Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Book Review – #Supernatural Adventure The Last Drive by John W. Howell

This is a fine sequel from one of my favorite writers. Thanks for sharing, Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share my review for the latest release by John W. Howell the sequel to the excellent Eternal Road... another supernatural adventure…The Last Drive

About the book

In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.

The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey takes the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work…

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Friday Free-For-All! #ProteinBalls #Ladybug #Querying

Free-For-All with Jan Sikes!

Writing and Music

I say this on Mondays and then again on Fridays. Time sure does fly by! Happy Friday and the start of another weekend.

I began a weight loss adventure around the first of October and used a plan called Optavia. I wasn’t extremely overweight but needed to lose those stubborn ten pounds I gained when I broke my ribs in 2019. So, going in, I knew (or hoped) it would be a short journey. By Thanksgiving, I had lost thirteen pounds. Doing a happy dance all around the Thanksgiving table! Then came the hard part. Going back to eating regular food and keeping the weight off. By the way, Sally Cronin features posts on her blog frequently that deal with nutrition, and I’ve found them to be golden. One of the hardest things we’ll do while in these heavy-skinned bodies is to learn what each of ours needs and provide…

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Smorgasbord Book Promotions – #Review – #Romance #Novella – Pour It On ( Keystone Couples) by Staci Troilo

Discover some fineStaci Troilo reading! Thanks, Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share my review for the romantic novella by Staci Troilo – Pour It On (Keystone Couples Novella)

About the book

Bold, complex, vibrant. The wine is, too.

Despite Romy Chandler hosting a romantic meet-and-greet at her restaurant, she’s all business. When her sommelier quits without any notice—to work for the competition, no less—she goes into mega-mogul-mode. The last thing on her mind is finding a man. She’s looking for someone who knows his way around a Bordeaux, not the boudoir.

Rick Santucci grew up in his family’s vineyard. After years of hard work, he’s turned his grandfather’s humble produce farm into a profitable winery. Once he gets their bottles into the right establishments, he’ll be able to acquire more land and move into the next phase of the company’s expansion. His mother thinks the next stage should be a wife and children, but his sights are set on…

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Gwen M. Plano shares character-building ideas you’ve never thought about!

Story Empire

Hello SE friends,

Recently I read a book that involved the troubled relationship between the oldest daughter in the family and the youngest. It was fascinating and got me wondering about the role of birth order in our characters. I did some research and discovered there are volumes on the topic and plenty of anecdotal materials. So, over the next few posts, I will share some of that information with you.

When we craft our characters, many of us include comments about their placement in the family. We attach traits we’ve experienced with siblings or others close to us. I will explore some of those traits in my posts over the next several months.

Full disclosure, birth order theory is somewhat controversial because, in and of itself, it is not a determinant of someone’s personality. Many other factors include genetics, physical environment, gender, culture, family trauma, and much more. Still…

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Social Media: Is it Time to Cut Yourself Some Slack?

Social media is consuming, and Mae Clair has a great perspective on it all.

Story Empire

Hi, SEers! Welcome to the first Mae Day post of 2023. I hope your holidays were spent with loved ones and filled with good cheer! Yes, it’s a New Year, and you know what that means—resolutions, right?

Let’s not go there—because seriously—how many resolutions are actually kept? Cut yourself some slack with a kinder ideology like intended changes, accomplishments you’d like to pursue, and random goals. No pressure, but it’s nice to plan for change, especially when change can benefit you in the long run.

More and more I’m reading about people abandoning social media. From celebrities to indie authors, to family and friends. I’m not suggesting that in the least, but I have come to the realization it’s simply impossible to maintain a presence across numerous platforms.

You’ve seen this discussion before, maybe even blogged about it yourself, and certainly weighed in with thoughts to others. Well, it’s a…

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Narrative Choice, Part 1

My first Story Empire post!

Story Empire

by Stephen Geez

Every new story project offers me the challenge of finding a narrative style and format that are different than any I’ve previously written. I don’t make choices to be gimmicky, but rather to find what works best, which is usually something I might not have routinely considered. The obvious choices come down to who (singular or plural) is narrating, and which tense (or mix of tenses) is being used. Beyond those, though, narrative offers nearly unlimited possibilities. Is your narrator talking to readers—or another character? Is the narrator speaking of believable events, or might that person be unreliable, speaking opinions rather than facts, or even spinning a yarn from delusion? How much does your narrator know—and is s/he revealing or holding back—or deceiving? Seems the more we consider options, the more choices we need to make.

For this post, I’ll start with the basics in narrative choice—voice…

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Meet Menagerie Author Joan Hall!

Hi, Stephen. Thanks so much for hosting me today. It’s a pleasure to be here talk about my latest release, Menagerie. It’s a mixed-genre compilation of thirteen short stories. Each tour stop features a different title and I tell how the story came about. Today’s story is Stony Creek, a contemporary fiction piece.

I grew up in a small town, and while it’s still considered small, the area is growing. What was once farmland has turned into housing developments. Many parts of Texas are the same as people flock here in droves. Last year, I read an article about an unincorporated community in the Texas Hill Country. Country music fans might recognize the name Luckenbach from a popular song by the late Waylon Jennings.

Like many parts of the state, that area is developing fast. Not surprising, a wealthy developer is looking to capitalize on the popularity of Luckenbach by building a mega-development, distillery, shopping centers, and such. With things like this happening, soon there won’t be any land, and the simple, laid-back way of life that many choose to live will be no more.

Stony Creek is the story of Brooke Hudson, a marketing specialist, who returns to her hometown upon her father’s death. She chose a life in the city, far away from the ranch where she grew up. She soon learns that a real-estate developer wants to buy not only her ranch, Stony Creek, but other pieces of property as well. He wants to build a winery, housing developments, shopping centers, and a resort.

When her boss asks her to convince the citizens of the nearby town of Stanton this development is for the best, Brooke is torn. Ranching has been a way of life for most of the area’s citizens and she hates to see her hometown destroyed by greedy developers. But not doing what her boss asks will result in her not having a job. Below is an excerpt.


Brooke took the long way back to the ranch, driving through the countryside. She needed time to think. To reflect. She drove past the Three Forks, Smitty’s place, and several smaller farms. Many of them had been in the same family for generations. Most of the houses weren’t fancy, but they were home.

The people who lived in Stanton were working-class families. It was a close-knit community. It wasn’t as if they shunned outsiders, but they enjoyed living their lives like their parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents had. They didn’t care about resorts, golf courses, condominiums, and upscale shopping centers. These things would be a detriment to their way of life.

If Brooke sold the ranch, it would be the first step to that happening. She was in tears by the time she arrived home.


King’s. The Tower of London. Glass. What do these have in common?

Each is a famous menagerie.

While this Menagerie doesn’t focus on exotic animals, it does contain a collection of stories that explore various trials people face and how their reactions shape their worlds.

Survivors of a haunted bridge. Women who wait while their husbands fight a war. Former partners reuniting to solve a cold-case murder.

These are just three of the thirteen stories in this compendium, encompassing past and present, natural and supernatural, legend and reality. The genres and timelines are varied, but there’s a little something for everyone who enjoys reading about simpler times and small-town life.

Purchase Link:

About the Author:

Social Media Links

Website   |   Blog   |   BookBub   |   Goodreads

One-Sentence Reviews: My 4th Quarter 2022 Reads

Great list, great books. Thanks!

Priscilla Bettis

For the last quarter of 2022, I endeavored to read a book or story from every author whose blog I follow. At first I thought I’d bitten off more than I can chew, but the holidays gave me extra reading time. I enjoyed the variety of genres and writing styles and found some real gems. I’m just nervous that I overlooked someone. (Hope not!) In reverse alphabetical order by authors’ last names, here are my one-sentence reviews for 4th quarter 2022:

The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Lowenhohle by Thomas Wikman who is donating proceeds to the Leonberger Health Foundation International. I totally recommend this feel-good memoir about a family and their Loenberger dog because it made me laugh, stew with anger, cry happy-sad tears, and taught me about the noble Leonberger breed. Kindle.

Musings, Volume 1, by Kent Wayne. I think anyone who likes…

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1/18/23 Guest Robert G. Williscroft

The master returns!

Voice of Indie Podcast

VOI 129 Placard - Williscroft

Dr. Williscroft is a retired submarine officer, deep-sea and saturation diver, scientist, author of numerous books and hundreds of articles, and a lifelong adventurer. He spent  22 months underwater, a year in the equatorial Pacific, three years in the Arctic ice pack, and a year at the Geographic South Pole. He holds degrees in Marine Physics and Meteorology, and a doctorate for developing a system to protect SCUBA divers in contaminated water. A prolific author of both non-fiction and fiction, he lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his family.





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Guest Post – The Last Drive by John W. Howell #newbook

I am so pleased to be with you today, Stephen. I want to thank you for helping to spread the word about The Last Drive. Although I had not planned to write a sequel to Eternal Road, once I got into it, I had a good time with the characters. Since you are an accomplished, author, producer, director, and publisher I think you can identify with the difficulty of handling the Devil. Of course, when Lucifer is on the scene, he pretty much upstages everyone else. It is fun writing a character that is so profoundly evil that as a writer there is some tempering that is needed. To let Lucifer run free with his evil intentions might bring about more mayhem than the other characters can handle.

Here is the blurb and then we can get to a short excerpt from the book.

The Blurb

In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.

The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey take the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.

This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.

An Excerpt

“So, you mentioned he and his guide are missing?”

“Yes. It’s the strangest thing. Ryan and the guide were in an American football game.”


“Yes. Ryan had wondered what it would be like to play football through eternity.”

“Excuse me, Sir, but all this sounds familiar.”

“What do you mean?”

“When James and I came in contact with Lucifer, we found ourselves at Wimbledon with James having just won the tournament.”

“I never heard about that.”

“No, Sir. I didn’t think it important enough to put it in my report.”

“So, how did you get out of it?”

“We ran like hell. . . . Oh, excuse me, Sir. But Lucifer also sent James to the D-Day landing in nineteen-forty-four.”

The Archangel folds his arms across his chest. “What are you saying?”

Sam leans forward in her chair. “I believe these two ran across Lucifer, and somehow, he sent them to play football. What game was it?”

“Wait, I have it here somewhere.” The Archangel rummages through a few papers on his lap. “Ah, here it is. The game they eventually called the Super Bowl.”

Sam’s eyebrows shoot up. “Super Bowl One? That’s famous. It was the first championship match-up between the AFL and the NFL.”

A Link to the Trailer

You Tube

Buy Links

The Last Drive is available in paper and Kindle editions on Amazon. Here are the universal links. The Kindle edition is on sale for 99¢ through mid-February.



Author Bio

John is an award-winning author who after an extensive business career began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written Six other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Lakeway, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Author links

Blog Fiction Favorites,

Facebook –

Twitter –

Goodreads –

Amazon Author’s page –

BookBub –

Eternal Road Buy links

Kindle Universal link

Paper universal link