Friday, March 31, 2023

Book Tour: I Dream of Demigods by Alexa Sullivan

I Dream of Demigods
Alexa Sullivan

Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: January 23, 2023
Page count: 328 pages

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.
Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Ro Baird can't cast a spell without setting her own pants on fire—until she kisses her hot new boss, Alex. Suddenly, she's able to access her magic…sort of…and she now has a familiar, who may be more trouble than she is helpful.

Alex Kouris happens to be a soul-stealing demigod of the Underworld. He claims he's trying to leave the life, but can she really trust a man whose magical talents are manipulation and charm? When Alex enlists a shady ex to help him, Ro must risk her heart and her life to save him and humanity from Hades’s evil scheme.

Can she harness her true power to set Alex and herself free?

Read an Excerpt:

I turned from side to side in front of the mirror, examining my half French braid. My dark-brown hair wound across the top of my head, like a crown. I tucked the end under the rest of my hair and twisted it into a side ponytail, tying it off with a clear elastic.

“Pretty.” Tabitha stood in my bathroom doorway. With her flat tone of voice, she might as well have been describing broccoli or glue.

I plucked a beaded fringe earring off the counter and slipped it through the hole in my right earlobe.

Lenti, who sat on the counter, trilled and swiped the earring with her paw.

“Nope.” I jerked my head away. “I got these at a craft fair, and you’re not destroying them.”

“What’s that?”

“Never mind.” Should’ve known this was going to happen. Gritting my teeth, I removed the earring and tucked it into a drawer. I tugged the neckline of my clingy black dress a little lower, then turned to Tabitha. “Is it too much? Should I wear my strappy sandals or my ankle boots?”

She crossed her arms. “Explain to me how this happened. You were supposed to talk to him, not go out with him.”

About the Author:

Alexa Sullivan writes humorous, contemporary paranormal romance. She imagines a world where the mundane meets magic -- and where vampires, werewolves and witches have normal jobs. Oh, and there are cats, too. She sets all her books in the beautiful state of Oregon. When not writing, she can be found walking her cat on a leash, hanging out with her husband, and watching far too much Bravo reality TV.

Alexa Sullivan will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Virtual Book Tour: A Bad Bout of the Yips (From the Casefiles of Steve Rockfish, #3) by Ken Harris

A Bad Bout of the Yips by Ken Harris Banner

A Bad Bout of the Yips

by Ken Harris

March 6 - 31, 2023 Virtual Book Tour


A Bad Bout of the Yips by Ken Harris

PI Steve Rockfish’s morning meeting was supposed to focus on a case of straightforward harassment. Two clients had purchased a miniature golf course and instantly became victims of vandalism and projected intolerance.

But as the team investigates, a neighborhood’s bigoted knee jerk reaction to a new sapphic-owned business, is in fact a laser focused plan of intimidation. Before anyone can yell FORE!, violence litters the front nine after Rockfish uncovers the real perpetrator, their actual motive, and dangerous accomplices.

Soon, an old nemesis returns to raise the stakes with plans of revenge and domination. Now facing a battle on two fronts, Rockfish finds his allies thinning at the worst possible time, and recklessly goes on the offensive.

The back nine takes Rockfish and McGee on a frenetic ride from a corporate boardroom, across cyberspace, and to the 19th hole where a long overdue showdown will change everything for the partners, for better and worse.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction
Published by: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: March 2023
Number of Pages: 356
ISBN: 1685131530 (ISBN-13 978-1685131531)
Series: The Case Files of Steve Rockfish - 3
Book Links: Amazon | BLACK ROSE WRITING

Read an excerpt from A Bad Bout of the Yips:


You’ve reached Rockfish & McGee, Investigative Specialists. At the tone, leave your name and message. Someone will get back to you. [Beep]

Jawnie stared down at her phone, annoyed. She hung up the call after the office’s message ended and slid the phone into her messenger bag. With a proper receptionist comes a proper voicemail message. It’s about time. Where the heck is everyone? Rockfish could be out doing God knows what, but what about Lynn? Maybe she’s in the can after an extra spicy lunch? Jawnie laughed to herself. There were a thousand and one reasons Lynn couldn’t get to the phone. Don’t go all Rockfish at once.

The sun had slipped behind the clouds on a mid-Thursday afternoon when Jawnie walked down the endless row of marble steps in front of the Baltimore County Government building. She had submitted her final report regarding former county employee Harvey Henderson, who had been sitting at home on disability from a leg injury suffered while on the job. Henderson ran a bulldozer at the county landfill. That was until he fell off the equipment and reportedly injured his leg.

Jawnie loved this type of case. She conducted a couple of surveillances to find out Henderson’s daily schedule and then one final, quick outing to snap a few pictures from a safe distance. Jawnie followed Harvey and his mistress down to the town of Laurel and out on the Rocky Gorge Reservoir, where the couple spent the day attempting to wake-board. The day served as a twofer and the future ex-Mrs. Henderson would gain the information needed to win her freedom without spending a dime.

At the bottom of the steps, she pulled her phone back out, and double checked the time. Five after two and still no notifications. Apparently, nothing of importance had transpired while she was in the meeting with the County Commissioners. Her car was across the street in the paid lot, and she glanced up from the screen. Jawnie felt flush and concern filled her brain. The green Kia Soul remained parked at the corner, blocking a hydrant. Her heart kicked it up a notch.

The damn thing hadn’t moved in the hour and a half while I was inside. Jesus Christ, I don’t need this shit today. Or any day. Fuck.

Three times today since leaving her condo, the Kia coincidently found itself parked nearby, always within eyesight. The odd shaped vehicle and the color stood out. Amateur hour or someone who clearly wants me to notice. Jawnie gritted her teeth, glanced both ways, and then kept her head down as she jogged across the street. She walked through the small lot until she found her Subaru and slid behind the wheel. She pulled around to the exit gate and paid the attendant. A second later, the arm rose, but the car didn’t move. Thoughts of the Kia had Jawnie lost deep in her mind.

What Would Rockfish Do? Probably tell me to go on the offensive, concern be damned. Well, I’m definitely not going to pull sideways in front of this guy, jump out and confront him, that’s for sure. People are crazy these days and with my luck I’d end up TikTok famous #KarensGoneWild. Okay, let’s see if I’m imagining things. Maybe give him a little I see you action instead.

Jawnie turned left onto Pennsylvania Ave and sped up. At the end of the block, when she was right alongside the Kia, she held her breath and cut the wheel. The Subaru hung a hard right onto Baltimore Ave and missed the Kia’s left front fender by only a foot. Enough to make him take notice. She straightened the wheel and exhaled. Her eyes shot to the rearview mirror. The Kia followed suit but was losing ground as she pressed down on the accelerator. The car remained a block back when Jawnie turned right again. Her eyes flickered from the front windshield to the rearview, expecting to see the Kia at any second, but it never appeared. Or at least that she noticed. Her grip on the steering wheel grew tighter.

Did I lose him? Was he some civilian who flew into road rage when I almost hit him and then gave up once his blood pressure came down? No. I definitely saw that car multiple times today.

Half an hour later and back in Anne Arundel County, Jawnie received an answer to her question. She spotted the Kia two cars back at a traffic light. Alright McGee, you aren’t imagining things. Let’s figure out who this driver is.

“Hey Siri. New note.”

“What do you want it to say?”

“Dark green Kia Soul Maryland Plate 555-RJ4K.”

“Ok, I’ve created your note. It’s called Dark green Kia Soul Maryland plate 555-RJ4K.”

I’ll call Michelle at DMV to run it as soon as I get back to the office. The favor may cost me a drink or an actual date, but it will be worth it to know who he is. Hopefully, the name will ring a bell. The last thing I need is a fresh surprise.

Jawnie was only a mile from the office but took the Kia on a short sight-seeing tour of Linthicum Heights. See exactly how dedicated the driver was to their mission. First stop was Fairway Car Wash. Jawnie got in line behind the others and when it was her turn, she lined up the front left tire to the guide and selected the Supreme.

A tapping on the driver’s side glass caught her attention. “Hands off the wheel, ma’am.”

Jawnie looked down. White knuckles. Her hands slid off the wheel and fell to her lap as the car jerked forward. She tried to relax and think calmly as the conveyor pulled her forward. Each stage coated the windshield with a different chemical and blocked the view. Because you don’t see him, it doesn’t mean he’s gone. Maybe he’s hiding behind that iHop, but with a simple line of sight as you exit the car wash? What’s next? Mario’s? She had dry cleaning that was overdue to be picked up. Big ass empty lot there, nowhere to hide and nowhere to street park. As she exited the car wash, the track gave way. Her hands returned to the wheel. Jawnie waved off the man, wanting to finish drying the Subaru with an armful of hand towels. I’m good, no thank you, she mouthed as she cracked the window and slid out a five-dollar bill.

Mario’s was four lights further down the road and by the third red light, the Kia emerged from the background. Jawnie could feel the sweat building on her lower back. A single drop formed on the side of her face. She lifted her arm and wiped away the drop with her sleeve. Mario’s came up on the left and Jawnie put on her blinker. No need to attempt some big ruse at this point.

Five minutes later, she exited Mario’s with her dry cleaning hung over her left shoulder and iPhone held in her right, ready to capture the moment for posterity’s sake. Jawnie took the picture before the guy could raise his newspaper in a piss poor effort to hide his identity. She unlocked the Subaru and hung her clothes on the back hook. She got in and slammed the door. A combination of the force and noise caused her to jump.

Goddamnit! WWRD? I should have done something proactive after the meeting back at the county building. Jawnie reached into the center console. She chose her weapon of choice and speed walked to the Kia. Deep breath, deep breath. Look and act like you belong here.

The man was blond, with very short hair. Maybe balding. She couldn’t tell with the slight window tint. When he spotted her approaching, the newspaper went back up. Jawnie snapped another picture before sliding the phone into her back pocket. She tapped on the window. The early edition of the Baltimore Sun didn’t move.

She rapped her knuckles a second time. Harder, louder. This time the paper came down and the man’s eyebrows went up. He reached over and lowered the window, roughly two inches, before speaking.

“Can I help—”

The mace streamed through the opening as if she was an Olympic crack shot. The creeper didn’t see it coming and Jawnie didn’t stick around to see the after-effects. She could hear his screams, interlaced with every curse word in the book by the time she slid behind the wheel. Her death grip returned, and she rocketed out of Mario’s parking lot without a clear destination in mind and a little less rubber on her tires.

The Subaru ended up in the parking lot of a Wawa, a good half mile down the road. Jawnie parked behind the convenience store. She pulled up the note she made earlier with the Kia’s license plate and added the photos. At the bottom of the note, she dictated the man’s description in two sentences and returned her phone to the cup holder.

Jawnie exhaled and didn’t move. How long had it been? Three months? Maybe a little longer. Well, kid, it was an enjoyable ride. I look forward to the next extended period of calm. Maybe today showed I’m not built for this line of work. Her mind went back to the night on Rockfish’s front lawn. Porbeagle’s gun. The sound of the shot. The smell of burning cotton as the bullet passed through the material of her oversized sweatshirt. Fixing middle school laptops out of my garage doesn’t sound so bad now. Granted, no one’s launching a streaming network based on that show, but then again, I don’t have to look over my shoulder every time I leave the goddamn house. Jawnie stopped rubbing her hands and dropped her head into them. The tears flowed freely.

She didn’t remember how long she remained parked next to the dumpster, but when she felt she could make it back to the office without having a complete emotional meltdown, she shifted into drive.


Excerpt from A Bad Bout of the Yips by Ken Harris. Copyright 2023 by Ken Harris. Reproduced with permission from Ken Harris. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Ken Harris

Ken Harris retired from the FBI, after thirty-two years, as a cybersecurity executive. With over three decades writing intelligence products for senior Government officials, Ken provides unique perspectives on the conventional fast-paced crime thriller. He is the author of the “From the Case Files of Steve Rockfish” series. He spends days with his wife Nicolita, and two Labradors, Shady and Chalupa Batman. Evenings are spent playing Walkabout Mini Golf and cheering on Philadelphia sports. Ken firmly believes Pink Floyd, Irish whiskey and a Montecristo cigar are the only muses necessary. He is a native of New Jersey and currently resides in Virginia’s Northern Neck.

Catch Up With Ken Harris:
BookBub - @08025writes
Instagram - @kenharrisfiction
Twitter - @08025writes
Facebook - @kah623
Twitch - @kenharrisfiction



Tour Participants:

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Book Tour & Giveaway: The Fifth Horseman by Jon Smith


Comedy/Fantasy/Mythical Realism/Fiction

Date Published: 02-07-2023

Publisher: Balkon Media

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Internationally published bestselling author Jon Smith makes his adult debut with The Fifth Horseman, a modern comic fantasy that rides roughshod over established mythology and the rules of life… and death.

The Fifth Horseman is a darkly comic tale of two thirty-somethings caught between our world and the afterlife, who must embrace their role as reapers to prevent the End Times. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Father Ted, perfect for fans of Ben Aaronovitch, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman.


Death is just a day job you can’t quit…

Emma and Mark had a bad day. The worst part of it was dying. But, according to Death, the Rider on the Pale Horse and first horseman of the apocalypse, things aren’t that simple. Turns out the sand in their hourglass is stuck in place. Somewhere between life and death, they’re put to work as Death’s assistants, reaping the souls of the living until it’s time for their final clock out…

To compound matters, despite their omnipotence, the four horsemen are facing an existential threat – one they’re ill-equipped and ill-prepared to combat.

Emma and Mark must reap like their afterlives depend on it, to help prevent the End Times – even if it means scuppering the one opportunity they have at being granted a second chance at life.


Filled with humour, romantic tension, and suspense, Jon Smith utilises a witty, lightly sarcastic ensemble of flawed but loveable characters. It will appeal to mainstream fantasy readers and hopeless romantics, as well as those who enjoy a good story and a good laugh.



5 stars!

This unlikely but fun, laugh-out-loud story combines humor with the mythical tales of death and dying.

The Fifth Horseman by author Jon Smith was an unlikely but fun, laugh-out-loud story combining humor with the mythical tales of death and dying. The two main characters provide the narrative, and their inner monologues, each with different end goals for their sojourn with Death, were engaging and kept me turning pages with anticipation of what was going to happen next. Their interactions with each other, Emma not wanting to acknowledge or act on Mark’s sudden and in-the-moment revelation of love, were entertaining and had me hooked. And to this, their decision to back up the reaper and some great side characters such as the other horsemen of lore (War, Pestilence, and Famine), Charon the boatman, and Veronique, Death’s French personal assistant, and this was a book I didn’t want to put down.

About the Author

Jon Smith is the bestselling author of 14 books for children, teens, and adults. His books have sold more than 500,000 copies and are published in seven languages.

In addition to writing books, Jon is an award-winning screenwriter and musical theatre lyricist and librettist with productions at the Birmingham Hippodrome, Belfast Waterfront and London’s Park & Waterloo East theatres.

Jon enjoyed a happy childhood—making daisy chains, holidays in the sun and an obsessive interest in all things fantasy. No brace, few spots and only one broken bone and one broken heart (not his). It all went swimmingly.

Father of four, he lives near Liverpool with his wife, Mrs. Smith, and their two school-age children. When he grows up he’d like to be a librarian.


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RABT Book Tours & PR

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Book Blast & Giveaway: Bells & Bombshells (Harper & Moon Investigations, #1) by Trixie Silvertale

Bells & Bombshells
Trixie Silvertale

Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Sittin' On A Goldmine Productions LLC
Publication Date: March 28, 2023
Page count: 175 pages



A pattern of murder. A threadbare case. Can our psychic sleuth pick out the guilty before time spools out?

Mitzy Moon is finally tying the knot. And she’s loving the whole town’s excitement for their upcoming big day. But when their tailor is found buttons up behind a jazz lounge, the almost-newlyweds will have to hem in a murderer before their dreams rip apart at the seams.

Knowing they’ll get no help from the new sheriff in town, the couple embarks on a tightly woven undercover assignment. But Mitzy fails to heed ominous warnings from her mentor, Ghost-ma, and her entitled feline. When another body drops, she could be the next target erased by the mounting powers in the darkness…

Can Mitzy and Erick unravel the twisted clues, or will their wedding be eclipsed by a funeral?

Bells and Bombshells is the first book in a hilarious new paranormal cozy mystery series, Harper and Moon Investigations. If you like snarky heroines, supernatural intrigue, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Trixie Silvertale’s wedded whodunit.

Buy Bells and Bombshells to stitch up a killer today!


Dear Diary, in less than a week I’ll be married! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Sheriff Erick Harper is the kindest, handsomest man in all the land.

“Oh, Mitzy! You’re such a hoot!” The ghost of my not as dearly departed as everyone thinks grandmother pops into the visual spectrum directly above my bed.

“Grams! Get out of my head! How many times do I have to tell you, thought-dropping is against the rules? If these lips —”

“Spare me the lecture, sweetie. It’s the only way I can get your attention lately. For weeks, you’ve been acting like a girl trapped in a, what do you call it, Rom-Com?” The ethereal specter crosses her bejeweled arms over her burgundy silk-and-tulle Marchesa burial gown.

“Don’t play innocent with me, Myrtle Isadora. I was in my safe space. Snuggled under the comforter of my cozy bed, enjoying my own personal thoughts. No invitation was extended.”

“Reow.” Can confirm.

“See, even Pyewacket agrees with me.” It’s not as though my half wild tan caracal can actually speak, but the longer I live in Pin Cherry Harbor the more I understand the subtle variations of his intonations.

The glowing apparition scoffs. “You know I don’t approve of you two ganging up on me. I simply came in to see if you needed help selecting the right outfit for this morning’s breakfast.”

“Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!” I fling my legs toward the floor and attempt to leap out of bed. Bad idea.

If you know me, you know what happens next. If you’re new in town, let me cut to the chase. My legs do not spring clear of the bedding, and I tumble into a puzzle of reindeer onesie pajamas and mortification on the floor beneath.


USA TODAY Bestselling author Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lilian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and obsesses about all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Harper and Moon Investigations series, and she's thrilled to write them and share them with you.

Website | Instagram | Facebook |


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by 

Trixie Silvertale will be awarding a $75 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other hosts on the tour.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Book Blast & Giveaway: The Beautiful Misfits by Susan Reinhardt

The Beautiful Misfits
Susan Reinhardt

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions
Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Women's Fiction / Addiction & Recovery
Publisher: Regal House Publishing
Publication Date: March 7, 2023
Page count: 254 pages



Eighty-four seconds can change your life. Or destroy it. Josie Nickels is an Emmy-winning news anchor, poised to rise through the ranks of television journalism. On a bitter March evening on live TV, the pressures and secrets burbling behind the closed doors of her ridiculous Victorian mansion explode and the overwhelmed journalist spills family secrets like a Baptist at altar call. The aftermath costs her much more than a career. It robs her of a beloved son—a preppy, educated millennial trapped in the deadly world of addiction. Desperate for a new start and a way to save her son, Josie packs up her pride, her young daughter, and accepts a new job slinging cosmetics at a department store make-up counter with other disgraced celebs. In the gorgeous mountains of Asheville N.C., known for hippies, healings, and Subarus, Josie is faced with a choice for her son: Take a chance on a bold, out-of-the-ordinary treatment plan for her son or lose him forever. This heart-wrenching and, at times, hilarious novel, will delight fans of book-club women’s fiction and inspire and give hope to those with addicted sons and daughters.


“My darling son: The machines do the work. The breathing. If they go, you go. This much they said. This much I’m struggling to believe. In the weeks after you were born, I’d kneel at your cradle and watch you breathe. Every night after you fed from my body and lay dry and cocooned, I counted your breaths. I had to because sometimes you’d hesitate as if unsure what came next. One, two, three. One, skip, two. One, skip, skip. I’d nudge the cradle and startle you into another gasp of existence.

I did this every night until my knees grew raw on the cold hardwood floor and my sleep-starved eyes shut down. It seemed you were hesitant about this life outside of me, not sure you wanted the air that sustained, almost as if testing this world before it had a chance to do the same to you. Sometimes I never made it to my bed across the room.

I’d awaken in a spill of moonlight, clumped and aching beneath your cradle. Mouth dry and hanging open, foot kicking that oak siding just to keep you going. Now, more than twenty-three years later, I am doing it again. We’re back to this two-step, this tango, this breathing game. I am counting the rise and falls of your chest and gently tapping the metal railings of your bed. The machine breathes and releases. It’s a dance, a rhythm.


Susan Reinhardt grew up in LaGrange, GA. and Spartanburg, S.C.where most girls twirled batons, entered beauty pageants, and became debutantes.

Bucking the norm, Susan spent her free time water skiing almost every day, fishing, and pining for a ragamuffin boy who was always up to no good.

Earlier in her college years, she pursued nursing, but most of her patients were terminal and her mastery and frequency of giving enemas had her questioning this line of work, though she adores nurses and often wishes she’d have stuck with the field.

She recently took a part-time job caring for adults with disabilities and loves the work, figuring it would at least make up for past misdeeds and get her a better shot at the Pearly Gates.

Writing has always been her first love. And she became good enough at it to earn many dozens of awards, including three Best of Gannetts for her feature stories and columns. Along with a bunch of other junk that really doesn't matter in the end.

What matters to Reinhardt is making people laugh. And think. And love others.

She is married to her second and final husband, country and genius lawyer Donny Laws who is bald but has a ponytail and loves to ride a bike. She has two adult kids, three steps, and a granddaughter.

She’s been on national TV, has modeled for one glossy magazine, and was the subject of a British documentary on aging and body image. She hopes that the documentary is lost and never resurfaces.

She once had a radio show called Susan Uncensored; a sold-out one-woman show called “From Hilarity to Insanity and Back.”

She no longer water skis but performs fairly decent front and backflips from a diving board and half-ass rides a unicycle and twirls a baton simultaneously.

Her hobbies include a vintage camper obsession and she’s owned three. Recently she’s settled on her 1968 Scotsman, which she hopes to paint pink and teal with polka-dots and haul on book tours.

She has two rescue cats who vehemently hate each other.

In her next life, she’d like to be a figure skater.


The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Virtual Book Tour: Liar's Dice (Shane Cleary, #4) by Gabriel Valjan

Liar’s Dice by Gabriel Valjan Banner

Liar's Dice

by Gabriel Valjan

March 13-24, 2023 Virtual Book Tour


Liar's Dice by Gabriel Valjan

Boston might be white with snow, but there’s nothing but a winter’s darkness for Shane Cleary, a former cop, veteran, and reluctant PI. There’s an international war within the mafia over drugs, and he has been asked to find the nephew of the local crime boss. When federal agencies descend on the city and order the police department to stand down on a homicide, the BPD reaches out to Shane for answers.

Shane’s past in Vietnam comes to haunt him when the corpse of a veteran is found on Boston Common, frozen to death in front of the State House. Then, a former army buddy comes to town looking for justice. His presence endangers all that Shane holds dear.

Shane must come to terms with a side of himself he thought he had left behind. The mounting body count and circumstances compel him to play a game of Liar’s Dice. Can he deceive and detect deception around him? Protect those he loves, while he solves the cases?

Praise for Liar's Dice:

"Gabriel Valjan writes like a poet but his PI Shane Cleary packs a wallop worthy of Mickey Spillane."

Clea Simon, Boston Globe bestselling author of HOLD ME DOWN

"Gabriel Valjan is the godfather of organized crime fiction and LIAR’S DICE is all the proof you need."

James L’Etoile, author of the Detective Nathan Parker series

"Gritty, smart, sharply written, Valjan’s Liar's Dice is a welcome addition to the canon of fine PI fiction."

Reed Farrel Coleman, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of SLEEPLESS CITY

"A fast-paced mystery that kept me flipping the pages, needing to find out what would happen next. Shane Cleary is a complex, brilliantly written protagonist. A terrific read."

Hannah Mary McKinnon, internationally bestselling author of Never Coming Home

"Warning: Pick up a copy, turn the page, and you’ll be hooked. Liar's Dice ticks the boxes: an interesting tale that’s economical and tight, descriptions that are full and rich, dialogue that’s real, and characters that spring to life. Gabriel Valjan just has a way of making every word count."

Dietrich Kalteis, winner of the 2022 Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence for best novel

"Gabriel Valjan crafts a vivid portrait of 1970s Boston to life in LIAR’S DICE. Shane Cleary deserves to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the city's other famous PIs—a haunted but compassionate character who cuts through a swath of Mob crime with Valjan’s trademark wit and style."

James D.F. Hannah, Shamus-winning author of BEHIND THE WALL OF SLEEP and SHE TALKS TO ANGELS

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction; Mystery; Private Investigator; Noir; Historical Fiction
Published by: HISTORIA
Publication Date: March 2023
Number of Pages: 292
ISBN: 9781685122065
Series:Shane Cleary Mystery, #4
Book Links: Amazon

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1

Thou Shalt Not Say No

I heard the slap of the Boston Globe on our doorstep.

It was seven-thirty and Bonnie had already kissed me goodbye. It was a kiss. A long, slow kiss to make a man lose his dignity. I begged her to stay home, to play hooky from work and give the boys in the office a reprieve. She told me she couldn’t. I watched her walk out the front door. Her perfume may have hinted of spring but the mercury in the thermometer said winter.

The phone rang and interrupted my trip to the front door for the paper. I answered on the second ring.

“Glad you’re still there,” she said.


“I’m at a payphone on Comm. Ave.”

“Forget something?”

“I noticed a Cadillac parked across the street when I left.”

“It’s a car that stands out, I’ll give you that, but what’s the problem?”

“The man inside the car. He’s getting out.”

“I thought I was the PI and you were the lawyer.”

“I’m serious, Shane.”

“So am I. Okay, I’ll play. Describe him to me?”

“Six-six. Menacing. Dark winter coat. He’s headed to our door. Wait, he’s stopped.”

“He stopped?”

“To light a cigarette, but he’s not having any luck. He keeps trying with his lighter.”

“Tony Two-Times.”

“That’s Tony Two-Times? Not exactly subtle, is he?”

“It goes with the job description.”

“Oh my god, Shane. He’s reached into his jacket.” I’d never heard Bonnie’s voice hit that note, not even during sex, though in my defense, this was panic and not ecstasy. We were nearing our anniversary, and I suppose months of cohabitation or what the Census Bureau calls POSSLQ or Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters had eroded her tough exterior.

“Never mind,” she said. “It’s a newspaper. I thought he might’ve had a gun.”

“Go to work, Bonnie.”

I did the rude thing and hung up on her. It’s not that I wanted to do it, but Tony Two-Times, uninvited and unannounced, was not the same thing as the guy at your door with the news you’ve won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. Tony was a ‘friend’ and the mob always sent your friend to kill you. I moved fast and pulled my .38 out of the holster, hidden under a coat on the rack. I opened the door and kept the revolver behind my back.

The cold air punched my lungs and my eyes watered. I found Tony doubled over, picking up my Boston Globe. When he stood upright, he blocked the wind and the sun. An unlit cigarette stuck to his lower lip. “You gonna invite me in, or what?”

I stepped aside, back against the door. He pressed the paper into my chest. I put a hand over it. He paused before he stepped in. His dark eyes bore into me. “Relax, Cleary, and saddle the Colt you’re hiding behind you.”

“You could’ve called.”

“This conversation is best in person, face to face.”

“If you say so, Tony.”

“I say so. I’ve gotta job for you.”

Tony had tapped one foot against the other to knock off any snow, salt, or sand. He took the cigarette from his lips and pocketed it. He wiped his feet on the small mat, and took off his hat and coat and hung them on the coat rack. I holstered my sidearm and directed him to the kitchen. He walked down the hallway, talking. “You really thought you needed to draw your piece on me?”

“You weren’t what I expected with the morning paper.”


Excerpt from Liar's Dice by Gabriel Valjan. Copyright 2023 by Gabriel Valjan. Reproduced with permission from Gabriel Valjan. All rights reserved.




5 stars!

PI Shane Cleary returns in another gritty tale of crime set in Boston in 1970.

Liar’s Dice is the fourth book in author Gabriel Valjan’s Shane Cleary mystery series, and it’s a riveting return for the reluctant former cop turned private investigator. Thank you to Partners in Crime for introducing me to this series!

Shane Cleary is a good and honest man, caught in the middle between the cops, the feds, and the bad guys. This time around, there are a couple of different cases working, and I really enjoyed how things came together. I also didn’t figure much out on my own, so I was compelled to keep reading and have Shane do all the heavy lifting for me. We get to see into his private life, including his cat, Delilah. The author created a splendid “look & feel” of Boston in 1970, and I felt like I was back in that time and in that place. The story embeds the reader in the mob culture with mood, dialogue, and speech patterns. I learned some things, too. I never ever thought about there being Canadian mobsters. The story is suspense-filled and tense, but there are moments of pure humor that had me laughing out loud.

While this is not the first book in the series, readers can easily enjoy this as a standalone. There is even a character guide provided to keep the names and personalities straight. But the entire series is excellent, and readers shouldn’t miss the previous novels. I recommend LIAR’S DICE to mystery readers who enjoy grittier tales, PI stories, crime fiction featuring organized crime and crime families, and fans of the previous books in the series.

Author Bio:

Gabriel Valjan

Gabriel Valjan writes historical crime fiction. He is the recipient of the Macavity Award for Best Short Story and he has been listed for the Bridport and Fish Prizes, the Agatha, Anthony, Derringer, and Silver Falchion Awards. He lives in Boston’s South End and answers to a tuxedo cat named Munchkin.

Catch Up With Gabriel:
BookBub - @gvaljan
Instagram - @gabrielvaljan
Twitter - @GValjan



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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Slaves of an Alien Game series by Nina Schluntz

Slaves of an Alien Game


Nina Schluntz

Genre: Science Fiction Romance



Game Wardens rule most of the galaxy by a fierce empire built on enslavement and brokered deals. The only means to earn one’s freedom is by playing in the Alien Games. Two slaves go in the arena, the survivor, if there is one, is given their freedom and crowned a king, earning them a small country to rule and slaves of their own. 

To make the battle more fun for spectators, genetically enhanced monsters, sahalias, are given to the combatants, but they must found in a scavenger hunt. Five orbs, each hatching into a lizard that will bond with their keeper, are hidden on a random planet. If the competitor finds all five, they have a great imbalance of power over the other, who will have none. The sahalias are created with one purpose, to battle to the death and destroy the other competitor.


Slaves of an Alien Game - Book 1

Caden works at an all night diner in a small town near the interstate. When a man comes in late at night, asking for access to the roof, Caden knows the man is a bit off. But his ruffian nature and a small bribe makes Caden decide to let him go up.

“It’s a scavenger hunt,” the man says. Caden thinks he’s being helpful when he finds the item, a black orb, but when he touches it, he unknowingly becomes a competitor in an intergalactic competition that ends in a battle to the death. Manipulated and lied to, drugged by the alien Incubus, Raghib, whom he is now allied with, he must train his lizard battle creatures to fight for him on an unknown planet with rules he barely understands.

He has little chance to survive and although he wants to trust, Raghib, who will earn his freedom if Caden wins the battle, he worries he is simply being used. A bit of truth is revealed when one of the Game Wardens takes a liking to Caden, but his alien species is known to eat humans, so Caden isn’t sure if the desire is that of hunger or true romance.

Either way, Caden is nothing but a slave to their alien games.


Slaves of an Alien Game - Book 2

Caden is free. He won his battle and got what he wanted. Sent back to Earth with his won kingdom given to the slave, Raghib. However, life on Earth, back at the diner isn’t the same after living on an alien planet. He still suffers from withdrawals from the Incubus influence and drugs Raghib forced on him, and nightmares from the horrible battle to the death.

When a woman arrives, the latest competitor in the alien games, she offers him a chance to visit Raghib. All he has to do is be her slave during the games and help her find the orbs. He agrees and finds she is a higher level competitor than Raghib was, the hunt is on a deadlier planet, one covered in darkness and monsters.

Caden is eventually reunited with Raghib and gets to see the kingdom he won. Raghib is more broken from the battle and haunted by the brutality of it than Caden. He has a new lover and is driving his country to poverty so he can buy drugs to forget the pain. Caden turns to the Game Wardens for help, offering to go back in the arena again, with the woman he helped in the scavenger hunt. He is a fan favorite and knows their ratings will improve if he goes in again.

He arranged to go in as her pretend slave, in a role that will have safety features turned on so he will be in no real danger. He thinks its his idea to go back in. Confident he’s messing with the structures in place and trying to leverage the Game Wardens to change the deadly games into a nonlethal form.

However, it was their plan for him to go back in from the start. Caden is still nothing but a slave to their alien games.


Slaves of an Alien Game - Book 3

Caden’s long-term girlfriend on Earth is pregnant, and Caden is missing. Jenny worries he has been kidnapped and drugged again. A strange woman arrives, saying she knows Caden and where he is. She offers to take Jenny to him, if she helps her… they just need to find some orbs in a scavenger hunt. Jenny agrees, but is careful to not touch the objects. She doesn’t trust this woman.

They find four orbs and encounter the other competitor. The fifth orb is there, and Jenny is forced to pick it up. The other competitor forfeits and Jenny finds herself now in the games, the woman she’d been helping now announced as her deadly competitor.

She is taken to an alien planet and united with a distraught Caden. He confesses that he has a relationship with a man, an alien man, an Incubus named Raghib, and the woman Jenny must fight is Raghib’s daughter.

Caden is in an impossible situation, either his lover’s daughter dies or his childhood sweetheart dies, but there is a rule in the games, a protection for slaves and their offspring, who are viewed as profitable future slaves. A pregnant woman may not enter the arena, instead the sire must.

Caden is again forced to play in the games, but this time he has no sahalias to battle on his behalf, and safety features are not allowed. If Caden is to survive, he must find a way to not be a slave in their alien games.

| Kindle Vella (US only) |



He stood there in the headlights of my car, not answering me. I wondered if he was going to shift into a more alien body and go, “You got me!” 

“Are you an alien from another planet?” I repeated the question slowly as if that might help prompt an answer from him. 

“Yes.” He offered nothing more. We both waited, for what I wasn’t sure. Maybe he was considering if he needed to dose me again. 

The standoff ended with him turning to enter the junkyard. He angled his flashlight around, looking for his next orb, while I stood there unable to move or speak. 

What the hell was a person supposed to do in this situation? Text their mom and say, “Hey. So, I got pulled into this alien scavenger hunt, and I’m gonna be gone for a while. Let’s hope I don’t get probed.” Include a few laughing-face emojis, maybe an alien-face emoji too. 

“Caden!” His deep voice, which now sounded extremely alien to me—as if I could hear extra tones in it that I hadn’t noticed before—pulled me out of my reverie. Well, the third time he shouted my name, it did. The first two, I was too busy thinking about how weird his voice was.

I walked over to where he stood, his flashlight aimed at the orb on the ground.

“You must now decide,” he said. “Will you collect the orbs and be my ally?”

“You promise I’ll be safe?” I asked. “I’m not going to die doing this? I will be completely intact, my arm and everything. And this—these things will all be removed from my body?”

“If we are the victors of the game, you can have whatever you wish. I promise you that.”

“And if we lose?” The fact he’d worded his response the way he did made me wonder if the losers were killed or something.

He kept the flashlight aimed at the orb, and with his other hand, he cupped my chin.

“If you are my ally and do as I say, we will win. I assure you of this,” he said.

I waited, expecting that surge of magical opioids from his hand, but none came. Maybe he was decent enough to want me to make the decision sober. “And you’ll return me back here, to Earth?” 

“Yes, with a settlement of the prize. Cash if you like,” he said.

Well... I mean, I needed his help getting this thing off anyway. And he wasn’t being a jerk. He seemed nice enough for an alien. He could clobber me with brute force and make me help him, except maybe the rules kept him from doing that or something. Would the rules keep me safe after we left Earth? Good gravy, what was I saying? I was acting as if this was a normal problem people faced.

“Fine, we’ll be an alliance,” I said.

“Wonderful. Pick up the orb.” His face truly looked pleased, and this time the tingle that went through my body was a burst of chemicals of my body’s own making.



5 stars!

Surprising M/M sci-fi romance building up to an arena-style battle royale!

Slaves of an Alien Game: Book One is the debut novel in author Nina R. Schluntz’s new science fiction romance series of the same title. The story hits the ground running and never lets up, even as the two main protagonists navigate unfamiliar feelings for each other. 

Caden is fun, engaging, and unsure of himself, especially in the romance department, as he’s always thought of himself as strictly heterosexual. However, he’s kept the one girl he’s had any kind of meaningful relationship with at arm’s length for years. It seems everyone had assumed Caden was gay all his life, including the aforementioned girlfriend! Early on in the book, when he and Raghib are discovered to have spent the night together, Caden’s mother is hilariously giddy that her son has brought home such a desirable catch. I loved that she invited the whole family over to wish them well on their upcoming trip together. 

Raghib is the alien partner, born into slavery on his home planet, and a more serious character. He has trouble pinning down his feelings for Caden and vacillates between overt desire and adopted indifference; he doesn’t want to get hurt when Caden returns to Earth after they are victorious in battle. 

The author builds a fascinating and vivid world as the setting leading up to the Battle of a Thousand Deaths. My favorite aspect, though, has to be the lizard-like creatures called sahalias which are bonded to Caden as the finder of the black orbs. I couldn’t help but picture Great Dane-sized, velociraptor-type animals. 

The plot maintains a fast pace with preparations for the battle, Caden and Raghib getting to know each other, dealing with their differences, and inevitably falling in love. There are explicit sex scenes, most of which are intimate and tender, but a few are performed to repay a debt or requirement of another. Early encounters are enhanced by the exotic nature of the alien connection between the two men: they are bonded in a consensual owner-slave alliance, and there are some rules which structure and guide that particular relationship that end up having some surprising ramifications for both. Finally, with all the preparations and events Caden and Raghib must attend before the actual arena match, I was glad that the battle was presented the way it was: non-stop action, and it was over. I had become quite attached to Caden, Raghib, and the sahalias and was dreading the fight and the awful possibilities it posed. 

With its engaging boy-next-door main character and imaginative plot, I recommend SLAVES OF AN ALIEN GAME to readers who would enjoy a M/M SciFi romance with non-stop action and adventure.


Nina Schluntz is a native to rural Nebraska. In her youth, she often wrote short stories to entertain her friends. Those ideas evolved into the novels she creates today.

Her husband continues to ensure her stories maintain a touch of realism as she delves into the science fiction and fantasy realm. Their three cats are always willing to stay up late to provide inspiration, whether it is a howl from the stray born in the backyard or an encouraging bite from the so called “calming kitten.”


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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

I Will Find You Again by Sarah Lyu

I Will Find You AgainI Will Find You Again by Sarah Lyu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story will mesmerize readers from start to finish.

Chase Ohara has been driven to excel her entire life. Her dream is to attend Stanford University, and now, in her senior year of high school, that dream is almost within reach if she can improve her less-than-stellar SAT scores when she retakes the test in December. But if the pressure isn't already enough, she and her girlfriend, Lia, broke up at the end of junior year, and Chase is still grieving the loss of her best friend, confidant, and love. Not only that, Lia has a new girlfriend, and Chase is witness to her newfound happiness at school every day.

Chase and Lia had grown up living across from each other in the exclusive Meadowlark area and had been best friends before their relationship progressed to the next level. Their breakup had been devastating, and the incident of the split itself had been particularly brutal, with each girl knowing exactly how to hurt the other the most. To cope with all that was going on, Chase had turned to the little pink pills hidden in an Altoid's tin. In fact, she was relying on the drug so much that even her supplier questioned her usage. Then came the text from Lia's mom, Jo; Lia was missing. Chase's life, already teetering on the edge, was about to go completely off the rails.

I Will Find You Again by author Sarah Lyu is a brilliant contemporary young adult novel that will mesmerize readers from start to finish. What starts out as a well-told tale of the stresses and rigors of the senior year of high school, deciding a path for the future and nailing down final details, is revealed to be so much more. It was like watching a duck paddling on a pond, calm on top but a flurry of motion under the water.

Chase is a driven soul, trying to live up and surpass her parents' expectations, and doesn't understand her friend Lia's attitude toward life, her future, or her family. She sees what Lia has and thinks she's got it made. It seems that resentment and envy have been bubbling below the surface of their relationship from the start. When Lia goes missing, readers watch as Chase tries to find out what happened to her friend, not realizing that Part One of the book isn't the beginning of the story. That's when suspicions about Chase's involvement in Lia's disappearance take a big left turn.

The writing is smooth, and every aspect of the story is realistic. I liked that the girls' relationship felt accepted. This isn't about their love being challenged, picked apart, or the girls being ostracized. Finally. Excellent descriptions, natural dialogue, and clever twists and turns move the story forward in one direction, only for the reader to realize that wasn't where things were headed after all. The tension in the story is there from the beginning and builds with every turn of the page. I couldn't put the book down, and I was completely invested.

With its engaging, sympathetic main characters and riveting plot, I recommend I WILL FIND YOU AGAIN to readers who enjoy contemporary young adult fiction with an LGBTQ+ storyline.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author or publisher through TBR and Beyond Book Tours.

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