Spotlight, Excerpt & Author Interview: The Bridge + Giveaway



by J.S. Breukelaar
RELEASE DATE: June 22, 2021
GENRE: Speculative Fiction / Dark Fantasy

Meera and her twin sister Kai are Mades—part human and part not—bred in the Blood Temple cult, which only the teenage Meera will survive. Racked with grief and guilt, she lives in hiding with her mysterious rescuer, Narn—part witch and part not—who has lost a sister too, a connection that follows them to Meera’s enrollment years later in a college Redress Program. There she is recruited by Regulars for a starring role in a notorious reading series and is soon the darling of the lit set, finally whole, finally free of the idea that she should have died so Kai could have lived. Maybe Meera can be re-made after all, her life redressed. But the Regulars are not all they seem and there is a price to pay for belonging to something that you don’t understand. Time is closing in on all Meera holds dear—she stands afraid, not just for but of herself, on the bridge between worlds—fearful of what waits on the other side and of the cost of knowing what she truly is.

Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



After I wrote the story in Marvin’s notebook, I wound my hair into a bun, pulled on a skirt and my thin coat and raced toward the bridge. I balked at the spot where the spiked claws—neither human nor animal—had crooked themselves around the rail. They were not there now—but I knew better than to trust either my faulty imagination or my crappy memory. Best just to pretend they never were. My feet kept moving and if my racing brain calibrated two dark smears at the lower edge of the railing, it stored the image for a rainy day.

I did not slow until I got to the other side.

A velvet mystery hung over the cobbled streets of Wellsburg, and it wrapped around me like a cloak. My whole being leaned into the history lurking around the corners, behind the walls, the listing road signs. My soul dipping into a cool clear stream of a reality that I could steal and make my own. I breathed in the truth of this place—smells of coffee and expensive perfume, and sounds of music and peals of laughter—and felt the cracks inside me fill with possibility.

I smiled.

Backlit water tumbled in the fountain at the center of the Quad. It was warmer on this side of the river, similar to September in the Rim, balmy yet with an edge to the breeze. The fickle nature of the weather had revved up my cough, and a few people looked up as I passed, curious maybe about what kind of weak constitution could be unwell on such a night as this? One look at me, at what I was, told them all they needed to know: cult survivor—endangered species. Their faces glowed with health and flawlessly applied makeup—lipstick that never smeared, mascara that never ran. Their expensive, casually assembled couture clung like a second skin. I felt like a plucked bird, a bad joke with my war paint and kohl-black wings, and I kept my head down.

There were some others like me. Mades and other special-program students from the Tower Village, dancing clumsily to and from electives or from jobs they had in taverns and shops, keeping to the shadows, insisting on their own planned obsolescence.

I didn’t want to be a bad joke.

I passed under the maple and through the granite arch to the Writing and Culture Office. Pagan had said that she would be in class. I was counting on that. Walking through the streets of Wellsburg had jangled my nerves and mixed up the words of the story in my head. I wanted to make Pagan believe in me—see that I was real enough to keep. Invisible in the Blood Temple behind Kai’s larger-than-life protection, only half real in the Starvelings where Narn never forgave me for being the wrong half—all I wanted was to dangerously imagine myself through the gaze of another. To prove that Narn was right, after all, not to throw me in the trash.

Distant music played from the Music and Technology rooms. Someone was practicing a strange diminished chord over and over again. I climbed some stairs and passed a landing illuminated by a huge leadlight window that depicted Eve leading a shamefaced Adam from Eden. Laughter tickled down from the level above and I balked. Kai’s ugly shoes echoed on the stairs. The laughter turned to something else. A moan. The stunted arpeggios from the music room quickened. Adam buried his face in his hands.

I wandered down a wide hallway lined with sconces. The ceiling receded into shadow. I smelled expensive weed, and the moan turned to a sob, getting louder as I neared the restroom. I kept walking. Room 225 was to my left. The door was ajar and I stood on the threshold looking into a small classroom dominated by an oaken table which students sat around with typewritten sheets and notebooks like mine. The walls were of age-defying stone and a stern old-fashioned clock hung behind the instructor, the second-hand juddering. I identified two other Mades, but otherwise it was all Regulars. Pagan lounged with her friends, a gaggle of swans with long necks and lush feathers that caught the light. I sat down facing a high window against which the maple branches flung themselves in the rising wind. Sweat pooled at the small of my back.

The instructor was a nervous Made a few years older than me, with emerald streaks in her hair and a small fierce freckled face. She wore a department store Bohemian skirt and earrings that jangled. She nodded at me, checked my name on the roll, and explained the workshopping process for the benefit of the “latecomers.” We would read from our work, she said, and the class would offer their critique, beginning with the student to her left, and concluding with feedback from Jacinta herself. The other two Mades and I avoided eye contact. There was a quota, but I didn’t know how many places were left, and I wondered if they did either. Were we all competing for the same thing—protection? I felt something in me rise to the ugliness of the game.

There were only females in the class. No males. My heart sunk. Was there no damn place in this whole campus where one could meet a nice young drover, take him upstairs into a room with faded wallpaper like in the Five-Legged Nag? Unbutton his jeans before he knows what you are?

Someone read a chapter from the start of a novel about the end of the world. Another student read a poem about antique tools. The instructor made notes in a yellow pad and everyone commented on the pieces, lies mostly, how much they enjoyed it and how they couldn’t wait to read more. The Regulars were looking aggressively bored or were on their phones, and even then I knew that Jacinta couldn’t have stopped them if she tried. Everything about their attitude suggested that they were less students than paying customers, with a line of credit as long as their necks—she served them. We all did. This was the tomorrow we were being re-Made for. I felt my hopes plunge, my power drain.

Pagan had not acknowledged me. The readings were muffled beneath the roaring in my ears. I was rigid with anxiety. A few Regulars read stories about bad dates and true detectives and dead mothers, none of which we Mades knew anything about. I was to read last, and by then Pagan was asleep with her head on her hands and her sandy quiff flopped over her eyes. I almost felt a sense of relief. At least this way, she couldn’t laugh at me. If she laughed at me, I thought I might die.

I didn’t know whether to stay sitting or stand up. I stayed sitting, kept my eyes on Marvin’s notebook, without really seeing it. At first when I began to haltingly read, nothing happened. I knew my lips were moving, but in my anxiety I could hear no sound. Faces turned to me, pale and tense. I was making no sense. It was all just mumbo-jumbo, a bad joke after all. I heard a titter, saw someone swiping the screen of their phone. I stopped rushing. Tried to slow down to make space for the out-of-joint meaning.

Once I asked Kai what we were, exactly. What the fragments of our being amounted to. “Tell me and we’ll both know,” she’d said.

The story I read was and wasn’t the same as Narn told me on the bridge. It was both more than that, and less . . . There is a man with a raven’s head pulled over his own like a mask. He uses his beak to peck the faces off little girls in their sleep. They wake up every morning with something missing—a-tongue-a-tooth-an-eye, and every night the man-raven returns one thing—a nose haphazardly affixed to an earhole, an eyebrow ripped away and replaced with an upper lip—only to take something else instead.

“Their eyeballs,” I finished very slowly, “squish like grapes between my beak.”

Silence slammed down on the room. The clock stopped ticking and it was no longer a clock but a map. Across the map, place names—Demos, Kokylus, Akheron, Elysion—materialized in symbols I didn’t know I knew. The play of moon-cast shadows through the maple branches bounced the map across the faces in the room, refracted contour and form-lines with no earthly reference, the blur of tongue-twister toponyms, impossible sea levels and nightmarish elevations—a shifting restless map showing directions to nowhere. Pagan smiled in her sleep. Another student rushed from the room and there was a bang of the lavatory door, moaning that I suddenly realized I had not so much heard as foreseen. Jacinta, her freckled forehead sheened with sweat, jumped up from her chair and the markings were stark across her face.

“Stop!” she cried.

A door banged again. Open or shut. Giant wings flapped past the window casting the room in sudden utter darkness, and when they passed in the blink of an eye, the map had gone. The clock was just a clock. The faces of my classmates just pale, stunned faces.

“Why should we listen to this?” Jacinta asked, trembling.

“If someone lived it,” Pagan answered without raising her head. “We should at least be able to listen to it.”


Author Interview:

  1. What inspired you to write this book?

It started with a short story inspired by storytelling itself, by the anxieties we all face at college, and by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is how so many of us feel, especially if we straddle countries, identities, genders, genres, colliding histories. Once I wrote the story I wanted to learn more about this world between the future and the past, between science fiction and magic. So I stayed there. I stayed on the bridge.

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

That it’s incredibly difficult to turn a short story into a novel. I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to give up and start something from scratch.

3. What surprised you the most in writing it?

The place surprised me. The more I explored it, the more I learned about the history of witches, of goddess and demons, of darkling futures that are always present.

4. What does the title mean?

The Bridge refers to a bridge in the novel that connects the old and new campuses of Wellsburg College. The old campus which is where Meera wants to be, and the new campus, purpose built for Mades – survivors of the Blood Temple paradise cult, and made to replicate it in ways that Meera wants desperately to escape.

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

There’s a lot of me in Meera. If I didn’t know that at the start of the novel, I know it now.

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

None whatsoever.

7. What is your favorite part of the book?

That changes depending on my mood. Right now it’s the end.

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

Meera. The main character. She hid from me. I know now why – we have a lot in common. And neither of us wanted to admit it.

9. What are your immediate future plans?

To keep writing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J.S. Breukelaar is the author of Collision: Stories, a 2019 Shirley Jackson Award finalist, and winner of the 2019 Aurealis and Ditmar Awards. Previous novels include Aletheia and American Monster. Her short fiction has appeared in the Dark Magazine, Tiny Nightmares, Black Static, Gamut, Unnerving, Lightspeed, Lamplight, Juked, in Year’s Best Horror and Fantasy 2019 and elsewhere. She currently lives in Sydney, Australia, where she teaches writing and literature, and is at work on a new collection of short stories and a novella. You can find her at and on Twitter and elsewhere @jsbreukelaar.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Perfect Murder + Giveaway

Perfect Murder Tour Banner

Join us for this tour from June 22 to Jul 12, 2021!

Book Title:  The Perfect Murder (a Maximum Security Novel) by Kat Martin
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 yrs +),  344 pages
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher:  HQN
Release date:   June 22, 2021
Tour dates: June 22 to July 12, 2021
Content Rating:  R. Some explicit sexual scenes.


Book Description:

The eldest of the three wealthy Garrett brothers, Reese Garrett is in the middle of a major purchase for his multimillion-dollar oil and gas company, Garrett Resources. The Poseidon offshore drilling platform venture will greatly enhance the company’s value.

But when Reese is on a trip out to see the rig, his helicopter crashes, leaving him hospitalized and two men dead. It’s discovered the chopper was sabotaged, and Reese is determined to find out who’s behind the crash—and whether he was the intended target. Then, when his lover, Kenzie, is accused of her ex-husband’s murder—a man with a vested interest in the Poseidon deal—clues start pointing to a connection that puts Reese, Kenzie and her young son in the sights of a killer.

From the Texas heat to the Louisiana bayous, Reese and his brothers must track down the truth before the body count gets any higher.

Enjoy This Exclusive Excerpt from Kat Martin’s THE PERFECT MURDER!


Chapter One 

Galveston, Texas 

Last Day of July 

Seconds after the chopper lifted off the pad, Reese felt the odd vibration. Along with the pilot and co-pilot and five members of the crew, the Eurocopter EC135 was headed for the Poseidon offshore drilling platform.

For a moment, the ride leveled out and Reese relaxed against his seat. As CEO of Garrett Resources, the billion-dollar oil and gas company he owned with his brothers, he was always searching for the right investment to expand company holdings, the reason he was flying out to the platform.

For months he’d been working with Sea Titan Drilling, the owner of the offshore rig, to complete the five-hundred-million-dollar purchase, an extremely good value when the average price of a similar rig was around six-fifty.

The vibration returned and with it came a grinding noise that put Reese on alert. The men in the cabin began to glance back and forth and shift nervously in their seats. A sharp jolt, then the chopper seemed to fall out of the sky. It climbed again, began to dip and sway, dropped then climbed as the pilot fought for control.

The pilot’s deep voice rumbled through the headset. “We’ve got a problem. I don’t want you to panic, but we need to find a place to set down.”

There was definitely a problem, Reese thought, as the vibration continued to worsen. The chopper was out of control and the whole cabin was shaking as if it would break apart any minute. His pulse was hammering, his adrenalin pumping.

Along with the men in the crew who rode back and forth from the rig every few weeks, he stared out the window toward the ground. They were no longer above the heliport. Clearly the pilot was looking for an open space big enough to handle the thirty-six-foot blade span. All Reese could see were the rooftops of warehouses and metal commercial buildings.
The chopper kept shaking. The crew was grim-faced but resigned. The pilot did something to take the pitch out of the rotors and the chopper started falling.

“No need to worry,” the pilot said. “We’ll auto-rotate down. I’ve done it a dozen times.”

Auto rotate down. Reese knew the concept, the technique helicopter pilots used to land when the engine failed. The trick was to find a safe place to hit the ground.

Both engines went silent. The blades were flat now, the wind whistling through them, tying his stomach into a knot.

“Brace for impact,” the pilot said.

Below them, Reese spotted an open flat slab of asphalt in the yard of a small trucking firm–the only possible landing site anywhere around. Trouble was it didn’t look wide enough to handle the blades.

At the last second, the pilot flared the helicopter in an effort to slow the descent, then the ground rushed up and the chopper hit with a jolt that wracked Reese’s whole body.

For an instant, he thought they were going to make it. Then one of the spinning rotor blades hit the corner of a building and tore free. The Plexiglas bubble shattered as the long metal blades exploded into a hundred deadly pieces, careening like knives through the air, slicing into buildings and the cabin of the helicopter.

Reese didn’t feel the impact. One moment he was conscious, then the world suddenly went black.

Chapter Two

Four weeks later

Dallas, Texas

For McKenzie Haines, her day as Executive Assistant to Reese Garrett, CEO of Garrett Resources, started as usual. After a few minutes spent with her assistant, Kenzie began her early morning briefing with Reese to go over his daily schedule and discuss what he needed her to do.

Seated across the desk from him in his spacious office, she waited as he finished an unexpected phone call. With his wavy jet black hair and amazing blue eyes, Reese was one of the best-looking men Kenzie had ever seen. Keenly intelligent and highly successful, he was a combination of virile masculinity and brooding reserve that attracted women of every age, shape, and size.

She could still see the faint scar on the side of his head near his temple from the helicopter crash that had killed two men and put Reese in the hospital.

At the time of the accident, Kenzie had worked for the company only five months, but in that time, she had come to admire and respect her employer. She could still recall her sharp stab of fear when his brother, Chase, had phoned to inform her of the accident.

Three days later, Reese was back at his desk, running the company with the iron control he was known for. Unfortunately, even now, four weeks after the incident, NTSB investigators remained unable to pinpoint the cause of the crash.
Reese’s phone call ended and his dark head came up, his intense blue eyes swinging toward her, locking on her face. No matter how she worked to ignore it, Kenzie always felt the impact.

“Where were we?” he asked.

“You wanted me to reschedule your visit to the offshore platform.”

“Yes. I’ve put it off too long already.”

“I probably shouldn’t say this, but after what happened, I don’t blame you.”

The corner of his mouth kicked up. “Maybe not, but I want this deal done. We’ve been working on it for months. We need to finish our due-diligence and make it end.”

“Yes, sir. Would you like me to go with you?” Traveling with Reese when he needed her assistance was part of her job, though he hadn’t asked her to go with him the day of the crash, thank God.

One of his rare smiles appeared. “You want to hold my hand in case I get scared in the chopper?”

Kenzie laughed, a little embarrassed he had hit so close to the truth. She liked him, admired him. He could have died that day. “I just thought you might need me.”

“Not this time,” Reese said.

But Kenzie had watched him these past few weeks. The helicopter crash still weighed heavily on his mind. The authorities were investigating and so was Reese.

Kenzie was certain Reese wouldn’t stop until he knew exactly what had happened that day–and why two good men were dead.




Buy the Book:
Amazon ~B&N ~ Indiebound
kobo ~ Google ~ Apple



Meet the Author:New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin. More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. Kat’s latest novel, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, a Romantic Thriller, was released in paperback December 29th. The final 2 books in her Maximum Security series will be release in June, COME MIDNIGHT, a novella was released on June 1st, and THE PERFECT MURDER, a novel in hardcover on June 22nd.

website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads

Tour Schedule:

June 22 –
Cover Lover Book Review – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – The Phantom Paragrapher – book spotlight / giveaway
June 23 – Brooke Blogs – book spotlight / giveaway
June 23 – I Read What You Write – book spotlight / giveaway
June 24 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book spotlight / giveaway
June 24 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
June 24 – Mystery Thrillers & Romantic Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
June 25 – I’m All About Books – book spotlight / giveaway
June 25 – Books for Books – book spotlight
June 28 – Nikki’s Bookstagram – book spotlight
June 28 – Lamon Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
June 29 – Westveil Publishing – book spotlight / giveaway
June 30 – @twilight_reader – book spotlight
June 30 – Buried Under Books  – book spotlight / giveaway
July 1 – Viviana MacKade – book spotlight / giveaway
July 2 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
July 6 – Splashes of Joy – book spotlight / giveaway
July 7 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
July 8 – Laura’s Interests – book spotlight / giveaway
July 9 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
July 9 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
July 12 – Amy’s Booket List – book spotlight / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway:

THE PERFECT MURDER (a Maximum Security Novel) Book Tour Giveaway

Book Blitz & Excerpt: Distracting the Deputy + Giveaway

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On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Distracting the Deputy
(Summer Creek #4)
By Shanna Hatfield
Western Romance, Christian
Paperback & ebook, 301 Pages
June 22, 2021 by Wholesome Hearts Publishing

Trouble is coming . . . but for whom?

When he’s not evading grabby-handed octogenarians, mentoring troubled teens, or rescuing rascally youngsters from disaster, Deputy Knox Strickland can be found upholding the law in the eastern Oregon region he patrols. He avoids making plans for tomorrow, focusing instead on doing his best today. Then one chance encounter with a beautiful woman in a wheat field turns his world upside down. Knox is left questioning what secrets she’s hiding, and how hard he’ll have to work to scale the fortress she’s built around her heart.

Zadie Redmond isn’t like most women. A life spent looking over her shoulder has destroyed the promising future she’d once envisioned. Her days are spent leading hunting and fishing adventures, or teaching tiny ballerinas the proper way to plié. She fills her evenings with do-it-yourself projects while worrying about the day her past catches up with her. In an unexpected moment, the local deputy swoops into her world like a storybook hero and she knows nothing will ever be the same. Zadie will do anything to keep Knox safe from the danger lurking in the shadows, even if it destroys her chance at love.

Will Knox convince Zadie she can trust him with her secrets and her heart?

A sweet romance full of quirky small-town fun, Distracting the Deputy is a story of hope, help, and hanging on to what matters most.

(Affiliate links included.)
For a limited time, the eBook is available at the discounted price of just $2.99.


She rushed out of the store and was loading the pile of groceries into her SUV when a pair of big, tanned hands reached into her cart and lifted five bags, setting them into her vehicle.“Did you help Mrs. Dunigan?” she asked Knox without looking at him. Even if she hadn’t recognized the hands, his delicious scent pervaded her nose and tickled her senses.“I think that ol’ girl might have been quite a player back in her day. She kept squeezing my arm as I helped her with her groceries. After I walked her to her car, she pinched my bum. Twice!” Zadie couldn’t stop the giggle that burst out of her. A picture of Knox trying to help an elderly, frail member of the community only to be accosted by a grabby-handed octogenarian settled in her mind. “Now that’s funny.”“No, it isn’t! It’s unsettling and unnatural, and it made me feel like a hunk of beef in a butcher’s window.”“Oh, poor Knox. He’s too handsome for his own good.” Zadie offered him mock sympathy with her lower lip rolled out in an exaggerated pout while batting her eyelashes at him.He made a growling sound deep in his throat and took a step closer to her. “You keep doing that, and I’ll forget about the promise I made to you in the wheatfield the other night.”She sucked in her lip, set the last bag in the SUV, and slammed the hatch shut. “That won’t be necessary, Deputy Strickland.”Knox rolled his eyes. “Back to that are we? Don’t you think, after what we shared, we could be friends?”“Friends, yes. Anything else, absolutely not.”

About the Series

Summer Creek is one of those small towns—the kind brimming with quirky inhabitants, pets with personalities (like a meandering goat named Ethel), meddling matchmakers, tumbling-down old buildings, and dreams. So many dreams. These sweet, uplifting romances explore the ties that bind a community together when they unite for a common purpose and open their hearts to unexpected possibilities. Heart, humor, and hope weave through each story, touching the lives of those who call Summer Creek home.Readers who love Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series and RaeAnne Thayne’s Haven Point series will enjoy coming home to Summer Creek.
Grab the series from Amazon.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Shanna Hatfield is a farm girl who loves to write. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances are filled with sarcasm, humor, hope, and hunky heroes. When Shanna isn’t dreaming up unforgettable characters, twisting plots, or covertly seeking dark, decadent chocolate, she hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

Blitz Giveaway

One winner will receive autographed copies of the Summer Creek series, Dilettante peppermint truffle crémes (these are SO good!), a cute notebook, a bottle of You’re the One lotion, a Hopeless Romantic dish towel and potholder set, and a swag bag to carry it all! (Value $100+)

One entry per person. Entries must be received by June 30, 2021. Winners will be notified by July 15 and will be given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
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