Wednesday, February 17, 2021

🏰 Book Tour & Interview Featuring *THE MORPHEUS DECISION* by Seeley James #machinedmedia #puyb #interview #blogtour


Seeley James’ near-death experiences range from talking a jealous husband into putting the gun down to spinning out on an icy freeway in heavy traffic without touching anything. His resume ranges from washing dishes to global technology management. His personal life ranges from homeless at 17, adopting a 3-year-old at 19, getting married at 37, fathering his last child at 43, hiking the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim at 59, and taking the occasional nap.

His writing career ranges from humble beginnings with short stories in The Battered Suitcase, to being awarded a Medallion from the Book Readers Appreciation Group. Seeley is best known for his Sabel Security series of thrillers featuring athlete and heiress Pia Sabel and her bodyguard, veteran Jacob Stearne. One of them kicks ass and the other talks to the wrong god.

His love of creativity began at an early age, growing up at Frank Lloyd Wright’s School of Architecture in Arizona and Wisconsin. He carried his imagination first into a successful career in sales and marketing, and then to his real love: fiction.




As a book bloggin’ and book luvin’ Princess, I’m always curious to find out how authors got the ideas for their books.  Can you tell us how you got the idea to write your book?

I spend a lot of time thinking about ideas. I’m not like Mary Chase who, when asked how she thought up Harvey, said, “I looked up from the breakfast table and there he was.” For me, ideas take a lot of mulling over, looking at them, setting them down, picking them up again, polishing some and tossing others out the window (where David Baldacci picks them up. Apparently. Compare Atlee Pine circa 2018 to my Pia Sabel created in 2012.) Most ideas come to me while I’m reading other books. I notice how a character acts or reacts; I might read a plot twist I like, or a conspiracy that works but I think I could work it better. Using OneNote, I jot down every stray thought until I have time to sort them out.

When the time is right, I start editing my idea list. For The Morpheus Decision, I liked Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse, but I didn’t think it clicked as well as her others. The hero wasn’t motivated by anything solid. He fell into the plot by accident. I also read a book called Behind Her Eyes, which had a great twist at the end, but the premise wasn’t quite believable for me. Then the movie Parasite came out laying bare social and economic issues in a brilliant story. I loved pieces of all three of these works and drew a bare bones concept from each to form a framework for mine. I wanted it a little more plausible than Behind Her Eyes, a lead character more driven than The Pale Horse, and hitting more American versions of social issues than Parasite. Judging by the early reviews, I hit my target—bullseye.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book?

Pia Sabel is my longest running character and a fan favorite. She has everything and nothing. Rich but bereft of family and suspicious of friends, her wealth has become her albatross. She must navigate a world in which some dismiss her intelligence because of her gender, others excessively hate or fawn over her because of her wealth, and the unwary underestimate her tenacity. Coupled with her insomnia, her doctor warns her she stands on the cusp of mental health problems. Putting all that behind her, she fixates on the murder of a former rival in international soccer and is determined to reveal who killed Chloe England.

Pia’s best friend is an unusual character in modern literature: an educated, high-income African American executive. While Tania Cooper retains her wit and humor, she faces even more challenges than Pia and doesn’t let them slide by unnoticed. Tough and determined, this West Point grad and former MP officer fills in the blanks when Pia’s experience falls short. Tania’s been by Pia’s side since she saved Pia’s life in their first outing, The Geneva Decision.

New to readers are Liam Pickford, Jeff Benton, and Abby Stokes. These three play important roles in this book but we don’t want spoilers here, so I’ll leave them in the book.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would that be?

Deconstruct and analyze everything you read in terms of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth.

What would you say is one of your interesting writing quirks?

I love planting easter eggs, some obscured and others hiding in plain sight. For example, in Death & Dark Money, several characters’ names were taken from Macbeth. While Duncan, the murder victim, was obvious, only one person deciphered who Rip Blackson was named after (it requires a wee bit of Gaelic). In The Morpheus Decision, a running joke revolves around another Gaelic term in Claigeann Cottage. But that one is revealed by the butler. You’ll have to read it to find out. Also, at least one person in every book is reading a Seeley James novel—usually to help them sleep.

Do you hear from your readers?  What do they say?

Nothing beats getting a note from a reader. Whether it’s an email, a text, an instant message, I hear from several readers every day. They have questions, suggestions, corrections, but most of them are simple thank-you notes for writing great books.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

After my second book came out, a man I hike with a couple times a year said, “Your characters are flat. I can’t tell them apart.” While flat characters doesn’t impede Daniel Silva, it bothered me. I’m always looking to improve and that was one of the first things I specifically dove into fixing. The fact is, it’s hard to do without dipping into stereotypes. While stereotypes are easy and used by many accomplished authors for their efficiency from Stephen King to Janet Evanovich, I endeavored to make distinct characters who come from different places, speak in different patterns, and react in different ways. I don’t always hit those marks being that they’re pretty tough, but I strive for them in every paragraph.

What has been your best accomplishment?

Adopting a three-year-old girl when I was nineteen and raising her. For details, see my story about it at . If you were referring to books, I’d have to say The Morpheus Decision because it embodies everything I’ve been trying to do for fifteen years. Of course, that will change when the next book comes out because the best book I’ve ever written is the one I’m working on.

Do you Google yourself?

Once in a while. I know who I am, so I check to see if someone is trying to scam people using my name. I don’t allow that. If anyone’s going to get scammed, I’ll do it myself.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Two. Precursors to the current character list, they were aimed at YA adventure, but I lost interest in the genre. The books were OK and may get revised and published one day. I doubt it though. I’d rather spend the time and energy on a new project.

Fun question – if you were princess or prince, what’s one thing you would do to make your kingdom a better place?

I’d make college education and healthcare available to everyone who wants or needs it. Smarter, healthier people work harder, and produce and contribute more. Simple math.

Do you have anything specific that you would like to say to your readers?


Author: Seeley James
Publisher: Machined Media
Pages: 300
Genre: Murder Mystery


Who killed Chloe England?

When a friend from her days in international soccer, now a British constable, is murdered, Pia Sabel uncovers an assassination ring catering to the ultra-rich – putting her dead center in their crosshairs.

For most of her life, Pia Sabel worked through the pain of losing her parents, threw herself into her work, and lived with insomnia. Now her doctor warns growing paranoia will soon threaten her mental health. She escapes to rural England to mourn the loss of her friend. On arrival, she is attacked by a mob, dismissed by officials, and ridiculed by high society for inquiring about an English Lord and a British institute. The more people tell her not to ask questions, the more she questions their motives.

Unconquered and unafraid, she investigates the murder and exposes a well-connected web of billionaire suspects. Along the way, she touches a nerve, bringing down an avalanche of killers on top of her. Unable to trust anyone, from the handsome Scot she wants to know better to Britain’s titled class, she must unravel the clues before more victims land in the morgue. Peeling back the layers of deceit, lies and cover-ups, Pia finally discovers the truth about who killed Chloe England. A revelation sure to endanger everyone she loves.



Amazon →

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

The Page 69 Test: *BANEWIND* by M.B. Chapman @mbchapman90 #page69 #blogtour

They say if you want to really find a good book, go to page 69 (the middle and meat of the book) and you like it, it's definitely worth reading. For today's feature, I'm zooming in on page 69 of M.B. Chapman's new young adult fiction, BANEWIND

“Have fun on your date, Vee,” Danny says, as I throw on my cream cardigan.

My dad looks up from his work at the kitchen table and stares at me over the top of his glasses.

“You have a date tonight?” The surprise in his voice is obvious. “Who is he?”

“Just some new guy from school.”

I tease my hair one more time while I’m next to the mirror in the foyer. I’m still trying to avoid any prolonged conversations with him.

“We’re showing him around. You know, trying to make him feel welcome.”

“Yeah, in a dark movie theater.” Danny giggles. “Try not to get mono.”

“Do you even know what mono is?” My father laughs as he stands from his chair, and comes over to pull me to his chest.

“Dad! My hair.” I try to resist his hug.

Only after I return the embrace does he let his arms drop.

“You be safe tonight, Jeannie.” He gives my forehead a peck. “And don’t get pressured into doing anything you aren’t comfortable with. Remember, it’s okay to say no.”

“Dad…” I feel my face flush red with embarrassment. “It isn’t like that. Trust me.”

“Well, if things do go that way, remember to use protection, okay?”

“Oh, my God!” I cover my ears. “This conversation isn’t happening. Goodbye.”

I slam the front door shut, but can still hear Danny cracking up.

“He’s so immature.” I scoff.

The horn honks again.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?


Monday, February 8, 2021

🏰 AWAKENING by Kevin D. Miller #BlogTour #BookSpotlight #PUYB


A Gripping Modern Day Norse Mythology…

By Kevin D. Miller

A megalomaniac god is pursuing a millennia-old vendetta, and Leif must learn to wrangle a newly awakened power to either become a hero or a villain. He will leave his old life and run from creatures he believed were reserved for myth and legend. He travels across the realms while struggling to tame the blinding rage that comes with his new demi-god like power. Will Leif survive the intra-realm quest and prevent Ragnarok or will he fail to control his awakening?

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Alexander never thought that he would live long enough to enjoy quiet nights like this. He noted it was a particularly cold night as he stepped onto his back porch. His breath sent out a little fog, and he marveled at how peaceful winter could be in the Icelandic forest. The freshly fallen snow sparkled as the Northern lights flashed through the night sky. Alexander never grew tired of watching their fiery dance. He only wished his wife, Helga, was still around to enjoy the peace and quiet. Sighing contentedly, Alexander reached down, grabbed a bundle of firewood, and turned to head back inside. Suddenly he froze. He felt it, a tingling he hadn’t felt in a long time, danger. Scanning the surrounding forest, Alexander couldn’t see anything out of place, but the feeling that something was out there, something that didn’t belong, still pulled at him like the tide. Alexander stared into the darkness for a few more moments, but the forest remained silent, unwilling to give up its secrets. Alexander shrugged and went back into his house. For the first time in years, he locked the door behind him.

As Alexander sat by the fire, the warmth failed to chase away the feeling that someone or something was out there roaming his forest. A familiar howl rang out from deep within the forest, pulling Alexander out of his thoughts. A second later similar howls answered. Alexander could identify each individual wolf by their howl; he had known this pack for years. Settling back in his chair, he envisioned the wolves in full force. The howls continued to ring across the forest. In all his years living in the forest, Alexander had never heard so many wolves at once. They sounded agitated. They must sense it too, he thought.

Alexander groaned as his knees popped and his old bones protested the sudden movement of getting to his feet. It was as if his body knew what he was planning to do and was voicing its discontent. It had been decades since he had been in a fight, but it seemed he was being called out one last time. Hell, Alexander thought, I may see Helga sooner than I thought. Pulling on his thick wool parka, Alexander grabbed the double-bladed ax he used to chop wood. The weight felt comfortable in his hands. The ax had been his weapon of choice from the time he was strong enough to swing one. His mother had pushed him to branch out and learn to use other weapons, but it wasn’t meant to be. The ax was the weapon of his ancestors, and he honored them by using it. The cold hit Alexander like a hammer, clearing his senses and waking him up to the world around him. The Berserker had laid dormant inside of him for decades now, but Alexander could feel the old battle lust stirring within. The forest had gone too quiet, the howls of the wolf pack had died down. Goosebumps speckled Alexander’s body as the tension in the air thickened. Alexander knew why. A predator not of this realm stalked his forest.

Alexander silently crept through the forest. The snow crunched lightly beneath his weight; his senses screamed at him to turn back, but he ignored them and pressed on. It had been decades since he had felt the thrill of a fight, and he relished the feeling.

A bird pierced the silent forest with a loud squawk. He peered through the tangle of trees and branches; he could barely make out a blotch of darkness that seemed to be darker than the surrounding forest. As he moved closer, the air blew warm breaths on his face with each step. Alexander was within ten feet of the odd black blotch when he noticed that the snow had completely melted away. Steam rose from the freshly uncovered earth in a circle around the object. Thick drops of water splashed down from the tree branches above, puffing into steam upon hitting the forest floor.

Alexander continued to move slowly around the dark object but didn’t see anyone or anything. Creeping ever closer, his feeling of unease intensified. As Alexander stepped around the inky darkness, the heat had him sweating through his clothes. He stopped dead in his tracks. His blood ran cold. From the back, the round black object drank in all the available light, but now that Alexander was in front of it, he could see it opened up to a world of fire and lava. Alexander knew what he was looking at; he just couldn’t figure out why it was here. The dark blob was a bridge to another realm. However, it differed from any bridge he had used in his youth. This thing was more like a rip in the fabric of reality. Whoever did this was immensely powerful. Peering into the gateway, memories from a lifetime ago came flooding back to him. Muspelheim, the realm of fire and lava. The home to an unimaginable evil. It was a place he had hoped to never see again.

As if in answer to his thoughts, something rose out of the molten river that lay beyond the bridge. Alexander’s stomach backflipped as he recognized the creature that was steadily stalking towards the bridge. It’s the beginning of the end, Alexander thought. Ragnarok is here.

As the being stepped through the bridge and into Alexander’s world, the frigid forest air hissed and steamed in protest to the fiery monster’s trespass into Midgard. Alexander stared up at the molten giant and thought he looked even taller than he had appeared decades ago. Alexander backed up, making sure he was out of range of the monster’s hulking sword. He knew a fight was inevitable. Alexander closed his eyes and freed the dormant Berserker, embracing the longforgotten thrill of the fight. Icy fire burned along his veins as his muscles grew and strengthened. Alexander knew, even in his enhanced state, that he was no match for the force of nature that stood before him. He only hoped to fend the giant off long enough to create an opening and run for help. Hopefully, with luck, he could lose the creature in the forest.

Alexander opened his eyes, filling his old frame and flooding his veins with the familiar icy burn of the Berserker. Any thoughts of running vanished as a thin red haze of rage colored the edge of his vision. Fear and doubt evaporated and was replaced with excited determination at the chance to cross blades one last time with a worthy foe. Who gives a damn that I’m well into my sixties? Alexander thought. “I am the last of an ancient and powerful Berserker clan, bestowed with the power of Thor, chosen to defend Midgard from invaders such as you. How dare you step into my realm, Surtr,” Alexander growled. “You aren’t welcome here. I will say this one time; return to Muspelheim or face my wrath.”

Surtr’s molten eyes studied Alexander. A voice Alexander had hoped to never hear again thundered in the clearing. The fire giant’s voice washed over Alexander like an oncoming forest fire.

“You arrogant and foolish Midgardian. Do you have any idea who you are speaking too? Face your wrath? Don’t think I don’t remember you. You are one of the few beings who was lucky enough to escape me the first time we fought. You will not be so lucky this time. By Hel’s will, I have been given a second chance to finish the fight you started many years ago.”

“You think I’m afraid of you, giant?” Alexander boasted, “I have faced hundreds of enemies and killed them all. Last time we faced, we were in your realm, but now,” Alexander gestured around. “You are far from Muspelheim. I have the advantage here.”

Surtr laughed and pointed his massive sword at Alexander. “You truly don’t know what I am, do you? I cannot be killed by the likes of you.”

Surtr blurred, moving with a speed no normal human could track. But luckily for Alexander, he wasn’t a normal human. This also wasn’t his first fight. Alexander had been waiting for Surtr to make the first move and was ready for him. Surtr’s burning blade slashed through the air mere centimeters from Alexander’s face as he dodged out of range. A blast of scalding air washed over Alexander as Surtr’s blade sliced through the air. Alexander rushed forward, relishing the speed his Berserker state granted him. Alexander hoped to throw Surtr off by attacking him head on. Slashing upward, Alexander attempted to split open Surtr’s unarmored stomach. Before the ax hit, Surtr lashed out, kicking Alexander square in the chest, causing him to fly backward. He slammed into a tree trunk with a bone crunching crack. Alexander felt the ancient pine sway back and forth from the impact. Snow rained down from the branches above, pelting him in wet kisses. Alexander struggled to catch his breath. Damn, that hurt. I can’t afford to take too many hits like that, Alexander thought. Struggling to his feet, Alexander felt every cell in his body struggle with the pain. He suspected a few of his ribs cracked, but nothing felt permanently damaged or out of place.

Luckily, years of training had taught Alexander to never let go of his weapon in a fight. Even in his old age, he still had the wherewithal to keep hold of it. Alexander used his ax as a crutch and looked up at Surtr. His enemy hadn’t even bothered to follow up his attack; he just stood there studying Alexander.

“You’ve grown old, Berserker. You weren’t a match for me decades ago. You certainly aren’t one now.”

Alexander eyed the giant, “Ha, I’m just warming up, Surtr. Before long I’ll have you running back through that bridge, crying to whoever sent you here,” Alexander boasted. However, deep down he knew he was finished. That kick had hurt him more than he cared to admit. His back was ablaze with pain and his legs felt like wet noodles. I must have damaged my spine when I hit the tree, Alexander thought. “This fight will be over before I get a chance to heal,” Alexander grumbled.

Alexander eyed the fiery giant and quietly thanked the gods he had the foresight to leave a letter to his Berserker heir. He had wished he could have had more time with his daughter and grandson. He’d wanted to introduce them to the idea of realms, gods, and supernatural creatures slowly, but as with all great plans, it fell apart. Alexander could only hope they would find the journals.

There is no way this attack is random, Alexander thought. A being such as Surtr doesn’t leave his realm unless provoked, and for a bridge to open right in his backyard, linking Muspelheim to Midgard - it was too much of a coincidence. The gods were moving against each other; he could feel it.

Wincing in pain, Alexander steeled himself.

Whispering reverently, Alexander breathed into the icy wind, “Odin, Allfather, my time on this mortal plain has come to an end. I, one of Thor’s anointed, choose to die with an ax in hand, and can only hope to be welcomed into the halls of Valhalla.” A raven cawed an answer to Alexander’s prayer somewhere in the trees. Even though Surtr was far stronger than him, Alexander couldn’t just roll over and die. That wasn’t the Berserker way. Taking a deep breath, Alexander took a two-handed grip on his ax, feeling the smooth grip of the handle form perfectly to his weathered and calloused hands. He charged, bellowing a war cry. Surtr moved in as well, sensing the fight was coming to an end. Surtr brought down his massive sword in an attempt to split Alexander in two, but Alexander saw it coming and blocked the attack with his ax. Sparks flew in all directions as the two blades met. Alexander’s ax blade chipped and bent along the edge where it met Surtr’s sword, but that didn’t faze Alexander.

Quick as lightning, Alexander swung for Surtr’s outstretched forearm. Alexander thought he had scored a hit, but it merely bounced off Surtr’s thick hide. Alexander, unwilling to relent, swung a horizontal slash meant to take the giant in the knee, but Surtr’s burning blade materialized and Alexander’s ax slammed edge first into the flat of Surtr’s broadsword with a loud clang. The resulting tremor ran up Alexander’s hand and arm, causing them to momentarily go numb. Dodging to the left, Alexander averted a savage punch aimed for his head.

Alexander ducked and dodged Surtr’s onslaught. He never gave up, always looking for an opening to attack. Spinning the ax between attacks, Alexander continued to duck and dodge, waiting for the giant to make a mistake. Alexander knew he couldn’t keep this up for much longer, but he couldn’t waste his attack either.

Alexander backed away. Overconfident, Surtr grew bolder with each attack and was swinging wildly. Just as he had hoped, Alexander’s opportunity came as he ducked under a slash meant to take his head off at the neck. Ducking under the smoldering blade, he stepped in as Surtr’s blade slammed into an ancient pine tree. The force of Surtr’s blow nearly cut the massive tree in half, but luckily for Alexander, the blade stopped three-fourths of the way through.

It only took him a second, but that was all the time Alexander needed. Alexander knew this was his only chance, and he swung with all his might. His blade hit Surtr in the stomach. Sparks fluttered to life as Alexander’s ax impacted Surtr’s hardened skin. A look of shock crept across Surtr’s face; Alexander’s blade carved out a shallow cut. Surtr blurred, attacking faster than Alexander thought possible. Not knowing where the attack was coming from, Alexander flung himself backward, but it wasn’t fast enough. Surtr’s blade buried itself deep into Alexander’s right shoulder.

Alexander crumbled, falling to his knees as Surtr pulled the blade free in a spray of blood. Alexander’s vision blurred. Through the pain, Alexander focused on a thin trickle of molten orange blood seeping out of the cut chiseled into Surtr. Surtr followed Alexander’s gaze and looked down. He dabbed lightly at the bleeding wound.

In his grave voice, Surtr intoned, “You are the first to injure me in decades. Be proud as you go to your death.” He heaved the sword above his head, “Give my regards to the Aesir. Their rule over the realms has ended. Ragnarok begins.” Reverently, he brought his sword down for the killing blow.

Alexander, broken and bleeding, moved on reflex, brought up his ax in an overhead block, but it wasn’t enough. Knowing that his time had finally come, Alexander hoped he had made his ancestors proud and that his family would be ready for what was to come. The Berserker mantle that he had held for so long would finally pass on.

A flutter of wings and a caw from the onlooking raven were the only sounds in the silent forest as Alexander slumped back, dead. Surtr took a long moment to stare down at his fallen foe before turning and disappearing through the bridge.


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Kevin D. Miller is an attorney in Southern California who spends his two hour commute listening to Science Fiction and Fantasy books on Audible or dreaming up plots for future book ideas. When he isn’t working, Kevin can be found spending time with his girlfriend Amy, and their two dogs Pepper and Riley or hiking and kayaking in Big Bear.