29 June 2022

This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey Book Tour and Guest Post! @mackeywriting


This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey
This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey 

Publisher:   D.X. Varos (March 15, 2022)
Category: Horror, Vampire Thriller, Dark Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Tour dates: June 16-July 22
ISBN: 978-1955065238
Available in Print and ebook, 350 pages

  This World of Love and Strife 

Description This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

 It is the duty of the Vanguard to protect the world from unseen demonic forces.

But what if the organization falls to corruption? Their reformation is up to Cato, a disgraced former member who discovers many of the elite using their powerful positions and martial skills for ill-gotten gains rather than fulfilling their true purpose: aiding mankind in a secret war against their eternal foe.

Aldous is a Vanguard who fell from grace after being stricken with vampirism by a mysterious figure known as the White Lady. His increasingly vile appetites are tolerated because his knowledge as an alchemist is vital in the Vanguard’s battle against the demons. When those desires lead to the abduction of the woman Cato loves, Cato wages a one-man war against Aldous and his werewolf henchman.

Review This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

Guest Review by Laura

“Wherever I’d go, Lucian would find me. I don’t know if he’d kill me. Probably depends on how long it’d take to find me. He sure as hell wouldn’t give me a second chance. I took a vow. I’m in this for life.”

In 'This World of Love and Strife,' author Shawn Mackey creates a rich, detailed world containing vampires, werewolves, angels and, most importantly of all, demons.

The main character Cato used to be a member of an elite organization called the Vangaurd. Now, the Vangaurd is responsible for finding and destroying demons and in Lumina City, there are certainly a lot of demons to find. The city is full of different terrorizing and blood-sucking mythical monsters who prey on the population, most notably, a rich vampire named Aldous who was, himself a member of the Vanguard before being bitten.

Cato recently had a bit of a disagreement with the Vangaurd that ended with him on the run and them putting out a hit on him. Only a few people who know about the Vangaurd, including his friend, Reggie, currently know where Cato is living. This is a bit of a problem, because at the beginning of the novel, Cato is given a vision of a horrifying hell that he believes humanity is headed toward—and the only people who can help him prevent this are the Vangaurd themselves.

Between trying to save the world, and trying to rescue the woman that he loves from Aldous, Cato has a lot on his hands in this book, and the reader is taken on his thrilling journey right along with him.

I definitely plan to add Shawn Mackey's books to my 'must read' list in the future. This was one hell of a ride and well worth the price of admission! 

Guest Post by Shawn Mackey

Why I Like Scary Stories

The horror genre is one of the most enduring in literature. Elements of it appear as far back as ancient myth, such as the story of Actaeon. The hunter witnessed the goddess Artemis bathing in a stream and was turned into a stag by her, leading to him getting chased down and then devoured by his hunting dogs. The giants of the Norse Eddas and the Fay of Celtic myths are the inspiration of many monsters. Even Rome had ghost stories at the height of its empire. It’s easy to imagine the earliest humans telling similar stories near the camp fire long before civilization as we know it. If stories of the heroic helped mankind strive for greatness, they could not be without a tradition of monsters and ghosts. In order to rise, these nightmares needed to be defeated.

Yet some of the best horror stories have no heroes, let alone survivors. One can argue that a story can have horror elements and a happy ending, but no horror story can have a completely happy ending. At the very least, those who triumph are scarred physically and emotionally, and most of all, worse off than when the story started. How could people possibly enjoy this?

The answer hasn’t changed since primitive mankind told stories by the fire. To quote HP Lovecraft: The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” Like any other emotion, for some it needs to be expunged through catharsis. Even in the safety of a group near a warm fire, fear finds a way to rise to the surface. Death is a guarantee. The world is full of predators and the environment is as harmful as it is helpful to our existence. Hunger and thirst are constant reminders of our mortality. No matter how much you tend to your health, we are not meant to endure life for long.

One can argue that an unconscious fear is the driver of all people. If it rises to the conscious mind, it can have a paralyzing effect. This is also a common reason some people don’t like horror stories. They prefer the “out of sight, out of mind” approach to such things. However, those who enjoy them are able to detach themselves from the dread and appreciate its stirrings. In these people scary stories are created and transmitted. This led to its development as an art form.

The horror genre’s contrast with the heroic tradition is why fantasy and horror make for the most potent crossover. Whereas horror highlights the mortality of the mankind, the heroic highlights the potential to transcend it. Though they exist as separate genres, they work more effectively side by side. A horror story without an understanding of the heroic is an exercise of futility, easy to discard as soon as it’s finished because of its tendency to say ”for naught” regarding life. A heroic tale is sterile and equally vacuous without believable monsters to overcome. These must not be merely men in scary costumes, but forces of nature to be wrestled with and even conquered.

It may not always take earthly form. The supernatural is especially potent in arousing fear because it requires the reader’s imagination, which is a tremendous factory of horrors. However, this can be severely impoverished without a keen sense of the transcendent. Ambiguity works wonderfully, but with a mere materialist perspective, ghosts and other phantasms seem to be little more than products of feeble minds rather than workings of a beyond. Even the best stories can be laughable through such a lens. Though there is nothing wrong with a grounded horror story, those which attempt to depict the supernatural are of the highest caliber and those who understand the futility in the attempt are by far the most worthy of praise.

The greatest of these attempts is found in Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan. In this story, the offspring of a young woman and the god Pan initiates rich socialites into the mysteries of Pan as something akin to a priestess. The precise method of these initiations is never specified and often alluded to as sexual and vaguely grotesque acts. It leads to the suicide of every man who becomes intimate with her and upon discovery of the woman and a trail of bodies by the protagonist, she is revealed to be a formless entity masquerading as a human. It discards the earthly form and disappears, the true purpose or meaning behind the woman and the events left shrouded in mystery. Those who came across her and survived only know that she was pure evil.

Naturalistic attempts to explain the supernatural dispel much of the horror. Placing ghosts in the category of radio waves or particles only satisfy a materialistic urge to explain the unexplainable. The horror is diminished, and though the spooky invisible phenomenon can still harm the characters, it’s now just a thriller with a less believable plot than a standard psycho killer. Evil is no longer an otherworldly force, merely something that hurts people.

This is why the main character of my novel, This World of Love and Strife, rejects the naturalistic explanations for the evil entities that surround him. Taking a cue from the heroes of the past, he has a keen sense of good and evil and knows when to attack the latter. Of course, this doesn’t make it a pure horror story, but I certainly used my love of the genre to craft the novel’s world and its villains.

And that is why I love horror. Whether I write fantasy, science fiction or mystery, I can’t help adding a pinch of my favorite genre. It may not be the best on its own, but it’s certainly played a part in all the best works throughout literary history.

This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

About Shawn Mackey

Living in New Jersey for all his life, Shawn Mackey has been writing since childhood. Though his favorite genre is horror, he has a deep appreciation for fantasy influenced by mythology and science fiction that questions the modern world and its future.

Website:  https://mackeywriting.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mackeywriting
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Shawn-Mackey/100073414053488/

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Giveaway This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

This giveaway is for 1 print or ebook copy. Print is open to the U.S. only. eBook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on July 23, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 16 Kickoff & Excerpt

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Nora S. Storeybook Reviews June 23 Review & Excerpt

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Mindy Room Without Books is Empty July 21 Review

 This World of Love and Strife by Shawn Mackey

Clement: The Templar’s Treasure (Clement, Book 3) By Craig R. Hipkins Blog Tour! @CraigHipkins @maryanneyarde @craighipkins3 @coffeepotbookclub#HistoricalFiction #YoungAdult #YAfantasy #Medieval #BlogTour


Book Title: Clement: The Templar’s Treasure

Series: Clement (Book 3)

Author: Craig R. Hipkins

Publication Date: 4th May 2022

Publisher: Hipkins Twins

Page Length: 233 Pages

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction

Clement & Dagena return for another action packed adventure. From the cold and dreary shores of Greenland to the fabled land of Vinland. The legendary treasure of the Knights Templar awaits.

Craig R. Hipkins grew up in Hubbardston Massachusetts. He is the author of medieval and gothic fiction. His novel, Adalbert is the sequel to Astrolabe written by his late twin brother Jay S. Hipkins (1968-2018) He is an avid long-distance runner and enjoys astronomy in his spare time.


Website: www.hipkinstwins.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CraigHipkins

Facebook: www.facebook.com/craig.hipkins.9

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/craig-hipkins-7a042357

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/craighipkins3/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/craighipkins/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Craig-R.-Hipkins/e/B004RDJMNC

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19975162.Craig_R_Hipkins

Tour Schedule Page: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2022/05/blog-tour-clement-templars-treasure.html

Heroes with Heat and Heart Volume 2: A Charity Anthology for only 99¢ today! Blitz and Giveaway! #CharityAnthology #XpressoTours @XpressoTours⁣

Hearts with Heat and Heart Volume 2: A Charity Anthology

Publication date: June 28th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

The hint of smoke. The flash of flames. When the wildfires burn through our towns, THEY step up to the fireline and risk their lives. Help us honor their bravery and sacrifice in this charity romance anthology.

All proceeds benefit Grassroots Wildland Firefighters organization.

Fall in love with the heroes of this steamy contemporary romance anthology, including stories by

Grassroots Wildland Firefighters Charity is a USA 503c organization advocating for the health and safety of wildland firefighters.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

SPECIAL NOTICE: Buy Heroes with Heat and Heart Vol. 2 for #99cents before before 7/3 and get a free adult coloring book and a sexy cocktail recipe book! After Sunday, the price will go up to $9.99, and the bonuses come down.

The password is the first word in Chapter 10 of Lolo Paige’s Alaska Flame. Click here to claim your prizes!


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Blessed by the Best: My Journey to Canton and Beyond by Brian Dawkins, Michael Bradley Guest Review!

Blessed By the Best by Brian Dawkins

Blessed by the Best: My Journey to Canton and Beyond by Brian Dawkins, Michael Bradley (Contributor)

Publisher:  Camino Books, Inc; 1st edition (August 30, 2021)
Category: Memoir, Football Biographies, Sports, Inspirational
Tour dates: June 27-July 14, 2022
ISBN: 978-1680980257
Available in Print and ebook, 256 pages

  Blessed By the Best

Description Blessed By the Best by Brian Dawkins

Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996, Dawkins fought to elevate not only his own game but that of his entire team. He sweat, bled, and dominated through sixteen season in the NFL all the way into the Hall of Fame, but not for a moment did he believe his strength alone brought him that glory. Every step of the way the Lord had his back. From coaches that wanted to break him to defeats and bitter lessons in humility, his career is a testament to his faith and an homage to the countless people that helped him along the way.

In the wake of his success, Dawkins comes forward to describe his journey to become one the best safeties in the NFL. Physical training wouldn’t cut it. Blessed by the Best follows Dawkins trials to train his mind and faith along with his skill. As a nervous kid from Jacksonville, he never dreamed of one day standing in front of a crowd to accept that golden jacket. But one way or another, he made it. Dawkins tells his story straight, unafraid of exposing his own weaknesses; his over competitive spirit that takes losses to hard, the tunnel vision that estranged him from his kids, and the self-doubt that plagued much of his early years. Triumphs, pitfalls, love, and struggles Dawkins shares them all, not for himself, but in gratitude of those who have helped him along the way.

“I had been blessed by the best. First, that meant the Lord, who has blessed me with so much. It also meant all those people and things around me that I believe were the best for me. Maybe they weren’t the best for somebody else. Your best may not be my best. That’s fine. Everything that has happened to me has been to bring out the best in me. Even the toughest, hardest times in my life were the best things for me. If I hadn’t gone through them, maybe I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

“This is not a football book. It has football in it, but this is a life tool,” Dawkins told Heavy. “These are things that I have gone through in my life, that others have taught me.”

Excerpt Blessed By the Best by Brian Dawkins

How Faith Helped Brian Find His Way Out of the Darkness"

 “We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God. And we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (AMP)

 Taking the medicine numbed me to “stinkin’ thinkin’,” but it numbed me in a lot of other ways, too. I didn’t like that feeling. As a matter of fact, I hated it. It wasn’t me. But what it did was pause me just enough to help me find another way to handle my anger and depression. The Word of God. Those seeds of Faith that lay dormant inside me could finally get that living water. I quit the medication cold turkey, which you aren’t supposed to do, but I was feeling like a zombie. Most importantly, I turned heavily to the Bible. Reading, studying for answers, journaling, listening and praying more consistently than I ever had till that point. I went cold turkey on the music I listened to as well. I did that for about a year. Then after that, I just couldn’t go back to some of the vulgar things in it. I no longer felt comfortable listening to them. Since then it’s 100% Gospel or Jazz.

 It was then that I made the final decision to walk with the Lord consistently and live by the word. Since that time, my faith has increased exponentially. I started to seek Him as fully as I knew possible. I was influencedvby the Bible story of Ananias and Sapphira, a married couple who lived during the earliest days of the Church, when all possessions of members were communal and those who gave away their wealth to the Church were praised by other members. Many who did that, like Barnabas, were not looking for the acclaim. They just wanted to help the Church. But Ananias and Sapphira wanted to be congratulated for their gesture, so they sold a piece of property and gave the Apostles—who were the leaders of the Church at the time—part of the sale’s proceeds, while holding some back for themselves. They didn’t necessarily say they were giving all the money they had made, but they gave that impression and were happy to receive the praise and status within the community that brought.

But Peter was able to figure out their scheme. When he con- fronted Ananias and said that he had not lied to men but to God, Ananias died instantly. Soon thereafter, Sapphira came to Peter and refused to be completely honest. She, too, died on the spot. Their sins of pride and self-importance were their downfalls. I made an oath to God to give away some things that I really enjoyed, if He would take that depression away, especially those suicidal thoughts. I wouldn’t hold anything back like Ananias and Sapphira did. Or in my case, engage in certain things for personal pleasure again.

I decided to stop wearing an earring, because that was a sign of vanity for me. I thought it made me look good, so I stopped wearing it. I said I wasn’t going to drink beer or the hard liquor I was drinking ever again. I will have a glass of wine with dinner on occasion, but I haven’t had a drop of beer, or what I deem hard liquor, since that moment. I told the Lord I was going to walk his path completely. And by giving up some of those things, I believed he would reveal himself more to me. He did. Things weren’t perfect, but because I was learning to talk about my feelings, and because I was walking closer to the Lord, I became stronger. And I do understand when it’s all said and done, that oath was for me. When I give my word, I’m going to keep it. He gave me a better understanding on how and what to meditate on.

Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s Word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely, and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. – Philippians 4:8 (AMP)

 © Blessed by the Best by Brian Dawkins (Pages 101-102)

 Review Blessed By the Best by Brian Dawkins

Guest Review by Laura

A powerful treatise on faith, family, and believing in oneself.

Brian Dawkins was drafted to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1996 and went on to play 16 seasons in the NFL, later joining the Denver Broncos. Coming from Jacksonville, Florida, Dawkins was given a scholarship to Clemson University so that he could play for their team.

Looking back on his career now as an NFL Hall of Famer, Dawkins insists that it was only through his blessings that he was able to achieve such success. Crediting his friends, family, and God with his achievements, Dawkins writes about how to properly use all of the blessings that you are given every day to the best of their advantage.

This is the kind of book that any reader will get something out of, and some readers will get quite a lot. Dawkins' uses his life experience to provide advice on everything from public speaking to connecting with your children, and so many things in between. I particularly appreciated the part where he wrote about suffering from panic attacks while he was making television appearances and how he was able to overcome them by using Lamaze breathing that he learned while his wife was pregnant. These are the kinds of interesting details that give 'Blessed By the Best,' a very special kind of magic.

If you're on the fence about reading this because you're not a football fan or you don’t believe in God, I say, pick it up! You won't regret it and Dawkins' fascinating perspective just might teach you something about yourself along the way! 

About Brian Dawkins

Brian Dawkins entered the NFL in the second round of the 1996 draft and has since achieved 1,131 tackles, 37 achieved passes, 26 recorded sacks and 19 fumble recoveries, which has earned him a place in the NFL Hall of Fame. Out of his 16 career seasons, Dawkins spent 13 with the Eagles before signing as an unrestricted free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2008. Despite the team change, Dawkins still holds several team records for the Eagles, and as of 2012 his jersey number 20 has become one of only nine to be retired in the history of the franchise.

Website: https://briandawkins.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/briandawkinssr/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrianDawkins

Buy Blessed By the Best by Brian Dawkins


Giveaway Blessed By the Best by Brian Dawkins

This giveaway is for 2 print copies and is open to the U.S. only. This giveaway ends on July 15, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Mark Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 27 Guest Review & Tour Kickoff

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Mike Goodreads June 30 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews July 6 Review

Bookgirl Amazon July 7 Review

Sal Bound 4 Escape July 8 Guest Review

Nora S. Storeybook Reviews July 11 Guest Review & Excerpt

Gud Reader Goodreads July 12 Review

Suzie My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews July 13 Review & Excerpt

Bee Book Pleasures July 14 Review

Todd Kinsey Amazon July 18 Review

Unconditional: A Love Story by Shon Book Blitz and Giveaway! #Unconditional #shon #XpressoTours @XpressoTours


Unconditional: A Love Story

Publication date: May 10th 2022
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Charli is everything Damian ever wanted.

Captivated from the moment they met, he allowed her to set the tone for their summer fling.

But when the summer was over and he wanted more, he soon found out that maybe his feelings were one-sided.

That was two years ago and he’s still stuck on Charli. He needs to move on.

A lot has changed since they last saw each other, but Damian can’t shake the what-ifs. And the moment they cross paths again he knows his heart still belongs to the elusive woman who stole it the first time he laid eyes on her.

Who’s to say they won’t get it right this time around?

Goodreads / Amazon



“We need to talk.”

Well, shit. That’s not good, Charli thought to herself as she continued pulling on her shorts.

She couldn’t decide if it was worse to hear those four fateful words from a boyfriend or a fuck buddy.

I guess I’m about to find out, was her wry thought as she finished zipping up the distressed jean shorts that barely covered her ass. With her eyes darting around the room to avoid eye contact with the man who claimed they needed to talk, she located one of her gold hoops on the rug.

Following her avoidant eyes, the other occupant of the room bent to pick it up before she had the chance.

“Thanks,” Charli spoke lowly as their fingers brushed during the exchange.

The warmth of his fingers led to a sharp inhale that she couldn’t even hide.

“Did you hear me?” the beautiful man in front of her wanted to know. “I said we need to talk,” he reiterated. Just in case.

But she’d heard him loud and clear the first time.

Sighing, Charli took a step back and shoved the earring into her pocket instead of trying to put it on right now.

“I heard you,” she said, trying to veil the worry in her voice.

What could Damian possibly want to talk about? And why couldn’t his timing be better? They’d just finished…making each other very happy. His scent still surrounded her and captivated her senses.

But now, the knots in her stomach quickly pushed her to forget the pleasure she’d just experienced.

“What do we need to talk about?” she finally asked meeting his green eyes. They were usually enchanting and full of lust when they were together, but now he looked…panicked?

No, it couldn’t be. Not cool, calm Damian.


Had he found a girlfriend? Was he about to end their arrangement and politely tell her to get on with her life?

The thought wasn’t a pleasant one, but Charli couldn’t really blame him.

As an Ivy League dropout and ex-socialite, she didn’t really feel like she had much to offer aside from a good time.

She winced inwardly and vowed to deal with the origins of that problematic thought later. Much later. Not now when she was standing face to face with the man she’d been trading orgasms with all summer.

Damian regarded her from his towering height of six-two and even though she was five-eight she felt miniscule under his unwavering gaze.

“It’s about us,” he revealed, “I need to talk to you about what we’re doing.”

Charli gulped but didn’t break eye contact. She could do this. She could have a civilized, adult conversation with someone she shared every inch of her body with on an almost daily basis at this point.

“What about us? I like what we’re doing.” Charli pushed her hair away from her face. She hated the sensation of stray strands tickling her cheeks.

Damian exhaled sharply and gave a faint nod. “Yea, I did too. Until recently.”


Charli straightened her shoulders and prepared for the next words, somehow knowing they would pack a devastating blow.

But nothing could have prepared her for what he said next.

Shon is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She used her degree in English Literature for eight years to teach English all around the world. She has recently returned home to the States and now she spends all her time reading or writing down her wildest daydreams.

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28 June 2022

More Precious Than Gold (The Hearts of Gold Trilogy, Book 2) By Renee Yancy Blog Tour! @YancyRenee @maryanneyarde @reneeyancy @coffeepotbookclub #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

 Book Title: More Precious Than Gold

Series: The Hearts of Gold Trilogy, Book 2

Author: Renee Yancy

Publication Date: 28th June 2022

Publisher: Vinspire

Page Length: 345 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance

A young woman refuses to become a pawn in her grandmother’s revenge scheme and forgoes a life of wealth and royalty to pursue a nursing career as America enters WWI and the Pandemic Flu of 1918 wreaks havoc in New York City

Universal Link (if you have it): https://books2read.com/u/bQPlGd

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/More-Precious-Than-Renee-Yancy-ebook/dp/B0B2ZQXTHV

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/More-Precious-Than-Renee-Yancy-ebook/dp/B0B2ZQXTHV

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/More-Precious-Than-Renee-Yancy-ebook/dp/B0B2ZQXTHV

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/more-precious-than-gold-renee-yancy/1141594321

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Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/more-precious-than-gold/id6442926646

INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC HITS CAMP DEVENS 2,000 Soldiers Are Stricken and Washington is Asked to Send More Doctors and Nurses —The New York Times, September 15, 1918

Eleven days later, the first influenza cases were admitted to Bellevue. Kitty set up an isolation unit in Ward A for a young sailor home on leave from France and two workmen from the Port of New York. All three men were in their early twenties, had high fevers, and complained that their lungs hurt. Kitty worked to make them comfortable, sponging them, offering fluids, and administering aspirin powders.

 All three were worse the following morning. The sailor tossed and moaned on his bed and screamed when he was touched. The high fevers continued and even morphine didn’t seem to help much. Kitty noticed a blue tint creeping over their skin, starting with the face and moving down over the chest. Bloody mucus drained from their noses and the sailor had it running from his ears. When Kitty walked into the isolation ward on the third day after their admission, the three beds were empty.

“Died about six a.m.” Miss Simpson, a probationer for two weeks, scrubbed the bare mattress. “One right after the other. It was awful.”

That seemed odd. Influenza typically had a longer course, and fatalities were usually limited to the very young and the elderly. These three young men had been in the prime of their manhood, well-nourished, and strong.

Miss Simpson dropped the washrag into the bucket. “If this is what it’s about, then I don’t think nursing is for me.” She glanced about the ward of men filled with influenza patients—coughing, vomiting, moaning—and shuddered. “I’m going to withdraw today and go home.”

“Better to find out early.” Kitty gave her a sympathetic smile. “But this is unusual. You’ve had a difficult introduction. Baptism by fire, I think it’s called.”

“Maybe so. But it’s too hot for me.” Miss Simpson picked up the bucket. “Goodbye.”

Nursing wasn’t for everyone, which was certain. And this influenza was different from what Bellevue had seen in the spring. It was alarming, but she didn’t have much time to think about it because Admitting called. Five more men were being admitted for influenza, or as some laypeople called it, the grippe. With the help of the probationers assigned to the ward today, Miss Field and Miss Blake, she got them settled in their beds.

Patrick Murphy, 26, a dock worker.

John Beckley, 33, a printer.

Mason Abraham, 36, a cook.

Aaron Mandel, 30, a piano salesman.

And Ashford Stuart-White, 35, a professor from Columbia University.

Five men from five different walks of life with the same illness. The rest of the shift flew by as Kitty and the probies sponged the men down for their fevers, emptied their spit basins, and tried to administer fluids.

“Miss Blake.” Kitty followed the probie into the dirty utility room. “Be careful when you’re emptying the basins into the hopper. Keep your head back, or turn your face away, so you don’t get splashed with the contents. And make sure you wash your hands well before you return to the patients.”

“Yes, Miss Winthrop.” Miss Blake was a sandy-haired, petite young woman with a no-nonsense attitude. “I’ll be careful.”

It was time to give aspirin again. Kitty went down the line, taking temperatures. There wasn’t one under 103°. Mr. Mandel’s temp was 104.6°.

“My joints hurt something awful, Miss.” He groaned as he turned onto his side. “I’ve never been this sick in my life.”

“Here.” Kitty handed him aspirin and morphine tablets. “Drink the whole glass of water, please. You need the fluids.

 Mandel took the meds and lay back down. “How long is this going to last? I’ve got to get back to work.” He stopped and turned away to cough. “I—I have a family to support.” He fought to draw in some air.

 There was no way to know. Especially if it was the same illness that had struck down the first three men admitted to the isolation unit.

“Rest as much as you can. Drink as much water as you can. That will help.”

He moaned again and then grimaced. “I’m sorry…to make so much noise. I can’t help it.”

“It’s all right. Try to sleep. The morphine will start to help soon.”

At lunchtime, Mr. Murphy and Mr. Beckley seemed a bit better. They were able to take some soup and swallow the aspirin, although both complained of severely sore throats. She made a mental note to get some lozenges for them. Mr. Abraham, a stocky fellow with ropy muscles, had lapsed into semi-consciousness and was difficult to arouse. The spit basin on the bedside table was half full of blood- streaked foamy mucus, and his respirations were wheezy and wet. By the end of the shift, Mr. Beckley was worse, Mr. Mandel was unconscious, and Mr. Abraham was dead, his skin color so dark, he looked black. Kitty performed post-mortem care for him.

What was this deadly disease? What could end the lives of vigorous young men so rapidly?

How were their families even going to recognize them?

Renee Yancy is a history and archaeology nut who works as an RN when she isnt writing historical fiction or traveling the world to see the exotic places her characters have lived.

A voracious reader as a young girl, she now writes the kind of books she loves to read—stories filled with historical and archaeological detail interwoven with strong characters facing big conflicts. Her goal is to take you on a journey into the past so fascinating that you cant put the story down. 

When she isnt writing, Renee can be found in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband and a rescue mutt named Ellie. She loves flea markets and collecting pottery and glass and most anything mid-century modern.



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BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/renee-yancy

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Renee-Yancy/e/B00726MJDQ

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5754717.Renee_Yancy


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