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The Fool now Available for Download

Humans. You can’t live with ’em and you can’t turn ’em all into vampires.

The Fool: New Beginnings

Kelsey Davis is ready to find herself and prepared to face her fear of those who aren’t human by living and working in the heart of their communities. But she’s not prepared for the tall, snarky vampire who bursts through her door and demands to talk to her son.

When Kelsey learns the vampire’s daughter is missing, and her own son isn’t where he’s supposed to be, she frantically gets involved in the search. Following one clue after another, they confront the man who can lead them to the missing girl — a mistake they may not live to regret.

The Fool: New Beginnings is the first novel in the Tales from the Unmasqued World urban fantasy series. If you enjoy the paranormal, the magickal, and the mystical, then you’ll love Val Tobin’s thrilling world.

Available now on Amazon to download as an ebook or to borrow on Kindle Unlimited. Also available in paperback.

The Fool: New Beginnings

The Fool appears as the first card in the major arcana of the tarot, and I’ve used it as the inspiration for the first novel in a new urban fantasy series. Each novel in the series will be based on a different card in the tarot’s major arcana, which will make twenty-two stories in all if I don’t die first. The series is calld Tales from the Unmasqued World.

The Fool: New Beginnings is now available for preorder at an introductory price of $2.99. After its June 1, 2021, release, the price will increase to $3.99, but it’ll be available in Kindle Unlimited to borrow for free if you have a KU subscription.

The Fool: New Beginnings

My aweseom designer, Patti Roberts of Paradox, has created a stunning cover for the book.

This installment follows newly divorced Kelsey Davis as she helps in the hunt for a missing half-vampire girl.

Here’s the first chapter of the story for your reading pleasure:

Chapter One

The lycanthrope, recognizable by the brown wolf pin on her lapel, browsed among the bookshelves at the back of Crossroads Books & Café. She selected a book from the self-help section and, after reading the back cover, flipped through the pages. The rest of the shop was empty of customers, so Kelsey Davis, who stood behind the food counter, glanced often at the young wolf woman.

She wasn’t nervous alone in here with a lycan, Kelsey assured herself. She’d naturally monitor any customer browsing through the store. What if the woman needed help? Anyone on staff must remain vigilant, especially when it was quiet.

Wolf Woman raised her head and locked gazes with Kelsey. “I can smell your fear.”

Living in denial was so much more difficult when others pointed out the obvious.

“I’m sorry.” Kelsey didn’t know what else to say. After a moment, she added, “I don’t get many lycans in here. At least, I think I don’t.”

“You’re the new owner, I take it?” Wolf Woman replied.

“As of two months ago.” Kelsey picked up a spray bottle and a clean rag and moved from behind the counter to wipe down tables—tables that didn’t need it, but she had to keep busy to tamp down her fear. Cleaning always worked to distract her and calm her nerves.

“Never met a lycan before?” The woman, who Kelsey decided didn’t look so intimidating after all in her pale-green blouse and jeans, returned the book to the shelf and approached the food counter. Her black hair was tied, sleek and smooth, into a bun. If the wolf insignia hadn’t signaled her lycan heritage, her aquiline nose, square jaw, and tall, muscular build would’ve hinted at it. Her flawless skin held a tinge of brown. She prowled rather than walked, but with a model’s grace.

The sudden move in Kelsey’s direction flipped the fear switch on again, and she took an inadvertent step backward.

“Relax. I just want to introduce myself.” Wolf Woman stopped a safe distance away. “I’m Laura Growley.”

Deadpan, Kelsey said, “A lycan named Growley.”

Laura chuckled. “No weirder than a human named Smith or Miller.”

Laura spoke correctly—family names for humans typically reflected what their ancestors did. Perhaps when lycans shifted to the earth plane, they were assigned similarly descriptive names. That was probably the case for all hypernaturals who’d joined the physical plane during the unmasquing.

“Kelsey Davis. You know, I never thought about naming conventions much before.” Something occurred to her then, and any residual fear vanished, replaced by curiosity. “Did you know Mr. Dobbs? The previous owner? Are you a regular here?” If so, it wouldn’t hurt to act polite. The effort didn’t even feel forced. Laura seemed nice, and if Dobbs had welcomed her into the store, then odds were good it was safe for Kelsey to do the same.

“Yes. I enjoy reading. You have an excellent selection of lycan-centered fiction and non-fiction.” She grinned, revealing straight, even teeth.

What did you expect? Fangs? No, the fangs would only appear when she changed to wolf form, something Kelsey would happily skip witnessing.

“I’ll have a latte, if you don’t mind.”

The request brought Kelsey back to the real world, one of customer service and business. Her nerves settled, and after asking Laura what size she wanted, Kelsey hurried behind the counter to fill the order.

As she steamed the milk, the bell on the door jingled, signaling another customer’s arrival. Voices chattering told her a group had entered, and they were young. Kelsey threw a glance their way and verified it was the teens who visited the café two or three times a week. They hadn’t been in for four days, and she beamed a smile at them the instant she recognized them.

Chairs scraped against the floor as the kids settled into their usual table with their usual exuberant bustle. As Kelsey handed Laura the latte, their gazes locked, and Kelsey noticed the tiny lines around Laura’s eyes and lips. Lycans rarely suffered from dry skin, making their ages difficult to gauge, so this one had to be close to Kelsey in age—early forties at least—even though she looked no older than thirty.

“Thanks.” Laura accepted the large takeout cup. She found an empty table near the counter and pulled a book from the oversized purse she carried, while the group of teens crowded up to the cash register.

The group’s orders distracted Kelsey at first, but as she put together a cappuccino for the last teen, she did a quick head count and came up short. The guy before her had waited patiently while the other three members of his group, two girls and another boy, had received their orders. An additional member of their group, a pretty girl with pale skin and golden hair, was absent.

“Where’s Dakota?” Kelsey asked, more to make conversation than out of any serious interest. She assumed the girl was busy with a part-time job, family, school—anything at all, really.

“Don’t know.” His serious tone made her pause and meet his gaze. He frowned, his eyes pinched with worry.

She set his muffin and coffee on the counter. “Everything okay with her?”

He shrugged and averted his gaze, reddening slightly, as if embarrassed at exposing his concern.

“It’s all right. If something’s wrong, you can tell me.”

He threw a glance over his shoulder at the group around the table. “Not sure. Last time we spoke, she sounded kinda worried about her mom.”

“Is her mother ill?” Kelsey could relate to that. Her own mother had recently battled cancer. They’d ended up calling in a hedge witch to help her heal completely. Having magickals in the vicinity had its advantages. If Dakota’s mother was ill, perhaps Kelsey could refer the witch she and her mother used.

“No.” He glanced again at the others, who chatted away, oblivious to the serious conversation taking place at the food counter. “She thought her mother might …” He drifted off, unable or unwilling to give voice to his friend’s troubles.

“I know it’s not my business, Troy,” Kelsey said. “But you’re regulars here. I’ve gotten to know all of you since I took over this place.” Or as much as a shopkeeper could get to know her regular customers. She didn’t categorize any of the patrons who visited the store as friends. “If something happened to Dakota, maybe I can help.” Kelsey’s son hung out with that group. She’d ask him later if he knew anything, but for now, she’d try to get information from this boy. She was sure he was on the verge of sharing.

The bell jingled again as the door opened. Chase, the young man Kelsey had hired to work evenings and weekends in the café, rushed inside.

“Sorry, just made it. I’ll drop my gear and be right over.” He raced through the store and into the staff room at the back.

If Troy had been ready to divulge Dakota’s personal problems, Chase’s entrance had changed his mind.

“I’m sure it’s nothing.” He picked up his coffee and muffin. “Thanks.” With a nod, he retreated to the safety of the group.

Frustrated at the interruption, but unable to do anything about it, Kelsey returned to wiping surfaces that didn’t need cleaning. When Chase appeared behind the counter, she smiled and welcomed him with an upbeat greeting. “How was your day?”

“Good. Busy. Exams soon.”

Chase was in college, studying to be a mage. She’d never understood why someone with natural-born magickal ability had to study it in school, but he’d explained that innate talent was only the beginning. Magick had levels of complexity it would take him years of study to master.

“I see the gang’s all here.” He did a double-take then and said, “I stand corrected. The dhampir girl’s missing.”

“What?” Dhampir. She should know what that meant.

Chase raised his brows and angled his head at her. “Dakota. She never displayed the insignia prominently, but she kept it with her. Even so, her pedigree is unmistakable. She’s a human-vampire mixed breed.”

“I didn’t know that. I didn’t see it.” Should she have noticed? All this time, the girl had seemed so normal. “I never saw fangs.”

Chase patted her arm. “Don’t worry about it. Humans have trouble recognizing them—until the fangs appear or they notice the lack of an image in a reflective surface. They’re nothing to be afraid of, you know.”

“I’m not afraid of them.” But she averted her eyes as she said it, and inside, she had the uneasy feeling she lied to herself as much as to Chase.

The bell on the door tinkled again. Two men strolled in. She’d been expecting them, since they showed up at this time each month. They weren’t here to buy coffee, though they expected her to serve them. She pressed a button that popped open her till. After lifting the tray inside, she retrieved an envelope containing five-hundred dollars and handed it to the taller of the two men. He was always the one who took the money while the other man remained standing by the door.

The tall man shoved the envelope into the inside pocket of his trench coat and waited while she fixed two cappuccinos to go. When she handed those over, the men strolled out without having exchanged a word with her. She preferred it that way, and they didn’t seem to care as long as she paid them when they showed up.

A craving for a hit of caffeine assaulted her, and she poured herself a large coffee. She might regret it when she wanted to sleep later, but right now, she needed the comforting warmth of hot liquid and the reassuring caffeine buzz. She glanced over at Laura, who appeared to be snout deep in her book. Ashamed she’d referred to the lycan’s nose as a snout even though she was in human form, Kelsey shifted her gaze to Chase.

He’d busied himself with sweeping behind the counter while the goons were in the store, but now he paused to look her in the eyes. “Someone should do something about those guys.”

She shook her head, afraid he considered playing hero. “No. Stay out of it.” She kept her voice low, and verified that Laura continued reading and the group of kids remained oblivious to what had transpired.

Before Chase could reply, the bells jangled and clashed as the door burst open, and a man wearing the vampire insignia on his lapel stepped inside. Time to prove to Chase, and to herself, that supernatural creatures, in particular vampires, didn’t terrify her. The problem was, this one looked furious.

The Hunted Free for a Limited Time

The Hunted: A Storm Lake Novel

The Hunted: A Storm Lake Novel

Only for a limited time, only on Amazon: The Hunted is available for download as a #FREE e-book.

 
A monster hunter revisits her terrifying past while helping a reporter uncover the origins of Storm Lake’s creatures.
 
 
Get it while you can. The price goes back up to $3.99 after the promo.

Procrastinating with Innocence

I should be writing–not on my blog, but on my current WIP, which is a novel I’m plowing through for NaNoWriMo. I’m in the home stretch as far as achieving my goal for NaNo goes. I’ve hit 40,020 words and need only 9,980 more words to reach the NaNo finish line. That won’t get me a completed first draft–my novels typically hit at least 60,000 words. My longest, A Ring of Truth, reached over 90,000 words.

This is my long-winded way of saying I’m procrastinating, but it’s for a good reason. Okay, maybe not a good reason, but for a good excuse.

I recently finished reading Roald Dahl’s autobiographical book Innocence and find it lingering in my psyche. Dahl had an interesting life, though Innocence focused on his childhood years. I’m always fascinated by writers and their lives and how they became published authors. Dahl’s road to authordom was much easier than it is for most authors. The first thing he wrote was published and his career took off from there. Nice. I’m not jealous at all. Wink.

But that’s not where I want to focus. I’d like to share this quote about writing from the book. I find it if not inspirational then comforting, and any other writers out there might do the same, so I want to share before it slips off my to-do list (See? Good excuse, right?):

I began to realize how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow with fixed hours and a fixed salary and very little original thinking to do. The life of a writer is absolute hell compared with the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him. If he is a writer of fiction he lives in a world of fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not. Two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained. For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock. The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it. It happens to be a fact that nearly every writer of fiction in the world drinks more whisky than is good for him. He does it to give himself faith, hope and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.

I can relate to needing a stiff drink after a writing session. I’ve often wanted a shot when I’ve finished writing for the day. Sometimes I’ve wondered what it would be like to, as has been attributed to Hemingway, “Write drunk; edit sober.”

I don’t do it, of course. The pull might be there, and it feels like an enticing crutch, but the desire isn’t enough to make me grab that drink. I can’t imagine writing under the influence, and after I’m done for the day, I have so many other obligations to catch up on that I can’t sit down and drink. The point is, Dahl has put into words precisely the feelings I have some days when I’m faced with that blank page at the start of a writing session and the weariness that comes after completing it.

To again quote Hemingway: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

It’s these revelations from famous authors that help me realize I’m not the only writer who gets creatively constipated.

I’m in the home stretch on my NaNo project. I need to get back to it. But this digression has helped brace me for the sprint ahead better than a shot of whisky could.

For those of you working on a NaNo project (or just plugging away at your personal writing goals), how do you find encouragement when your spirits sag? Did you find any reassurance in that Roald Dahl quote?

Sylva Fae Author of the Week Blog Tour

Sylva Fae

Sylva Fae

Introducing Sylva Fae

This week Mom’s Favorite Reads is featuring Sylva Fae. She writes children’s stories and loves beauty and nature. You’re certain to find her among the fae, listening and learning.

I first got to know author Sylva Fae in an online writing group and fell in love with her positive, gentle spirit. Her books are wonderful for young children, and my grandkids own more than one.

Mini Bio

Sylva Fae is a married mum of three from Lancashire, England. She grew up in a rambling old farmhouse with a slightly dysfunctional family and an adopted bunch of equally dysfunctional animals. She spent twenty plus years teaching literacy to adults with learning difficulties and disabilities but now lives in Cheshire, juggling being a mum, writing children’s stories and keeping up with the crazy antics of three naughty rabbits.

Her earliest memories are of bedtime stories snuggled up close to mum to see the pictures. It was a magical time, those last special moments before dozing off to sleep would feed dreams of faraway lands and mystical beings. She now wants to share that love of stories and inspire children to create their own magical adventures.

Sylva and her family own a wood and escape there at every opportunity. Adventures in their own enchanted woodland, hunting for fairies and stomping in puddles, have inspired Sylva to write stories for her girls.

Sylva published her first children’s book Rainbow Monsters, in 2017. She has since published four other children’s picture books, an anthology of Christmas stories, and has a short story published in the IASD charity anthology, You’re Not Alone. Two of her books have won Best in Category for children’s books at the Chanticleer International Book Awards. She also writes a blog, Sylvanian Ramblings, and enjoys doing developmental editing as part of One Stop Author Services. Recently, Sylva joined the editors’ team at Mom’s Favorite Reads and regularly contributes articles to the magazine.

Books to date

Books by Sylva Fae

Books by Sylva Fae

Rainbow Monsters – Winner of 2017 Chanticleer Little Peeps Award

Mindful Monsters – Shortlisted for 2018 Chanticleer Little Peeps Award

No Place Like Home

Yoga Fox – Winner of 2018 Chanticleer Little Peeps Award

Bea & Bee

Elfabet – Illustrated by Katie Weaver

Children’s Christmas Collection – With authors Kate Robinson, Paul Ian Cross, and Suzanne Downes

That Pesky Pixie – a series of stories for a story app

www.getbedtimestories.com/library/that-pesky-pixie

  • An Itchy Situation
  • A Stinky Start!
  • A Dastardly Plan
  • A Feast for a Fairy Queen
  • Three Pesky Pixies and a Monstrous Mouse

Contact Links

Blog                 https://sylvafae.co.uk/blog/

Amazon           author.to/SylvaFae

Facebook        https://www.facebook.com/SylvaFae

Twitter             https://twitter.com/sylvafae

Pinterest          https://www.pinterest.co.uk/sylvafae/

Book Links

MyBook.to/RainbowMonsters

MyBook.to/MindfulMonsters

MyBook.to/YogaFox

MyBook.to/BeaAndBee

MyBook.to/Elfabet

www.getbedtimestories.com/library/that-pesky-pixie

You can find a list of sites featurning Sylva Fae on Mom’s site.

 

Author Rescues Dogs from Kill Shelters

Paulette Mahurin is an international best-selling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.

Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County.

When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Paulette’s first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award-winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K., and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw The Hummingbird, is now available for purchase on Amazon.

To learn more about Paulette, her books, and the dogs she rescues, visit her website.

Comment on this post and other posts in Paulette’s blog tour this week and we’ll enter your name into a draw to win a small prize. Find the complete list of sites to visit.

Guest Author Interview on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

I’m honoured and thrilled to announce that I was asked to do an interview with author Cheryl Holloway on her blog. Please take a moment to read the interview. The link to it follows:

Guest Author Interview – Val Tobin

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Val Tobin. She writes stories worth losing sleep over by drawing on her master’s degree in parapsychology. Welcome to my blog, Val.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for this psychic/ghost thriller?

VT: Earthbound is a prequel to The Experiencers, book one of the Valiant Chronicles. Ever since I wrote about Michael Valiant, I wanted to know more about his previous victims and what led up to the events that occur in The Experiencers and A Ring of Truth. I decided to tell the story of one of the unjustly murdered, and to do it from the spirit world. This way, I could explore philosophical and theological themes. I’ve always wondered, if spirits exist, why don’t all murder victims try to expose their killers? What would cause them to let it go? What higher purpose might there be to events? What is fate and how does it fit in with free will?

Most of these questions don’t have answers, but fiction is a great conduit for exploring such ideas….

Read more on Cheryl’s site.

Thank you for reading!

Mom’s Favorite Reads UK Store

Mom's UK Store

Mom’s UK Store

Great News!

Mom’s Favorite Reads now has an Amazon UK store.

My Valiant Chronicles books are included in the “Mystery Suspense Thriller” section (click on the “Show More” button a couple of times to uncover them.)

If you’re in the UK, you’ll be able to purchase any of the books offered in the store. If you’re not in the UK and one of the books sparks your interest, you can search for it in the Amazon store for your country.

Browse through the variety of books on offer and download your next favourite read today.

Happy reading!

 

The Amazon Game: Are Books Disappearing from Amazon’s US Site?

Lately, indie authors have noticed something hinky with Amazon’s e-books. They seem to be disappearing from the Amazon US site.

When my novels fell victim to this crime, I tried to find them via my Bookshelf in KDP. Here’s what I found, using my novel Poison Pen as an example:

I’d never seen this “feature” before, but today I noticed that when you hover over “Live” on your KDP book, you get this:

PP_Availability

When you click on “See title availability details” you get this:

PP_AvailabilityReport

When you drill down into “View details” in the row pertaining to Amzon.com (notice the Status for it says “Limited availability”), you get this:

PP_USAvailability

Notice how in Canada it says “Unavailable”?

Scroll back up to the image with the Availability Report for Poison Pen. Notice how the row for Amazon.ca says “Live”? When I view the details on that, I see this:

PP_AmazonCAAvailability

It seems Amazon isn’t removing e-books and making them unavailable for purchase. They are mucking around with visibility depending on the country you’re in. This is causing frustration amongst authors who want to check their pages on countries they don’t reside in.

What’s scary for us non-US residents is the fear that users searching for books to read will no longer find these books in the search results. I’ve often searched in Amazon US for something and then clicked on the CA link to view it on the Canada site. Now that I understand (I think) what’s happening, I’ll do those searches on the Canadian site.

I’ve also noticed that direct links will get you the book’s page in the US even if it’s unavailable for you to purchase there.

While this new feature *cough* bug *cough* will take some getting used to, we’ll have to see how it shakes out and affects sales.

Amazon: unilaterally moving the goal posts for authors once again.