Thursday, June 22, 2017

NEW RELEASE & GIVEAWAY: TORCHED by Liz Long

Title: Torched
Author: Liz Long
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Designer: Indie-Spired Design
Hosted by: Lady Amber’s PR
Blurb: Lucy Sullivan and her circus family are finally back where they belong - in the spotlight and with each other. Even ringmaster Sheffield Donovan is in good spirits as their show delights audiences each night. Life is almost back to normal.
Until the US government appears in the form of one General Baker and his army of soldiers. At the threat of worldwide exposure, life as the Donovan Circus knows it is over. Cornered into the General’s terrible experiments, they have no rights, no friends, and no hope of escape. Lucy will lose more than one loved one, and perhaps her own life, in the process.
The Donovan Circus will face the worst danger yet - can Lucy take down an entire government sector, or will the gifted world finally be destroyed once and for all?
Liz Long is a proud graduate of Longwood University and author of ten novels. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her day job as Associate Editor includes writing for a magazine publisher in Roanoke, VA. She is also the director of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference and the annual Roanoke Author Invasion.
Comic book readers and fans of CW Network smash hits Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Netflix’s Daredevil will root for Liz Long’s bestselling YA summer series as the HoA’s gifted teen superheroes attempt to save their city from its impending demise. The Donovan Circus series has best been described as "X-Men meets the circus." Adult horror story Witch Hearts tells the tale of a serial killer hunting witches for their powers. New Adult PNR A Reaper Made is about a teen Reaper who gets caught between falling in love or saving her sister's soul. All titles are available for paperback or ebook on Amazon.
To learn more about Liz (including more information on her books, plus writing, marketing, and social media tips), visit her website: http://lizclong.com.
Author Links:
Newsletter signup (new subscribers get 2 free ebooks, including DC #1): http://www.subscribepage.com/lizlongauthornewsletter
Buy Links:
Torched Buy Links:
One of our tigers roared, triggering Suzy the elephant to release a trumpet of warning. These strange men were probably stirring up circus members who weren’t already at the party, scaring them half to death. My stomach clenched at the thought; my whole family, practically everyone I knew and loved, was right behind me in the Big Top.
I have to protect them. It was the only thought I had, the only one that mattered. I would do whatever it took to keep my people alive. The soldier directly in front of me snapped to get my attention, instantly annoying me. “Where is Sheffield Donovan?” My chin jutted out. “Who’s asking?”
A new, strong voice answered behind the soldier. It definitely belonged to a man of authority. “The United States government.”

Saturday, June 17, 2017

COME WITH ME TO ALGONAC...THE FINAL DAY

As I write this, I am sitting in front of my computer in my home office in Santa Clarita, CA. I left SLC this morning and took a Delta flight back to civilization. My first thought as I stepped off the place was, "It is stinking hot here!"

Yesterday, Friday, was our 5th and final day in Algonac. Carissa and I woke late and ate leftover fried mushrooms for breakfast. Yum! Having pretty much exhausted everything possible to do and see in Algonac, we decided to drive to Flint and grab lunch and maybe a nap before our afternoon flight to Utah.

You might wonder why we got such a late flight flight out of town (departed Flint at 11:30am and arrived in SLC at 10:30pm). That's because flights out of Flint seem to be few and far between. Despite the luxury of the airport, it was nearly empty the whole time we were there. When we got our boarding passes and asked about our flight, the attendant said, "There's only one." Well, we did see there was a second flight later in the evening, heading to Oklahoma, I think. Anyway, I didn't really have many flights to choose from.

On our way to Flint, I am sad to say that a bird struck our car. It literally crashed into the windshield. Nothing could have been done to prevent it. Being the bird-lover she is, Carissa got out of the car and scooped up the fatally wounded bird into her gentle palms. We did try to locate a bird rescue, but the nearest one was in Ann Arbor and I had no idea how far away that was. It wouldn't have mattered anyway. The little thing died a few minutes later, which was probably for the best. We just felt at peace that at least the creature hadn't died alone or on the street where it would have been run over. After it passed, Carissa laid it beneath a tree. Sadly, we've notice a lot of roadkill along the roads to and from Algonac. Beaver, birds, and deer galore. So much wildlife here--I guess it's what happens when nature and man collide.

Once in Flint, we stopped at The Olive Garden for lunch. Yes, Carissa thoroughly washed her hands first!!! We enjoyed soup and salad. I took a short nap in the car, then we filled up the tank and drove to the airport where we just hung out for a while. The flight to Chicago was uneventful. We had an unbearingly long three-hour layover there. We ate some Chinese food, and I chatted with a lovely Mormon couple who were heading to London and shared our experiences with family history. Eventually we got on the plane. The seats were so uncomfortable! It felt like forever before we finally landed in SLC.

We reached Carissa's home at about 11:30pm only to learn that my son, Stuart, was just ten minutes away in Sandy with his Boy Scout troop. They had just returned from a kayaking/camping trip in Yellowstone and were sleeping at a friend's house before heading back to California today. So of course we had to drive to Sandy to see Stuart. Just a short visit. Stuart came outside to meet us--wearing his Sunday suit complete with bow tie. Why? Because, he explained, all his clothes had gotten wet so he was going to sleep in his suit. (They brought their suits to visit the temple earlier that day.) I suggested he at least not sleep in his tie.

Back to Carissa's. I had a deep night's sleep. Got up. Showered. Enjoyed a lovely breakfast made by Carissa and her husband Cash. Visited with my grandbirdies, Mango and Zooks. And left for the airport. There were some tears on Carissa's part. It's hard to say goodbye. We miss each other so much. I hate living so far from her, but this week was a dream come true for me, and I'm so glad I got to share it with her...and with all of you.

What's next?

First on my list is to figure out the identities of the two additional family members buried in the Algonac cemetery. Next, I will begin the planning stages for writing a book. There are still lots of questions to answer. I am hoping to visit my Aunt Larry soon to ask those questions. Maybe, if all goes well, by the end of 2018 I may have a rough draft in hand. We shall see. In the meantime, I'm just glad I finally got to Algonac, to walk where my ancestors walked, to take in the view they once enjoyed, and to learn more about the town they loved so much.

Friday, June 16, 2017

BOOK BLITZ: THE CURE by Tania Hagan

Title: The Cure Series
Author: Tania Hagan
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: CHBB Publishing
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR
Blurb:
Beautiful and brilliant, eighteen-year-old Genesis Weatherby lives a charmed life as the clone of a long-dead silent film star. She is loved by her close-knit family as well as her two best friends, and being a clone isn't so bad when everyone in the world is one too. Thanks to an organization known as GOD, there have been no Original births in one hundred and thirty years. In a successful attempt to eradicate cancer, GOD has taken control of human procreation, and only the human copies that are proven to be free of the once devastating disease are allowed to thrive. Genny never questions anything about her world, until she meets handsome and mysterious Nat Wilkinson. Now, she is forced to make choices that can alter the course of her life, as well as the lives of everyone on the planet.
Blurb:
Genesis Weatherby has been living the life of a fugitive for over three years. Genny, Nat, and their two children have found some comfort in the remote mountain village of Fieldmont, Oregon, where Chosen members, as well as their sympathizers, live inside a forgotten government bunker.
GOD has just named Genny and Nat as their primary targets in the organization's war against Original births. More importantly, they’ve blamed the couple for the alarming number of cancer cases in recent years.
When the GOD-created deadly Angel virus strikes close to home, Genny devises a dangerous plan to stomp out GOD once and for all.
But, will Nat and their friends go along with her idea? And, will Genny be able to live long enough to carry out her dangerous mission? Where can she run when everyone in the world thinks she’s their enemy? In the end, will she really know who’s on her side? And, will it be too late for everyone?
When stopping GOD and the Angel virus becomes Genny’s primary goal, she has to make some life-altering decisions that might lead to the destruction of her entire family.
Tania Hagan was born in Illinois, but moved to Southern California as a young teen. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a degree in Social Science and Psychology.
She began her writing career shortly after school, when she wrote for a major business magazine. She also read the nightly business report for the company's TV news. At the same time, she produced, and reported for a weekly TV news magazine program.
After she was married, Tania and her husband moved back to the Chicago area, where she worked briefly as a stringer for a local newspaper. She also became a successful Realtor, and continued to write for online, as well as for print publications.
They have one beautiful daughter. Her dream of dreams is to eventually adopt many more children. Out of everything she's ever accomplished, she is most proud of being a mom.
Author Links:
Buy Link:
The Angel Factor: http://amzn.to/2rlmPRc

Thursday, June 15, 2017

COME WITH ME TO ALGONAC...DAY 4

Is it really Day 4? Carissa and I have officially fallen in love with Algonac. On the advice of Joan from the community museum, we decided to dedicate the first half of the day to exploring Harsens Island, which is just across the river from Algonac.

For $10 a round trip, we boarded the ferry (a first for both of us!) and traveled to the island. It's a bit trippy on the ferry because you're moving forward and can see from either side that we are indeed moving, but you can't see in front of you because the huge metal platform is up blocking your view. Felt a little strange.

Harsens Island was spectacularly beautiful. Residents live around the edge of the island along the water, while the interior is state land, marshes and forests, reserved for hunting and trapping. From the late 1800s through about the 1940s, this was the go-to place for wealthy revelers. Paddle boats and steamers would drop them off at any of the various hotels and resorts to wine and dine and mingle with the upper class. These resorts were quite luxurious. Even Teddy Roosevelt was known to come here once. Over time, these beautiful locations either burned down or were torn down, replaced by private homes. Only one still exists and is now a club.

Carissa and I stopped by the very tiny town of Sans Sousi, which means "Without A Care" in French. The entire town consists of about six buildings. That's it. We enjoyed the little gift shop there and met Chuck at the local history museum (which used to be the firehouse). Chuck gave us an incredible tour of the island's history. The massive anchors in the photo here came from the 1903 wreck of the John Glidden which blocked the river, backing up 400 boats at the time. It had to be dynamited to clear the way.

After that, we grabbed lunch at the Schoolhouse Grill on several people's recommendation. Our server, Amanda, was wonderful. And the food was  honestly some of the best we've ever had anywhere. Carissa had a build-your-own burger, including avocado, a fried egg, cheese, olives, and mushrooms. The chef called it the slipperiest burger he's ever made. She had to eat it with a knife and fork.

We also enjoyed seafood nachos, and I had a fried scallop taco (out of this world!) and a locally caught perch taco. Amanda even made me a sampler of their Tuna Poke Bowl because I wished I could have ordered that too, and when she found out we were first timers from out of state and would likely never come back, she wanted me to try it. And it was amazingly delicious!!! We were so stuffed we skipped dinner altogether.

On the way back to the ferry, we were driving along the road when suddenly Carissa shouted, "Stop the car! Turn around!" There was a little (six inches in diameter) water turtle scurrying across the road trying to reach the swamp on the opposite side. Wonder Woman Carissa leapt from the car (no others were anywhere to be seen, so she was safe) and carried the terrified little guy to safety. Way to go, Carissa!

After a lovely, long nap, we decided to go into town to enjoy the night light. We were told that Marine City a few miles down the road had a theater and more entertainment than Algonac. Well, yes and no. They have a small movie theater that plays classic films--but not open until Friday. They have a local live theater--the play opens on Friday. And, well, that's about it. So we didn't bother.

Instead, we headed back to Dairy Queen! Luckily, there was a local band performing in the park across the street with about 150 locals sitting in lawn chairs and enjoying the evening. Carissa and I found a bench on the river to enjoy our ice cream. We watched a young boy catch a fish. We watched families motoring by on their boats. Two women who were incredibly intoxicated asked us to take a picture of them posing on a streetlamp like it was a stripper pole. And we watched as big, black storm clouds rolled into view overhead. (We did spot a rainbow!) The musician assured us the storm was going to pass us by, so no worries. He lied. At 8:30pm the sky opened up and drenched us all with giant-sized raindrops. The concert came to an abrupt end as everyone quickly packed up their lawn chairs and ran for cover. It didn't last long, but in about two minutes, Carissa and I were drenched.
So, true to our now nightly ritual, we have come back to our motel room to watch TV and fall asleep. Tomorrow is our final day in Algonac. We will be leaving here around 1:00pm and flying out of Flint at 4:30pm (EST) and arriving in SLC at 10:30pm (MST). I probably won't be able to post tomorrow, but you'll hear from me on Saturday for my final report on this amazing and wonderful adventure.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

COME WITH ME TO ALGONAC...DAY 3

 
Day 3 in Algonac, Michigan was an exciting and enlightening one. After spending half the night online trying to figure out where my great-great grandmother Margaret Jane Reid was buried, I learned that she died in Eloise, Michigan, a town about an hour from here. I thought perhaps she was buried there as well, but my research led me only to an old asylum (for mental patients and tuberculosis patients), which no longer exists, and its creepy cemetery where 7000 unclaimed patients were buried with nothing but numbers for headstones. And the place is purported to be haunted.

I seriously hoped Margaret hadn't ended up there. She had lots of family when she died in 1944, so she certainly would have been "claimed."

My next step was to find out what other cemeteries are in that area. No luck there. Websites are pretty scarce for cemeteries in these parts, and contact information is non-existent. (How the heck does anyone arrange to bury family members around here???) I discovered that at one time cemetery info had been publicly available through the Library of Michigan but had been taken down. I called and a very nice librarian named Diane located the obituary for Margaret J. Reid, which listed the names of her family, the funeral home (no longer in existence), and that she was to be buried in Algonac. Ah ha!!!

Carissa and I drove back to the Clay County Township office armed with this information. Janet located the hand-written internment record from 1944. No Margaret Reid. Now we were getting worried. What had happened to this woman? Janet suggested that a fellow named John, who had access to more cemetery records, might be able to help. He did. He found some records that indicated that yes, Margaret Jane Reid was buried in Algonac, AND so were two additional grandchildren: Amanda and "grandchild". So, six Reids are buried right next to each other. The problem is--the records don't know who is in which plot! The only one absolutely for sure is Ross Reid because he has a headstone. I'm pretty sure I know which plot belongs to great-great grandpa James Reid. But the other four are unknown. The explanation John gave me was that record keeping back then was...well, poor. At least we know they are all there in a ten foot rectangle of earth. That, at least, is satisfying.
So, after all that, Carissa and I stopped by the market for some 409, a dish scrubber, and a rag. Then we went to the cemetery and cleaned little Ross's grave. We placed flowers on the graves and took pictures. I hope my Aunt Larry knows her little angels are safe and sound.

Later in the day, Carissa and I headed over to the Algonac Community Museum where Joan and Bud told us all about the town's history and showed us photos and shared stories. We had a great time with them, and Joan convinced us that tomorrow we have to visit Harsens Island, where she grew up, just a ferry ride across the river (in Michigan, not Canada.) After that we went across the street to the Maritime Museum and met George and Terry, who debated about walleye and perch. What a funny pair they are! We learned all about Chris Craft and Gar Wood, two famous boat builders from the early 1900s.

Oh! I almost forgot! Carissa and I drove down Edgewater road in Pt. Duchene (just outside Algonac) where my great-great-grandparents' and Aunt Larry's houses were! We weren't exactly sure we were in the right place, but later we learned that yes! We had been in exactly the right place. In the 30s, Gar Wood's boat factory was right there on the water, and my family's houses were just down the street. Pretty cool.

Around town I kept seeing these fliers for the upcoming "PICKEREL TOURNAMENT"  and a couple of people mentioned it to us in passing. I kept wondering "What's a pickle tournament?" Turns out Pickerel is a kind of fish that is fished here in the river. The tournament has a parade, a court is crowned, there are games and huge prizes (they used to give away boats!), and fishing competitions, and even a parade! The cool thing is that I found out that the 1st Pickerel Tournament occurred in 1938, the very summer I want to write about.

The day ended with more fried mushrooms at Algonac Flaming Grill. (It's right next door to the Maritime Museum, so we just had to!) Now we've come back to our room to watch TV and fall asleep. Tomorrow should be fun exploring Harsens Island.


WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Four years ago I held a contest. Entrants suggested cool names for female characters in fantasy books. The winner's name would make it into SEER OF THE GUILDE. The winner was Emily Bennett for "Naida". Second place went to Katherine Sophia for "Ellian Roya."

Read Original Contest Post Here (entries in comments): http://laurisareyes.blogspot.com/2012/11/giveaway-interview-w-anne-stengl-author.html

"Naida" did indeed make into my book (which comes out on July 6th) as a minor character. "Ellian Roya" did not. However, good news! Katherine Sophia has since authored a series of her own and has used that beautiful name in her books! Congrats, Katherine!




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

COME WITH ME TO ALGONAC...DAY 2

Today Carissa and I awoke to a beautiful warm, breezy day in Algonac, Michigan. We had two tasks to complete: 1) visit the library to research Algonac, and 2) find my family's graves. 

The first task was easy. But first we ate an early lunch at Algonac Flaming Grill where we had the most delicious deep fried mushrooms ever! We loved all the food actually: roast beef dip and corned beef sandwiches, fries, and chicken dumpling soup. The best part was meeting Valerie, our waitress. Turns out she is from Huntington Beach, CA! She's lived here in Algonac for seven years and says the winters are dreadfully cold.

After lunch, Carissa and I headed for the library. I called ahead, and the very nice librarians there had already set aside a stack of books about the history of Algonac and Clay County for us. We thumbed through them, noted which ones to purchase once we got home, and then watched a video about Algonac's history. The photos from the 1930s are what really caught my attention. Also, there had been many resorts built here over the decades, and most of them burned down! We couldn't help but laugh every time the narrator said, "Such-and-such resort was built in 19--. It burned down in 19--." We lost count how many were destroyed that way.

We went back to the motel and while Carissa took a little nap, I got online to find the Algonac Cemetery. That turned out to be quite a challenge. Seems cemeteries here don't have detailed websites or even staff on hand to answer phones. I couldn't even find an Algonac Cemetery online. I knew
there was one because not only did my Aunt Larry tell me two of her children were buried there, but the owner of the motel mentioned it as well. So I knew it existed, but how would I find it?

Finally, after an hour of calling several wrong numbers (to wrong cemeteries and other cities), I was directed to the Clay County Township offices where I spoke to a lovely woman named Anita in the Treasury department. She looked up my family name, Reid, on the cemetery index and located their plots for me. When I asked where it was, she gave me directions. I asked if there was anyone on site to help me locate the graves. No, but she would give me a highlighted map of the cemetery, which was extremely helpful, as it turned out.

We stopped by the office, picked up our map, and headed to the cemetery. I think its official name is Oaklawn, though it doesn't seem to exist anywhere online, as I mentioned. I also hunted for the graves on Findagrave.com and could only locate Ross Reid. James H. Reid and Margaret Ann Reid (either of them, there are two) seemed also to not exist.

Carissa and I hunted in that cemetery for half an hour. We knew we were in the right place but we could not find any Reids. I called the office again and verified that yes, we were looking in the right place. Finally, Carissa spotted Ross Reid's headstone. Ross is my dear Aunt Larry's little boy who died in 1955 at only a year old. But to our dismay, there were no headstones for his sister, Margaret Ann Reid, or my great-great grandparents, James H. & Margaret Jane Reid. From the map, we determined that little Margaret Ann was buried to the right of her brother, and grandpa Reid was buried three plots to his left. There are three additional empty plots also owned by the family but that were never used.

Grandma Margaret Jane Reid, as it turns out, isn't buried there at all. She died in Eloise, MI, about an hour from here. So tomorrow's task will be to see if I can locate which cemetery she's buried in, and where that cemetery and her plot are located. 

As Carissa and I stood beside Ross Reid's grave and paid our respects, we couldn't help but feel a sense of incompleteness and even sadness at finding two family graves with no markers. We suspect that at the time of their deaths, perhaps their families couldn't afford the headstones. So it's understandable. But I so much wanted to see names there, I suppose for a sense of closure, and also to stand as a monument to those lives. Also, I was disappointed to realize that my great-great grandmother had not been buried beside her husband even though she had obviously purchased an entire section of plots for her family, including herself. The photo to the right is of the Reid family: on the bottom row are my great-grandpa James H. Reid and Margaret Jane Somerville Reid. My great-grandfather, Bertram Wallace Reid, is on the top row on the right end.

As this second day came to a close, Carissa and I had dinner at a nice Italian place nearby and then sat by the river to watch the sunset. We will now watch TV until we fall asleep.