Spotlight & Author Interview: The Bones of Amoret + Giveaway

BONES OF AMORET AUDIBOOK TOUR BANNER

Join Us for This Tour:  May 2 to May 13

 

 

Book TitleThe Bones of Amoret – A Novel by Arthur Herbert
Category:  Adult Fiction 18+, 320 pages

Length:  10 hours, 59 minutes
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Publisher:  Stitched Smile Publications
Release Date: April 2022
Content Rating:  PG-13 – no sex, explicit or otherwise; almost all violence is off-screen; mild profanity
 
In this enigmatic follow up to his critically acclaimed debut novel The Cuts that Cure, Arthur Herbert returns to the Texas-Mexico border with this saga of a small town’s bloody loss of innocence.

Amoret, Texas, 1982. Life along the border is harsh, but in a world where cultures work together to carve a living from the desert
landscape, Blaine Beckett lives a life of isolation. A transplanted Boston intellectual, for twenty years locals have viewed him as a snob, a misanthrope, an outsider. He seems content to stand apart until one night when he vanishes into thin air amid signs of foul play.

Noah Grady, the town doctor, is a charming and popular good ol’ boy. He’s also a keeper of secrets, both the town’s and his own. He watches from afar as the mystery of Blaine’s disappearance unravels and rumors fly. Were the incipient cartels responsible? Was it a local with a grudge? Or did Blaine himself orchestrate his own disappearance? Then the unthinkable happens, and Noah begins to realize he’s considered a suspect.

Paced like a lit fuse and full of dizzying plot twists, The Bones of Amoret is a riveting whodunit that will keep you guessing all the way to its shocking conclusion. ​ 

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Author Interview

How much of your own personality do you share with your characters?

In both of my first two books, the main characters are exaggerated versions of me.

In 2012, I dealt with a career-threatening case of burnout. I had a boss at the time who rewarded my professional success with more work disguised as opportunities. When my crash and burn came, I went back and looked and realized that I had gone to the hospital or office for 89 straight days, either to work at the hospital or to work on administrative duties or my research. Weekends and holidays were spent playing catch up all day and night instead of relaxing and recharging, and I hadn’t taken a vacation that didn’t have a work component in seven years. When you don’t know how to say the words, “I can’t take that on, I’m too busy,” and throw in a supervisor who treated young faculty members like cannon fodder, figuring that when they flame out and leave he could always just go get another one and plug them in to the vacant spot, that’s a bad combination. I managed to get my head screwed back on straight by learning how to say “no” to requests for my time, and by cutting myself some slack. In my debut novel, The Cuts that Cure, the main character Alex is also a surgeon who deals with these issues, but handles them in…well, I’ll just say a less constructive manner.

In The Bones of Amoret, the main character is a retired doctor in his eighties who’s being interviewed about some events that happened in 1982. He’s gregarious and grounded, full of wit and charm as he interrupts himself with asides about this or that character or series of events. My wife Amy says that’s exactly who I’m going to be at that age. She’s not wrong.

Do you start with plot or characters?

For both of my novels, I had the beginning and the end of the story in my head and a couple of milestones that I figured I’d want to hit along the way. Then I just started telling the stories and leaving it to my imagination to fill in the gaps. I trust the process enough that when it seems like the story wants to go in a different direction I allow it to do so.

I was gratified to find that Stephen King does the same. As an example, I read where Stephen King started Misery thinking it would be a short story or novella, and that he envisioned the ending to be a pan-in on Annie Wilkes hunched over a battered Underwood typewriter trying to mimic Paul Sheldon’s prose so as to keep the Misery character’s story line alive. Meanwhile, the reader’s attention would be drawn to a lampshade next to her that turned out to be made of Paul’s skin. As he got further and further into the story, though he says that Paul Sheldon turned out to be more resourceful than King had originally anticipated, and the story went the way that we all know and love instead.

What surprised you most about the publishing experience?

Easily the thrill I get when fans reach out to me. Every writer has nagging worries in the beginning that all their efforts, the hours and hours that go into writing a novel, are only going to result in a project that never makes it outside their immediate circle of friends and family. I heard Sylvester Stallone once say he was worried at the time he was making Rambo that it was going to be the world’s most expensive home movie. I can absolutely relate to that, and frankly if that’s where things had stopped after the first book I don’t know that I would have followed up with a second. But with the commercial success of The Cuts that Cure, I’m happy to say that it seems I’m slowly chipping away at building a following among the general reading public. And when I get an email from a stranger, somebody who took the time to sit down and drop me a quick note saying how much they enjoyed this thing I yanked out of my brain, it’s just really, really gratifying in a way I wouldn’t have predicted at the outset.

What are the best and worst pieces of advice you’ve gotten about writing?

Hands down, the best piece of advice I’ve gotten is to write every day. It’s like a muscle, and if you don’t exercise it, your writing will suffer. I still have to do lots of scientific, expository writing for my day job (last time I checked I have 117 peer-reviewed scientific publications and about a dozen medical book chapters) so the writing I’m referencing doesn’t always get to be fiction, but it’s rare that a day goes by without my working on one or the other. I do set goals for my fiction writing, though, and I usually try really hard to hit 5000 words a week. Hitting that goal is aspirational, and it isn’t always easy. Witness the fact that as I’m writing this it’s a Saturday morning and I’ve been working on book stuff since 4:30 am. The difference between working on things like this interview, though, and the old days when I spent my days off at the office catching up on, say, an overdue policy statement for the Hospital ad hoc Committee for Prevention of Ventilator Associated Pneumonia in the ICU is that I actually find this to be a source of enjoyment and relaxation.

The worst advice I’ve gotten is about marketing free materials. Many if not most of the advice one will get on book marketing in 2022 concerns the use of “reader magnets,” i.e. those giveaways in which you give a book to a reader for free in return for their subscribing to your mailing list. I did so aggressively at first, accruing well over 2000 emails on my subscriber list at one point. I was disappointed to find, though, that those names rarely translated to sales when the novels were subsequently released. I had much more success when I just gave the book away with no mandatory email sign up so that there were no expectations on either my part or that of the reader. Then, at the end of the free book, I just included a note saying, hey, if you liked this book feel free to sign up at the link to get my newsletter. I’ve found that those nonmandatory sign ups are much, much “stickier” (to use a marketing phrase). If you’d like a free copy of my collection of short stories called Lockdown, CLICK HERE to see what I’m talking about.


Meet the Author:

Arthur Herbert was born and raised in small town Texas. He worked on offshore oil rigs, as a bartender, a landscaper at a trailer park, and as a social worker before going to medical school. He chose to do a residency in general surgery, followed by a fellowship in critical care and trauma surgery. For the last eighteen years, he’s worked as a trauma and burn surgeon, operating on all ages of injured patients. He continues to run a thriving practice.

He’s won multiple awards for his scientific writing, and his first novel, The Cuts that Cure, spent ten days as an Amazon #1 Best Seller. His second novel, The Bones of Amoret, will be released on April 1, 2022 through Stitched Smile Publishers. Arthur currently lives in New Orleans, with his wife Amy and their dogs.

connect with the author: website twitter facebook ~ goodreads


Tour Schedule:

May 2 –
Mystery Review Crew – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

May 3 – Kam’s Place – book spotlight
May 3 – Cover Lover Book Review – audiobook review / giveaway
May 4 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 5 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 5 – Deborah-Zenha Adams – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 6 – Books for Books – audiobook review 
May 9 – Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews – audiobook review
May 9 – Novels Alive – audiobook review / giveaway
May 10 – Splashes of Joy – audiobook review / giveaway
May 11 – Booking With Janelle – audiobook review / author interview / giveaway
May 11 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review / giveaway
May 12 – @twilight_reader – audiobook review / giveaway
May 13 – Bigreadersite – audiobook review / giveaway
May 13 – Faith and Books – audiobook review / giveaway
TBD –Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – audiobook review / author interview / giveaway
TBD – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway

BONES OF AMORET Audiobook Tour Giveaway

 

Book Blitz & Excerpt: Karma’s Kiss + Giveaway

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Karma’s Kiss by M.C. Roth

General Release Date: 26th April 2022

Word Count: 63,879
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 230

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
ANGELS AND DEMONS
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
PARANORMAL
THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE
WERESHIFTERS

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Book Description


Karma isn’t the worst curse to have after all.

Zack is running from his family, his past and a curse that has tainted his life since childhood. Fleeing his temporary home for the sake of his ex-boyfriend, Zack becomes stranded in a snow drift in the middle of nowhere, wearing nothing more than a spring jacket and an old pair of running shoes. Resigning himself to freezing to death, he is rescued by Eric, an irresistible man who treads the line between kindness and discourtesy.

Zack quickly realises that Eric’s home is a different kind of frozen hell. There is no electricity in the tiny one-room cabin, no running water and definitely no Wi-Fi.

But Eric is more than just a man. He is the only one who seems to be immune to Zack’s curse, and he has secrets of his own. Eric may be more dangerous than anything Zack has ever seen before.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and the death of a secondary character.

Excerpt

“No. No. No,” said Zack as he pushed the gas pedal all the way to the floor. The ancient car responded sluggishly, a full second passing before the engine vibrated with a purr that made his foot go numb. The bald tyres spun, trapped in a sheet of ice and snow that coated the road and the lone vehicle.

The storm sagged against the windshield as the wipers tried lethargically to keep up, leaving large, frosted streaks with every swipe. With each pass, the ice crystals grew denser, coating the wipers with budding globs of ice.

Another burst of wind battered the side of the car, fluttering against the door and buffeting the tiny cracks in the vehicle. A trickle of cold air brushed against his chilled knuckles, and a shiver cascaded though his body.

The vehicle lurched closer to the ditch that had disappeared into the blizzard’s cloud. The tyres caught, edging sideways in a frozen rut. He jerked at the steering wheel, but there was no response as he was buried deeper in the drifts.

Zack’s heart pounded as he lost control of the wheel and the engine sputtered. But he barely noticed as the car lurched into a stall or as the air got even colder through the flimsy heating vents. The storm was the furthest thing from his mind.

It had happened again. And, of course, it had chosen the moment when the biggest snowstorm of the decade was blowing its way across the lakes. The radar had probably gone from red to purple then black while he’d driven with no destination in mind.

The roads had been relatively clear a few hours before, when he had fled to his car, putting it straight into second gear before he even had his seat belt on. He had hit the highway, flipping a virtual coin to choose the exit he’d take before the heavy flakes had started drifting down from the grey sky.

He shuddered. His darkness—his curse—the thing had haunted him for as long as he could remember… It always seemed to choose the worst moments to rear its ugly, jealous head. This had to be one of the top five of all time, though.

He had tried to keep moving. He’d tried to leave before he could put anyone else at risk.

But he’d been sucked in by another pair of sweet blue eyes and a soft voice that had promised him a good night. That night had turned into a stream of great weeks and gentle touches that had him coming more consistently than he ever had.

The sex had been fantastic, if not a little bit soft, more often ending in his mouth or his hand—and not somewhere better, tighter and hotter. His nights hadn’t been cold in an empty hotel bed or on a couch that he had claimed during a stranger’s party. He had started to look forwards to waking up in the morning and seeing someone other than himself in his bed.

Then it had all gone wrong. One word and a spurned rejection, and his past had caught up with him with the force of a starving tiger. He’d staggered as he’d felt the blood drain from his face.

He had fled before anything could happen to the man who he had almost started to like. If he’d had the opportunity, he could have developed full-blown feelings, which were more dangerous than his curse.

He’d grabbed everything in sight that belonged to him, leaving more behind than he’d taken. His socks and underwear were lost beneath the bed and in the basket of laundry, but he hadn’t had the time to retrieve them. They weren’t the worst things that he’d ever left behind.

He’d had run to his ancient Honda, breathing hard by the time he had tugged the door open. As he’d sped away, he’d left another chunk of his past behind him, the sweet memories tainted by his bitter curse. The traffic had steadily thinned, until he was the only car in the midst of a forest that seconded as a snowy hell.

His trusty Honda was only five years younger than him and had more problems than he did, which was saying a lot. Its most recent issue was that it apparently couldn’t drive through more than two centimetres of fresh snow.

He fumbled with the key, glancing out into the bleak stretch of swirling snow as he tried to start the engine yet again. Stomping on the gas, he waited for the RPMs to climb into the red zone before popping the clutch and putting the car directly into second gear. First gear didn’t exactly work, and on ice, it was its own death trap.

There was a shuddering jerk that had relief flooding his gut, until the car rocked once and stalled back into silence. The dials dropped and the fuzzy radio station faded until the barest hint of the country song vanished under the sound of the wind.

“Shit,” he said as he slammed his hand against the steering wheel. It shuddered, barely holding on to its rigging after his repeated abuse. He could imagine the wheel finally tumbling off as he merged lanes on a highway doing one-hundred-and-thirty-five kilometres per hour. I’m lucky like that.

His palm ached from the hit and the cold that was steadily seeping into the car, but it didn’t stop him from slamming the wheel a second time. His thumb caught the edge of the horn, but the blaring sound was swept away on the wind.

The temperature inside the car noticeably dropped another few degrees, and his breath turned into a misty fog that coated everything it touched. The car’s heater was lukewarm at best, and without a working defrost, ice had started to crust on even the inside of the windshield.

He turned the key again as he popped the car back into neutral and pushed the clutch to the floor. He shivered as another gust of wind cut into the Honda. His thin jacket was best suited for balmy fall days, but it was the only one that had been in sight as he’d scrambled to leave. His toes were numb in his sneakers, and his hands? Well, he was afraid to look at them, because he wouldn’t be surprised if a few fingers were already missing. His gloves had been one of the many things that he had left behind, and his hands had been aching since the snow had started.

The car key turned under his hand, jingling with the other attached keys and mementos that he had picked up on his travels. There was a tiny metal sandal that he’d picked up in a beach town and an iron sun from a gift shop that he’d found in the middle of nowhere. The rest were worn, their edges smooth from their constant motion. He kept them close, so he wouldn’t have to look back and remember.

The key turned, with the promise of escape and a hint of heat. Silence. Not even a putter from the flooded engine. His gut churned as a shiver racked his body. It was so freaking cold, and according to the last clear announcement on the radio, the storm was just getting started.

He grappled with the horn, pushing the button as hard as he could. There had to be someone close by who would come to his rescue if they heard him honking. People in the city might not have looked twice, but he was pretty far into the wilderness, on the only road that probably ever saw a plough in winter. People were different out here—lonelier.

The button clicked under his palm as the battery finally gave out. The same battery had lasted him twenty years, so, of course, it would choose to fail him when he was about to lose his toes.

Zack took a shuddering breath as his vision blurred and his heart sank. He wrapped his arms around himself, trying to keep the warmth from escaping. Perhaps everything was finally catching up with him. Freezing to death wouldn’t be the worst way to go. He’d seen worse before—so much worse. His stomach clenched as memories fluttered to the surface of his mind. He tried to push them away before he could retch.

“Look at the snow. Just look at the snow,” he said, holding himself tighter as he tried to focus on an individual flake in the whirling mass—anything to leave the flashes of his past behind.

Beyond the window he could see bits of the forest through the gaps in the gathering ice on the windshield. The road was nearly invisible, with no tyre tracks except his own behind him. Even those were almost gone now.

A green bough fluttered in the wind, dumping its heavy load onto the ground below it. A bird fluttered from the branch, battling against the wind as it took off. For a moment, it looked like it would lose the fight and be tossed into the nearest tree trunk. It pumped its wings faster, finally triumphing over the storm.

There were no hydro lines along the road or lamp posts that would guide a traveller along at night. It was a tourist’s nightmare. He cursed himself, wondering if he should’ve taken the other fork in the road that had probably led along a path that was closer to the city.

A smudge of colour caught his eye as it flashed along the very edge of the trees. The trunks grew close together, dark and foreboding within the mass, and their limbs danced and swayed in the wind, dumping the snow back to the earth with each pass. There was so much movement that he wondered if he had imagined the blur.

He squinted and leaned closer to the window, trying to make sense of it through the fluttering snow. It could have been a deer. He’d already seen a few along the way, looking ready to jump out at his car and double his insurance. Or it could have been a bear, given how far he’d come, although he’d only ever seen them on television. The dark beacon had looked too small to be the creature he’d seen on Planet Earth.

He spotted it again as the wind stilled and the blizzard cleared for a moment. It moved through the snow with a fluid grace that could only belong to an animal who could survive a harsh winter. Nothing battered or beaten lived in this cold, and no predator could thrive without hunting in the perpetual storm that was February.

It grew closer with every loping step, until it seemed larger than what he imagined a bear would be. It was fast, too, cutting through the drifts as if it weighed nothing. Zack knew how hard it was to walk through snow that deep, which was why he usually avoided it at all costs. That, and he really didn’t want to get his too-tight jeans wet.

Zack scrubbed the inside of the window with his nails, bits of ice stinging his numb fingertips. His breath frosted it over again, until everything blurred.

It could have been a dog with how dark the colouring was, but he’d never seen a dog that big. A bear would definitely make more sense, but according to the television, bears hibernated in the winter.

The ice on the window thickened into an opaque crystal as he pressed his forehead against it, desperate to see what was coming. It was running at a pace that was hardly possible over the covered ground, gliding over the snow without seeming to disturb it at all.

A bubble of fear simmered in his gut as he pictured a bear breaking through his window with its massive, clawed paws. He was small enough that he wouldn’t be able to put up much of a fight, but there was still enough meat on him to make a decent meal, he supposed.

He took a deep breath, closing his eyes to try to ground himself. The wind around him paused, the car going suddenly still and silent. He snapped his eyes back open, looking through the tiny gaps from his fingertips. There was nothing but the dark tree trunks capped with pure white.

The seat creaked as he freed himself from the seatbelt and lifted himself to his knees, pressing against a strip of clear glass. He blinked, rubbing his eyes to remove the imagined fog, but nothing appeared. The snow was undisturbed, except for the partially covered ruts from his own tyres. There were no footprints, and no animal was out in the wind.

I’m officially losing my mind.

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About the Author

M.C. Roth

M.C. Roth lives in Canada and loves every season, even the dreaded Canadian winter. She graduated with honours from the Associate Diploma Program in Veterinary Technology at the University of Guelph before choosing a different career path.

Between caring for her young son, spending time with her husband, and feeding treats to her menagerie of animals, she still spends every spare second devoted to her passion for writing.

She loves growing peppers that are hot enough to make grown men cry, but she doesn’t like spicy food herself. Her favourite thing, other than writing of course, is to find a quiet place in the wilderness and listen to the birds while dreaming about the gorgeous men in her head.

Find out more about M.C. Roth at her website.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Stars Forgot Us + Giveaway

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The Stars Forgot Us
by R.J. Garcia
Published by: Midnight Tide Publishing
Publication date: March 30th 2022
Genres: Paranormal, Suspense, Young Adult

Fifteen-year-old Jacob Kelly would love to go back to simpler times. Before his parents’ divorce and the onset of his brother’s Schizophrenia. But when he returns to his hometown, things feel off. After a series of strange occurrences, Jacob fears his new house is haunted or worse, yet he is losing his mind.

To his surprise, Jacob discovers a mysterious teenage runaway, Sanctuary Daniels, living in the house. She reveals she has been kept by a figure known only as Mother, in a place where downstairs children are languishing prisoners, and upstairs children do Mother’s bidding.

Jacob’s investigation into Sanctuary’s allegations, along with their budding romance, are cut short when she is reclaimed by evil beings. Beings who unleash terror upon Jacob and his family. Now he must journey to a real haunted house to save his first love and fight for his very life.

Goodreads / Amazon


Excerpt:

I made it to the steps and heard Michael crying but went up anyway. Passing by, I peeked at him and my mom in his new room. He was strewn across the bed, convulsing in tears of furious sobbing. Our mom hovered, trying to comfort him.
Once down the hall, I slid into my room and sat on the bed.
I made my way to a Pepto Bismol pink bathroom. Mom had hooked up our old shower curtain with the silver dragonflies on it. After a quick scrub and rinse, the old pipes loudly screeched as they shuddered off. I dried and dressed before wiping away the steam on the mirror, analyzing my reflection. My hair was too curly, and my eyelashes too long. After being teased in the first grade, I’d cut them off, but they grew back with a vengeance. I continued to move my face to my most flattering angles and decided to stop being a weirdo and go to sleep.
I returned to my room to find the closet door was slightly ajar. It was closed before, yet maybe my mom had been here and put something away. I opened it and flicked on the overhead closet light. Nothing was there except for my clothes and two cardboard boxes I had put there earlier that read Jacob’s crap. Only this time, there was writing on the wall in black marker. I would have noticed it.
I scratched my head and read the words out loud, “The sky was a dark tomb. The stars forgot us, but it didn’t matter. We ran. We ran. We ran. And hid so no one would find us.”
I swallowed thickly. What? Oh, hell, Michael. I shot down the hall and stuck my head in his room. “What did you write? Part of a story or something? Or are you just messing with me?” Only then did I remember offending him and added, “Sorry about earlier, just don’t write on my walls. Okay?”
“I didn’t write anything. Get lost.”
Michael didn’t lie about any of the dumb shit he did. On the other hand, I suppose there was a first time for everything. “Whatever,” I mumbled and said, “Good night.” Hesitating, I drummed my fingers on the doorframe. Mike still ignored me, so I darted off.
I was drawn to the closet again, examining each word. I couldn’t be a hundred percent sure, but it didn’t look like Michael’s handwriting. It appeared loopier, almost resembling calligraphy.
Then I looked around the rest of my room. There wasn’t much to see. I only had a full-size bed and a small dresser. Still, my eyes inspected every square inch of the space. The weirdness hijacking my usual sarcastic edge. I closed the closet, sprawling out across the bed, and searched for schizoaffective disorder on my phone. It was pretty much what my mom described. I read the words genetic component and placed the phone on my chest, trying not to think about it. The wind continued to battle the shutter, and the rain poured. My eyes went to the window with the heavy, mustard yellow curtains we’d left up for now. Of course, the lights flickered, and a cold chill crept in. The house was full of bad omens.


Author Bio:

R.J. Garcia is a wife and proud mom. She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has published several non-fiction pieces. She has been writing short-stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


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