Author Spotlight: Bruce Jenvey 1.2

spotlight

Today Bruce Jenvey has returned to say farewell, but first he’s going to share an insightful and entertaining interview between him and a journalism student who also happens to be a fan of this work. Enjoy!

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FAN: I’m so glad we finally got a chance to sit down with you and ask you about your new book, The Ragtime Coven.

BRUCE: Again, I apologize to everyone for the delays, but family needs come first and this last year has been a long one. But I’m back at the keyboard and the new book is wrapping up well, now!

FAN: First, tell us about your Cabbottown Witches. In today’s books and movies, I’ve never seen witches portrayed like yours are.

BRUCE: That was a bit of controversy when Angela’s Coven was first released. My witches have no magic wands, no pointy hats, no Hokus Pokus. Aunt Maddy and her girls are actually, more historically correct!

FAN: You mean there really were witches?

BRUCE: In a matter of speaking… yes! The first witches were Midwives who had learned the art of natural healing from mothers and grandmothers before them. Even in the dark ages, they were making potions and slaves, things we would today call Home Remedies or Holistic Medicine… and they were getting some pretty miraculous results with those kind of cures! Well, at least by Medieval standards. It was the ‘Men Doctors’ who didn’t like the competition and the legends of green warty noses, cooking children and being in league with the Devil were all started to discourage people from trusting the Midwives. True!

FAN: So, how does that relate to your Cabbottown Witches?

BRUCE: My witches harvest herbs, bark, mushrooms… all things natural and then they simmer things over a stove, grind the powders and mix things together to get some pretty amazing results. You see, when they started burning witches at the stake, as a group, they pretty much went underground. That was over a thousand years ago! I’m just saying that in all those years behind closed doors… I bet ya they’ve made some progress and breakthroughs!

FAN: So these are… modern day witches of the olde school variety?

BRUCE: I like that! I’ll probably steal that if you don’t mind. But yes. In the first book, Angela’s Coven, it involves the witches with a terminally ill rock star and his contract with the devil. In my books, Lucifer is a physical being but never leaves his office in Hell. He sends his right hand minion, his lawyer, out to do his bidding. And yes, there are some very humorous moments you’ll find there, really throughout the books. But bring your tissues, too!

FAN: So the witches don’t work for Lucifer?

BRUCE: No, quite the opposite. Other characters in my books are actually Angels! My wife is a big angel collector and that’s been a big influence on me. So the Angels and Lucifer might be at odds, but the witches are caught in the middle. In the first book, they were guardian angels. In The Great Northern Coven, he was more of a troubled angel. But in the third book, this angel, is an Avenging Angel! He’s quite a character all in himself!

FAN: Tell us more about the third book.

BRUCE: This is The Ragtime Coven and is a prequel to Angela’s Coven. It covers a lot of unanswered questions as it follows the Coven in the time of World War I and the Prohibition Era. There’s rumrunners, gangsters, flappers and it’s really quite fun. Some of my best characters, really! But most important, this book will tie all THREE books together and a lot of pieces fall into place. If you liked the first one, you’ll love this one, really!

Find Bruce on Amazon here.

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Bruce Jenvey is the award-winning author of Angela’s Coven and other tales of the paranormal. He was raised in rural Michigan with a great interest in history, popular culture and the paranormal. After twenty years in the advertising industry, he spent the next decade traveling the Great Lakes region as a journalist Now, Bruce has turned to fiction and shares many of his real-world experiences through his Cabbottown Witches.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Author Spotlight: Bruce Jenvey 1.1

spotlight

Bruce Jenvey is the award-winning author of Angela’s Coven and other tales of the paranormal. Here is an excerpt from his soon to be released third book in the Cabbottown Witch series, The Ragtime Coven, telling the story of the coven through the days of WWI and the Prohibition Era.

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The sounds of Aaron’s motorcycle had barely faded down the road when Aunt Maddy started hauling a large collection of jars and storage containers out of the back pantry. With the help of Andrea and Angela, it didn’t take long to bring all the pertinent stores out to the dining room table.

“Alright, ladies,” Aunt Maddy began, “It’s inventory time! What have we got? What’s still good? What are we missing?”

“I can’t thank you all enough for your help with this project,” Angela said as she set the last of the large sealed jars down on the table.

“Nonsense!” objected Celia. “This is what we do.”

“And to do it for family is certainly no hardship,” Evelyn added as she started shuffling through the smaller Mason jars at the far end nearest the windows.

“Our goal here,” clarified Aunt Maddy, “is to come up with a protective talisman for Aaron and we have got to do this before he leaves for Europe.”

“Are we even certain he’ll be drafted?” asked Andrea with a ray of hope.

“Don’t think with your head, girl,” Maddy corrected her. “Use your gift.”

“Use your ability as a Sensitive, sweetie,” Evelyn encouraged her in a less gruff tone than Maddy’s. “He’s young, he’s strong… smart. Even I can sense he’ll be among the first to go, and I’m a Finder.”

“Sorry…”

“No sorry about it,” Maddy stepped in again. “You may well be the best Sensitive I’ve ever seen, bar none. But you got to start drawing that card first instead of thinking things through like regular people. Here, try this. Sit down and close your eyes.” Andrea reluctantly took a seat next to Celia. “Now, they closed?”

“Yes, they’re closed…”

“Keep ‘em that way, now.” Maddy took one of the sealed jars from the center of the table and placed it in front of the younger woman. “Keep ‘em closed, and put your hands on this.” Andrea wrapped her hands around the Mason jar. Almost at once, a faint smile crossed her face. “What you got there, hon?”

“It’s… Milkweed Extract!”

“Mixed or straight up?”

“There’s Pudding Plant in there, too!”

“Exactly!” Maddy congratulated her. “Here’s another.” She traded the jars in front of Andrea.”

“This is… ground oak bark.”

“You’re not peeking now, are you?” Evelyn teased.

“Nope! Aunt Maddy’s right, I can feel it!”

“Well, try this one.” Maddy placed another sealed Mason jar before her.

“This is…” but Andrea’s face fell in confusion. “This is… Marinara sauce.”

“No it’s not,” Maddy objected. “That’s Egg Plant Puree with Sprig Weed in it.”

“No, it’s Marinara sauce!” Andrea insisted. She opened her eyes and looked at the label on the bottom of the jar. “See?”

“Well, how the heck did that get on the wrong shelf…” Maddy puzzled aloud as she took the jar from Andrea.

“Well,” Celia piped in, “That explains the other night’s lasagna disaster.”

“Hush up, Celia. At least you won’t have to worry about constipation for a month!”

Suddenly, Evelyn could no longer contain her laughter though she tried to stifle it with her hands. It was contagious around the table.

“It’s not that funny, Evelyn!” Maddy protested.

“Yes it is!” Evelyn laughed through the tears in her eyes. “Aaron had seconds!”

“Oh my God!” Angela put her hands over her own mouth as she laughed aloud. “He did!”

“Well then, he can thank me for two months. But we’ve got to go through all this stuff and see what’s good and what’s gone bad.”

“This jar of St. Isaac’s Root is cracked,” Celia announced, holding up one of the smaller containers. “Look, they’ve even started to turn that brownish-blue around the top edges.”

“Just toss that one right into the trash bin, there,” Maddy said with a furrowed brow.

“There’s something black growing in the bottom of this one.” Angela handed one of the smaller jars to Aunt Maddy.

“That’s okay, this is just some Queen Ann’s Lace seeds mixed in with Web Dew. It’s supposed to do that… but this one will be a couple years yet before it’s ripe.”

“A couple years?” Evelyn said in surprise.

“I told you guys it was a pretty weak harvest last fall. Probably because of the cold summer we had. It’ll get there, just taking its time.”

“But we don’t have a lot of time,” Angela said, biting her lip.

“Why are we going at it this way, Maddy?” Celia protested. “We’ve made talismans before.”

“And they’re all based on mustard seeds, too,” Maddy tried to explain.

“Best ones are,” Evelyn threw in.

“So why aren’t we going that route?” Andrea asked.

“Listen, Talisman 101 for all of you. A talisman works by repelling things, not by shielding or any kind of avoidance, it’s just a repellant, that’s all.”

“And mustard seeds are the best at that, right?” Celia’s patience was thinning.

“Yes, normally. But there’s a problem this time. The Germans have weaponized mustard seeds into their latest form of poison gas.” Looking at the blank looks around the table, Maddy continued. “Mustard gas is their latest, craziest way of killing each other in mass over there. I read all about it in the papers. It’s worse than anything they’ve used so far. Almost makes me think they’ve had someone like us helping them out, if you know what I mean.”

“None of our kind would ever do that!” Evelyn said indignantly.

“It’s a new world, Evelyn, you just never know. Anyway, we can’t make a talisman based on mustard seeds, not if it’s the same dang thing we’re trying to protect him from. It mostly likely would be useless.”

“Only most likely?” Celia questioned.

“What’s more than most? And anyway, it’s a risk I know we don’t want to take.” Maddy’s words brought silence around the table and tears to Angela’s eyes. It was Celia that spoke first, trying to lighten the moment and bring the focus back to their work.

“We could always send the Huns some of your Lasagna.” Celia’s words worked and a ripple of laughter rolled through the room.

“What about…” Evelyn’s smile suddenly faded away. “What about Golden Rod Buds?” At this very mention, Maddy’s face brightened and the twinkle returned to her eye.

“Yes! They got many of the same properties as Mustard seeds, but they aren’t from the same family at all!”

“And last year was a great year for Golden Rod,” Andrea interjected. “We were picking it for days.”

“And we’ve got lots of Druid Dust and Thistle Milk to go with it!” Maddy said as she quickly picked up and inspected several of the sealed jars. “Oakie Doakie, that’s our way in! Girls, put a couple fresh pots on to simmer, big ones, and start heating the water. Evelyn, you and Celia start measuring out the Golden Rod Buds from the dry bin in the pantry. And let’s clear this table in the process.”

With a clear direction to proceed, the women went to work and Aunt Maddy’s kitchen was busy indeed.

To read more from Bruce and get copies of the first two books in this powerful series, click here.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Author Spotlight: Bruce Jenvey 1.0

spotlight

Today I would like to welcome Bruce Jenvey to the ToiBox of Words. He is here today to share with us the tales of his Cabbottown Witches. Enjoy!

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Angela’s Coven:Reggie Sinclair is an aging British rock star living in New York City who has just found out he is terminally ill. He also has a very dark secret: When he was still an undiscovered teenager, he sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his great fame and success. As his life draws to an end, he prepares to face the inevitable until he stumbles upon a very enchanting, modern-day witch named Angela, and her untraditional coven.

This is a story of the struggle between good and evil with a cast of characters that ranges from guardian angels to young witches-in-training. Together, they have to come to terms with the uncertainties of love, loss, and life decisions to save Reggie from an unbearable eternity. Here is a plot filled with unexpected twists and surprises to the very last page that will also cast an entirely different light on anything you may have ever considered as faith!

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The Great Northern Coven:J.R. is a bush pilot who drifts into small town, Haines, Alaska and signs on with the local flying service. He’s looking for a fresh start and a place to hide from the painful past that literally haunts him. What he doesn’t realize is the local Inuit Indians believe he is the missing piece in an ancient prophecy they have been waiting centuries to unfold. His arrival sets in motion a series of events that risks everything for everyone, right down to their very souls. It also brings forth a great evil and the only one who can save them all has to draw on her long-forgotten heritage of witchcraft.

This is the second book in the Cabbottown Witch Novels and is a story of the struggle between good and evil with a wide range of characters from Lucifer and his minion, to pilots, barmaids and the ladies of the Tsonokwa Lodge… and of course, one very important Eagle-Man. But where Angela’s Coven centered on starting over and second chances, The Great Northern Coven is a story of letting go, moving on and taking that next step forward in our lives.

The Ragtime Coven: (Coming late 2014) The third book in the Cabbottown Witch series is a prequel to Angela’s Coven and ties all three books together in an unforgettable history of The Coven through the uncertainties World War I and the rough and tumble days of the Prohibition Era.

Benny: Benny Shapiro prays every day to be released from the pain and the indignities that have become his daily existence in the Good Sheppard Nursing Home. And, every night, he dreams of being a hero with super-human powers… But are they just dreams?

Kevin: Kevin Andrews is dead. Having lived a short but privileged life, he had not yet accomplished anything to define himself as good or evil in the hereafter, and is devastated to find himself rejected by Heaven and seated in Hell. Unfortunately, Lucifer doesn’t think Kevin is ‘his’ kind of people either…

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Bruce Jenvey is the award-winning author of Angela’s Coven and other tales of the paranormal. He was raised in rural Michigan with a great interest in history, popular culture and the paranormal. After twenty years in the advertising industry, he spent the next decade traveling the Great Lakes region as a journalist Now, Bruce has turned to fiction and shares many of his real-world experiences through his Cabbottown Witches.

Jenvey’s other works include: Heroes and Haunts of the Great Lakes, The Gun Primer (A Writer’s Guide To Firearm Facts For Fiction), The Complete Stupid Boat Ticks, and Christmas Eve At Shorty’s.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Review: The Reader of Acheron

The Reader of Acheron Review

By Jaq D. Hawkins

Amazon

Traditional Fantasy as it should be. The story begins with a wizard’s apprentice learning his letters, but the mood soon turns dark as the reader is brought into a world where reading is forbidden and a collusion of renegade magicians is formed.

What I loved about this story is that it drew me in right away, instantly transported into a fantasy world where the parameters were clear even as I learned each detail of the world as I went along. This is a mark of well-written Fantasy fiction. It has all the testosterone-laced marks of the sword & sorcery genre; mercenaries, a runaway slave, renegades who hide their ability to recognise letters and that sort of mock-medieval feeling to the imaginary world.

I noted that it held my interest more than a better-known classic fantasy novel (big 6 published) that I’ve been reading at the same time. There is hope, we do have a new generation of Fantasy writers who can tell a story that is both intriguing and full of action. We just have to sift through the self-published slush pile to find these gems. I will be keeping an eye on Walter Rhein.

Rhein can write a good battle scene. Just enough description to make the movie play in your head. The book finishes on a note that leaves the door open for the inevitable sequel, but with an interesting world established, I may well have to read it. I can see this series developing as it goes along and look forward to reading more from this author.

This review has been posted to Amazon US and Amazon UK.

****

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If you enjoyed this review, why not check out more from Jaq D. Hawkins? See what she likes to read and learn about her own writing. Go ahead and click the images provided to add these books to your Amazon wish lists or purchase.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Writing/Poetry Promotion Tips by Lillian Brummet

Despite the global economic issues facing us today and the rising competition on the book promotion market, poetry is a growing market with an increasing readership. In the world of writing it is generally well known that poetry is one of the hardest genres to market, however there are a number of opportunities if one knows where to look.

Over the years I’ve noticed a growth in online radio programs that focus on poetry. Like print publications, each radio program will have a unique focus – some may accept poetic works according to the region, genre or topic. If you have access to the internet, all you need to do is do a search at each online radio station using key works such as poetry, poets, writing and the genre you write in (i.e. gardens, environment, social change, etc).

When you prepare the query there are several options to consider. First, how do you appeal to their audience? When does the radio show go live? How do listeners access the archived show? How do you plan on promoting the event if they decide to feature your work?

Depending on the radio program’s operations you might be calling in to a live show, or you might be recorded for a later date. Most radio shows will simply have a conversation over the telephone, so your location is not usually an issue, and this helps you reach a global audience. Some radio shows are Skype friendly (skype.com); Skype offers a way for people to have conversations using their computer and a headset – which is a budget-friendly option helping us avoid expensive long distance telephone charges. The host might want to interview you about the creation process, your experiences with poetry readings or the publication industry. They will likely need you to read at least one of your poems on air, be sure to choose poems that suit their audience.

The host may ask you to offer a pre-recorded MP3 file of your reading, and this is where you can have a lot of fun with having background music, or a variety of sounds from nature to industry – depending on your reading. When creating an MP3 file you can either use a recording of a live performance you did recently at a poetry café or something like that, or you can do a reading specifically for that radio show. Some radio shows will ask you to provide only one poem in MP3 format, others will want a longer performance. Be sure you have clarified what the host or program director requires from you.

Occasionally a radio host will be open to playing a 30 second promotional MP3 for your published book, magazine or website during one of their shows for free – all you have to do is ask. MP3 files that were created for radio shows are useful for websites as well, allowing visitors to a website to listen to the author reading their work in their own voice.

Online radio is only one option for a poet’s marketing plan. We can also consider online publications from e-zines to blogs that are often very willing to highlight a poet’s work. Be sure to offer those MP3’s to these sites as well, you never know what they might like to use. Another frugal and useful option is YouTube videos (youtube.com) where you can record yourself reading your work, or presenting it to a live audience. These videos are helpful for websites, publications and blogs to enrich the experience for their audience.

~ Lillian Brummet: Award winning author, book marketing guru, owner of the award winning Brummet’s Conscious Blog, and both the host and executive producer of the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio show. (www.brummet.ca)

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords