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Stephen Whitfield is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Omari and the People

“Omari and the People” by Stephen Whitfield

Published as… Historical Adventure

Stephen Whitfield’s Excerpt

As was his way, bin Aswad took no part in the celebration, and actually enjoyed his time alone as everyone else danced, sang and ate. Indeed, he had always found great pleasure in his love of numbers – calculating expenses, inventories and ultimately, profits. Despite Omari’s warnings about making money from the needs of others, bin Aswad had found it profitable to provide specialty clothing for those who could afford it. He found that some people paid well for themselves and or their family to look good in new clothing, and he was very clever in the re-use of old clothes to make new garments, as his cloth supply dwindled. Instead of being rich in coin, he now had more than his share of food, water, tools and other valuables.

He was happily humming a tuneless melody while he sat counting a number of small gems, when his tent flap flew open. A stunning young woman moved in quickly and stood over him. Astonished, he scrambled backwards with his eyes and mouth wide open, spilling the gems onto the tent floor.

“Ho, bin Aswad. Easy,” said the woman in a husky voice, and a bright smile that revealed white, even teeth. “I wish you no harm.” She raised her palms to calm his fright and sat down. “In fact, I believe I might be of some service to you. My name is Saba Khan. Did you drop something?”

No longer terrified, bin Aswad was still too surprised and embarrassed to form any reply, except to start picking up his gems while glancing up at the stranger. At first glance, Saba Khan possessed what might be called an extraordinary beauty – enough to turn heads, and very pleasing to the eye. In bin Aswad’s lamplight, her complexion was a satiny smooth, golden brown that seemed to blend into the darkness. Her finely sculpted face framed dark amber, almond-shaped eyes, which made him pause. For the brief moment he held her gaze, he was so struck by their sheer intensity, intelligence and perceptiveness that he stopped picking up his gems. His attitude changed to awe and he was willing, even eager to hear what she had to say.

“How do you know my name?” he mumbled, too awestruck to ask all the questions in his mind.

“You are well-known, bin Aswad. You have many customers—people you talk to and trade with. Some of the things you receive in trade are precious gems, such as that one you missed, just there.” She pointed a slender finger at a ruby behind him.

“That gets people’s attention. Some of the things you’ve said are bound to get even more attention – such as the fact that you are unhappy with Master Omari’s leadership.” She leaned forward and opened her eyes wide. “Allow me to offer you some free advice – trade your gems away and keep your opinions to yourself.”

Bin Aswad noticed the hilt of a dagger in her waistband. As the idea of danger began to form in his mind, beads of sweat broke out on his upper lip. “That’s some strong advice,” he said, in an effort to sound self-assured. “What do you have to do with my opinions or my gems?”

Saba Khan chuckled. “I’m not here to harm you, bin Aswad. I’m here to suggest that I might be able to help you solve your problem with Master Omari…for the cost of some of your gems.” She raised her brow and tilted her head to the side. “Are you interested in seeing someone else in charge of the caravan? Someone more sensitive to your business interests?”

He frowned and leaned forward. “And how would you…”

“You don’t need to know that,” she said. “All you need to know is if you pay my price, your satisfaction is guaranteed.”

He stared at the woman in amazement. “What do you do? Are you some kind of killer? I don’t want to kill anyone.”

“I make things happen,” she replied. “And don’t worry; you don’t have enough gems for anyone to be killed. Not even that great blue jewel you have hidden in your robe.”

Bin Aswad’s eyes widened again. “You know about the jewel?”

“That is why I’m here,” she said in a low voice. “Remember my first advice? You’re not going to be able to hang onto such a stone much longer anyway. Too many people know about it. Right now, all you have to do is say ‘yes’ to the deal. If you do, I will give you more details later. Of course, whether you agree or not, I must refer you back to the second advice – keep your business to yourself. Now, do we have a deal?” She leaned forward and smiled as if she knew the answer.

About the Book

In an ancient time, a people made homeless by a devastating fire are led across a treacherous desert by a thrill-seeking thief, to a land he doesn’t believe exists – and he started the fire.

In a squalid ancient city on the edge of a desert (based on descriptions of the African Sahara’s Empty Quarter,) a weary, thrill-seeking thief named Omari sets his home on fire to start anew and cover his many crimes. When the entire city is unintentionally destroyed by the flames, the cornered thief tells the displaced people a lie about a better place to which only he can lead them, across the desert. With the help of an aged, mysterious woman who knows a better place actually does exist, they set out. The disparate people must come together to fight their way through bandits, storms, epidemics, and more. As a result of Omari’s involvement with Saba, a fiercely independent woman who is out to break him in the pay of a merchant whom he has offended, his ability to lead – his very life – is jeopardized.

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About the Author

Stephen Whitfield Author Photo
Chicago-born Stephen Whitfield began writing as a Marine Corps print journalist. His writing has appeared in military publications, as well as the Kansas City Star and the Jersey Journal. He holds degrees from from Loyola University Chicago, Chicago Theological Seminary, and Indiana University. Stephen currently resides near Orlando, Florida.

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Ichabod Temperance is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

A Matter of Temperance

“A Matter of Temperance” (The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance #1) by Ichabod Temperance

Published as… Steampunk Action-Adventure

A Chat with…Persephone Plumtartt

Bella: What is the name of the book where we’ll find you? Can you tell us a little about it?
Persephone: Good afternoon, my dear, and may I first say, I am so happy to be here with you today. The book in question is ‘A Matter of Temperance’. This is a frightful tale of outlandish fiends bent on turning our beloved planet Earth over to inter-dimensional, world-devouring horrors. Yes, quite so. Though many of the harrowing ordeals endured within are at times terrifically violent, and at others, of an unseemly sordid nature, I am happy to report that Mr. Temperance has refrained from describing such in a morbid, or graphic manner. No, rather, he tends to bring a comical tone to the affair. Might I add, the boy is a rather naïve sort of chap, and occasionally sprinkles a bit of mild, suggestive, innuendo throughout, though he is unaware of doing such.

Bella: Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?
Persephone: My name is Plumtartt, Miss Persephone Plumtart. The tragic accounts are instigated by my own father’s brilliant, though ill-fated research. The Plumtartt lineage carries with it a legendary burden. My father toiled to formulate a process of tapping into the power of the Sun itself, but alas, he succumbed to the temptation of using the very knowledge that he had forsworn to protect. Shortening his route to success with the help of unclean magic, this tampering has cost him his life. Alien forces now have a portal into this world and hideous terrors beset me!

Bella: What do you think of the author? Be honest. We won’t tell.
Persephone: Eh hem, yes, well I do confess, my first impression of the young man was not immediately favourable. He is a rather homely little chap, with an expression that puts me in my mind the image of a turtle that has just awoken, and is not quite sure of his surroundings. Nevertheless, he has shown himself to possess a raw-boned strength in his wiry frame, and a tenacious, loyalty that endears him to me.

Bella: How do you feel about the story you’re in?
Persephone: With full disclosure, I confess, I had thought myself a mature woman when this story begins, however, I find that I grow in many ways that I could not have foreseen.

Bella: Do you like being a character in the book?
Persephone: I do not feel as if ‘like’ is the correct adjective for my role. No, my dear, I think it is more of a responsibility. I owe it to my beloved planet Earth to do all I can to save her. Moreover, there is a sense of Destiny that I feel supersedes that of liking my part.

Bella: How do you see your future? Without giving anything away about the story, naturally.
Persephone: Quite frankly, for there to be a future, Mr. Temperance and I must fulfil a near impossible task. The dire consequences of our mission cannot be overstated.

Bella: What do you know about your author’s plans? Can we expect to see you in any future stories?
Persephone: As mentioned earlier, Mr. Temperance has shown a dogged loyalty to me, and I in turn, find it difficult to resist his bashful charm. Some may see the two of us as an odd pairing, that is, my own British background of aristocracy and extensive schooling, to his rural Alabama upbringing, yet somehow, the two of us manage to complement each other rather nicely, I must say. Yes, I do, in fact, see us continuing with an adventurous agenda for some time. Eh hem, yes, quite so.

Bella: Let’s say they make a movie about this book. Who do you want to play you, and why?
Persephone: Mr. Temperance has spoken of this medium of entertainment that you speak, these, movies. He describes them as a photographer rapidly taking one photograph after another and when shown in sequence as projected against a silvered sheet, the approximation of movement is produced. Were the unlikelihood of such an occurrence coming to be should come to pass, the actress selected to portray me must be youthful, vital, brilliant, attractive, appropriately shapely, hyper-intelligent, and of the highest breeding. I suggest Merle Oberon, at nineteen years of age and her hair dyed the correct Auburn colour. If she could be persuaded to be just a few inches shorter, that would be greatly appreciated.

Tata!

About the Book

In 1869, the Earth experiences the close pass of a new comet. In its wake, thousands of Terra’s inhabitants find themselves strangely changed. Among humanity, many find that any talent they may naturally possess has been elevated to an astounding degree. Likewise, a number of animals become self-aware and intelligent. A young “comet prodigy” from humble beginnings, Ichabod Temperance, has become one of the world’s foremost inventors in this age of prolific genius. Traveling to England to deliver his latest brilliant device to a famous explorer, the young tinker is unexpectedly struck by the fearsome hand of fate. Meanwhile, a lovely young aristocrat, Miss Persephone Plumtartt, survives an experimental accident only to find herself imbued with a power she can neither understand nor control, while dark forces and malevolent creatures pursue her, leaving a gruesome wake of death.

Yet, worse is to come. The naïve young inventor and the lovely intellectual find themselves fighting not only to save their own lives, while concurrently coming to terms with their own budding romance, but to prevent the destruction of all life on Earth in this humorously told and poignant steampunk adventure!

This is the first book in the series, ‘The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance’. There are six books. Though in a series, each book is a stand-alone adventure.

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About the Author

Ichabod Temperance Author Photo
Ichabod Temperance is a silly little fellow living in picturesque Irondale Alabama, USA, with his lovely, gracious and kind muse, Miss Persephone Plumtartt and their furry pack family.

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Review: “In a Latitude of Temperance” by Ichabod Temperance

“In a Latitude of Temperance” (The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance #5) by Ichabod Temperance

Available from: Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Released on: 14 August 2014
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Description: The adventure prone Ichabod Temperance and his capable cohort Persephone Plumtartt are again hurtled into baffling mystery and hair raising intrigue. A dangerous mission exposes an unspeakable danger to the safety of the entire world. Assisting our brave protagonists is an amazing cast of extraordinary and charming individuals. Thrilling action in this humourous ride to once again save our imperiled planet from certain destruction carries Ichabod and Co. to uncharted waters of surprise and terror.

Review: Oh, Ichy… Ichy, Ichabod, Ichy…

This wasn’t really my favorite book of the series, I’m afraid. While it was still a fun and lunatic romp through the steampunk realm and full of inside jokes, as well as a lot of alliteration and crazy excitement, there was one big problem for me.

There wasn’t enough Ichabod.

I love the namesake character of the series. Ichabod Temperance is a fun character, adorable and endearing, and what made the first books so much fun. And while he was part of the adventure–he was there–I would estimate…80% maybe of the chapter narrators were everyone but Ichabod and Persephone. And even in those, it felt like we didn’t see as much of him. We saw more of Persephone through the eyes of others.

I want my Ichabod back! My unsophisticated, ‘bama boy jetting around England and elsewhere making funny inventions and swooning over Ms. Plumtartt. While all the rest is fun and funny, it’s just not a real Ichabod adventure without, you know, more Ichabod.

Otherwise, the accents of the exposition make the book kind of hard to read in parts, but more chapters from the perspectives of Ichabod and Persephone would fix that. I don’t have any complaints beyond that, and since I still like this series better than most, I still give it a 4 Fireballs. I do hope to see more Ichabod in the next book, though!

4 Fireballs

Boom Baby Review’s Best of 2014!

2014 was a really busy year for me, and I tried to amp up the reviewing. Although there were some books that weren’t quite my thing, I was really lucky to get some great books. As such, I want to give a shout out to my 4.5 and 5 Fireball reviews of 2014! Each one is linked to the review, so you can check out what I thought about it. And now, in no particularly order, they are…

Fantasy

Wizard of Ends, Book Two: Dark Creature by Vanessa Finaughty & Majra by J. Simon

Monster Lit

Waking the Merrow by Heather Rigney

Contemporary Poetry/Prose, Military

Starved for Bullets by Ryan Goodrich

Erotic Romance

The Brethren of the Coast by Barbara Devlin (Reviewed in 2014: My Lady, The Spy; The Most Unlikely Lady; One-Knight Stand)

Steampunk Action/Adventure

The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance by Ichabod Temperance (Reviewed in 2014: For the Love of Temperance; A Study in Temperance)

Superhero, Comedy

Scarlet Winters by J. Kwong

Contemporary Literary Fiction

The First Noble Truth by C. Lynn Murphy

Historical Fiction

Agnes Canon’s War by Deborah Lincoln

…and that was the best of 2014. Thank you to all the authors and readers who made this a great reading year. I’ve got the proverbial stack of books already to get 2015 kicked off with a bang, so watch this space for more books and more reviews and more everything!

Happy 2015!

S. S. Segran is Visiting! [Tour Stop]

Aegis Rising

“Aegis Rising” by S. S. Segran

Published on… 15 November 2014
Published as… Sci-Fi Action/Adventure

S. S. Segran’s Boom Baby Blast

1. One random fact: I walked (yes, walked) into a pillar when I was younger and had to get stiches on my right eyebrow. That was a lot of fun.

2. Fictional character you’d really like to be: That’s a tough one… It’d be neat to be a character from a video game like Uncharted or Assassin’s Creed. Next best would probably be one of the Weasley twins from Harry Potter.

3. Your authorial theme song: Oh boy… I’m not sure if I’d call it my theme song, but ‘Nothing Left to Say’ by Imagine Dragons is probably the closest, just for title alone—guess you could say it’s an oxymoron of sorts because authors do actually have something to say!

4. Favorite part of being a writer: Having the ability to conjure up worlds and scenarios and create characters from scratch, then build them up to entities that people will hopefully either fall in love with or despise. It’s also quite amazing to lose yourself to a different world filled with action and adventure for a while.

5. Name of your first pet (can include family or significant others’…): Maia, an excitable and adorable yellow Labrador whom I loved with all my heart.

6. Music, TV or silence while writing: It varies between silence and music, but definitely not television—that gets too distracting for me.

7. Early riser or night owl: Night owl for sure!

8. Favorite season: Winter, and second to that is fall.

9. Did you always want to be a writer: No, actually. I’ve been fascinated with dinosaurs from a very young age, so my initial career option was paleontology. Then I wanted to be a vet because I love animals so much, but eventually I got into writing. That’s not to say I can’t pursue my other interests!

About the Book

Over a remote northern forest, a small plane carrying five teenage friends flies into a freak storm. Struck by lightning, the aircraft crashes and the passengers find themselves cast into a life-changing adventure.

In a hidden valley, a mysterious people gaze at the stormy sky as a glowing object with fiery wings disappears behind a mountain ridge. The astonishing sight reignites an ancient prophecy foretelling the arrival of five chosen ones destined to become bearers of light against a dark storm gathering on humanity’s horizon.

In a distant city, a secretive organization led by a shadowy figure initiates a sequence of cataclysmic events designed to wreak havoc across the planet, beginning with a remote mining site in northern Canada.

As the three worlds collide, unlikely heroes arise. Armed with powers entrusted to them by the ancient prophecy and the resilience of their life-long bond, the five teens take a stand against a malevolent foe.

Buy the Book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

About the Author

S. S. Segran Author Photo
S.S.Segran is the bestselling author of AEGIS RISING, the first book in the Aegis League Series. In crafting the premise for the novel, she drew from the inspiring imagery of the Pacific Northwest, the intriguing potential of the human mind and above all, her abiding love for adventure, science fiction and mystery stories. She enjoys drawing, horseback riding and is an ardent fan of parkour and freerunning. S.S.Segran is a proud member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets in British Columbia.

S.S.Segran is also the founder of Aegis League (www.aegisleague.org), a non-profit organization whose goal is to support youths living in places and conditions that deny them opportunities to grow. The mission of the organization is to provide life-skills training and micro-loan funding to help them launch small businesses in the communities where they reside. Partial proceeds from the sale of her books go to this cause.

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