Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Marianne Scott Multi-Book Spotlight Tour with Interview and Giveaway

 

 


Books Details:

Book Title:  Finding Ruby Draker, Shadows in the Aftermath, Reinhardt, and Underneath the Fireflies by Marianne Scott
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+)
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Publisher:  Crowe Creations
Release dates:  Re-release 2023
Content Rating:  PG-13. Occasional colloquial language is used in dialog. Nothing that would offend the most discerning reader/s.
 

 Author Interview - Marianne Scott

 
Underneath the Fireflies follows a woman with supernatural abilities who tries to take a relaxing vacation only to have a disturbing vision that puts her in danger. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

Inspiration is an illusive thing. You can’t just find it when you want it. When I’m writing a novel, a premise isn’t necessarily the inspiration that makes my story unfold. Generally speaking, I think authors find inspiration from people they meet and events that happen around them. For me, inspiration, such that it is, usually comes from a place, particularly a location. There is substance in scenery. It is tangible and affects many of your senses, sight, sound, and smell, in particular. Unlike an idea for a story, I find I’m influenced by experiences, the things I’ve done, and the places I’ve been. Underneath the Fireflies was inspired by a visit to a west coast island located between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia. The mountains, the ocean, and the old growth forest there are mesmerizing. The nature there washed over me in an almost spiritual way. I felt connected to nature and to the land in a way I normally don’t feel. It infused my whole being with a sense of awe. Situations like that are what truly inspire me to write. Then to add to the magic, when I learned about the west coast sea wolves, I was hooked and knew they had to be part of my story. But in a larger way than a land mammal, which is why I created a wolf spirit, whom I named Scout, and broadened his being to a greater connection to his Indigenous Ancestors. All that was left was to introduce a protagonist with unusual abilities, who was called upon, in that same spiritual sort of way through nature and environment, to avenge a terrible wrongdoing that had taken place there and to balance the forces of nature by bringing a killer to justice.

I had a family connection to the island as well. My sister lived there with her second husband in a timber-frame home that overlooked the ocean. It was truly a piece of heaven. It seemed fitting to create a protagonist with a similar familial connection. It gave her a place to go to regain her equilibrium as she healed from a traumatic incident that caused her to have a mental breakdown. My sister and her husband call their property “Abalone Hideaway,” a name I found so perfect I used it exactly as-is in the novel.

Location was also the inspiration for my first three novels, spy thrillers in which the characters’ safehouse is located in St. Jean Cap Ferat in Southern France. In real life, the house is known as the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild estate. It is now owned by the state. I visited there in 2015 and was captivated by its grandeur and immediately knew it had to be part of my story. The third book in the series, a prequel entitled Reinhardt explains how the main character acquires the place and all the wealth associated with it. Finding Ruby Draker starts off the series in New York, where a psychopath on a killing rampage targets her family. Shadows in the Aftermath, the second book, continues the saga with more locational anchors as the pseudo family, made up of the psychopath’s victims, tries to stop the killer.

I suppose that a writer always has a story on their mind. I found that as I dwelled on these exotic places, the perfect characters emerged, finding their way into a story filled with conflict and characters who found refuge in the peace and beauty of these very special places while a villain tries to destroy them and all they hold dear.  

Grace is an empath in need of a mental health break but must struggle through challenges to stop a killer. What was the inspiration for the main character's traits and dialogue?

A story isn’t a story unless your main character has a problem. It’s easy and typical to have a protagonist who has an enemy trying to kill them. But, given that we all have problems that interfere with our lives, I wanted my main character to have a unique problem not only resulting from outside forces but with special inherited personal traits that no one would believe even if she disclosed them. Grace is conflicted because she has to keep her ability (her visions) a secret or be considered unstable if she reveals that she discovers a two-year-old murder in this bizarre way. This power she has, has been with her all her life. In Toronto, Grace has a vision of a sinister technology that enslaves the minds of the Danton International workers, a place where she is employed as a public relations executive. When she tries to stop an evil plan perpetrated by the CEO of the company, Evelyn, the CEO tries to kill her instead. But the forces of good are on Grace’s side, and Evelyn meets her own death in a terrible accident at the plant.

Yet Grace’s ability of visions that reveal bad actions isn’t actually that far-fetched. I think we all have a bit of empathic ability. Haven’t you ever felt that something was amiss, but you couldn’t point to exactly what? I get that feeling in churches, especially the old European churches that inter their dead in crypts below the church floors. So creepy, it makes my skin crawl. That sense of the dead lurking underfoot overpowers my awe of the beautiful sculptures and mosaics that adorn the incredible architecture of these magnificent buildings. I think that’s what makes Grace’s powers believable. A reader can relate to the feeling of “something isn’t right” or something is about to happen.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The universal theme of good verses evil is always present in a thriller. But, because the murder is of an Indigenous woman, and the island is the home of the Island Nation Band (a fictitious Indigenous tribe), it allowed me to explore very important themes of gross injustices that have been happening in Canada regarding murdered and missing Indigenous women. The story also explores the racism Indigenous people continue to experience through the white inhabitants’ treatment and resentment of the island’s original inhabitants, many of whom still live on the island. Tying these themes together is also the theme of bridging the generational gap with understanding and compassion as the younger characters Elias, Holly, and Hugo struggle to find their place in a world that at times can seem filled with senseless hatred.

Is this the first book in the series? If so, when is the next book coming out and what can your fans expect in the next story?

I find it interesting that some readers wonder if there was a story that takes place before the opening scene of Underneath the Fireflies. Maybe they intuited it! The truth is, I had started a novel, entitled The Walker Trait, which focuses on a woman with extra sensory ability, an ability to pick up on residual energy resulting from violent or evil actions. This woman, whom I named Grace, struggles with her empathic powers. After all, who would believe someone has visions of past crimes? Grace’s power is engaged because illegal activities take place at the Danton Electronics company in Toronto, where she works. The backstory reveals that Grace is adopted but has biological parents who are also empaths. They gave her up at birth to protect her from opportunistic individuals who learned about their exceptional abilities and wanted to exploit them. Grace’s adoptive mother, Maria, is actually her aunt, who, together with her husband Leo, rescue the infant Grace immediately after birth. I liked the story, but something about it led me to writing Fireflies rather than it being ready to be a story on its own, and I abandoned it 100 pages in. I believe a story has its time and its place to come into the world. Perhaps when the time is right, I will finish it as a prequel.

Now, I am working on a sci-fi thriller. The working title is Unseemly Visitors. It involves an interstellar portal where two other-worldly humanoids find themselves transported to Earth. It’s new territory for me as I explore the concept of a universal overlord, referred to as The Council, a restrictive Directive forbidding interplanetary contact, and cosmic bounty hunters exterminating those who engage in such transgressions. Most importantly, I’m having fun!


Can you provide links to any of these;
GoodReads:     https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6351808.Marianne_Scott
Twitter:    https://twitter.com/MScottauthor44
Facebook:    https://twitter.com/MScottauthor44
Website:    https://wordpress.com/view/mariannescottauthor.com

Monday, November 6, 2023

Pistol Rose and the Wedding That Sparked a War by Michael Ryan Hahn

Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War by Michael Ryan Hahn
Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War by Michael Ryan Hahn: On Tour 

 Publisher:  Swashbuckle Holdings (August, 2023) 
Category: Fantasy, Adult Epic Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Steampunk 
Tour Dates October 16-November 22, 2023 ISBN: 978-1962089005 Available in Print and ebook, 194 pages

  Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War

Description Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War by Michael Ryan Hahn


As a young wilderness girl, Pistol Rose knows nothing of the advanced Strelkie City or the mad king Ward Harrol who sits behind its walls. She doesn’t understand why the Strelkie forbid marriage.

When the king forces the surrounding countryside to change their traditional culture to match his vision, the Punimin resist, and Rose learns everything about how to kill Strelkie and get away with it.

But throwing her own secret wedding without being caught… is another matter entirely. Rose refuses to give up her lover, Clock Dancin, for the tyrants who threaten her way of life. And most Punimin stand with her–only one is a betrayer.

In this futuristic medieval steampunk country filled with liars, killers, and wilderuckers, the strongest weapon is love. But using it comes with a heavy cost. Praise For Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War by Michael Ryan Hahn

Excerpt Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War by Michael Ryan Hahn

The Pistol family, and Pistol Ann’s groom-to-be, a big strong fellow named Forge Hoss, enter the enemy’s cabin and stand humbly before an overly polished and overly hatted Strelkie emissary in his stuffy wooden office. Ann and Hoss wear gloves over their skull brands to look more “presentable” to the Strelkie from whom they have permission to ask. Beau keeps his hands in his pockets, David rubs his brand nervously, Grace wears her beaded watch, and the rest don’t give their brand a thought at all.

The walls are plain, but an air-cooling machine made of birchwood and bronze vibrates in a window and blows air so hard that it rattles the ornamental pistol bullets on Beau’s vest. He holds out his hand and enjoys the cold air. Madrick gently smacks his hand down—they’re not here to enjoy Strelkie amenities. Madrick is wearing a vest of heavy knives, and thick pants with three guns strapped to each leg. The mechanical breeze does not stir him in any way. He sweats defiantly. And the skull brand on his hand isn’t something he hides or shies away from—especially not here among the Strelkie. He grips his collar to make sure the back of his hand shows outward so that all can see his mark. Madrick is the one who always holds his hand so the skull brand can be seen. He calls it Punimin pride, but really it’s a chip on his shoulder and a dare for anyone to confront him. He knows he would have been better off born into times of open war, where he could put his hands to use on a battlefield breaking bones. He used to think of venturing south into the Fire Straits as a boy just to look for trouble, or to band with a group of glorious legends like The Dead Assassins—whom he believes exist despite the naysayers—or to seek out the Chemical People for some real trouble, but then he had children and turned fully to rearing them. These times of slowly eroding peace and creeping abuse torture him because, if war is coming to his people, he’d like to face it while he’s still in his prime. He hopes that if a Strelkie scoffs at the skull brand on his hand, maybe he can get something started—a fight or a kill that sparks his people to act. But so far no one has ever taken his bait, or cared. He doesn’t mean as much to the Strelkie as they mean to him, and that makes him all the more mad.

The glossily dressed emissary, a pudgy little man with peachy cheeks named Galley Waith, counts a stack of coins the Pistols brought and reviews their submitted documents at a round desk made of painstakingly blown glass with colorful crystals inside. The desk is meant to display power and beauty, its shimmering bits are probably booty from some far-off conquered so-and-so, but it’s only good for catching dust and blinding people when the sun strikes it. Waith is a sneery gentleman who leaves fingerprints all over this desk and believes his station in life ought to be in the city, not out here in the “brush.” He observes from under his tall hat, “You have the proper fee, and your medical documents are in order.”

Smiles flit across the Pistol family, but Rose and Madrick remain skeptical and guarded. Madrick flexes his branded hand.

“Groom, step forward,” Emissary Waith says. The groom Forge Hoss obliges, and Waith orders, “Drop your pants and present.”

No one looks like they heard that right. Forge Hoss mutters, “I’m sorry?”

Patience is a robe Emissary Waith does not wear. “Guard!”

A smarmy Strelkie soldier stomps in with an oversized gun with steaming pipes and gears. It looks like it shoots arrow spikes. Waith continues, “Drop your pants and present. It’s part of the application—I don’t like it either, believe me. Come on. Quickly, lad; I have other business today.”

A second, viperish Strelkie soldier strolls in with a whip spiked all along its woven thong with shark teeth. Pistol Grace turns her daughters Jennifer and Rose away to offer the groom some privacy. Forge Hoss drops his pants.

Emissary Waith is disinterested but scratches down the required note. “And back up.” Waith writes another note as Ann’s groom-to-be hitches up his pants. Waith says dryly, “Despite being defectively big for normal applications, the king now wants more sizable men for future wars. The groom is hereby drafted into the city stalls to provide less desirable Strelkie women with large offspring—for the rest of his life. This marriage is disallowed.”

Ann screams, “What?!” The blood seems to instantly flee her cheeks.

“You can’t do that!” Forge Hoss shouts. He doesn’t know if his heart is beating too quickly or stopped all together. He quivers like an electric fever has him. His body is in shock, not working and only just managing to stay standing. He’s in a choking panic.

©Michael Ryan Hahn

 Review Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War by Michael Ryan Hahn

An unputdownable read! I promise you will not regret picking up 'Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War.'

This is an explosive, thrilling novel that will have even the most jaded reader unable to guess what is going to happen next—I know I couldn't!

Pistol Rose and Clock Dancin' are in love. In fact, they have been since they were children, although Rose may not have realized it when she found Dancin' so annoying as a child. But now that they are both grown up, Rose and Dancin' decide that they want to marry.

Normally, this would be a very sweet and blessed time for a young couple. But not so for these two. See, Rose and Dancin' are Punimin. A race of people that live in the dirt-poor outskirts of a beautiful city populated by the wealthy Strelkie.

Rose and Dancin' have been bossed around by Strelkie their whole lives, but now that they are getting married, they decide to finally do something about it.

Of course, this is easier said than done, and before the wedding is finalized, this young couple may just have started an uprising of their own making and put upon their people.

I was not expecting any part of this book to be so incredible, from the fascinating setting, to the beautifully fleshed out characters. I found myself rooting for Pistol Rose within the first page of meeting her, when she takes down two Strelkie soldiers by herself at ten years old. A character like that just has to make a name for herself, and with a name like Pistol Rose, that's pretty much a given.

Author Michael Ryan Hahn played with fantasy/steampunk tropes in this book in a way that is sure to leave any reader unable to get enough. Such excellent world building!

I think there is also a really strong message here about the importance of family and of being yourself even when all of the odds are against you. 5 stars!

About Michael Ryan Hahn

'Pistol Rose and the Wedding That Parked a War’ is Michael’s debut novel and the first in a planned 7- part series, The Anthem of Ash & Pistols. He previously wrote a standalone horror novella called ‘Children of the Storm’. He recently released an adventure podcast in the style of old radio plays called Fire Pockets. His stories aim to weave exciting action with humor and heart, with complicated villains—probably because of his upbringing. He comes from a big ol’ raucous family, and he survived a shockingly bruising (but not altogether unfun) cadre of violently delinquent Boy Scouts to become an Eagle Scout. He loves fight scenes.

Michael won a ScreenCraft competition that led to development with Bad Robot. He’s a 3x ScreenCraft Finalist, and has 18 other accolades from major screenwriting competitions, including AFF and Final Big Break.

As a director, he won Best Feature at GenCon and Best Director at BAFF for his micro-budget, wild sci-fi comedy action feature, ALIEN THEORY

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife. In his spare time, he designs custom habitats for cats.* The habitats are highly popular with the cats.

Website: https://www.michaelryanhahn.com/
Fire Pockets Podcast: https://www.michaelryanhahn.com/fire-pockets
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichaelRyanHahn

Buy Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War by Michael Ryan Hahn

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Giveaway Pistol Rose and the Wedding that Sparked a War by Michael Ryan Hahn

This giveaway is for 2 copies. The winners will have the choice of print or ebook. This giveaway is open worldwide and on November 23, 2023 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, October 16, 2023

New Release: Stalemate by Samantha Barrett

 

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Sunday, October 15, 2023

Cover Reveal: The Billionaire's Devotion by Amelie S. Duncan

 

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Genre: Billionaire Romance | Age-Gap | Spicy Romance

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