Book Blitz & Excerpt: Spindrifts + Giveaway

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Spindrifts
by A-M Mawhiney
Publication date: November 24th 2021
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

Racism, climate change, and violence are in the past. The new world values respect and collaboration with others. But are there secrets lurking in the shadows of the Land of Hope? What truth about the past is being covered up?

When fifteen-year-old Fania returns from Immersion, she is shattered to learn that the next phase of her education is at home with Alicia, her granny. She had hoped for something far grander that would prepare her for an important role with the Earth Project. Their two strong personalities clash as Fania begins to learn more about the past and her family’s role in it.

As Fania grows in confidence and power, she starts to wonder exactly what secrets Alicia is keeping in her underground lab. After Fania discovers the truth, she finds her calling: one that has the power to change everything.

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EXCERPT:

Fania’s Journal: An excerpt from Spindrifts by A-M Mawhiney © 2021

I’m supposed to write in my journal every day. Sure. Like that’s the best use of my time. They said it’d be a private place to think, but I’ve wondered about that. I can think in my head without writing my thoughts. Just in case, I always use my disconnected tablet for the real journal, encrypted with three protective codes and in a language I developed myself. I know this might be over the top, but I’ve felt better knowing no one can read my actual journal. So, people can read how excited I am about my apprenticeship, but privately I’m totally dissed. I really want to learn about people From Away, and instead I’m apprenticing with Granny, my great-grandmother, who’s spent most of her life close to home in her research laboratory, two miles down an ancient mine shaft. It used to be where they studied mysteries of the universe! How the heck did that work?

I’ve always loved Granny. I’ve felt as though we’ve had a special relationship, and I’ve missed spending time with her. I just never thought they’d give me a responsibility so far removed from what I really want to be doing.

Ezma told me I’ve many skills and a strong aptitude for analytical thinking. I know what that means. It means sitting in an underground lab every day for the rest of my life. I guess I wasn’t very good at hiding my feelings because Ezma felt she had to remind me what Granny does is very important. Then she asked me a curious question.

“Do you know what she does?”

Well, of course I do! I explained, “Granny is the researcher who found the serum. She said it was a fluke.”

That comment made Ezma laugh, hysterically almost. “Well, Fania, you’ll find there’s a lot you can learn from Alicia. I hope you’ll keep an open mind.”

When I boarded the transport to head home after two years at Immersion, my patch reminded me to change my timer back to the village’s schedule. The health patch is a misnomer; it’s actually an up-to-date example of bio-merged nanotechnology. This latest gen’s so far advanced compared to the primitive models my grandparents used when they were young—those things they wore on their wrists. Now the healer implants the technology at birth where it merges with our brainwaves. It has reciprocal transformational capabilities, but I’ve been told there are limitations so it can’t change the basic personality or natural abilities of anyone. The patch transmits and receives communications, monitors personal health data, and provides all my reading materials. Everyone in our territory has them, so far as I know.

Author Bio:

A-M Mawhiney was deeply moved by the events of 2020 and the cries from advocates fighting for equity and justice for people living precarious lives because of structural barriers and discrimination. As a former social worker and academic she has spent her career seeking ways to improve lives of marginalized learners through inclusive education for all students. Mawhiney has hope for a better future for us all. Her vision of what this might look like inspired her to write Spindrifts.

Anne-Marie lives in Sudbury, Ontario, in the territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek in the Robinson-Huron Treaty Area, with Dave McGill and their canine companion, Charlie.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Nile Priestess + Giveaway

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The Nile Priestess

The Nile Priestess by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

Word Count: 61,298
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 237

Genres:

HISTORICAL
MYSTERY
PARANORMAL
ROMANCE
VAMPIRES

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Book Description

Amid the shifting sands of Egypt, is an ancient evil stronger than even the most timeless bonds?
In the heat of 1920’s Cairo, Raf and Cecily are looking forward to making their honeymoon one to remember. Instead, they find themselves caught between a British nobleman on a mission to loot Egypt’s ancient tombs and a mysterious local woman who will do whatever it takes to protect the land she loves.

When a foreboding pyramid rises from the sands and the scent of decay fills the air, Raf and Cecily find themselves caught in a terrifying race against time to vanquish a murderous mummy and put right the wrongs of the past. But is evil stronger than even the most timeless bonds?

Excerpt

Cecily leaned over the ship’s railing, shielding her eyes from the hot Mediterranean sun with her hand. They’d travelled across Europe to get here, and now they were almost at their destination, a place Cecily had only ever dreamed of before.

“And tomorrow we’ll see Egypt, just there on the horizon!” she excitedly said to Raf, her husband.

If only I could wish and wish and it’d appear there right away.

“And tomorrow night, we’ll be snuggled in bed in the Rosetta of the Nile, counting the stars above Cairo.” Raf beamed. He put his arm around Cecily’s waist and said, “It’s the perfect honeymoon, Sissy.”

“It feels like a dream, Raf, like it’s not quite real!” Cecily pictured pyramids and deserts, a world away from their home in Yorkshire or the places in Europe they had journeyed through. “We’ll go everywhere by camel, of course, and eat nothing but dates.”

“Just like we do in Yorkshire,” he told her with a grin. Then he pecked a kiss to Cecily’s cheek and asked, “Happy, Mrs de Chastelaine?”

“Oh, so happy I might go pop!” Cecily said excitedly. Then with affection, she added, “But then, I have been ever since I first met you, Raf.”

Not so long ago Cecily would never have dreamed that she’d be married to a man—or dhampir, really—like Raf de Chastelaine, let alone be honeymooning in Egypt, but here she was. Her life had taken an unexpected turn and as she stood here beneath the sun, the botanical scent of Raf’s homemade sun lotion mingling with the heat and sea salt, she’d never been happier.

A breeze rippled the brim of her sunhat, and Cecily turned to see another passenger lean against the railings a few feet away. Miss Mansour was a very glamorous Egyptian lady, who they’d sat with at the captain’s table the night before, along with Miss Mansour’s party of archaeologists. Cecily had been over the moon to sit at such an important table on her first long sea journey, and with a party who were travelling to Egypt to uncover its wonders, too.

But Miss Mansour seemed preoccupied and hadn’t noticed them. Instead, she stared off towards the horizon.

Cecily’s sixth sense, her ability to pick up on others’ emotions, began to twitch.

She’s homesick, Cecily thought, although she realised that was obvious.

“Raf,” Cecily whispered, “let’s say good afternoon.”

Raf glanced towards the woman, then gave a nod. “Yeah, let’s say how do,” he decided.

Cecily moved along the salt-covered railing. “Good afternoon, Miss Mansour!” She smiled. “You must be very glad to be so close to home again.”

Miss Mansour removed her sunglasses and smiled back, but there was something sad in her expression. “Oh, of course, if one has a happy home, then one is glad to return. I am thinking of all the work I must do when we arrive. Lord Bath has such great plans for his dig. I think we might uncover many wonderful things.”

“It must be terribly exciting!” Cecily said. “All those treasures that haven’t seen the light of day for years and years and years, and you brush away the sand, and there in your hand there’s a little golden Anubis!”

“Lord Carnarvon hasn’t put him off?” Raf asked. “If you believe the papers, pyramid-diving is a bad business. I don’t know… I feel like perhaps English lords should leave Egyptian treasures in Egypt.”

A flicker of amusement crossed Miss Mansour’s face. She maybe didn’t hear that sentiment often enough. But Raf’s Romanian accent no doubt told her that he had no patience with the meddling of the English. “It is strange to me to think of my ancestors lying in museums across the world. I cannot think it was what they expected when they died—that one day their remains would travel the world, to be stared at.”

“I heard that Lord Bath reckons he’s found a tomb that nobody believed existed at all,” Raf replied. “But legends sometimes turn out to be true, don’t they?”

And Raf would know all about that, wouldn’t he? Not many advertisements for family businesses that spanned the generations read, ‘Ghosts need laying? Rates negotiable on application.’ Raf didn’t work alone anymore though—Cecily was part of the family business, too.

But what fates had Raf’s ancestors faced? His father might be human, but his late mother certainly hadn’t been. After all, it wasn’t many newlyweds who spent Christmas at a castle perched atop a precipice on the edge of the Carpathian Mountains. Cecily would never have guessed that vampires could be such generous and attentive hosts.

“The tomb of Menkare II,” Miss Mansour replied, with a note of distaste. “He is sure that he has discovered it, even though the sands covered it from human sight longer ago than you can imagine. A pharaoh who has almost been entirely forgotten, but the legend of his missing tomb has persisted down the centuries. And now Lord Bath thinks he’s found it.”

Cecily shivered with delight at the thought. “Do you think we might come along to the dig and have a look? We won’t touch anything. We’ll be on our best behaviour. Won’t we, Raf?”

“I don’t want to touch anything that’s been inside a forgotten tomb.” Raf chuckled. “I’ve got an allergy to curses. I’d love to have a nose at the site, though…history’s a bit of a hobby of mine. Along with gardening. And tinkering. I love tinkering.”

Miss Mansour chuckled. Then she looked Raf and Cecily slowly up and down, as if she was assessing them. Cecily did her best to smile under her scrutiny. It felt as if Miss Mansour wasn’t just looking at them, but into them. Although Cecily told herself she couldn’t be. Then Miss Mansour nodded.

“Yes, why don’t you come along? I believe I can trust you.” Miss Mansour pointed to the jumble of necklaces and amulets around Raf’s neck. “You’re wearing a scarab, I see. And the Eye of Horus.”

Raf nodded. “It’s not my first time in Egypt,” he admitted, almost bashfully. “And I like to pack on the protection. Whether it’s from the sun, or…whatever else is floating about.”

“You are very sensible to do so,” Miss Mansour said. “Lord Bath scoffs at such ideas, of course. And I am told sometimes that I am too superstitious, but you never can be too careful. Especially not when you’re robbing graves, even ancient ones.” She paused for a moment, before adding, almost to herself, “Especially ancient ones.”

“We’re very careful about such things,” Cecily said, knowing she couldn’t go into detail with someone they’d not long met. “We always treat the dead with respect.”

“They’re people too,” Raf pointed out, straight-faced. “Just like us.”

“Oh, they are…” Miss Mansour glanced away for a moment, towards the southern horizon. Cecily sensed her homesickness again, a feeling of loss and loneliness. Then Miss Mansour turned back to face them. “You see, I knew I could trust you. There are not many people on this earth who share that sentiment, Mr de Chastelaine.”

Raf smiled gently and admitted, “It’s just something life’s taught us.” And he glanced towards Cecily, his eyes filled with love.

“Miss Mansour!” It was Lord Bath’s braying voice, and it was coming closer from inside the ship. “I say, Miss Mansour, where are you hiding?”

Miss Mansour sighed. “I apologise. I must speak to Lord Bath.” She raised her voice and replied, “I am out here on the deck, Lord Bath, taking the sea air.”

“Dreaming of the old homeland, eh!” Lord Bath stepped out onto the deck. He put his hands on his hips and drew in a deep breath of sea air. “Good Lord, it’s hotter than ever today!”

He was dressed in a linen suit, as most of the European men on the ship were. But Lord Bath’s looked particularly expensive, cut to fit just right. His square jaw jutted out as he took the air, as though he was the master of all he surveyed. And the truth was, men like him were.

Not women like Cecily or Miss Mansour, not men like Raf. But wealthy English aristocrats in Jermyn Street linen suits ruled the world.

“This is not hot!” Miss Mansour chuckled. “You have the sea breeze here. But out in the desert, it doesn’t matter how hot it gets, you hope the wind won’t start up or a sandstorm might follow. But I will be glad to see my home again, yes. Are you not pleased to see yours when you return to England?”

“One has several, and one is always happy to see them. But the tomb of Menkare II is my life’s work. I’ll happily take a long-lost legendary treasure horde over even the nicest family pile in Bath.” Bath guffawed. He lifted his Panama hat to Raf and Cecily. “Good afternoon, Mr and Mrs de Chastelaine. Egypt awaits, what!”

“Oh, it does!” Cecily replied. “You must be so excited about the dig. I know I am, and I’m not even digging anything. But then I’ve never been to Egypt before, and you’re all experts on it. Miss Mansour especially.”

Miss Mansour smiled wistfully. “Egypt and her myths and legends have been my life’s work.”

But it wouldn’t be Miss Mansour’s name connected with the find. Rather, the name of a man born in a country far away, in a land without a single desert to its name.

“I must confess this was a last throw of the dice,” Bath admitted. “Seven failed digs over the years. But our Miss Mansour isn’t only a dashed pretty face. She’s got a very clever little brain in that head of hers!”

Little brain? Cecily had once been married to a man who spoke like that about women. She bristled on Miss Mansour’s behalf.

“How kind of you to say so,” Miss Mansour replied, acknowledging his backhanded compliment with a nod. “I have worked very hard—studied very hard—to acquire the knowledge I now have of my country’s ancient past.”

“And we’re all terribly grateful,” Bath assured her. “Miss Mansour was able to interpret the last clues to the location of the tomb. When the treasures of Menkare II are exhibited in London, I’m sure this young lady’s beauty will dazzle almost as much as the pharaoh’s gold.”

Young lady’s beauty?

Cecily bristled anew. She could sense that Miss Mansour didn’t appreciate the way Lord Bath spoke about her either, but she didn’t say anything.

“And everyone will want to talk to her to find out how she worked out the last clues,” Cecily said.

Miss Mansour gave Cecily a smile, as if telling her that she appreciated her support. “I would be more than happy to.”

Lord Bath met that with a bark of uproarious laughter. He clapped his hands together and exclaimed, “Quite so, Mrs de Chastelaine, quite so!” He wiped his eyes on a pristine white handkerchief. “And when one dines at the Ritz, one lauds the waitress for the chef’s splendid work, eh?”

“But without Miss Mansour, you wouldn’t have found the tomb,” Raf pointed out, frowning. “Isn’t that right?”

“And without my money to hire her, Miss Mansour wouldn’t have been part of the party at all.” Lord Bath’s smile had become rather tight. Cecily could tell that he didn’t take kindly to such ideas. “And she certainly wouldn’t have had access to the tablets and very rare papyri that held the secrets of Menkare II’s tomb. Believe me when I say that such treasures are highly prized and priced accordingly. Far beyond the reach of the Miss Mansours of the world.”

Miss Mansour raised an eyebrow before putting her sunglasses back on. A chill breeze rose from the sea. “That is because the tablets and papyri I needed to study are held in a private collection in England.”

“Guilty as charged.” Bath chuckled. “And I may yet have one surprise left up my sleeve, madam. A little showmanship, if you will.”

“Is that so?” Miss Mansour sounded like someone who was not easily surprised. She tapped her fingers against the ship’s railing, her rings clanging on the metal. “I shall look forward to it.”

“Well, you’ll excuse me. I must dress for dinner.” Bath gave a polite nod of farewell. “Miss Mansour, might I escort you to your state—cabin?”

No stateroom for the hired help then, no matter how valuable their knowledge.

“No, thank you, Lord Bath. I believe I can just about remember the way there. Good evening.” And with that, Miss Mansour inclined her head, then turned and glided away along the deck.

Cecily glanced at Lord Bath, wondering if he had taken offence. But how else could Miss Mansour have reacted without any further dents to her dignity?

“She’s homesick,” Cecily told Lord Bath by way of explanation.

“Ah, England’s green and pleasant land. We all miss her, of course,” Bath replied, apparently untroubled by her departure. And somehow unaware that perhaps Miss Mansour, his Egyptian associate, might not consider England home, no matter how green or pleasant.

“Egypt,” Raf said bluntly.

“Yes, she misses Egypt,” Cecily prompted Lord Bath. “I think maybe she’s glad not to be in England.”

“Well, I certainly won’t be asking her to come back to England if she prefers to remain in Egypt,” the Earl of Bath replied with a magnanimous smile. “I shan’t be requiring her expertise once the tomb is open. Miss Mansour can go wherever she might wish.”

Raf frowned and asked, “You won’t give her the credit for her work, then?” He added innocently, “I thought you said you couldn’t have done it without her.”

“She’s terribly clever,” Cecily added. “Just think of the number of languages she understands, modern and ancient ones. And she knows a terribly vast amount of things about the ancient world as well!”

“And dashed pretty too,” the Earl of Bath replied. “Well, I shall take my leave. Good afternoon to you both!”

“We must go and dress for dinner. Good afternoon,” Cecily responded, the words sticking in her throat. The earl gave another nod and retreated back towards the ship.

“Cheerio,” Raf called, but Cecily knew that his bonhomie was an effort. He didn’t like Lord Bath any more than she did. If the nobleman realised, of course, he didn’t care. Instead he disappeared into the ship, whistling a cheery tune as he went.

Cecily waited until he had gone, then she whispered to Raf, “What a dreadful man, robbing Miss Mansour of her discovery. I really don’t like him at all, Raf. But then, maybe I’ve known one too many men like him in my life.”

Raf nodded. He put his arm around Cecily’s shoulders and whispered, “Not my sort of bloke either. Do you want to head in and get ready to eat?” Raf kissed her cheek. “Do I have to wear shoes to dinner?”

“Oh, yes, let’s go back to the cabin.” Cecily chuckled. “Shoes? Well, if you don’t wear shoes, we might not be invited to the captain’s table tonight. But if the delightful Lord Bath’s sitting there again, maybe that’s a good thing.”

“I’ll put shoes on,” Raf assured her. Then he added with a wink, “But I’ll slip them off when I’m sitting down,”

Raf really didn’t like shoes. He was happiest barefoot, wandering through the garden at home. Cecily smiled at him. “I’d expect nothing less, darling! Right, let’s get ready for dinner.”

Arm in arm, they strolled along the deck towards their cabin.

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About the Authors

Eleanor Harkstead

Eleanor Harkstead likes to dash about in nineteenth-century costume, in bonnet or cravat as the mood takes her. She can occasionally be found wandering old graveyards. Eleanor is very fond of chocolate, wine, tweed waistcoats and nice pens. Her large collection of vintage hats would rival Hedda Hopper’s.

Originally from the south-east of England, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.

You can follow Eleanor on Facebook and Twitter

Catherine Curzon

Catherine Curzon is a royal historian who writes on all matters of 18th century. Her work has been featured on many platforms and Catherine has also spoken at various venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Dr Johnson’s House.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

You can follow Catherine on Facebook and Twitter and take a look at her Website.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: In Vineyard Veritas, by Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: In Vineyard Veritas

Author: Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid

Publisher: Eine Kleine Press

Cover Artist: Clancy Nacht

Release Date: January 21, 2022

Genres: LGBTQ Cozy mystery, trans man

Tropes: Amateur sleuth, favorite aunt dies, going back home again, mystery

Themes: Coming back home, finding where you belong

Heat Rating:  0 flames

Length:  206 pages

It is a standalone story. 

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In wine, truth. In vineyard… mystery.

 

Blurb

Local police summon retired CTO Geraldine Thorn from her Austin lake house to Kitsch, Texas, the small town where she grew up, when her beloved Aunt Tilda is found dead at her vineyard home, presumably from a slip in the bath. Upon arrival, Gerry discovers Tilda’s eclectic group of friends—including a much, much younger lover—and rivals. When they realize Tilda’s slip wasn’t an accident, Gerry enlists the help of a handsome Texas Ranger with secrets of his own.

 

Excerpt 

“Howdy. Ms. Geraldine Thorn? This is Sgt. Hale Alexander with the Texas Ranger Division Company F.” Hale’s voice was a pleasantly raspy tenor with a thick East Texas drawl. “The Arguello County PD requested my assistance with a mysterious death. A Lt. Klaus gave me this number. He said, and I quote, ‘May you have the joy of her,’ and washed his hands of this affair. Don’t think you’ve got a fan, ma’am.”

“I’m friendlier when I’m not upset about my aunt dying.” Gerry felt a pang of frustration, but she appreciated that this guy sounded like he’d be reasonable. “I appreciate you looking into this. Things aren’t adding up.”

“Well, ma’am, this is highly irregular, involving the Rangers in this kind of thing, but I’m on my way to Kitsch now from Waco, and we’ll see what there is to see. The autopsy report had some discrepancies, so your gut may hold true. Don’t go quotin’ me on that, all right?” Hale cussed under his breath, and the sound of a car horn interrupted their conversation.

Sounding calmer, he resumed, “Anyhow, I’m gonna have to view the body before she’s laid to rest, if that’s all right with you, ma’am. I understand you’re gonna wanna get closure, put her in the ground soon’s you can, but this is important.”

“Of course. I just came from the funeral home, I can let them know to hold off picking her up.” She paused and looked up and down the street. “Is there any way I could join you? I just want to… I think if I saw her with my own eyes it would help me wrap my head around what happened.”

Discrepancies. That sounded… positive? Not exactly that, but it was nice to hear that she wasn’t totally losing it. “If she’d had too much wine and slipped in the tub— that would make sense, but opioids? I just… and there’s a young man, and… there are things that don’t add up. I want to do right by my aunt.”

“That’s admirable, ma’am. But are you sure you wanna see your aunt in that state? She’s been autopsied, and she’ll be nekkid as a jaybird on that slab. It’s gonna stay with you.” Hale didn’t shoot her down, which was something. If anything, he sounded supportive. There was a steadying warmth in his tone even over the phone.

“She wouldn’t like my delicate sensibilities getting in the way of finding out what happened if someone did this to her.” Seeing Tilda’s body wasn’t something she was looking forward to, but she needed to know. “I’ll be all right.”

“All right then, ma’am. Text me your address to this number, and I’ll swing ’round and nab you. You’re not gonna wanna drive after. I’m an hour out.” Hale’s drawl was comforting. While Gerry wasn’t really a small-town girl, she had a feeling Hale’s good ole boy persona would play well in Kitsch, and no one was going to turn away a Ranger’s inquiries.

“I’m already downtown. I can…” She looked around and then shrugged to head to her car. “I’ll just go home, and text you the address. It’s on a vineyard, so it’s a little out of town, but I imagine an investigator shouldn’t have too hard a time finding it. Thanks.”

 

 

About the Authors 

Together, Texans and platonic life partners Thursday Euclid and Clancy Nacht write queer novels that span genres, with intense romances and a seamless shared narrative voice.

They published their first co-written novel, the m/m rock star romance Black Gold, in 2010, and now have over a decade of award-winning collaborations under their exquisite belts. Recent titles include the twisted romance His Fake Prison Daddy and the Phisher King series, in which an uptight federal agent and a bratty hacker go from enemies to lovers while solving a hate crime.

Though Elder Millennial trans man Thursday and Gen X gender outlaw Clancy live three hours apart, they are inseparable. Their friendship is a perfect example of the Grumpy/Sunshine trope, which makes Thursday very happy. Clancy thinks it’s all right.

 

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