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Book Blitz Glitched

May 4, 2022 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Rabt Book Tours tagged as , , , ,

If you found out you were living in a virtual reality video game, what would you do? Dive into the world of Glitched by Tiffany Yao.

Glitched

Tiffany Yao

Science Fiction

Date Published: April 14, 2022

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Kashmira lived an ordinary life until an army of invaders sacked her city and left her for dead. When she awakens, she discovers she is a glitch in a virtual reality video game—destined only for deletion by the bots that hunt her. 

Dugan is a bitterly disgruntled engineer who played a pivotal role in the creation of virtual reality games and the NPCs who inhabit them. Fired from the company he helped found, he seeks only revenge.

In a chance encounter, Dugan sees in Kashmira a tool to sabotage the games and avenge himself, and through him, Kashmira finds the help she desperately needs. As they traverse the worlds of virtual reality and their friendship
deepens, it will take everything they have not only for her to win her freedom and survive, but also to answer the fundamental question of what “life” is.

 

 

About the Author

Tiffany writes science fiction to explore the ways technology shapes our view of ourselves. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she bumped shoulders with diverse folks from all walks of life who inspire her characters. She
incorporates her experience working in the aerospace and tech industry into her storytelling. She is now based in Austin, Texas.

 

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Under a Dark Moon Book Tour and Excerpt

November 27, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Rabt Book Tours tagged as , , , , ,
 
 

 

 

Brandon Brothers, Book 1

Historical Romance, Historical Fiction

Date Published: April 2021

 

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Meet Adam Brandon … acutely intelligent and master-swordsman but gradually realising that he isn’t yet ready for the future he had previously planned.

 

Victim of a cruel deception, Camilla Edgerton-Foxe has a jaundiced view of the male sex and a tongue as sharp as her wits … but she also possesses an extraordinary talent.

 

A peculiar encounter offers Adam the kind of employment for which he is uniquely suited and which will exercise his mind as well as his muscles. The fly in the ointment is that Miss Edgerton-Foxe comes with it … as does
Rainham, viscount and master of disguise, with a frequently misplaced sense of humour.

 

From Paris, via London, to the mists and mysteries of Romney Marsh, these three are sent on the trail of something darker and infinitely more dangerous than the kegs of brandy that come ashore at the dark of the moon.

 

 

Other books in the Brandon Brothers Series

 

 

A Trick of Fate

Brandon Brothers Book 1

B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree.

 

Max Brandon is receiving bills for services he never ordered and goods he did not buy. For reasons he can’t begin to guess, someone is ‘borrowing’ his identity to cause him maximum annoyance.

When the games move closer to home, almost forcing him to fight a duel … more particularly, when they draw in Frances Pendleton, a lady he never expected to see again … Max vows to catch the man behind them, no matter
what the cost.

The result is a haphazard chase involving ruined abbeys, a hunt for hermits, a grotesque portrait … and a love story which, but for this odd trick of fate, might never have been given a second chance.

Amazon

 

 

About the Author

 

 

Stella Riley is a British writer, living in Kent. She is the author of six
novels set in and around the English Civil Wars and the award-winning seven book Rockliffe Series – of which, Book Six, Cadenza, was the 2019 Readers’ Favourite for Romance and a 2021 Book Excellence award winner.

Under A Dark Moon is the second book in her Brandon Brothers Trilogy,
sequel to A Trick of Fate.

When not writing, she enjoys theatre, travel and playing the harpsichord.

 

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Within twenty minutes of bidding his friends good night and leaving the tavern, Adam Brandon became aware that he was being followed. This was annoying on several counts. He had no idea who would go to the trouble of setting a tail on him or why they would since, just at the moment, he didn’t imagine he could be of any particular interest to anyone. Admittedly, that wasn’t always true … but right now it was. Then there was the possibility that this wasn’t the first time someone had dogged his steps; that it had happened before and he hadn’t no noticed. That pricked his pride. He’d thought himself better than that.

He continued on his way without altering his pace. He considered luring the tail into a dark alley where he could be grabbed, pinned to a wall and questioned. It wouldn’t be very difficult. On the other hand, it might be premature. There was a chance, however small, that he was merely being followed by the only footpad in Paris stupid enough to tackle an armed man for the sake of a few coins. And that being so, the sensible course was to simply stroll onwards, taking a few sudden detours, to see if the fellow stuck with him.

He did … and was still there when Adam reached his lodgings on the Rue des Minimes. With a brief nod for the concierge, he ran swiftly upstairs to the nearest window and was just in time to see his follower raise a hand as if signalling to someone before melting into the shadows on the far side of the street.

Not a footpad, thought Adam with a sort of amused grimness. And not alone. What, then? And why? What possible reason could anyone have for wanting to know my every move? But whoever it is, they’re making a mistake because now I’ll have to do something about it. And that’s just tiresome.


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Wings of Silk Book Tour and Giveaway

November 4, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Rabt Book Tours tagged as , , , ,

 

Historical Fiction

 

Published: November 2, 2021

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

 

 

 

After surviving a childhood under the oppressive rule of Chairman Mao’s “Cultural Revolution,” a young, courageous teenager abandons her life in China for the freedom of the unknown in America. Arriving at the New York City doorstep of family members she’s never met, Ying-Ying has been promised they’ll help her learn English and accomplish her dream of attaining a college degree. But weeks later, she’s kicked out without explanation. Now a homeless immigrant, Ying-Ying must learn who to trust, how to find work, and how to succeed in a bustling metropolis that looks the other way. Overcoming obstacles of abandonment, heartbreak, and injustice in a foreign land, she remains fiercely determined to become a woman who will impact the world. An incredible story of second chances, Wings of Silk reminds the reader that underneath the fragile form of an individual, a strong and resilient heart is always ready to take flight.

 

 

About the Author

 

Li-Ying Lundquist was born and raised in China under the strict regime of Chairman Mao’s “Cultural Revolution.” The daughter of intellectual parents, her life was in constant danger and she grew up believing academic performance and perfectionism were the keys to survival and fulfillment. After high school, following a strong desire to find freedom and get to know family members who lived in the United States, Li-Ying left her life in China to pursue the American dream.

 

Overcoming the plights of a young immigrant who did not speak the language, Li-Ying obtained her master’s in computer science from a prestigious university and became a successful lead engineer. While working for AT&T Bell Labs, she and her team made the world’s first “text message” for mobile phones.

 

Today, she is happily married to a wonderful man and has two darling sons whom she loves with all her heart. An advocate of freedom founded on self-respect and happiness, she hopes readers of Wings of Silk will be inspired by the lessons of forgiveness, grace, and God’s powerful love.

 

 

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I believe there is not a single soul in this world that understands my disappointments, exhaustion, and hopelessness. I assume both Francis and Kaito are married and have their own children now. I don’t want to burden them, plus they must hate me: I am the one who broke up with them. I even start to think I am a horrible human being, unworthy of any happiness.

Soon I think of suicide, and the negative come without reprieve. Life is too hard. I’m such an imperfect person and I deserve an awful marriage. This overwhelming pain is also impacting my child. I have little happiness in my life, and nothing I’m looking forward to. The American Dream I’ve worked so hard for isn’t enough. I am extremely depressed and my hope is so nonexistent that I just want it all to end. I research methods of suicide and ruminate over which way I should go about it.

One night, I’m determined to do it. I decide I’ll try to overdose on pills. I scour all of our medicine cabinets, and have my pill cocktail all ready to take before I go to bed. Dylan is working late downstairs in his office, but he’ll be up later, and I want it to be him. I want it to be him who finds me and has to explain this to everyone. When it’s time to go to bed, I burst into tears. I sit on the bathroom floor, my face soaked and my body shaking as I talk myself into the commitment for what I’ve decided is the only answer for my future. There is no other. It’s terrible. I see no way out of the life I’ve buried myself in, and I tell myself that if I do this, everyone else will be better off too. No one wants such an empty and sinful person around.

Yes, that’s it.

I stand on shaky limbs. I fill up a cup with water that will help me swallow the handfuls of pills I’ve laid out. I watch the cup fill until my eyes are blurry and it begins to overflow in the sink. I never imagined this. I never thought my end would happen in such a manner. I never understood why someone would do this, but now I do. I thought death was the worst thing that could happen to a person, but now I know better. Suffering without any hope of a way out, that is worse.

I take a deep breath, and feel peace that soon this will all be over. I grab the first pill and take it. I grab the second pill and take it. I grab a third pill and take it. I grab the fourth, but hear Isabella. She is crying and calling for me. I can’t ignore her, and it’s probably best I say goodbye, take one last look at her.

I go into her room, and immediately take her into my arms, soothing her and telling her all the words I wish someone would say to me.

“It’s okay, my darling. It’s all going to be okay. You are safe. You are loved. I love you.”

She’s had a nightmare and tears have wet her face like they have mine. I stroke her hair and take in her face as she calms. As her breathing settles and she starts to fall back asleep, a smile creeps out from her lips. The sweetness of the moment makes me smile as well. I watch her sleep, and take in her room. Hanging on the wall is my butterfly kite. I hung it in her room when we moved into this house, but had forgotten it was there. I stare at it, and remember what it feels like to look back and see how far I’ve come. Though I’m ashamed of so much of my life, perhaps it shouldn’t be over yet. Perhaps, I’ll get stronger. Perhaps something more is out there for me. This thought is enough of a pull that when I go back to my room, I throw the rest of the pills away.  For today, I want to be able to see Isabella’s smile tomorrow. I can’t miss that just yet. Deep down, I’m terrified one day I will lose control again to let this episode repeat.

I cannot do this to my darling Isabella.


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Zither! Book Tour

September 23, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Rabt Book Tours tagged as , , ,
 

 

Metafiction/Humor/Mystery

 

Date Published: April 20th, 2021

Publisher: Zither Studios

 

 

 

A nutty religious cult abducts a herd of prime gazebos (huh?) and it’s up to bumbling P.I. Mars Candiotti to rescue them. Mars, aspiring author, chronicles his quest in Jeffrey Hanlon’s comic mystery Zither

 

 Guided by his magically prescient IHOP waitress, Mars strives to mitigate the shocking global consequences of the gazebo heist, even though he has no idea what the word mitigate means. Mars has five Important clues with which to solve his confounding mystery: Butterscotch, John Travolta, Trombones Venetian Blinds, and Wind Chimes. 

 

 As Zither swallows its own tale, Mars finds it increasingly tricky to distinguish between real people and his rambunctious fictional characters. Zither becomes the romper room where his reality meets fantasy – and get frisky with each other. 

 

Using his (odd) clues, Mars’ international odyssey leads to an explosive conclusion in Panama. TVs around the world tune in to watch live coverage of “Carnage in the Canal”. 

 

Amid the lunatic havoc that is Zither there is (of course!) an epic love story as Mars meets Marian, the brainy librarian he had dreamed of. Marian says his books are “slapstick existentialism with subjective reality couched in parable”. (This is news to Mars). But is Marian real? 

 Is any of it real?

 

 

 

 
 
 

“Hanlon’s humor shines bright and will leave fans of such madness wanting more.” Publishers Weekly 

 “This zany, rollicking mystery adventure is as compelling as it is hilarious.” Independent Book Review 

 Nominated for the prestigious Audie Award, Best Fiction 2021

 

About the Author

 

I was born in a Southern California beach town. 

 
My family moved to Northwest Oregon when I was 7. Or maybe when I was 8. 
 
Had we stayed in the Beach Boys town, and knowing myself as I do now, I suspect I would have grown long hair, started a rock band, and been heavily into drugs. The rock band would probably have been pretty good. The rest of it, not so much. I’d likely have joined the ranks of those like Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin. 
 
We moved to a mountaintop. The last five miles to get there were gravel. The final two miles were steep and to the end of the road. 
 
That’s where we lived: the end of the road, 22 miles to the nearest town. 
 
Our closest neighbor, about a mile down the road, was a hermit who lived in a shack. He had a goat. About once a month the goat would visit us. Then the hermit would show up to retrieve his goat. I think the goat liked us better than the hermit, which is why the goat kept showing up. Goats are funny animals. I think they aspire to be house pets. 
 
And speaking of animals, we had cats. Lots and lots of cats. Because we were remote and at the end of the road, unkind people – and ‘unkind’ is the kindest description I can use here – would dump their unwanted cats on or near our property. The cats would find our house. We gave them Fancy Feast and our love, and in turn they loved us. 
 
My childhood friends didn’t visit too often. That was at least partly because when they did show up my father would say something like this: “Great! We have a job that could use an extra hand. Won’t take more than five minutes.” Well, that five minutes usually turned into an hour or two – volunteer labor! – and that friend would seldom visit again. 
 
So my favorite childhood playmate was a 2000 pound Hereford bull, a big boy with horns spanning three feet. I’d go out in the pasture and the bull would strike a pose not unlike what you’ve seen in the movies where the bull was ready to charge, head down, eyeing me. But he wasn’t going to charge me. He just wanted his forehead scratched. And so I would scratch his forehead. He liked that, shaking his head every so often to show his approval. Then we’d elevate to a game that the bull might have called ‘Let’s see how far we can toss this little kid!’ and I’d place my right hip against his massive head and he’d toss me into the air like a sack of flour. Over and over, farther and farther, higher and higher. I could have done that for hours – I can fly! – but after a few tosses the bull would grow bored with the game and wander off. Probably to chase some cute heifers. 
 
The nearest library was 30 miles away, and we ventured there often. It was a majestic old building, and the Grand Room had books on all four walls with reading chairs in the center. But that was not where I wanted to be. I figured all those books were popular books or books I was supposed to read. I wanted something different, so I would enter the room with a small sign that said ‘Stacks’. It was row after narrow row after row of books, floor to ceiling, dimly lit, dusty. It was like entering a cave. Filled with treasures! 
 
It was in those Stacks that I discovered the likes of Kerouac and Heller and Huxley and Fowles and Steinbeck and Ellison and Bradbury and Hemingway and many many others. 
 
As Stephen King said, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 
 
And those, each in their own way, was the inspiration for the first book I wrote at the age of eight or nine: ‘Pond Scum’. 
 
It was illustrated.

 

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Zither!

Jeffrey Hanlon

Excerpt

As nightfall approached, we prepared.

Pete disguised himself as management, putting on a nice Men’s Wearhouse suit with a bleeding turnip lapel pin.

I disguised myself as Britney Spears.

At the stroke of midnight, Pete and I left his house and headed for the St. Francis Yacht Club.

As contrived luck would have it, Benny Tisdale had left the cabin on his dumb boat unlocked.

In stealthy fashion, Pete and I went below.

“I’ll shine the flashlight and listen for footprints. You find the varnish,” Pete said.

It took no time at all to find Benny’s Man O’ War. Actually, it took a bit of time, but you know what I mean.

As Pete held the light, I donned my surgical gloves and placed Benny’s Man O’ War in my black op bag.

“Easy as taking candy from a drowning man,” Pete whispered.

I nodded.

Pete said, “It’s dark in here, Mars. If you’re going to nod, warn me so I can shine the flashlight on your head.”

“Okay, Pete. We’ll make that a new rule.”

As we prepared to exit in stealthy fashion, Pete shined his flashlight around the cabin, then said, “Mars, look at this big wooden crate.”

I looked at the wooden crate. It was big enough to hold a Barcalounger.

“I’ll bet it’s filled with ill-gotten booties,” Pete said. “Or a Barcalounger.”

He handed me the flashlight and pried open the crate’s lid with a crowbar.

It was not until some time after dark that we took courage to get up and throw the body overboard. It was then loathsome beyond expression, and so far decayed that, as Peters attempted to lift it, an entire leg came off in his grasp . . .

“Peters?” Pete said. “Do you mean Pete? Me? What body? What leg?”

“Sorry. That’s Edgar Allen Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.

“What’s Poe doing in this chapter?”

I shined the flashlight on my shoulder and shrugged.

He snatched the light back, looked in the crate, and said, aghast, “We’ve gotta get outta here quick, Mars! This boat could blow any minute!”

I looked inside the big wooden crate.

Here is what was in there: hundreds, probably thousands, of Steven Seagal movies.

We’d be lucky to get out of there alive. Seagal movies have a tendency to bomb.

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Third Time’s the Harm Book Tour and Excerpt

September 16, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Rabt Book Tours tagged as , , , , ,

Deco Desk Mystery, Book 1

Paranormal Mystery

Date Published: August 24, 2021

Publisher: Acorn Publishing

Jamie Whitehall Olivian has received a mysterious letter from her Uncle James. She is named after him, but she has never seen, met, or heard him mentioned in any way.

Until now.

And he has died and left her his entire estate. But it seems Uncle James wants her to investigate a murder.

His, that is.

It also seems the estate is contingent upon her acceptance of this commission. Jamie wants no part of the investigation or of the estate. She gets along perfectly well, thank you very much, a fact she emphasizes to his lawyer, who just happens to be gorgeous, making it a little harder to say no.

Things take a strange turn when the victim himself asks her to reconsider. For reasons unknown, Uncle James has been unable to depart for the afterlife and is stuck in his Art Deco desk.

Jamie decides to take on the job of niece and sleuth, with no experience at either, and she and Uncle James set out to find the killer. They are aided by the lawyer and a not-as-gorgeous and slightly rumpled homicide detective whose interest seems to be more than just finding a murderer.

About The Author

If you live in Southern California, you’re either a writer or an actor, right? As Professor Emerita from California State University, Long Beach, Loran Holt chose the writing path. Third Times the Harm is one of the results of her efforts, the first book of a series featuring reluctant sleuth, Jamie Whitehall Olivian. Holt is also the author of Nightmasters: Doubles Talk, a sword-and-sorcery epic, published by Acorn, as well. You will find her non-fiction, film-and-fashion books under the name Lora Ann Sigler.

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Third Time’s the Harm
Excerpt

“Who’s up for dessert?” Rising, I changed the subject.

Dennis followed me, “I’ll help you bring it out.”

Not wanting to make a scene, I gave in and let him accompany me to the kitchen. I expected the third degree. What I didn’t expect was what I got.

With a smothered exclamation I couldn’t translate, Dennis wrapped both arms around me like an anaconda, and, pressing me to the back of the kitchen door, proceeded to kiss me like a man drowning. After a few seconds, I was the one drowning. I had somehow forgotten how to use my lungs, and very quickly my knees followed suit. If he hadn’t been leaning into me with the full Monty, I would have slithered to the floor like that same anaconda.

Finally regaining some sanity, and in desperate need of air, I pushed him slightly away. Only slightly, I’m not crazy–and did a little gasping.

He must have noticed what I had noticed; because his face pinked, and he moved in the dessert direction, clearing his throat. “I guess the plates should go in now.” Giving me a hint of dimple, he added, “Well, you did ask who was up for dessert.”


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