Author Guest Post: Rebecca Barrow’s List of Five True Crime Podcasts With A Conscience

Hey everyone! I’m beyond excited to have Rebecca Barrow, author of Bad Things Happen Here (June 28, 2022 – Margaret K. McElderry Books), on the blog today with a guest post! First, here’s more about the book:

I Killed Zoe Spanos meets The Cheerleaders in this haunting mystery about an island town with a history of unsolved deaths—and a girl desperate to uncover the mystery behind it all.

Luca Laine Thomas lives on a cursed island. To the outside world, Parris is an exclusive, idyllic escape accessible only to the one percent. There’s nothing idyllic about its history, though, scattered with the unsolved deaths of young women—deaths Parris society happily ignores to maintain its polished veneer. But Luca can’t ignore them. Not when the curse that took them killed her best friend, Polly, three years ago. Not when she feels the curse lingering nearby, ready to take her next.

When Luca comes home to police cars outside her house, she knows the curse has visited once again. Except this time, it came for Whitney, her sister. Luca decides to take the investigation of Whitney’s death into her own hands. But as a shocking betrayal rocks Luca’s world, the identity Whitney’s killer isn’t the only truth Luca seeks. And by the time she finds what she’s looking for, Luca will come face to face with the curse she’s been running from her whole life.


And now for the guest post, in which Rebecca discusses her favorite true crime podcasts! Enjoy!

Five True Crime Podcasts With A Conscience by Rebecca Barrow

We have always been fascinated by crime.

I do think it’s understandable— there’s something in us that drives us to look at things that scare us. I think it’s the same reason we watch horror movies, tell spooky stories at sleepovers, read terrifying novels in the dark. But there’s a difference between all those things and true crime: there’s fiction, and then there’s real life. Too often that difference is flattened, and it’s easy, looking at the way the true crime genre has exploded in recent years, to see how these real life tragedies have been turned into easily digestible entertainment. We have Renee Zellweger putting on a fat suit to play a murderer, Youtubers recounting crimes as they put on makeup or gorge themselves on fast food, and you can’t open a podcast app without being served the latest version of a let’s-drink-wine-and-tell-murder-stories show, where the hosts sloppily recount details of a crime while laughing and cheering on the police.

Podcasts may be where the biggest boom has occurred—in fact, if you look closely at many of the based-on-a-true-story TV shows emerging lately, you’ll find many of them are adapted from popular podcasts. While many of these podcasts (whether they call themselves comedy or journalism) are more interested in entertainment than ethics, there are some who create stories with an eye towards justice, providing a space for victims’ voices and focusing on exploring true events rather than crafting a salacious whodunit designed to hook listeners (and advertisers.)

With that in mind, here are five podcasts with a conscience for you to listen to:

1. In The Dark
In The Dark is an investigative podcast hosted by journalist Madeleine Baran, but rather than setting up “guilty or innocent” or “who was responsible” as their main question, the podcast takes a look at institutions and how—or why—they failed the figures at the centre of each case. Season 1 covered the 30-year-old disappearance of Jacob Wetterling and asked why police had made several wrongful arrests; season 2 questioned the racism at work that saw Curtis Flowers tried six times for the same crime.

2. Criminal
Criminal covers all kinds of crime stories, from the lighthearted (Episode 15, “He’s Neutral”) to the harrowing (Episode 167, “48 Hours”) and everything inbetween. There are currently close to 200 episodes where host Phoebe Judge talks to victims and perpetrators, police and attorneys, historians, judges, sex workers, and so many more. I recommend Episode 138, “Starlight Tours”, about the deaths of Neil Stonechild, Lawrence Wegner, and Rodney Naistus at the hands of the Saskatoon Police Service.

3. Truer Crime
Host Celisia Stanton has a clear objective with Truer Crime: to cover cases which don’t receive a lot of attention, with a greater focus on victims, survivors, and those who have faced the justice system and lost, on both sides. After her own experience (you can hear her story in Episode 9), Stanton began the podcast to talk about “real people—murdered, missing, misled—with more nuance, more context, and more questions.” Episode 5, for example, looks at the disappearance of Relisha Rudd and what happens when every system that was meant to support a family fails to do just that.

4. Ear Hustle
Ear Hustle is hosted by artist Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods, formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. The show explores life inside San Quentin and covers every topic you could imagine, including what it’s like for people who grow up with an incarcerated parent, how transgender people survive in prison, and how to get the best snacks while inside. Ear Hustle doesn’t shy away from covering heavy topics—the episode Dirty Water discusses sex trafficking and restorative justice—and strives to tell the stories of incarceration in all their forms.

5. The Secret Life of Prisons
Much like Ear Hustle, The Secret Life of Prisons looks at what it’s like to be incarcerated, but this podcast is British and focuses on the institutions in the UK. It’s hosted by Paula Harriott, who is Head of Prisoner Engagement for the Prison Reform Trust and spent time in prison herself, and Phil Maguire from the Prison Radio Association, and not only covers stories about prison life, but also features music and poetry directly inspired by those stories. The best place to start? Try Episode 1: The Arrival, in which three formerly incarcerated people discuss stepping into prison to begin their sentences.


About the Author:

Rebecca Barrow is the critically acclaimed author of Interview with the Vixen, This Is What It Feels Like, You Don’t Know Me But I Know You, and Bad Things Happen Here. She is a lover of sunshine, Old Hollywood icons, and all things high femme. She lives and writes in England.
You can find her online at her website,, or on Twitter and Instagram @RebeccaKBarrow.

Blog Tour: MERMAID MOON by Susann Cokal (Guest Post)

Hey everyone! I’m super excited to have Susann Cokal, author of MERMAID MOON, here with a guest post today! First, here’s more about the book:

An award-winning author tells of a mermaid who leaves the sea in search of her landish mother in a captivating tale spun with beautiful prose, lush descriptions, empathy, and keen wit.

Blood calls to blood; charm calls to charm.
It is the way of the world.
Come close and tell us your dreams.

Sanna is a mermaid — but she is only half seavish. The night of her birth, a sea-witch cast a spell that made Sanna’s people, including her landish mother, forget how and where she was born. Now Sanna is sixteen and an outsider in the seavish matriarchy, and she is determined to find her mother and learn who she is. She apprentices herself to the witch to learn the magic of making and unmaking, and with a new pair of legs and a quest to complete for her teacher, she follows a clue that leads her ashore on the Thirty-Seven Dark Islands. There, as her fellow mermaids wait in the sea, Sanna stumbles into a wall of white roses thirsty for blood, a hardscrabble people hungry for miracles, and a baroness who will do anything to live forever.

From the author of the Michael L. Printz Honor Book The Kingdom of Little Wounds comes a gorgeously told tale of belonging, sacrifice, fear, hope, and mortality.



And now for the guest post. Enjoy!

Writing Prompt: On your website, you mentioned that Mermaid Moon is “a late-medieval semi-prequel to The Kingdom of Little Wounds.” Can you elaborate? Which idea came first? How do they go together? How do they stand apart?

Mermaid Moon started out as a single page about a witch who falls in love with a mermaid, one of the “broken fairy tales” that a nursemaid in The Kingdom of Little Wounds tells to the princesses in her care. My editress, Liz, quietly and cruelly cut that page, and she was probably right to do it; The Kingdom has plenty of tales as it is.

But the story repeated itself in my mind and pushed its way forward until it became a 300-page novel. And then I dug a little deeper and it became a 636-page novel—more like a cry for help, actually. I will never, ever reread those first versions, but some part of them lived in me and insisted on being seen again, and so I got version three. And then a few more along the way, all of which I not only reread but also retyped, to end up with what’s coming to shore now … which is both the same story as that first little one-pager and not the same.

Here’s how they’re the same thing, only different (as some people used to say in the 1970s): Moon takes place at an unspecified time that’s probably the late 1200s or 1300s; I date it by the objects that Baroness Thyrla has in her castle. Kingdom starts specifically in 1572. They’re held together by a web of magic; the characters share certain basic beliefs that magic exists, but the magic works differently for them. It’s stronger in the past, in Moon, and takes more wrangling to conjure up in The Kingdom of 1572.

The main difference is in what I’ll call mood. I think Mermaid Moon is brighter than The Kingdom. It has more light and actual magic, as opposed to magic realism. It is the story of a mermaid who goes looking for her landish mother. Following a clue given by the sea witch, she fashions herself a set of legs and goes ashore during an annual feast held in the Thirty-Seven Dark Islands. There she is imprisoned by a witch who plans to marry the girl off to her son and then harvest their offspring to prolong her own life.

The threats to Sanna are more easily identifiable and less pervasive than in The Kingdom of Little Wounds. In that book, Ava and Midi are stuck working in a palace, in a patriarchal society to which there seem to be no alternatives. Rape is taken for granted, and even in a marriage, the sex isn’t always consensual. The consequences can be harrowing: unplanned pregnancy that ruins a girl’s social position, syphilis (a new disease at the time), birth defects. There are a couple of villains in The Kingdom, but the real problem is the culture in which the girls live.

The broken little one-page tale with which I started used to conclude with “But this is love, this is love.” I think Mermaid Moon ends up exploring many kinds of love, and some of them are actually happy ones.



And now for the Giveaway! 5 Winners will receive a Copy of MERMAID MOON by Susann Cokal. Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter. ENDS MARCH 23, 2020

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Find the full blog tour schedule here.


Susann Cokal is a moody historical novelist, a pop-culture essayist, book critic, magazine editor, and sometime professor of creative writing and modern literature. She lives in a creepy old farmhouse in Richmond, Virginia, with seven cats, a dog, a spouse, and some peacocks that supposedly belong to a neighbor. She is the author of two books for young adults and two for regular adults.

Susann’s previous book, The Kingdom of Little Wounds, received several national awards, including a silver medal from the American Library Association’s Michael L. Printz Award series. It also got starred reviews in Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, and Publishers Weekly, and praise from Booklist, The New York Times Boook Review, and other venues. It was #3 on the Boston Globe list of best YAs of the 2013 and won an ALAN citation from the National Council of Teachers of English.


Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

Spotlight Post: The Obsidian Compass by Liesl Shurtliff (Guest Post)

Hey everyone! Today, I’m incredibly excited to share with you a guest post from Liesl Shurtliff, author of The Obsidian Compass, book two in the Time Castaways series (October 15, 2019 from Katherine Tegen Books)!! I really enjoyed Liesl’s book, Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood, so I’m excited for her new series! First, here’s more about the book:

Liesl Shurtliff, New York Times bestselling author of Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, continues the action-packed Time Castaways trilogy with book two, in which the Hudsons sail across time and history as they embark on a daring rescue mission.

With magic, mystery, and adventure, this is perfect for fans of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and Percy Jackson.

Mateo, Ruby, and Corey Hudson have lost their friend Jia to the villainous Captain Vincent’s clutches, and now they’re determined to bring her back to safety. But the Hudson kids don’t have a way to time-travel without the Obsidian Compass, until Mateo figures out the secret component to get his own homemade compass working.

Soon the whole family—plus their wacky neighbor, Chuck, and his rusty orange bus, Blossom—are swept up in another epic journey.

With their own time-traveling vehicle and some help from history’s most famous young markswoman, Annie Oakley, the Hudsons think they’re prepared to sneak onto the Vermillion. Unbeknownst to them, Captain Vincent already knows they’re coming. In fact, he’s counting on it…



And now here’s the guest post from Liesl! Enjoy!

The Joys and Struggles of Writing Time Travel

By Liesl Shurtliff

This is going to be so fun! That’s what I said to myself when I signed a contract to write a time-travel trilogy. And it has been fun. Fun and thrilling and deeply satisfying. Time Castaways is a rollicking family time-travel series full of adventure and history and family drama. Book 1, The Mona Lisa Key, starts with three city kids, Mateo, Corey, and Ruby Hudson, who board a Subway train in present-day Manhattan and end up in Paris on August 21, 1911, on the very day the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. (True historical event!) The adventure continues in Book 2, The Obsidian Compass (Available October 15th) sending the Hudsons to the Siberian Ice Age, The 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and Yellowstone National Park. I’m neck deep into writing Book 3, The Forbidden Lock.

With nearly three time-travel books under my belt, I have a slightly more sober perspective on writing time travel. Any time someone even mentions time-travel in my presence I immediately shiver and metaphorically curl up into fetal position. Time travel, I have learned, is not something to take lightly. Writers beware!

I’ve been vocal about my pains. I complain to anyone who will listen, much like those women who have dramatic birthing stories. We want the world to know what we’ve been through! If people ask me which of my books has been the hardest to write I don’t even hesitate. “Time travel is a beast,” I say. Some will ask what makes it so difficult. There are a million reasons, I think, but two stick out in my mind. For one, when writing in a universe where time travel is possible, the possibilities are endless. Wait a second, you say, isn’t that a good thing? Sometimes. It’s good to have lots of possibilities, but eventually you need to create boundaries and parameters. Rules are very important when building a fantasy world, otherwise your story can get out of control. Sure, you could go wild and have no rules, let anything happen without logic or reason. Some writers might be able to pull it off, but you run the risk of your story not making much sense and being rather weak and dissatisfying to your reader. (Or it could be incredible! Go ahead and try it!)

Time itself exists to create certain constraints within our world. As Einstein once said, “The only reason for time is so everything doesn’t happen at once.” Time creates order. Remove time and you have chaos. I had to work really hard to create certain rules and logic with a concept that felt limitless and illogical. What happens when you time travel? What are the physical effects? What can you do outside your own timeline? What can you not do? Do you age when you travel outside your own timeline? Can you live for an extended period of time outside your own timeline? Can you see yourself? What happens if you do? Is it different if you see yourself twenty years in the past versus twenty seconds? There was a lot to consider, and each answered question birthed twenty more questions. I tried to avoid falling back on old tropes and clichés or things that have been done in recent popular entertainment. I wanted it all to feel unique and fresh. That is the burden of all writers.

The second reason time travel can feel so overwhelming is simply keeping track of everything. Timelines, character ages, places, dates, events… I have several Google sheets where I keep track of all of these things. I’ve given access to my editors, copy editors, and beta readers, and it’s still difficult to keep it all straight. We have to double, triple, and quadruple check. How old is that character again? How long did they hang out in the wrong decade? How much older are they than their mother now? It takes a village to keep everything straight and in the end we’re all dizzy!

Once, when things got particularly difficult with this story, I posed a hypothetical. If I could travel back in time, would I tell myself not to write these books? Nope. These books have been massively difficult to write, but also incredibly fulfilling. I’ve learned so much, both about writing and myself. I would never take that away. Plus, I’ve received so many thoughtful letters from readers telling me how much they loved Book 1 and can’t wait for Book 2. Just the other night I caught my own 10-year-old son reading in bed far past his bedtime. He was reading my early copy of Time Castaways #2. The joy of even one reader washes away all pains.

That said, I would travel back to myself in the beginning of writing these books, when I was full of so much hope and inspiration, give myself a hug and say, “I’m here for you whenever you need to talk. Any time.” Because in my time-travel world, we should be allowed to help ourselves through the tough stuff. But if that were the case, would the tough stuff really be all that tough? Gah!


About the Author:
Liesl Shurtliff is the New York Times bestselling author of Rump: The True Tale of Rumpelstiltskin, other books in the (Fairly) True Tales series, and the Time Castaways series, She was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, the fifth of eight kids. She now lives in Chicago with her husband and four kids, where she writes full-time.



Author Guest Post: Apparent Power by Dacia M. Arnold

Happy Mother’s Day! I’m excited to have Dacia M. Arnold, author of Apparent Power, here today to discuss gift ideas for Dystopian Moms!

First, here’s a little bit about the book:

A dormant gene awakens in a quarter of the world’s population and the effects are apocalyptic. With an even rarer gene, the life of Valerie Russell turns into a shocking race against time.

When the human body begins to require more electricity than needed to keep a heart beating, cars lose power, phones no longer function, and planes fall from the sky.

Stranded in southern Colorado, a hundred miles from home—and from her two-year-old son— Valerie must find it within herself to trek the distance with the help of a questionable assembly of ex-military friends of the family.

But the awakening has a different effect on Valerie. While others absorb electricity, Valerie’s abilities are not as limited, making her the key to unlocking a worldwide genocide of those who were not affected.

As she evades the rising totalitarian government, Valerie is also faced with a moral choice: risk failure and attempt to save the masses from the regime’s deadly plot or run and preserve only the lives of her family.

How does a mother make such an impossible choice?


Without further adieu, I’ll turn it over to Dacia!


Happy (Dystopian) Mother’s Day! As an author of dystopian MOM fiction, I love reading/ watching (and writing) dystopian societies. In a world recovering from collapse, many struggle with a new semblance of normal. So on fun holidays like the one fast approaching, I wonder, “What would a mom in this dystopian world want for Mother’s Day?”

Follow along as I “shop” presents for some famous Dystopian Moms and suggest practical gifts you might find helpful, too.


1. Valerie Russell. You know her from Apparent Power By Dacia M Arnold

Who is she? Valerie is a working mom who finds herself stranded at work when disaster strikes. With electricity on the fritz, she has no way home from her 100 mile commute but to walk.

What would she love? A reliable babysitter without an expiration date. Just like other over worked moms, Valerie does not want to stress about what time her sitter has to be home. What if there is traffic? Her relief is late? Shit hits the fan? Or a dormant gene awakens in a quarter of the world’s population and causes apocalyptic devastation? Having a reliable babysitter and peace of mind goes lengths for this mama.

For the modern day mom: If you are looking to shower a hard working mom with this gift, consider getting her a baby sitter would can stay out late, into the early morning or even overnight. I promise, she is constantly worried about her children being a burden to others and hates the idea of being away too long. A stern reassurance to take her time will give her the best relief and encourage her to really enjoy herself with minimal guilt.

2. Malorie Hayes. You know her from Bird Box By Josh Malerman

Who is she? Malorie leaves her obstetrician’s office when a worldwide suicide epidemic strikes. Six years later, unable to open their eyes outside lest they fall victim of the same, Malorie blindly navigates two children away from the constant threat.

What would she love? A food delivery service. While keeping Malorie and her children safe in doors, a food delivery would save her the stress of having to forage neighboring abandoned homes for food. Also consider she would have more time on her hands to actually cook and enjoy the meal would make this gift is a slam dunk.

For the modern day mom: For moms who love to cook, Blue Apron and other meal prep companies provide fresh ingredients to cook whole meals taking the stress of shopping from your introverted mom friends. Do they hate to cook? Uber Eats will have any restaurant in the mama’s area delivered straight to their home. Short on cash? Cook the meal yourself!

3. Offred. You know her from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Who is she? Offred is a reproductive surrogate for a powerful figure and his resentful wife taken from her former home where she had a husband, daughter, and her own name.

What would she love? AN ESCAPE! On top of a reliable babysitter, I would pay for Offred to stay at a hotel where she could sit in silence and solitude away from the oppression of her predicament. I know Offred would never advocate for her own escape, as she is pretty complacent in her situation, leaving her without excuses to say no would be a gift from the heart.

For the modern day mom: While running away from your family is only temporary, I know few mamas who would not rush out the door to enjoy peace and quiet. A paid hotel for one night, and someone to watch the kids could be the mental R and R your mom friend needs to refresh and recharge to better handle the demands of motherhood.

4. Maggie Rhee. You know her from The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman

Who is she? Maggie is a long time character of The Walking Dead comics and graphic novels and serves as the leader of the Hilltop Community in a zombie ridden Virginia. She’s the widowed mother of two, Sophia whom she adopted and Hershel named after her late father. Governing a city and raising two little ones is hard work, but Maggie’s one tough cookie.

What would she love? Maggie would do just about anything for a solid cup of coffee. Surviving a zombie apocalypse is one thing, but rebuilding and keeping a society together takes long hours and never ending stress. Just one sip of real coffee could transport this leader to a place of pure bliss, even just a moment. Then no one would be more ready to tackle the issues at hand than this caffeinated matriarch.

For the modern day mom: Coffee is the love language of most women, but the sentiment is in the beverage itself. What’s her favorite drink? Coffee? Tea? Soda? Mimosa? The fact you know what it is and delivered it hot (or cold… you get it) tells her you pay attention. This may not be an extravagant gift, but ask me if I have ever turned down coffee.

5. Katniss Everdeen. You know her from Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Who is she? The Mocking Jay. The Girl On Fire. District 12’s Final Female Tribute. And by the end of book three (SPOILER ALERT) she becomes a mom.

What would she love? In all seriousness, I would hook this woman up with some therapy. After going through so much death and destruction, having an outlet to work through her issues could save her and family anymore undue heartache and help her process what she went through. I know it. You know it. Yes it’s fiction but let’s be real.

For the modern day mom: No one is perfect, but we all know someone who admits they need professional counseling but makes up excuses for not seeking out real help. TalkSpace is an app which connects you to a therapist via text message. While this is not a cheap gift, the service can be invaluable to those bogged down moms who just need to talk and gain perspective, or finally address the serious issues they have been avoiding.


Hope this was a helpful perspective going into Mother’s Day weekend in the real world. If nothing else, you might consider the characters you read a little differently. Remember, moms need hero(in)es too. Maybe this is the year you come through for a mom friend.


About the Author:
Dacia M. Arnold is an award-winning American novelist, Amazon Bestselling author, mother, and a ten-year Army Veteran. She is the author of Apparent Power, Reactance, Shifting Power (November 2019), and Brightest Firefly: A Collection of Short Works. As a freelance writer, Dacia contributes monthly to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s blog where she shares her short experience in the literary world.

Guest Post: Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

Hey everyone! I’m really excited to be on the blog tour for Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake (September 4, 2018 by HarperTeen). For my blog tour stop, I have an awesome guest post for you from Kendare. First, here’s more about the book!


“Tragic, devastating, horrifying, enthralling.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


#1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake returns with the highly anticipated third book in the Three Dark Crowns series!

Katharine sits on the throne, Mirabella and Arsinoe are in hiding, and an unexpected renegade is about to wage a war of her own. The crown has been won, but these queens are far from done.



And now for the guest post! Enjoy!!


By Kendare Blake

Poisoner queen: the slinkier and tighter the better. Corsets are your friend. Accent the look with gloves and black pearls, and don’t forget to accessorize with a brightly-colored snake, or a scorpion pin. And of course, always in black.

Elemental queen: free and flowing is the way to go. Don’t worry about showing some skin, no matter the weather you won’t get cold. Try light, ethereal fabrics, and you are allowed a splash of colors in your jewelry, as long as it pertains to your gift. Try a red ruby for a fire gift, or sapphires for water. Cloudy opals for weather. Shoes are optional.

Naturalist queen: Dresses are the worst. Trousers with pockets and a good-fitted vest will do you just fine. Choose boots over shoes, and short hair, don’t care. A smear of dirt on your cheek completes the look.


And now for the giveaway!

Giveaway is open to International. Must be 13+ to Enter.

– 2 Winners will receive a Copy of I Winner will receive a Copy of TWO DARK REIGNS by Kendare Blake.
– 1 Winner will receive a $25.00 Amazon/PayPal Gift Card.

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About the Author
Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their cat son Tyrion Cattister, red Doberman dog son Obi-Dog Kenobi, rottie mix dog daughter Agent Scully, and naked sphynx cat son Armpit McGee.


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Find the full blog tour schedule here.

Blog Tour: Medium Wave by Rose Zolock (Guest Post)

Hey everyone! I’m really excited to be on the blog tour for Medium Wave by Rose Zolock. For my blog tour stop, I have an awesome guest post for you from Rose. First, here’s more about the book!

Becky Moran has built a career claiming to talk to the dead. A successful clairvoyant medium, a Cambridge graduate with her own radio show ‘Medium Wave’ and a team dedicated to crafting the celebrity myth – because Becky Moran is a fake. Until, one night, something supernatural, inexplicable, breaks through live on air as she is broadcasting. Becky Moran discovers the paranormal is real, the dead can indeed speak and she is being pursued relentlessly towards a battle for her very survival.

‘This thing has no defined shape. Whatever energy exists within it, it cannot settle on a shape. The strands of darkness curl out and then wrap back inwards. The bulk of the shadow becomes concave, then bulbous, the height building in on itself but lacking any skeletal structure to wrap itself around. There are no eyes, no clearly defined head shape. It is creating itself from darkness, like a swirl of ebony ink dropped into a vat of putrid water, spreading silently….’

View the Book trailer here.

Goodreads | Amazon UK


And now for the guest post! Enjoy!!

White Feathers

by Rose Zolock

This is a simple request.

Tell me, when was the last time you saw a white feather?

Some of you will say when you changed the duvet cover or passed a flock of pigeons. I suspect that many of you will say that feather appeared from nowhere, fluttered by your feet and you are one of millions who believe that feather was sent as reassurance from the other side. There is a growing trend to believe white feathers are signals of love and support from the Angels. There are those – perhaps you are one of them – who believe a white feather is a sign from a loved one who has passed over

For me, it’s a ladybird. This red, shiny jewel of a bug always appears when I need reassurance or support. I know it is my friend Patrick who died, from a brain tumour, while he was still only in his fifties. His mother and I held his hand as he died. It was she who told me about the ladybird – how there was one on her skirt the day she found out she was pregnant and then, after Patrick died, how she would see them when she was at her lowest. I remember nodding, hoping she had comfort from it. Until I saw one in November, on my gate post as I left the house one bitterly cold morning heading to an important job. I took it as a sign of encouragement, that it was all going to be fine. It was. I always smile when I see a ladybird.

A third of Britains believe in Angels. Over 70% of Americans say they believe in them, too. These recent statistics also show the belief doesn’t always originate from a conventional religious source, either. It seems as if our desire to take comfort from the idea that we have a Guardian Angel, uniquely our own, there to protect us, is gathering momentum.

In my novel, Medium Wave, I examine the industry of paranormal belief – with a central character, Becky Moran who has built a successful career convincing the public she could hear the dead speak. She was lying. Although, not anymore. Her journey through the supernatural is a chilling one, set against the back drop of the national media and shows how the exploitative circus of superstition and ghosts can persuade even the most rational person there is evidence of life after death, or of greater forces protecting us. You must decide for yourself as to the truth of this.

Browse a book shop or online. Book after book celebrates the Angel culture and the link with the white feather. I have a friend who sends me small, framed pictures of Angels and she believes they are there to protect us. I keep one by my bed.

There are stories of celebrities who are open about the fact they see white feathers as a sign from a loved one who has passed. One father, whose daughter was murdered, told a tabloid newspaper that he saw white feathers in the most impossible of places and knew it was a sign from his child. No one derided this man and his grief – many then had the courage to speak up and tell similar stories. One widow I know said she took down her wedding album after her husband died. She left the pages open and when she returned, a large white feather was lain on the album. This was in their living room with all the windows closed. She knew it was a sign from him.

Black feathers, however, I do not find to be comforting. The thinking there is that they are a warning – to ward off negativity or alert you to trouble. I avoid crows. Black feathers appear in a certain form in Medium Wave. Be very, very careful.

So, I ask you again – when was the last time you saw a white feather?


About the Author
Her Irish grandmother first told Rose about the Banshee when she was just a small child. How the wailing sound of the spirit of the dead and dying could be heard when someone was about to pass.
It was family folklore that the women in the family had ‘the touch’, the ability to see spirits and other dimensions. Rose listened and grew up fascinated by those who claimed to have supernatural or psychic abilities.

Rose does not claim to have those powers. Take her to Venice in February when the mist swirls over the canals, walk by her side along the darkened streets of Greenwich Village in New York City in high summer, listening to a ghost walk tour guide tell the stories of death, murder and the unexplained – Rose would say those stories and our belief in them gives her a power to see into the shadows within our imagination.

As a journalist, Rose takes every opportunity to explore and investigate strange stories, myth and folklore. Living in rural Yorkshire, with a rich library of ghost stories and literary tradition, Rose also has a sceptical and forensic insight into those who peddle the stories which feed our imagination but of which we have yet found no proof. She has listened to the debunkers who argue against those believers who are convinced that sand the dark side exist.

Rose’s mind is open. Is yours?

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Blog Tour: The Shield by CJ Bentley (Top Ten List)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be on the blog tour for CJ Bentley’s The Shield (July 18, 2017 – Clink Street Publishing). Today, CJ is sharing her Top Ten List of Inspirational Books! First, here’s more about The Shield:

People lose their belongings. That is a fact of life. It can happen by accident, but sometimes it can happen when you put them in a very safe place and forget where that safe place is. Not many people are good at finding them again.

A young, gutsy girl with a kind heart, who’s searching for her own identity growing up in the 1960s, just happens to be very good at finding things. Can she be the one to help return whatever is lost – anywhere and at any time – to its original owner?

With the help of a beautiful yet mysterious wise woman and a chivalrous knight she does just that. She finds and returns his shield, lost in battle, which unbeknown to her holds a secret that is important to his King, the safety of the Kingdom and the life of the daughter of his best friend.
The Shield is the first story in The Finder Series, taking our heroine on extraordinary journeys back in time. Her first adventure takes place in Medieval England in 1340 where she meets King Edward III, his wife Philippa and their son, who will later become the Black Prince.

Goodreads | Amazon UK


And now for CJ’s post! Enjoy!

Being asked to write about only ten books that I have personally found inspirational is quite difficult. It’s like being asked which friend I love the most and I have many friends and many books and many of my books are friends. I have been an avid reader from as far back as I can remember. I can’t ever remember a time when I was not reading a book. To think of only ten is quite difficult so I will put them in to three different stages of reading. The books I remember for being inspirational to me as a child, as a mother for passing on a love of reading to my own children and as myself as an adult, books that I have enjoyed reading for my own pleasure, because I have been unable to do anything else until I have read them, so here goes.

As a child the book I remember being totally enthralled by and made me fall in love with reading, was ‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame. This book was read to us by our Year Five teacher Miss Allen. If we managed to finish our week’s work and been deemed ‘good’ she would read to us on a Friday afternoon, the better and more productive we were the longer she would read and what better incentive was that. She was an amazing teacher and an exceptional, dramatic reader. We were transported back to the river bank with Ratty, to the middle of the road with Toad as he fell in love with motor cars, her wonderful timing with Toad’s “poop poop” had us all in stitches. She took us inside Toad Hall as the weasels tried to take over the house and we listened to the calming and wise words of Badger as he gave his opinions. We couldn’t wait for Fridays. I still possess my own copy my sister bought for me, requested for my tenth birthday present and have reread it many times.

My parents bought me a set of ten classics for Christmas one year. I read all ten by Easter and loved them all. ‘Children of the New Forest’ by Captain Marryat brought the English Civil war alive for me. It instilled in me a love of history and inspired me to read more historical books which I do today. The thoughts of fighting between neighbours and even family members written in this book has been brought to the fore in this twenty first century by what has happened in Syria, it is as relevant now as then.

‘The Coral Island’ by R M Ballantyne inspired me as a child as it opened my eyes to the world, the different and beautiful planet we live on. This book inspired me to travel, to see different places, to meet different people with different cultures and ways of living and I am very thankful that I have been able to visit many different countries and yes, eventually, even a coral island in the Coral Sea.

As a mother reading to my three young boys we were introduced to ‘Winnie the Pooh’ by A A Milne. It is a book for children but also enjoyed by adults whilst reading, one of our all-time favourites. For sheer pleasure of reading to them as a parent I remember reading the ‘What a Mess’ books by Frank Muir. They thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the adventures of a very messy dog and we enjoyed shared laughter at his antics and adventures. As they matured Roald Dhal was the next writer who grabbed their attention. We read them all, loved ‘Danny the Champion of the World’ and ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’, all of his books made such an impact on their falling in love with reading and for different reasons so it is very difficult to choose one book in particular.

Now I have time to read for my own pleasure again I like a book to take over to the point that I get nothing done until I have read it. ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini was a book I read from start to finish in a day, sitting by a swimming pool as my husband attended an interview for a new job. He left me at eight o clock in the morning and returned at five at night. I did not move from the lounger, apart from a toilet stop and to order a sandwich for lunch and when he returned ready to talk I warned him I needed ten more minutes to finish the book. When I finished it I held it lovingly to my chest as he regaled his day to me. I simply loved it. It moved me and for a book to do that is a wonderful thing. ‘Cutting for Stone’ by Abraham Verghese is another book which hooked me in and grabbed my attention immediately and I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It transported me to Ethiopia as the characters became alive and it had an extra special meaning as I had a friend at the time of my reading the book, an Ethiopian girl I had met at school in Dubai. We enjoyed long discussions about her childhood growing up in Ethiopia and became firm friends all due to my reading a book based in the country of her birth, a country until I had read it, I had known nothing about.


About the Author:
Originally heralding from the North of England, C.J Bentley has travelled extensively and enjoyed living in a variety of countries across the world from Dubai to Doha, Qatar and now the countryside in the South of France. A background in teaching and childcare she has always enjoyed creating adventure short stories. However, it was when she became a grandma and with her grandchildren growing up that she discovered that books seemed to contain only stories of vampires, zombies and farts that she decided seriously to take matters into her own hands and put pen to paper which today she calls The Finder Series.

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Blog Tour: Fanning the Flames by Chris Cannon (Guest Post + Giveaway)

 Hey everyone! I’m really excited to be on the blog tour for Fanning the Flames by Chris Cannon. For my blog tour stop, I have an awesome guest post for you from Chris. First, here’s more about the entire series!

Going Down in Flames (Going Down in Flames #1) by Chris Cannon
Published by Entangled Teen

Published on June 30th, 2014

Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy

Goodreads | Entangled Website Page

If her love life is going down in flames, she might as well spark a revolution.

Finding out on your sixteenth birthday you’re a shape-shifting dragon is tough to swallow. Being hauled off to an elite boarding school is enough to choke on.

Since Bryn is the only crossbreed at the Institute for Excellence, all eyes are on her, but it’s a particular black dragon, Zavien, who catches her attention.

Zavien is tired of the Council’s rules. Segregated clans, being told who to love, and close-minded leaders make freedom of choice almost impossible. The new girl with the striped hair is a breath of fresh air, and with Bryn’s help, they may be able to change the rules.

At the Institute, old grudges, new crushes, and death threats are all part of a normal day for Bryn. She’ll need to learn to control her dragon powers if she wants to make it through her first year at school. But even focusing on staying alive is difficult when you’re falling for someone you can’t hav

Bridges Burned (Going Down in Flames #2) by Chris Cannon
Published by Entangled Teen

Published on January 19th, 2015

Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy

Goodreads | Entangled Website Page

Don’t just fight the system…burn it.

Since discovering she is a shape-shifting, fire-breathing dragon on her sixteenth birthday (surprise!), Bryn McKenna’s world has been thrown into chaos. Being a “crossbreed”—part Red dragon and part Blue—means Bryn will never fit in. Not with dragon society. Not with the archaic and controlling Directorate. And definitely not when she has striped hair and a not-so-popular affection for rule-breaking…

But sneaking around with her secret boyfriend, Zavien, gets a whole lot harder when he’s betrothed to someone else. Someone who isn’t a mixed breed and totally forbidden. And for an added complication, it turns out Bryn’s former archnemesis Jaxon Westgate isn’t quite the evil asshat she thought. Now she’s caught between her desire to fit in and a need to set things on fire. Literally.

Because if Bryn can’t adapt to the status quo…well, then maybe it’s time for her to change it.

Trial by Fire (Going Down in Flames #3)
Published by Entangled Teen

Published on April 4th, 2016

Goodreads | Entangled Website Page

Bryn’s hopes for a peaceful new semester at school go up in smoke when someone tries to kill her—again. She’s not sure which is scarier, facing the radicals who want to sacrifice her for their cause, or her impending nightmare of a Directorate-arranged marriage to her nemesis, Jaxon.

The one bright spot in her life is Valmont, her smoking-hot knight who is assigned to watch over her twenty-four hours a day. Is what she feels for him real or just a side effect of the dragon-knight bond? At this point, stopping the impending civil war might be easier than figuring out her love life.

She may have to live in their world, but she doesn’t have to play by their rules.

Fanning the Flames (Going Down in Flames #4) by Chris Cannon
Published by Entangled Teen

Published March, 2017

Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy

Goodreads | Entangled Website Page

Amazon | B&N

Bryn McKenna has it all. Even though she’s a hybrid dragon, she’s finally fitting in the new shape-shifting dragon world that’s become her own. But her grandparent’s want to ruin everything by making Bryn’s nightmare of an arranged marriage to Jaxon Westgate a reality. It doesn’t help that Jaxon’s father is on a witch hunt for Rebel sympathizers and Bryn finds herself in his line of fire.

If she doesn’t say “I do,” she’ll lose everything. Good-bye flying. Good-bye best friends. Good-bye magic. But if she bends to her grandparents’ will and agrees to marry Jaxon she’ll lose the love of her life—her knight.


And now for the guest post! Enjoy!!

Ten things you didn’t know about the Chris Cannon

1. The Day Job: As a speech language therapist, Chris spends her days trying to convince 3,4,and 5 year olds that not all animals are cows and the word Star starts with an S sound.

2. She’s a huge fan of the Resident Evil movies but hides behind a throw pillow during the really gross, violent parts.

3. She dreams of buying a big, old farmhouse and turning it into a dog sanctuary.

4. She became a Doctor Who convert a few years ago and would love it if David Tennant resumed the role.

5. She has no understanding of sports.

6. She is high-heel impaired.

7. She prefers to live her life in jeans, comfy t-shirts and tennis shoes.

8. She thinks ranch dressing is one of the most disgusting substances on the planet.

9. She believes coffee is the elixir of life.

10. She dreams of being a dragon.

And now for the giveaway! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author:
Award winning author Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures and snarky contemporary romance.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Guest Post: Roam by Erik Therme (Giveaway)

Hey everyone! Today, I’m super excited to have Erik Therme, author of the recently released Roam, here for with a guest post! Plus, thanks to Erik, we have a really great giveaway! First, here’s more about the book:

Three strangers, each searching for something out of reach.

Sarah Cate, celebrating her twenty-first birthday, is pushed over the edge after car trouble strands her in the middle of nowhere with an angry, unstable boyfriend.

Kevin Reed, a troubled adolescent abused by a loveless father, roams the night in his black Camaro, looking to pay forward one of the few acts of kindness he’s ever received.

Scotty Mason, plagued by profound guilt and completely detached from his world, is haunted by the unshakable fear that something inside him is dangerously broken and cannot be fixed.

When their lives intersect in an unsavory hotel with a bloody history, all three will struggle to exorcise their personal demons, unaware that a bigger threat is looming . . . and waiting for the right moment to strike.

Like Joshua Gaylord and Daniel Kraus before him, author Erik Therme explores the angst of disconnected youth in his enthralling and powerful Roam. Therme’s darkly tinged novel is an unforgettable tale of three errant souls brutalized by life’s cruel circumstances, and a remarkable night of discovery and violence that will change them forever.

Goodreads | Amazon


And now for the guest post! Enjoy!


Erik Therme

I’m a high-maintenance writer.

Don’t misunderstand: I’m not one of those “I’ll-only-drink-one-brand-of-bottled-water-and-only-eat-red-jellybeans-at-my-book-signings” types of authors . . . those luxuries are reserved for big shots like Stephen King and Craig A. Hart. If I’m invited to do a book signing, I’m thrilled if they give me a chair and a pencil.

No, my high-maintenance issue is much more serious. For me to successfully put words on the page, I need to carefully set the stage and ease into my book. Writing, for me, is the equivalent of sliding into a scalding hot bath by first inserting a toe, followed by a foot, all the while hoping I don’t slip, break my neck, and drown. Getting into the right mindset can be a challenge, which is why I have a system in place that hasn’t failed me yet.

First and foremost: room temperature. My writing lair gets cold—especially during the winter months—so foot coverage is mandatory. I’m currently rocking Mogwai slippers from the movie Gremlins, but any movie-based footwear will do. I also run a space heater to maintain a steady stream of warm air. Once the temperature is exactly 70 degrees (I joke, of course—anywhere between 70 and 70.5 is acceptable), it’s time to crack open my beverage. Morning writing sessions require a cold Mountain Dew (chilled to an ICEE slush consistency in the freezer for 20 minutes), while evening sessions merit a classy alcohol-based beverage like Bud Light. Tea and water are also acceptable, but only in moderation. My bladder isn’t made of steel.

Next comes darkness. Or I should say: dimness. Not of the mind or soul, but of the actual room. My lair is in the farthest corner of our basement, as it’s the perfect place to escape noise and distraction. The window has been carefully covered with Styrofoam, parchment paper, and a massive Rent movie poster, ensuring not even a glimmer of light can peek through. On my desk are two small lamps—each producing a soft glow to illuminate my character sheets and time lines . . . and also so I can easily locate my beverage.

Music is the final, and possibly most important, ingredient. First drafts demand loud and intense heavy metal (bands like Archons and Slayer fit the bill nicely), while rewrites require more concentration, thus softer music, in the form of movie soundtracks. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard are two favorites, while Bear McCreary is always a close third. Tip: Headphones are invaluable to help drown out those pesky sounds of the “real world” that might seep in from upstairs.

Now it’s time to get down to business.

Once the dual monitors hum to life, I open my work-in-progress and get ready to think about writing. But first, Facebook must be checked to see how many times my hilarious cat post has been “liked,” or if anyone has shared the link to my latest novel. If not, two new posts are created (carefully adhering to the strict cat/book—book/cat formula), and from there, it’s off to Twitter, where I cleverly retweet other people’s posts, instead of taking the time to create my own. (I suck at Twitter.) Amazon is my next destination, where I check the sales ranking of my novels (if I were shameless, this is where I would mention the titles as Mortom, Resthaven, and Roam), before finally moving to goodreads, to see if there are any new reviews since I last checked on my phone fifteen minutes prior.

And with that, the writing can finally begin . . . unless I need to stretch my legs and reset the process.


And now for the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a copy of Roam! Giveaway is US only. To enter, leave comment answering this question: If you were stuck at an unsavory hotel with a bloody history, would you survive the night? Giveaway ends 2/28/17 @ 11pm EST. Good luck!


About the Author:
Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his seventeen-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.

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Guest Post: Olivia Decoded by Vivi Barnes (Giveaway)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to have Vivi Barnes, author of Olivia Decoded (September 6, 2016) here with a guest post about the pros and cons of researching for a book that may put you on the FBI watch-list… First, here’s more about the book!

olivia-decoded This isn’t my Jack, who once looked at me like I was his world. The guy who’s occupied the better part of my mind for eight months.

This is Z, criminal hacker with a twisted agenda and an arsenal full of anger.

I’ve spent the past year trying to get my life on track. New school. New friends. New attitude. But old flames die hard, and one look at Jack—the hacker who enlisted me into his life and his hacking ring, stole my heart, and then left me—and every memory, every moment, every feeling comes rushing back. But Jack’s not the only one who’s resurfaced in my life. And if I can’t break through Z’s defenses and reach the old Jack, someone will get hurt…or worse.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

iBooks | Kobo | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Entangled Website


And now for the guest post from Vivi! Enjoy!

Writing Olivia Twisted was insane as far as learning about hacking, and that of course carried over into Olivia Decoded. The hacking is much more front-and-center in the first book, though, as it’s what Olivia gets directly involved in. In book two, we find out that someone from her past is after both her and Z/Jack. Just when she thought it was safe to go back in the water… (Sorry, couldn’t help throw in a Jaws reference!) It’s much more of a psychological thriller, which was a lot of fun to write. Admittedly difficult, too. Mad props to anyone who writes thrillers!

Things to know if you’re going to write about something that isn’t exactly within the parameters of the law:

1) Don’t discuss these things in public. My husband and I were in a deep conversation one night at a restaurant about how to properly kidnap someone and keep them in a cellar (one of the original ideas I had for Olivia Decoded). I happened to look over and notice the man sitting nearby gaping at us in shock. I’m sure he’s still wondering what poor victim fell prey to our schemes.

2) Know that you might end up on some FBI list for whatever you research online. Which for me included “how to hack a bank account” and “how to use Tor for illegal activities.” Oh, and “how to kidnap someone using chloroform” when I was considering that plot line. The FBI probably has a file called CRAZY WRITERS that they throw this stuff in.

3) Learn your shiz. I learned how to code (well, the basics, at least). I learned how to send pop-up messages to my husband’s computer, which I did. A lot. I don’t think he was too happy about that, but hey, I was enjoying myself!

4) Have fun! Killing people in books is fun. Doing it in real life is not. Don’t be a real-life killer. This PSA was brought to you by me. You’re welcome.

I hope you enjoy Olivia Decoded! And thank you Meredith and all my book blogger friends for your support these years!


And now for the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of Olivia Decoded + a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


And don’t forget to check out book one, Olivia Twisted!

olivia-twistedTossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Liv might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Liv and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…

Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

iBooks | Kobo | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Entangled Website


vivibarnesAbout the Author:
Vivi Barnes was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. After college, she convinced her supportive husband to

move with her to be part of the sunshine and magic in Orlando, Florida. On a good day, she manages to divide her time writing, working, reading, goofing off with her three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes. Vivi is a proud member of SCBWI and attends conferences whenever she can.

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