Last fall I had an offer from a publisher to publish a children’s picture book I wrote. The problem was that they wanted to have it illustrated for the submission. A friend of mine is an artist and has illustrated books before. We talked and decided that she would draw my illustration and I would build her three daughters each their own miniature. The reason this was the most ambitious projects is because I was starting from scratch and wanted them all to be different yet match their interests and likes. I think they came out great but… the publishers offered me a hybrid contract which means I would pay up front and then get money after it was published. Been there, done that…
So, one of my last posts I had the pictures of a four story miniature with a pool on the side, sort of ocean-side. These are the photos I sent to the buyer as a “sneak peek” into the production. This obviously is the kitchen. I would say it is about 5 inches x 5 inches.
This one I called Sabrina’s Castle as it was a custom order for someone named Sabrina (brilliant I know!)
It came out pretty nice. I wasn’t completely happy with the quality of some of the pieces so I did take a little money off my original asking price. This is why I cannot wait to get my own 3D printer so I can start manufacturing pieces I need the then make stuff like this on my own. The little stone wall is also an upgrade because the pieces that came with this kit were little wooden pieces that were painted only on the two “faces” so the rest of the “brick” was wood. It looked awful so I ordered “real” bricks and made the stonewall that way. I do stuff like that included in my pricing because I really don’t want to spend my time making junk to then sell it as “nice”.
I am including my last two on the card so the real “last on the card” makes some sense.
So the last image on the card was the search for shipping prices for the new miniature I finished for one of my customers on Etsy. This was through UPS. Etsy does its own shipping but I like to double check since they use USPS.
Welcome to the book tour for Julia Brewer Daily’s upcoming novel, The Fifth Daughter of Thorn Ranch: A Modern Ranch with an ancient secret!
The Fifth Daughter of Thorn Ranch
Expected Publication Date: November 1st, 2022
Genre: Modern Western/ Family Saga
Emma Rosales is the heiress to the largest ranch in Texas-The Thorn. All of the responsibilities of managing a million acres now fall into her fifth-generation hands.
A task Emma could handle with her eyes closed… if The Thorn was any ordinary property.
The Thorn is home to many things. Clear, cloudless skies. Miles of desert scrub and craggy mountains. A quiet disrupted only by whispers of the wind. And an ancient web of secrets that won’t let Emma out alive without a fight.
The Fifth Daughter of Thorn Ranch is a family saga as large as the state of Texas.
Julia Brewer Daily is a Texan with a southern accent. She holds a B.S. in English and a M.S. degree in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi.
She has been a Communications adjunct professor at Belhaven University, Jackson, Mississippi, and Public Relations Director of the Mississippi Department of Education and Millsaps College, a liberal arts college in Jackson, Mississippi.
She was the founding director of the Greater Belhaven Market, a producers’ only market in a historic neighborhood in Jackson, and even shadowed Martha Stewart.
As the executive director of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi (three hundred artisans from nineteen states) which operates the Mississippi Craft Center, she wrote their stories to introduce them to the public.
Daily is an adopted child from a maternity home hospital in New Orleans. She searched and found her birth mother and through a DNA test, her birth father’s family, as well. A lifelong southerner, she now resides on a ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas, with her husband Emmerson and Labrador Retrievers, Memphis Belle and Texas Star.
Welcome to the tour for We Do What We Must, a gritty novel based on true events!
We Do What We Must
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2022
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Mafia (Based on True Events)
An immigrant Sicilian family triumphs over The Mafia in turn of the century New Orleans, just not in the way they’d planned.
This fictionalized tale recounts the story of the true life Giacona family, who emigrated from Sicily to New Orleans in the 1890s. They came to the US to escape the influence of The Mafia, only to be confronted by the same challenges in the New World.
Pietro and Corrado, father and son, do what they must to defend their family and business from the dreaded Black Hand, as well as powerful organized crime families. They proceed the only way they know how, through bravery, guile, and tough choices. Although committed to living as ‘Honest Italians,’ their choices lead them down a perilous path.
Every detail had to be perfect, as if their lives depended upon it. On this night, it just might.
Corrado picked up the pieces of the final place setting, one by one, careful not to scratch the delicate surfaces of the fine silver-plated utensils, the ones brought out for just the most special occasions. He made sure to hold each piece with thumb and forefinger, by their necks, just the way he preferred.
“Here you go, Papa.” He handed the last one to his father, who did not look up from his task.
Corrado watched as his father, Pietro, laid each utensil carefully into place, in perfect formal order, straightening each one after the setting was complete. Always set from left to right, neatly centered, on perfectly folded white linen napkins. He stood by as patiently as he could, until he could wait no more. “Okay, Papa, it looks good to me.”
When his father failed to reply, he called out, more urgently, “Papa, do you hear me, it’s fine.”
Pietro turned his large, melon shaped head, even larger appearing due to his oversized mustache and shock of unkempt salt and pepper hair. “It is not enough to be good, it must be perfect. We all make choices, and some choose to be good, and others to be perfect. It was my choosing to be perfect that created this business, made it thrive, and bought us this fine home. And I will not choose anything but perfection, especially on this day, which may be the most important day of our lives.”
Corrado suppressed a soft smile. The familiarity of his father’s words momentarily distracted him from thoughts of the evening’s negotiations, thoughts he played over and again while he tossed in bed at night. Distracted him from the fear and excitement, from the anticipation and uncertainty. From the magnitude of his plan, and the possibility of its failure.
He brought himself back into the moment, and addressed his father. “Papa, you speak of choices, and of making good choices.” He paused and twirled the edges of his thin, jet black mustache with his fingers. “But Papa, what if there are no good choices?” Pietro stopped what he was doing and looked directly into Corrado’s eyes. “There are times when there are no good choices. That’s what happened to me in Palermo, and I made the most of it. Sometimes you don’t get to do what you’d like to do, or what you ought to do. Sometimes you do what you must.”
Corrado paused, signaling respect for his father’s words, then replied in his most considered tone. “Yes, Papa, I know, and we’re grateful for your courage and achievements. Now can you check on the Stigghiola while I go down to the cellar and bring up a case of wine.”
The corner of Pietro’s eyes crinkled as his face pulled itself into a broad smile. “Yes, son, that is indeed a good choice.”
Corrado turned and headed down the steep stairs, taking them two at a time, to the large dusty cellar where they stored their wares. He turned on the electric light, took a moment to admire the brilliant tungsten bulbs they’d just installed, and strolled down the aisles of dusty crates, some covered with fancy labels all in Italian, some with the simple markings of homemade raisin wine, looking for the perfect case. It must be expensive looking, he thought, but not so expensive as to arouse suspicions. And high enough in alcohol content to achieve its intended effect.
Finally, he settled on a case of Valpolicella. Perfect. Dark, red, and rich tasting. And the highest alcohol content of all the wines. He hoisted a full case onto his broad shoulder, closed his eyes to let the dust settle around him, headed up the stairs, and placed the case next to the dining room table. “Papa, I put the wine in the dining room.” He took a moment to catch his breath. “They’ll be here soon, is everything ready?”
“There’s just one thing left,” Pietro replied from the kitchen, then set down the ladle he’d been using to stir the stew, walked into the living room, and opened the doors of the large wooden armoire across from the fireplace. He looked inside for a moment, leaning over and fumbling with some items, moving them from one side to the other, then reached down and picked up something with his right hand, and turned and headed silently back towards the kitchen.
As he passed, Corrado noticed the long, wooden handle of their Winchester repeating rifle in his father’s right hand. Pietro continued into the kitchen, placed the rifle carefully behind the half-opened door, and turned back towards his son.
Amazon Best Selling Author Richard Robbins’ novels explore important moral questions such as the price of fame, the nature of loss and redemption, and the meaning of life, through the lens of family dynamics. He lives with his wife in New Orleans and New York City, near their adult children, and his work is infused with the flavor of those vibrant and unique cities.
Richard was named Louisiana Independent Author of the Year for 2020, and his works have won numerous awards, including Feathered Quill Book Awards and Readers’ Favorite Book Awards.
Casablanca meets Notorious in a Hitchcock-style thriller of espionage, romance, adventure, and intrigue.
1917. Emma Christensen is a young widow who returns to the Danish West Indies to reclaim the life and the villa she left behind. When she discovers her husband has disinherited her in favor of his young heir—an illegitimate son—she turns to the one thing she knows, gambling, and soon finds herself deeply in debt.
Emma is approached by Cornelius Smith, a representative of an American shipping line, who offers an alternative: infiltrate the suspicious Hamburg-American Line and spy on its nefarious leader, Julius Luckner, to gain valuable business intelligence for his firm.
It doesn’t take long for Emma to realize that both Smith and Luckner are not as they seem. Close to the Allies but even closer to the enemy, Emma bravely engages in missions that could blow her cover at any moment. But with the Panama Canal at stake, how far will she go to help the Allies?
A gripping and suspenseful World War I spy thriller from an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer.
From the moment she left the telegraph office, Emma had an eerie feeling that someone was following her. It stayed with her all the way back to the hotel. She felt as if someone was watching her every move although she was quite certain she had slipped past the German in the lobby.
When she returned to her hotel, waited impatiently for Smith’s cable. She called down to the front desk numerous times to ask if any message had arrived for her, but the answer was always no. With no other recourse, she went to bed, tossing and turning half the night, fearing that something terrible had happened to Allendorf and now she was all alone. This was completely unexpected. For several agonizing hours she pondered what she should do, but couldn’t come up with a viable plan. The Germans were watching her every move. She was basically trapped in her hotel room, and Smith was counting on her to complete her mission. But no one could have foreseen such a reversal.
As the hours ticked by, she had an ominous feeling she couldn’t shake, that her life was hanging in the balance. The hairs on the back of her neck stood up and she had an unsettling feeling that would not quit.
When she could no longer tolerate her insomnia, she picked up the phone and ordered a chamomile tea from room service, hoping it would calm her jangling nerves. When the drink arrived, she splashed a bit of rum in it from her trusty flask. Yet she still had a nagging feeling that something was wrong.
Her eyes fell on her purse. It sat on the nightstand near her bed, just within her reach. She opened it, took out the pistol, and rehearsed priming it so she could use it in a tight spot. She needed to have the movements go like clockwork. There was no room for failure in this business. Luckily it only weighed two pounds. That made slipping it into her pocket easier. The magazine was already loaded with seven bullets. Seven chances to save her life. She gripped the pistol in her right hand and racked the slide, then added a bullet to the barrel. Now it was ready. She flicked the lever to “safe” and set the pistol down on the nightstand. Perhaps now she could sleep.
She lay down, pulled the sheet around her, and turned off the light. She closed her eyes and tried to relax, but she could not fall asleep.
Outside, the moon cast a luminous glow on the surroundings. Crickets croaked their nightly serenade and the stars lit up the heavens. The palm fronds billowed in the breeze. The waves crashing on the rocks sent an ominous warning. Emma found it difficult to sleep in a different bed, and impossible to relax when she had so much on her mind, so much responsibility on her shoulders.
She got up and peered outside. Despite the late hour, there were still people milling about, laughing and heading to restaurants and casinos. Horse carriages trotted past while motorcars meandered down the streets, their glowing lights like the eyes of a puma. Sounds of amusement echoed from the restaurant below. Lights shone from the ships in Manzanillo Bay, creating a scene that was idyllic, almost peaceful. Further out, she could see the lights on the ships waiting to enter the canal. There was a long line of them that suspended off to the horizon. Each one had its own purpose and destination. Each one could be sunk at any time by German torpedoes or hidden bombs. She shivered. An explosion along the canal would cause chaos for the Allies. The Kaiser would gloat in his victory. His generals and their underlings would launch even more attacks. Emma could picture Luckner in his office toasting his triumph, patting himself on the back even as the embers of the canal still glowed.
She went back to bed and covered herself with the sheet, trying to block out her worries. But it was impossible. She had a sense of impending doom. And for some strange reason, the hairs on the back of her neck stood up.
Suddenly she heard a scratching noise near her door. A man’s footsteps shuffled just outside. She froze and listened, not daring to move. Someone was fumbling with the lock, trying to break in. She sat up in bed, listening. She felt her heart stop. Yes, somebody was trying to break in.
She fumbled in the dark for her pistol. She grabbed it, flicked the safety to “fire” then eased herself off the bed. Crouching down on the floor, she listened as the noise continued ever so slightly that it was barely detectable. She sat behind the bed, aiming the pistol, not daring to breathe.
The latch turned and the door opened, allowing just enough light from the hallway to illuminate the figure of a man entering her room. When he was inside, he closed the door behind him and latched it. Her eyes widened. He tiptoed toward the bed and raised his hands as if to attack. Emma’s heart pounded as she released the pistol break and held her breath.
Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ. She is a novelist and a poet. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. Kirkus Reviews has called her “an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer.” Publishers Weekly called her novel, ISLAND ON FIRE, “a memorable romantic thriller”, her novel RACE TO TIBET, “a thrilling yarn,” and her TRANSFER DAY, “a page-turner with emotional resonance.” Her novel, THE LOST DIARY OF ALEXANDER HAMILTON, was called, “an engaging coming-of-age story of heartbreak, bravery, honor, and triumph” by Kirkus Reviews. She graduated from American University, Washington, DC and lives in New York.
Welcome to the book tour for Isle of Dragons by L.A. Thompson! Would you just look at this cover?!
Isle of Dragons (Isle of Dragons #1)
Publication Date: February 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy
Watch steampunk technology and high fantasy witchcraft clash in this heroine’s fast-paced, epic journey to rescue her father and reveal the secrets of the noble court.
On the run from the royal army in a giant mechanical centipede, sixteen-year-old Jade Sol embarks on a dangerous adventure to help her father escape from the Isle of Dragons—a land of untamed magic that some believe only exists in myth.
When Jade is cornered by soldiers, a mysterious witch named Miria Atkins rescues her, calling on ancient spirits from a magical realm to channel their mystical energy into light and matter. Jade begs Miria and the sorceress’s mechanist brother, Dan, to join her quest. The siblings resist at first, but their hearts soften when they hear of her father’s fate. Their own parents had attempted an expedition from Vansh to the Isle of Dragons years ago and never returned. Together, the trio journey across the feudal countryside and trek across the sea to become the first humans to reach the elusive Isle of Dragons… or so they think.
Die-hard readers of Angelique S. Anderson’s Dracosinum Tales and Jessica Drake’s Dragon Riders of Elantia series will find L. A. Thompson’s writing magnetic, impassioned, and clever in this novel’s twisting plot.
The Hidden Library (Isle of Dragons #2) is Now Available!
L.A. Thompson’s iconic steampunk heroine is back in this richly imaginative quest to find a mysterious magic library that holds the key to winning the war against the corrupt King Jarrod. Jade and Kaylen, childhood friends turned rivals, now race to find a portal located in an ancient library hidden from mankind for years that will either doom or save their world. To follow the king’s orders and regain all she’s lost, Kaylen must decide what, and who, she is willing to sacrifice. Can Jade, the dragon-taming witch Miria, and the pragmatic pod inventor Dan race against the clock and stop Kaylen from opening the gateway between realms before it’s too late?
Packed with fast-paced action, Jade’s newest adventure introduces new friends and enemies, and magic obstacles beyond anything Jade has seen before. Hang on tight as mysterious revelations unfold about the Isle of Dragons and its inhabitants.
Fans of Jeff Gunzel’s The Legend of the Gate Keeper series and Cecilia Dominic’s The Art of Piracy will be enthralled with L.A. Thompson’s brilliant and magnetic storytelling.
L. A. Thompson always wanted to be a writer who created different worlds and characters that would draw people in and take them into a time and space where they can forget their worries for some time. Combining her love for fantasy and witchcraft, she writes about historical periods and creates a world that is a mix of both technology and magic. L. A. Thompson is a freelance writer and resides on the coast of Australia.
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