I’m a retired high school English teacher. A devourer of books growing up, my profession introduced me to writings and authors from times long past. Through my studies and teaching, I fell in love with the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Now, I hope to inspire young readers and those Young-at-Heart to read more through my Tales and Legends for Reluctant Readers set in these worlds—Ancient Egypt, Medieval Wales, and coming soon, a hair-raising adventure through ancient worlds in search of 5 rare Phoenix Feathers.

All of my books come with Free study guides and/or extensive Back-of-the-Book materials.

My husband and I love to travel. In 2008, we spent three weeks in Egypt traveling by local train from one end of the country to the other; in 2014, we spent three weeks in the UK driving over 1700 miles through England, Wales, and Scotland; and in 2016, we spent a week in Iceland. We’ve also traveled to Mexico, Jamaica, and Aruba. Our next big adventure will be to Greece and Italy.

When I’m not writing or traveling, our 4 grandkids keep us busy.

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Their friendship put him in harm’s way. Will it be enough to save him?

Across the dark water to the land of ancient Gaul, renegades take Cedwyn and the littl’uns farther from home and rescue.

Led by her heart rather than her head and without any thought for her safety, fifteen-year-old Guinevere sets out alone to save Cedwyn. And if she fails…?

Eleven-year-old Cedwyn’s trust in Guinevere is absolute. But will his sacrifice to save her and protect the littl’uns end with the loss of his own life?

And now for the Cover

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Welcome to Day 2 of the Fresh Ink Group Authors’ Blog Tour! @FreshInkGroup

Welcome to day 2 of the Fresh Ink Group Authors’ Blog Tour with Superstar Drummer Mark Herndon. Comment on his post here or at to enter for one randomly awarded free book trailer or one of seven (7) daily free books. Thanks for hosting, and thanks for visiting. Be sure to subscribe!

About Mark Herndon

Legendary Country Music Hall of Fame drummer Mark Herndon yearned to fly jets as a military brat, then discovered the dream of playing drums, vowing to come back one day and perform at the very place where he once had to stand outside just to hear. Along the way, he loved and lost and made plenty of mistakes, persevering to achieve all that he imagined before having so much taken away. After decades with one of the most celebrated bands of all time, he still lives his dreams, playing, producing, flying, and now writing with keen observations about life and living in the spotlight.

Mark’s Backstory

Mark spent nearly three decades behind the drum kit for country-music band Alabama. He’s enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame along with the other three members of the legendary group. But despite the celebrity such a position affords, Mark maintains that common-man element that makes him a likeable soul.

In The High Road: Memories of a Long Trip, Herndon invites readers to follow him on a jaunt through his past, beginning with his childhood as the son of a respected military man and a devoted mother, through his years in country music’s biggest band, and into his post-Alabama days as a private commercial pilot and doting father to his own daughter.

A rebellious and free spirit, Herndon lets readers in on the fun, games, and pranks—some of which go awry—of his youth. He shares what it was like watching the band blow up into bona fide superstars. He also sheds some light on the politics that go on behind the scenes in the music industry. But this memoir isn’t a dirt-dishing tell-all sort of story. That’s why it’s titled The High Road, as that’s the route Herndon has chosen to travel. Mark was there for all of those great Alabama moments—meeting President and Mrs. Reagan, the successful tours, and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame—but it’s the quieter moments that show he’s no different from any worker in the factories or waiters working tables at the local diner. Mark Herndon is an ordinary man who has lived an extraordinary life.

The High Road is now available in keepsake dust-jacketed hardcover edition, as well as softcover and all major ebook formats at retailers everywhere, worldwide. Find Mark at However, at—for a limited time—you can order signed, personalized copies for you and all the Mark Herndon / Alabama / country-music fans on your list.

Thanks again to our generous host for allowing Mark Herndon and Fresh Ink Group to spread the word about his exciting memoir and new dust-jacketed hardcover edition! Mark’s flight schedule keeps him busy, but soon after he lands you can expect him to respond to your comments. Specify that you want to be notified of new comments to catch his responses!

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Donna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband). A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

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When her parents and twin brother die within weeks of each other, Alicia and her younger sister are left in the hands of an uncle who has brought them all to financial and social ruin. Desperate to save her family from debtor’s prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. She meets the dashing Lord Amesbury, and her heart whispers that this is the man she is destined to love, but his tainted past may forever stand in their way. Her choices in potential husbands narrow to either a scarred cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret.

Cole Amesbury is tormented by his own ghosts, and believes he is beyond redemption, yet he cannot deny his attraction for the girl whose genuine goodness touches the heart he’d thought long dead. He fears the scars in his soul cut so deeply that he may never be able to offer Alicia a love that is true. When yet another bizarre mishap threatens her life, Alicia suspects the seemingly unrelated accidents that have plagued her loved ones are actually a killer’s attempt to exterminate every member of her family. Despite the threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger to her heart. And Cole must protect Alicia from the killer who has been exterminating her family before she is the next target.

This romantic story of loss and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption, and strangers marrying, will leave you laughing, crying, and swooning. Sprinkled liberally with suspense, mystery, and heart-melting kisses, this is not your ordinary historical tale of an arranged marriage nor of redeeming the rakes. Fans of Victorian and Regency Eras as well as those seeking clean and wholesome romance with plenty of chemistry, not to mention the redemptive power of love, will love this story!

Dance with a duke, outwit pirates, save a kingdom, and fall in love. Believe in happily ever after.

The Rogue Hearts Series:
The Stranger She Married
The Guise of a Gentleman
A Perfect Secret
The Suspect’s Daughter

Praise for Donna Hatch:
“Donna Hatch is one of the masters of clean romance with electric tension and smokin’ hot kisses.” ~ Reading is My Super Power Reviews

“Written with heart and depth, Donna Hatch’s books are absolute must-reads for any fan of swoon-worthy historical romance.”  ~ Sarah M. Eden, USA Today best-selling historical romance author

Join the Cover Reveal for the 5th book in the Rogue Hearts Series

Q&A With the Author :

1.     Why do you choose to write romance? Do you write any other genres?
I write romance for two reasons. The fist reason is because a true romance, unlike other genres, guarantees that the story will end well. So many other genres can have sad or bittersweet endings, and I need a book to end leaving me hopeful. The second reason I write romance is because they usually have good character development. Usually, by the end of the story, the characters have overcome at least one major character flaw that allows them to defeat the villain, solve the crime, or whatever it is depending on the subgenre, and who, by the ending love and accept another special someone, who, in turn, loves and accepts them. A romance should feel wrapped up, and the characters should be better, stronger people by the end. Plus, you know, in love. Really, it’s all about hoping tomorrow will be a better day.

2.     How long does it take you to write a book, typically?
That depends on the book—the subgenre, the length of the story, and how easily it all comes together as well as what’s going on with my personal life. Sometimes my family needs don’t leave time for writing, and also I can’t write if I’m overly stressed or if I have fallen into a depression, which is a chronic battle. Once, I wrote, revised, and edited a novella in less than a month. A couple of novels took me years to complete and be ready for publication. Sometimes I write them straight through; other times, I set them aside to work on other projects. The only thing that really guarantees that I’ll finish a project within a specific time is having a contract deadline. I always meet those even if I think it’s going to kill me.

3.     Since a lot of romance books show both male and female perspectives, share with us the most difficult thing about writing the perspective of the opposite gender?
One of my biggest challenges is making sure I hold true to each character’s voice for the chapters or sections written in their point of view so the chapters don’t all feel like they could be told from anyone’s perspective. I want to make sure the perceptions and descriptions are worded in a way that holds true to that character’s personality.

4.     What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like to write to instrumental music such light classical—harp or piano in particular—or New Age. I can’t write to lyrics or a drumbeat, and I don’t like silence.

5.     Tell us a bit about a future project you are working on? Do you have any little sneak peeks you can share?
I’m almost finished with book 5 of my Rogue Hearts Series, Not a Fine Gentleman, and hope to have it released this summer. It’s about Lady Margaret who is accused of murdering her estranged husband.

6.     What is the most romantic date you have ever been on? Or, what is your idea of the perfect Valentine Date?
One of my most memorable dates was when my husband took me to an Italian restaurant that had waiters who went around serenading the diners. Then, after dinner, we took a Venetian-style gondola ride down a canal. The lights along the waterway reflected in the gently rippling waves and a sultry breeze carried the scent of desert flowers. It was lovely and so romantic.  

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 


Amey loves writing about different places because she grew up moving all around the United States. In her books, she explores the whole world. She is also the author of Baker’s Dozen, a Romantic Suspense Mystery. The Swiss Mishap won a Swoony for 2019’s Best New Adult Contemporary Romance.

She lives with her husband and three children near Austin, TX. Follow her on BookBub @ameyzeigler and sign up for her newsletter at

For the last twelve years, more than half her life, Lainey Peterson has prepared to design, create, and produce quality chocolate bars. But when she discovers her chocolate internship at Switzerland’s prestigious Alpine Foods has been canceled, she vows to do whatever it takes to get to Chocolate. 

Yves Claremont, a young, ambitious department chair, would sacrifice everything to rise to vice president at Alpine Foods and redeem his father’s name. Impressed with Lainey’s resume and charming determination, Yves offers her an internship in his Pet Care department, promising a recommendation for Chocolate if she does well. 

Lainey is drawn to the enigmatic and passionate Yves Claremont. He cannot deny his growing attraction to her. But inter-office relationships are strictly forbidden by Alpine Foods, and a perceptive co-worker, jealous of Yves’ success, will undermine Yves and Lainey any way he can.

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Q&A With the Author:

1.Why do you choose to write romance? Do you write any other genres?
I write romance because I think being in love and falling in love and being loved are the greatest feelings in the world. I love sharing that feeling with others. Romances celebrate love, its complications, its highs and lows. I want to capture it all.

I do write in other genres. I have a romantic suspense/mystery and I’ve submitted a women’s fiction for consideration for publication. But to me there always has to be a relationship. It’s part of life.

2.How long does it take you to write a book, typically?

The first two books I published took me several years to write them because I was still trying to figure out how to tell the story. I have since streamlined my story telling. Now it takes me about a month to write and a few months to revise and edit.

3. Since a lot of romance books show both male and female perspectives, share with us the most difficult thing about writing the perspective of the opposite gender?

I actually prefer to write from the male perspective. (Don’t read too much into that). I like that men are more introspective. I love getting into the minds of my male heroes and find that internal dialogue. I think with men, so much is going on below the surface that they aren’t even aware of, it makes a fun challenge to dig deeper and find those fears, those hidden motives for things.

4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I write fast but I revise super slow. 

5. Tell us a bit about a future project you are working on? Do you have any little sneak peeks you can share?

My next publication through The Wild Rose Press will be a novella as part of their Deerbourne Inn series. They chose the setting and each author had to come up with a story. They chose a B&B in Vermont. It’s a sweet story about a writer who meets the literary critic who gave her a scathing review of one of her books.

After that, I have the woman’s fiction about a broken woman, a broken house, a broken neighborhood and a casserole dish to fix them all.

And I’m working on a mystery series set in Monte Carlo.

And ice cream story set in Alaska, A Summer of Sundaes.

And a sequel for my first romantic suspense, called Most Certainly Will Die. A young American woman sleuth, a South African marital artist and a British gambler team up to find a girl who was kidnapped in Scotland.

6. What is the most romantic date you have ever been on? Or, what is your idea of the perfect Valentine Date?

Perfect Valentine’s Date? I’d love to head to the south of France where they grow all the roses for Chanel #5 and breath in the fragrant air. Then stroll hand-in-hand along the Mediterranean Sea. Then munch on a picnic atop of the medieval town of Eze where the cobblestones run up to curved wooden doors. 

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 


Angelique Conger discovered the wonders of writing books later in her life. Books, however, have always been important to her. As a little girl in a small town, she was given her own library card at the tender age of five, highly unusual in those days.
     Angelique reads a book, or three at once, much of the time. She reads most genres of books and until recently only toyed with writing them. Since beginning, she has spent many hours each day learning the craft of writing and editing.
     Many would consider Angelique Conger’s books Christian focused, and they are because they focus on early events in the Bible. She writes of a people’s beliefs in Jehovah. However, though she’s read in much of the Bible and searched for more about these stories, there isn’t much there. Her imagination fills in the missing information, which is most of it.
     Angelique lives in Southern Nevada with her husband, turtles, and Lovebird. She enjoys visits with her grandchildren — and their parents.

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A string of beads …
… and a forbidden book.

Daphne’s trading adventure with her papa into the dangerous city of Nod turned out better than she thought. She found the owner of the beads and a handsome man. Unexpected danger and loss make things difficult for her. When robbers try to force her to give up her secrets, she must make a choice.
Her father…
…or a new life?
Abandoned Hope is the third of the continuing saga of Lost Children of the Prophet. You’ll love this uplifting story of faith in difficult times.
Get it now.

Q&A With the Author:

1.Why do you choose to write romance? Do you write any other genres?
I have been writing Womens Biblical Historical Fiction/Family saga. I didn’t intend to write romance. When I was a little more than half through this book, I realized I was writing a romance. Until then, I hadn’t even read many romances, though my husband and I watch “chick flicks” because he chooses to. Since writing Abandoned Hope, I have purposely written other romances as part of the series. I am seriously considering writing more Historical Romance in the near future.

2.How long does it take you to write a book, typically?
My romance books are part of a family saga. Most of them are longer than the usual romance. I can write 90,000 words in about 6 weeks. Editing and other final work takes me about another month, so my books take between two and two and a half months to go from idea to publication.

3.Since a lot of romance books show both male and female perspectives, share with us the most difficult thing about writing the perspective of the opposite gender?
Who knows what goes on in the mind of a man? I try to look at my husband and five sons and try to guess. They don’t respond to things like a woman, they don’t think like women. Men are a mystery!

4.What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Quirks? I’m not sure I have any. I write into the dark. I rarely have any idea what will happen in my stories more than a few sentences ahead. Sometimes I will plan the next three scenes or chapters if I am going to sprint, but I rarely follow the plan. My characters take over the story and I let them.

5.Tell us a bit about a future project you are working on? Do you have any little sneak peeks you can share?
I’m finishing up my Lost Children of the Prophet series. I have three more books to publish, before I turn to Historical Romance or Time Travel Romance. I like the time period I write in and want to stay there.
The next book to be published, Love Defied, has romance subplots and mature love throughout. 
A little snippet:
Merab stood with daughters and granddaughters on her front porch seeking the faces of the men she loved. Where was Tiqvah? As one of the commanders, he had been in other battles. Still, she worried every time they left to fight.
And another:
Merab nodded her head. “Ormh is an intelligent man. He will find a way.”
“Has he and Elke decided to wed, yet?”
“Ormh would like to marry her. Elke is struggling to make that decision. She is hurt from the way she has been treated by her parents and brothers. She doesn’t trust anyone now,” Tiqvah said.
“From what I’ve learned, it isn’t surprising that she has lost trust,” Grandpapa Nat said.
“No. Her life has not been good. She has been hurt by those who should protect her. Since her mama left her, she struggles to feel safe,” Merab said.

6.What is the most romantic date you have ever been on? Or, what is your idea of the perfect Valentine Date?
When we were newlyweds living on the island of Guam, my husband was a poor enlisted man. He got a tiny paycheck. He took me to the nicest hotel on the hill overlooking the island, and their nicest restaurant. He had arranged for a seat near the window where we could see the island as the lights came on below us. Waiters came and went, attending to our needs. The owner even stopped by to be sure all was right with the food and service. We talked of our plans for the future. We drove home to our little quanset hut home through the moonlit streets. That night was long ago, but I still remember the service and the care taken by my new husband to make it special for me.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 


Jean Oram grew up in an old schoolhouse in a Canadian town, population 100 (cats and dogs not included). She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author of feel-good, tingle-inducing, heartwarming romances.

Jean lives in Canada with her husband, two kids, cat, dog, and the pesky deer that wander into her yard to eat her rose bushes and apple trees. She can often be found outdoors or reading a book. (And of course at her laptop writing your next irresistible read!)

Follow Jean on social media or subscribe to her newsletter:”

When worlds collide…opposites attract

Devon Mattson has never been as captivated as he is by Olivia. She’s smart, witty and rich. But above all is the fact that even though they come from different worlds she understands him, his small town charm and his need for speed.

He knows that to be together they’ll both have to give up a lot, but he’s promised to always be there for her. Now, in college, and afterward too. Forever.

Olivia Carrington has never felt more alive than when she’s with Devon. She no longer feels the suffocating weight of expectations—just the freedom and support to follow her secret dreams and to become the person she’s always been afraid to be.

But when reality comes knocking their dream world begins to collapse. Will these two young lovers find their way back to each other or will their hearts become shattered beyond repair?

Fall in love with this prequel novella–a bonus companion story for Devon and Olivia’s novel The Surprise Wedding–about opposites attracting. Grab your tissues and start reading today!

This book is FREE today on Amazon

~ Universal Amazon Link

Q&A With the Author:

1. Why do you choose to write romance? Do you write any other genres?
I write romance because it is fun! I love it when my characters banter and fall in love. But it’s hard, too. Right now my characters are supposed to be breaking up and I don’t want them to.

2.How long does it take you to write a book, typically?
 Some first drafts take me a few weeks to write and some take me months and months.

3. Since a lot of romance books show both male and female perspectives, share with us the most difficult thing about writing the perspective of the opposite gender?
Sometimes figuring out what the male character wants is tricky. If the heroine has made the story very much HER story sometimes it is hard to figure out what the man wants and why he’s not getting it and how his story fits into hers. But otherwise, writing the opposite gender is fun!

4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have absolutely no idea what an interesting writing quirk of mine would be!

5.Tell us a bit about a future project you are working on? Do you have any little sneak peeks you can share?
Right now I am working on a Texas series which will release later in 2020. It’s still unnamed and the sneak peeks are very rough drafts so I will keep those hidden for now. But what I can say is that it is about a close knit family of five brothers set in a small town. Some want to keep the family ranch and some do not. Like brothers they are all very different…and also very alike. Lots of fun and conflict as well as history between them!

6.What is the most romantic date you have ever been on? Or, what is your idea of the perfect Valentine Date?
My husband and I don’t do a big thing for Valentine’s Day. We’re actually kind of unromantic about “events.” We do try to go on dates every week or two and I always kiss him every day and tell him that I love him. And honestly, that constant love that continues to grow and strengthen between us (20 years strong!) is probably the most romantic thing I can think of.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 


Lauraine Henderson began writing as a child, poems and journaling, until babies, building houses, and bookkeeping jobs usurped her world. 

Now, well established in Oregon and with the children grown, she devotes her time to writing her favorite genre: clean romance. Years of life experience translate into plots, calamities, and happily-ever-afters as she writes her inspirational and romantic stories about fictional people who seem so real, you’ll want to know what happens after the book ends! 

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Where’s the harm in pretending to be engaged for a couple months?

Elliott Palmer’s brilliant impulse to propose a fake engagement to his sister’s teacher in order to get rid of a stalker may be the biggest mistake of his life. Or it could be the best thing to happen since his cookie empire went national. 

Charlotte Bloomberg feels like she’s walking a tightrope at work after the scandal last year that almost cost her teaching job. Yet…Elliott’s proposal could be the answer to her saving face with not only her co-workers, but her family, too. 

As the two work through school calamities, nosy family members, and a stalker getting closer all the time, the lines between real and fake start to blur when hearts get involved. But what happens when the police insist a wedding date will bring the stalker out in the open, and Elliott suspects Charlotte of being a crook?

~ Universal Amazon Link


Q&A With the Author:

1. Why do you choose to write romance? Do you write any other genres?
I love writing clean romance because I love reading clean romance. There is so much negativity and hardship in the world, people with disabilities of one kind or another, and societal unrest. I want my readers to be able to escape their everyday challenges and relax for a couple hours. I don’t write any other genres at this time. I’ve thought about writing some non-fiction and I may do that someday.

2. How long does it take you to write a book, typically?
Typically, it takes me about six weeks of steady writing to write a book. Unfortunately, I don’t always get to spend my time steadily writing, which means my books take a lot longer. Once the first draft is completed, it usually takes two to three more weeks of editing and revisions before I get to the final manuscript.

3. Since a lot of romance books show both male and female perspectives, share with us the most difficult thing about writing the perspective of the opposite gender?
The hardest part of writing from a man’s perspective is getting the emotions right. I know men and women think differently and feel differently. I use music and listening to the comments of men in my world to figure out my hero’s perspective. 

4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
This is a difficult question. I guess I would have to say that sometimes, when I’m writing, my character will say something that changes the direction of the scene and I will usually go with it, letting the story write itself in many ways.

5. Tell us a bit about a future project you are working on? Do you have any little sneak peeks you can share?
I’m working on the second book of the Cookie Romances, A Cookie and a Promise. This is the story of Elliott’s sister, Kelly, and her ex-boyfriend, Brandon. They were both supporting characters in the first book, A Cookie and a Kiss. The time is five years later, after Kelly and Brandon are out of college. Kelly hasn’t seen Brandon since the summer before senior year in high school, when Brandon broke up with her. Now, Kelly is done with school and excited to take her place at her brother’s side in their family cookie business. Brandon was promised an internship by Elliott and he takes it. When it’s obvious they still have some unresolved feelings to work through—read: they can’t seem to stop fighting at work—Elliott forces them to collaborate on a new cookie recipe or they’re both fired! Collaboration leads to reconciliation, but all is not at it seems when the cookie recipe fails and Kelly and Brandon have no one to blame but each other.

6. What is the most romantic date you have ever been on? Or, what is your idea of the perfect Valentine Date?
My husband provides me with a lot of inspiration. Our first date—yes, the very first one—was one of the most romantic dates ever. He picked me up in the morning, we double-dated with another couple and tried to go boating, but the boat wasn’t working, so we came home. To make up for the wasted day, we went out for dinner and he let me pick the restaurant. I chose a restaurant at the top of a hotel in downtown Portland. We dressed up in long dresses and suits and had the most elegant dinner. He said it was the best steak he’d ever eaten. Great conversation and lots of laughs over the calamities with the boat. Once dinner was over, we dropped off the other couple and he took me to “the top of the world,” a deserted street at the top of a hill that looked out over the lights of the valley. He parked the car, turned on the radio (hey, it was before the days of iPods and cell phones), and we slowed-danced in the street. Then he took me home and tenderly kissed me good-night.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 


Leah Moyes is from Arizona but experienced many parts of the world in thanks to a career in the airlines. Now most of her time, aside from writing, is spent with her family, reading Historical Fiction novels or studying ancient cultures as a student of Archaeology.

She always believed she was born in the wrong time period, but since she doesn’t have access to a time machine she must write and read intriguing stories of the past. 

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Did you know that Berlin Butterfly: Ensnare recently won Honorable Mention for Historical Fiction in the Reader’s Favorite International Book Contest? Check it out!  

Treachery, heartache, and loneliness led Ella Kühn to take her first drink of alcohol ten years ago. When the delusions begin, images from her past threaten to challenge her state of mind. Ironically, the very thing that haunts her, is the thing that has kept her alive—the butterfly tattoo covering the gunshot wound to her right shoulder. It’s physical and emotional reminder not only symbolizes her courage, but also signifies Stefan’s absence . . . which now spans twelve years.

It’s 1983 in the Deutsch Democratic Republic. Trust remains a fragile ally as the Communist Bloc begins to crumble. Ella’s involvement in the rising opposition and underground punk movement, puts her more at risk than any escape plan ever could. She is followed, watched and hunted . . .  but by whom? An old enemy? The Secret Police? Or her new employer?

In Release, the third and final installment of the Berlin Butterfly Series, Ella battles her inner demons as she struggles to survive the ever-growing darkness in the East. Will she regain her former strength and find a way to flee to the thinning borders of Czechoslovakia and join Anton and Josef? Or will ties to her precarious past keep her bound—her only release found in the freedom of pain and guilt while embracing life without her family in East Berlin?

And now for the Cover

Make you sure pre-order your own copy today!!!

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Steven is giving away (3) Signed Paperback copies of “THE MEREST LOSS.”  For your chance to win, be sure to leave him a comment below.

Getting to know Steven Neil, the author of THE MEREST LOSS.

THE MEREST LOSS, a story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris. 

The Writing Process

1. How did you set about writing your novel?

I planned thirty-six chapters of not more than 2500 words for my novel, even before I had a subject. This arose from a conversation with one of my Creative Writing tutors.

Me: I can only write short stories. I could never write a novel.

Her: But you can write a 2500 word short story?

Me: Yes.

Her: Well, can you write ten 2500 word short stories?

Me: Yes, I suppose so.

Her: Well, if you write thirty-six short stories on a linked theme, you have written a novel.

2. Where did your ideas come from?

Originally, I was planning to write a Dick Francis style thriller and I was researching a jockey called Jem Mason, who won the first Grand National at Liverpool in 1839. I found a line in his description which said something like ‘also famous for his relationship with Harriet Howard, who ran away to live with him in London when she was fifteen and who also became Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer’. I decided she was an even more interesting character and I set about writing a fictional account of her life.

3. Are you a planner?

As my answer to question one indicates, I am absolutely a planner. Once I have my outline however, I don’t write in a linear fashion. I move across the timelines and try to complete each chapter as a mini story.

4. How do you write, e.g. manuscript/PC?

I write straight on to PC and I edit on the PC. I have also used Dragon software to dictate on to PC. It works to about 85% accuracy once it learns your voice and I find it helps to unfreeze my thinking if I am struggling to type words on to the page.

5. When do you write: are you a lark or an owl?

I write at odd times. I often write late at night, but I also write early in the morning when ideas that have been running through my mind overnight are still fresh. I like to write to word count. I think 200-300 words at a time, edited and polished, is good going.

6. Do you have any writing rituals or habits?

I am not sure they are rituals or habits, but I do commit to reaching my word count every time I sit down to write. Even if the writing isn’t very good, I can always improve it later. ‘You can’t edit a blank page’ is good advice.

7. How do you edit?

I edit as I go along. I might generate 300 words of ‘new’ writing and then move to a section of ‘old’ i.e. unedited writing and spend time editing. I am always going back to the beginning and reading through, to make sure the continuity is right.

8. Have you experienced writer’s block and if so, how did you overcome it?

Not really. I just keep writing. Eventually it comes out.

9. What do you enjoy about the writing process?

I think I enjoyed the research process the most. I am not a natural writer. Nothing came easy. However, I think the planning and organisation skills I learned in my business career, allied to the writing craft skills I learned in my degree and my masters degree gave me the tools of the trade. I think Harriet Howard’s story deserved to be told as it is a fascinating tale. I hope I have done it justice.

10. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

I have met some tremendously naturally gifted writers but that alone will not make you a published author. I genuinely believe that, however gifted, you need to learn the craft of writing. Invest in a creative writing course and learn about structure, plot, point of view, character, setting and dialogue before you start writing. When you have finished the first draft of your novel, understand that you have only just begun the process of writing a publishable novel. Even if all your friends and family tell you your novel is brilliant, invest in an independent development and copy editor before you even think about publication.

© Steven Neil

THE MEREST LOSS is available in paperback and eBook in the US, UK, France, Canada and Australia. 


Follow Steven Neil on TWITTER for information on how to purchase the paperback through an independent bookseller in the UK.

Steven has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. He has been a bookmaker’s clerk, bloodstock agent, racehorse breeder and management consultant amongst other professions in his varied career. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire, England. The Merest Loss is his debut novel.


This Blitz is a bit of a change of pace for us We are doing something different and fun as Author Ren Garcia is making YouTube videos telling you the backstory of each chapter in his book and then narrating the chapter. The Treasure Hunt Questions will be based on the videos and you can answer the questions in the Rafflecopter.

Ren Garcia is a Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Texas native who grew up in western Ohio. He has been writing since before he could write, often scribbling alien lingo on any available wall or floor with assorted crayons. He attended The Ohio State University and majored in English Literature. 

Ren has been an avid lover of anything surreal since childhood. He also has a passion for caving, urban archaeology, taking pictures of clouds, and architecture. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, and their four dogs.

~ Website ~ YouTube ~
~ Amazon ~ 

Raised in the dark under the lash of the Black Hat Sisterhood, when the woman who would become known as Kat, is sent on a suicide mission into the heart of the League, she was not expected to survive. Her mission: discover the identity of the fabled Shadow tech Goddess, a being who does not exist. All other considerations, including her possible death, are secondary.

But, Kat is guided by higher powers, by merciful hands that feed her, clothe her and whisper in her ear. As she watches the sun rise for the first time, she recalls their words: “Be strong,” they said. “You have much to live for.

YouTube Clip:

Subscribe to Author Ren Garcia’s Youtube Channel for more clips like this one.
The answer to Treasure Hunt Question #5 is in this video.

She pulled out a wondrous container sealed with a lid. She toyed with it, turning it over in her hands. She tried biting it, pulling on it with her teeth—nothing. Ah look, the container seemed to have a top similar to the device imprisoning the Autocon.
“That is a jar with a removable lid,” it said. She worked the lid until she managed to twist it off. She held the lid aloft in triumph—she had mastered its operation. Inside the ‘jar’ was a terrible-smelling substance. She got some of it on her fingers. It was cold and slippery. “What is this?” she asked with disgust, wiping her fingers clean.
“That is an alkaline surfactant of fatty acids scented with various perfumes and essential oils. It’s commonly known as ‘soap’.”
“The soap is vile-smelling,” she said.
“It’s meant to cleanse your filthy body. Had you not been such a knobby slag, had you the occasion to have been presented to a Warlord while in the Shade Church, you would have been thoroughly cleansed with a similar surfactant, minus the perfumes, of course.”

After some doing, she twisted the lid to the ‘soap’ back on, essentially reversing what she had done to get the lid off, proud of her mastery of twisting and untwisting things. “Then I shall keep it in trust for the gods and present it to them when they arrive.”   –Kat encountering a jar of soap for the first time.

Treasure Hunt Questions 5-8: (put your answers in the rafflecopter below)
( One of the Rafflecopter Prizes is specifically for the Treasure Hunt Winner)

1-      The Ghost – YouTube:
Question: Who is “The Ghost”?
A: Lady Gwendolyn of Prentiss
B: Lady Alesta of Dare
C: The Shadow tech Goddess
D: Lord Belmont

2-      Wheel – YouTube:
Question: What Happened to Walker?
A: She escaped and traveled to the east
B: She hid in the ruins
C: She was re-captured
D: She was decapitated

3-      Bellathauser – YouTube:
Question: What happened to Wheel?
A: She was consumed by the Demon in Blue Lights
B: Kat ripped her throat out.
C: She went into the catacombs and was never seen again
D: She discovered the identity of the Shadow tech Goddess  and returned to the Shade Church

4-      Mons Eagle – YouTube:
Question: Who do A-Ram and Alesta meet in the city of Mons Eagle?
A: The Woman with the Gun
B: The Woman with the Headdress
C: Lord Belmont
D: Queen Wendilnight

See our Official Event Page for links to where you can find the rest of the Treasure Hunt Questions.

To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page