Monday, August 19, 2019

Soil and Ceremony

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Julia Byrd will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

See below to sign up for the GIVEAWAY

A history of loss and a terrible stammer have led gravedigger Benjamin Hood to a life of isolation.

When a rash of untimely deaths sweeps through his small English village, he cannot stand by in silence. To uncover the truth about the lives lost, he takes up a long-neglected role of responsibility among the townspeople.

As Benjamin questions the victims' families, he finds that beautiful widow Juno Stephens has preceded him in each case. She makes no secret of her odd midnight ceremonies and dark powers of persuasion. The villagers are whispering about a woman bearing a lethal hex.

Is Juno the source of danger in the village, or a victim of it? Benjamin must resist her beguiling ways and decide if he can trust her...until another death sets his smoldering worries ablaze.

read an excerpt...

Juno had no showy blooms, no roses or fragile peonies. Nothing had been planted for its color or its rarity. The plants were workmanlike and native to England, or at least well suited to our climate. I’d tended many of the same species in Maida Green.

Which question to ask first? Juno looked at me, clearly waiting for some reaction. She stood beside a small shrub with oblong, fuzzed leaves. No wonder she smelled of sage.

“Why do you—why is all this indoors?”

She turned and looked across to the other bed. “That silverbeet would be fine almost all throughout the winter ahead, but many of these others are summer annuals that I’m cultivating indoors through the colder months. Over there you can see my beans—”

“No, I meant…I understand many of these couldn’t survive the winter outdoors. But, Juno…it’s your dining room.”

“This is my conservatory.”

You can’t just say something to make it true. She had proved me wrong again. It had ceased being a dining room and was a conservatory. It served its purpose better than another room I had been in, a long glass room intended for plants but filled only with dust. I smiled, then reached up to fondle a strawberry dangling from a basket.

“You keep these little red devils well contained.”

“Naturally. Otherwise, I might awaken to find strawberries draped over all my rugs and furniture.”

My Review...
Interesting complex characters; even some we could identify in another day and age. I got mad at Ben in this story of a little romance and mystery but as I have said many times, I don’t think becoming impatient with a character is anything more than an author writing in a style that can evoke emotion in the reader.

This is one of those books that you always want more pages when you come to the end. Not that it doesn’t end properly because it does, but moreso that you want to know more about the lives of the characters and more of the story. You think this sounds like someone wishing for Book 2? Well maybe I am.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Julia lives and writes in Chicago with her handsome dog and scruffy husband. She tells people she enjoys books, wine, baking, and architecture as plausible cover for her secret double life.

Soil and Ceremony is available FREE to members of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program and the book is on sale for only $0.99.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for featuring me! I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Several people have commented that they were occasionally aggravated with Ben--he was a bit dense sometimes!! ;-)

  2. Replies
    1. I agree! Kathy is incisive. The best part of writing is when a reader picks up what I'm trying to put on the page.

  3. Beautiful cover and great review, thanks for sharing :)

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I LOVE the cover by Elle J. Rossi at Evernight Designs.

  4. What a gorgeous cover! Thanks for sharing the great excerpt.

  5. Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

  6. Are any of the characters in your book based on real people?

  7. What was one of your favorite scenes to write for this book?

  8. If you could spend on day with one of your characters who would it be, and what would you do?

  9. Julia is a new to me author but I'm definitely intrigued with the cover and the excerpt.

  10. Is this a standalone or will it be turned into a series?

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. How long did it take you to write this book?

  13. Do you write a specific amount of hours or words per day?

  14. How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?


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