Fish Tanks Are a Wonderful Thing

S.J. Francis BadgeS. J. Francis is a freelance writer with over three hundred publication credits, a University Lecturer with doctorates in English, Mass Communications, and Law, and most recently, a novelist. Francis writes for many publications, as well as regularly contributing to the local newspaper. Francis’ first novel, Shattered Lies, is a women’s fiction/mainstream/family saga novel. In the end, it’s all about family.

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Fish tanks are a wonderful thing. A great number of people have held onto their sanity thanks to owning a fish tank. I know I have. Some people have a fish tank at work. Some at home. Ever watch a tank full of fish? Have you noticed how very relaxed you feel? Have you taken your blood pressure while you did so? Evidence continues to show that owning a fish tank is good for your health. I concur. From the time I owned my first 10 gallon fish tank as a teenager, I always wanted a large one. Not until I was an adult, did I have the opportunity to do just that. I love watching my fish tanks. I have two at home. One is a 55 gallon, which I set up in fall of 1999. I couldn’t imagine not setting up my tanks. The other tank I set up a few years ago is ten gallons. My large one has two types of fish limited to a total of a dozen fish. The ten gallon has seventeen newborn fry from the adult guppies in the large tank. I don’t believe in overstocking my tanks. It’s better for them. It’s better for me. They’re safe, happy and healthy. Hence, I’m happy. I love watching my fish swim about in their underwater world. They chase one another. They swim through the caves and logs and around the abundance of plants I put in there for them. Fish are intelligent creatures and can be quite comical in their adventures, especially at feeding time when you can sometimes hear them gulp the food down.

I love fish tanks so much that I placed fish tanks in my debut novel, Shattered Lies, which is now available to purchase. My protagonist Kate Thayer shares my love for fish tanks and animals. In fact, Kate has two 55 gallon tanks. One has tropical fresh water fish. The other has marine fish. How she sets them up when she leaves home lets her grandmother know how long she is going to be away.

Looking for a healthy and easy way to destress without going into debt, consider setting up a fish tank. It doesn’t have to be 55 gallons, though the larger tank you can provide, the better for keeping your fish healthy and happy. For me, I spent two hundred dollars to set up my 55 gallon tank sixteen years ago. Four years ago when I set up my ten gallon, it cost me a total seventy five dollars. The cost at the outset may seem a lot for what you’re buying, but think of what you’re getting. You’re buying yourself peace of mind. You’re also giving fish that are crowded into a fish tank at a pet store a chance in a good home in your tank.

Synopsis of Shattered Lies

Kate Thayer has a good life as a veterinarian running the family farm until she confronts an act of unimaginable treachery by those she trusted the most. Her paternal grandmother, Katherine, the woman that raised her is behind a series of secrets she is compelled to follow. Colored employees, headed by matriarch, Maddy, are actually her mother’s family. Her mother died in childbirth and, despondent, her father shot himself. Worse yet, neither set of grandparents wanted a mixed raced baby, though Katherine kept her because she was “white”. Faced with these revelations, she discovers she has a twin sister and goes off to New York City in hopes of meeting her. Once there, Astrid spurns her.

The next day, Kate awakens in her hotel and collapses. She’s rushed to the hospital. Upon being notified, the two grandmothers fly separately to New York City on the same flight.

Astrid finds the journal that Kate left behind in her apartment and has to speak with her only to find that Kate was rushed to the hospital. Once there, Astrid confronts “her family”. Each grandmother blames the other for what has happened. The family learns that Kate has a hereditary disease. In a riding accident two years before, Kate was left a widow and hospitalized. As a result of emotional and physical pain, Kate developed an addiction to the painkillers. Can it be related? As expected, emotions run high. What happens next? What is to come from all of this? Does Kate die? Does her family come together for her, or fall apart? The truth is revealed within the pages as Shattered Lies comes to a head.

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An Excerpt from Shattered Lies

Alone again, Kate finally gave the attic a closer look. The place was a mess. This was so unlike her fastidious grandmother. Boxes were strewn everywhere. Trunks lay against one wall and were visibly worn with tattered edges and rusted locks. Old pieces of furniture and antiques were everywhere. Mirrors, large and small leaned against another wall. Some items were covered with grayish sheets while others were open for view. Dust covered everything. The attic was huge! They could hold a dance up here, if need warranted it. Now she knew why no one came up here and why her grandmother kept it locked. It looked as if someone was just trying to discard portions of their life. Or someone had a yard sale when a tornado hit. There was no organization to it at all.

Shattered LiesKate cleared a spot on the large box and eased down, slowly at first, to test its sturdiness. When it held her weight without issue, she sat, placed the small book on her lap, and opened it. The pages were yellow and unevenly cut along the edges. Inside, the handwritten words of a long time ago came to life, revealing some things she didn’t know, and raised a great deal of questions she never knew she had, until now. There was hardly anything in it, but what she did read raised feelings she had never expected.

Visiting with Uncle Linc yesterday made her think about how little she knew about her parents and just how little her grandmother discussed them. Her grandmother always spoke of her son, Jax, Kate’s father with great regard. That is, when she spoke of him. Her grandmother never mentioned Kate’s mother, Olivia, never. Not once. Not even to say she didn’t like her daughter-in-law. Kate guessed the two women didn’t get along, but she wanted to know more. Maybe, just maybe, there was something in the attic. There certainly looked as if this was the place that could hold the secrets of a city, if need be. Secrets? Why had she thought of that? She had no secrets and neither did her grandmother. Her grandmother was an open book. What you saw was what you got. She bent to no one. Kate admired her. She was one tough independent lady, way ahead of her time.

Kate never gave it any thought before why her grandmother kept the keys in her bedroom instead of downstairs in the kitchen with the other farm keys. Kate had retrieved the key ring from her grandmother’s dresser draw. Her grandmother had a certain way of doing things and sometimes there was no rhyme or reason to it. It was the way Katherine Thayer wanted it, plain and simple.

After reading, Kate closed the small book, rested her hand on it, and shut her eyes. After a moment, she placed her other hand on the book, picked it up, brought it up to her chest, and held it there, as if to absorb the feelings inside. She had to know what it all meant and went to the one person she knew would know more than anyone, to the one person she could trust. Without a beat, she stood up and rushed down the stairs and to her grandmother’s room. With a cursory glance out the hall window on her way downstairs, she noticed that the yellow pickup was back. Grandmother and Carol obviously returned from their trip to do the weekly shopping. Outside the door, Kate stopped, not exactly sure how to approach this delicate situation before her. She had never questioned her grandmother’s actions before, but then she never had any reason to, did she? Now, she wondered, about a great many things.

Book Giveaway for Shattered Lies by S.J. Francis

In celebration of the launch of my debut novel, Shattered Lies,
I’m offering a giveaway for someone to win a personally autographed
printed copy. To all those who leave a comment during my blog tour
here or at my website, you will automatically be entered into a drawing to
win a personally autographed copy of my debut novel, Shattered Lies.
Two copies are available giving two of you a chance to win. To keep
up with my stops on my blog tour please visit my website.

Just leave a comment here or go to my website and drop me a
line with “Giveaway” in the subject line at:!giveaway/c1u9o

Be sure to leave a valid email address in case you win.
Good luck and thanks so much for stopping by. Thanks so
much, Lelia, for hosting me. It’s always my pleasure to
connect with other authors and readers.

FYI: The drawing will take place at the end of my blog
tour on Saturday, December 12, 2015. I will contact the
winner at their email address at that time to request your
mailing address to send you the printed copy of Shattered Lies.

She wants to know the truth, but some
secrets might be better left alone…

Kate Thayer has a good life as a veterinarian, running
the family horse farm—until she uncovers an act of
unimaginable treachery by those she trusted most and
learns that everything she knew about herself was a lie.
Her paternal grandmother, the woman who raised her,
is behind a number of devastating secrets Kate is compelled
to discover. But the deeper she digs, the more betrayal she
finds, changing her life in ways she could have never foreseen.


Cover Reveal: Crimson Earth by Anna Soliveres

Crimson Earth


Title: Crimson Earth
Series: Modi #2
Author: Anna Soliveres
Publication Date: December 10, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult



Aeva Storm finally has the answers she’s been looking
for since the night she was struck by lightning. She
knows who she is—and more importantly,what she is.
But her secret isn’t hers alone to keep, and some of
those who know the truth will do anything to control her.
In the sequel to the acclaimed Violet Storm, Aeva must
decide how far she’ll go to protect her identity and to find
her missing sister in a world she hardly recognizes. She must
embrace her new life—and her strange new body—if she hopes
to save the only place she and her family have left to call home. 
Filled with action, mystery, and heartbreak, Crimson Earth
finds Aeva, Ruven, and Karth on opposing sides as the war
between The False Alliance and the Monarchy draws near. 
Can they band together to fight against the evil threatening the
City? Or will they destroy each other before the war has even begun? 



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About the Author

Anna SoliveresAnna Soliveres has always been a storyteller but it wasn’t until her early twenties when she began writing novel length works. The result was an enthusiasm to get better at the craft until her work could be shared with the world. Released in March 2014, VIOLET STORM is her debut novel. The sequel, CRIMSON EARTH releases Dec. 2015. Anna is currently working on another young adult sci-fi series, titled SNOW DOLLS. To learn more, please visit her at


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