Monthly Archives: May 2021

Review & Giveaway: A Witch’s Brew by Michael Scott Clifton

A WITCH’S BREW

Conquest of the Veil Book III

By Michael Scott Clifton

Publisher: Book Liftoff
Publication Date: April 14th, 2021

Pages: 318 Pages
Categories:

Sword & Sorcery / Magical Realism / Fantasy / Paranormal

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Intent on defeating the Dark Queen and destroying the Veil, Prince Tal and Alexandria arrive at Markingham to discover a city on the verge of collapse, its people starving, and children vanishing without a trace. Hopes of launching attacks from the city against the Dark Queen evaporate. To make matters worse, the tiny breach in the Veil allows only a trickle of soldiers and supplies to pass through.
Before the city’s defenses can be restored, the Baleful, a vast army composed of melded humans and animals led by a giant centaur, sweeps across the land like locusts, leaving nothing behind.
In the midst of turmoil and conflict, the love between Tal and Alex reaches white-hot intensity. But the leader of a ragtag militia group wants Tal for herself and will do anything to get him…even strike a bargain with a child-killing witch for a potion to make her irresistible.
But every witch’s brew comes with a price.

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Review

A Witch’s Brew by Michael Scott Clifton is book three of the Conquest of the Veil series, which I am very pleased to find is not the last book of a trilogy. In true Clifton fashion, this book manages to surpass even the first two brilliant books of the series as we are further entangled in the battle between good and evil.

 

While books one and two paint the line between the two sides more obviously, I love how this book has you pondering the meaning behind “a means to an end.” Is breaking a promise so bad when you do it out of love? And are you willing to break someone’s heart over honor? Those are just a few existential questions that come to mind when I mull over this wonderful story. The other questions I had: where is the witch and what’s in her brew? Those answers come just past the halfway mark of the book. Normally that type of thing would bother me, but I was so wrapped up in the story that I did not mind at all! Clifton’s gift for painting a complete picture of a fantasy world is so great that you forget where you are and become fully immersed.

 

Escape from the Wheel left me hopelessly in love with Alexandria’s character. So beautiful but kind, delicate yet strong. And this latest book confirmed that she is worthy of all admiration. Of course, someone is bound to be jealous of such a shining light. As someone who identifies as more of a best friend than a leading lady, I felt compassion for the brash Maggie. Oh, Sir Clifton, why do you torture us with yet another love triangle in this series? My heart can only take so much! To be completely honest, you could get by without reading the first two books. But why would you? You would miss out on so much backstory and this exciting build of adventure and love.

 

I know that I will need to toughen up for the next book because things are only getting harrier for our heroine and her brave prince. Each hard-won victory has been exciting but you know that the worst is yet to come. And Clifton’s magical way with the written word assures you that every detail will be unveiled and you will see all – both the good and the bad – unwind in a cinematic cyclone.

 

The vibe of this book was interesting – sort of Game of Thrones meets Hocus Pocus. I really look forward to reading the next book, especially knowing that it will be even better than this one. If you are a fantasy reader, you definitely need to pick up the first three books of the Conquest of the Veil series so that you’re ready for book four.

by Michael Scott Clifton is book three of the Conquest of the Veil series, which I am very pleased to find is not the last book of a trilogy. In true Clifton fashion, this book manages to surpass even the first two brilliant books of the series as we are further entangled in the battle between good and evil.

While books one and two paint the line between the two sides more obviously, I love how this book has you pondering the meaning behind “a means to an end.” Is breaking a promise so bad when you do it out of love? And are you willing to break someone’s heart over honor? Those are just a few existential questions that come to mind when I mull over this wonderful story. The other questions I had: where is the witch and what’s in her brew? Those answers come just past the halfway mark of the book. Normally that type of thing would bother me, but I was so wrapped up in the story that I did not mind at all! Clifton’s gift for painting a complete picture of a fantasy world is so great that you forget where you are and become fully immersed.

Escape from the Wheel left me hopelessly in love with Alexandria’s character. So beautiful but kind, delicate yet strong. And this latest book confirmed that she is worthy of all admiration. Of course, someone is bound to be jealous of such a shining light. As someone who identifies as more of a best friend than a leading lady, I felt compassion for the brash Maggie. Oh, Sir Clifton, why do you torture us with yet another love triangle in this series? My heart can only take so much! To be completely honest, you could get by without reading the first two books. But why would you? You would miss out on so much backstory and this exciting build of adventure and love.

I know that I will need to toughen up for the next book because things are only getting harrier for our heroine and her brave prince. Each hard-won victory has been exciting but you know that the worst is yet to come. And Clifton’s magical way with the written word assures you that every detail will be unveiled and you will see all – both the good and the bad – unwind in a cinematic cyclone.

The vibe of this book was interesting – sort of Game of Thrones meets Hocus Pocus. I really look forward to reading the next book, especially knowing that it will be even better than this one. If you are a fantasy reader, you definitely need to pick up the first three books of the Conquest of the Veil series so that you’re ready for book four.

Multi Award-Winning Author Michael Scott Clifton, a longtime public educator, currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas with his wife, Melanie. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, his books contain facets of all the genres he enjoys—action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. His fantasy novels, The Janus Witch, The Open Portal (Book I in the Conquest of the Veil series), and Escape from Wheel (Book II), all received 5-Star reviews from the prestigious Readers Favorite Book Reviews. The Open Portal has also been honored with a Feathered Quill Book Finalist Award. In addition, Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator earned a 2021 Feathered Quill Book Award Bronze Medal in the Teen Readers category. Two of his short stories have won Gold Medals, with Edges of Gray winning the Texas Authors Contest, and The End Game, winning the Northeast Texas Writer’s Organization Contest. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine.
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THREE WINNERS!

Grand Prize:
Signed copies of all three books in the Conquest of the Veil series
+ $15 Amazon Gift Card
2
nd & 3rd Winners: eBooks of A Witch’s Brew.
Ends midnight, CDT, May 28, 2021.

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Character Interview & Giveaway: The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts by Shelton L. Williams


THE CHINESE MURDER
OF EDWARD WATTS
Covey Jencks Mystery, #3
By Shelton L. Williams


Publish Date: December 8th, 2020
Pages: 233 pages
Categories: Mystery / Humor

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for Giveaway!

Covey and JayJay travel to China and then return home to deal with shady characters, spies, gangsters, and other tough customers. In an exciting last act, they solve a murder most foul.
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Character Interview

Maggie Mae interviews JayJay Qualls from

THE CHINESE MURDER OF EDWARD WATTS

by Shelton L. Williams

Maggie: JayJay, you had lots of questions for me in The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts I am glad you’re allowing me to ask you some.

JayJay: Sure, but at the end, I have one more question for you. Deal?

Maggie: If I can answer, I will. Deal?

JayJay: Okay, fire away.

Maggie: Are you and Covey still sympatico? The FBI calls you the Love Birds, but you don’t ever seem to get jealous, and Covey calls you distant at one point in the book. Is there trouble in paradise?

JayJay: I don’t think of any relationship as paradise. I live in the moment and I am always ready to take care of myself. I have seen too many women fall into dependency on a man. That said, Covey and I very much a couple and I have made decisions to keep us a couple. Yes, we love each other.

Maggie: Can you tell us what decisions?

JayJay: Sure, Covey Jencks readers know that I did not move to Dallas or Ft. Worth to advance my acting career, and more than one old flame has tried to rekindle, especially now that I have got my own money. But I am stickin’ with Covey, at least for now.

Maggie: You like the detective business, don’t you?

JayJay: I do like it, but truth be told, I like solving mysteries with Covey. When we are working a case, we are equal partners. He includes me and listens to me. I push him to be bold and to think beyond the obvious. It’s pretty damned exciting. Besides, when he is working on oil and gas leases, you think he’s ever distant with me?

Maggie: That’s a good point. The books are more from his point of view and not yours even though you get your own chapters. After all, the series is called Covey Jencks Mysteries. Don’t you deserve your own book?

JayJay: My creative work occurs on the stage. I don’t need to sit alone at 6:00 a.m. trying to figure out what to say next before my real work starts. That sounds miserable. Maybe someday I’ll write my memoirs.

Maggie: You seemed to really be fascinated with Betty Williams and the Ghost of OHS story. Maybe you could write about that?

JayJay: Well, not long after the Chinese mystery ended, a book on the event called Washed in the Blood came out. Like many people out there, I have heard about the book but haven’t had time to read it. Maybe I will wait for the movie.

Maggie: What been your favorite adventure with Covey?

JayJay: By far, solving the mystery of the triple murder case on a college campus in Covey and JayJay Get Educated, but it was also fun to hook up with Covey to find out who killed Freddie in Covey Jencks.

Maggie: I have heard that lots of folks like Chinese Murder best. Comments?

JayJay: It’s a good story, for sure, but did I enjoy only being marginally involved and then — that ending. Who saw that coming? My role wasn’t exactly heroic, no?

Maggie: I hear ya, but I loved the book. I loved being the international woman of mystery in it.

JayJay: And you are a good one. West Texans would call you a sexy mama. I admit I was jealous of that first dress you wore in Odessa. I may go back to China to get me one of them. Time for my question.

Maggie: Okay, but I got that dress in New York. What’s your question?

JayJay: Will Covey and I ever see you again?

Maggie: I see what you are doing there. Sneaky. Will there be another Covey Jencks mystery?

Silence from JayJay. Maggie continues:

I think it depends on whether you guys stay stuck in West Texas or if you ever come back my way.

JayJay: To China?

Maggie: Hmm, no, the East Coast.

JayJay: Oh, that reminds me of my favorite part of The Chinese Murder of Edward Watts. The visit to Washington, D.C.  That was just as exciting for me as the mystery, and it was a stone cold turn-on as well. I’ll talk to the old man about that idea.

Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced
International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on four occasions, and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are 
Washed in the Blood, Summer of 66, and now the three books in the Covey Jencks series. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.


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THREE WINNERS
First, signed copies of all three Covey books.
Second, audio books of books 2 & 3.
Third, Kindle copies of all three books. 
(US Only. Ends midnight, CDT, May 21, 2021.)

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Review & Giveaway: Infinity’s Gateway by James S. Parker

INFINITY’S GATEWAY
by JAMES S. PARKER
Published by: Morgan James Publishing
Series: The Infinity’s Gateway Trilogy
Pages: 361 Pages
Pub Date: January 26th, 2021
Categories: Science Fiction / Adventure / Action
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Every year, all across the planet, people simply vanish, completely disappear and are never seen again. Some areas of the world are well known for this phenomenon. Infinity’s Gateway opens with a very famous incident that took place just after the end of World War II with the United States Navy. The story then jumps to the present day with an unexplainable event that occurs off the coast of Florida, an event that cannot be ignored by the military.
The Navy ship Eclipse and its crew are sent to investigate, but after several days come up empty. Two days before returning to port, the event reoccurs, and the Eclipse is caught up in something it cannot escape. The Eclipse and its crew suddenly find themselves completely isolated, all communication lost, surrounded by a terribly hostile environment where each day is a struggle to survive. Infinity’s Gateway is an intense, action packed story of survival, self-reliance, and discovery.

PRAISE FOR INFINITY’S GATEWAY:

Infinity’s Gateway is an engaging science fiction thriller with tones of Michael Crichton Tom Clancy. To fans of the science fiction genre it will feel like an old friend with a surprising, and exciting new makeover.” —Joseph Mauceri, Executive Editor, Fearsmag.com.

PURCHASE LINKS

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Review

Infinity’s Gateway by James S. Parker was a timely read for me since I have a Florida trip coming up and also have a Bermuda Triangle story of my own. When I was 8, I was on the maiden voyage of Carnival Cruise’s Ecstasy that sailed out to the Bahamas. When we were in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle, something shut off (the stabilizers perhaps?) and tons of people were getting seasick. I am not a conspiracy theorist but I am terrified of the Bermuda Triangle to this day because of the experience.

Parker’s characters obviously faced greater obstacles than getting seasick. I can’t imagine the terror of flying and suddenly losing all communication and instruments. I was invested from the onset with Parker’s choice to reimagine Flight 19 and the frenzied orchestration of people that were desperate to bring everyone home safely. You know that it’s not going to end well, but that doesn’t stop you from hoping that it will all work out.

When we are brought to the present, it feels like everyone is trying their best to not utter the name “Bermuda Triangle.” On one hand, I get it. These are military people who operate off of cold hard facts and not tabloids. On the other hand, Area 51… but I digress. While I felt that the scenes leading up to the actual departure of the Eclipse were a bit long, it was interesting to hear all of the different theories of what the gateway was. I won’t go into them because that kind of spoils the point of reading the book, but I liked getting a glimpse into the military mindset of things.

What really makes or breaks a story for me are the characters. I don’t have to like them necessarily, but they have to be interesting and believable. Brett Colton is compared to James Bond and I have to agree with that assessment. Colton appears to harbor very few secrets but at the same time, holds his true self very close to his vest. It’s kind of like how everybody knows what James Bond’s real name is (isn’t that a no no if you’re a secret agent?) but they don’t know what really goes on in his heart. There are other characters that are equally interesting as well that I hope get fleshed out even more in the next book.

While slow at times, I really enjoyed the series of events that occurred and could imagine them playing out on the big screen. I envision a Predator meets The X-Files type flick with a leading man that is unquestionably strong and manly with just a hint of sarcasm. Try as I might, I had trouble picturing anyone other than Michelle Rodriguez as badass Garrett. Parker doesn’t give much of a physical description for Father Ryan, but I couldn’t help but imagine a handsome, older yet physically fit priest. Forgive me Father for I have sinned.

There were so many different directions that Parker could have taken with this book and I am excited about the choices that he made. I truly look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Every now and then author James S. Parker has a vision. And, when he does, he sees people and places off in the misty distance. Sometimes these visions are futuristic and filled with danger. Most often they are mystical, with good and evil and a cast of characters who beautifully represent both.

In his high school years James experienced a spine-tingling brush with the supernatural. That single event – complete with the sound of heavy footsteps and an invisible visitor – etched forever in his mind the idea that life is much more mysterious than we oftentimes admit — that the spiritual world is all around us, and that its impact on us cannot be denied.

Though he sees through a glass darkly, he writes as though he has been granted a glimpse into the unknown, one that has informed his novels and their powerful stories of good and evil and the struggles we all face every day to assure that good wins.

Infinity’s Gateway, the first book in a fascinating sci-fi adventure trilogy, is his latest work. James lives in San Antonio, Texas with his wife Margaret. He is available for in-person and online book club visits.

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Promo & Giveaway: To the Republic by Bruce Clavey

TO THE REPUBLIC
The Republic Series, Book One
BY BRUCE CLAVEY
Publication Date: October 26th, 2020
Pages: 394 pages
Categories: Hispanic American Fiction / Political Fiction

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A novel for our times. A saga for the ages.


On the eve of passing landmark immigration legislation, the entire Texas Senate and its native Tejano leader, Diego Reyes, vanish suddenly from Austin. When news of the disappearance hits West Texas, cowboy Del Woodward isn’t shocked. He knows exactly where the lawmakers are, but he’s not telling. Woody’s been down on his luck, and a shady bargain he’s made puts him tight in the squeeze of Marcos Cepeda, north Mexico’s ruthless drug lord. And Cepeda’s furious with this new stall in the bill. It’s got a loophole he can exploit to add another quarter million square miles of exclusive turf to his cartel—but that territory goes back up for grabs if leader Reyes can’t pass the bill before the Senate session expires in mere days. The brutal kingpin wants what he’s bought and compels Woody to step up. How the cowboy swings the vote isn’t important to Cepeda, but this sure is: if Woody breathes so much as a word of reluctance, it’ll be his last. The prize is Texas, nothing less. It’s real, and it’s on.
The Republic Series launches from true pages of the Lone Star frontera story into a hauntingly modern arena of trade, trafficking, and tradition on the Rio Grande in To the Republic: BOOK ONE.
An Amazon #1 New Release in History of U.S. Immigration
PURCHASE LINKS:

Bruce Clavey of Round Rock, Texas writes with a passion for exploring the Latin heritage tucked in cultural corners throughout Texas, Mexico, and Central America. In 2017, Clavey’s research into perspectives on state history led to his onsite rediscovery of the Mexico City dungeon where the colonial “Father of Texas” was imprisoned, documented in his book “The Inquisition of Stephen F. Austin.” His interest to illuminate compelling historic junctures brought the creation of several feature dramatizations for state museum in-exhibit performance. Clavey’s release of Book One of The Republic Series in 2020 begins the journey of Texas and Mexican characters who confront the pressure points at today’s vibrant river border, a land that has functioned for centuries as both international gateway and barrier.

———————————————————————————————-
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THREE WINNERS each receive a prize pack including: Autographed paperback copy of To the Republic; unisex tee with the “Texas Forever” design; baseball cap stitched with the “Texas Forever” design; ceramic lapel pin with the “Mano de Tejas” design; vinyl 5” decal with the “Mano deTejas” design.

US only. Giveaway ends midnight, CDT, May 7, 2021

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