Blog Book Tour | “A Valentine Surprise” by Emily Murdoch a novella anchoured to ‘A Christmas Surprise’, two of the #Regency Roms by Ms Murdoch

Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a hostess with Writerly Yours PR – which is run by my dear friend Priya of whom I met during a blogger panel. We have become friends through our collaborations and it has been an honour to work with her on her publicity projects for Indie authors – most of whom I have been featuring a guest author feature as I cannot read digital copies of books. In this particular instance, I was allowed to print the PDF in order to read in full for which I was thankful to the author for allowing me to do so in lieu of a paperback copy to read.

This particular blog tour was anchoured by Twitter chats wherein we attempted to break the novella down into collections of chapters and discuss the story via Twitter whilst finalising our book club discussions with a special Q&A with the author – which is scheduled to run during the blog tour itself.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Valentine Surprise” direct from the author Emily Murdoch in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keen on reading this story:

I originally had intended to release my review on behalf of the previous release ‘A Christmas Surprise’ anchoured through my #ChristmasReads selections this past holiday season. I setting things up to run the week after Thanksgiving with a few featured over Thanksgiving weekend – however, as most of my dedicated followers already realise, this was the weekend my Dad had his stroke (see also this post and this post). Concurrently, I’ve been struggling to find my way back into my blog – in reading regularly and blogging regularly as I am now my father’s main caregiver. To say I am seeking a bit more balance in my life at the moment is putting it mildly. However, despite the imbalance of my reading life and the gaps in my blogging life – I can attest, I’ve cured one thing recently: I re-fell in love with cooking! lol All it took was a return to the local farmer’s market wherein you can hand-select and cut your own fresh produce.

Whilst signing up for this blog tour, I was excited as I came to appreciate the writer’s style whilst reading ‘A Christmas Surprise’ – which is still going to be featured on my blog – even if it’s a few months shy of Christmas; I have a few leftover Christmas selections to release and hopefully help readers find a few to tuck away for the holidays next year. I was thankful this new novella follows the timeline of the first one – if in effect you look at it from a unique angle, this could actually serve as a back-story on how the characters are inter-connected – specifically, by way of Lady Audrey and Jonathan.

I still find it wicked amazing how the author has been threading her stories through novellas, selecting a shorter arm of narrative to tell her stories whilst still giving the reader something hearty to chew on whilst they read her stories. This is something I tried to highlight through the latest Twitter ‘book club’ chat regarding ‘A Valentine Secret’ – of which I’ll include at the bottom of this review – offering everyone on the blog tour a chance to click-through to Twitter tweet by tweet and add their commentaries to the discussion questions awaiting them. For readers who are not a part of the blog tour – I welcome your responses, as these are everyday themes which are cross-relatable to all.

 Blog Book Tour | “A Valentine Surprise” by Emily Murdoch a novella anchoured to ‘A Christmas Surprise’, two of the #Regency Roms by Ms MurdochA Valentine Surprise
Subtitle: A Regency Romance
by Emily Murdoch
Source: Author via Writerly Yours PR

The course of true love never did run smooth…

Jonathan Brodie, the only son of Sir Roger and Lady Brodie, has lived in the village of Maplebridge his whole life.

Penelope, the daughter of the local florist, was adopted by the Baldwins when she was just a baby.

They could not be more different and yet, one blustery January morning, their paths collide in a chance encounter that is destined to change their lives forever.

Jonathan soon discovers that Penelope is far from the quiet wallflower that she first seems, but rather a beautiful rose just waiting for its chance to bloom. After spending more and more time together, it’s not long before their feelings for each other begin to blossom.

However, when Jonathan starts investigating Penelope’s past, in order to present her with the truth about her biological parents, his grand Valentines gesture threatens to destroy any hope of a future with the woman he has grown to love.

Penelope begins to doubt Jonathan’s motives.

Is he only concerned with placating his domineering father and convincing him that she is worthy of the Brodie name?

Despite his good intentions, will Jonathan’s Valentine Secret ruin everything?

Or are two people from opposite ends of society simply destined to remain poles apart forever?

A Valentine Secret is a charming regency romance novella about never giving up on true love. ​

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1523659098

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Short Story or Novella


Published by Self Published Author

on 21st January, 2016

Format: epub | PDF editon

Pages: 112

Self-Published Author

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #HistRom, #HistoricalRomance + book tag: #AValentineSecret

#Regency or #IndieAuthor + #ValentineRomance

About Emily Murdoch

Emily Murdoch

Emily Murdoch is a medieval historian and writer. She has authored a medieval series and a regency novella series, and is currently working on several new projects. To stay updated on her writing and upcoming books, follow her blog and on Facebook,Twitter and Instagram.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 14 February, 2017 by jorielov in Adoption, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Historical Romance, Singletons & Commitment, the Regency era, Village Life, Women's Fiction, Writerly Yours PR

Guest Post | “How I Came to Write ‘Meeting Lydia'” by Linda MacDonald whilst talking about bullying, internet relationships & midlife

Posted Monday, 13 February, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Guest Contributor and/or Reviewer of JLAS banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, dear hearts! To be perfectly fair – when it came time to start to host ‘Meeting Lydia’, I had completely forgotten I had signed on to host a guest (author) feature, until of course, the day arrived where my particular guest feature was arriving by email! This intriguingly current topical essay landed in my Inbox, much to my chagrin – as how was it possible I was receiving a guest feature, I honestly had no memory of sending off to be responded too? I must confess – somewhere between November and now, my memories are a bit ‘altered’ by circumstance(s).

Quite pleasantly, as I was reading over the proof of the draft sent to me, I noticed the author touched on some key cornerstones of not only her life but the life of Lydia, her lead protagonist. I did not quite agree with some of the sentiments shared as being someone who was bullied in school and outside of it, I had different takeaways – for instance, I came out of being bullied a bit differently. If anything part of what inspired me forward to graduating as early as I could was to be free of the confines of school, where in effect bullies can thrive because it’s a ‘closed shoppe’ of situations limited in scope to the school grounds. It’s much easier to ‘walk away’ when you have freedom of movement and accessibility of exit options. I never felt due to being bullied, I was ‘less than’ my peers – if anything, the words stung, the assaults on my character hurt my soul (how could they not?) but throughout the bad days, I had two wicked fierce supporters in my corner: my Mum and Dad. They picked me up when life dragged me into the gutters of emotional anguish and angst – they gave me a renewed sense of self and they helped me dodge my worst aggressors by changing schools or districts. In essence, they were my advocates before I gained the strength to voice my own advocacy and stand up for the rights I knew were innate and inherent to all.

Each of us who is bullied has a different response mechanism and each of us is bullied in different ways. I still have moments where bullies find me and try to find a way to erode my serenity… even online, you will find bullies who seek to destroy you (as I have found since being a book blogger and tweeter); however, the key is always to strive to live your own personal truth, own your truth and not to let others change your perspective on who you are nor the worth you have within you to share to the world. I can only hope those who are bullied can find strength in their selves as I have over the years, and may they have a blessed supportive network of friends and/or family such as I have as well.

As a side note, I was one of the first girls who integrated into an all-boys secondary school – it turnt out to be the best year of my life, because the boys and I respected each other to the degree of learning more during our 6th Year than any year which came after it straight through high school graduation. I realise this might sound unique – but for me, the co-ed classrooms were in their infancy and due to the gradual way in which girls’ were being added to the student body, allowed us a bit more flexibility to find our wings to fit in with our peers. It wasn’t without it’s hurdles, mind you, as it was a large campus and entertained seven different grade levels – however, for my own personal sphere and grade, it was heaven. I felt bad when I learnt of the author’s own experiences – as apparently, the school she attended was going through more growing pains with the transitional period than my own.

Also, I never heard of ‘bullying’ being a rite of passage – if anything, it was the unspoken, often ‘unaddressed’ behaviour of childhood. Similar to learning difficulties being cast aside for the attempt to mainstream children without addressing their individual learning needs and/or help them learn at a pace which befitted their own intellectual abilities. The old standby of ‘one method of learning’ for everyone never sat well with me. I find it heart-warming and remarkable, the author found a cathartic self-ending resolution to her years being bullied – to turn inward and outward within the vein of writing a novel had to be quite remarkable seeing the words light up the pages – turning personal strife into a release of positive energy to touch other lives and tell a portion of her own story in the process. Writers are fuelled by personal experiences, memories and the internalisation of everything we can breathe through our souls whilst we live our lives – to find a way to use transformative narrative to set a back-story for a character is writerly bliss – especially if it taps into something a lot of people can relate too, even if circumstances differ – we can all be empathic to the shared reality.

I hadn’t realised the story-line was going to delve into bullying – as at the time I signed on for the tour, I was focusing on the two other aspects of it’s narrative: midlife, second chance romance and the hormonal changes a woman goes through during menopause. Mostly as I grew up watching “The Golden Girls”, ached to watch “Maude”, cheered for Diane Lane in “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Must Love Dogs” and have found mid-life stories and second chance romances of characters past thirty-ten to be some of my most beloved finds as both a reader and a film appreciator. Not everyone has the chance to meet their true love or find their true happiness in both life or life at a younger age where longevity in marriage might feel either daunting or an exciting adventure. 

To have the story layered through strife and self-esteem issues is an interesting angle to dissect. I also appreciated the author taking the lead on this essay and giving me a though-provoking ‘start’ to share with everyone following the blog tour. I look forward to your comments in the threads below – especially if you can relate to the topic today and/or are interested in listening/reading the story. If you’ve already read the story, I’d be keen to know your reactions to the author’s guest post. Due return in a few short days, as I’ll be revealling my own impressions on how ‘Meeting Lydia’ resonated with me. Until then, brew a cuppa and enjoy the author’s revelations about how she approached writing this novel.
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Meeting Lydia by Linda Macdonald

Edward Harvey. Even thinking his name made her tingle with half-remembered childlike giddiness. Edward Harvey, the only one from Brocklebank to whom she might write if she found him.”

Marianne Hayward, teacher of psychology and compulsive analyser of the human condition, is hormonally unhinged. The first seven years of her education were spent at a boys’ prep school, Brocklebank Hall, where she was relentlessly bullied. From the start, she was weak and frightened and easy prey for Barnaby Sproat and his gang. Only one boy was never horrible to her: the clever and enigmatic Edward Harvey, on whom she developed her first crush.

Now 46, when Marianne finds her charming husband in the kitchen talking to the glamorous Charmaine, her childhood insecurities resurface and their once-happy marriage begins to slide. Teenage daughter Holly persuades her to join Friends Reunited, which results in both fearful and nostalgic memories of prep school as Marianne wonders what has become of the bullies and of Edward Harvey. Frantic to repair her marriage, yet rendered snappy and temperamental by her plummeting hormones, her attempts towards reconciliation fail. The answer to all her problems could lie in finding Edward again… But what would happen if she found what she seeks?

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School Bullying, Internet Relationships and Midlife Love

How I came to write Meeting Lydia

Guest post by Linda MacDonald

When I was 5 years old and living on the edge of England’s Lake District, my parents sent me as a day girl to a boys’ private boarding school. They thought it would be less rough than the local elementary. They were wrong. Girls were scattered thinly throughout the school and from the age of 9 to 10, I was the only girl in the class. I was bullied. It was the usual stuff: name-calling, stealing equipment, being left out. No single incident was what you might call ‘serious’, but it happened every day. And if someone makes fun of you often enough, you begin to believe it.

In the past bullying was accepted as a rite of passage, even ‘character building’. But does it really help children to cope better as adults? The Kidscape children’s charity thinks not. In a survey of 1000 adults, they found early bullying experiences often led to a lack of self esteem. Some reported depression, shyness, and less likelihood of success in education, the workplace or in social relationships. Most said they felt bitter and angry about their experiences. Read More

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Posted Monday, 13 February, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Author Guest Post (their topic), Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Dating & Humour Therein, Indie Author, Modern Day, Realistic Fiction, Sociology, Women's Fiction

Audiobook Review | “Halfway Hunted: Halfway Witchy, No.3” by Terry Maggert, narrated by Erin Spencer

Posted Friday, 10 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I started hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions at the end of [2016] during “The Cryptic Lines” tour wherein I became quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Halfway Hunted” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Terry Maggert) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On the heart tug of emotional angst stemming out of the cliffhanger from Halfway Bitten:

In case you’ve missed my full ruminations on behalf of the first novel in this wonderfully witchy series, please direct your mouse to Halfway Dead!

Halfway Hunted promo badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

When Halfway Bitten concluded – I had mixed emotions. In some ways, I had trouble sorting out my thoughts because I couldn’t quite say I had the same reaction to the second story as I did the first: wicked sweet admiration for the story in whole. No. I honestly had a difficult takeaway, as portions of the story felt ‘off’ to me somehow, something I have sorted out how to explain, if you read the ‘postscript’ on my review.

The hardest part about the ending is how it ends – to be direct, this is the second time I felt overcome by the ending of a novel. The first time was during a read-fest of Lady Darby, of which sadly ended with me unable to resolve my feelings in order to read the adorable pocket sized fifth installment. (see also post) By the time I resolved my emotional angst, I was facing a real-life medical crisis. (see also post) In this particular case, it was simply emotionally gutting – such a sad conclusion and yet, a heroic gesture for someone’s beloved. Wulfric grew on me – as he didn’t warm to me initially – it was through his love for Carlie and the overtures of sincerity he made started me to think about another vampire I liked (ie. Angel; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Angel series)

Each of the Halfway Witchy stories are progressively moving deeper into the heart of Carlie’s personal growth and the ways in which her life is exponentially complicated through her experiences as a white witch. Maggert threads a hearty threading of realism into the backbone of the series – there are happy moments, sure, but overall, this is a cheeky satire with high octane drama. It’s set in a world just out of the view of our own – if you kept the veil of the supernatural away from your eyes, you could say this is ‘present day, 21st Century’, too. It’s texture of familiarity is enhanced by how Maggert etches into his narrative exchanges of cultural and tradition Americans would readily recognise. This is decidedly American – not just in how he chooses to write his characters’ unique personalities or their delivery of their lines, but rather, how the story is told. You can perceive a lens of grounding out of the author’s own imagination and living memories whilst countered against the unseen and very dangerous supernatural world.

This is why I am so genuinely addicted to this series – you feel like brewing up a warm cuppa and settling in for returning back to a place that feels so much like home. Similar to Stars Hollow if you will. Or any small towne you feel you can cosy up inside and be recognised as a resident rather than as a passing through outsider. This is why despite the cliffhanger giving my heart a lurched out motion of ‘how could this happen!?’ I felt Maggert left in just enough Hope for things to turn around and/or have restitution given down the road a bit in the next installments to where I could handle moving forward. Unlike my feelings on behalf of the recent episode of NCIS: LA (see this thread of a rant of mine) which pushed the envelope too far for me to even consider rational and plausible in regards of ‘where’ a story-line in a family tv series should go.

As an aside, Lady Darby’s story-line crushed my soul, NCIS: LA disturbed my heart and disillusioned my loyalty to a series I’ve followed since JAG (ie: all 3x NCIS are spins of the original) and Halfway Witchy dealt with a twist of fate in such a better way. If you’re going to give a reader (or a viewer) a heart-wreck of a cliffhanger or turning of tides, take after Mr Magget. And, yes… I am going to be reading Lady Darby – after you nearly lose your father to a series of TIAs, even a crushed soul can be repaired. Or in my case, a severe case of amnesia occurred because something more important was hitting my reality. NCIS: LA is falling into the category of Castle & Downton Abbey; not everything can be forgiven. Then again, I boycotted Angel after S2 for similar reasons.

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Audiobook Review | “Halfway Hunted: Halfway Witchy, No.3” by Terry Maggert, narrated by Erin SpencerHalfway Hunted
Subtitle: Some Prey Bites Back
by Terry Maggert
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Erin Spencer

Welcome to Halfway; where the waffles are golden, the moon is silver, and magic is just around every corner.

A century old curse is broken, releasing Exit Wainwright, an innocent man trapped alone in time. Lost and in danger, he enlists Carlie, Gran, and their magic to find the warlock who sentenced him to a hundred years of darkness. The hunter becomes the hunted when Carlie's spells awaken a cold-blooded killer intent on adding another pelt to their gruesome collection: hers.

But the killer has never been to Halfway before, where there are three unbreakable rules:

1. Don't complain about the diner's waffles.
2. Don't break the laws of magic.
3. Never threaten a witch on her home turf.

Can Carlie solve an ancient crime, defeat a ruthless killer and save the love of her life from a vampire's curse without burning the waffles?

Come hunt with Carlie, and answer the call of the wild.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Halfway Dead, Halfway Bitten, Heartborn,

Also in this series: Halfway Dead, Halfway Bitten


Genres: Cosy Horror, Ghost Story, New Adult Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Sci-Fantasy, Upper YA Fiction, Vampire Romance, YA Paranormal Suspense


Published by Terry Maggert

on 10th November, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours and 56 minutes (unabridged)

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the halfway witchy series:

Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions
Digital composite of Wooden table with library background. Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions; used with permission.

Notation on Cover Art Design: charmed by two, indifferent towards a third

Unlike my admiration for the first two covers, the third cover was slightly less inclined to be liked by me due to how ‘blood’ was the prime feature of the artwork. I’m not a girl who likes vampires or werewolves – not generally – I do have my exceptions (all girls do) but if you were to cast a wide net about the stories of the supernatural and/ paranormal suspense in general – I’m just not the kind of reader / viewer who digs a lot of er, blood. Unless it’s a medical drama – not that I can handle watching or reading medical dramas anymore – in my teenage years I could filter real life from fictional; as an adult, I’ve lived too many years with medical crises to care to always be locked into a soul-wretch of a fictional one. I even wanted to share the promo badges attached to this blog tour – as some of the quotes were my personal favourites – but again. The ‘blood’ is just too .. er, ick for me!? I always par down the blood – my imagination is tamer than most and more expansive in other regards – in true essence, I dial down the gore. Not that I would consider Maggert’s fiction ‘gory’ no, it’s still within what I consider ‘Cosy Horror’ or even ‘Horror-Lite’ but.. yes. This cover just didn’t win me over. I sort of wished for the continuity of the marker tattoos. That was something wicked original now discarded.

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About Terry Maggert

Terry Maggert

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.

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Posted Friday, 10 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Apothecary, ArchDemons or Demonic Entities, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Author Found me On Twitter, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cats and Kittens, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Dreams & Dreamscapes, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Environmental Science, Equality In Literature, Faeries & the Fey, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Horror-Lite, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Immortals, Indie Author, Light vs Dark, Modern Day, Nature & Wildlife, New Adult Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Realistic Fiction, Shapeshifters, Small Towne USA, Sociology, Speculative Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Suspense, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, The Natural World, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Vulgarity in Literature, Walking & Hiking Trails, Werewolves, Witches and Warlocks, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction

Author Interview | Conversing with Terry Maggert the author of the YA series #HalfwayWitchy!

Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts! I am happy to announce I have two new showcases about the #HalfwayWitchy series by Terry Maggert alighting on my blog today! I knew even before I finished Halfway Dead, I wanted to interview the author, because of the content of his stories. Halfway Witchy is the kind of paranormal book series which becomes this fiercely addictive guilty pleasure of a read after awhile! You get so attached to Carlie, Gus (her Maine Coon!) and Gran, it’s hard to wait for the moment to arrive where you can soak inside the rest of the series!

It’s unique in how Carlie’s voice is both forthright in deadpan honesty and how realistically resilient she is to overcome everything she’s endured. She picked up the pieces each and every time she finds her life marred by circumstances outside her control but she never loses the hope of what tomorrow could still bring. She chooses to walk the fine line between white and dark magic – where she has to interact with creatures and situations which ebb out of dark magic but she herself, is a practicing white witch.

Mr Maggert has a wickedly delightful sense of humour within the personality of Carlie and he definitely knows how to make fiction read of smartly conceived satire!  He adds in layers of his own spirit and heart to the stories he’s penning whilst craftly his niche within the paranormal and Dark Fantasy branches of literature; brokering between YA, Upper YA and New Adult – depending on your interpretation of the genres. I tend to think he’s more Upper YA & NA given the context of the series, with only the first novel being just within what I’d consider traditional YA. Again reader discretion.

When I sat down to compose my questions, I was trying to sort out what I wanted to know most about the series and how to find a way to let the author shine through the conversation, too. I  hope you will enjoy the selections I’ve made to highlight and appreciate the honesty of Mr Maggert’s answers, as this was quite the enjoyable interview I’ve hosted in awhile.

Sit back with your own cuppa tea and a hearty stack of WAFFLES!Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

the halfway witchy series:

Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions
Digital composite of Wooden table with library background. Halfway Witchy book series collage provided by Audiobookworm Promotions; used with permission.

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How did you first decide to give the Diner such a clever addiction to waffles?! What was the impetus to have waffles be the sub-focus of the foodies who loved to dig into the food Carlie cooks?!

Maggert responds: I’m a huge fan of sugar, flour, and vanilla in any ration. Given that, it seemed natural to include something like waffles or pancakes or pie as the keystone of Carlie’s diner. I also rather enjoy the use of stacked waffles as a unique little detail, and naming them “The Carlie” reminds me of my own mom, who was only five feet tall. (She was also an excellent sport about jokes pertaining to her, ahh, lack of height).

I love finding out there was a familial connection behind Carlie’s height – when I first read your reply though, I was thinking of an excellent recipe for bread pudding rather than waffles! lol I do admit – I am a natural bourne baker moreso than I am a chef even though I regularly love concocting new recipes and even run a feature on here called: The Bookish Foodie. The truth of the matter is when it comes to baking, there is such freedom in the choices and in the way you can switch out ingredients as I have a preference for gluten-free vegan baking even though I don’t always get the pleasure of baking non-traditionally, it is something I aspire to do. Esp if I could master baking my own ‘breads’ – ooh, imagine if I could make m own homemade french toast with fresh baked bread!? Aye. #beyondyum So you can see, I definitely understand your motivation to make the diner Carlie’s passion and her beam of balance in life.

Halfway is such a happily quirky small towne – it’s a close knit community and full of eccentrics of a variety of characters; is there a real-life towne which inspired you to create the vibe of Halfway the way in which you did?

Maggert responds:I was born and raised in a city– but I came of age in a small town. The natural array of people are concentrated in a smaller setting, leading to an awareness and acceptance of that which is unusual or odd. I mean odd in the finest way possible– odd is interesting. Odd is us, it’s you, it’s me– it’s the things we consider a part of our day that are utterly alien to someone else. Taken in aggregate, it makes for an excellent fabric on which to write. I revel in the atmosphere of the city, but I’m wholly charmed by the pastiche of weird that comes in a small town.

Interestingly enough, we mirror each other – I am city bourne, growing up in the inner city and then, during high school opted to live in the country; if only to have a better chance at avoiding the issues of city schools during the mid-90s. I love small townes myself – either to live or to visit. There is something about them which is alluring – especially if you are not too far away from a city. You can live a bit more simply but the fact the natural world isn’t so far away is what truly inspires me. I also like how you’ve taken to express the quirks of everyday life in a small towne – using those as the nuanced backdrop of Halfway and in effect, given a charming presence of supporting cast I am unsure if all readers are keeping tabs on, as even before you broached something in this conversation, I was musefully ‘thinking ahead!’ Anyone who has seen ‘Overboard’ with Goldie Hawn will understand the benefit of knowing both sides of how life can be lived. You’ve done such a wonderful job of giving small towne life personality, I think your readers will learn the lesson we’ve been blessed to experience.    

Have you always had a healthy curiosity about the paranormal or did your interest in the paranormal grow as you developed the series as you have a strong command for elements of the paranormal which are easily digestable and recognisable to those who are well-read or versed in this thematic.

Maggert responds: Yes. Here’s why: Think about your childhood. Now, think about how much of it was at the periphery of your senses. If you’re like me (an observer), then there’s a great deal of life in the shadows. I find that fascinating, even scary-velous, and converting that feeling of awkward familiarity to the genre seemed like second nature. Do I think there are vampiric clowns in Central New York? I sure hope so.

Ah, some of my best moments in childhood and my growing years were spent observing – life as it was being lived. I liked to take stock of the subtle details or the curious unknowns of others as they walked through their living hours oblivious to everyone else. You can learn a lot about society simply by ‘looking’ at others as you go through your own routines. However, complimented to the fact we writers are constant observers of sociological behaviour, I also like engaging in spontaneous conversations with people you only ‘meet in the moment’ of where your paths cross. You gain so much by being open to talking to someone new and someone unknown yet of the same environment or surroundings. Sometimes you get lucky and their from out of towne, state or country. You took it into a new layer of usefulness by taking the quirky and mysterious and knitting those into the fantastical through the threads of your stories. Although there is a lot of sociology in your stories – if readers take a more critical assessment of them.

Carlie and Gran have a very close-knit relationship – based on mutual respect and a deep resolve of familial pride to carry on the legacy of their bloodline. What challenged you about bridging their generational gaps but also, the different perspectives and approaches of both women to the mindful art of witchcraft!?

Maggert responds: True story: Had my Nana asked me to swim the Atlantic, I would’ve had my shoes off before she could point east. That woman, as we say here in the South, “hung the moon”. I channeled that reverent love into a relationship in which Carlie sees her Gran as more than just an embodiment of age. My mom passed away twenty years ago, and until then, I thought of her as a personification of “Mom”, rather than Suzie Maggert. Now, years later, I know her as a person, too, thanks to the generosity of memory shared by my family and friends. That’s the foundation for Carlie and Gran. Carlie wants to be great, but she’s young. Gran sees that, and acts accordingly to let her fail when she must. It’s the only way I could make Carlie real, as if she’s a young woman you might actually meet. That’s what I wanted, both to respect my concept of familial love, and to make Carlie and Gran in three dimensions.

I love this answer – and it felt so instinctively ‘right’ to be the inspiration behind Carlie and Gran. You definitely tapped into your own relationship with your grandmother and fused your memories into ‘everyone’s memories’ of their grandparent(s), too. It is a very curious relatable portion of the Halfway Witchy series and the foundation of their relationship is such a lovely bit of personal back-story!

You have a particular quirk of including cross-breeds of species in your Halfway Witchy series – which character did you find the most approachable to write about in Halfway Bitten: Anna or Wulfric? Which of them did you feel was easier to conceptionalise based on their origins?

Maggert responds: ANNA. Oh boy. She’s– well, Anna is anathema to the lives of some women, so she’s easy to write. I’ve met Anna, or her type, and I see how the world treats them. She’s guilty of the most egregious sin of all: she goes her own way. She’s a voluptuary, seeking her own pleasure and damn the consequences. With that in mind, the reactive nature of Carlie just seems to flow.

I thought you might lean towards Anna… you pulled this off so very organically it’s almost as if those passages wrote themselves into the story-line!

You have an organic style of etching out Carlie’s introspective internal world into the narrative of the series – how did you develop her quirky style of where she’s one part humourous and one half seeking a better understanding of the world around her when her spirit feels heavy by her witchy experiences? What did you want readers to takeaway from Carlie’s resolute resolve to carry forward even when adversity struck her so very strongly?

Maggert responds: I’ll answer that by telling you why young soldiers are the best for terrible jobs: they don’t take it personally. Carlie is, in fact, a soldier. She’s at war, pressing for peace with an array of creatures and events that are too discordant to allow in her world. With that in mind, yes, she feels heavy, but in the style of the youthful, she returns to form because ultimately, she is loved. Youth, love, and honor will carry the day, even when the enemy has fangs.

I did observe this in Carlie even before you mentioned it – but I hadn’t proportioned exactly what I was sensing until I read  your response. Yes, she very much is a solider enduring and championing through her struggles to face things mere mortals would shirk away from due to how hideous most of it is and how emotionally crushing it is to be fighting for mankind. You truly did her justice by how you’ve portrayed her and by how you should her endurance to ‘carry on’ and never lose sight of hope, youthful fortitude and the legacy of her kin being honoured through her actions.

 Carlie is definitely connected to the natural world – not merely as a witch but as a soul who feels attracted to the natural world. How important was it to draw out this personal interest of hers whilst grounding her character’s passion for nature as a segue for readers to re-think how they think about the environment around them? As in Halfway Dead there is a beauty thesis surrounding preservation and conservation.

Maggert responds: When I realized that there had been four billion chestnut trees at one time, I felt a pang for something that had been gone prior to my birth. I grew up near the ocean, then, in the forest. I know the effects of humanity, and being a caring steward starts with seeing where you step. It’s simple, but through Carlie’s eyes (and Wulfric), I can describe something that is wild, free, and unknown. I want that sense of wonder, because I carry it with me from the last time I walked under pines that rustled overhead.

Once we are touched by the grace of the natural world and see how small we are in the scheme of what is far more ancient than our own humanity, you look at everything quite a bit differently. Trees are old souls and their spirit leaves an imprint on our own souls as we spend time amongst them. There is something quite grounding about the natural world – almost as if we are not completely ourselves without an anchour of footing in the wild. You truly owned your truth and the wisdom of what you’ve learnt by what you’ve stitched into the series. Readers without the same experiences I can only hope were touched by the depth of what you were trying to express to them.

Moving forward in the Halfway Witchy series – did you choose to cap the series as a quartet or are there more stories in-line after the fourth? Can you share a snippet of what we can expect in the next release?

Maggert responds: I’ve got six in mind, and in the next book I address a myth that I find. . .let’s say curious. I have a friend who playfully said she wanted to be a mermaid. I took that to mean she wants to drag men to their drowning death, which surprised her. Sirens and Mermaids are BAD. In Halfway Drowned, you’re going to see just how bad they can be. . .even when they’re on land.

Ooh, dear ghouls – yes, I know! I learnt about the true natures of both Sirens and Mermaids when I was in the 7th grade – courtesy of a teacher who loved mythology even if at the time I found most of it too droll and boring. There were certain things that just stuck with me and this tidbit was one of them!

How did you find Erin Spencer and what was your initial reaction when you heard her bring Carlie to life!?

Maggert responds: After carefully making an offering to the stars, Erin was revealed to me in a complicated ritual of– just kidding. I heard her voice on another book and the rest is history. She’s stellar, bringing a subtle, playful take on Carlie that is note perfect in every way.

You truly hit narrator gold with Ms Spencer. I love finding new things to share with my readers about how she approaches the series and why I consistently love listening to her voice Carlie and the rest of the cast! I still lament, I might never be able to read this series in print – unless I read and listen to Ms Spencer in tandem! There’s a thought! lol

Which secondary character or background character do you think might be overlooked but should be considered imperative lateron? If any?

Maggert responds: Do not overlook the staff of the diner. That’s all I will say at this time.

(rubs hands together) Ooh, now how did I know you’d say this!? No, seriously. I never overlooked the staff – it was almost as if they were hiding in plain sight for a reason and you never quite overly relate their personal lives in each of the stories either. Just drawing out a general scope of who they are and why they love to work there… hmm…

Gus plays such an important role in Carlie’s life – being a cat lover yourself – how did you pull together the personality of Gus to such a heightened level of realism he appears to meow off the page? Is he a composite of your own cats or was he inspired by one in particular?

Maggert responds: He’s an amalgam of two of mine (Jimmy and Stinker). Let’s face it, cats are remarkably consistent. They’re judgmental, independent, and loving all at once. Gus is all that, simply. . .larger. He’s twenty-five pounds, whereas his ideological forefathers Jimmy and Stinker are around seventeen pounds each. I upgraded for fictional purposes.

I smiled reading this response. Being a cat lover and one who cannot live without cats, I just loved it!

If you had to pick one gift of the paranormal to embrace yourself, what would you choose!?

Maggert responds: Reading minds. Is that altruistic? Not entirely, although I would like to know when people are hurting, so that I might help a bit. Could I profit? Of course. I would know– in advance– when people are going to take the last slice of pizza. We won’t be having any more of that nonsense, now will we?

Telepathy. I could see that. In some ways, you offer this talent to the readers because your stories are internally and externally interconnected to your characters. Almost as if the ‘narrator’ of the story is the telepath and is guiding us all forward through what he observes and intones.

What uplifts your spirit the most when you’re not researching or writing your next story?

Maggert responds: There is a moment,every morning, where I get to wake up my son. It’s electrifying to look at this human and realize he’s ours– sure, he belongs to himself, but for now? His simple presence is a tonic to anything else that might ever trouble me. A sleeping kid is the pinnacle of peace, and that image will go with me for good.

A blessed answer and one I was honoured you shared. I look forward to mumhood; one day I shall celebrate being an Adoptive Mum, until then, I can enjoy my nieces and nephews. Children are beautiful lights of how we carry on in this world long after we’ve left; they carry our hearts, memories and the love we endeared to give them as a way to live fully in an uncertain world. To inspire them and to guide them is not just an honour but a gift.

About Terry Maggert

Terry Maggert

Left-handed. Father of an apparent nudist. Husband to a half-Norwegian. Herder of cats and dogs. Lover of pie. I write books. I've had an unhealthy fascination with dragons since the age of-- well, for a while. Native Floridian. Current Tennessean. Location subject to change based on insurrection, upheaval, or availability of coffee. Nine books and counting, with no end in sight. You've been warned.

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Thank you, Mr Maggert for sharing a bit of your writerly life with all of us today! And, thank you for giving us such evoking worlds of where humanity and ancient truths walk hand in hand. I cannot wait to see where you round out the Halfway Witchy series – if you do cap it at six novels – I have a feeling the ending might be harder to read than the beginning! Thanks for inspiring so many lovely hours of listening blissitude!

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 This blog tour is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

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Whilst participating on:

Halfway Hunted blog tour via Audiobookworm PromotionsI will be sharing my review of ‘Halfway Hunted’ tomorrow. My listening hours of this lovely series ran a bit too close to the deadline as my connectivity with the internet was vexed with issues last week and on top of that technologic nightmare, I had other things going on personally which seemed to eat away the free hours I had to listen to this lovely third installment. Therefore, instead of posting my interview and review in tandem, they will be separated a bit by a day. I look forward to your return visit and be sure to *leave your comments!* for Mr Magget in the threads below!

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Posted Thursday, 9 February, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Apothecary, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Author Found me On Twitter, Author Interview, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Cosy Horror, Cosy Horror Suspense, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Ghost Story, Ghosts & the Supernatural, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Horror-Lite, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Immortals, Indie Author, Light vs Dark, Nature & Wildlife, New Adult Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Parapsychological Suspense, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Realistic Fiction, Shapeshifters, Small Towne USA, Sociology, Speculative Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Suspense, The Natural World, Upper YA Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches and Warlocks, YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal &/or Paranormal Romance, Young Adult Fiction