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Spotlight: Tune in Tomorrow – Randee Dawn

Tune in Tomorrow [ISBN-13: 978-1786186300, August 23, 2022, Solaris/Rebellion] by Randee Dawn is a curious, calamitous, cockamamie story of a small town girl and the greatest mythic reality show ever.
    Starr Weatherby came to New York to become… well, a star. But after years of unsuccessful struggling, she’s offered a big role – on a show no one has ever heard of. An over 400-year-old reality TV/docusoap, Tune in Tomorrow is shot beyond the “Veil” by mythical creatures, stars humans – and “streams” out to a fanatical audience of fantastic creatures, who are positive that they are getting a peek into real human lives. And in a way, they are.

But Starr’s transformation from astounded newcomer to fan favorite is hardly smooth: A desperate, devious diva wants her gone; a handsome Lothario’s advances are suspect; her assistant is organizing a strike – and was her predecessor dropped into a bottomless pit? Starr vows to do whatever it takes to keep her dream job, but her struggle to save the show quickly becomes a fight… for her life.

Weaving together a unique combination of pop culture, fantasy and humor, Tune in Tomorrow takes readers on a roller coaster ride behind the scenes to see how the TV sausage gets made. But amid all the wackiness, tough questions arise: What is “reality”? And what might it mean to win a prize that makes you immortal?
    “Tune in Tomorrow is a book packed with some of the things that make me happiest: TV, divas behaving badly, being torn between two lovers, magical creatures and mangoes. Yes, mangoes,” Dawn says. “It’s a nutty tale of redemption and renewals, and I’m hoping everyone will tune in!”
    A funny, thrilling and mysterious adventure into the alternate world of reality television, Tune in Tomorrow is perfect for fans of Jasper Fforde, Terry Pratchett, and Christopher Moore. 

Maryland-born Randee Dawn is now a Brooklyn-based entertainment journalist who scribbles about the glam world of entertainment by day, then spends her nights crafting wild worlds of fiction. She’s a former editor at The Hollywood Reporterand Soap Opera Digest, and these days covers the wacky world of show business for Variety, The Los Angeles Times, Emmy Magazine and Today.com. Dawn’s obsessive love of all things Law & Order led her to appear in one episode and later co-author The Law & Order SVU: Unofficial Companion.  Her short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and online publications; she also dreams up trivia questions for BigBrain Games. Once a month she can be found hosting Rooftop Readings at Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn, and when not writing she’s focused on her next travel destination, and hangs out with her wonderful, funny husband and fluffy Westie. She admits she reads way too many books and consumes far too many mangoes.

Find Randee on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, BookBub, Goodreads, and her website RandeeDawn.com

Tune in Tomorrow is available for pre-order through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and anywhere books are sold.


Question: Tell us what Tune in Tomorrow is all about?

Randee Dawn: There’s the story part of the book, which is about a reality TV show run by mythical creatures, for mythical creatures … but starring humans! They just find our antics as charming and hilarious and intriguing as we do theirs: We make movies and TV shows about castles and dragons and quests and fauns; well, they love hearing about our mundane things like clipping the hedges or embezzlement or adultery or changing light bulbs! But in a bigger sense it’s also about what it might mean to be immortal, and how “reality” might mean different things to different people. And it’s about finding your inner Starr/star!

Q: You typically write non-fiction – what inspired you to write this story and take on a whole new genre?

Dawn: I have always wanted to write a novel. I actually had written several other books about fantasy and fey creatures, but they tended to be very serious – and didn’t sell to publishers. My brilliant agent gently suggested, “Maybe you should try something different.” Humor is tough, and I had no idea if I could write it successfully, if not write it all. But once I dove into Starr’s world and heard her in my head, the silliness came naturally. 

Q: Reality TV and soap operas aren’t often considered “prestige” TV – is this a mistaken perception? What are your thoughts on that, as a pop-culture writer?

Dawn: Most all of the entertainment business is goofy and strange. But it is also an endeavor people take seriously – soaps and reality shows are no different. They are their own art form, and require hard work. And, time has shown that people continue to love them!

Q: What do you hope readers will walk away with after reading Tune in Tomorrow?

Dawn: Early on, Starr gives herself a pep talk by recalling a particularly strange improv routine she had to do once: pretend to be a singing mango. It was in that strange circumstance that she was “discovered,” and also where she truly fell in love with acting. So she tells herself throughout the book, whenever she needs an extra dose of courage: Be the mango. Sometimes, being the mango isn’t sufficient to save her, but I hope that amid all the pratfalling and puns and general shenanigans that people come away feeling that they, too, have an inner mango. And all they have to do is tap into it to get that extra push to make their dreams come true.

Q: Out of all the fruits, why a mango? 

Dawn: Because it is the most delicious of all, and I am somewhat obsessed. Also, it has a delightful name that’s just fun to say!

Q: How do you get inside your character’s heads during the writing process? 

Dawn: I have the whole movie of what my stories are about in my head as I’m writing, and though I don’t think about this consciously, if I need to be in a character’s head, I just start seeing the world through their eyes, as if I’ve put on virtual reality goggles. That really helps. Also, if I do write something that doesn’t seem right for a particular character to do or say, it will just feel wrong. That’s when I know I have to go back and make it true to the person.

Q: How did your background as a national pop-culture journalist influence the way you wrote Tune in Tomorrow?

Dawn: Often, authors are told “write what you know,” which is how we as a society end up with a lot of 20-year-olds writing memoirs. Which is fine! But limiting. When you have no other expertise, you write about yourself. It took me years in the entertainment business, and years removed from covering the soap opera world, to feel ready to use that as my backdrop. And yes, it’s true: Tune in Tomorrow has its roots in soap opera. Because that’s what reality shows are, anyway! Soaps are wonderful ways to tell story, and even if they look like Keeping Up with the Kardashians or Selling Sunset or Grey’s Anatomy today, all of those formats have their roots in the greats, like General Hospital, Days of Our Lives or The Young and the Restless. I wrote what I know!

Q: What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

Dawn: Be in it for the long haul. Don’t expect that your first draft will be the final draft, or even the thing that you first publish. The first draft is you telling yourself the story – I heard that a long time ago, and it’s incredibly true. After that, it’s about making it into a story that’s ready for the world to read, and that can take a lot longer than you’d expect.

Q: What is next for you? Is there another installment in Tune in Tomorrow, or what can readers expect?

Dawn: A lot depends on how Tune in Tomorrow fares. If it sells well, I’ve got part of a sequel planned that takes place in some of the other TV shows and movies that mythics have been cooking up. But there’s always a chance I’ll go back to a novel I finished during the pandemic lockdown and get it smartened up to show to my agent – about a world where all the superheroes are women.

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Blog Tour: The Case of Elena and All That Went Wrong – Aprille Clarke

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Welcome to the book tour for The Case of Elena and All that Went Wrong by Aprille Clarke!

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The Case of Elena and All That Went Wrong

Publication Date: May 19th, 2022

Genre: Magical Realism/ Paranormal

Publisher: Moonfire Publishing

The Case of Elena and All that Went Wrong focuses on a cast of recurring main characters and their peripheral acquaintances. The characters come from a range of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and ages, but what they have in common is that they all must navigate the world while facing bizarre challenges. At its core, this book is about human relationships within a framework of magical realism that provides humor and opportunities for insight. How does a working-class lesbian reconcile the weird appeal of a shrinking man who wants her to swallow him? Should a middle-class white guy believe that the scrappy, probably-a-grifter man who has been dehydrated and crammed behind the tray table on an airplane really just needs some money to get home to his son? What does a black man do when his young, white, female piano student starts bleeding on his keys? In the vein of the classic Simpsons episode “22 Short Films about Springfield,” as well as Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad and Junot Diaz’s This Is How You Lose Her, the overlapping characters and plotlines in this book inform one another and interweave to create a satisfying experience for the reader.

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Available on Amazon and at Bookshop.org

About the Author

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After completing her MFA, Aprille Clarke spent about a decade working in higher education instructional technology. Her areas of focus included learning management system administration, consulting and training university faculty on effective uses of technology in teaching, and pedagogically sound uses of technology-enhanced classrooms. She left that work in order to focus on childrearing and creative pursuits. Currently, she is employed as a simulated patient for medical students, which involves faking sick for money. She lives with her spouse and three children. The Case of Elena and All That Went Wrong is her first book. For more information, please visit https://www.aprilleclarke.com/

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Blog Tour: I Am Not OK – K. Lucas

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We are so excited to share I Am Not OK by author K. Lucas with you all today! Read on for more info!

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I Am Not Ok

Publication Date: July 5th, 2022

Genre: Psychological Thriller

All he ever wanted was a normal life, but now he’s been indicted for murder.

Ed is a social pariah, a target of bullies at work, and bears the brunt of his father’s brutality. When his co-workers start to go missing—people he has a reason to hate—Ed finds he’s a prime suspect.

Now, barbed wire, armed guards, and a forthcoming prison sentence separate him from the only person who matters: his twin sister, Emmie.

Emmie witnesses his abuse and vows to do everything she can to help him start a new life. But as the court date looms, everything she thought she knew is brought into question. Ed seems resigned to his fate and time is running out. She must convince her brother to fight for his defense before it’s too late.

CW: Profanity, Mental Illness, Abuse, Violence, Death

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About the Author

Author

K. Lucas is an author who lives for the unexpected twist. Originally from California, she now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, son, three dogs, cat, chickens, and ducks. After earning a bachelor’s degree in information technology, she became a homeschool mom and then a full-time author. She loves all things thrilling & chilling, and her favorite pastimes include reading, watching scary movies, and exploring nature.

K Lucas

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Blog Tour: Grounders – Leonard Love Matlick

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Welcome to the tour for Grounders by Leonard Love Matlick. Read on for more details!

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Grounders

Publication Date: April 30th, 2022

Genre: Police Procedural/ Crime Fiction

Grounders is cop slang for easy open and solved cases. A husband kills his wife, a bar-fight with a knife or a gun, cases quickly solved in two or three days. Cops love this and get credit for promotion for easily solving cases. In Grounders the NYPD cops find that this murder of a cook is much more than a simple grounder. It involves the Chinese Tong gangs in NYC, Peruvian rebels who want to overthrow their government by using “magic rocks” that were left from an alien civilization like Stargate in Machu-Picchu, and a love story between a detective and a Tong leader’s granddaughter. Grounders combines everything; murder, love, greed, drugs, and rebels amid the backdrop of detectives trying to solve a murder mystery.

Get your copy from Barnes & Noble or on Amazon!

About the Author

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Leonard Love Matlick is an engineer, writer, and life coach. He works designing and maintaining NYPD police precincts. He has previously published Cops lie! and The success and confidence manual.

Book Tour Schedule

July 25th

R&R Book Tour (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

@itsabookthing2021 (Spotlight) http://www.instagram.com/itsabookthing2021

July 26th

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@bookswithstacie (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/bookswithstacie/

July 27th

@elinasbookstagram (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/elinasbookstagram/

Latisha’s Low-Key Life (Spotlight) https://latishaslowkeylife.com/

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

July 28th

@readwithemstar (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/readwithemstar/

Freelance Writer, Janny C (Spotlight) https://freelancewriterjannyc.com/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

July 29th

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

Haddie’s Haven (Spotlight) https://haddieshaven.blogspot.com

Just 4 My Books (Spotlight) http://www.just4mybooks.wordpress.com

@mels_booksandhooks (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/mels_booksandhooks/

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Blog Tour: Heroes and Harbingers – ARK Horton

Welcome to the tour for Heroes and Harbingers, the first book in ARK Horton’s Secrets of Pantheons series! Read on for more info and a chance to win a great giveaway!

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Secret of Pantheons (Heroes & Harbingers #1)

Publication Date: June 11th, 2022

Genre: Adult Fantasy Academia

Food fights. Detention. Dissecting fairies for science class. Just another day for teachers at a Magical Public School.

Ms. Sirin’s fate as a death harbinger has ruined her life. She longs to be more than a herald of doom, aspiring to impact lives in her teaching career. But when a new student with bold dreams joins her class and is picked as this century’s Chosen One, Ms. Sirin’s dark power senses a terrible sacrifice to come.

Finn MacCool’s warrior past didn’t prepare him for a hundred years of teaching for his community service. Spending the last decade of his sentence at a new school, the immortal develops a crush on his tempting but aloof coworker. The Irish legend blows his chance when he butts heads with the Council of Pantheons’ latest brave heroine—who also happens to be Ms. Sirin’s favorite pupil.

However, the Chosen One’s quest isn’t all it seems. Pavlina’s lethal prophecies come to pass, and her gift warns of more to come. Will this daring trio of heroes have what it takes to make the grade, or will they fail before they even make it to Summer Break?

Set in an alternate reality of Jacksonville, Florida, this adult urban fantasy is the first book in the Secret of Pantheons series. If you enjoy a hearty helping of mythology, found family, and unbreakable bonds, this book is for you. Class is in session with Heroes & Harbingers—delve in now before the bell rings!

Meet the Characters

CONTENT WARNING:

This is a book written by an adult mostly about adults and for an adult audience. While many teenagers may appreciate this book and even learn positive things from it, please read ahead if you intend to gift it to anyone under 18. It may contain some content you deem inappropriate for them. Consider the following content before purchase.

  • Grief
  • Death
  • Kidnapping
  • Pregnancy Loss
  • Substance Abuse
  • Life-Threatening Situations

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EBook Available on Amazon

Paperback Available on Amazon & Barnes & Noble

About the Author

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A.R.K. Horton is a small woman made of round shapes and long sighs. Children and animals surround her in her Florida home. Her vice is hoarding responsibilities, and she has the tired eyes to prove it. They still have a sparkle, though, seeing the next project ahead.

She began writing as a child when she became obsessed with learning about the most obscure fairytales, folktales, and myths. Now, as a Pagan Witch, she uses the stories she loved growing up with, as well as her own spiritual journey, to inspire her blogs and novels.

ARK Horton | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

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For a chance to win this tee and a $20 Amazon e-gift card, click the link below!

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Book Tour Schedule

July 18th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

@loki_and_lore (Review) https://www.instagram.com/loki_and_lore

@readwithemstar (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/readwithemstar/

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

July 19th

Balancing Books and Beauties (Review) https://www.instagram.com/balancing_books_and_beauties/

@balancing_books_and_beauties – https://www.instagram.com/balancing_books_and_beauties/

@fariha_binte_islam (Review) https://www.instagram.com/fariha_binte_islam/

@mels_booksandhooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/mels_booksandhooks/

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

Cocktails & Fairytales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

July 20th

@theenchantedshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/theenchantedshelf/

@over.on.my.bookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/over.on.my.bookshelf/?hl=en

@genoviareadingco (Review) https://www.instagram.com/genoviareadingco/

better_0ff_read (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/better_0ff_read

@dany.alvy (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/dany.alvy/

July 21st

@amanda_coffee_books (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amanda_coffee_books/

@amber.bunch_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

Ecce.Libri (Review) https://eccelibri702630676.wordpress.com/

@ecce.libri – https://www.instagram.com/ecce.libri/

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf/

@elinasbookstagram (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/elinasbookstagram/

Freelance Writer, Janny C (Spotlight) https://freelancewriterjannyc.com/

July 22nd

Nica’s Bookish Diary (Review) www.nicasbookishdiary.Wordpress.com

@nicasbooksta – https://www.instagram.com/nicasbooksta

@what.kerry.reads (Review) https://www.instagram.com/what.kerry.reads

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

Sadie’s Spotlight (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/sadiesspotlight/

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Pre-order Event: Invitation to Hell – Amber Bunch

Invitation to hell copy

Welcome to the pre-order event for Invitation to Hell, a dark romantic fantasy by Amber Bunch! Read on for details, pre-order a copy, and enter the giveaway ($25 Amazon e-gift card – open to everyone)!

When you pre-order you get a few extras when your book arrives:

2 Stickers (Including Chibi Sticker of Asmo and Kali) 

2 Bookmarks

Art Print of Asmodeus

Signed Book Plate 

Casebound Cover ITH sample

Invitation to Hell (Goddess of Death #1)

Publication Date: September 22, 2022 (First Edition)

Genre: Dark Romance/ Dark Fantasy/ Mythology

What if, all you’ve ever known was ripped away from you…

You were thrown into a world full of the same creatures that have haunted your nightmares for years. Magic, and the Gods are no longer a myth, but a part of your destiny. 

Now, you’re about to lose everything and everyone you love to an evil King known as the Devourer of Souls. 

Then, there’s Hades son…

The ruthless Prince that drives you crazy and thinks you are a waste of his time. 

You can’t stand him, but he has been instructed to protect you, so now you have to deal with his arrogance on top of everything else. 

The two of you must travel across the Realms to find a way to stop King Lucius before all is lost and you still don’t even know how to use your newly awakened power. 

Well, this should be fun. 

Pre-Order Here and at B&N!

About the Author

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Amber is an author of spicy romance with a twist…
She isn’t committed to any one genre. She lives in Ohio with her family and her dog. She enjoys the outdoors, reading, playing guitar, and loves to stay active. She is a mother of three and her family is her biggest support group. She has also written a children’s book series that was inspired by her children and their play adventures together.

Amber Bunch | Facebook |  Twitter | Instagram

Pre-Order Incentive:

Must sign up for newsletter via website for shipping updates

Must be ok with sharing mailing address with Amber Bunch for shipping book swag

Must have proof of purchase to receive Pre-Order Incentive (Either Print or Digital and sent to R&R Book Tours or Amber Bunch)

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Blog Tour: Prince of Midwest – Abigail Linhardt

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Welcome to my stop on the Prince of MidWest tour. This vampy tale is by Abigail Linhardt and is available July 15th! Read on for details and a chance to win a fantastic giveaway!

The author will be hosting a live-stream event on publication day so be sure to check that out!

POMW Front Cover

Prince of MidWest 

Expected Publication Date: July 15th, 2022

Genre: Low Magic/ Alternate History/Steampunk

Cecil is a vampire desperate to find a way to redeem his soul so he can finally rest in peace. He’s told the way to redemption is to save the American Empire by finding the prince and putting him on the throne. The only problem? That prince was murdered eight years ago. Upon mentioning the dead prince to the royal court, Cecil is swiftly accused of being a spy and sentenced to an underground prison.

Ezekiel, a prisoner of the Château d’Oubli, has been merely surviving through the torturous politics of the prison. When an over-fashionable vampire appears amongst the tunnels and mines with a plan to find the dead prince, escape, and put that prince on the throne, Ezekiel sees his chance and volunteers to help Cecil escape the underground bastille.

Eager to get above ground and get back to his redemption, Cecil reluctantly joins forces with the sleazy Ezekiel. Together, with a team of convicts, and using mysterious earth magic found in the mines, they plot a breakout like none before them. No one has ever escaped the Château d’Oubli. Even if they did, revenge is a prison that follows its captives.

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About the Author

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Abi has been a writer all her life, but is a mentor at heart. When she is not writing, you can find her slaying enemies online or hunting for the next bohemian adventure. She has published works of fiction, poetry, academia, and even won awards for her short stories in science fiction and horror.

Abi is also a proud mom of two…ferrets! She live streams on Twitch where you can enjoy her terrible gaming skills and join the live discussion. She works part-time as a freelance ghostwriter, editor, and audiobook narrator, hoping to one day make these passions her full-time job. She currently resides in Kansas.

She is one of nine children–all who share the creative spark.

Abigail Linhardt | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok 

Book Tour Schedule

July 11th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@readwithemstar (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/readwithemstar/

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

@gryffindorbookishnerd (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/gryffindorbookishnerd/

July 12th

@amber.bunch_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

Riss Reviews (Review) https://rissreviewsx.wixsite.com/website

@rissreviews_xx – https://www.instagram.com/rissreviews_xx/

Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/

July 13th

@gin_books_crochethooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gin_books_crochethooks/

@mels_booksandhooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/mels_booksandhooks/

@brandidanielledavis (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/brandidanielledavis/

@thrillersandcoffee (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/thrillersandcoffee/

Sadie’s Spotlights (Spotlight) http://sadiesspotlight.com/

 July 14th

Bunny’s Reviews (Spotlight) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

On the Shelf Reviews (Spotlight) https://ontheshelfreviews.wordpress.com

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

July 15th

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Sophril Reads (Spotlight) http://sophrilreads.wordpress.com

Cocktails & Fairytales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales

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Blog Tour: Taking on Secrets – Kevin Pilkington

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Welcome to my stop on the Taking on Secrets tour! Read on for more details about this book!

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Taking On Secrets

Publication Date: April 2, 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Coming-of-Age

Publisher: Blue Jade Press

A coming-of-age tale about our protagonist Benjamin Kissel as he grows up as a single child in a upper middle class catholic home during the 60’s and 70’s. Experience his struggles with his family, lust, lies, and love as he grows from a teenager to a successful adult in the city that never sleeps, NYC.

“A coming-of-age story by Kevin Pilkington, who is a creative writing professor at the prestigious Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, a tony suburb of New York. The story is also set in Bronxville and Manhattan. I used to live in Bronxville, and Pilkington’s descriptions are spot on.” – Susan Schwartzman

“A spirited, humorous mosaic of teen life in a 1970’s America, an adult life in a forgotten Hollywood, a forgotten Lower East Side, too, and dead-on reflections on pop culture, family, and traditions. Taking on Secrets is a furious, transcendent, urgent sweep of a full life, with a prose filled with rhythm, energy, humor and poetry.”—Ernesto Quinonex, author of Bodega Dreams

“Are we merely the sum of our experiences, or can we become something more? That’s the questions that Kevin Pilkington’s Taking on Secrets is asking between the lines of every page. An addictive, funny, fearless coming-of-age story.”—David Hollander author of Anthropica and L.I. E.

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About the Author

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Kevin Pilkington is a member of the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. He is the author of ten collections: Spare Change was the LaJolla Poets Press National Book Award winner; Getting By won the ledge chapbook award; In the Eyes of a Dog received the New York Book Festival Award; The Unemployed Man Who Became a Tree was a Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award finalist. His poetry has appeared in many anthologies including: Birthday Poems: A CelebrationWestern Wind, and Contemporary Poetry of New England. Over the years, he has been nominated for four Pushcarts.

He poems have appeared in numerous magazines, including The Harvard Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Boston Review, Yankee, Hayden’s Ferry, Columbia and North American Review.

He has taught and lectured at numerous colleges and universities including The New School, Manhattanville College, MIT, University of Michigan, Susquehanna University and Georgia Tech. His debut novel, Summer Shares, was reissued in paperback. His collection, Where You Want to Be: New and Selected Poems was an IPPY Award Winner. A new collection entitled Playing Poker with Tennessee Williams was recently published. Taking on Secrets is his second novel.

Kevin Pilkington | Facebook | Instagram

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Blog Tour: Below Torrential Hill – Jonathan Koven

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Welcome to the book tour for Jonathan Koven’s novel, Below Torrential Hill. Read on for more info!

below torrential hill-front cover

Below Torrential Hill

Publication Date: October 18th, 2021

Genre: Literary Fiction

Length: 190 Pages

Jonathan Koven, author of the beloved poetry collection Palm Lines, returns with a stunning fiction debut. Breathtaking in scope, intimate in its detail, Below Torrential Hill is a coming-of-age about family, memory, and reconciliation.

It’s Christmas, and strange occurrences are plaguing the small town of Torrential Hill: a supernatural comet, undead insects, exploding streetlights, and a presence luring people into the woods. But when the mother of Tristen—a wistful, fatherless sixteen-year-old boy—hears voices from the kitchen sink, all he can think of is running away.

A WINNER OF THE 2020 ELECTRIC ECLECTIC NOVELLA PRIZE
A FINALIST OF THE 2020 CLAY REYNOLDS NOVELLA PRIZE

“Remarkable in its empathy, successfully conveying the difficult realities of death, first love, single parenting, alcoholism . . . Both an ode to loss and to growth, a dialectic that produces a singular tone and a dynamic plot. Within these pages, Koven has constructed an entire universe, and we are left homesick by story’s end.”—Shannon Greenstein, author of Pray for Us Sinners

“Captivating, awash in poetry and sensual detail . . . beautiful, sad, and full of hope.”—Charlotte Dune, author of Mushroom Honeymoon

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Excerpt

With one’s mouth agape, there is always more to swallow. And Tristen always wished to be filtered, chewed, and spit out bodiless as a dream, to be the raindrop plunging into white sea, to not shatter and spread wide the body, to pour out like the hungriest wound and demand to be filled at once. Happiness is to be loved to death. No matter how strange, the leap into silence demanded a sacrifice of the highest order. He came to relinquish his life for a different one.

His muddied shoes stepped through the brightly lit division in the trees. A hillside not far ahead oversaw the great abyss which nurtured the lowest regions of the wood, where the city limits were eaten alive by pine and lichen, where the meteorite fell just days before.

Canine laughter sprawled out against the void, just near enough to hear. Then, spoken slowly and dully like a voice from the sink, in the middle of the raspy sunrise, his name seemed to hum within an acute ringing: “Trist-en.”

The ringing grew and took hold of his arms and pulled him to the ground. The sky pealed his name unto him as he bowed over the whitening earth. He coughed into his chest. Frostbite and blood covered his skin from wrists to elbows. Curling his fingers into the snow, his knuckles cut deep; using them, he lifted his body and swung forward. He moved with determination, each spring forward going farther than the last. Everything was a cry to continue moving. It even echoed from fractures in the bark. Eternity was waiting for Tristen. His ankles were set in a motion too hypnotic to break.

Torn trunks pointed their roots toward the hillside where old snow whistled with old wind. At the hillside’s ledge, deformed trees met the capsizing sky, longing back to the morning’s jaw. Mist peeled back to reveal the ledge.

Tristen walked to it slowly.

The sound bawled from everywhere, two drawn-out torrents of energy. They droned the essence of shared solitude, unmasked arousal of vulnerability and, at the center of the sound, consonants proudly shattered and burst. “Tri-sten.” A cry so lowly, lovingly, morbidly exasperated— stretched open, crackling. All around him coursed a magnitude of feeling. Catching a deformed tree’s lowered branch, he waited at the ridge. These—these long waves, this sheer density—this heavy slowness were the years of his life that hadn’t happened yet.

“Tri-st!-enn.”

Then, pushing down on the branch, it snapped halfway, and Tristen tumbled fast into a scar in the earth.

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About the Author

Delana + Jonathan

Jonathan Koven grew up on Long Island, NY. He holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from American University, works as a technical writer, and reads chapbooks for Moonstone Arts. He lives in Philadelphia with his best friend and wife Delana, and their cats Peanut Butter and Keebler. Read Jonathan’s poetry debut Palm Lines (2020), available from Toho Publishing. His fiction debut Below Torrential Hill (2021) is also available, a winner of the Electric Eclectic Novella Prize.

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Blog Tour: Stories My Grandmother Told Me – Gabriela Maya Bernadett

StoriesMyGrandmotherToldMe copy

Welcome to the tour for this fascinating memoir by Gabriela Maya Bernadett, called Stories My Grandmother Told Me: A Multicultural Journey from Harlem to Tohono O’dham. Read on for more info!

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Stories My Grandmother Told Me: A Multicultural Journey from Harlem to Tohono O’dham

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: City Point Press/ Simon & Schuster

The illuminating and deeply personal debut from Gabriela Maya Bernadett, Stories My Grandmother Told Me explores culture, race, and chosen family, set against the backdrop of the twentieth-century American Southwest.

In a hilly Southern California suburb in the late twentieth century, Gabriela Maya Bernadett listens as her grandmother tells her a story.

It’s the true story of Esther Small, the great-granddaughter of slaves, who became one of the few Black students to graduate from NYU in the 1940s. Having grown up in Harlem, Esther couldn’t imagine a better place to live; especially not somewhere in the American Southwest.

But when she learns of a job teaching Native American children on a reservation, Esther decides to take a chance. She soon finds herself on a train to Fort Yuma, Arizona; unaware that each year, the Bureau of Indian Affairs kidnaps the native Tohono O’odham children from the reservation and forces them to be educated in the ‘ways of the White man.’ It doesn’t take long for Esther to notice how Fort Yuma parallels her own grandmother’s story as a slave in the South—the native children, constantly belittled by teachers and peers, are forced to perform manual labor for local farmers.

One of two Black people in Fort Yuma, Esther feels isolated, never sure where she belongs in a community deeply divided between the White people and the Tohono O’odhams. John, the school bus driver and Tohono O’odham tribe member, is one of the only people she connects with. Friendship slowly grows into love, and together, Esther and John navigate a changing America.

Seamlessly weaving in the present day with the past, Stories My Grandmother Told Me blends a woman’s memory of her life, and that woman’s granddaughter’s memories of how she heard these stories growing up. Bernadett’s captivating narrative explores themes of identity, tradition, and belonging, showing what it really means to exist in a multicultural America.

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About the Author

Maya Bernadett grew up in California hearing the stories of her grandmother, Esther Pancho. She grew up in a multi-cultural household, as her father is Mexican American and White and her Mother is Tohono O’odham and Black. At the age of 18 she moved to New Haven, Connecticut to attend Yale University, from which she graduated in 2008 with a degree in the History of Science/History of Medicine. She lived in Tucson briefly, then moved to New York City, and finally returned to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona. She graduated in 2015 with a Master’s Degree in American Indian Studies with a focus on Education. She currently teaches GED classes at the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.

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