Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Halloween is just around the corner, and winter is not far behind! That means it’s finally time to relax indoors after a busy summer and back-to-school season. It’s the perfect time for bookworms to curl up under a favorite blanket with a cup of tea, and catch up on some of the reads we’ve missed this year! The extra time is also a great opportunity for some self-development and learning more about what makes you tick. If you want to combine these two activities, take a look at the roundup from the women’s health experts at Rory below. They’ve included summaries and recommendations for the top books to read on women’s health, covering the mind, body, and spirit.


If the list above isn’t enough to sate your appetite for knowledge, here are a couple more of our favorites. These spicy reads should keep you warm even during the chilly winter nights, and chances are you’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process.

The Vagina Bible by Jennifer Gunter

Sometimes called Twitter’s “resident gynecologist,” celebrated author and OB/GYN Jennifer Gunter answer all the burning questions you have about your vagina and its health, along with plenty of others you’ve probably never even thought of. Is there a specific way I’m supposed to be cleaning my vagina? Are lace thongs unhealthy? Is the G-spot even real? It’s Dr. Jen’s “vagenda” (her word, but we love it) to provide a comprehensive resource for women of every age, and in her new book she definitely succeeds!

Come As You Are  by Emily Nagoski

This New York Times bestseller finally answers the question we’ve all had at one time or another, which is: Why is it so easy for guys to have a good time in bed while we ladies are often left feeling lukewarm at best? Well the answer is complicated, just like we are. Turns out, women have a much higher variance in our sexual anatomy than men do, which makes us a little harder to figure out. Beyond the physical differences, our mood and feelings also play a much more central role in our desires than they typically do for men. This book is seriously fascinating and will have you thinking about your own experiences in a much deeper context!

Key Takeaways

If you’ve finally finished reading most of our winter picks, or even if you’ve just gotten through the summaries, you’ve probably noticed several key themes that are central to the messages in many of these books:
    1.    Listen to Your Body – Whether in terms of food, emotions, or sex, your body knows best! Staying in tune with yourself will be the best indicator for how to make healthy choices.

    2.    Give Yourself a Break – It’s absolutely true that you are your own worst critic. Learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes and treat yourself as you would a friend.

    3.    Know You Have Power – If there’s something in your life that’s dragging you down, chances are that with enough determination, you can do something about it. Whether it’s eating right or learning to assert yourself, you can make things happen.

Our physical, mental, spiritual, and sexual health are all connected, and it’s important to continue to learn about your body and do what you can to help yourself thrive. For more resources for women of all ages, visit Rory.

Reposted from Rory:

Monday, October 28, 2019



Gibson Baker had it all. A beautiful house in Seattle, a beautiful girlfriend and a steady teaching job.

But when Gibson’s loses his job and his girl on the same day, he’s forced to crawl home to Eugene, Oregon.

At least Mom’s happy to see him.

His successful realtor sister, Hope, is not impressed and makes it clear he needs to land another job, and soon! Dempsey, Gibson’s best friend from high school, arrives with promises of ‘the opportunity of a lifetime’. Dempsey wants to open a restaurant. But Dempsey’s dreams are always that – dreams. And Gibson’s not eager to get involved in yet another doomed venture. Until Gibson’s childhood sweetheart, Gail shows up.

What starts out as a wild dream, a desperate plan and a dare, soon takes on a life of its own. With Hope’s help, the trio of misfits finds the perfect spot for the restaurant, but as the grand opening approaches, each must face unresolved issues from their past.

Can they pull together and grow beyond their previous failures, or will they give up their dreams to do the safe and responsible thing?

Book Details:

Title: Dempsey’s Grill

Author: Bryan J. Fagan

Genre: comedy/romance       

Publisher: Foundations Book Publishing (August 26, 2019)

Print length: 324 pages


A few of your favorite things: corn on the cob on a summer day; my daughters laughter; Saturday mornings.
Things you need to throw out: moldy bread that has more hair than me; memories of my one and only blind date; my one and only 8-track tape. 

Things you need in order to write: two Oranges; pot of coffee; hazelnut creamer; two favorite pens and one sheet of typing paper.
Things that hamper your writing: pen running out of ink; out of oranges; no coffee and/or hazelnut. 

Things you love about writing: the challenge.
Things you hate about writing: see above.

Easiest thing about being a writer: listening to the characters speak.

Hardest thing about being a writer: admitting that the story isn’t ready to be told.

Things you love about where you live: I’m from Western Oregon. The sound of the rain is music to my ears.
Things that make you want to move: Eugene is a big city. I’d love to move back to the country.

Things you never want to run out of: laughter.
Things you wish you’d never bought: a witch’s hat. Don’t ask. It was the 1980’s.

Words that describe you: funny; determined; adventurous.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: loud.

Favorite foods: steak; German Chocolate Cake; cherries.
Things that make you want to throw up: peas.

Favorite music or song: Def Leppard; Motley Crue; The Cars; The Sundays.
Music that make your ears bleed: Rap. Don’t ever go there.

Favorite beverage: diet Dr Pepper
Something that gives you a pickle face: hot tea.

Favorite smell: fresh cut grass; sawdust.

Something that makes you hold your nose: silage—yuk!!!

Something you’re really good at: creating a story out of a single word.

Something you’re really bad at: anything math.

Something you wish you could do: go back in time and play football at my high-school.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: date bad girls.

Something you like to do: crash on the couch and watch a movie with my daughters.

Something you wish you’d never done: attempted to fix the lawnmower. Let’s just say it was a long day.

People you consider as heroes: my grandparents.

People with a big L on their foreheads: people who talk but don’t listen.

Last best thing you ate: thick-cut steak—yum!!!!!

Last thing you regret eating: late night Taco Bell. I keep forgetting I’m not in my 20’s anymore.

Things you’d walk a mile for: a good knee so I can walk a mile.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: spiders. Yes, I’m one of those.

Things you always put in your books: a broken person who heals.

Things you never put in your books: harming an animal.

Things to say to an author: I just ordered your book.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: How much money do you make?

People you’d like to invite to dinner: people who make me laugh and think.

People you’d cancel dinner on: people who do not make me laugh or think.

Favorite things to do: exercising; talking to friends; listening to my daughters tell me about their day.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: vacuuming.

Things that make you happy: writing.

Things that drive you crazy: wondering why I’m not writing.

Most embarrassing moment: asking a woman when she was due. She wasn’t. 

Proudest moment: holding my first born for the first time.

Best thing you’ve ever done: stop being scared.

Biggest mistake: letting a friend down.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: sliding down an icy hill.

Something you chickened out from doing: sliding down twice.

The last thing you did for the first time: balanced a cucumber on my nose.

Something you’ll never do again: balance two cucumbers on my nose.



Bryan Fagan is a former Chevy Chevette owner, a culinary arts degree holder, and a one-time journalist. He is also a failed magician. He could never make the rabbit disappear. His adventures in life have allowed him to create funny and loving characters that he hopes you will enjoy.

Connect with Bryan:
  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Saturday, October 26, 2019




He's afraid of losing his girlfriend. But maybe he should be more concerned about the dead body she's crying over?

Marty Golden can barely string a voicemail message together, let alone keep up with his new love. This quirky uncle's hectic Silicon Valley lifestyle needs a reboot when a youth league soccer game becomes a murder scene. And nothing can stop him from donning his amateur sleuth uniform when he discovers his sweetheart used to have quite a thing for the dead guy . . .

With a not-so-helpful paw from Buddy the Labrador,  he does his best to sniff out a long list of possible suspects. But between gossipy soccer moms and the costume-clad members of a Renaissance Faire, Marty's theories fall harder than a jousted knight.

Can Marty solve the case before the trail and his new flame grow cold?

Serf and Turf is the third book in the zany, Silicon Valley cozy mystery series. If you like laugh-out-loud comedy, dorky sleuths, and a festival of old-world fun, then you'll love Marc Jedel's humorous murder mystery.

Buy Serf and Turf to sign in to a great mystery today!

Book Details:

Title: Serf and Turf: A Silicon Valley Mystery

Author: Marc Jedel

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: A Silicon Valley Mystery, book 3

Publisher: BGM Press (October 9, 2019)

Print length: 213 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



Q: If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
A: Superhero, definitely a superhero. Who wouldn’t want to be one if they could be anything?

Q: If you were on the Amazon bestseller list, who would you choose to be near you on the list?
A: Recently I was fortunate enough to have my first novel, Uncle and Ants, hit #1 on Amazon’s bestseller lists in 3 categories. For a few hours, I was ranked #43 overall in Amazon’s Author Ranks. I found it quite amusing that I was ranked right below Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He, of course, was ranked #42 as is only appropriate for making that number famous as the answer to the “question of life, the universe, and everything.”

Q: If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
A: I’d love to meet Janet Evanovich and talk to her about how she has managed to write so many books in her different series. Janet turned out to be an improbable inspiration for my writing.
On a vacation, I picked up my wife’s copy of a Janet Evanovich novel. She got mad when I didn’t return it until I’d finished. My wife that is, not Janet. Janet would be happy because I’ve purchased a number of her other books and even consulted her How I Write book when I started Uncle and Ants.

Q: If you had to do community service (or already do volunteer work), what would you choose?
A: I volunteer each week at two different community service organizations. At one, I help people in their job search by creating resumes and helping them apply for positions. At the other, I help blind people learn how to use technology so they can waste time using social media, listening to music, and deleting spam like all the sighted people.

Q: If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be?
A: I’d choose the town of Eureka, from that TV show of a few years ago. It was a perfect place for a cozy mystery writer with a protagonist who is a software engineer—humorous and strange stuff happened nearly every day, the authorities regularly turned to the engineers to save the world, and most of the time everyone lived happily ever after. If possible, I’d prefer to avoid the days with the potentially apocalyptic events, but I guess you can’t get everything you want.


5 things that drive you crazy:
•    people who say they don’t have time to read but manage to spend hours per day watching videos or checking social media on their phones
•    the smell of boiling bones (probably best not to ask how I know this)
•    names of colors beyond those that came in the Crayola 8-pack—or possibly the 16-pack. All the rest were merely invented to punish the color-blind. And the fashion-challenged.
•    software bugs
•    coming up with lists of 5 things.

5 things you love about where you live:
•    Winchester Mystery House
•    The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz
•    Mystery Dinner Theater
•    San Jose Mystery Room  
•    are you getting the picture yet?

5 things you always put in your books: 
•    humor and wacky side characters, 
•    realistic situations and realistic decisions made by the characters. I hate books where the whole thing could be resolved with a thirty second phone call or quick text.
•    Surprise twists (sometimes even I don’t see them coming) 
•    Buddy, the Labrador
•    after bumbling around for a while, Marty coming through in the end—thanks to his attention to detail

5 words to describe you:  
•    Seriously
•    Needs
•    New
•    Ideas
•    Fast

5 things you’d need on a deserted island: 
•    my dog
•    internet
•    beer
•    lounge chair
•    a fully-fueled yacht.
Oh! And my wife. I didn’t mean to leave her off. She should totally rank higher than my dog and beer. Or at least higher than the lounge chair.


Q: What’s your all-time favorite memory?
A: My wedding. I have to do something to make up for my last answer. Besides, it’s got to be up there in the top 10 anyway so I’ll go with it.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite library?
A: Although it’s no longer a functioning library, I would recommend everyone check out Chicago’s Old Public Library building in downtown. It’s a beautiful building with tiled, mosaic ceilings and an incredible Tiffany glass dome.

Q: What’s your favorite quote?
A: Well, I guess I’d say I try to live by advice from my dad: “If the appetizers are good, eat them. You never know what’s for dinner.”

Q: What’s your favorite movie snack?
A: Milk Duds mixed together with popcorn. Really, it’s a thing. Don’t knock it until you try it.

Q: What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?

A: I’ve got a picture that my nieces drew for my birthday a number of years ago. You can see this picture here. This picture was one of the inspirations for my series so I keep it on my computer to motivate me to keep writing.

Q: What’s the loveliest sight you’ve ever seen?
A: My wife. (Yeah, still trying to make up for forgetting her on the deserted island.)

What’s your latest recommendation for:
•    Food: I’m all in favor of food. Looking at my scale, it’s clear I’ve been way too much in favor of food recently so perhaps it’s best to have fewer food recommendations.
•    Music: When I’m writing, I can only listen to instrumental music. Spotify’s playlists for studying can be quite good. I’ve also actually found some of the soundtracks from videogames to be nice accompaniment to writing. When I’m not writing, I tend to listen to rock and hence why music lyrics often creep into dialogue in my books.
•    Movie: I rarely see movies, but I enjoyed Yesterday, the movie featuring the music of the Beatles. I mean, even if you hate rom-coms/sci-fi/drama, at least you’d like the soundtrack.
•    Book: In the cozy mystery genre, my two favorites are: Left Hanging by Patricia McLinn and Louisiana Longshot by Jana DeLeon. Another series I’ve greatly enjoyed is David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter series—very funny legal mysteries.
•    Audiobook: I’ve been enjoying listening to the great job that B.J. Harrison, the narrator, is doing with the audiobook versions of my three books. The first comes out in December and the rest follow shortly.
•    TV: Disappointed that Elementary’s seven season run ended. I like mysteries, especially when they take a classic like Sherlock Holmes and update it smartly.

Books in the Silicon Valley Mystery series:

Uncle and Ants (#1)       
Chutes and Ladder (#2)  
Serf and Turf (#3)       


Marc Jedel writes humorous murder mysteries. He credits his years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley for honing his writing skills. While his high-tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, these were just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral.

For most of Marc’s life, he’s been inventing stories. Some, especially when he was young, involved his sister as the villain. As his sister’s brother for her entire life, he feels highly qualified to tell tales of the evolving, quirky sibling relationship in the Silicon Valley Mystery series.

The publication of Marc’s first novel, Uncle and Ants, gave him permission to claim “author” as his job. This leads to much more interesting conversations than answering, “marketing.” Recently becoming an Amazon best-selling author has inflated his ego way more than his family would have wished.

Family and friends would tell you that the protagonist in his stories, Marty Golden, isn't much of a stretch of the imagination for Marc, but he accepts that.

Like Marty, Marc lives in Silicon Valley where he still can’t understand Daylight Saving Time. Unlike Marty, Marc has a wonderful wife and a neurotic but sweet, small dog, who is often the first to weigh in on the humor in his writing.

Visit his website,, for free chapters of upcoming novels, special offers, and more.

Connect with Marc:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  LinkedIn  |  Bookbub 

Buy the book:


Thursday, October 24, 2019



A child born with a heroin addiction suffers from withdrawals. But somehow holds onto life by the grace of God. Overcoming everyday child abuse wasn’t easy. A school life that’s affected by everyday violence does nothing to help the already strained family ties. While the memories of his tainted past remain unresolved, negative thoughts lead to a life as a recluse.

In the long run, he became addicted to alcohol for 18 years to numb his emotional pain. Surviving five suicide attempts, and multiple run-ins with the law. Resulting in a three-year probation sentence.

His heartbreak leads to self-destruction. But somehow, through everything, he finds an inner strength he never knew existed. Will his desperate escape from addiction-free him from the clutches, or will it prolong the inevitable?

Book Details:

Title: Shattered Memories: Addicted

Author: R. A. Merrill

Genre: Nonfiction

Publisher: Imprint Native Press (March 6 2019)

Print length: 191 pages


A few of your favorite things: cellphone, laptop, wallet.
Things you need to throw out: old VHS tapes.

Things you need in order to write: Microsoft Word, I cannot be distracted.
Things that hamper your writing: noise, writers block.

Things you love about writing: I enjoy sharing my work with the world. I tend to believe I can make a change in others’ lives.
Things you hate about writing: rearranging a manuscript, and the editing process.

Easiest thing about being a writer: being creative.

Hardest thing about being a writer: trying to find the right words to flow good throughout a manuscript.

Things you love about where you live: the area is peaceful; I also like the rain in the Northwest.
Things that make you want to move: I would like a bigger house.

Favorite foods: mexican, pizza, potatoes.
Things that make you want to throw up:  eggs, peas, canned corn, grits, fish, peanut butter, brownies, Oreo cookies, coffee.

Favorite music or song: I like a lot. Motown, love ballads, soft rock, 80s, rap, r&b, pop.
Music that make your ears bleed: bass songs.

Favorite beverage: orange juice and water.

Something that gives you a pickle face: pickles.

Favorite smell: tropical scents.

Something that makes you hold your nose: boiled eggs.

Something you’re really good at: art, guitar, cooking.

Something you’re really bad at: singing.

Something you like to do: write and creative book covers.

Something you wish you’d never done: drink alcohol for 18 years.

People you consider as heroes: my mother and grandmother who are no longer with me.

People with a big L on their foreheads: grinding my teeth when I’m upset.

Last best thing you ate: nachos.

Last thing you regret eating: cake and cookies.

Things you’d walk a mile for: orange juice.
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: people who continue to ask the same questions.

Things you always put in your books: imprint logo.

Things you never put in your books: editor names.

Things to say to an author: What genres do you write?
Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Your book sucks!

Favorite places you’ve been: Seaside Oregon.

Places you never want to go to again: Jail.

Favorite things to do: work, read, write.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: fly.

Things that make you happy: work, family, my dogs, Samantha.

Things that drive you crazy: when my dogs bark nonstop.

Most embarrassing moment: too many.

Proudest moment: releasing my new book.

Best thing you’ve ever done: found Samantha.

Biggest mistake: dating my ex-girlfriend Brenda.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: broke glass out of a car window.

Something you chickened out from doing: Going on fast rides.

The last thing you did for the first time: answered this question.

Something you’ll never do again: drink alcohol.


R. A. Merrill, author of the new book Shattered Memories: Addicted, wrote (his first book) in 2018. He completed the entire manuscript in five months and hasn’t stopped writing since. Mr. Merrill is writing his new book, Her Worst Nightmare. He is 39 years old and a member of the United Lumbee Nation Indian tribe.

He has achieved many awards for outstanding caregiver training. He’ll soon be releasing his fiction series in 2020. He lives in Longview, Washington, with his girlfriend Samantha & stepdaughter Nevaeh. He enjoys spending time with his family. His hobbies include playing piano and guitar, and something sparked his passion for art at the early age of 12. He’s obsessed with doing his absolute best at whatever he does. His life motto is “Keep striving for excellence!”

Connect with the author:

Facebook  |  Twitter

Buy the book:

Tuesday, October 22, 2019



Making a list. Merry’s life is Christmas chaos. Her divorce is still in question. She’s behind on crafting orders. Ebenezer is an escape artist. And with one day left, she hasn’t completed the line-up for the annual Christmas parade, thanks to one grinch. Once Merry knows the Christmas secret, she realizes Santa isn’t what’s coming to town.

Checking it twice. Santa’s naughty list, courtesy of Jenna Wilcox, will roll down Main Street with names of residents who deserve a lump of coal in their stocking. Saving the parade won’t be easy, but Merry is up to task. Or so she thinks until she discovers Jenna’s body stashed in Santa’s sack.

Going to find out. As facts are unwrapped, Merry finds the line blurred between who’s naughty and nice. As threats are aimed at her and those she loves, Merry dashes for the truth before the murderer puts her on the naughty list and crosses her off for good.

Book Details:

Title: Better Watch Out

Author: Christina Freeburn

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mystery, book 2

Publisher: Henery Press (October 15, 2019)

Print length: 252 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



Q: If you could step back into a moment or day in time, where would you go?
A: I would return to a day when my two youngest were both on the same little league team. Now that all my children are grown and out of the nest, I miss those days and times when activities had us all together.

Q: If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be?
A: A librarian.

Q: If you had to do community service (or already do volunteer work), what would you choose?
A: A cat rescue organizer. This spring/summer I was an accidental cat rescue as feral cats kept having their litters on our porch or bringing their kittens to us once they were old enough to eat dry food. I, with the help of my son’s girlfriend, found homes for 12 kittens.

Q: If you were on the Amazon bestseller list, who would you choose to be one before and one below you?
A: I’d choose authors who being on the list gave them the boost of confidence to write the next book and enjoy the journey. It can be hard at times.

Q: If you could meet any author for coffee, who would you like to meet and what would you talk about?
A: Pam Andrews Hanson, and we’d talk about everything, anything, and nothing. She’s one of my best friends and it’s been years since we’ve been able to sit and talk with each other. We don’t live near each other, so the majority of our conversations are through messages (either text of Facebook).


5 favorite possessions:  
    •    scrapbook albums
    •    Disney trading pin
    •    laptop
    •    electronic cutting machines (Cricut and Cameo)
    •    living room Christmas tree (I have more than one)

5 things you need in order to write:  

    •    laptop
    •    computer glasses
    •    notebook
    •    Vera Bradley pen
    •    a drink

5 favorite foods:  
    •    seafood
    •    gnocchi
    •    bread
    •    cheese
    •    asparagus (especially wrapped in bacon)

5 favorite places you’ve been:
    •    Disney World
    •    Caribbean
    •    Cape Cod
    •    California
    •    Stamp and Scrapbook Expo in Chantilly, Virginia

5 favorite things to do:
    •    crafting
    •    reading
    •    traveling
    •    photography
    •    spending time with family


Q: What’s your all-time favorite place?
A: Disney World.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite movie?
A: Christmas With the Kranks.

Q: What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
A: I can’t watch the Nightmare Before Christmas because Jack Skellington creeps me out too much. 

Q: What’s the most beautiful sound you’ve heard?
A: A baby’s laugh.

Q: What’s your favorite/most visited Internet site?
A: Amazon

Q: What’s your favorite song?
A: Currently, "Someone You Loved."

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do?
A: Travel.

Q: What’s your favorite ice cream?
A: Mickey Mouse ice cream bars.

Q: What’s your favorite hobby or past-time?
A: Crafting, especially paper crafting.

Q: What’s your favorite movie snack?
A: Buttered popcorn.

Q: What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
A: Wallet.

Q: What drives you crazy?
A: The Charmin commercials

Q: What movie genre do you prefer: drama, comedy, action, adventure, thriller, or horror?
A: Usually drama, but I love superhero movies.

Q: What do you collect?
A: Disney trading pins . . . and scrapbook supplies


Q: What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food: Broccoli and cheese soup (here’s my favorite recipe for cooking in an Instant Pot)
Music: Ed Sheeran, No. 6 Collaboration Project
Movie: Aladdin (Live Action)
Book: Say No More by Hank Phillippi Ryan
TV: The Masked Singer


Christina Freeburn has always loved books. There was nothing better than picking up a story and being transported to another place. The love of reading evolved into the love of writing and she's been writing since her teenage years. Her first novel was a 2003 Library of Virginia Literary Award nominee. Her mysteries series, Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery and the Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mysteries, are a mix of crafty and crime and feature heroines whose crafting time is interrupted by crime solving.

Connect with Christina:
Facebook  |   Twitter  |   Instagram

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  B&N  |  Kobo

Sunday, October 20, 2019



A view to a kiln . . .

Sophie “Phee” Kimball enjoys working as a bookkeeper for a private investigator. If only her mother Harriet could enjoy her retirement at Sun City West in Arizona—instead of constantly getting involved with retirees being prematurely put out to pasture. This time Quentin Dussler, a prominent member of the clay sculpting club, was found dead, clutching a piece of paper scrawled with Phee’s mother’s name.

Terrified she’s been targeted by assassins, Harriet begs Phee to investigate. What Phee uncovers is a complicated scheme that only the most diabolical of murderers would ever devise. And as she chisels away at confusing clues and potential suspects, Phee unearths something far more precious and valuable than she could imagine. Eager for answers, she takes a bold step—placing herself in the crosshairs of a stonefaced killer . . .

Book Details:

Title: Molded 4 Murder

Author: J.C. Eaton: pen name for authors Ann I. Goldfarb and James E. Clapp, wife and husband.

Gente: cozy mystery

Series: Sophie Kimball Mystery, book 5

Publisher: Kensington (August 27, 2019)

Print length: 320 pages



Q: If you could live in any time period which would it be? 

A: Ann and Jim – Right here. Right now. We cannot live without hot and cold running water, HVAC, or our TV!
Ann – Ancient Rome in 79 A.D. but nowhere near Mt. Vesuvius.
Jim – Turn of the twentieth century on the French Riviera.

Q: If you could step back into a moment or day in time, where would you go?
A: Ann – 1964 in Kingston, New York, when folksinger Phil Ochs, who shared a taxi with her, invited her to join him in Woodstock and meet his friend, Bob Dylan. She refused. Of course, she was only fourteen! Jim – Back to Spain in 1986. Best time ever!

Q: If you could be anything besides a writer, what would it be? 

A: Ann – museum curator for antiquities.
Jim- cowboy.

Q: If you had to do community service (or already do volunteer work), what would you choose?
A: Ann and Jim – We’ve both volunteered at animal shelters and continue to help rescue pets in need of homes. 

Q: If you could choose a fictional town to live in what would it be and from what book? 

A: Ann – anywhere in the Cotswolds from Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity series.
Jim – Salmon Cove, Maine, Lee Hollis’s Death of a Lobster Lover.

Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be? 

A: Ann – Salamanca, Spain where they have the best paella in the world.
Jim – The French Riviera, but only if he had a fancy convertible. 


5 favorite possessions:
    •    old Russian samovar
    •    rock collection
    •    Latin club t-shirt that’s one step away from disintegrating
    •    Euro pillow
    •    ancient computer

    •    old Boston sweatshirt
    •    old Ren-fest sweatshirt (Hmm, seems we’ve got a theme)
    •    rock collection
    •    TV remote
    •    special frying pan

5 things you need in order to write: 
    •    absolute quiet
    •    computer
    •    chocolate
    •    Coke
    •    dictionary

    •    pad and pencil
    •    decent pens
    •    comfortable recliner
    •    comfortable sweatshirt
    •    sweatpants

5 things you never want to run out of:
Ann & Jim:
    •    toilet paper
    •    computer paper
    •    water
    •    chocolate
    •    Tylenol

5 favorite places you’ve been: 
    •    Russia
    •    Spain
    •    Mexico
    •    Canada
    •    Peru

    •    France
    •    Spain
    •    Mexico
    •    Russia
    •    Puerto Rico

5 favorite things to do: 

    •    write
    •    swim
    •    hike
    •    eat
    •    talk

    •    sleep
    •    write
    •    exercise
    •    walk the dog
    •    go to ball games

5 things that drive you crazy:

Ann and Jim
    •    Arizona drivers
    •    being put on HOLD
    •    grocery shopping
    •    doing taxes
    •    cleaning the litter box after you’ve just cleaned it


Q: What’s your all-time favorite movie?
A: Ann and Jim: The Court Jester with Danny Kaye. We love it!

Q: What’s your all-time favorite city?
A: Ann and Jim: Ottawa.

Q: What’s your favorite meal? 

A: Ann: Wonton soup, NY style egg rolls, spare ribs.
Jim: spaghetti and meat sauce. 

Q: What’s your favorite dessert?
A: Ann: chocolate mousse.
Jim: banana split.

Q: What’s your favorite beverage?
A: Ann: Coke.
Jim: Earl Grey tea.

Q: What’s your favorite ice cream?
A: Ann: chocolate chip.
Jim: chocolate-chocolate.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when there’s nothing to do?
A: Ann and Jim: READ!!!

Q: What’s your favorite candy bar?
A: Ann: Hershey’s.
Jim – Milky Way.
Both: Mars bars but they are virtually impossible to find.

Q: What’s your favorite movie snack?
A: Ann and Jim: popcorn.

Q: What’s your favorite social media site?
A: Ann and Jim: Facebook.

Q: What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
A: Ann and Jim: our keys!

Q: What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
A: Ann: our cat.
Jim: the default blank screen.

Q: What movie genre do you prefer: drama, comedy, action, adventure, thriller, or horror?
A: Ann and Jim: all of the above.

Q: What’s your all-time favorite place you’ve visited?
A: Avila, Spain.

What’s your latest recommendation for:
Food:  Shrimp in garlic sauce, shrimp in trifecta sauce ( Cajun, lemon pepper, garlic combo) 
Music: The Band, Rolling Stones
Movie: The Court Jester, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Dirty Dozen
Book: Rosemary Simpson’s What the Dead Leave Behind, Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity and the Kings Ransom, C.J. Box’s Wolf Pack.


Ann I. Goldfarb
New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) was released in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at and

James E. Clapp
When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) was released in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.

Connect with the authors:
Website  |  Facebook

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Google Play

Friday, October 18, 2019



Librarian Lucy Richardson unearths a mysterious map dating back to the Civil War. But if she can't crack its code, she may end up read and buried.

The Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Book Club is reading Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne while workers dig into the earth to repair the Lighthouse Library's foundations. The digging halts when Lucy pulls a battered tin box containing a Civil War-era diary from the pit. Tucked inside is a hand-drawn map of the Outer Banks accompanied by a page written in an indecipherable code.

The library is overrun by people clamoring to see the artifact. Later that night, Lucy and Connor McNeil find the body of historical society member Jeremy Hughes inside the library. Clearly Jeremy was not the only one who broke into the library--the map and the coded page are missing.

Lucy's nemesis, Louise Jane McKaughnan, confesses to entering the library after closing to sneak a peek but denies seeing Jeremy—or his killer. When Lucy discovers that fellow-librarian Charlene had a past with Jeremy, she's forced to do what she vowed not to do—get involved in the case. Meanwhile, the entire library staff and community become obsessed with trying to decode the page. But when the library has a second break in, it becomes clear that someone is determined to solve that code.

Book Details: 

Title: Read and Buried 

Author’s name: Eva Gates

Genre: cozy mystery

Series: Lighthouse Library, book 6

Publisher: Crooked Lane (October 15, 2019)

Print length: 325 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours


A few of your favorite things: my swimming pool, my coffee maker, my ebook reader.
Things you need to throw out: clothes from 50 pounds ago, broken coffee maker, never-read-any-more books.

Things you need in order to write: coffee, computer, time, quiet.
Things that hamper your writing: noise, people, no time.

Things you love about writing: creativity, imagination.
Things you hate about writing: the soggy middle.

Easiest thing about being a writer: sitting down to do it. 

Hardest thing about being a writer: nothing really. Not anymore.

Things you love about where you live:
Things that make you want to move: tourists, traffic.

Things you never want to run out of: love of my family.
Things you wish you’d never bought: that ugly dress. 

Words that describe you: introvert.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: sensitive.

Something you’re really good at: talking in front of the public.

Something you’re really bad at: singing.

Something you like to do: travel.

Something you wish you’d never done: that one boyfriend.

Last best thing you ate: heirloom cherry tomato.

Last thing you regret eating: ice cream.

Things you always put in your books: humour.

Things you never put in your books: cruelty.

Things to say to an author: I loved your book.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: I can’t find your book anywhere.

Favorite places you’ve been: Malaysia, Vietnam, Mozambique, Nelson, BC.

Places you never want to go to again: Miami airport.

Favorite genre: mysteries.

Books you would ban: memoirs by people with boring lives.

Favorite things to do: read. jigsaw puzzles; travel.
Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: cleaning the house.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: drive across North America by myself.

Something you chickened out from doing: skydiving.


Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books:  clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea By The Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library books for Crooked Lane.

Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It crime writing festval. She is the 2019 recipient of the Derrick Murdoch award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. Vicki lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.  

Connect with Eva:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, October 16, 2019



Grace’s nine-year-old son, Jordan, is dying. First, the Metagenesis disease will tear his soul from his body, and then it will kill him. Desperate for a cure, Grace agrees to take part in an illegal clinical trial cloning souls. Supported by her best friend Kay, the two embark on the ultimate “Vegas Vacation” to the past in search of the right soul to clone, racing against time to save Jordan’s life. But someone is trying to stop them and when they discover why, Grace must make a choice: let her son die or kill her husband. If she kills her husband she triggers widespread Metagenesis, sealing the fate of the human race with a new plague. Humanity is counting on Grace choosing to let her son die.

Book Details:

Title: Hamartia

Author: Raquel Rich

Genre: Time Travel Thriller

Series: book one of two

Publisher: Words Matter Publishing (October 2018)

Print length: 338 pages


A few of your favorite things: I’m a summer baby. I often plan my days around the weather, revolving around the sun like a planet. For this reason, most of my favourite things fall into the summer category. Ice tea, books to read by the pool, summer dresses, sandals, bikinis. And I’m obsessed with bikinis. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that I own enough bikinis to carry me through the Canadian summer months without repeating one.
Things you need to throw out: bikinis. lol

Things you need in order to write: a good night’s sleep + giant coffee = good writing day!
Things that hamper your writing: I’m a morning writer and I like to write alone. As soon as my hubby or kids (adult kids) come downstairs, I’m ruined. Their mere presence in the home, even if on the other side of the house watching a TV I can’t hear or see, distracts me. 

Words that describe you: strong; independent; wise; fighter; go-getter; results focused; open-minded; forgiving; loving.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: stubborn; cold; survivor. Let me explain that last one: survivor. It’s not that I wish I hadn’t survived. I wish I hadn’t gone through the tribulations in the first place. Cancer was no walk in the park. Neither is living with a chronic illness, MS. And those are just the beginning. 

Favorite foods: I’m Brazilian and my go-to dish is my mom’s rice and black beans. She snowbirds in Brazil, and before she leaves me for the winter, she cooks stockpiles of beans and freezes them for me. Other than Brazilian food, my next favourites would be Mexican followed by Jamaican.
Things that make you want to throw up: I have a texture thing which basically rules out most things living in the sea. The thought of mussels or slimy escargot or oysters—OYSTERS! Yuck! 

Favorite music: my music tastes vary depending on my activity. I have cleaning music, dog walking music, writing music, driving music. I guess my usual go-tos are salsa, meringue, and samba (the Brazilian shake-your-ass-at-carnival type, not that mellow jazzy crap). But I also love reggae (all kinds), I love old house, I love gangsta rap from the early 90’s. I can even get down with some ACDC and Aerosmith (I have a crush on Steven Tyler).
Music that make your ears bleed: Soca. Calypso. Heavy metal. I hate them all equally.

Favorite beverage: Water. Is that boring? Ok. I also like ice tea. And red wine.

Something that gives you a pickle face: I’ve never tasted monkey pee, but I imagine it would taste like Beer.

Something you’re really good at: problem solving. I’m the girl everyone comes to to bounce ideas off of (probably because I’ve tried most everything). I’m the girl everyone comes to for advice (probably because I’ve been through some crazy shit).
Something you’re really bad at: directions. I get lost very very easily.

Things you always put in your books: unpredictable plot twists. I love surprising my readers with wtf moments. 

Things you never put in your books: the main character’s race. I’m biracial. I hate that most stories have characters that don’t look like me. For that reason, I decided not to describe my main characters to fit into any one race. I want the reader to feel connected enough to my character that they assume the character looks like them.

Favorite places you’ve been: I’m a huge traveler. I’ve been to thirty-one countries and plan to reach fifty before I turn fifty. It’s super hard to pick a favourite, so I’ll give you my top five. Brazil, and the Canadian Rockies (yes, there may be some bias in my first two choices). Vietnam: been twice and would easily live there. New York City: just because. Budapest: I love the spas.  

Places you never want to go to again: sorry, Cancun. But your party scene attracts far too many of the types of tourists that make me cringe.

Favorite things to do: spending time with family and friends is by far my favourite pastime. Aside from that, I love going out anywhere and I love travelling anywhere. Any sentence that starts with “Raquel, do you want to go to…” is usually answered by a yes. I’m also a sun-worshipper and spend way too much time working on my tan by the pool. 

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: cooking. Not only do I hate doing it, but I truly suck at it. I’m a terrible cook and ain’t no one going to argue with me.

Things that make you happy:
my dog makes me happy. I love my fur baby. 

Things that drive you crazy: turtlenecks and balloons. They don’t just drive me crazy, it’s a full on phobia.



Raquel Rich is a full-time sci-fi author and occasional blogger. She loves to travel, suntan, walk her dog, and is obsessed with all things Beauty & the Beast. She despises cold weather, balloons, and writing about herself in the third person but noticed all the real authors do that. Born and raised in Canada to Brazilian parents, she lives in the Toronto area with her family. She’s married to the guy she’s been with since she was fifteen (her baby daddy). Her superpowers include being a mom to their two awesome grown-ass boys and one fur baby.

Raquel Rich is a proud member of Broad Universe: an international, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative genres.

Connect with Raquel:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads
Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble 

Monday, October 14, 2019



In 1914, the war to end all wars turns the worlds of John Patrick Scott, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Rebecca West and Harry Houdini upside down. Doyle goes back to ancient China in his hunt for that "red book" to help him write his Sherlock Holmes stories. Scott is hell-bent on finding out why his platoon sergeant has it out for him, and they both discover that during the time of Shakespeare every day is a witch-hunt in London. Is the ability to travel through time the ultimate escape from the horrific present, or do ghosts from the past come back to haunt those who dare to spin the Wheel of Karma?

The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A Pocketful of Lodestones, sequel to Silent Meridian, combines the surrealism of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five with the supernatural allure of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell set during WWI on the Western Front.
—First Prize winner of the Chanticleer Review's Paranormal Fiction Awards.

Book Details:

Title: The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A Pocketful of Lodestones

Author: Elizabeth Crowens

Genre: alternate history-mystery / fantasy noir

Series: The Time Traveler Professor, book 2

Publisher: Atomic Alchemist Productions LLC (August 1, 2019)

Print length: 328 pages

On tour with: Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours



Things you need in order to write: A Mac computer with a 27” screen.
Things that hamper your writing: Outside street noise, especially loud car stereos, jack hammers from construction, or from obnoxious neighbors. (I live in NYC.)

Things you love about writing: Traveling for research.
Things you hate about writing: Proof reading for typos and spelling mistakes. I’m not the best typist. Editing is different. I enjoy tightening a plot and making it better.

Easiest thing about being a writer: Justifiably getting away with being “a creative.”

Hardest thing about being a writer: Not earning as much as I’d like as a write. Also I loathe querying for a new literary agent.

Things you love about where you live: In New York City, I don’t have to own and drive a car to do everything I need to do. Much of my immediate necessities are within walking distance.
Things that make you want to move: Subways are much to be desired: rude and stinky people that will sneeze on you and get you sick. Overcrowding. Living space too small. Too hot and humid in the summer. I’d like to move to London if I start earning enough from my writing. People are much more polite. The Tube is cleaner and more efficient.

Words that describe you: Determined, ambitious, relentless, resourceful.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Pushy, aggressive, impatient. People always get the wrong impression about me. Don’t know why, but often they jump to conclusions that are incorrect.

Favorite music or song: Woodstock, Prog Rock, 70s Rock, Classical. Examples: Queen, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, David Bowie — mostly British rock. I also enjoy listening to movie soundtracks.
Music that make your ears bleed: Rap, Hip Hop, Disco and Pop. Oh yes, and people like Barry Manilow — stuff my mother would’ve listened to. Yeech!

Favorite beverage: Coffee.

Something that gives you a pickle face: Hard, strong liquor. I keep trying to train myself to love Scotch, because I love going to Scotland, but I can’t get the hang of it.

Favorite smell: Fresh garden roses, not the store-bought ones with no scent.

Something that makes you hold your nose: Skunks, sulfur — that rotten egg smell near stagnant ponds, and body odor.

Something you’re really good at: Photography.

Something you’re really bad at: Putting together Ikea furniture.

Something you wish you could do: Skiing (Never had the chance. Now my knees won’t let me.) Speak fluent Mandarin Chinese and Russian. (Never had the time, although I’m excellent with languages.)
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: Superior-level CAD skills in textile design and home goods design. What a waste of education. I hated the industry and the people who ran it. I’d love to turn back the clock and erase that part of my history. One day, I’ll write a book about it.

People you consider as heroes: Oprah. Too bad she’s not running for president in 2020.

People with a big L on their foreheads: The Kardashians. They are worthless. I don’t understand their appeal whatsoever. Other reality TV stars fall into that category as well.

Things to say to an author: Quote from Buzz Lightyear: Never give up. Never surrender.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: You don’t have a fighting chance.

Favorite places you’ve been: Anywhere in Scotland, London (or anywhere in England).

Places you never want to go to again: South Florida, if I can avoid it. Sometimes I have no choice for writing conferences. Any place hot and humid, if I can avoid it, with the exception of New Orleans. Love that place and can’t wait to go back.

Favorite books: Hard to pin that one down. Time travel, of course, but anything that hooks me and keeps the pages turning until I’m yawning and need to turn in for the night.

Books you would ban: Fifty Shades of Grey. Although I saw the first film, I haven’t read the book and wouldn’t waste my time. Only reason why I saw the film was it was on cable, and I didn’t pay money in a theater.

People you’d like to invite to dinner (living): Oprah, Buzz Aldrin, Steven Spielberg, Former President Jimmy Carter, and Kamala Harris.

People you’d cancel dinner on: Kim and Kanye.

Best thing you’ve ever done: Publish my first novel.
Biggest mistake: Fall in love with the wrong guy.
Most daring thing you’ve ever done: Getting a black belt in martial arts in Japan.

Something you chickened out from doing: Diving off a high diving board.


Chapter One: Kitchener’s Call to Arms

August 1914

“Have you ever killed a man before?”
I had, but close to three hundred years ago. So, I lied and just shook my head.
“Your name, son?” the recruitment officer asked.
“John Patrick Scott,” I said, with pride.
The officer handed me a card to fill out. “Write your date of birth, where you live and don’t skip any questions. When finished, bring this over to Line B.”
Born during the reign of Queen Victoria, somehow or other I managed to travel to the 23rd century, feudal Japan, and ancient China long before the Great War started. The army wanted to know all the places I had traveled, but it was doubtful that much information was required.
Since the war to end all wars commenced, recruiting centers sprang up like wildflowers. This one took over an Edinburgh public library. If unaware as to why the enthusiastic furor, one would’ve guessed the government gave away free land tracts with titles.
“Let’s see how clever you blokes are. Tell me the four duties of a soldier,” another enlistment administrator called out.
An overeager Glaswegian shouted, “Obedience, cleanliness, honesty and sobriety, sir!”
The chap next to him elbowed his side. “Takes no brains to read a bloody sign.”
Propaganda posters wallpapered the room with solicitous attempts at boosting morale. Kitchener wanted us and looked straight into our eyes. Proof of our manhood or perhaps stupidity. Queues of enthusiasm wound around the block. Impatient ones jumped the lines. We swore our allegiance to the King over a bible. As long as the war lasted, our lives were no longer our own.
Voices from men I’d never see again called out from the crowd.
“It’ll be over in six weeks.”
“Are you so sure?”
“Check out those men. All from the same cricket team. Play and die together. Medals of Valor in a blink. Local heroes with celebrations.”
“I’ll drink to that.”
A crusty old career soldier yelled out to the volunteers, “Does anyone speak Flemish?”
Suddenly the place got quiet. Then he looked at me. “Soldier, do you know anything besides the King’s English? French?”
“Fluent German,” I said. “That should be helpful.”
“Since when were you with the Bosches?”
“Fourteen years, sir. Before the war.”
“And what were you doing in enemy territory?”
“Worked as a teacher. A music professor and a concert pianist when I could get the engagements and sometimes as an amateur photographer. They weren’t our enemies then, sir.”
“Have you ever shot a rifle, son?”
“Actually, I have…”
“Find a pair of boots that fits you, lad. Hustle now. Time’s a wasting.”
The Allied and German armies were in a Race to the Sea. If the Germans got there first, then England was in danger of invasion. Basic training opened its arms to the common man, and it felt strange to be bedding alongside Leith dockworkers and farmers, many underage, versus the university colleagues from my recent past. Because of the overwhelming need for new recruits, training facilities ran out of room. The army took over church halls, local schools and warehouses in haste. Select recruits were billeted in private homes, but we weren't so fortunate.
Except for acquired muscles, I slimmed down and resembled the young man that I was in my university days except with a tad more gray hair, cut very short and shaved even closer on the sides. No more rich German pastries from former students as part of my diet. At least keeping a clean-shaven face wasn’t a challenge since I never could grow a beard. Wearing my new uniform took getting used to. Other recruits laughed, as I’d reach to straighten my tie or waistcoat out of habit despite the obvious fact that I was no longer wearing them.
While still in Scotland during basic training, I started to have a series of the most peculiar dreams. My boots had not yet been muddied with the soil of real battlefields. New recruits such as I, had difficult adjustments transitioning from civilian life. Because of my past history of lucid dreaming, trips in time travel and years of psychical experimentation I conducted both on my own and with my enthusiastic and well-studied mentor, Arthur Conan Doyle, my nightmares appeared more real than others. My concerns were that these dreams were either actual excursions into the Secret Library where the circumstances had already occurred or premonitions of developments to come.
The most notable of these episodes occurred toward the end of August in 1914. In this dream, I had joined another British platoon other than my own in Belgium on the Western Front. We were outnumbered at least three to one, and the aggressive Huns surrounded us on three sides.
Whistles blew. “Retreat!” yelled our commanding officer, a privileged Cambridge boy, barely a man and younger than I, who looked like he had never seen the likes of hardship.
We retreated to our trenches to assess what to plan next, but instead of moving toward our destination everyone froze in their tracks. Time was like a strip of film that slowed down, spooled off track, and jammed inside a projector. Then the oddest thing happened to our enemy. For no apparent reason, their bodies jerked and convulsed as if fired upon by invisible bullets over the course of an hour.
When the morning fog lifted, the other Tommies and I broke free from our preternatural standstill and charged over the top of the trenches with new combat instructions. Half of our platoon dropped their rifles in shock. Dead Huns, by the thousands, littered No man’s land long before we had even fired our first retaliatory shot!
I woke up agitated, disoriented and in a cold sweat. Even more disturbing was finding several brass shell casings under my pillow — souvenirs or proof that I had traveled off somewhere and not imagined it. I roused the sleeping guy in the next bed and couldn’t wait to share this incredible story.
“Shush!” he warned me. “You’ll wake the others.”
Meanwhile, he rummaged inside his belongings and pulled out a rumpled and grease-stained newspaper clipping that looked and smelled like it had originally been used to wrap up fish and chips.
He handed it to me with excitement. “My folks sent this me from back home.”
The headlines: “Angels sited at the Battle of Mons”
Almost as notable was the article’s byline written by my best friend from the University of Edinburgh, Wendell Mackenzie, whom I had lost track of since the war started.
He begged me to read on.
“Hundreds of witnesses claimed similarities in their experiences. There were rumors aplenty about ghostly bowmen from the Battle of Agincourt where the Brits fought against the French back in 1415. Inexplicable apparitions appeared out of nowhere and vanquished German enemy troops at the recent Battle of Mons.”
“This looks like a scene from out of a storybook.” I pointed to an artist’s rendition and continued.
“Word spread that arrow wounds were discovered on corpses of the enemy nearby, and it wasn't a hoax. Others reported seeing a Madonna in the trenches or visions of St. Michael, another saint symbolizing victory.”
“Now, I don’t feel so singled out,” I said and handed the newspaper articles back to my comrade.
For weeks, I feared talking to anyone else about it and insisted my mate keep silent. Even in wartime, I swore that I’d stay in touch with my closest acquaintances, Wendell Mackenzie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was easier to keep abreast of Arthur's exploits, because of his public celebrity. On the other hand, Wendell, being a journalist, could be anywhere in the world on assignment.
* * *
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie,
I regret having missed Wendell when he never made it over to visit Scotland, and you wonder if someone up above watches over us when we make decisions where to go and when. In my case it was when I decided to take a summer vacation and travel to Edinburgh before the war. Those without passports or proper documentation endured countless detours and delays getting back to their respective homelands. One of Mrs. Campbell’s lodgers had been detained in France.
With nothing to return to back in Germany, I joined the Royal Scots. Military training commenced in Edinburgh, and at least they had us wearing uniforms of pants tucked into gaiters as opposed to the Highland troops who wore kilts. Although I was born and bred in Scotland, as a Lowlander that’s one outfit you’d have to force me into with much duress.
Our tasks would be in the Scots Territorial units deployed on our coastline in case of an enemy invasion. Potential threats could come from spies or submarines, but most say that the worst enemy has been the frigid wind blowing off the North Sea.
As there is always talk about combining forces and transfers, my aunt can always forward letters. It would mean more than the world to hear from Wendell saying that not only is he all right, but also in good spirits.
Yours most devoted,
Private John Patrick Scott
* * *
Dear Arthur,
In our last correspondence, I conveyed that I was unable to return to my teaching post in Stuttgart. With your tour in the Boer War as my inspiration, I joined the military. We learned the basics: how to follow commands, first aid, march discipline and training in all matters of physical fitness. My feet have been in a constant state of rebellion, since my previous profession as a pianist was a sedentary occupation.
Deployment was supposed to be along the coast of Scotland, but the army reassigned me despite first promises because of too many staggering losses on the Western Front. I requested to be part of the air corps and a pioneer in new battle technology, but my recruiting officers had other plans. Our regiment left for Ypres in Belgium. None of the Tommies could pronounce the name of this place, so everyone called it Wipers. You’re no stranger to war, but everyone has been surprised that it lasted longer than anticipated.
Yours Most Devoted,
Private John Patrick Scott
* * *
Troops from all over under the wing of the British Expeditionary Forces piled on to ships to sail out to the continent. The locals from Edinburgh didn’t expect to leave bonnie ole Scotland. They told us we’d defend our shores from foreign invasions. I’d crossed the North Sea before, but then it was a sea of hope and a new life full of opportunity when I got my scholarship to continue my musical studies in Germany, now the enemy.
I turned to the nearest stranger, hoping that a random conversation would break the monotonous and never-ending wait until we set anchor in Belgium. “How was your basic training?”
“Three months at an abandoned amusement park,” the soldier replied. “We trained for the longest time in our street clothes and were told they ran out of uniforms. Probably sent recycled ones after the first troops died. Used wooden dummy rifles until the real ones arrived. What about you?”
“We used an abandoned dance hall. Never could get used to waking at 5:30 a.m.”
“Word got around that in Aldershot soldiers had luxury facilities with a billiards room, a library, private baths and a buffet. I suspect that was for the regulars, the old-timers, not new recruits like us.”
“I should’ve enlisted elsewhere,” I grumbled, not that it would’ve made much of a difference if we’d all die in the end.
He pointed to my face and examined my flawless hands. “You don’t look like much of an outdoorsman. Pale, hairless complexion. No scars.”
“I’m a concert pianist.”
“Not much use on the Front.”
“Probably not. Excuse me, I need some air.” I bundled up in my great coat, wrapping my muffler a wee bit tighter.
Wasn’t sure which were worse — the soldiers with their asphyxiating cigarettes or numbing sleet turning into ice pellets. Hadn’t gotten my sea legs, yet. Stormy swells churned my stomach. Sweet Scotland. Lush green grass and the sky the color of blue moonstone. Never thought I’d be so sentimental. Continued staring until brilliant hues of the shoreline merged into dismal grays of a foggy horizon. In the transition from civilian to soldier, I stepped through a door of no return unless I desired to come back home in a coffin.

Chapter Two: The Other Lost World

Ypres, Belgium Late fall, 1914

A sea of strange men, but all comrades-in-arms, all recent transplants marched to their assignments and followed orders without question to who-knows-where on the way to the battlefield sites. We sallied forth, anonymous troops with a distorted sense of time and distance through the streets of has-been cities, once thriving communities. Poetry in ruination.
As we marched through the Grote Markt (Grand Market) heading out toward the Menenpoort (or Menen Gate) I didn’t expect to get an education. The soldier to my left kept talking out loud and compared notes of local tourist attractions. He was probably unaware that anyone else had overheard his comments.
“That long, distinctive building with the church hiding behind it must be the Hallen… or their Cloth Hall. There were impressive paintings on the interior walls of the Pauwels Room depicting the history of this town and its prosperous textile trade.”
“How do you know this?” I asked, trying not to attract too much attention.
“I’m a historian. Used to teach at a priory school in Morpeth.”
Perhaps I was na├»ve, but I asked, “Why would the armed forces recruit someone with a background in history?”
“That didn’t influence my enlistment although I’m sure it’ll come in handy somewhere. Before the war, I traveled all over Europe when time permitted. I brought original postcards with me as to what this town used to look like. It’s frightening to see the difference.”
“Your name?” I asked.
“Private Watson. What about you?”
“Not John Watson, by any chance?”
“No, Roger Watson, why?”
I shook my head thinking about Arthur and bit my lip to hide a slight smile. “Oh nothing… My name is Private Scott, John Patrick Scott.”
“What brings you to this dismal corner of the earth?”
“Ich war ein Musiklehrer. Pardon me, sometimes I break into German. I’m from Edinburgh but was living in Germany as a music teacher. Can’t be doing that sort of thing now.”
“I suppose not.”
“Roger, sorry to have eavesdropped, but it sounded so interesting. Then you are familiar with the area we just marched through?”
“That was the central merchant and trading hub of Ypres and has been since the mid-fifteenth century. On the north side over there is St. Martin’s Cathedral. You can already see the damage from German attacks.”
There was no escaping the needless destruction by aggressive enemy bombing. We continued marching forward in formation. A little way beyond the city gate, we passed by the remains of a park and children’s playground. The soldiers took a rest break and snacked on portable rations.
Many of them took off their boots and massaged their feet. Not too far away, I found a shattered brick in the rubble of what had been a schoolhouse and brought it back to where everyone was having his makeshift picnic.
Watson noticed that I kept twirling the small fragment in my hand while intermittently closing my eyes. “Scott, what are you doing?”
“Pictures form in my mind similar to movies. It’s the art of psychometry,” I replied.
“Psycho — what?” Another soldier overheard us talking.
“Sounds like something from Sigmund Freud,” one called out.
“Not at all, it’s like a psychical gift or talent. It has nothing to do with psychoanalysis.”
“What’s the point?” the first one asked.
I felt under pressure to put my thoughts into words. “I can understand what building this brick was part of when it was intact and what was here before it was destroyed.”
“That’s incredible!” Watson exclaimed. “If you are able to uncover bygone times by psychical means, I am all ears.”
When everyone else discounted my talent, Watson gave it full praise. Others became impatient and weren’t interested in our sidebar history lesson.
“Can you use those skills beyond inanimate objects?” one soldier asked.
“Find me an object, someone’s former possession,” I said.
Another soldier found a broken pocket watch not far from a trampled garden. He tossed it over, and I caught it with both hands. When I closed my eyes, the images materialized in my mind’s eye.
“A loving grandfather was reading to his grandchildren from an illustrated story book. He was balding. Wore spectacles. Had a trimmed white beard.
“‘Time for bed,’ he said, looking at his watch. Tick tock, tick tock. It was a gift from his father.
“He kissed each grandchild on the forehead as they scampered off. Two girls, one boy, all in their nightgowns. The tallest girl was a redhead with… pink ribbons in her long, curly hair. Then the bombs dropped. Fire. The roof collapsed. All was lost. Then… then… Oh my God!”
“Scotty, what’s wrong?” Watson asked.
I looked at the blank faces around me. “You don’t see him?”
Watson was baffled. “See who?”
“That grandfather,” I said, horrified and clutching onto that timepiece. His ghost was standing right in front of me!
Then I realized that no one else was capable of seeing him. Inside, I panicked until my frozen fingers let go of the watch, and it tumbled into the dirt. That’s when his phantasmal form vanished, but there were still indelible memories impressed upon the ether that refused to fade with the passage of time.
Warning bells tolled from a nearby church. “Quick, run for cover!” our commanding officer shouted.
Double-time over to shelter. Incoming bombs whistled and boomed in the distance. Civilians followed, carrying their most precious possessions, also fleeing for their lives.
The sanctuary already suffered from shell damage that left large gaping holes in its roof. Birds nested above the pulpit. Cherished religious statuary had been knocked over and broken. Several nuns rushed up and motioned the way for us to take refuge in the basement. We joined the crowd of scared families, members of the local community.
“Isn’t Britain giving them haven?” I asked Watson. “I thought most of the civilians evacuated by now.”
“There are still the ones who want to hold out,” he explained. “Wouldn’t you if your entire life and livelihood were here for multiple generations? That’s why they’re counting on us, but the Germans are relentless. Ypres is right on the path of strategic routes to take over France.”
When several farmers brought over their pigs and chickens, our retreat began to resemble a biblical nativity scene. From inside the cellar, we could hear the rumble of the outside walls collapsing.
“We’ll be trapped!” People yelled out in panic.
A group of sisters prayed in the corner. Our trench diggers readied themselves to shovel us out if it came to that. One terror-stricken woman handed me a screaming baby.
“I found him abandoned.” At least that’s what I thought she said in Flemish, but none of us could understand her. Confused and without thinking, I almost spoke in Japanese, but that would’ve been for the wrong place and an entirely different century during a different lifetime.
“What will I do with him?” I said to her in German, but she didn’t comprehend me either. I couldn’t just place him down in a corner. We’d be marching out in a matter of minutes.
I approached a man with his wife and three other children. First I tried English, then German, random words of French, and then I tried Greek and Latin from my school days. Finally I resorted to awkward gestures to see if he’d take the child. But he shook his head, gathered his brood and backed off.
Troops cleared a path out of the cellar. We needed to report to our stations before nightfall.
“Sister, please?” I begged one nun, interrupting her rosary. To my relief, she took the infant.
“Oh Mon Dieu!” I cried out in the little French that I knew. “Danke, thank you, merci boucoup.” Then I ran off to join the others.
Watson slapped me on the back. “Looked like you were going to be a father, mate.”
“Not yet. Got a war to fight,” I replied.
Excerpt from The Time Traveler Professor, Book Two: A Pocketful of Lodestones by Elizabeth Crowens. Copyright © 2019 by Elizabeth Crowens. Reproduced with permission from Elizabeth Crowens. All rights reserved.


Elizabeth Crowens has worked in film and television for over twenty years. She’s the author of the award winning alternate history/mystery Time Traveler Professor series, a regular contributor of author interviews for the online speculative fiction magazine, Black Gate, with short stories in the Bram Stoker Award nominated anthology, A New York State of Fright and Hell’s Heart. She is also writing a Hollywood suspense series.

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