Spotlight & Author Interview: Shadows Over Milan + Excerpt

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Shadows ebook cover

Title – Shadows over Milan, book five of the Night Flyer Series
Author’s name – Edale Lane
Genre – Historical fantasy action mystery/lesbian romance
Cover Artist Enggar Adirasa
Release Date November 2, 2021
page count 260 PDF/print version (246 e-book page count)
Content Warnings fighting violence, ff kissing with assumption of off-scene sex, brief scene where a character recalls an act of animal cruelty

What happens when heroes fall?

Murder strikes Milan, threatening the city’s future under an ominous shadow of war. Was it the Spanish, the Germans, the Milanese, or were darker forces at play? The city is thrust into a frenzy only the Night Flyer can quell, but can she halt the wheels of war?

Maddie’s greatest fears are realized when the Night Flyer suffers a serious injury that leaves her just short of dead. Florentina suffers more than physical pain as she grapples with a crisis of faith. Will she be forced to choose between continuing as the Night Flyer and staying with the woman she loves?

The final installment of the Night Flyer Series is riddled with mystery, political intrigue, danger, and heart-felt moments as the various storylines from throughout the saga come together in an exciting conclusion you don’t want to miss!

Amazon / GoodreadsPublisher Past and Prologue Press


Excerpt:
That night Florentina stood on Madelena’s balcony in her nightgown and robe, gazing up at the stars. The rain had passed, leaving a fresh scent in the air. As she contemplated a myriad of subjects, she felt Maddie’s arms wrap around her from behind, and was comforted by her nearness.
“What are you doing out here?” Maddie asked as she pressed her body to Florentina’s back.
Fiore exhaled in blissful satisfaction, bringing her hands to cover Maddie’s at her waist. “Contemplating the mysteries of the Universe.”
Florentina caught Maddie’s chuckle as she squeezed her tight. “Of course you are,” she cooed with delight. “And what enigma have you discerned?”
Florentina sighed and turned in Maddie’s arms to face her. “That I have limitations,” she uttered in dismay, “and I would rather I did not.”
Over a year ago when Shadow Guild assassins in the employ of a chaos lord threw bombs through the church windows onto the very row she, Maddie, and the children occupied, her Night Flyer reflexes got them safely out of harm’s way. She still bore a few light scars from the glass and large splinters that were blasted into her back. But today….
“I would say that is a drawback common to all humans,” Madelena responded.
“I was so terrified, Maddie,” Fiore admitted. “I heard the thunderous hooves, then saw, and I ran. I tried to get to her, but I realized I wouldn’t make it. I knew the horses were faster and I could not save Betta. It felt like a sword slicing me from throat to gut,” she bemoaned.
“Sweetling, I heard, saw, and experienced the same panic, the same hopeless fear,” Maddie said. She kissed Florentina’s lips tenderly, keeping her in a tight embrace. “You were swifter than I was.”
“But I wasn’t fast enough,” she lamented. “It makes me feel like, if I can’t protect the ones I love, then what good am I?”
“Come to bed with me now, Fiore,” Maddie instructed, and she led her by the hand.
They snuggled in Maddie’s oversized bed, complete with pastel satin sheets and an array of goose-down pillows. Despite the lover nestled on her shoulder and being drowned in luxurious comfort, Florentina was troubled.
Maddie placed a kiss to her cheek and slid fingers across the smooth fabric of her gown, tantalizing the flesh beneath.
“We weren’t alone,” she explained as she lay facing Florentina propped on pillows. “Betta and Matteo would not have been so far ahead of us, and you would have had time to reach them. Benetto was closest; thank God he was able to protect her.”
Florentina locked eyes with Maddie, a bewildered expression on her face. “I kissed him; I was so grateful and relieved that I kissed him.” She breathed in and out and shook her head. “I am so conflicted now.”
Maddie pushed loose brunette hair behind Fiore’s ear and kissed her tenderly. “I can only imagine.”
“It was one thing to forgive him, to not think about him at all, to be indifferent to the man,” she continued. Florentina sensed the churning of too many raw emotions. “He killed my father, and yes, he is working to better himself and he has been grandfatherly with the children, but now I have all this thankfulness and appreciation for him. It just doesn’t feel right.”
“To be honest,” Maddie said, stroking Florentina’s cheek. “I am having some of the same mixed emotions, though not with the intensity of yours. People can change. They usually don’t, but it is possible, and I believe he has.”
Florentina nodded. “Would it be a betrayal of my papa if I were to develop any measure of affection for the man who murdered him? Forgiving and forgetting is one thing, but I see him all the time now; he is part of the family. I just don’t know how I should feel.”
Madelena kissed her again and asserted, “What you need to settle in your mind and heart is the answer to one question: is the Benetto who protected Betta the same man who killed your papa two years ago?”
“That is indeed what I must determine,” Fiore agreed. “Oh, Maddie, if he had not been there… I couldn’t…” Tears streamed from her eyes in a most unfamiliar way.
“You can do amazing things, mi amore; but no one can do everything or save everyone. Betta is safe, and you did everything humanly possible. Speaking of which, you haven’t said what happened when you and Antonio caught up with the coach.”
“Oh.” The tears dried up. Florentina propped herself on an elbow and turned her body toward Madelena. “We discovered Marquis Jaquet de Lozere’s dead body. He had been stabbed.”
Concern arrested Maddie’s features. “That is indeed an unfortunate turn of events.” They gazed at each other for a long moment. “I suppose the Night Flyer will wish to investigate.”
“You are quite correct. But there is nothing I can do about it tonight.”
Another pause hung in the air, then Maddie spoke. “Let me hold you. It has been a dark day and much weighs on your mind. It is my turn to be strong for you.”
Fiore caught her lips, kissing them with life-affirming fervor. When she released them, she breathed, “I love you so much. You always know exactly what I need and are happy to give it to me.”
“You are my life, my very breath,” Maddie uttered in a husky tone. “Now, come to me.”
Maddie pulled her in and Florentina snuggled close with her head resting on one full breast and a hand cupping the other in the sweetest embrace she had or would ever know, and prayed for sleep to capture them both.


Author Interview:

1. What inspired you to write this book? OR Tell us a little about how this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma or something else?

The Night Flyer Series that this book concludes, began as a concept. I wanted to write something unique, so I set out to discover what time periods and locales are under-represented in historical romance novels. I also wanted to create a sort of superhero for the era. When I noticed not many recent books set in Renaissance Italy, my mind rushed to Leonardo da Vinci, one of my all-time favorite people. What if my leading woman had been a student of his and proceeded with knowledge of his many inventions? And what if an unscrupulous arms merchant killed her father leaving her to carry out the Italian Vendetta? She could invent a flying glider that would shock and awe her enemies. I then began to formulate my primary characters and the plot that would lead them through the trilogy. But, alas, Florentina and Madelena didn’t want to stop there, so I wrote two more books in the series to satisfy them.

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

In Shadows over Milan, my main cast travels to Venice. Research taught me much about the fabulous city and one of its leading attractions – the Rialto Bridge. Did you know the current bridge has been spanning the Grand Canal since 1591? It began as a pontoon bridge in 1181, then was replaced in 1255 with a wooden one that could be raised to allow the passage of ships, because of the increased traffic to and from the Rialto Market that boomed on the other side; hence it became known as the Rialto Bridge. In 1444 a tremendous crowd gathered to witness the boat parade for the Marquis Ferrara’s wedding celebration and it collapsed under the weight. The version of the bridge at the time of my novel (which included space for vendors to sell their wares lining both sides) fell down in 1524 and the city decided the next one would be constructed of stone.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?

How quickly I finished it! Missing in Milan was released in August and by the middle of October I had completed Shadows over Milan, the longest novel in the series. Every time I write a book, it seems I get faster at it, but I doubt that will be the case with my present work in progress as it requires all new research.

4. What does the title mean?

In the previous books in the series, the readers learn of an underworld organization that reveres war and chaos. They work behind the scenes to influence government leaders, spread dis-information to the people, and try to sow dissention within and between nations. They are called the “Shadow Guild,” and they are back attempting to manipulate France and the Holy Roman Empire into a war over Milan. The book opens with the murder of an important French nobleman, seemingly at the hands of a German, which casts Milan under an impending shadow of war.

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

While both Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo appear in the series and are mentioned frequently, neither one is cast in Shadows over Milan. Several historical leaders such as France’s King Louis XII, Emperor Maximilian I, and Spain’s Ferdinand and Isabella are mentioned, but none are characters in the story. Florentina and Maddie were both inspired by different sides of myself. I was a teacher for 24 years and I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge like Florentina; I was a widow with two children at a young age like Maddie. And yep, you guessed it – I know when I draw upon my own thoughts, feelings, and experiences!

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

It does, or I wouldn’t have bothered to write it. To avoid giving spoilers, I’ll be very generic and list a few: forgiveness, redemption, trials of faith, seeking of wisdom, learning to let go.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?

My favorite part of the book is a scene I almost didn’t include because a few people advised me it may be disturbing to some readers, but it is so vital to understanding Don Benetto. In book one, Merchants of Milan, Don Benetto was a greedy, mean, ruthless arms dealer who was abusive to his wife and cared about no one but himself. After a life-and-death encounter with the Night Flyer, he began to re-examine his life in book two, to change his ways in book three, to learn to love in book four, and here we have him striving to make amends in book five. But why was he ever that overly ambitious brute to begin with? Villains are people too, and I felt strongly that relating Benetto’s backstory would add depth to the character and allow readers to understand how he became who he was, and therefore how he was able to transform his life.

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

The most complex character to create was Don Benetto. Despite all the times assassins tried to kill Maddie, how many times Florentina was outnumbered in a fight, how disastrous Antonio’s battles while in the army, Don Benetto faced the toughest bout of them all – to become a better man, he had to defeat his old self. People can change, but they usually don’t. Few endeavors on this earth are more difficult, and to make the transformation believable, I needed to detail the steps and measures he took over the course of the series.

9. What are your immediate future plans?

I have begun work on a completely fresh novel, also in an under-represented setting: pre-contact Native British Columbia. I now live in beautiful Chilliwack, BC, and have started immersing myself in everything I can find about the First Nations people and their culture. It won’t be ready in under three months like Shadows over Milan; it may take a year to complete, but it will be done right.


Giveaway:

Until November 23rd, you can enter to win a Kindle copy of the first book in the series (Merchants of Milan (Night Flyer Trilogy, #1).

Enter here


Author information

Melodie Professional-minEdale Lane is an award-winning author (Rainbow Awards, Imaginarium Awards, Lesfic Bard Awards) who also drives a truck. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Tribute in Blood, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication regarding research. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature. When not driving around North America, she resides with her partner in beautiful Chilliwack, B.C. Canada.

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Cover Reveal: Friends to the End, by C.L. Colyer

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Friends to the End
by C.L. Colyer
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Publication date: September 27th 2021
Genres: Action, Adventure, Middle-Grade, Supernatural

Zach doesn’t believe in ghosts…but he should.

Twelve-year-old Zach is convinced he’ll never be happy without his best friend Jeremy by his side. But both of their lives changed with a bang five months ago, and as far as Zach’s concerned, it’s his fault Jeremy will never see his twelfth birthday.

When Zach moves with his family to a Chicago suburb, he quickly becomes friends with a group of thrill-seeking kids trying to find a disappearing haunted house. But Zach’s not worried. He doesn’t believe in ghosts, so he follows them into a wild, dangerous encounter that becomes a battle to decide what’s real and what’s not.

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Friends to the End

 

Author Bio:

Professional network technician by day, novelist by night, Cherie lives a quiet life in the Chicago suburbs with her charming husband. She has four amazing sons who she loves dearly. Cherie magically weaves together stories with a paranormal twist. She’s the author of the Embrace series (Embrace, Hold Tight, and Entwined), Challenging Destiny, Damned When I Didn’t, and Friends to the End. She waltzes into the adult novel world with this enchanting holiday romance, Merry Little Wishing Spritz.

She happily visits schools, libraries, and book clubs, and is a member of SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators).

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Blue Moons and Unicorns, by Kathryn Allen

Blue Moons and Unicorns by Kathryn Allen

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Blue Moons and Unicorns

Author: Kathryn Allen

Publisher: Self published

Cover Artist: Fiverr 

Release Date: April 1, 2021

Genres:  Action, LGBTI+

Trope: Friends to lovers

Themes:  Personal growth, self confidence

Heat Rating:  4 flames   

Length: 122 000 words/ 299 pages

It is the first book of an intended ongoing series and does not end on a cliffhanger.

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Buy Links 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Smashwords

 

Blue Moons and Unicorns by Kathryn Allen

 

Blurb 

While holidaying with her friends in the Hamptons, Interpol agent Samira Neves finds out her father is missing. Following his cryptic breadcrumbs from New York to Amsterdam and London, Samira’s view of her father is challenged. Unwilling to involve the authorities, Samira is cut off from her usual networks to investigate the smuggling and trafficking she is uncovering. While never afraid to use her sensuality to her advantage, she finds herself stretching her erotic horizons when her bisexual friend Ashleigh suggests an unorthodox tactic to infiltrate the world of her swinger targets. Will this be enough to track down her father and find out exactly who was behind it all?

 

Excerpt 

 She pushed the accelerator down a little harder, enjoying how the Maserati surged forward when she dropped down a gear. It was totally unnecessary but completely worth it for the noise. The sound filled the air, no roof or windows to separate them from the glorious engine note. Despite the coastal views, Samira almost wished for a tunnel so she could hear it all around her. 

Chelsea laughed suddenly.  Samira glanced back to see her friend unsuccessfully trying to control her normally faultless blonde hair from whipping around in the wind. Samira grinned. She’d offered Chelsea both a hair tie and a cap at the start of the day, but Chelsea had waved them away. Of course, the stylish broad-brimmed hat Chelsea had brought had swiftly ended up in the trunk as it was wholly unsuitable for open top driving. Samira’s own hair was braided down her back and held tight under a bright, white baseball cap. She’d been driving convertibles long enough to know the ads with women’s hair streaming back elegantly were all crap. Beside her, Ashleigh, hair similarly under control, reached forward to turn down the music.

“God, I love the sound of that engine. It’s such a sexy purr. Even better than the Ferrari.”

“Well, it is a Ferrari engine.” Samira said. 

“Whatever, don’t care. Ferraris are just so shrill. This sounds better. “ Ashleigh shimmied in her seat. “All bassy, throaty gorgeousness.”

“They should get you on the ads.” Samira said, amused. 

“And you could drape yourself over the hood.”

“And scratch up the paintwork? Dad would kill me.”

“Worth it.” Ashleigh murmured.

“What?”

“Nothing.”

Samira took it more gently as they turned off the Montauk Highway heading towards the house. This was a condition of her mother letting her stay for the week. Apparently last time there had been some complaints about her driving even though, as she’d tried to argue, Maserati were a dime a dozen around the Hamptons, and it may not have been her. Her mother had responded with a raised eyebrow and a steady gaze. She capitulated. In Meadow Lane she dropped to a quiet cruise, which was more a consequence of the traffic than true obedience on her part. For an exclusive road it was surprisingly packed at this time of year as everyone tried to squeeze the last enjoyment out of the stubbornly lingering summer season. Rightly so, she thought, given the endless blue of the sky overhead. 

Finally, she turned into the driveway, waited for the iron gate to slide aside and headed up to the five-car garage under the house. With her parents away all the vehicles were in their places except for the open slot next to the Jeep Cherokee her father normally drove. 

The girls popped the trunk and collected together their various bags with the day’s shopping treasures before splitting off to their bedrooms. 

“Cocktails in the pool house in ten minutes!” Samira called as they headed off. Ashleigh raised a hand over her head in acknowledgement. Chelsea was too busy dragging her fingers through her tangled hair. Good luck hun, Samira thought, the only way that was getting sorted was with a wash and an intensive treatment. Actually, Chelsea might need a treatment for her body too. Samira could see the beginnings of sunburn flushing the back of Chelsea’s long pale legs beneath the denim cut-offs. Her back, under the sheer grey top, had an ominous reddish glow about it too. Chelsea had been so pleased to see sun after a long stint in Seattle that she took every chance she got to lay in it. Particularly with her international financial services company assigning her to Manchester for the next six months. Samira was going to miss her. Again. The long, lazy summers they used to spend together as children seemed like a million years ago. 

Samira dropped her packages in the living room and threw open the doors onto the terrace letting the warm air flow into the house. The breeze was light but carried the fresh, salt scent of the ocean with it. If it stayed warm, they might take a walk down to the beach after dinner. By now the weather should have turned cooler and autumn well established, but not this year. She crossed the terrace and unlocked the pool house with the key set she kept in the handbag that was never far from her side. She’d never really been a fan of how the pool house was set up. The bar and kitchen were at the back with low couches in a lounge area between that and the French doors which led onto the pool terrace. She would have preferred the bar at least to be closer to the terrace so it was more accessible, and a person could keep connected to the conversation when an alcoholic top up was needed. As soon as that thought crossed her mind, she shook her head at how appallingly boujee that sounded. Poor little rich girl. Her family’s holiday home’s pool house was not to her liking. She’d been around the world enough to know that multiple families could live in that space and be very pleased with the luxury accommodation.

 

 

About the Author 

Kathryn Allen is the author of the novels Ever Man and Last Loose End and a number of short stories. These can be found through Smashwords and Amazon. She enjoys the process of developing characters and hooking elements of plot together to make interesting stories. Kathryn lives in Queensland with her husband and dogs.

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