle finds in his cab?

Back at Nostalgia City, a sprawling re-creation of an entire small town from the 1970s, a movie company is shooting a Vietnam era crime story. It’s a welcome distraction from the tech theft until the film company announces its last-minute replacement star is Cory “Psycho” Sievers, fresh out of rehab and aching to exact revenge on Hollywood. When another actor is found dead, park executive Kate Sorensen, a 6’ 2 ½” former college basketball star, is persuaded to investigate.

Shrugging off jet lag, Florida humidity and chronic anxiety Lyle goes undercover using a parade of false identities—from attorney to maintenance worker—to snoop behind the scenes at other theme parks. Although he’s generally tech savvy, he’s flummoxed by Perception Deception science. He gets help from a Nostalgia City engineer who speaks the jargon, but Lyle must rein in his assistant’s enthusiasm for corporate espionage.

In the meantime, Kate confronts the mentally unstable actor. But she may be forced to give up the murder case—Lyle’s in trouble.

Kate and Lyle have little time to explore their relationship as both their investigations turn deadly, threatening them and the future of Nostalgia City.

**Even though this is the fourth book in the series, it can be read as a stand-a-lone**

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Lyle talked to himself as he headed to the park’s transport center. The evening’s sideshow of passengers crowded out
his brain’s frequent worry cycle. For that he was thankful. After a few minutes, he pulled into the taxicab wash facility.

Tomás, the friendly young guy who washed the cabs, opened the taxi’s back door and looked inside. “One of your
fares puke, huh?”

“It’s pretty foul. A woman was sick.” Lyle got out and set his hat on the front seat. He pushed his wavy brown hair
off his forehead and grabbed a plastic dustpan from a nearby rack. He opened the cab’s left rear door. In the enclosed carport, Lyle’s taxi smelled like a frat house bathroom after a freshman party. He scooped at some of the vomit with the dustpan but had to back out as his gag reflex threatened to kick in. Sensitivity had been one of his liabilities in his former profession.

“I’ll clean it out with this,” said the attendant, now wearing a mask and wielding the wand of a wet-dry vac. Standing at the back door, he shoved the nozzle under the front seat and worked toward the rear. The noise of the muck being slurped up sounded little different from when it was deposited. After a moment, Tomás leaned back out of the car.

“I see why this person threw up,” he said. “Look what she ate.”

Lyle glanced inside the car. On the floor, amid a slurry of bile and partially digested food, he saw a human finger.

Author Interview:

1. What inspired you to write this book?

Writing theme park mysteries was inspired by actually working at a theme park!

Early in my career I worked for Knott’s Berry Farm, the theme park just down the freeway from Disneyland.  Although I spent most of my time in an office writing ads and commercials, I occasionally worked in the park for special events. I got a behind-the-scenes view of a theme park during the day and at night.  From that time on, I thought a theme park would be a great locale for a murder mystery.

So I invented Nostalgia City theme park as the setting for my mystery novels.

  1. What, if anything, did you learn writing the book?

I spent many hours researching criminal cases involving corporate espionage and talking to corporate security experts. Criminal activity impacts companies and corporations in many ways. I learned much about what companies do to protect their facilities and their industry secrets. In Dark Ride Deception I include some of the secrets of protecting secrets.

  1. What surprised you the most in writing it?

Writing a 83,000-word novel requires days, weeks, months of virtual isolation staring at a computer screen and pounding the keys.  It calls for research, editing and concentration.  This is what I’ve done for all my mysteries, but this time the isolation was compounded by a pandemic quarantine and creating Dark Ride Deception, got me through it.

  1. If it’s not a spoiler, what does the title mean?

A dark ride is theme park jargon for an indoor attraction, like Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean. A dark ride can be in a boat, car, train or other transportation.

My story involves a software engineer who creates the ultimate dark ride technology called the Perception Deception Effect.  It’s so advanced it could alter people’s sense of what is real and what isn’t.  But before the mind-bending tech could be developed into a ride, it’s stolen. And the engineer disappears, too.

  1. Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?

I have two protagonists.  Kate is a combination of two people, one is my younger daughter who was a basketball star in college.  The other is someone I used to work with and from whom I learned a lot about dealing with people.  Lyle, the other main character, has a little bit of me and a little of several other characters in real life and fiction. Only my daughter knows she’s part of the book.

  1. Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?

Many of the renown detectives of fiction, Marlowe, Spade, Archer, Holmes and others had a moral code. My ex-cop detective, Lyle Deming, has a code, a way of determining right from wrong, and you see it at work here and there. The book, however, is not about teaching readers lessons. It’s more about sorting through clues and following Lyle and Kate through their adventures.

  1. What is your favorite part of the book?

Some of my favorite parts are chapters 1, 3, 17, 32, 34, 36, 37, 46. Great numbers, right?  These chapters include good examples of the suspense, clues and humor throughout the book.

  1. Which character was most challenging to create? Why?

Since several of the characters are continuing ones from the series, I’d say the most challenging new person for this book was movie star Cory Sievers.  His background is a mixture of Hollywood success and, lets say, disappointments. His fame means he’s recognized by everyone who sees him and that might not be an advantage.

  1. What are your immediate future plans?

I’m planning the next Nostalgia City mystery which will include a little noir-ish style. In the meantime, I’m working on crime short stories.

About the Author:

Mark S. Bacon began his career as a Southern California newspaper police reporter, one of his crime stories becoming key evidence in a murder case that spanned decades.

He is the author of the Nostalgia City mystery series that began with Death in Nostalgia City.  The first book introduced ex-cop turned cab driver Lyle Deming and PR executive Kate Sorensen, a 6’2½”  former college basketball star.  Death in Nostalgia City was recommended for book clubs by the American Library Association. His second mystery, Desert Kill Switch, earned the top fiction award in the 2018 Great Southwest Book Festival and was a Top Shelf Magazine Indie Award nominee.

After working for two newspapers, Bacon moved to advertising and marketing.  He wrote nonfiction business books including Do-It-Yourself Direct Marketing, printed in four languages and three editions and named best business book of the year by the Library Journal.  His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, San Antonio Express News, Orange County Register, Denver Post, and many other publications.  Most recently he was a correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle.

He earned an MA in mass media from UNLV and a BA in journalism from Fresno State.  He gets many of his ideas when he’s walking his dog.

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