Welcome to guest author Laura Strickland, here to talk about her new book, Cross Checking: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure. Take it away, Laura!
The thing I hear most often when I attend Steampunk Festivals and other events promoting my books is, “What’s Steampunk?” It’s a fair question. Many readers aren’t familiar with the genre, and feel a bit intimidated by it. But as I’ve learned since starting this wild ride, penning my Buffalo Steampunk Adventures series, there’s no easy answer. Steampunk means something different to all those who love it.
For some of us, it’s all about the gadgets. Steampunk aficionados love to tinker. They build teapot racers, life-sized robots and fully-operational automatons. Others love the costuming, and the chance to transform into someone other than their every-day selves, to walk for even a few hours on the wild side. Goggles and helmets, brass-buttoned jackets and sweeping skirts…and stepping through the looking glass.
For me, it’s all about what-might-have-been. What if the glorious age of steam heralded by the Industrial Revolution had never been superseded by electricity and the internal combustion engine? What if the Victorian age hadn’t died but merely morphed into something bigger, grander—and more twisted?
If you’d like to imagine the Steampunk world, think Victorian, with a twist. Just a little bit darker (a la Jack the Ripper), a little bit weirder, and to those of us who appreciate the strange, that much more delightful.
The characters in my Buffalo Steampunk Adventures books are real—far from perfect, they have warts and fears, and disadvantages. The city’s real too—Victorian Buffalo, city (if not time) of my birth. Buffalo makes the perfect setting for Steampunk, industrial, gritty and yes, it has an edge.
Me, I love the edge. I love the twist. If you do too, come walk the brick streets of Steampunk Buffalo with me. You may never want to leave.
BUFFALO STEAMPUNK ADVENTURES Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aauK5ob3zI
Blurb for new release: Cross Checking: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure
When Maddie MacGillicuddy loses her job, she’s desperate to find another. Though good jobs are available at the stables, only men are hired. A big, strapping girl, she becomes Matty in her brother’s clothing. Complications arise when a city magnate, assembling a tournament hockey team, admires Matty’s skating skills and recruits “him,” with real money and the city’s reputation on the line.
Huritt Gilbert is used to battling his way through life. At the stables, he routinely endures racial slurs, sometimes striking back. He’s never met a woman like Maddie and would do anything for her, including accept the dangerous position of goalie for her team. But when competition heats up, loyalties get twisted. Will Gilbert and Maddie play for glory, or love?
“Gilbert, you should see how good Maddie skates.”
“I’d like to,” Gilbert said in his dusky voice. The dark—which somehow matched that voice—seemed to close around them. It made the encounter feel more intimate than it should.
Maddie shivered. “I’d better get Roddy home. It’s getting colder.”
“Going to snow some more, too,” Gilbert offered, not taking his eyes from Maddie’s. “I can always tell.”
He wagged his dark head. Maddie had a sudden and completely inappropriate impulse to plunge her fingers through that black hair. But he still held her fingers captive.
He told her, “I get an instinct for certain things—sometimes I just know.”
“I see. And are you never wrong?”
He shrugged those wide shoulders. “Seldom enough.”
“Come on, Maddie,” Roddy demanded, completely immune to any undertones. “I’m hungry.”
“Yes, all right.”
She tugged at her fingers again; this time Gilbert let them go. Together, they climbed up over the bank and trudged to the foot of Ferry Street.
“Do you live far?” Gilbert asked. “Can I see you home?”
“Peach Street,” Maddie told him, wishing this somehow enchanting encounter had happened on any other day than the one during which she’d destroyed her life. “I think we’ll be all right.” She hoped so.
Gilbert nodded. “Maybe I’ll see you again on the ice.”
Later she wondered if he, with all his bright instincts, had uttered a prophecy.
Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Her first Scottish Historical hero, Devil Black, battled his way onto the publishing scene in 2013, and the author never looked back. Nor has she tapped the limits of her imagination. Venturing beyond Historical and Contemporary Romance, she created a new world with her ground-breaking Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city, in Western New York. Married and the parent of one grown daughter, Laura has also been privileged to mother a number of very special rescue dogs, and is intensely interested in animal welfare. These days while she’s writing, you can always find her latest rescue, Lacy, nearby. Her love of dogs, and her lifelong interest in Celtic history, magic and music, are all reflected in her writing. Laura’s mantra is Lore, Legend, Love, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Author Web site: www.laurastricklandbooks.com
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000002632317
Author Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Strickland/e/B001KHSACW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Author Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/760146.Laura_Strickland
Laura Strickland Author @LauraSt05038951
BookBub page: https://www.bookbub.com/search?search=Laura+Strickland
Welcome to our guest AMANDA ARISTA and her paranormal mystery, The Truth About Night! Read to the bottom to sign up for her Amazon card and swag giveaway!
As an investigative journalist, Merci Lanard has an uncanny knack for getting the truth out of people, a talent she uses to expose the real story behind her city’s most gruesome crimes.
Until one night, when her partner, Ethan, is killed.
Reeling from shock and grief, Merci vows to track down his murderer. As she starts digging, she meets Ethan’s estranged brother, Rafe, who agrees to work with Merci to find his brother’s killer. She soon discovers Ethan had been hiding things from her, mainly that he was a Shifter and had a whole life in a supernatural world she knew nothing about.
A Shifter himself, Rafe introduces Merci to magic she never knew existed. As they work together to uncover hidden connections between Ethan’s murder and a series of strange dead bodies, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a turf war for the soul of the city.
If Merci is to have any hope of saving her city, she will have to face the truth about this war, the truth about this new magical world, and the truth about who she truly is.
About the Author
Amanda was born in Illinois, raised in Corpus Christi, lives in Dallas but her heart lies in London. Good thing she loves to travel.
During the summer after second grade, she read every book in the young adult section of the library, much to the surprise of the local librarian. So she started making up her own stories and hasn’t stopped.
She has a husband who fights crime, one dog who thinks he’s a real boy, and another who might be a fruit bat in disguise. She recently added a tiny human to the mix who is following in her mother’s footsteps of storytelling.
Along with her BA in English & Psychology and her MA in Education, Amanda is a graduate of the SMU Creative Writing Program and now teaches other aspiring authors. She has delivered lectures at several writer conferences and loves discussing craft, character, and structure. Her current favorite: Stirring up Trouble with Romantic Subplots.
She is represented by Kimberly Brower, of Brower Literary & Management.
Amanda is adopted and loves to share that story with others to promote adoption.
Amanda has a collection of turtle figurines that collects on her travels.
Amanda has a strange love of cheesy horror movies. She prefers demons and witchcraft to slasher films.
Amanda is a really good bowler and completely rocks at croquet.
Amazon gift card and Merci Lanard swag pack.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
Recently Amazon Prime started showing the series BABYLON 5. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a critically acclaimed science fiction show from the 1990s, written primarily by J. Michael Straczynski, (of SENSE8 fame).
From IMDB: In the year 2258, it is ten years after the Earth-Minbari War. Commander Sinclair takes command of a giant five-mile-long cylindrical space station, orbiting a planet in neutral space. At a crossroads of interstellar commerce and diplomacy, Cmdr Sinclair (2d season Captain Sheridan) must try to establish peace and prosperity between various interstellar empires, all the while fighting forces from within the Earth Alliance. It is a precarious command, particularly given that sabotage led to the destruction of Babylon stations 1, 2, and 3 and 4 vanished without a trace.
I didn’t watch it first time around for some reason, and I’ve picked up bits and pieces of it in reruns over the years. But I’m finally watching it in toto, and getting some really wild vibes, considering our current political situation.
So, early in the series, a president of Earth (which is apparently under one government in 2258) comes to power through questionable means. He puts his friends in positions of power. He starts a campaign against aliens. When he begins receiving criticism, he starts a program called Nightwatch, where citizens are encouraged to spy on each other and turn neighbors and friends in for “unpatriotic” speech. He co-opts the media, drowning out any source that is not complimentary to him. He sets up a Ministry of Peace, which is headed by a gung-ho sycophant who, I swear, is the mold from which Kellyanne Conway is made.
As the series continues through assorted alien crises and other wars, we keep coming back to the corrupt presidency. Eventually our B5 heroes stand up to the ridiculousness, violence and flat-out lawlessness on Earth and lead a revolution.
Watching it. it seems to me that those of us wanting to take our country back, and frustrated by the slow pace of the investigations (tho not their ongoing indictments) might take a lesson from this narrative. Captain Sheridan finally breaks his wait-and-watch stance when the president orders the destruction of a ship full of 10,000 refugees. Were we less shocked at the immigration debacle, the caged children and deported parents? Or perhaps the destruction of all the protections that have been hard-won by previous administrations for our air and water? Or the even harder-fought laws that give our citizens equal rights to conduct business, marry and drink from water fountains? How much are we willing to stand?
It’s worth a watch, whether you’re a sci-fi fan or not, with lessons in moral judgment and the reminder that following illegal and immoral orders is not mandatory. We don’t have to quietly go along the path into that good night. Other characters urge waiting to handle the problem through the vote, through political manipulations and other methods. But Sheridan and his team choose resistance and finally open revolt. Where do you stand?
If you wish to die with dignity, you should move before you ever get sick to one of the three states that can realistically help you.
Oregon, Vermont or Washington
Be aware you’ll have to establish residency before anyone will touch you with a ten foot pole and that can take up to a year.
Montana and New Mexico laws are so conflicting that getting a doctor to assist may be impossible. While a court ruling allows doctors the right to assist in suicide if they get the patient’s written permission, it is still considered a felony crime.
Did you know $170 billion, of Medicare is spent on patients’ last six months of life? Six months of torment and pain that most would have preferred to escape.
Turns out, the more educated you are, the more likely you will request death with dignity.
Another interesting tidbit is that not everyone who gets the lethal prescription needed to die actually takes them. More than half do, but a great deal of patients use it as the back-up plan, hanging on as long as they can, but knowing they have an out, if the pain becomes too much.
In Oregon, the number of patients requesting Death with Dignity increases each year.
While the law allows anyone over the age of 18, mentally able, and a resident of the state to have the right to die, if they are fatally ill, the core ages requesting to die are age 66 to 74, with the median age of 71
79% of deaths are due to malignant cancers.
63% of the people dying have private medical insurance which doesn’t surprise me. This group will be likeliest to receive ‘medical care’ that cannot actually save the person, and often does great harm. Thus a person has more incentive not to be tortured and watch all their saving be siphoned off to doctors rather than leaving it for their spouse and children.
Honestly, after reading the massive paperwork required to legally die, I can understand why Cass didn’t even try to move to another state. She would have traveled all the way to New Mexico only to discover the right to die with dignity had been revoked. Then she would have flown up to Oregon and discovered by the time she became a citizen (1 yr) and filled out the mass of paper work she’d already be dead.
No she’s satisfied with her home alone plan.
Requires Rescue Series
When 80 year old Cass Goldman learns she has inoperable cancer, she decides to end her life, peacefully on her terms. So imagine her horror when she wakes to find herself in a hospital with strange rich people staring at her. It’s not until the doctor arrives to examine her that she realizes she’s no longer old. She’s in the body of a seventeen year old teen named Casey.
Unfortunately, her new body comes with some serious baggage. First of all, the kid has burned every bridge imaginable. Secondly, those ‘people’ in her room are her outrageously rich parents and while the Dad seems friendly, the mother wants nothing to do with her. The moment they take her home to a horrifically huge mansion, which she dubs Tara, she’s abandoned to the care of the butler.
While Cass is determined to turn this train wreck of a life around, doing so is far harder than she expected. In fact, without help, she’ll end up dead just like the last occupant of this body. Thankfully, her dad has his hunky head of security become her body guard. Between her eighty years of life lessons and hunky Troy’s help, she just might live long enough not to be jail bait.
Tears flowed again, not for Cass’s death, but for the distress her dear friend would suffer.
“Better than watching me die in a hospital,” she muttered and willed her tears away. She placed the letter in an envelope and put two stamps on it, uncertain of the going postal rate. It changed so often.
She then went upstairs and gathered the bottles of painkillers she’d acquired over her lifetime. Most had expiration dates from years ago, but hopefully they could still kill her.
Returning to the kitchen, she placed the garage door clicker on the table as promised. While pouring green tea into a large plastic bottle, she called her dog.
Jess didn’t respond.
Her small, beautiful old dog entered, tail down, eyes worried.
Did her dog know what she planned? Did he not wish to take this journey with her?
Did she have the right to do this to Jess? But who would want her twenty-year-old dog?
Tears streamed down her face and she sat down on a chair so she could pet her faithful friend. “You don’t have to come. You can stay here. I’ll put out enough food for you to survive until they come find me. I’ll ask Victoria to find you a good home.”
Jess whined and pressed his head against her legs.
“It’s okay. You’re not ready. But I gotta go while I still have a say about the path I’m taking.”
Leaning over, she kissed the dog’s soft forehead. “I love you and I always will.”
Her tears fell into Jess’s eyes, making him pull back and whine again.
She gathered her plastic bottle of tea, placed her three large containers of painkillers in her pocket, and headed to the door. Jess followed right behind her. Before she opened the door, she studied her dog. “You sure you want to come?”
He wagged his tail twice.
A sense of relief eased her pained heart. She didn’t want to leave her dog. Jess would be miserable without her.
“Come on then. Our last journey.” She led the way and locked the door behind them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Liza O’Connor is a nut.
Not a real nut, but she is prone to being a smart ass at times, and not surprisingly her heroines say odd and inappropriate things in her book, as well. So even in a suspense novel you can expect to laugh along the way. That’s because Liza loves to see humor in the crazy world around her.
Saving Casey was actually the first book Liza published. Having recently reclaimed her rights to the book, she is happily re-publishing it as her 18th book. And because her books sell better when in a series, she using Saving Casey to kick of a new series called Requires Rescue. It will be different from her other series where the same characters show up in each book. This series will be about strong women who are trying to go it alone, only when help is offered, they have the good sense to accept the helping hand, because in all of our lives, there will come a time you need someone else to help you. Being strong doesn’t make us invincible. Book 1 is Casey/Cass’s story. Book 2 will be about an entirely different young woman who desperately needs help before she’s murdered on the streets of NYC. Book 3, well the plot is super unique, and more books will follow.
You’ll be able to read the series in any order you want, but in each case, you’ll have a strong young woman, a guy stepping up to help when no one else does, and danger galore with humor stuffed in anywhere I can.
I hope you’ll come along with me so you can laugh, love, and get revenge.
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