Spotlight & Guest Post: The Knight’s Secret by Jeffrey Bardwell


Today I am pleased to share Jeffrey Bardwell’s upcoming fantasy/adventure book, The Knight’s Secret and a fantastic guest post. The author has also made a free teaser and giveaway available, so be sure to see details following the book information and sign-up!

theknightssecretbkreviewtemp1 (3)

The Knight’s Secret (The Mage Conspiracy, Book 1)
By Jeffrey Bardwell
Publisher: Twigboat Press
Expected Release Date: 3/5/18
Genre: Fantasy / Adventure with romance elements
Formats: epub, mobi


Retired hero Sir Corbin rides to the capital of the Iron Empire for one last adventure. But the capital is in an uproar. The emperor has been slain by rogue mages. The new empress is livid. Soon all mages are suspect . . . including Corbin’s daughter.

Corbin attempts to find allies among his old regiment. The army has become a slithering nest of vipers as imperial mages and cavalrymen move warily around each other. Both sides snare Corbin in tight coils of suspicion, politics, and lies. He is caught between a tryst with a jilted mage ex-lover and the tight-lipped scheme of an ex-buddy in the cavalry. When the vengeful empress launches a vendetta against all mage kind, Corbin must decide whether to be a father or a hero.

The bickering mages and cavalrymen aren’t the only ones hiding something. Sir Corbin is not who he seems. Discover The Knight’s Secret, the first fantasy adventure in The Mage Conspiracy series. Join a quest of self discovery, romantic entanglements, and political intrigue where lies cut deeper than any sword.

Sign up to receive a free teaser and a chance to win 1 of 5 ebooks here
(Raffle ends March 5, 2018)



Sorcery, wizardry, magic . . . call it what you will, but such powers are rarely subtle in the realm of fiction, unlike the realm of reality where almost everything is hidden and obscured by misdirection. A powerful wizard with bristling beard and tall staff will rain fire from the sky. A street performer in a top hat will conjure flames from his fingertips. These are the polar ends from a gradient of effects of course. Nothing prevents a stage act from being bombastic or a wizard’s staff emitting a quiet glow in lieu of crackling flames. The result is the same among the gathered mob: awe and the persistent question, what just happened?

This awe is in part sparked by the unnatural quickness of the street performer’s nimble fingers or the wizard’s vicious attack. Much of the shock during and after magic is from the illusion of speed. People tend to fear what their eyes cannot follow, what their mind cannot perceive. One of the most fearsome creatures on the planet, but hardly the most deadly, is the viper. The coiled animal strikes with astonishing ferocity. Blink and you’re dead.

With their capes flaring like the hood of a cobra and poison magic dripping from their fingertips, wizards are the human vipers of their world. Such is the perception. But just like you can strike the head off a viper with astonishing ease, magic often has tremendous liabilities and disadvantages that lead to the ‘squishy wizard syndrome.’ A wizard caught unawares or temporarily bereft of magic is like an uncoiled viper: a weak and pitiable being.

To the weak, defenseless mob, ruled by their emotions rather than logic, the perception of danger is more powerful than reality. In the real world, this draws respectful crowds. The illusion of danger is titillating. In the realm of fiction, this draws fearful crowds. Let us examine a case study: magic—thunderous flames from the sky magic—is real and disturbingly close to home.

What if you suspected that your neighbor was a mage: a powerful being, a snake hiding in the grass? To an individual, this may be cause for reasoned response: empathy or introspection or caution. You question yourself. Surely this friend across the street whom you’ve known for years whose children frolic with your own could not pose any danger? But the fear gnaws on your mind. Suppose you tell your other friends. Whispers spread. The mob gathers.

To the mob, the accusation of magic is enough to stir fear. The perception of danger is enough to stir a response, and this is no reasoned response. Reactions are primal and instinctual and vicious. A mass of human snakes whose minds are more venomous than their fangs descend upon the nest of vipers. The mage is killed. The mage’s mate and brood are slaughtered, whether they share his powers or not. The mob is in a frenzy. The mage’s house is destroyed with torches. The raging flames are no less destructive for all that they do not rain down from the sky.

The mob is safe. It disbands. Only individuals remain to question themselves and kick the debris. Were these smoldering ashes really a threat to me and mine? Was he even really a mage? Did I dare assume otherwise?

Did I just make an entire family . . . disappear? What just happened?

Jeffrey Bardwell wrote his first fantasy epic when he was seven: a thrilling single page adventure. Subsequent stories have matured alongside their author. He devours fantasy and science fiction novels and is most comfortable basking near a warm wood stove. When not writing, Jeffrey enjoys cooking, gardening, and shooing baby dragons from the compost bin.

The author lives on a farm and in a prior life worked as a community ecologist. He is overfond of puns and alliterations. He is also is an unabashed ancient history and mythology buff. If you enjoy some aspect of his books, he would love to hear from you. If you do not, he would not.
Connect with Jeffrey & learn more: Amazon  Twigboat Press  Facebook

I would like to extend a special thank you to the author for his time and the wonderful post provided.

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram

Blog Tour: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi (Guest Post & Review)


“The human heart is the most complicated creation I’ve ever encounter. The formation of the cosmos was easier to understand.”
~Atia Abawi, A Land of Permanent Goodbyes (Uncorrected text)


9780399546839bkreviewtemp1 (3)


A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
By Atia Abawi
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
ISBN13: 9780399546839


Narrated by Destiny, this heartbreaking — and timely — story of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria is masterfully told by a foreign news correspondent who experienced the crisis firsthand.

In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.

In the wake of destruction, he’s threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq’s family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.

But while this is one family’s story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss. Destiny narrates this heartbreaking story of the consequences of war, showing the Syrian conflict as part of a long chain of struggles spanning through time.

Guest Post: Atia Abawi on Writing A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

This was not an easy book for me to write. In fact, on almost a daily basis I was brought to tears. Books like these do take an emotional toll because I think to make it work you have to really empathize and internalize what you are sharing with the reader – because you want it to be as authentic as possible.

I was originally researching another novel when I decided to write A Land of Permanent Goodbyes. But the news coverage of the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing hardship and walking on the highways of Europe in 2015 captivated my attention and heart. I was at home holding and nursing my beautiful baby as I watched mothers exhaustingly carrying their own beautiful babies across borders in search of safety and freedom. I knew at the drop of a hat (more likely a bomb) I could be in their shoes as well. My parents had been once. I thought of my mother and father and the perilous journey they took a few decades ago when my brother was two and my mother was eight months pregnant with me. They too were escaping war and persecution. I knew I needed to write this novel.

I started my research by traveling to both Turkey and Greece so I could meet the people living the nightmare we were watching through our screens. People that were forced from their homes and lives in order to survive and have their families survive. Each and every person had a different story, all captivating, riveting and heartbreaking. Through these trips I was also lucky enough to meet the lovely people who were taking time out of their lives to help them – the volunteers – and decided to include them in the novel to show that humanity and love exists even in the darkest of times.

As I continued my research – talking to people, watching news clips, reading harrowing accounts – my heart broke daily. But I was inspired to continue in hopes that someway and somehow my book can give a deeper glimpse into the crisis – the people, the love, the lives. Some hearts have grown cold and hard towards those who are suffering but I truly believe education and information can chip away at the ice and replace fear with understanding and compassion, if not love.


Some books enter your life and leave a mark, and then there are those that stay etched within you permanently. You know by the time you close them, that you are wiser and better for having read them. A Land of Permanent Goodbyes is the paragon of such books.

Thrusting the reader into the heart of the Syrian refugee crisis, it serves to not only enlighten but encourage one to want more. To want to know more, to want to do more and to want to be more. A distinct narration told through Destiny, crafts a powerful and sincere observance of humanity and one young boy’s journey to seek a secure and safe life for his sister and father that pulls at every emotion, offering the reader a chance to relish in the smallest victories and cry with the greatest losses.

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes accomplishes and covers an impressive list of important topics over the span of less than 300 pages. Subtle at times and brazen during others, it exposes the reader to the reality of refugee life and the terrors and struggles entailed within. Not a comfort read, but certainly food for the soul and heart, it challenges one to assess government policies and relief systems in place, acknowledging flaws and weaknesses while also allowing a glimpse of the good that still exists among it all, thereby lending the reader a hope and desire for something better in humanity.

One of the most raw, significant and forceful stories I have had the fortune of encountering, I believe A Land of Permanent Goodbyes deserves to be experienced by all.

*I would like to thank the publisher and author for this copy. The above review is my own, unbiased opinion.

Untitled design Savored over a cup of white jasmine tea with hibiscus blossoms.

Purchase Links:  Book Depository

Happy Reading.

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram





Guest Post: Marsha Cornelius talks Book Clubs & Tea Houses


I am excited to have Marsha Cornelius, author of the cozy mystery Up To No Good on Books, Vertigo and Tea today.  She is discussing book clubs and tea houses in this wonderful post that I have really enjoyed!


Book clubs in the Atlanta area

If your book club is looking for the perfect spot to discuss your latest read, consider the Steep Tea House in downtown Canton just north of Atlanta.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere’s quite a selection of teas at Steep. (That’s Lyn Moye, owner, grabbing a quick bite.)

It opened in April of this year, and offers over 50 specialty teas, tea-infused cocktails, sandwiches, soups, salads, wine, and craft beer. And don’t forget the yummy pastries such as scones and crumpets with Devonshire cream and lemon curd. They take pride in providing their customers with the freshest ingredients. Not sure what kind of tea to try? Why not order a flight of 4 (3 oz) cups to sample. Their teas are for sale in canisters and are hand packaged. If you prefer a special blend, they will customize for you. A great gift idea for the holidays! 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the left (the wood grain wall) is a small stage for performers, both reading and singing.

 When I met one of my beta readers there, the ham and pear sandwich on sourdough made his constructive criticism of my latest book much easier to digest. Ha! There is also a private room in the back, so if your book club is looking for a party spot, or a place for a good heated discussion, don’t forget Steep.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHey, look! Someone is reading Up To No Good. (I hope he leaves a review.)

Check out their website for all the info.

What type books does your group like to read?

If delving into the drama of eviction and homelessness is your cup of tea, why not check out Losing It All. It tells the story of a homeless man who helps a woman and her two small children get off the streets. (Don’t despair, it has light moments as well.)

Losing It All-final with AIAGoodreads

Are you a science fiction book club? Why not take a look at my speculative fiction novel about a man who chooses to be cryonically-preserved instead of dying. It’s going to take science another fifty to seventy five years to figure out how to bring him back to life, so he’ll have plenty of time as a ‘ghost’ to learn The Ups and Downs of Being Dead.

Ups and Downs SmallGoodreads

Of if your book club is into cozy mysteries, might I suggest Up To No Good: humorous blundering by an amateur sleuth and her husband, some frisky ‘adult’ scenes, and a mystery with some unexpected twists.

up to no good-ebook coverGoodreads



After working for fifteen years as a cafeteria manager in an elementary school, I turned in my non-skid shoes for a bathrobe and slippers. Now I work at home, writing novels, ranting on Facebook and Twitter, and occasionally whisking a Swiffer across dusty surfaces.
Like thousands of others, I thought I could write romance, but soon discovered I was a dismal failure. I did increase my repertoire of adjectives such as throbbing, pulsing, thrumming, vibrating, hammering, pumping . . .
I live in the country north of Atlanta with my husband, and two molly-coddled cats. My two grown sons occasionally visit for clean laundry and a hot cooked meal.

To chat about your favorite tea (mine is jasmine green) or current read, come on over to my Facebook or Twitter.
You can see all my books on my website

*A special thank you to Marsha for this lovely and very fitting post today!

Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram