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Days of Reign – Blitz

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Dystopian Fiction
Date Published: June 29, 2018
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Described as Dune meets The Hunger Games, this epic narrative of survival will have you in suspense and intrigue. Set in the futuristic world of Eldon, our hero, Zelenka, is forced to abandon everything she loves for a chance at freedom.
With parallels to today’s global crises, this book will have you questioning; would you risk it all?
It is year 2107 and the planet which was once called Earth (now Eldon), is ruled by a single, oppressive government.  Many of those who suffered under the tyrannical rule of Eldon, have fled to a neighbouring planet, Amaryllis, and attempted to grow a utopian society.
Relations between the two worlds are fraught.  Each believe the other to be evil.  Each believe it is their responsibility to save humankind from the other.
Within this interplanetary political backdrop, lives Zelenka.  The Eldonian teenager is forced to hide her intelligence and knowledge.  Naïve and idealistic, she has never fitted into Eldonian life.  She longs to openly be herself but is terrified of the government’s harsh rules and punishments.
“Zelenka is a true hero to me,” says the author, Elisa Hansen. “She has a strength of character that I see in many women facing similar fates today. Facets of the Eldon society mirror the present. Our heroes should not always the ones who succeed, but the people with true intent, and drive, to change.”
About the Author

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Growing up in Melbourne, Australia, Elisa Hansen was curious about other worlds. The travel bug bit her young, and she spent her early years with a pack on her back and hiking boots on her feet. Beyond exploring she loves to dance, cook, eat, learn other languages and paint.
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Bound to Morocco – Blitz

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The Morocco Series, Book One
Historical Romance
Date Published: June 2018
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What if your family sold you to a Sultan’s Harem?
Drugged and kidnapped, Shera finds herself on a ship to Morocco to serve the Sultan. Abandoned and alone, Shera must find a way to escape and confront the people who betrayed her. She gets help from an unlikely source: the man who kidnapped her. But, he has his own secrets. And, when their partnership turns to love, the two must face constant danger to endure. But will they ever be free?
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Excerpt
Spring, 1713
            The throbbing was relentless. Shera, Lady Edgerton, squinted and reluctantly peeked out from beneath her eyelids. She immediately regretted it. A thousand needles of light stabbed her with brutal fury and she quickly closed her eyes again to ease the misery. She drew in a deep breath, trying to quell the pounding in her head. Mindful of the pain, she very slowly opened her eyes again, fighting the agony of vicious brightness that assailed her. Sunlight pierced the room through a narrow slit in the wall high up in the small space and pooled about her. Nausea threatened but she swallowed hard and stiffened her spine.
            Gathering her senses and forcing herself to focus, she looked around. Where was she? A small room made of wood? The walls were bare except for four sets of chains attached to the wood by rings hanging a few inches from the floor. Was this an area used to confine prisoners?  But that did not answer why she was here. She was an innocent. Her being here must be a terrible mistake.
          She heaved in a deep breath and listened carefully. Naught but a kind of creaking. Raising herself gently, she sat up. Her head spun and she took in a few shallow breaths to ease the dizziness. The space around her gradually took shape. She was indeed in a small room with walls of horizontal planked wood. Beneath her, the floor swayed gently back and forth. And the smell? It was the scent of despair. Someone had been held here before her. Or many someones. And there was also the unmistakable odor of the sea. I am aboard a ship? How is that possible? A slither of terror crawled up her back. Had she been kidnapped? Was her life at risk? Who did this and what did they want? The lack of answers was tormenting.
            Shera soothed herself by inhaling and exhaling slowly, then took an inventory of her body. Her back ached and her arms and legs felt heavy. She was most likely bruised, but overall, she was intact. She was still dressed in her beautiful crimson velvet ball gown from the night before, but now it was dirty and the skirt was torn at the hem and along the seams. Her bracelets were missing, as were her rings. But, when she felt for her necklace, she realized it had slipped down into her bodice. She lifted it out and breathed some relief. Set with diamonds and rubies, it was worth a small fortune. She replaced it between her breasts and patted her chest. It could certainly be used as a bribe, but to whom? If she revealed it under the wrong circumstances, it could be taken from her. No, she must be careful to conceal it until the time was right.
            She felt her earlobes. The left earring was gone, but the one on the right had become tangled in her hair. It, too, was set with rubies and diamonds and worth much. She extracted it and slipped it into her bodice with the other piece. Just knowing she had some wealth gave her options and more chances, perhaps, to resolve this situation, whatever it was. The possibilities went from the ridiculous to the unthinkable. It could be this was a simple prank, but the clawing in her stomach told her it was no such thing. But, she must control the terror that threatened to confound her thinking.
She had been laying on a mattress of sorts, although it was long overdue for re-stuffing. She refused to even think about the stains or what loathsome tiny creatures might reside within its depths. Looking around again, she realized there were three other such pads lined up in the room. Were others to join her? It certainly appeared as if this cabin was used to secure many more. More what? Captives?
Shera squeezed her eyes shut. This was merely a nightmare. She would open her eyes and be in her own bed in the manor house waiting for a servant to come and help her bathe and dress. Yes, that was it. Upon opening her eyes again, this was indeed still a nightmare, but it was real.
Bound to Morocco tablet cover 2
About the Author

Leslie Hachtel was born in Ohio, raised in New York and has been a gypsy most of her adult life.  Her various jobs, including licensed veterinary technician, caterer, horseback riding instructor for the disabled and advertising media buyer have given her a wealth of experiences.
However, it has been writing that has consistently been her passion. She sold an episode of a TV show, had a screenplay optioned and has so far produced eleven novels, including eight historicals and three romantic suspense.  Leslie lives in Cordova, Tennessee with a fabulously supportive engineer husband and her writing buddy, Jakita, a terrier.
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The Ephemeral – Blitz

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Adam Fraley Mystery Series
Mystery
Date Published: July 2018
Publisher: Melange Books
 
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What begins as a simple lost love case for private investigator Adam Fraley quickly escalates into something of far greater magnitude during the course of his investigation. Not only is it a potential felony he stumbles across but one of the rarest in the catalog of crimes, all due to a critical piece of information having been withheld by his client, a terminally ill World War II vet. The job eventually takes Fraley to remote stretches of Florida’s Withlacoochee River and events that occurred over a half century ago. At the center of the case are teenage twin sisters, Staci and Kati Carew, whose conflicting friendships, loves, and ambitions rise far above normal sibling rivalry, ultimately leading to a grievous injustice and major cover-up.
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Excerpt
 As he watched the scene unfold before them, with his daughter riding the shoulders of her teammates, Adam could not help but be reminded of another time and place long ago when a young girl stood with her arms raised in triumph, a time when first loves were forever, summers endless, and young lives full of promise; of a bridge over the Withlacoochee River and Kati Carew, the backflip girl, whose summer of life was never to be.
     Oh, Staci…if only it had been a thumbs-up you had giver you sister…
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About the Author

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Henry Hoffman is a former newspaper editor and public library director whose works have appeared in a variety of literary and trade publications. He is the author of the Adam Fraley Mystery Series and is a past recipient of the Florida Publishers Association’s Gold Medal Award for Florida Fiction.

 

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Written Off – Blitz

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Forensic Handwriting Series, Book 7
Mystery, Suspense
Date Published: November 2017
Publisher: Suspense Publishing
 
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In the dead of winter, handwriting expert Claudia Rose journeys to Maine to retrieve a manuscript about convicted female serial killer, Roxanne Becker. The manuscript, written by Professor Madeleine Maynard, who was, herself, brutally murdered, exposes a shocking secret: explosive research about a group of mentally unstable grad students selected for a special project and dubbed “Maynard’s Maniacs.” Was Madeleine conducting research that was at best, unprofessional—and at worst, downright harmful, and potentially dangerous? Could that unorthodox research have turned deadly?
Claudia finds herself swept up in the mystery of Madeleine’s life—and death. But she soon realizes that Madeleine left behind more questions than answers, and no shortage of suspects. The professor’s personal life yields a number of persons who might have wanted her dead—and her academic success and personal fortune clearly made her the envy of fellow faculty members. The University anticipates being the beneficiary of Madeline’s estate—but that seems in question when a charming stranger, claiming to be Madeleine’s nephew, turns up brandishing a new will.
The local police chief prevails upon Claudia to travel into town to examine the newly produced, handwritten will. Rushing back to Madeleine’s isolated house to escape an impending storm, Claudia becomes trapped in a blizzard. With a killer.
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 Excerpt
December 3
The cabin was the size of a master bedroom; a ramshackle shed whose cedar logs had expanded and contracted, until the spaces between them were large enough to admit small vermin. Inside, the musty smell and scat on virtually every surface confirmed that many such creatures had availed themselves of the accommodations over the years while it fell into disrepair.
It had been unused for so long that few in the village of Summerhays remembered that the cabin stood—or more accurately, leaned—in the overgrown clearing in the woods, let alone who had built it, though most folks readily agreed that given the one room, a hunter was more likely than a family to have occupied the place.
No evidence of any dweller endured; no furnishings other than a rough-hewn kitchen chair. No guesses how long the chair had stood in front of the old wood-burning stove, waiting for someone to sit down and warm their hands.
Each summer, the vegetation crept closer to the cabin. What little light that managed to penetrate the sagging windows was murky at best. In winter, even when the trees were stripped of their leaves as they were now, the metallic snow-laden skies darkened the cheerless room to a permanent dusk.
It was through those grimy, sagging windows that searchers spotted the remains of Professor Madeleine Maynard.
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About the Author

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Like her fictional character Claudia Rose in the award-winning Forensic Handwriting Mysteries series, Sheila Lowe is a real-life forensic handwriting expert. She holds a Master of Science degree in psychology and has taught forensic handwriting examination at the University of California Riverside Campus in the CSI Certificate program and at the University of California Santa Barbara Campus in the Discovery program. She’s also the author of the internationally acclaimed “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis” and “Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous,” as well as the Handwriting Analyzer software. Sheila’s analyses of celebrity handwriting are often seen in the media. She lives in Valencia, CA.
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The Scandal in Honor – Blitz

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The Lord Trevelin Mysteries, Book 2
Historical Mystery
Date Published: August 1, 2018
Publisher: Dunhaven Place Publishing
 
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What is the price one must pay to protect one’s honor? Or that of another? It has been two years since the duel that changed Julian, Lord Trevelin’s life. He is now happily betrothed to Miss Jane Leavitt, a wealthy debutante. Her influence has helped to restore his reputation among Society. Her father, however, has not allowed the connection to be made public. He disapproves of Trev’s penchant for looking into unsavory matters such as pinched diamond necklaces and dead downstairs maids. He will allow the couple to set a date for their wedding when he is satisfied that Trev will look after his own reputation with the same care as does Jane.
Meanwhile, Trev is taken with the rumors about Miss Hannah Andersen, a young lady newly arrived in London for the season. Her military father was said to have put a period to his existence in order to escape the consequences of fleeing a battle with his wife and child. She, however, insists his death was an accident. Trev can’t resist attempting to set the man’s reputation to rights. He is assisted by his ethereal friend, Willy, and the boot boy-cum-valet, Jack. When several more “accidents” occur, Trev’s list of murder suspects grows. And then his cousin Evelyn threatens him with ruin if he does not release Jane to his clutches–only, this time, it will be her honor that shall be irrevocably tarnished.
The Scandal in Honor is book two in The Lord Trevelin Mysteries. Be sure to also read the first book in this captivating Regency-era mystery series about one man’s journey to redemption, told through the eyes of the one whose absolution he longs for the most: his own.
Other Books in the Lord Trevelin Mystery Series:
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The Lord Trevelin Mysteries, Book 1
Published: June 2017
Publisher: Dunhaven Place Publishing
Julian “Trev” Silvester, the Marquis of Trevelin, had everything a gentleman could want–good looks, a fortune, and plenty of charm. When a duel with a jealous duke leaves him disfigured, Trev is ostracized by those who once celebrated him. His life is forever changed, but Trev is still loyal to his friends. When one is accused of murder and another’s diamond necklace is stolen, he does what he must to help them. As the two cases merge, Trev finds an ally who isn’t put off by his scar and the scandal of the duel–Miss Desdemona Woodmansey. As their investigation into the murder reveals just how treacherous the mask of polite society can be, both Trev and Desdemona are put in grave danger. Trev has already lived through the disgrace of a scandal, but can he survive a killer who will do anything to protect a sinister secret? Be sure to read the first book in this series about one man’s journey to redemption, told through the eyes of the one whose absolution he longs for the most: his own.
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Excerpt
There comes a time when a man must choose to do that which he should not. The memory lies like a flame about to be extinguished, flickering in the past for lack of notice. And yet, when brought to mind, it flares to life, along with the shame…and regret.
Chapter One
The air pierced my lungs like a thousand tiny icicles, but I remained rooted to the spot. Jack tugged at my sleeve, crazy with fear for me, and still I did not move. I thought perhaps I would never see Silvester House, or even England, again. I was in the power of my cousin, Evelyn Rogers-Reimann, and he was not a merciful man.  
England February 1814
            I strolled into the salon of Silvester House to find Mrs. Smurthwaite seated on the divan under the window, her face pink with delight. Stopping short in astonishment, I suppressed a groan. I managed my best smile, a triumph I am told. (The scar that disgraces my mouth stretches into oblivion when I am at my most affable. As I refuse to smile so giddily into the mirror, I must rely on the opinion of others.)
“Trev,” Walter Leavitt hissed as he rescued his glass from colliding into my unyielding form. “How did she get in?”
I turned to my friend; he possessed the same glorious red hair and eye for the absurd as his younger sister, Miss Jane Leavitt. That she was at long last my betrothed was one of the few satisfactions I had yet known in my then five-and-twenty years.
“I have only just learned,” I murmured for his ear alone, “how Mrs. S. has regularly availed herself of my home.” I gave him a long stare. “It’s Hatch! He allows her entrance at any hour of the day or night merely to plague me. I should not be surprised to learn he has made a present to her of the key.”
Leavitt brought his glass to his lips with a roll of his eyes. “You ought to turn him out.”
“I can hardly do so!” I said, appalled. “He has been with the family forever.”
“Well, she’s ghastly,” he said, his voice flat. He regarded her over the rim of his glass. “Jane would not like it.”
“She is aware of Mrs. S.’s eccentricities,” I said with a shrug, “and endures it with good grace.” I gave the lady under discussion a slight bow, grateful that she was hard of hearing. “Furthermore, she is not in the least ghastly.” (‘Twas a bald lie.) “She is a lonely old woman, and my nearest neighbor.”
“Shall you not join me, my lord?” she crooned from her place by the window. “It has been long since we have controversed.”
Leavitt leaned to whisper in my ear, never taking his fascinated gaze from Mrs. S. seated across the room. “I believe she meant to say ‘conversed.’”
“I am aware,” I said, a trifle shortly. No one had endured the woman’s corruption of the King’s English with more regularity than I.
“She is waiting,” Leavitt said with a nudge to my shoulder.
“Indeed! For you. She has grown as enamored of you as that corset she sports,” I murmured as I started across the room to claim my seat next to the infernal creak of it. 
“If I must!” he griped, depositing his goblet on the credenza with a perilous tinkling of glass.
We sat, one to either side of her. Silently, I prayed for composure. I had no wish to dissolve into laughter at Leavitt’s antics. He was sure to make a mockery of her words behind her back.   
“Now!” she said with a punishing blow to my thigh, one she doubtless meant as an amicable swat. “When are you to wed that sister of his?”
I smiled, my marriage to Jane being my favorite subject on which to ‘controverse’. “It shall be a summer wedding. June, I believe, if Jane has her way. She is determined to carry roses for the ceremony.” In truth, she much preferred lilies. I dissembled so as to mask the fact that my future father-in-law refused to allow us to set a date. It had taken a year for him to consent to our betrothal, and another for it to be made public. I, however, remained unconcerned. An older man with an enormous belly, I knew I need merely out-live him, if necessary.
“June? Haven’t you waited long enough for connubile bliss? You have been betrothed for nigh on a year!”
“True,” I said, “but Miss Leavitt is adamant as to the flowers, and one must wait on such things.”
“Which reminds me,” Mrs. Smurthwaite said, turning her gaze upon Walter. “You ought to be on the hunt for a wife, as well. That Miss Hannah Andersen would do nicely, I should think.”
“Miss Andersen?” Walter said, with an inadequately concealed shudder. “I daresay m’father would have much to say on that score.”
“Why? Whatever could be abjectionable in her?” Mrs. Smurthwaite asked with a lofty air.
I met Walter’s sardonic gaze over the top of her head. “For one,” he said as he thrust out his hand and unfurled a finger, “she’s a pauper. Second, she’s not had a proper coming-out, and third, it is said that her father made away with himself. I should think that more than enough concerns to render her very objectionable,” he added with a waft of his hand.
“I fear it is not equitable to judge those we do not know,” I admonished lightly. Privately, I also found Miss Andersen quite beyond the pale. I stroked the corner of my mouth where dwelt the scar that had nearly undone my life, and felt myself a hypocrite. I had reasons, however; if my future brother-in-law were to attach himself to one such as Miss Andersen, all that had passed to restore my reputation could be lost.
I thought, then, of Jane; how I had nearly been denied her hand due to the whispers as to the origin of my injury. I concealed a shudder of my own as I recalled that I had once contemplated putting a period to my existence. And then I reminded myself that Miss Andersen’s father was only said to have killed himself. The actual truth of the matter was unknown.
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About the Author

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Award-winning, best-selling author Heidi Ashworth lives with her husband and three children in the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes sweet, traditional, Regency-era romance, romantic comedy, and mystery. She is the author of the Miss Delacourt series, published by Montlake Romance. The second book in The Lord Trevelin Mysteries comes out August 2018.
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