Thursday, June 8, 2023

n It’s Not All About You by Elisabeth L. Morrissey: Review, Interview

It's Not All About You by Elisabeth L. Morrissey
It's Not All About You: Living with a Transsexual Spouse or Partner by Elisabeth L. Morrissey 

Publisher: Thursday Night Press, an imprint of DX Varos Publishing (May 23, 2023)
Category: LGBT, Self-Help, Relationships, Non-Fiction
Tour Dates May 23-June 15, 2023
ISBN: 978-1655065-870
Available in Print and ebook, 273 pages

  It's Not All About You

Description It's Not All About You by Elisabeth L. Morrissey


Your husband tells you he’s transsexual. 

Do you drop him like a hot rock? Could it possibly work out? Read this book! Includes: the transsexual process, talking to others, assessing your relationship, finding therapists, maintaining your marriage, jealousy, helping your children adjust, and more. Also, for the woman who falls in love with a transsexual. It's not all about him. It's about you.

Review It's Not All About You by Elisabeth L. Morrissey

Review by Suzie

Everything your spouse does reflects on you. This is a decision that we make when we get married, and sometimes it can mean changes that you never would've expected.

Maybe you always thought you'd have the perfect, normal life, the white picket fence, the 2.5 kids, but one day your husband informs you that he has decided to come out as transgender, and your whole world gets turned upside down.

What do you do next? Author Elisabeth L. Morrissey aims to answer that questions with her book, “It's Not All About You, Living with a Transsexual Spouse or Partner.”

Elisabeth has been married to a trans woman for many years, and has faced a lot of push back from society for this.

Though she has no idea whether it's a good idea for you, the reader, and your spouse to stay together, Elisabeth provides quite a bit of advice on the topic that can help you make the decision yourself.

I personally found her stories about the different situations that her trans friends have faced to be both funny and sad.

Of course, coming out as trans is not something that is easily done, and it takes a lot of strength to support someone through this process.

'It's Not All About You,' has a section on everything from the emotional changes that your spouse or partner will be dealing with, to the changes that they may experience in their healthcare.

Everything that you and your trans spouse need to know is in this book!

The author writes like a friend that you've known for years giving you advice. I found myself laughing out loud at points and crying at others.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone who is going through this difficult change, or for anyone who wishes to learn more about the transgender community. 

Guest Post by Elisabeth L. Morrissey

 Asking For Help: I’ve got to talk to somebody!

After the initial shock wears off and you can breathe again, your first instinct may be to call your best girlfriend and tell her everything. But when you stop to think a minute about what you want to confide in her about, it brings you up short. Even if you’ve always said you could tell her anything, can you really talk to her about this?

How about your mother? If she never understood what you saw in your partner to begin with, this could be all she needs to purely hate him—hurting her baby like that! So who can you talk to?

This is a case where a professional may be the best choice. If you’ve never seen a therapist before, I can imagine being quite resistant to the idea. Your husband is the one with the problem, right?

Wrong! You have a lot to sort out and the last thing you need is anyone with any sort of bias, other than helping you figure out what is best for you. Any competent practitioner will have your best interests as a focus. They have no personal stake in the outcome. They can help you weigh and measure your relationship, providing feedback while you figure out whether this is something you can adjust to or if it’s a deal-breaker.

A professional can also help you work out who to tell and how to tell them. In your distress, you might blurt out information to people who have absolutely no need to know. Even those who need to be told eventually may not need to know yet. Also, different people need different amounts of information when it is appropriate.

Exploring how you really feel about what’s happening and how your relationship with your partner may change is emotionally draining. Even if you do have a friend you can talk to, you need to talk a lot! It may be all you can think about for the next while, and that kind of intense focus (some will call it an obsession) can wear a friend out. This work is easier to do with the help of someone you can trust and who isn’t personally invested in the outcome.

I strongly recommend that you try to find someone who has some familiarity with gender issues. If you live in or near a decent-sized city, this should not be difficult. If you live in a small town, it may be more of a challenge. A therapist who specializes in marriage and family therapy and has some experience at least with gay and lesbian issues is an acceptable second choice. A good marriage counselor will do, if it’s the best you can get in your area. Don’t forget, the therapist works for you; this person is not an authority figure. It’s okay to argue, disagree with or, if you don’t feel like you’re making progress, even fire your therapist and seek out another.

You may also want to consider joint therapy with your spouse in addition to your individual counselors. I don’t recommend seeing either of your personal therapists for this purpose. Both may be perfectly competent, but if they are doing what you hired them to do, they will be advocating for their primary client. You need someone who is on the “side” of the marriage, someone who is willing to tell either of you that you’re flat wrong if your behavior is endangering the relationship.

  A while back, Karen’s personal therapist retired, and she began looking for a new one. Our joint therapist offered to step in and become her new doctor. We couldn’t veto that fast enough. I knew that if she saw Karen privately, I’d never be able to trust her to advocate for the marriage again. Karen agreed with me, so she gave Karen a referral that has worked out well.

©Elisabeth L. Morrissey

It's Not All About You by Elisabeth L. MorrisseyAbout Elisabeth L. Morrissey

Elisabeth Morrissey learned a lot as a volunteer for several years at the Gender Identity Center of Colorado, a transgender support organization, and from her twenty-five-year marriage to a male-to-female transsexual. She is otherwise a homemaker and support system for her spouse, Karen. 

 Website: https://www.dxvaros.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/DXVaros
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elmorrissey
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100049203941245

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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Release Blitz: Holidays & Hookups

 

 ★✩★ RELEASE BLITZ ★✩★

Holidays & Hookups

A Vacation Romance Collection 

Romance Café Collection Book 22

Goodreads: 

Hosted by DS Book Promotions


Thursday, April 27, 2023

Release Tour: Rock My World

 

 ✩✩✩ RELEASE TOUR ✩✩✩

Rock My World 

A Rockstar Romance Collection 

Romance Café Collection Book 21

Goodreads: 

Hosted by DS Book Promotions


Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Series Reveal and Preorder: Solhaven Forevers by Liz Martinson

 

 ✩✩✩ SERIES REVEAL & PREORDER ✩✩✩

Solhaven Forevers

Love By Sunset – Book 1

Love By Moonlight – Book 2

Love By Sunrise – Book 3

By Liz Martinson

Publisher: The Romance Café

Cover Designer: The Cover Fling

Hosted by DS Book Promotions



Where No One Will See by Felicia Watson: Review, Excerpt

Where No One Will See by Felicia Watson
Where No One Will See by Felicia Watson 

Publisher:  DX Varos Publishing (April 11, 2023) 
Category: Mystery, Detective Mystery 
Tour Dates April 17-May 19, 2023 
ISBN: 978-1955065788 
Available in Print and ebook, 271 pages

  Where No One Will See

Description Where No One Will See by Felicia Watson

Lucia Scafetti, a Philly private eye, has tried to move out of the shadow of her infamous crime family. She has her own business, her beloved dog Rocco, and she’s starting to date the cute lawyer down the hall. Her life is upended when her notorious hitman father disappears while in search of the diamond and gold coins he stole from his last victim. 

 Lucia races to unravel the mystery of her father’s disappearance before a crooked and powerful cop beats her to it. Though Lucia’s allies are scanty and her enemies numerous, she tries to resist the questionable help on offer from her Mafiosi family. It looks like Lucia must finally decide on which side of the law she truly belongs, knowing the wrong choice could send her to prison – or an early grave.

Excerpt Where No One Will See by Felicia Watson

 
Coolly perching on the edge of the desk, she looked up at the man who, as in her youth, towered over her. “What are you doing here?”

“That’s all you got to say after all these years? How ‘bout, ‘It’s good to see you, Dad’?” When she refused to respond, Carlo muttered, “I guess it’s not good. I guess if you’d’ve wanted to see me, you wouldn’t’ve stopped coming to visit after my mom died.”

“You weren’t due to be released until September,” she insisted, as if stating that bald fact could somehow cause the apparition before her to vanish and give her back those weeks she’d been counting on to prepare for this event.

“The DA arranged for it. They call it a quiet release.” With a casual shrug he admitted, “I got a lotta’ enemies.”

“I’ll bet.” She smacked herself in the forehead. “Oh, this is why mom is coming into town. She’s here for you.”

“That’s right – we’re going away together. I gotta’ take care a’ some business and then we’re leaving right after Sunday dinner.”

“What business—” she started to ask before saying, “You know what? I don’t even wanta’ know.” While recoiling at the thought that she’d never again see her mom without having to see her father, too, she reconsidered the implications of her mother’s message. “Does the rest of the family know about you getting out?”

“Most’ll find out on Sunday. Only a few – Zia Pina, Zio Vince, Patsy – already know.” He crossed his arms and glared at her. “The few who visited me this decade.”

“Sorry I didn’t wanta’ keep visiting the man who turned my world upside down and marked me with his name.” Carlo shook his head in disgust, angling his body away from her while her complaints gathered steam. “Growing up, I thought you were a good man – a baker who visited his mom every day and walked me to church every Sunday. The man who bought me the fancy dress for my First Holy Communion when Mom worried it cost too much and Grandma said it would look silly on a girl my size. Then I lost that man – in the worst possible way.”

Turning back, he pleaded, “You didn’t lose him. He’s right here.”

“No, he never existed. I never had that father. I had the man who murdered people for money.”

“You always do this,” Carlo growled. “You make it sound so bad…it wasn’t like that.”

“Yes, it was,” she snapped. “I wish I was smart enough to make what you did sound worse than it was.”

With a curled lip, Carlo shot back, “You think I don’t know you got a notch on your own gun?” She glared while he explained, “Your mom told me all about that.”

“I’ll bet she did. I’ll bet she told you it was in no way comparable to murdering eight people in cold blood!” Saying it out loud, opened the wound that never seemed to heal. “Gesù, Giusep, Marie, eight people.”

“I wasn’t killing no choir boys. Anyone I took care of…they had it coming.”

“Well, now I know where mom learned that particular line of bullshit.”

“How do you know she learned that from me? Maybe I learned if from her.” With an insolent grin, he added, “I learned plenty from her.”

“Okay, we’re done here.”

“No, we’re not. Where’s my stuff?” She stared at him, at a loss for words, until he clarified, “The trunk of stuff Grandma left for you to hold on to for me.”

“Oh yeah. It’s out in the hall bathroom.”

“What!” Carlo bellowed. “You left my stuff out where anybody could’ve stolen it? What the hell’s wrong with you?”

“In the first place,” she stated through clenched teeth, “only I have a key to that bathroom, and in the second, who in the world is interested in stealing twenty-year-old suits?”

“It ain’t just suits! Where’s your grandma’s things? The mink I bought her and—”

“It’s all there. I just…checked on that mink last year.”

They were both startled by a knock at the door. Juli called, “Lucia? You almost ready to go?”

Lucia dashed over to the door and cracked it open, trying to shield Carlo from Juli’s line of sight. “Hi. Um, I’m with a client. You guys go on ahead and I’ll meet you there.”

“Okay.” Juli didn’t immediately leave, studying Lucia’s face instead. “Is everything all right?”

“Yeah…everything’s fine. I just gotta’ settle up with this guy and then I’ll be on my way.”

With that assurance she left, calling out, “Hurry or you’re gonna’ miss the free wings. We’ll warm up a table for you.”

Lucia turned back to her father who immediately asked, “Who’s the—”

“You better think very carefully about your word choice here.”

“Or what?”

“Or maybe you don’t get your stuff tonight.”

He shrugged and snickered, “We all used that word on the inside, you know.”

“You’re not in Graterford, Dad. You’re in my office, on my turf.”

“Fine. Who’s the colored lady?”

She winced at the term he had settled on but let it go, figuring he had chosen it purposely to irk her. “Juli is a good friend of mine. Now, let me get your trunk and you can be on your way. Wait here.”

©Felicia Watson

Review Where No One Will See by Felicia Watson

Just when P.I. Lucia Scafetti thinks that she is getting her life in order, things start rapidly spinning out of control again.

Growing up in a well-known crime family, Lucia is content to stay on the right side of the law and try her best to sanitize her personal image in the eyes of the public. And she's doing pretty well, that is, until her notorious father shows up at her door, fresh off an 18-year prison sentence.  He is trying to find an item that he left with his mother all those years ago. She died while he was in prison.

Lucia is naturally suspicious of her father. After all, the man is a former hitman who also reportedly stole a diamond and a collection of gold coins that have never been found. Even worse, Lucia is soon informed that her father has gone missing and may be dead.

Lucia doesn't believe for a second that her father is actually dead, but she knows that she needs to find out where he has gone, especially after another body turns up that has a connection to her family.

Lucia is soon questioned by the police, as she was seen arguing with the second victim shortly before his death and the man was killed in the same way that her father used to kill his victims. Obviously, none of this is looking good for Lucia, who only wishes to focus on her business and date her new beau, a lawyer named Hank who has just moved into her building.

Felicia Watson is a dynamite writer. I loved her sense of pacing. Each new scene really moved the plot along and the final destination was both surprising and totally in line with the rest of the story.

'Where No One Will See,' is a fascinating crime novel that asks the famous question about whether blood is thicker than water, but in a new an exciting way.

 

Awards for Felicia Watson

EVVY Award for Science Fiction, 2020 -We Have Met the Enemy 

2022 Independent Press Book Awards, Distinguished Favorite Science Fiction Series 1st Place for the entire Lovelace Series

Where No One Will See by Felicia WatsonAbout Felicia Watson

Felicia Watson, author of the ground-breaking romance, Where the Allegheny Meets the Monongahela, and the award-winning scifi novels, The Lovelace Series, started writing stories as soon as they handed her a pencil in first grade. 

 When not writing, Felicia spends her time chasing after her not-so-brilliant, but darling and beloved dogs, being chased by her truly brilliant, darling, and beloved husband. She is known to friends and family as an amateur pastry chef and still finds time for swimming and her day job as a scientist. 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/feliciatheauthor/


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  Where No One Will See by Felicia Watson

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Sex, Drugs, and Spiritual Enlightenment by Karuna Das: Review, Guest Post

Sex Drugs and Spiritual Enlightenment
Sex, Drugs, and Spiritual Enlightenment (but mostly the first two) by Karuna Das 

Publisher:  DX Varos Publishing (March 28, 2023)
Category: General Fiction, Fictionalized Memoir
Tour Dates: April 4-21, 2023
ISBN: 978-1955065764
Available in Print and ebook, 280 pages

  Sex Drugs and Spiritual Enlightenment

Description Sex, Drugs, and Spiritual Enlightenment by Karuna Das


On the cusp of turning eighteen, it’s time for Drew Lovell to become a man.

But deep within, Drew has questions—ones he doesn’t know how to phrase—about what that means and how to go about it. 

During three intense stretches between 1985 and 1993, taking him into his mid-twenties, Drew undergoes a series of profound experiences—often wild, sometimes painful, and always revealing—that force him to rethink his current assumptions. Only after nearly dying from trying to conform to conventional models of masculinity does he begin to become the man he wants to be and not the one he thought the world required him to be. Still, he’s unable to live with full integrity until interaction with a pair of awakened humans inspires new awareness that helps him at long last embrace the truth of who he is.


Review Sex, Drugs, and Spiritual Enlightenment by Karuna Das

'Sex, Drugs, and Spiritual Enlightenment (but mostly the first two),' by Karuna Das,' is a kaleidoscopic adventure through the escapades—both sexual and otherwise-- of a young man right on the cusp of adulthood.

Andrew Lovell begins the book as a young man trying to prove his manhood to his friend, who insists that he cannot be a man until he has had sex with a woman.

Over the course of the next eight years, Andrew, or, as he is called by his friends, Drew, spends his time enjoying life and working toward becoming a professional writer. But all along, something is missing for him that he cannot determine. He finds himself seeking something that he cannot even name.

It is only through accomplishing enough as a writer that he is able to meet his favorite author that he finally discovers the spiritual enlightenment he had been seeking his entire life and comes to terms with his own bisexuality.

In the afterword section, the author refers to this book as a 'fictionalized memoir,' writing that some parts are true, but others are embellished, and encourages readers to find the parts of the novel that rang true for them. I can see exactly what he means by that, and I was very interested to read this type of novel for the first time.

Karuna Das has a varied and very readable talent for writing. I found myself pulled into the narrative on this one right away, and I appreciated the way that the different sections of the book were broken up to reveal different parts in the author's life.

This was an intriguing look into the life (or, sometimes the mind) of a man who seems to have done a lot in his lifetime. I would be interested to read more from this author! 

 

Guest Post by Karuna Das


Why the focus on sex and drugs over spiritual enlightenment? 

I’ve been asked “Why the focus on sex and drugs over spiritual enlightenment?” when it comes to the title of this novel. The truth is I added the parenthetical emphasis on the first two elements long after I’d completed the manuscript and started shopping it to agents and publishers. Several factors influenced the decision.

I sometimes jokingly say the title is an admission that the book offers something to alienate everyone. (I hope the three elements, individually or in their potentially surprising juxtaposition, attract some people as well. My publisher and I are sort of counting on it.) Regardless, my impression is that the part most likely to raise eyebrows is the third, despite the “sensational” aspects of the others. I can appreciate why that might be. 

For starters, what’s commonly understood as enlightenment is a myth, as echoed in these words from one spiritual teacher whose offerings tend to resonate with me:

“The English word ‘enlightenment’ implies (to most people) some kind of super-wisdom and/or a higher state of consciousness that elevates the one who has attained it above the mass of humanity.” (https://hareesh.org/blog/2016/3/3/why-spiritual-growth-does-not-lead-to-enlightenment)

In reality, enlightenment does not confer any kind of superiority on those who experience it. Believing it does can be a barrier to gleaning insight into what it actually is.

Perhaps related to this confusion, many people are skeptical that enlightenment even exists. If you haven’t undergone a major awakening, which tends to be an intense, life-changing event, it can sound a bit woo-woo. If you think of yourself as one of those people, consider that enlightenment is actually nothing more than a subtle but profound shift in consciousness, and you’ve likely experienced that shift on a temporary basis without recognizing it as enlightenment. 

It’s simply a feeling of total immersion in the present moment in which your default (and false) sense of separation from everything else dissolves. It can happen anywhere and anytime, but it’s probably most common in nature, where we often get lost in awe, wonder, and reverence. For some people it happens while engaged in creative acts, like writing or making visual art. It can occur while singing or dancing or even just listening to a particularly entrancing piece of music. Or, with the right partner, during sex. 

And, yes, this state of being tends to be facilitated by ingesting the drugs known as psychedelics, or better yet entheogens. (The term hallucinogens imply the user experiences something unreal instead of something super real as I believe to be the case.) I prefer to induce my own occasional exploration of such non-ordinary consciousness with the help of plant medicine like chacruna (a source of DMT, the psychoactive compound in ayahuasca), psilocybin mushrooms, or, most recently, peyote. That doesn’t mean there’s no benefit from synthetic versions like acid, mescaline, or ecstasy. At the same time, I acknowledge that all these substances come with risks, especially if used without proper knowledge or guidance. 

Anyone can cultivate moments of direct awareness of reality through whatever methods they find effective and appealing. You needn’t sit on a meditation cushion and chant mantras. Or practice postural yoga -- much less the hot kind! Those techniques are popular for a reason, though, and for some folks possibly worth a try. Be clear that you can just as easily surrender to the immediacy of presence while washing dishes, folding laundry, or engaging in other “mundane” activities.

Some people also question, understandably, if full enlightenment -- as they envision it -- would really be desirable. I mean, sure, it’s supposedly blissful, but doesn’t it make you want to go sit in a cave or on a mountaintop? Give up all your material possessions? Wouldn’t it distance you from everyone you love? 

It’s ego death, right? That sounds scary. 

As it turns out, awakening doesn’t turn you into a wandering beggar or an impoverished hermit. But if you decide to pursue total and permanent enlightenment, you will face the challenge of shedding all your ideas and images of yourself. You’ll have to tear off the veil of evolutionary and cultural conditioning that keeps you from seeing the truth of reality.

The good news is that once you’ve integrated a full realization of nonduality (recognition of the truth that everything is one) into your being, you can go about living a fairly normal life. You’ll just do it without actually identifying as the someone you used to think you were. That’ll be a role you play as the unbounded consciousness you now know you are. 

Or so I’m told. 

Truly awakened humans rarely make a claim to enlightenment. Why would they? They have no impulse to impress anyone. They simply embody nondual awareness. In that state, such claims -- like all labels -- are irrelevant. People who do make such claims are often positioning themselves as gurus, using their personal “enlightenment” as a sales pitch.

Maybe this is a good time to mention the book is autobiographical fiction.

In sum, I figured the full title’s denial of any significant spiritual enlightenment, in what I intended to seem like a kind of wink, would demonstrate I don’t take myself too seriously and communicate a playful tone in alignment with the often-ironic humor of the material. I’m also trying to avoid false promises about content. I hope the novel illuminates aspects of existence and possibly even seems revelatory. But I want to minimize reader expectations about what they’ll take away from the story.

In any case, adding the parenthetical qualifier seems to have worked. Once I did that, I started getting more interest in the manuscript and, eventually, found a terrific home for it with DX Varos.

And here we are now.

©Karuna Das

 

Karuna DasAbout Karuna Das


Karuna Das is the pen and spirit name of Kyle Bostian. Born in Wisconsin, he grew up in Massachusetts and now resides in Pennsylvania, but he lives wherever he happens to be at that moment and feels at home everywhere in the universe. He holds a BA in English and an MFA in Playwriting. In addition to his dramatic writing, he’s published the sci-fi novel Kat’s Cradle as well as short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. He and life partner Ti share their house with five wonderfully wacky cats. 


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  Sex Drugs and Spiritual Enlightenment by Karuna Das

Monday, April 3, 2023

Campbell Sisters by Eileen Joyce Donovan- Review

Campbell Sisters by Eileen Joyce Donovan
The Campbell Sisters by Eileen Joyce Donovan 

Publisher:  DX Varos Publishing (March 7, 2023)
Category: Literary Fiction, British and Irish Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Tour Dates March 13-April 11, 2023
ISBN: 978-1955065702
Available in Print and ebook, 396 pages

  Campbell Sisters


Description Campbell Sisters by Eileen Joyce Donovan

Helen Campbell is the eldest and most practical of three sisters, daughters of hard-working Irish emigrants living in New York City in the 1950s. She does what she can to keep the wild-child middle sister, Carolyn, in line and support the youngest, Peggy, as she pursues her dreams of becoming a doctor. Then Helen meets Charlie. 

While it's love at first sight for those two, Carolyn’s antics threatens to derail all the sisters’ future happiness. However, through thick and thin, the three sisters strive to prevail, though not necessarily in the ways they thought they wanted.

Review Campbell Sisters by Eileen Joyce Donovan

 Review by Suzie

In order to write a cohesive and enjoyable historical fiction, one has to do a lot of research. It is clear almost immediately upon starting this book, 'The Campbell Sisters' that writer Eileen Joyce Donovan did not shy away from doing just that.

Never have I read a historical fiction set in New York that was more engaging and delightful, and I think a lot of that had to do with the amount of specificity that Donovan put into the setting of this book.

I found myself relaxing and enjoying the story, purely because I knew that the author was not going to get a single detail wrong. But I'm getting ahead of myself, let me tell you a little bit about the actual plot of the book, because that's obviously just as important.

'The Campbell Sisters,' is a story about family, love, and heartache set in the backdrop of post-war New York City. Finding love for the first time, Helen, the eldest sister, worries about whether her new beau Charlie will fit in with her modest and sensible image—and whether he will impress her parents.

Meanwhile, Carolyn, the middle sister, seems intent on doing just the opposite. That is, she finds herself in a situation that disgraces her family, to the point that her parents, Irish immigrants, have no choice but to throw her out of their apartment. Lost and bewildered, Carolyn must rely on the help of Helen and their younger sister, Peggy to find a new place to live before the end of the month.

I absolutely loved this book! My heart went out to all three sisters and I found myself rooting for them to find love and conquer all of their obstacles. This is a completely immersive story that I could see myself re-reading again and again! 

Awards and Praise for Eileen Joyce Donovan


2019 Marie M Irvine Award for Promises, 2021 When Word Count competition for A Lady Newspaperman’s Dilemma “This story is well written and immerses the reader in the period rooting for Alex. At times, I found her decisions a bit rash, but I remembered myself fighting for my career in a male-dominated field. The story is well-researched, and I enjoyed it immensely.”- Carol Amorosi, Author of The MacKay Mysteries, Series 

“It was compelling to read of the mores of the time: school teachers couldn't drink in public, staying at a boarding house came with a set of restrictive rules and trying to get lead stories in a newspaper entailed being part salesperson/part private investigator. With the role of newspapers and reporters being in the news of late, this depiction of a young woman learning the ropes in a competitive, male dominated field was fascinating in the scope of how tough it is to get a story right.”- Susan Wands, Author of Magician and Fool 

“I don't normally read historical fiction, but I so enjoyed this book set in the 1920's. The theme is timeless as the main character is determined to make it in a man's world. Great read!”- Stacy Wilder, Author of A Liz Adams Mystery, Series 

“The characters and fast paced plot drew me in and kept me reading. I enjoyed the historical details and the fact that every time I thought I knew how a character would react, I was wrong. The author is too skilled to fall into stereotypes.”- Grammarian, Amazon Review

Campbell Sisters by Eileen Joyce DonovanAbout Eileen Joyce Donovan

Eileen Joyce Donovan has been writing her entire life, in one way or another, whether it was imaginative stories for friends, or advertising copy for clients. At the persistent urging of her husband, she finally agreed to seriously edit and revise one of her stories and take the plunge. Years later, her persistence paid off and both her debut historical fiction, Promises, and her second novel, A Lady Newspaperman’s Dilemma, won prestigious awards. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies, and her essays have been included in various Chicken Soup for the Soul editions. 

She lives in Manhattan, New York and is a member of Authors Guild, Women’s National Book Association, Women Fiction Writers Association, and The Historical Novel Society.


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Monday, February 27, 2023

Hunterland by Dana Claire: Review, Interview

Hunterland by Dana Claire
Hunterland by Dana Claire 

Publisher:  CamCat Books (February 7, 2023)
Category: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Tour dates: February 13-March 24, 2023
ISBN: 978-1792361357
Available in Print and ebook, 310 pages

  Hunterland

Description Hunterland by Dana Claire


Supernatural meets Nancy Drew in Dana Claire’s New Young Adult Novel Hunterland 

Liam Hunter has warded off hungry vampires, slayed monstrous beasts, and put agonized spirits to rest since he could hold a stake. When trouble comes through the Hunterland message board, alerting them that nurses are dying at high schools across Wisconsin in a string of fishy “suicides,” the Hunter family hits the road to save the
day.

The trail leads to Falkville Falls, where Liam clashes with Olivia Davis, whose maddening family seems inexplicably embroiled in this haunting mess. Olivia has always mothered her little sister, Pepper. But when the Hunter family opens her eyes to the hidden underworld of real monsters prowling the dark, she realizes she can’t protect Pepper from this newest threat by herself. Can the two families work together to uncover who or what is responsible before the next murder, or will this vicious death cycle have no end?

Grab your stakes and your rock salt. Monster hunting class is in session.

Review Hunterland by Dana Claire

'Hunterland,' by Dana Claire is a YA paranormal thriller that creates a mesmerizing sense of intrigue right up front.

Why is there a dead body in the local high school at Falkville Falls? Who is this young man who appears to be arriving to investigate said dead body and why does he seem to be so confident?  These are all questions that are answered by unraveling the plot of the story, and by the end, the questions all have satisfactory answers. But, just to get you interested, I'll answer one now.

Who is the young man? He is Liam Hunter, a supernatural detective who follows his father and younger sister to Falkville Falls on the trail of a mysterious monster who seems to be killing school nurses and other staff. The story is told through his POV and that of a teenage girl named Olivia Davis, who is one of the students that finds the dead body of her school's athletic advisor in the beginning of the novel.

Initially, when Liam and Olivia meet, they seem to hate each other. She is justifiably suspicious of him and he is just confused about why she doesn't seem to be as receptive to him as most girls his age. But eventually they find a way to come together to solve the mystery of what type of supernatural creature is terrorizing Falkville Falls and put an end to it.

This book subverted a lot of my expectations going into the story. I've never read another paranormal YA that had such an interesting and unpredictable plot, while also having the mainstays of the genre.

I love a good romance and this one truly pulled out all of the stops as far as that aspect was concerned. A great story with a really thrilling ending, 'Hunterland,' is well worth picking up!

Interview with Dana Claire

What initially got you interested in writing? How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?

My interest in writing started as a zealous toddler  creating imaginary worlds between the pages. My room overflowed with books, a sea of rainbow-colored spines. And every night, my mother and I would cuddle and read together. I’d construct my own version of my favorite bedtime tales and my parents would happily play along.Later, my mother encouraged me to pursue a life-long dream to be a published author and write stories that would appeal to young people. We had made a promise to co-author a book together, but unfortunately it never came to fruition. After I graduated college, my mother became fatally ill dying two years later of cancer at a relatively young age. It took some time before I processed my grief, but I knew that my writing dreams needed to be fulfilled; as much for myself as for my mother. But the pain of her loss was too great that I didn’t revisit our shared dream until 2020. Determined to make good on my promise to my mom to become a published author, I buckled down and wrote the stories that had consumed my mind for years. My first book, The Connection, book one of a trilogy was published later that year and won the Young Adult Moonbeam Award in 2021. Every time I get overwhelmed or think about giving up, I remember my mom. I think about what she’d say and inspiration kicks back in. Sometimes when I’m writing, I’m tearing up, wondering if she’s over my shoulder inspiring the words on the page. And when I’m finally finished with a book, I always find a piece of her inside…

What attracts you to writing young adult paranormal and science fiction, etc?

I love teenage angst, love, conflict. No one that age has to worry about a mortgage or a 9 to 5 job. It’s all about the boy or girl they like, the teacher that gives them a hard time, the coach that helps them outside of sports, their friends, etc. At that age, their fears, needs and wants are all very different than adults. I like exploring the passion that comes along with that. Remember your first kiss? The nerves. The first time you had a crush. Heart fluttering. Your first date? Sweaty palms. All these moments feel so “big.” And they are, respectively speaking, that is. I like to live in that drama. Now throw in the end of the world, aliens, vampires, pirates, hidden identity or something like that and you have even more fabulous drama to add to all the other teenage excitement. I say that’s a HUGE win and a really fun world to build!

What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

Many of my stories showcase two worlds coming together for a common goal. I hope readers feel empowered by my characters and their journey to work together regardless of their differences. At the end of the day, they are fighting for what we all are, the freedom to be who we are, love who we want, and live in peace. It’s a powerful message and one very relevant to current times. I didn’t set out to have a reoccurring theme like this, but I was raised to love all and I believe that comes through in my writing. I’d like to think readers will be left with that feeling and root for harmonization.  

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

The fans! My most rewarding part of writing has been interacting with my readers. Whether that be on social sites, emails, reviews, etc., they make this lonely art form not so lonely at all. The feedback and reviews have been so incredibly supportive that I wish I could prep for a book launch all time. I love getting videos, posts, pictures and reviews from my very creative fans and using their content to share with others. Hands down my favorite part of the process is having the honor and opportunity to interact with my readers, learn from them, grow as an author because of them, and create a community with them. You guys are the best!!!

What do you find most challenging about writing?

The most challenging aspect of writing for me is time management. If I could write all day and night, I’d be one happy camper but because of my day job, friends, family, working out, I need to balance. I’ve been much better at carving out time in my office dedicated to uninterrupted writing hours but it’s still a daily, weekly, and monthly struggle for me to fine enough time, especially when I have a deadline.

What advice would you give to people want to enter the field?

I love helping people. It’s my passion so I’d love to be asked more what advice I’d give to new authors or those considering the profession. I have so many little nuggets of information to pass on I could talk about it for an entire week and still not be done. But I’ll shorten my answer to save the readers from my soapbox. Aspiring authors, hear me roar! Take the time to learn the industry. Go to conferences, online/virtual events, speak to other authors, and do your research. And stay positive! Let me say that again, stay positive. Do not let self-doubt cloud your ability to fulfill your dream. You are good enough. Your story does need to be heard. And you do have an audience for it. Many writers get caught up in the insecurity of a lonely occupation. Make friends in the industry by joining writer groups, going to events, and staying connected online. My success as a writer is only partially from my deliciously captivating stories, the rest is from the love of my fans, beta readers, my friends, and my family. Without them, I’d be still living my stories in my head rather than seeing them in print.

What is next for Dana Claire?

I have a lot going on in 2023, including three new novels, Sideliners, War of the Land, and HunterLies (book 2 of the Hunterland Series). I also just reopened my street team, Dana’s Darlings. The Darlings and I will be working on promoting a lot of backlist books as well as my new eCommerce store, ShopGiftsforBookLovers.com, a place where you can purchase gifts for the book lover in your life or even yourself. And finally, my biggest announcement yet. I’ll be spearheading Book Brush’s, a marketing platform built for authors, move into the education space. I’ll look to take a proactive approach to drive revenue growth while expanding the company’s literary industry footprint and raising brand awareness. As of February 20th, I will be Book Brush’s Chief Operation Officer fusing my passion as an author and my profession as a marketer into one. And lastly, I have a book optioned for TV. It’s in its initial stages but we are hopeful it will turn into something. A lot is moving and grooving for me but none of it could be possible without my readers. I am forever grateful. 

Hunterland by Dana ClaireAbout Dana Claire

DANA CLAIRE is an award-winning author whose stories explore identity, fate, and destiny in the crossroads of romance and adventure. Her love of romantic tension and the supernatural effortlessly translates into spine-tingling action and unforgettable characters. She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her adoring husband living her dreams: writing books, telling stories, and changing the world, one reader at a time. 

Website: https://danaclairebooks.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danaclaire143
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanaClaireBooks/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authordanaclaire/

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Giveaway Hunterland by Dana Claire

This giveaway is for 3 author signed print copies and is open to Canada, the UK, & the U.S.. This giveaway ends on March 23, 2023 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Hunterland by Dana Claire