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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A Moment in Time by Martin Dukes - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

A Moment in Time

by Martin Dukes


GENRE: YA Fantasy



Alex Trueman has just turned fifteen. He's a typical teenager, a bit spotty, a bit nerdy and he's not exactly popular at school, not being one of the 'cool' kids. His tendency to day-dream doesn't exactly help him to be cool. either! But being cool isn't as good as the talent Alex discovers he has - stopping time.

Yes that's right. Stopping time!

Well, for everyone except Alex, that is, who finds that whilst everyone else is caught in a moment in time, he is able to carry on as normal. Maybe not quite 'normal', after all, he's able to stop time, and whilst that's not exactly as good as a certain 'boy wizard', it's pretty close!

The only trouble is that reality for Alex isn't always what is seems, and being plunged into an alternative can be a bit tricky, not to mention the fact that he makes an enemy almost as soon as he arrives, which tends to cause a problem.

Will Alex Trueman, nerdy daydreamer, be able to return to reality or will he be stuck forever in his alternative? Is a moment in time enough for Alex to discover the superhero he needs is probably himself?

A Moment in Time is the debut novel of author Martin Dukes, and is the first in a series of Alex Trueman Chronicles, which take the reader, along with Alex, into a bedazzling world of time travel, alternative reality and flying sea creatures. His further adventures include the past, possibly the future and definitely a fight to save reality itself.



Seen up close, Cactus Jack was a rather scruffy middle-aged man wearing torn jeans and the famous T-shirt by which he was known. He had close cropped hair and about a week’s worth of greying stubble. Cactus Jack was nothing out of the ordinary to look at except in one respect. Morlock and Minion had eyes like sparrows. Cactus Jack had no eyes at all. Where there should have been eyes there were simply expanses of smooth skin. Morlock raised a hand in vague greeting as Cactus Jack strode past. There was no hesitation in his pace, and he showed no sign of having even noticed Alex’s existence. This was fine by Alex. He felt the iron grip on his heart relax as Jack splashed heedlessly through the river and followed David into the scrap yard. Alex had a feeling David would soon be coming back. The scrap yard was surrounded by a high, chain link fence on its further side, and the gate was locked. Sure enough, David tumbled out of bushes into the river a little way downstream. Moments later he was back with Alex, clutching his ribs, his legs torn by thorns and barbed wire. It was clear he was exhausted. Alex wondered how far David had already run with Cactus Jack in pursuit.

“Got… to... hide,” he gasped, his eyes darting about madly until they fastened upon Alex’s skip. This he clambered into, even as Jack reappeared between a stack of gas cylinders and a pile of broken wooden pallets. It was no use. David was doomed.



The cover of Alex Trueman in A Moment in Time

Reading is an intensely visual experience. On first impression, one might conclude that looking at a cartoon strip or a picture book is more of a visual experience than reading a standard printed book, but I believe that the opposite is true. When we read a comic book, for example, our eyes provide to our brain an exact representation of the writer’s/illustrator’s vision. We only need to absorb that vision. On the other hand, when we read a standard printed book, our visual cortex is stimulated to create a vision that is an interpretation of what the writer saw, rather than an exact reproduction. Vision is truly the queen amongst the senses.

Accordingly, as writers, we wish to provide our readers with some visual clues as to the content and style of our work, in order to tempt them to engage with our work in the first place. It is for this reason, that the design of a book cover is a very important exercise. The book cover offers clues as to the nature of the story within. Is it dynamic and exciting? Is it elegant and sophisticated? Does it call to mind particular cultures or periods of history? Making a successful cover design allows us to signal to our target market that this book is intended for them.

Doubtless, many writers, while interested in this process, will be obliged to outsource this activity to those with the necessary visual skills and experience. My own journey has been different, because my background is in Art and Graphic Design, subjects that I have taught for the best part of four decades. Consequently, I was well-equipped to take care of the design work myself, with the advantage that there was no intermediary to stand between me and the visual representation of my book. Naturally, the concept for the book cover and the publicity material arose from discussion with my publisher. She was keen to stress the fact that Alex Trueman’s books were part of a series recounting his adventures, and that the branding should stress his central significance in this. Because of this, my first task was to design a logo that would be at the core of what we might loosely describe as his ‘corporate identity. Alex’s logo combines the upper-case initials of his name encompassed in a circle. The strokes of the letterforms terminate in arrows which represent the directions of time experienced in the ‘real’ world and in Intersticia, the world Alex finds himself trapped in, which conceptually cross at right-angles. I hope that this is a bold and effective design solution that works well in any conceivable context and scale.

The book cover itself incorporates this logo but the front makes use of an interplay of typography, photography and background elements. The main photograph is of my son, Jack. In the photographic studio sessions, I banked a large number of static and movie images that I can use for future books and for their associated publicity. Jack has become ‘Alex Trueman’ in my mind now! The photograph used on the cover shows him running into the image. First, this suggests that the book contains a lot of action. Second, the viewer feels involved in the action and drawn into the world, a visual technique that is as old as the visual arts themselves. The background contains swirling visual elements of a vaguely psychedelic nature (suggesting other-worldly or fantasy content) and contain pocket watches with the hands set to 2:23, a moment of particular significance in the content of the book. Finally, the font used is a serif one. Serif fonts are often associated with tradition or the past. Given that time-travel is an essential element in Alex’s adventures it seemed appropriate to make this choice. The arrangement of text elements creates a style that can be tweaked and re-used when designing the covers for subsequent books.

In conclusion, you can see that every element in the book cover makes sense in the context of the story content and also in the wider context of the series as a whole. You’ll have to read the book before you can judge if it properly represents the story!



I’ve always been a writer. It’s not a choice. It’s a compulsion, and I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. Lots of childish scribbles in notebooks, lots of rejection slips from publishers and agents testify to a craft long in the making. In addition, it has proved necessary to earn a living by other means whilst those vital skills mature. For thirty-eight years I taught Art and Graphic Design, thirty-seven of them in a wonderful independent girls’ school in Birmingham, UK. For much of the latter part of this career I was Head of Department, which gave me the opportunity to place my own stamp on Art education there, sharing with the pupils there my own love of Art and the History of Art. Over a decade I was able to lead annual visits to Florence, Venice and Rome (some of my favourite places on the planet) as destinations on my Renaissance Tour. These visits created memories that I shall cherish for the rest of my life.

I love history in general, reading history as much as I read fiction. I have a particular interest in the ancient world but I am also fascinated with medieval times and with European history in general. This interest informs my own writing to the extent that human relationships and motivations are a constant throughout the millennia, and there is scarcely a story that could be conceived of that has not already played itself out in some historical context. There is much to learn from observing and understanding such things, much that can be usefully applied to my own work.

Teaching tends to be a rather time-consuming activity. Since retiring, I have been able to devote much more of my time to writing, and being taken on by the brilliant Jane Murray of Provoco Publishing has meant that I am finally able to bring my work to the reading public’s attention. I like to think that my ideas are original and that they do not readily fall into existing tropes and categories.

I am not a particularly physical being. I was always terrible at sport and have rather poor physical coordination (as though my body were organised by a committee rather than a single guiding intelligence!). I tend to treat my body as a conveyance for my head, which is where I really dwell. My writing typically derives from dreams. There is a sweet spot between sleeping and waking which is where my ideas originate. I always develop my stories there. When I am writing it feels as though the content of my dreams becomes real through the agency of my fingers on the keyboard. I love the English language, the rich majesty of its vocabulary and its rhythmic possibilities. My arrival at this stage could hardly be describes as precocious. However, at the age of sixty-two, I feel that I have arrived at a place where I can create work of value that others may appreciate and enjoy.











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Martin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card 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 fabulous community outreach projects and 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.

Bite Me for Christmas by Megan Slayer - Book Blast - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan Slayer will be awarding a prize pack featuring a necklace made by the author to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

He came to her in a dream, but he’s more like a nightmare in tight jeans, and she wants a taste.

Rachael isn’t good at magic, and she’s not versed in life, but this witch wants to lay her hands on the sexy vampire who’s come to her in her dreams. Can she have her Christmas wish -- the vampire?

Gavin wants the witch, but he doesn’t believe he’s worthy of her. Part of him wants to devour her magic and save himself, but what if being saved doesn’t involve dying?

Anything is possible with a little Christmas magic.


©Megan Slayer, 2021, All Rights Reserved

Rachael admired the twinkle lights she’d strung around the kitchen. Somewhere people were enjoying themselves. They might even be making love under the Christmas tree. She’d like to try that -- sex in front of the tree.

Instead, she’d pulled the chore of kitchen clean-up. She always pulled that chore and the rest, too.

She draped the washcloth over the faucet and surveyed the room. Everything appeared to be back in place.

When she peeked into the living room, Serena and Millie were deep in another round of cards. The last Rachael knew, they were playing hearts. Rachael tiptoed out to the back porch to admire the snow. The cauldron bubbled with some batch of potions. She had no idea what her sisters made, only that she had to clean out the pot when they finished. The tangy smell filled the enclosed space and made her dizzy.

She crinkled her nose. If she knew how, she’d change the scent to something nutmeg-y or pine -- anything but the overwhelming aroma.

Something flashed among the white snow. She folded her arms and stepped up to the screened-in windows. Maybe the flash was the play of firelight on the snow.

The snow glittered and mesmerized her as it fell -- that had to be it. The flash was falling snow.

She hummed the tune of a Christmas carol and fought back tears. Christmas shouldn’t be this depressing, but she couldn’t help herself. She tried to make the day bright, but Christmas Eve would forever be the day her parents died and her world turned upside down. The loss turned her sisters bitter, too. The official account said nothing about her being at fault, but her sisters swore she’d created the fog, which caused the collision.

She wished she knew the truth.

One day, she wanted to know, but she also wanted to replace the sad memories with good ones. She’d never forget her parents, but she needed to move forward with her life.


The flash returned, but this time, a man appeared among the snow.

Her blood sizzled, and she gasped. She knew this man.

Her vampire.

“Gavin,” she whispered. “You’re here.”

“You did ask for me for Christmas.” He moved across the snow and stood in the doorway to the porch. “Said you wanted a vampire for Christmas.”

She longed to touch him, but feared she’d draw her sisters’ attention.

“You did request me, didn’t you?”

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.


Author Amazon Page
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Monday, November 29, 2021

XNOR by Anand Purohit - Book Tour - Guest Posts - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hello, lovelies!!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Anand Purohit and his new book, “XNOR,” here on FAB!!  For other stops on his 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 $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Anand and to increase your chances of winning!!

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


by Anand Purohit


GENRE:  Fiction / Fantasy / Historical



1759 was a defining year for the colonies that became Canada. It was also the year the British Empire rose to preeminence over other European nations and empires. All that changes when technology deployed in 2047 to shield Canadians from an escalating world conflict inadvertently teleports a group of scientists, engineers, teachers and medical people back to Nova Scotia, 1759. Despite their technological superiority, they, like many new settlers, struggle to establish a homestead, feed their community and deal with the constant threat from a violent world. Established empires with their large populations are not about to let a small group of upstarts interfere in their lucrative slave trade and subjugation of whomever they please.



May 15, 2046

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Chan Wei is skeptical anything important will happen. I’ve been here before. Scientists and engineers are always excited about their latest project or idea. I’m willing to take risks. Sometimes it pays off immensely, but I must avoid the duds no matter how enthusiastic the supporters are.

Peggy Doyle meets him as he walks to the AI & Physics lab. “Hi, Peggy. I hear we’re in for a really big show.”

“So says Neil!” she laughs. “In all my years, I’ve never met a more erratic yet brilliant individual. You’ve given him a long leash. I hope he hasn’t strangled himself with it.”

“Thanks to your sales team, we’re having our best year. We can afford a misstep. What will our revenue be this quarter?”

Peggy smiles broadly. “I predict we’ll pass the billion mark for the first time! Our laser and AI divisions are steady thanks to our military sales. Graphene power storage has really taken off. We’re the world leaders.”

“Fantastic! When we go public, we’ll all be very rich,” Chan boasts.

“I’m thankful for the share options. The salary and bonuses go down well too,” she replies as they enter the lab.

Neil Gargano is bouncing around in his usual style. His project partner, Dr. Wu, is seated, smiling, and displaying more emotion than usual.

Chan asserts a challenge as only a company owner can: “Gentlemen, I’m prepared to be amazed or issue a pink slip. What will you be showing us today?”

Neil can’t contain himself. “Space is alive! We’ll show you proof. Space is alive!”

Chan is amused. “Peggy, is this something you can sell?”

Peggy takes the cue. “Let me see. I don’t see a fit with our laser division. Maybe we can sell the military some Alive Space. They buy some of the darndest stuff and pay well for it.”

Dr. Wu surprisingly backs Neil up, somewhat. “if this demo goes as planned, I think you’ll be recalibrating your expectations.”

“Great!” Chan enthuses. “Blow us away!”



Ways to Deal with Rejection as a Writer

My best technique for letting rejection go is to write a silly, short, usually very short story with a character that has been rejected and suddenly finds themself in a winning situation. Here is an example of one:

Green-grooved Dung Beetle at Cape Point, South Africa

It was a normal day, like many others.

I was stumbling home after having a few with the guys and what do I see? A big, steaming pile; I can't believe my luck!

People are walking around it, cursing its position on their path. Turning their nose up at some perceived slight. Ranting on about this and that. Their life is never what it should be. Someone is at fault. Someone should do something!

I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to roll me up a fat one and take it home to my wife. She never believed me when I said "someday my shit would come in". Wait till she sees me roll this baby through the front door. Who's the good for nothing layabout now?

Overcoming Writing Obstacles

Similar to dealing with rejection, writing obstacles drain creativity. While writing my first book, XNOR, I had a problem dealing with my desire to create a plausible scenario where a large community of professionals could be transported back in time to 1759 Nova Scotia. I’m not a fan of the usual magical events like special mirrors or glowing rocks that cause the time travel. They certainly free a writer to just get on with the historical fantasy but I wanted a scientifically plausible story while still keeping the reader engaged. A short poem like this helped me get out of my lock and freed my creativity:

Photo by David Code   unsplash

I woke up early before the first light. The worms and other night critters were still out and about. Now I’m sitting on this branch chirp, chirp, chirping away!

I chirp a happy tune.

Poop will be here soon.

Poop, poop, poop away!

It happens every day.

No need to sweat and fret.

Not me, I’ll not regret.

I go when I go.

A car you say, below?

Don’t blame me,

It’s gravity.

Mass warping space,

In every local place.

Or so Einstein said.

Ideas from his head.

Others did reply,

I think it’s all a lie!

Spacetime warp indeed.

Limits to light speed?

The truth is clear to me.

We’ll never all agree.

No one has the scoop.

I’ll just eat, chirp and poop.

My Favorite Scene in This Book

George Washington’s outhouse with three seats. OK, I admit to finding joy in bathroom humor. When my research of various eighteen-century characters turned up the odd fact of Washington’s outhouse, my writing demon couldn’t resist taking it into a flight of fancy. Outhouse, Whitehouse, hmm. Washington led the first government with three branches or seats of power as the British might say. His outhouse had three seats. Could there be a connection?

What would a cabinet meeting held in his outhouse look, sound and smell like? In the Whitehouse, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were, apparently, constantly raising a stink with Washington in the middle trying to clear the air. I try to be respectful toward historical characters, but this was too good to pass up.

Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why?

Cecile Dubois, the ‘Mad Moiselle’. I knew the original ‘Mad Moiselle’ many years ago. A tragic and loving person. She taught French immersion to young students. To her face, she was Mademoiselle X. Behind her back, she was ‘the Mad Moiselle’, an overly rigid teacher with a fixed scowl.

Cecile Dubois wants and needs to be loved while she pushes away the few suitors attracted to her. I created a lover for her, Jacques Hébert, a large, loud, burly eighteen-century woodsman. He announces himself as “Jacques Hébert spectaculaire!”.

She replies derisively, “Tête de chou, Monsieur” (cabbage head, sir).



ANAND PUROHIT was born and raised in a Caucasian, Christian family. After several years of inexplicable experiences, he travelled as young man to India for insight. The shocking immersion, alone in a chaotic and foreign culture, forever changed him. Wandering among the slums, always on the edge of death and disease, his perception was shattered. He returned to Canada with a new name and legalized it to cement his commitment to a life of mindfulness.

While enlightenment proved elusive, the quest for greater understanding remained strong. Forty years of software design and business ownership did not quell the thirst. Constant study of history, logistics, physics and metaphysics watered the desire to weld a nexus between analyst and mystic.

The days of designing complex software systems have passed. A new door has opened.





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Anand will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card 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 fabulous community outreach projects and 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.

Runaway by Bobbi Smith - Blurb Blitz - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi, lovelies!!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Bobbi Smith and her new book, “Runaway,” here on FAB!!  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 Bobbi and to increase your chances of winning!!

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


by Bobbi Smith


GENRE: Historical Romance



Running Scared

Destiny Sterling had to get away from St. Louis. Otherwise she’d never escape her stepfather’s hideous plans for her. Her only hope was to pose as a mail-order bride named Rebecca and travel to Texas to marry a rancher.

Running From the Law

Dan Cooper was as low-down a man as they came. He took pride in his gang’s rough reputation…and the string of successful robberies they’d pulled off. His ace in the hole was a remote Texas ranch where he planned to lie low if things got too hot.

Running the Show

Texas Ranger Lane Madison knew the Cooper gang would show up at the Circle D Ranch sooner or later. All he had to do was play the part of its new owner…and wait. What he didn’t count on was having to marry a vulnerable young beauty to keep up the role, or the inescapable attraction that made any secret between them impossible.



Lane was working in the stable with Steve when he saw a buggy in the distance heading their way.

“We’ve got company coming,” he remarked, frowning.

Steeve stopped what he was doing and went to take a look. “That’s the buggy they keep down at the stable. It’s probably Ol’ Mick driving. I wonder what he’s up to?”

“I guess we’re going to find out.” Lane strode over to meet the approaching buggy.

The sight of the two women in the buggy set Lane to worrying. Seth Rawlins hadn’t had any family, and he wondered if they were kin to the previous owner who’d lost the ranch in the card game.

If the women didn’t know of the ranch’s change in ownership, he knew this could be awkward. If they knew Seth, his false identity was about to be revealed. His mood was grim, but he managed a welcoming smile.

“Afternoon,” he greeted them.

“Hello, Seth,” Ol’ Mick replied and then nodded toward the ladies. “I got a special delivery here for you, Seth!”

“I can see that,” Lane smiled. “Hello, ladies.”

Lane had no idea who they were, but he felt a surge of relief when he saw no sign of confusion in their expressions as they looked at him. They obviously didn’t know the real Seth.

“They came in on the noon stage, and I wanted to get them out to you right away,” Ol’ Mick went on.

“I appreciate it,” Lane said.

“I take it you’re Mr. Rawlins?” Gertrude inquired as she descended from the buggy. She eyed the dark-haired man up and down critically. She had to admit that with a bath and a shave, he might be very handsome. It looked as though Rebecca was going to make out all right on this arranged marriage.

“I am,” Lane replied, puzzled by her manner. It was almost as if she’d been inspecting him.

Gertrude smiled brightly. “Well, it’s good to meet you, Mr. Rawlins. I’m Gertrude McAllister from St. Louis, and this is Rebecca Lawrence, your mail-order bride.”



Bobbi Smith

Queen of the Western Romance

After working as a department manager for Famous-Barr, and briefly as a clerk at a bookstore, Bobbi gave up on career security and began writing. She sold her first book to Zebra in 1982.

Since then, Bobbi has written over 40 books and 6 novellas. To date, there are more than five million copies of her novels in print. She has been awarded the prestigious Romantic Times Storyteller Award and two Career Achievement Awards. Her books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List, the USA Today Best Seller List and the Wal-Mart Best Seller List.

The rights to Ms. Smith’s books have been sold to China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Russia and Sweden. Bobbi has also written two faith-based contemporary novels – Haven and Miracles – using the pseudonym Julie Marshall.





Facebook Group – Bobbi Smith Books:


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Amazon Author Page:




Amazon Kindle eBook:


Amazon US Paperback:


Amazon US Mass Market Paperback:


Amazon CA Kindle eBook:


Amazon CA Paperback:




Bobbi will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card 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 fabulous community outreach projects and 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.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Meteors and Menorahs by Nessa Claugh - Book Tour - Guest Post - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi, lovelies!!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Nessa Claugh and her new book, “Meteors and Menorahs,” here on FAB!!  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 $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Nessa and to increase your chances of winning!!

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

Meteors and Menorahs

by Nessa Claugh


GENRE:  Sci Fi Romance / Jewish



'Your dad invited your ex-boyfriend.' Already committed to going home for Hanukkah, Leah panics at her mother’s text and invites her crush to come with her. The catch? They aren’t dating. The other catch? He isn’t Jewish. He isn’t even human.

Knar has been studying the physiology of humans for years in preparation to introduce Earth to the rest of the galaxy and present them as a species that can adapt to change well. Although he believes in his mission, he’s also had his eye on his coworker Leah, and her invitation to come home with her for the holidays is just the opportunity he’s been looking for.

Going home for Hanukkah is normally the least of Leah’s worries until her mom lets it slip that her dad invited her ex-boyfriend. Desperate to keep him at arm’s length, Leah invites her handsome coworker Kenneth Knar to be a buffer against her family. Having to pretend he’s her new boyfriend doesn’t hurt, and if it annoys her parents, all the better.

He just has to find some way to tell her that he’s more than just a gentile. He’s not even from this planet. And Leah hates liars.

The menorah isn’t the only thing getting hot this holiday season…



Leah finally came into the kitchen. “You made him lunch? Mom! I was going to take him out to Bernie’s!”

“Bernie’s closed a while ago,” her mother said. “Besides, it looks like you feed him plenty at home."

She poked my deltoid and Leah blushed. “It’s not like he’s hard to cook for,” she said defensively. “Really? Bernie’s closed?”

“Last year,” Deborah said. “If you’d come home more you could have eaten there more before they shut down.”

Leah’s shoulders tightened, and I was starting to see what she’d meant about needing a buffer between her and her family. I’d gotten what she’d promised and more. Time to go to work.

“We have plenty of good restaurants in Kansas,” I said, hoping it would be enough to change the subject. “No food like this, but I’m sure there is food we can get there that we can’t find here.

“Nothing like Kansas barbecue,” Leah said.

Deborah’s lips thinned. “You aren’t eating pork.” It was a statement and she stared at Leah as though begging her to argue.

“You know barbecue isn’t just pig, right Mom?” she asked.

Diversion time. I started listing off all the animals you could barbecue, and by the time I got to what I’d read about the invasive reptiles in Florida, both Leah and her mother were suitably horrified to the point where we were off the topic of Leah’s lack of visits and whether she’d eaten pork in Kansas or not.



Brain Food for Writers: 5 Healthy Snacks to Eliminate Writers Block

Cheerios is the first item on my go-to list. They’re easy to measure out, have a satisfying crunch as a dry snack, and are healthier than a lot of other similarly crunchy items like chips. I’m not going to lie, I’ve eaten my way through most of a bag in one or two sittings by eating mindlessly, but they’re healthier than a lot of other options, and they have considerably more vitamins.

One and a half cups of dry Cheerios offers the following:

Calories: 140

Fat: 2.5 grams

Carbs: 29 grams

Fiber: 4 grams

Sugar: 2 grams

Protein: 5 grams

Vitamin A: 10% DV

Vitamin C: 10% DV

Vitamin D: 10% DV

Vitamin B12: 20% DV

Calcium: 10% DV

Iron: 70% DV

Magnesium:  15% DV

Zinc: 20% DV

Berries are something you have to take carefully. They can add some nice zing to the Cheerios, but they can also add a lot of sugar. My preferred berries are blueberries or strawberries because they’re easy to find, tasty, and you can put them on or next to one of the other snacks for variety.

One cup of halved strawberries includes the following nutritional values:

Calories: 49

Fat: 0.5 grams

Carbs: 12 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Sugar: 7 grams

Protein: 1 gram

Vitamin C: 150% DV

One cup of blueberries offers the following:

Calories: 85

Fat: 0.5 grams

Carbs: 21 grams

Fiber: 3.5 grams

Sugar: 15 grams

Protein: 1 grams

Vitamin C: 24% DV

Vitamin K: 26% DV

Manganese: 25% DV

Nuts. You can really use any nuts as long as you’re sure of your allergies and you check your portions and how they were prepared (like salted nuts). I prefer peanuts, but I’m picky with my nuts. Just remember that nuts can go bad, so don’t just get a giant container and leave them sitting around until they go rotten (ask me how I know!). Now, nuts are higher in fat, but you need fat to get that glorious brain of yours to work.

Here’s the nutritional value of a quarter cup of dry roasted unsalted peanuts.

Calories: 320

Fat: 28 grams

Carbs: 12 grams

Fiber: 4 grams

Sugar: 2 grams

Protein: 14 grams

Iron: 18% DV

Magnesium:  23% DV

Phosphorus: 20% DV

Bamba is a weird snack that I picked up while I was in Israel for a few weeks in 2012. Imagine a Cheetos puff, but instead of cheese, it tastes like peanut butter. It’s kind of a love ‘em or hate ‘em snack, but I wanted to include them because IMHO they’re better than Cheetos and you can get them in most Jewish markets in the United States. So if you’re looking for a fun Israeli snack to try while you read Meteors and Menorahs, try Bamba!

One 1oz package of Bamba peanut butter puffs has the following:

Calories: 150

Fat: 8 grams

Carbs: 14 grams

Protein: 5 grams

Vitamin E: 20% DV

Vitamin B12: 15% DV

Vitamin B6: 10 % DV

Folic Acid: 15% DV

Water. This sounds easier than it is. Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Water doesn’t provide a nutritional value, so here’s a list of things that water does do for you.

Joint lubrication: Your back and neck aren’t just hurting because you’ve been hunched over a computer all day. Your vertebrae glide against each other well because of the cartilage protecting the ends of your bone. Dehydration shrinks the cartilage, which means your bones are grinding a lot more and you may not be as mobile as you were before.

Digestive system regulation: Everybody poops. There’s even a book about it. Sitting a lot can slow down your digestive system, and when you add dehydration to the mix, you can end up with irregular, difficult to pass stools. If you’re not drinking enough water, this can get painful, and that’s before you add something like hemorrhoids to the mix.

Flushing body waste: Sweating gets rid of bodily waste. Peeing filters things out of your blood. If you’re not drinking enough water, you can end up with a UTI which means a trip to the doctor and time away from your computer.

Weight Loss: Water helps you remain full so you aren’t snacking overly much. As writers, we tend to sit a lot and drink a lot of energy drinks (I’m guilty of it, I know) but you need to add water into your routine so sugary drinks and caffeine aren’t the only way you’re getting water. Drinking a decent amount of it can create a sense of fullness, and half the time when you think you’re hungry, you’re probably just thirsty. They feel very much the same. Drink eight ounces of water and wait an hour. If you’re still hungry after that, go ahead and eat one of the snacks on this list.

The most important advice I can leave you with is to be kind to your body. It’s the only one you’ve got, and treating it well now means you’ll be able to use it to write for a long time.



Nessa grew up thriving on trips to natural history museums and Jurassic Park. Once adulthood was upon her, it was only a matter of time before she discovered dominant aliens and shifter erotica. She enjoys titillating the Triassic and stargazing.





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