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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Emergence by Ellie Beals - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi, lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Ellie Beals and her new book, “Emergence”!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Ellie and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!


by Ellie Beals


GENRE: Thriller



It starts with Just Watching. But danger emerges when Just Watching ends.

When the "wild child" Xavier ¬ first encounters Cass Hardwood and her dogs in the woods of West Quebec, he is enthralled. Unknown to them, he Just Watches them in a lengthy ongoing surveillance, before ¬ finally staging a meeting. His motives are uncertain—even to him.

The intersection of the lives of Cass, a competitive dog handler; her dogs; her cousin Lori; and the complex and enigmatic Xavier leads them all into a spiral of danger. It starts when Just Watching ends—when Cass and her crew encounter tragedy in the bush. Xavier's involvement in the tragedy, unknown to Cass, sets off a chain of potentially lethal events that begin in the dark woods of Lac Rouge, when hiking, skiing, hunting, trapping, marijuana grow-ops, and pedophilia collide. It matures in the suburbs of both Ottawa and Baltimore, and culminates back in Lac Rouge, when Lori's spurned and abusive lover arrives uninvited at Cass' isolated cabin in the woods. In the night. In the cold. In the heavily falling snow. His arrival is observed by Xavier, whose motives are again uncertain, but whose propensity for action is not.

Join Xavier, Lori, Cass, and the realistic and compelling dogs that are essential players in this dark drama as their fates converge in a deadly loop of revenge, fear, guilt, and hope.




My eyes did adjust, but I thought it would be a surer shot if he’d just stay still for a minute. He did. He was on alert, but not because of me. His back was to me. I settled the LeeEnfield firmly into my shoulder, took a deep breath, and pulled the trigger. The sound of the shot cut through the air. I suspect Jean-Luc didn’t hear it until he was already falling forward, like a tree felled by a pro like Stefan. I felt that rush that you always get when you’ve hit your living target.

And then, nothing. A stillness as thick as snow fell on us. No wind. No birds. No movement from Jean-Luc. And no awe. When I’ve shot a buck before with Stefan, there had always been that moment when you’re so full of life and joy, you think you’ll explode. But for Stefan and me, that is always quickly followed by a feeling that Stefan has told me is awe, where you feel small and grateful to and sorry for the beautiful animal that will feed you in the coming months, and where you hope he had had a good life and would be happy to die this way instead of getting old and sick and dying of starvation. This was different. At the moment I would have expected to feel awe, instead I just had a feeling of…. rightness. Stefan and I have been reading stories by Edgar Allen Poe, and I had been afraid that I’d feel the terrible guilt he wrote about. I didn’t. I felt peaceful.



Fierce Women: Empathy Vs. Pity

When I was a little girl, my favorite game was Make Believe – essentially a child’s version of role-playing.  A persuasive child, I was able to convince my playmates that there was a better choice than those on the usual Make Believe menu of doctors and nurses, cowboys and Indians, or mommy, daddy & me.  My better choice was a family drama that featured one prominent character: the troubled teenaged daughter. I don’t know how I became aware of this stereotype when I was so young, but assume that I encountered it in television or movies, and as an emergent histrionic personality, was drawn to the dramatic possibilities written into this type of family drama.

So is it a surprise that years later, I became a legendarily Troubled Teenager?  I think not. This speaks to the power of archetypes, whether they’re drawn from real life or from any of the media with which we’re constantly bombarded.  For those of us who are readers, the archetypes we absorb unknowingly can have a tremendous influence on our identities – including, and perhaps most particularly about what makes for an appealing woman. Many writers over many decades have recognized this and shaped female protagonists from Jo March (Little Women) to Nancy Drew, to Hermoine (Harry Potter) to help girls recognize strength and independence as desirable qualities for girls. But I wonder to what extent that kind of early indoctrination stands up to a steady and very different archetype that may subtly invade and pervade our adult reading?

My favorite genre is psychological suspense.  Of course there are some intrepid female protagonists that appear in contemporary works in that genre.  But in recent years, I’ve become concerned about the number of female protagonists who are weak and unreliable, either victimized by their remembered pasts, haunted by an inability to remember them, or paralyzed by their inability to trust their own perceptions.  Typically, these women turn towards men to somehow rescue them.  Typically, there are two attractive males in the cast, one of whom may in fact, be the Bad Guy.

Of course, I recognize the utility of this kind of scenario when drawing a portrait of an unreliable narrator, which is a staple of psychological fiction.  But when I wrote Emergence, I was determined to not pander to this convention when shaping the character of my lead female protagonist, Cass.  Instead, I embedded the potential for “unreliability” in her 13-year old alter-protagonist, Xavier.  Xavier is generally truthful.  But there are some things he doesn’t understand and thus can’t reveal, and others he chooses to keep to himself as “private”.  In any case, I have imbued him with qualities which cause readers to not completely trust him.

I shaped Cass as a character the reader can trust. She is independent, physically able, determined to triumph over her fears, and emotionally resilient. Which is not to say that she is flawless.  She is obsessive, vain, anxiety-prone, and craves approval.  But she is determined to earn that approval on her own merits.  She is married to Noah, an admirably supportive man, but she does not turn to him to rescue her.  Instead, her instinct is to “protect” Noah, by not revealing the full extent of the dangers she encounters throughout Emergence.  Noah is not present when Cass eventually faces the most dramatic events in Emergence, which are confronted only by Cass, her equally independent cousin, Lori, and her three dogs.

If I were to offer any advice to other writers trying to style strong female protagonists, it’s to always opt for empathy over pity.  Pity is the purview of the victim. If you want to create a fierce woman, you need readers to feel for your girl, but to never feel sorry for her.  That means you need to analyze any general pattern or specific incident you create, with an eye to whether it has the potential to induce pity from your readers.  Of course, it is much easier to tweak a specific incident, rather than the general pattern to which it contributes.  Which I guess means that as you write, you have to conduct an ongoing audit of the pity vs. empathy spectrum. For me, that ongoing audit was great fun.  I hope it is for you, too.



Ellie Beals grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and moved to Canada when she was 20. She spent the majority of her professional career as a management consultant in Ottawa, Ontario. Plain language writing was one of her specialties.

Dogs have been a constant in Ellie's life from the time she was a child. In the mid-1990s, she started to train and compete in Obedience with Golden Retrievers, with considerable success. In 2014, she had the highest-rated Canadian obedience dog (Fracas—upon whom Chuff is modelled), and her husband David Skinner had the second-rated dog. During a ten-year period, both Ellie and David were regularly ranked among Canada's top ten Obedience competitors. They have an active obedience coaching practice in Ottawa, having retired from their previous professional careers in order to spend more time playing with their dogs and their students.

Like Cass and Noah Harwood, Ellie and David have a log cabin in the wilds of West Quebec, where Ellie is an avid wilderness recreationist, constantly accompanied by her dogs. As COVID-19 spread in March of 2020, she and David temporarily shut down their coaching practice and retreated to their cabin, where Emergence was written. Lac Rouge is not the real name of the lake on which they live. Everything else about the locale for Emergence is faithful to the character of the gentle Laurentian mountains of West Quebec.













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Ellie will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Ellie Beals is a new author to me, but I look forward to reading this. I always love meeting new authors. Thanks to this blog for the introduction.

  2. The story sounds interesting.

  3. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?

  4. Sounds like a very interesting book.