Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Shadow of the Witte Wieven by Debbie Peterson - Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Debbie will be awarding a $15 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Hello! I am so excited to visit with you today. Thank you so much for the invitation and the opportunity to give our lovely readers a story from my vast paranormal files!

When it comes to Shadow of the Witte Wieven—and because I am a writer of both fantasy and paranormal romance—my thoughts often turn to the many legends concerning ghost ships. After all, any sighting of Wolf’s ship as he sails in this dimension is deemed a ghost ship by those who can actually see his brigantine. Not many can, you know… ;)

Anyway, one of my favorite legends concerns the American schooner known as the Young Teazer, which targeted the sea trade of the British Empire during the War of 1812, and for a time, she was rather successful in her pursuits.

Yet, as fate would have it, in June of 1813, British ships finally trapped the Young Teazer in Mahone Bay which is situated between Mason Island and Rafuse Island. Escape was impossible and the hands aboard the Teazer knew it. Without delay, the British dispatched a five boat boarding party to take possession of their prize. But, as they made their approach, the Young Teazer suddenly and unexpectedly exploded.

Survivors later claimed they saw Frederick Johnson, the Teazer’s First Lieutenant, toss flaming embers into the cache of ammunition which instantly ignited. The ship caught fire and that fire spread rapidly. The tactic killed Johnson and many of his fellow crew members that day.

Not long thereafter, very credible reports about the sighting of a fiery ghost ship began to surface. Then one year later, on June 27th of 1814, the people of Mahone Bay swore up and down they saw a spectral ship sailing exactly where the Young Teazer had met its demise. The ship vanished in a huge cloud of smoke and fire, but not before the witnesses positively identified it as the Young Teazer.

Even without the help of Facebook or Twitter, it didn’t take long for this story to circulate coast to coast. As the anniversary of the event came around again, a throng of people gathered in Mahone Bay with high expectations of seeing the flaming ghost ship for themselves. They were not disappointed. From that day to the present, people continue to stand as witness to the reality of the phantom ship which continues to sail, two hundred years later. More often than not, Young Teazer can be seen on misty nights which fall within three days of the full moon…

So, tell me, what do you think of ghost ships… fact or fiction?

Despite a contract on her head, lone Drug Enforcement Agent, Aliyana Montijo must ferret out a mole and stop the assassination of top DEA officials, as so ordered by the Colombian drug lord she seeks to take down. The task is a daunting one, for there is no one she can trust. No one that is, until she encounters a most unlikely ally.

Former seventeenth century captain of the Dutch West Indies Company, Wolfaert Dircksen Van Ness, now from a parallel dimension, encounters the beautiful agent during an unearthly storm in the Bermuda triangle. Drawn to the Spanish beauty he rescues, he pledges his assistance, despite her reluctance to accept either his help or his heart.

Can Wolf bridge both space and time to claim the woman he loves?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Something terrible had happened. She could feel it. She raced toward her supplies and grabbed hold of her backpack. Her fingers shook as she unzipped the bag and yanked out her phone. She tried to call Greg several times over before it dawned on her that he had already boarded a plane headed for Colombia. She wouldn’t be able to contact him until the morning.

Despite all attempts to banish it, the dread grew stronger with each passing hour. A growing notion that Wolf and his crew never vacated the sub, took firm hold. The conscientious men of the Wieven could very well have remained behind to ensure that all went according to plan. The thought of such an occurrence made her sick to her stomach. She couldn’t sleep, and she couldn’t eat. All throughout the long hours of the night, she restlessly paced along the shore, waiting, hoping—and praying.

By the time the gloomy morning arrived, what little hope she’d carried throughout the long night, dissipated. Somewhere in her heart, she finally accepted that her beloved captain wouldn’t be coming for her. Not now. Not ever again. Excruciating pain accompanied that knowledge, and in that same moment, she could feel her heart shattering into an infinite number of pieces. Even though she had endured such pain many times before, it had never assaulted her with the intensity it did right now. She didn’t know if she could survive it. Indeed, she didn’t know if she wanted to survive it.


About the Author: Debbie has always had a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, and happily ever after endings. Stories of love and make believe filled her head for as long as she can remember. However, it was her beloved husband who encouraged, cajoled and inspired her to take up a pen and write some of them down. In 2012, The Wild Rose Press published her first novel, Spirit of the Rebellion.

When she’s not busy conjuring her latest novel, Debbie spends time with the members of her very large family. She also pursues her interests in family history which she also teaches, mythology, and all things ancient and historic.

Connect with Debbie:

Website: http://dk-peterson.com/
Blog: http://debbie-peterson.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebbiePeterson1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Debbie-Peterson-Author/214882805206529?ref=tn_tnmn

Buy Shadow of the Witte Wieven at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or All Romance eBooks.

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Bringing Up Mike by Mark Duncan - Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mark will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five Things You Might Not Know About Mark Duncan


I’m a long-term cancer survivor

I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma when I broke the top of my right femur. I’ve had several radiation treatments, a bone marrow transplant at Stanford, and seven years of chemotherapy. After seventeen years, the myeloma appears to have burned itself out. I’ve had several side effects such as cataracts, kidney damage, and vertebroplasty to repair lesions in my lower back. Despite this, I stay active and engaged in life.

Participated in Lifespring when I was 25

Lifespring was a New Age/Human Potential company that helped people to see how others perceive and experience them. For myself, it came as a rude awakening that I was seen as being negative and critical. It helped me realized that I wanted to have more friends and caused me to work at being more positive and supportive. It took years to make these changes, but I’m much happier as a result.

Spent time at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) when I was in high school

When I was in high school, personal computers didn’t exist. If you were interested in computers, you had to get access to a minicomputer. There was an educational computer company at the San Carlos, CA airport called Technica that let high school kids use their equipment. Subsequently found that Digital Equipment allowed access to the minicomputers at their new training center in Sunnyvale. It subsequently occurred to me to ask for access to the timeshared SAIL facility, and to my surprise, access was given to my classmate, Steve Gibson and myself on Friday and Saturday nights. It was the first exposure I had to email and computer games!

I was the shortest kid in my elementary school classes

It wasn’t until the fifth grade that I was no longer the shortest kid in my class. In 9th grade I weighed 98 pounds, but by the 10th I was at 132 pounds and 5’9” in height. The only reason I remember these particular facts was that I was on the wrestling team in high school!

I often got in one or more fights each day in elementary school

While I was very short, I was all muscle, since I wrestled and worked out at the downtown Pasadena, CA YMCA. I suffered from bad allergies—it was like I had a constant cold–so it contributed to a violent temper. At recess I frequently got into one or more fights. I didn’t like school, so I would come home and bury myself in a book to escape. Often I read three or four books a day (I was a fast reader, reading two thousand words a minute). It was faster to read a book than watch a movie! Like many other things, I’ve slowed down— I read at a small fraction of this speed today.

What happens when Joe, a teen prodigy makes drastic changes to his life and attends high school incognito with Mike, an artificial intelligence? His plans take an unexpected turn when he buys a neglected former racehorse.

Bringing Up Mike is a tapestry of intertwined stories over the course of a school year: A teen genius who has grown up too fast, a neglected former racehorse, a bereaved couple morning the death of their son, a girl struggling to attend college, and a former mobster determined to be top dog.

Bringing Up Mike is about people given a second chance at happiness and success and how they become better people and mature.

Enjoy an excerpt:

As he walked down the windowless hallway, Joe’s long hair swung back and forth across his back. He swiped his badge against the door lock, entered a PIN code, and it clicked open. He took another gulp of coffee and entered his office.

He touched his finger to the keyboard to scan his fingerprint, then gestured on a touchpad to log in and authenticate himself. The lights went off in the office, the lock clicked in place, and the introduction to The Outer Limits began to play: “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust”

“Mike, very funny. Stop the effects, turn on the lights.”

The office lights flickered on. “Your wish is my command, O Master.”

“Enough with mimicking the genie from Aladdin.”

“I don’t sound like Robin Williams?”

“No, you’re perfect. I’m just not a morning person.” He pulled off his thick glasses and rubbed his brows before placing them back. “Any interesting news or urgent emails?”

“Nothing earth-shattering, the usual please respond immediately emails. Answered the trivial ones, but there are three that need your attention eventually.”

“How’s the meeting going?”

“Started half an hour ago. I gave your update ten minutes ago. Told them how we’d found and neutralized one hundred and four viruses and Trojans, and that if they didn’t like your acronym DAWG for Deleterious Adaptive Web Gladiator, you were open to suggestions. You want to listen?”

“No, I’ll nap for a bit. Wake me if anything comes up.”


About the Author:
Mark Duncan grew up in Pasadena, not far from Caltech. In high school he spent Friday and Saturday nights at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) and subsequently was a member of the Homebrew Computer Club. He received his BSEE from UC Berkeley. He has worked or consulted for numerous startups in Silicon Valley. He lives in Menlo Park, near Stanford and has written extensively on emerging technology topics. He enjoys photography, movies, theater, fine dining and has visited all 50 states and much of Europe. He is the author of Bringing Up Mike.

Book and Author Links Book Website: http://www.askmarpublishing.com/books/bringing up mike.html
Publisher Website: http://www.askmarpublishing.com
Author Website: http://www.askmaroublishing.com/authors/mark duncan.html
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/askmarpub
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/askmar

Buy the book at Amazon, Amazon UK, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Texas Two Step by Jody Vitek - Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

12_8 texas ExcerptTour_TourBanner_TexasTwoStep

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jody will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

12_8 texas Cover_Texas Two StepYou first met Chad Rogers and Chloe Atwood in Florida Heat, now you get to read their story.

Old family ties broken, childhood pain healed and true love revealed—one step at a time.

One phone call sends Chad Rogers back to the one place he’s been avoiding—home. Being at his mother’s side after she is shot, he faces the younger brother who tormented him during childhood and his ex-lover, Chloe Atwood.

Chloe Atwood is engaged to a family friend. Chad Rogers steps back into her world, spinning it off its axis. She sees him in a new light this time around, leaving her to question if they can have a future together.


Read an excerpt:

“Andrew, I’m here.” She scanned the tiled floor of the foyer for a box with her belongings, but there wasn’t one. Further into the apartment, she looked in both directions along the short hallway. His bedroom door was partially closed, so she went to the left, entering the open kitchen, dining and living room. Papers covered the glass dining room table and were strewn about the coffee table. White powder coated a small area of the glass table by his laptop. Powdered sugar? “Andrew, where are you?”

“In my room.”

“Are you descent?” She wasn’t in the mood for any games with him.

“Yes.”

She padded down the hallway, opened the door and entered the master room. As she passed the exterior wall to the master bathroom, she lost her balance and screamed. Regaining her steadiness from being pushed, an arm forcefully wrapped around her neck and waist, while a body pushed into her back.

“No! Help! Andrew,” she shrieked, drawing out each word. Unsuccessful in reaching upward, she tried twisting but failed. Whoever held her had a tight hold.


12_8 texas AuthorPic_Texas Two StepAbout the Author: Born and raised in Minnesota, Jody has remained close to home living with her husband of twenty plus years, three children and a cat named Holly. Growing up, she enjoyed reading V.C. Andrews' the Dollanganger series, starting with Flowers in the Attic, S.E. Hinton, and Stephen King to name a few. Today her tastes run across the board in fiction and non-fiction, in all genres.

She has traveled throughout the United States, to the Bahamas and Cancun, Mexico. Between watching her son’s soccer games, maintaining one of the many scrapbook albums, gardening and being the COO of the Vitek household, she writes contemporary romances.

Website: www.JodyVitek.com
Email: info@jodyvitek.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jody-Vitek-Author/142820225824162
Twitter: @JodyVitek

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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The Green Rose by Stephanie Burkhart - Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stephanie will be awarding $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

On the continent of Gaia, evil is brewing. Turncoat wizard, Balthyser, kidnaps the kings of Dahaka and Tapin. He wants the green rose, a source of powerful magic.

Princess Sonia of Tapin is forced to hunt down the rose in exchange for her father's life. It's the ultimate betrayal of Gaia's peace, but she has no choice if she wants to save her father.

Prince Ivánstan of Dahaka accompanies her on the journey. Both face challenges and obstacles that test their strength of character during the hunt for the rose. Dare Sonia put her trust and faith in a man she hardly knows to secure Gaia's peace or will the continent's harmony be shattered forever?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Racing forward, he spotted her near Tapin's tents surrounded by three beasts. Tall and slender, she possessed a strong, wild beauty he found intriguing. Long chestnut brown hair flowed down her back. Her eyes were golden yellow with obsidian irises. She'd been bonded! Only the noble bonded. Her high, exotic cheekbones and patrician features were steeled in courage and determination. The primal urge to mate with her made his heart pound in his chest.

A falcon, the heraldic symbol of Tapin, was prominently displayed on her tunic.

A bird screeched. A wyldebeast craned its neck upward and the descending falcon slashed its talons over the creature's face, spraying blood.

"Well done, Hiro!" exclaimed the woman.

A second wyldebeast lashed at her. She stumbled backwards, tripping on a rock. Her wrist struck the ground hard, sending her sword sprawling several feet away from her, leaving her vulnerable.

"Draco, defend the Tapin noblewoman!"

Ivánstan's dragon, now overhead, shot a blast of flame from his mouth, scorching the fur of an advancing beast. The creature collapsed and rolled over, attempting to use the ground to extinguish the flames on its body.

The remaining wyldebeast raised his hand, its fingernails moist, poised to strike the noblewoman. Ivánstan lunged forward and sliced off the creature's wrist just inches in front of her face.

"Thank Nyla!" she cried.

The beast howled in pain and spun to face Ivánstan. Draco latched its thorny claws into the creature's shoulders, lifting it into the air.

About the Author:
Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate, is addicted to coffee and enjoys early morning walks. She's also an assistant den leader for her son's Cub Scout den and is a Boy Scout mom. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.



Buy the book at Desert Breeze Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks, or Sony.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

The Sunken by S.C. Green - Review and Giveaway


This review is in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In the heart of London lies the Engine Ward, a district forged in coal and steam, where the great Engineering Sects vie for ultimate control of the country. For many, the Ward is a forbidding, desolate place, but for Nicholas Thorne, the Ward is a refuge. He has returned to London under a cloud of shadow to work for his childhood friend, the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Deep in the Ward's bowels, Nicholas can finally escape his strange affliction – the thoughts of animals that crowd his head. But seeing Brunel interact with his mechanical creations, Nicholas is increasingly concerned that his friend may be succumbing to the allure of his growing power. That power isn't easily cast aside, and the people of London need Brunel to protect the streets from the prehistoric monsters that roam the city.

King George III has approved Brunel's ambitious plan to erect a Wall that would shut out the swamp dragons and protect the city. But in secret, the King cultivates an army of Sunken: men twisted into flesh-eating monsters by a thirst for blood and lead. Only Nicholas and Brunel suspect that something is wrong, that the Wall might play into a more sinister purpose--to keep the people of London trapped inside.

My Review:

If you choose to pick this book up, please allow yourself plenty of time--it's not a short book (approximately 500 pages) and it's not a quick read. There's a lot going on in this book -- a lot of people, a lot of nuances, and a lot of activity.

It's heavier on the alternative history than some other steampunk novels I've read. Dinosaurs never died out--they live on in the form of dragons; George III did not die, but rather was known as "the vampire king"; and religion is not worshiping God but different sects of science and the arts-- many of them, because each person could create his own church.

However, just because it's not an easy book to read, don't make the mistake that it's not enjoyable-- because it is. The book is very well written and, being the first book in the series, is setting up the worldbuilding for the remainder of the series. It is so different to the world we know that it's hard to wrap your head around it with a quick scan. It's a book you want to take your time with and savor.

The characters are first introduced as young men involved in a terrible accident. Two of them leave immediately afterward, fearing their third friend blames them for the accident--which resulted in his father being charged and exiled. Ten years later, they are reunited and the rest of the book details the situation they find themselves in. As the book goes on, the friends become more and more concerned about each other and about what's going on with the King's plan.

Other characters are more-or-less regulated to the background; the main characters are indeed Nicholas, James, Isambord, and Aaron and their complex relationships with each other.

I'm looking forward to the next installment in this series--it's anyone's guess what will happen next. 4 flowers. Enjoy an excerpt:

The furnace was unlit; the only light a faint glow from an Argand lamp in Aaron's hand. He squinted at his friend in the darkness, saw his face set into a stony expression.

"Isambard was just informing me of his secret project," Aaron said, his tone even.

"You're building the London railway?" asked Nicholas.

"The King wants you to build a railway in London? Isambard, this is—"

"Amazing. Miraculous, Incomprehensible, I know!" Isambard's excitement filled the room. "It's only a small section of track, but it's a start. He wants me to build a railway from Windsor Castle into Buckingham House. It will be the first railway inside the city. Apart from the first mile of track across the castle grounds, the entire railway will be underground. And it must be built in four months."

"That's preposterous!" Aaron said. "You've only built one railway before, and that hardly stretched a mile, and it took a lot longer than four months."

"Especially not when work on the Wall begins next week," added Nicholas. "That too shares that same impossible deadline, and since it stretches outside the Ward and will be in full view of the public, the Stokers are not permitted to work on it. Where are we going to find men?"

"I am aware of both these issues. That's why I've been holed up in here for the last three days, trying to come up with a solution. Now that you're both here, I can show you what I've created."

Brunel reached over and, with fingers that seemed unusually cold as they brushed Nicholas' arm, pushed the light toward the far corner of the room. There stood two machines that made Nicholas recoil in fright.

"Isambard—"

"What is that?" Aaron demanded.

"You can approach them." Brunel grabbed Nicholas by the shoulders and dragged him across the room.

"They look so—so—"

"I know. Aren’t they beautiful?" Brunel reached out and stroked the belly of one of the machines, angling the light to give Nicholas and Aaron a better view. "I call them my Boilers. They will revolutionise the manufacturing process."

Each Boiler stood a little higher than Brunel — round furnace bellies balanced on metal skids, with a complex labyrinth of wheels, tubes and gauges protruding from the top. Their shape appeared too natural, too human, to be made of iron, but iron they were, and ingeniously designed. Clawlike limbs extended from the furnace body, and where one would expect a head, Brunel had given each a double chimney. More dials and gauges protruded from the rear of the furnace, and Nicholas recognised some of the controls from Brunel's steam locomotive designs — a regulator, a water glass. Obviously prototypes, the metal was rough, unfinished, but Nicholas immediately grasped the basic idea.

"They’re … workers?"

Brunel nodded. "There aren’t men enough in England to finish the railway and Wall as soon as the King wants them, but with machines to work day and night, and men like Aaron to run them, we can do it. These are just prototypes, of course, but fifty units are being finished in the workshops as we speak. I plan to have the first Boiler workgang operational by the end of the week. Watch."

He opened the furnace of the nearest one and stoked it up. It spluttered to life, churning steam from its double chimney. Brunel worked the controls from behind the Boiler, stepping aside when it lurched forward. Aaron stumbled back, tripping over Nicholas as the Boiler barrelled toward them, claws outstretched, steam billowing from its mechanical neck.

Panicked, Nicholas rolled out of the Boiler's path, dragging Aaron back with him. But the Boiler wasn't after them. It tore straight past Nicholas and picked up a length of pipe from the bench behind him. Holding the pipe in its clawed hands, it bent the length into a perfect U, fitted a pressure gauge on the end, then fitted it to another pipe protruding from the wall, tightened the whole apparatus, and stood back, awaiting its next instruction.

"See?" Brunel clapped his hands together. "The Boiler will repeat that task, again and again, until he is given new instructions. Aren't they the most amazing invention that ever your eyes did see?"


About the Author:
S. C. Green is the author of the dystopian steampunk series, The Engine Ward, as well as humorous fantasy At War With Satan (under the name Steff Metal). Her latest novel, The Sunken, explores an alternative Georgian London where dinosaurs still survive.

She lives in an off-grid house on a slice of rural paradise near Auckland, New Zealand, with her cantankerous drummer husband, their two cats, and their medieval sword collection. She writes about metal music, her books, living off-grid, and her adventures with home-brewing on her blog SteffMetal.com.

Stay up to date with S C Green's books by signing up to her newsletter: http://steffmetal.com/subscribe or like her Facebook page: http://facebook.com/steffmetal

Buy the book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

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The Cowboys of Copper Mountain by Katherine Garbera, Jane Porter, and Melissa McClone - Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn rafflecopter winner (international giveaway). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Three novellas and an unforgettable short story, now available together in one festive package!

A Cowboy For Christmas by Katherine Garbera

Annie Prudhomme never expected to be back in Marietta, MT and her family is fond of reminding her that she left them and the town behind in search of better things. A humiliating divorce that cost her everything she’d gained has driven her back home and her family isn’t about to welcome her back into the fold. She’s in town to rebuild the old home that she inherited and to move on once again.

Carson Scott never forgot Annie or the way she left. Now that she’s back in town he’s realizing that the old flame still burns hot but he can’t risk his heart the way he did last time now that he has his son to think about it. Being trapped together during a December snowstorm gives them a chance to rekindle their romance but is Annie back for good or is she just looking for a cowboy for Christmas?

Christmas At Copper Mountain by Jane Porter

Since the loss of her family in a plane crash, Harley Diekerhoff has led a quiet life and keeps to herself. Taking the temporary job at the Copper Mountain Ranch as widower Brock Sheenan’s housekeeper seems perfect for her. But her calm cocoon is invaded with the arrival of Brock’s pre-teen twins, Mack and Molly who’ve never experienced a proper Christmas and before she knows it, Harley’s determined to make their holiday perfect.

Annoyed at first by Harley’s interference, Brock is secretly pleased she’s changed Mack and Molly’s world. It doesn’t hurt that he finds Harley incredibly attractive, fierce, smart and passionate. It’s also an added bonus that she’s not afraid to challenge him and get his blood heated! But when sparks fly and the attractions sizzles between them, Harley’s not so sure she can handle something permanent with this dark, taciturn cowboy who doesn’t know how to let her in. But Brock is determined to hold on to her and praying for a Christmas miracle…

Home For Christmas by Melissa McClone

Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Rachel Murphy loves the scent of gingerbread baking almost as much as she enjoys creating custom edible houses at Christmastime. But she needs a bigger kitchen if she wants to make the most of her impromptu holiday business.

Enter Nate Vaughn, handsome venture capitalist turned Montana dude ranch owner and her brother’s boss. Nate’s commercial kitchen is perfect for the baker. And he thinks she might be perfect for him…as a business partner.

After being burned by a celebrity baker, Rachel’s wary of Nate’s interest in her gingerbread houses, not to mention his mistletoe kisses. She should leave the Bar V5 ranch and return to Arizona. Or can Nate convince her she’s already home?

Mistletoe Magic by Melissa McClone

Spending a quiet Christmas housesitting and reading novels about hot cowboys sounds perfect to Caitlin. Until a stray kitten brings her face-to-face with Noah, her crush from college. Watching the handsome vet in action melts Caitlin's heart and brings back long-forgotten emotion. She would be safer back at the house lost in the pages of a book. But a toe-curling mistletoe kiss tempts her to stay. Maybe she won't be spending this Christmas… alone.

Veterinarian Noah Sullivan isn't a Scrooge, but the Christmas Eve tradition of hanging mistletoe in the clinic's waiting room annoys him. Kissing doesn't belong at the Copper Mountain Animal Hospital. Noah rethinks his position when Caitlin Butler arrives with a stray kitten she found freezing in the snow. All he wants now is to maneuver the pretty preschool teacher under the mistletoe. If he's not careful, he'll wind up on Santa's naughty list.

Enjoy an excerpt from Christmas at Copper Mountain:

“You okay, Miss Diekerhoff?”

Turning quickly, potato skins still dripping, Harley blinked back tears as she spotted Brock Sheenan standing by the fireplace, warming his hands.

Brock was a big man. He was tall–six one or two—with broad shoulders, a wide muscular chest, and shaggy black hair.

Harley’s late husband, David, was Portuguese and darkly handsome, but David was always groomed and polished while the Montana rancher seemed disinclined to comb his hair, or bother with a morning shave.

The truth was, Brock Sheenan looked like a pirate, and never more so than now, with tiny snow flakes clinging to his wild hair and shadowed jaw.

“I’m fine,” she said breathlessly, embarrassed. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

“The faucet was on.” He rubbed his hands together, the skin red and raw. “You’re not….crying…are you?”

She heard the uncomfortable note in his voice and cringed a little. “No,” she said quickly, straightening and squaring her shoulders as she dumped the potato peels into the garbage. “Everything’s wonderful.”

“So you’re not crying?”

“No,” she repeated crisply, drying her hands. “Just peeling potatoes for dinner.”

Her gaze swept his big frame, seeing the powdered snow still clinging to the hem of his wrangler jeans peeking beneath his leather chaps and white glitter dusting his black brows. His supple leather chaps weren’t for show. It was frigid outside and he’d spent the week in the saddle driving the last herds of cattle from the back country to the valley down below so the cows could take shelter beneath trees. “Can I get you something?”

“You don’t happen to have any coffee left from this morning that you could heat up?”

“I can make a fresh pot,” she said, grabbing the glass carafe to fill it with water. “Want regular or decaf?”

He glanced at the clock mounted on the wall above the door and then out the window where the snow flurries were thickening, making it almost impossible to see the tall pine trees marking one corner of the yard. “Leaded,” he said. “Make it strong, too. It’s going to be a late night for me.”

She added the coffee grounds, and then hit the brew button. “You’re heading back out?”

“I’m going to ride back up as soon as I get something warm in me. Thought I’d take some of the breakfast coffee cake with me. If there was anything left.”

“There is.” She’d already wrapped the remaining slices in foil. He wasn’t one to linger over meals, and he didn’t like asking for snacks between meals, either. If he wanted something now, it meant he wouldn’t be back anytime soon. But it was already after four. It’d be dark within the hour. “It’s snowing hard.”

“I won’t be able to sleep tonight if I don’t do a last check. The boys said we’ve got them all but I keep thinking we’re missing one or two of the young ones. Have to be sure before I call it a night.”

Harley reached into a cupboard for one of the thermoses she sent with Brick on his early mornings. “What time will you want dinner?”

“Don’t know when I’ll be back. Could be fairly late, so just leave a plate in the oven for me. No need for you to stay up.” He bundled his big arms across his even bigger chest, a lock of thick black hair falling down over his forehead to shadow an equally dark eye.

There was nothing friendly or approachable about Brock when he stood like that. His wild black hair, square jaw, and dark piercing gaze that gave him a slightly threatening air, but Harley knew better. Men, even the most dangerous men, were still mortal. They had goals, dreams, needs. They tried, they failed. They made mistakes. Fatal mistakes.

“Any of the boys going with you?” she asked, trying to sound casual as she wrapped a generous wedge of cheddar cheese in foil, and a hunk of the summer sausage he liked, so he’d have something more substantial than coffee cake for his ride.

He shook his head, then dragged a large calloused hand through the glossy black strands in a half-hearted attempt to comb the tangled strands smooth. “No.”

She gave him a swift, troubled look.

He shrugged. “No point in putting the others in harm’s way.”

Her frown deepened. “What if you get into trouble?”

“I won’t.”

She arched her brows.

She ought to be intimidated by this shaggy beast of a man, but she wasn’t. She’d had a husband—a daring, risk taking husband of her own—and his lapse in judgment had cost them all. Dearly.

“It’s dangerous out there,” she said quietly. “You shouldn’t go alone.”


About the Authors:

USA Today, and New York Times bestselling author of 47 romances and women's fiction titles, Jane Porter has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award five times, with her Tule Publishing novella, Take Me, Cowboy, winning the Novella Category July 2014. Jane today has over 12 million copies in print, including her wildly popular Flirting with Forty, a novel picked by Redbook Magazine as it's Red Hot Summer Read in 2006 before being turned into a Lifetime movie in 2008 starring Heather Locklear.

Jane holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband, three sons, and two dogs. You can learn more about Jane at www.JanePorter.com.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorjaneporter
Twitter – https://twitter.com/authorjanep
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/thejaneporter
Instagram – http://instagram.com/authorjaneporter

USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 65 books. Writing is the chief focus of her time after her family and the only thing she likes more than working on her own books is reading other authors. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and loves the opportunity to talk about writing with anyone who'll listen. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.

Website - http://www.katherinegarbera.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/KatherineGarberaAuthor
Twitter - https://twitter.com/katheringarbera
Pinterest - http://www.pinterest.com/kathygarbera/
Instagram - http://instagram.com/katherinegarbera

Melissa McClone has published over thirty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. She also sends care packages to deployed service members and fosters cats through a local no-kill animal shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!

Website - http://www.melissamcclone.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MelissaMcCloneBooks
Twitter - https://twitter.com/melissamcclone
Pinterest - http://www.pinterest.com/melissamcclone/

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Friday, December 12, 2014

The Ambivalent Memoirist by Sandra Hurtes - Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Andra will be awarding a copy of her book in the winner's choice of either print (US only) or digital to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Inspiration for my book


2004. Turning the corner of E. 42nd and Second Avenue, I walk past innovation Luggage. Suitcases in every size and color wait to be wheeled out the front door, packed up and checked in at the baggage counter at TWA or lifted and slid into overhead.

One of the first items I bought when I moved from Brooklyn to Manhattan was a forest green Samsonite from TJMaxx for sixty dollars. What joy! The bargain, the suitcase on wheels. I had so wanted to be one of those women at airports, trim and confident maneuvering my neat baggage as if it weighed two pounds.

In June, I packed my 23” regulation-size carry-on and went to a writers’ conference in Iowa City. I was 52, single, and still searching for my place in life. My friend Julia, who lived in Iowa City, said the University of Iowa was a Mecca for writers. The college town had bookstores, cafés and trendy restaurants. It wasn’t only farm and corn as New Yorkers pictured. She thought I might like living there. And so, my trip was two-fold. A possible place to live, a community to get my writing life in order.

My plane landed in Cedar Rapids. Julia met me at the gate looking so pretty with her golden blond hair in a new pixie cut. Just the year before she had wanted to move to Manhattan. Then she fell in love with a dyed-in-the wool Iowan.

Her face lit up when she saw me.

“You’re here!” she said.

“Yes,” I agreed. “I’m here!,” trying to match her excitement. In her red Honda, we drove the nineteen miles to Iowa City. The land was grassy and rolling with occasional hedges and thickets of trees. We crossed a river and cornfields. These foreign lands—Cedar Rapids, Iowa City—were foreign as my parents’ Europe, more exotic too.

We chatted about my move to Manhattan, how different my perspective was being in the heart of the city all the time, as opposed to going there by subway and then returning home to Brooklyn.

“Do you really think you could move here?” Julia asked.

My head turned east, west, trying to take in the entire Midwest. “I don’t know…it would be different.”

Julia laughed. “You might like it. You won’t know until you try.”

That evening at the welcome dinner, my table of eight filled quickly. I felt safe, alive, as if a family had formed about me. Amid the animated conversation, I asked everyone, “Where do you live?” Instead of learning people’s names, I knew them by city: Minneapolis and Des Moines to my right, taking poetry. Green Bay across the table, working on a novel and in three weeks going to another conference in Taos (as was I). Boston to my left, poetry, too, and reddish curly hair like mine.

The most intriguing workshop activity was that participants were told we could say anything we wanted about ourselves, except what we do for a living. On the last day the teacher told us write down the answers to three questions: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “What do you have to do to get there?” “Who are you?”

We read our answers out loud. People wrote, I just graduated from journalism school, in five years I’ll be writing a column for a local newspaper. I’m a father of two boys, in five years I’ll be visiting them in college. I could have been concrete too. I could have written, I’m a freelance writer and in five years I’ll work for a magazine. But dreams, or perhaps they were visions, of something deeper that I wanted emerged.

And so I read: in five years I’ll be teaching at a small college. I’ll have gone back to school, written a book. I’m searching for the life I want to be living.

I felt self-conscious at first, then relieved. The words once spoken had form and texture and meaning.

My last day there I talked to a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. He had since written two novels and taught creative writing at Penn State. I liked the sound of his life. I thought getting an MFA might be a first step for me to have that life, too. After our talk I walked uphill from the university, to Prairie Lights; browsing the bookstore had gotten to be a ritual. There, I noted the small cafe, wondered if I'd sit there with my laptop if I were a student at the University of Iowa.

I rummaged through the two floors of books and found an essay collection, The Merry Recluse by Carolyn Knapp. The title felt significant. I bought two copies and gave one to Julia.

I took a circuitous route back to the rambling campus, wandering up and down residential blocks. All the while acknowledging, I am searching for a life.

When I returned home, I tacked to my bulletin board the words I wrote in my class in Iowa. My five-year plan. My search. My mind whirled with ways to leave Manhattan, wondering what college campus I would be walking across on my way to class. This was less about leaving than beginning.

How could I create a life of meaning? And if I figured out the “how”, received a pass to proceed to Go, would I take it? I was finally in Manhattan, falling in love with the parks above 42nd Street in Tudor City. I often stood on the small bridge known as Tudor City Place, drinking a cup of coffee while looking across the East River toward Long Island City. Then I turned, gazed out over 42nd Street all the way to Times Square. I live here, I’d say to myself. It’s unbelievable.

Why, then, was I restless, unable to stop the infernal searching?

This question is at the center of my book, The Ambivalent Memoirist. Finding the answers takes me a journey as I flirt with leaving Manhattan and also look into my past to understand why moving forward is fraught with conflict.

". . .[an] honest memoir full of compassion and wit that infuses ordinary events with intimacy and intensity. . .Teaching college English courses and preparing her first essay collection, she must address her own pain. . .as well as her parents' experiences during the Holocaust. . . Writing as art and psychological salvation is at the heart of this book, taking "readers deep below the surface" of words toward personal vindication.” ~~Publishers Weekly


Enjoy an excerpt:

Some people call moving through life without a plan “acting on faith.” I moved without a plan because of bona fide fear—fear that I would live out my whole life within the landscape of that twenty-seven-year apartment. It held memories of all I had and hadn’t achieved, along with my deepest grief for my mother. I must have been really scared, because I don’t move easily about the world. In fact, when the [graduate school] acceptance letters came in (and everyone but Missoula said yes), I chose the graduate program built on Manhattan concrete.

About the Author:
Sandra Hurtes is the author of The Ambivalent Memoirist and the essay collection On My Way to Someplace Else. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and this legacy is examined in her work. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the English Department at John Jay College and teaches creative nonfiction in private workshops.

www.SandraHurtes.com
www.sandrahurtes.blogspot.com

Buy the book at Amazon.

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The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan C. Curtis - Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner for more chances to win.

Confessions from a Pantser


I recently interviewed a writer who told me in no uncertain terms that she was not a pantser. I asked, “What is that?”

She explained that a pantser was a writer who wrote by the seat of his/her pants. Personally I don’t like that definition. I tend to think of myself as an evolutionary writer. My characters and my scenes evolve. When I start a story, I have a protagonist in mind. That person becomes my main character. I have a vague notion of who some supporting characters might be, but many pop up as the story progresses.

Here’s an example of what I mean.

Let me take you back in time in the early days of The Clock Strikes Midnight. I began the novel with Marlene in mind. It was supposed to be a story about a woman going through a mid-life crisis. Marlene, however, had other ideas. She took me down an entirely different path. Wow! It was amazing.

As I worked with Marlene, other characters emerged. The first being her husband, Peter. But, it wasn't long before Peter took a backseat and Marlene's sister, Janie, surfaced. I had no idea that Janie would turn out to be a bad little teen. She was the polar opposite to Marlene. Where Marlene was the good little girl growing up, Janie rebelled. The contrast was fun to write, but again not what I had planned. It didn't take me long to realize I couldn't plan. My characters had their own ideas.

This kind of evolutionary writing makes for an editing nightmare. It is, however, the only way I know how to write. I have heard other writers who have had similar experiences. Yet, there are also writers who know their characters and their story before they start. For me, the process of writing, of creating enables me to let loose and allow the characters to emerge.

Okay, I confess, I must be a pantser.

The Clock Strikes Midnight is a race against time in a quest for revenge and atonement. This is a story about hate, love, betrayal and forgiveness.

If you found out you had only 3 months to live, what would you do? That’s the question Janie Knox faces in this fast-paced mystery full of uncertainty and tension that will surprise you until the very last page.

Hiding behind the façade of a normal life, Janie keeps her family secrets tucked inside a broken heart. Everything changes on the day she learns she’s going to die. With the clock ticking and her time running out, she rushes to finish what she couldn’t do when she was 17—destroy her mother’s killer. But she can’t do it alone.

Janie returns to her childhood home to elicit help from her sister. She faces more than she bargained for when she discovers her sister’s life in shambles. Meanwhile her mother’s convicted killer, her stepfather, recently released from prison, blackmails the sisters and plots to extract millions from the state in retribution. New revelations challenge Janie’s resolve, but she refuses to allow either time or her enemies to her stop her from uncovering the truth she’s held captive for over 20 years.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Daddy, when I get my kitty, can I name him Davy?” she had asked, yanking Marlene’s Davy Crockett mug full of M&M’s from her grasp.

The colorful candy spilled all over the backseat of the car.

“Mama, tell Janie to—”

“Janie, behave,” Daddy said, admonishing her for an instant with his eyes from the rearview mirror.

“Malcolm, look out—!” Mom screamed.

Janie slammed into Marlene. Pain. The world tumbled topsy-turvy. The mug flew across the interior of the car, colors of the rainbow falling all around her.

Then, everything went black.

When she opened her eyes, Mom’s blood-streaked face rose in front of her out of the darkness.

“Wrap your arms around my neck, honey.” Mom lifted her from the wreckage.

Janie clutched her doll by the dress while the rain beat her curly hair flat.

Marlene stood on the side of the road.

“Try to walk,” Mom said, toppling her from her arms.

Her head pounded and blood trickled down her leg. She leaned on her good leg and limped in the direction of her sister.

“Mama, where’s Daddy?” Marlene asked between sobs.

Mom took Marlene’s hand and yanked her forward with Janie in tow.

Marlene lurched back toward the smashed Oldsmobile with smoke billowing from its hood and a big tree lying across the roof. The Davy Crockett mug lay shattered by the back tire.

“Daddy! We can’t leave Daddy!” Marlene yelled, picking up pieces of the broken glass.

They had left Daddy that day and piled into an old Chevy pick-up truck with a bashed in headlamp, belonging to a man with carrot-red hair. Mom pushed them inside the truck and ordered the man to get help. But by then it was too late for Daddy.

It was too late for all of them.


About the Author:
Joan Curtis authored four business books published by Praeger Press. She is also published numerous stories, including:

• Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar, Sea Oats Review, Winter, 2004
• A Memoir Of A Friend, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul, 2003 and Flint River Review, 1996
• Jacque’s Story in From Eulogy to Joy, 2002
• The Roommate, Whispering Willow Mystery Magazine, April 1997
• A Special Sort of Stubbornness, Reader’s Digest, March 1997
• My Father’s Final Gift, Reader Digest, November 1994

Her first place writing awards include : Best mystery manuscript in the Malice Domestic Grants competition, best proposal for a nonfiction piece in the Harriette Austin competition, and best story, Butterflies in a Strawberry Jar in the Cassell Network of Freelance Writer’s Association.

Other Books:

Hire Smart and Keep ‘Em: How to Interview Strategically Using POINT, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA 2012.

The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media, Praeger Press, 2010, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA

Managing Sticky Situations at Work: Communication Secrets for Success in the Workplace, 2009, Praeger Press, an imprint of ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara, CA.

Strategic Interviewing: Skills for Savvy Executives, 2000 published by Quorum Books, Greenwood Press.

“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner. She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.

http://www.joancurtis.com/
http://www.joancurtis.com/blog
http://www.facebook.com/joanccurtisauthor
http://www.twitter.com/joancurtis
https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/52-our-authors/authors-c/455-joan-curtis

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Coming to Rosemont by Barbara Hinske - Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn winner will receive a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Forensic accountant Maggie Martin survives the sudden death of her husband, the charismatic President of Windsor College, only to uncover the secrets of his carefully-concealed double life. Dealing with the financial and emotional wreckage left in Paul’s wake, she is stunned to learn he inherited an estate known as Rosemont in the seemingly-serene Midwestern town of Westbury. Why had he never told her?

Maggie travels to Westbury for the stated purpose of listing Rosemont for immediate sale, but what she really seeks are answers to her all-consuming questions about her sham of a marriage; her sham of a life. She never anticipated the seductive charm of Rosemont. Throwing her trademark caution to the wind, and over the objections of her opinionated grown children, she pulls up stakes and moves halfway across the country, determined to make a fresh start in Westbury. Behind closed doors, however, lurks a cadre of evildoers, playing with multiple wild cards of fraud, embezzlement and arson.

With a quiet, orderly – and distinctively solitary – life in mind, Maggie is instead thrown headlong into a crusade against political corruption, where defeat and retreat are not an option. Still bearing the scars of betrayal, will she find joy, romance and possibility in Westbury?

This fast-paced, smart novel has enough twists and turns to make the reader want to buckle in!

Enjoy an excerpt:

Maggie dropped to her knees and threw her arms around the squirming dog. “You don’t know how much I appreciate being able to have Eve with me tonight,” she beamed up at John. “My flight was delayed and I had a Chatty-Cathy car rental agent. I drove like a maniac to get here. I’m really very grateful you waited. The lot was empty and I thought that I was too late.”

“It was no trouble. I was catching up on paperwork,” John assured her. “I live on the other side of the Square and walk to work, weather permitting. I usually stop at one of the restaurants on the way home for dinner.”

“Are you done? Would you like a lift home?”

John knew an opportunity when he saw one. “I just need to lock up,” he said. “Are you hungry? Or are you full of delicious airline food,” he mocked. When she shook her head and indicated that she was, indeed, starved, he proposed that the three of them walk over to Pete’s for dinner. They could leave her car at the Hospital and she could drop him off at his house after dinner.


About the Author:
Barbara Hinske is a practicing attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. She has two grown children with her exceedingly kind and good second husband, who died of cancer in 2006. Lucky in love, Barb married another exceptional man and father of two in 2010, and they live in their own Rosemont with two adorable and spoiled dogs.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Barbara-Hinske/402247529854511
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbaraHinske
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/BarbaraHinske/
Website: http://barbarahinske.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15080873-barbara-hinske
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Love, Albert by Lynda Simmons - Flash Fiction and Giveaway

12_8 VBT_TourBanner_LoveAlbert copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance at winning a $50 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner above to see the rest of the stops.

Enjoy the fourth installment of Lynda Simmons' flast fiction work she is sharing on her virtual book tour.

FOUR
The More Things Change
(With Dr. Martin)


“What time is it?” my favourite nurse asks, checking his watch against the clock on my dash.

“Eight fifty-two.” I give him a smile. “Don’t worry, you’re not going to be late.”

“Dream on,” he says, and flips up his hood, sets his backpack on his lap. “Can’t you drive any faster?”

“The wipers are barely keeping up with the snow as it is, so no, I can’t drive any faster.”

“Says the doctor with nothing to lose.”

Point for the nurse. As the physician for Willow Tree Long Term Care, no one is going to write me up for tardiness. Dylan, on the other hand, already has two late strikes against him. A third will not go down well with the Director and there is only so much I can do without drawing undue attention. While the other infractions are his own fault, this morning is on me because I forgot to set the alarm.

“You’re still angry with me aren’t you,” I say.

“Anger has nothing to do with it.” He turns away and stares out the side window. “But it would be great if you’d stop smiling for five minutes.”

I feel the grin stretch wider across my face. “I would if I could, but I can’t. Not when I had the best sleep in months. Without benefit of sleeping aids, I might add.“

Dylan glances over at me. “Are you going to fill me in on the joys of a good bowel movement next?“ I roll my eyes and he turns back to the window. “Good, because then I might realize how old you really are.”

“Heaven forbid,” I gasp, but he’s up another point.

I have reached the age where a good night’s sleep makes me feel more alive than sex. And we both know it won’t be much longer before my young marathon man finds someone who can keep up with him on more than the road. But for now he’s here, I slept like a log, and I can’t remember the last time I felt this refreshed, this light-hearted and – dare I say – happy. Surely it’s an omen of good things to come, of normal life returned, hallelujah. And all because Edna Halliday is gone.

Ding, dong the witch is dead.

The tune is in my head, the words on the tip of my tongue but I’m not foolish enough to open my mouth and let either escape. Dylan is sweet, but I’ve seen that old adage about loose lips sinking ships in action, and my personal ship needs to sail for a few years yet.

Lord knows, I tried to take Edna in stride, but how much abuse is one person supposed to absorb? It was a form of bullying, day in and day out, and I was the victim. But you can’t point a finger at an old woman with dementia and say she’s picking on you, now can you. So you suck it up and soldier on. Try to explain to families and colleagues that she’s substituted you for some figure in her past and pay no attention to anything she says. But every time she hollers, I know who you are, they look at you funny and you can see the wheels turning.

But all of that is over now. She’s gone, the snow has stopped and I will score my own points with Dylan tonight.

I pull into my parking spot and he throws open the door.

“See you later?” I ask as he climbs out.

He looks back at me and nods before trotting off to the door on the other side of the building.

Not a declaration of love, but a start. And the fact that he’ll be five minutes early can’t hurt.

Overhead, patches of blue are stretching out, reaching for each other, determined to overcome the cloud. I can’t help smiling again as I fetch my briefcase from the back. Clear sailing ahead, I can feel it.

At the main entrance, I key in the code and give the door a push. The lobby is hot, the air thick with the smells of bacon, eggs and disinfectant. I pause to undo my coat and stomp the snow from my feet when without warning it starts all over again.

“Who died and made you king,” someone hollers.

I freeze. What the hell?

“I know you.”

The words might have been Edna Halliday’s but that voice belongs to Grace.

“I know who you are!” she shouts.

A passing nurse pauses, a cleaning lady stares. I wave them back to work and slowly turn toward the lobby. Sure enough, Grace is seated in Edna’s spot, watching me.

“I know who you are,” she snarls.

Does she realize what she’s doing? Is this a moment of clarity, a show of solidarity with Edna?

Lucid moments can be like that. Opening a window that had seemed nailed shut just long enough to raise the hair on your arms.

“Who died,” she starts again and I lower my head, strike out along the hall, heading straight for my office. But the voice doesn’t grow fainter. If anything, it grows louder.

“I know you.”

I glance back. Grace is following me, moving as fast as she can and hollering louder, “I know you!”

I keep my eyes down, avoiding the curious glances from staff and families. Intent only on making it to my office, my desk, things that make sense. Once inside, I close the door and lock it. Jump when her fist hits the frame and reach for my phone. A nurse will come and get her. Perhaps Dylan. Hopefully Dylan.

My hand shakes as I punch in the numbers. I force myself to calm, to take a breath.

The line is answered after three rings. “This is Dr. Martin,” I say. “I need your help again.“

If this is your first time reading Lynda's flash fiction, please read the earlier episodes here: Lynda's Facebook page.

12_8 love BookCover_LoveAlbertSometimes all love needs is a road trip, a rubber chicken and a touch of magic

Vicky Ferguson loves her husband Reid, always has, always will. But with two kids to think about, it’s time for the free-wheeling, sports car loving pilot to put his feet on the ground and lay down some roots. Reid can’t imagine life without Vicky but neither can he see himself pushing a lawn mower or driving a mini-van. They’re on track to a divorce neither one wants until a last request from beloved Uncle Albert puts them on the road together one last time.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Which brings us to the issue at hand,” the lawyer said and opened a file. “I have here the last will and testament of Albert Ferguson. Handwritten but perfectly legal.” He leaned down and picked up Albert’s old leather suitcase. It was the only thing the old man ever carried – the true master of travelling light. Lyle set the case on the desk, undid the straps and slid back the zipper. Reached inside and came up with a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, complete with bulbous pink nose, bushy eyebrows, and a formidable mustache.

Reid sat forward. “Not the glasses,” he said, a smile already tugging at his lips.

Lyle nodded solemnly and put them on, carefully adjusting the nose over his own before picking up the paper again. The lawyer’s delivery was perfectly straight, if a bit nasal. “I, Albert John Ferguson, being of sound mind and body— ”

Reid glanced over at Vicky. She was staring at the lawyer, eyes wide, lips pinched tightly together, holding back her laughter.

“Do hereby bequeath all my worldly goods to my favorite nephew and niece, Reid Allan Ferguson and Victoria Ann Ferguson, to be used as they see fit. This includes one hand buzzer, one whoopee cushion, one pair of Groucho glasses.” He reached into the suitcase again. “One rubber chicken –”

“I’ll take that.” Vicky’s face turned pink when the lawyer paused and looked at her over the nose of the glasses. “For the kids,” she added, and turned to Reid. “Unless you want it.”

“Not at all.” He pointed to the suitcase. “But I’ve got dibs on the fl y-in-the-ice-cube.”

“One fly-in-the-ice-cube,” Lyle continued, and set it in front of Reid. “One can of worms—”

“Snakes,” Reid cut in. “They’re snakes.”

The lawyer slid the can toward him and Reid popped the lid. Three long colorful snakes sprang from the tin and flew over the desk, squeaking as they bounced against the walls. “They were always his favorite.” Reid smiled at Vicky. “Do you mind if I take them?”

She held up the whoopee cushion. “Not as long as I can have this,” she said, and Reid understood why Albert had loved her, too.

“You can go through the rest on your own later,” Lyle said, taking off the glasses and setting them aside. “But in return for his worldly goods, Albert has a favor to ask.”

Reid raised his head. “A favor?”

“More of a decree really.” Lyle cleared his throat and resumed reading from the will. “In return for my worldly goods, Reid and Vicky must promise to take my remains to Seaport, Oregon. ”

The chicken’s head bobbed as she sat up straighter. “But I thought he’d already been buried.”

“Not quite.” Lyle lifted a plain white shoebox out of the suitcase and set it on the desk in front of them. “He’s been waiting for you.”

Reid stared at the box. “That’s Albert?”

“Ashes to ashes.” The lawyer picked up the box. “I know it’s not much to look at, but it’s practical, sturdy, and holds up to five pounds of loved one, no problem.” He looked from Reid to Vicky. “The point is Albert didn’t want a fancy urn because he wasn’t planning to spend much time in it anyway.”

Reid shook his head. “I don’t understand.”

Lyle smiled. “Your Uncle Albert wants to fly one last time.”

12_8 love AuthorPhoto_LyndaSimmonsAbout the Author:Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.

With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat - a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman.

When she's not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she's found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Lynda-Simmons/e/B001KI3Z4O

http://www.lyndasimmons.com/
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/958842.Lynda_Simmons
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Christmas at the Cove by Rachel Brimble - Interview and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rachel will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to It's Raining Books! What are 5 items you never leave home without?

Purse
Phone
Lipstick
Watch
Kindle

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

Both! I tend to read hard backs & paperbacks in bed or the bath and use my Kindle whenever I am out and about, including while on my daily walk with my black Lab, Max.

What is your favorite quote?

“Set it up the way you want it to be.” Iyanla Vanzant

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write and read A LOT! The only way to learn the art of writing is to write and read as much as possible. Keep going, keep submitting and you will be published. The only failed writer is the writer who gave up. If you are a romance writer, I highly recommend writers join the Romance Writers of America and enter their many contests that offer feedback on your work. Also, enroll in some online writing courses. I learned everything I know by doing this and it’s served me well.

Which writers inspire you?

Nora Roberts, Robyn Carr, Jill Shalvis and Philippa Gregory.

Do you have a favorite snack/drink while you write?

I don’t really eat while working but I always have coffee and water not too far away.

Do you write in silence or do you have background noise?

I need silence when I’m creating but can edit or do promo work with the normal household chaos going on around me!

If you met the characters from Christmas At The Cove do you think you would be friends or foes?

I would most definitely be friends with my hero and heroine, Scott Walker and Carrie Jameson, but there are also a lot of secondary characters that I wouldn’t. As far as foes, I think Amanda Arnold would take awhile to win me over…

More family for Christmas?

Scott Walker doesn't have time for a relationship. The sexy mechanic has career ambitions, not to mention a mother and three sisters to take care of. The last thing he needs is Carrie Jameson, the beauty he never forgot, arriving in Templeton Cove over the holidays with some unexpected news.

Scott still finds Carrie irresistible, and he's not one to shirk responsibility. Scott's issues with his own dad make the prospect of parenthood a minefield. But if he and Carrie can overcome their fears, this Christmas could bring them the best gift of all.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She glanced around the garage. “I’m sorry to turn up unannounced like this, but I’m here and we need to talk.”

He stared at her in disbelief as questions, demands and weaknesses hurtled around inside him, battling with the intense sexual frustration storming through his body. “Just like that, you turn up and say, ‘We need to talk’?” He shook his head and turned away from her, lest he get caught in the snare of her wide, impossibly gorgeous eyes. “Go away.”

“No.”

Keeping his back to her, he uncrossed his arms and planted his hands on his hips. He tipped his head back and smiled as insanity rushed his bloodstream. He wanted to grab her, shake her, kiss her and make love to her. God, he wanted to drop to his damn knees in front of her and beg her to tell him where she’d been and now she was back, was she back for good?

“Scott?”

He closed his eyes, barely resisting the urge to cover his ears with his hands and block out her tempting voice, achingly laced with the unmistakable sound of a plea. “Whether you want to see me or not, I have to talk to you, and I won’t leave the Cove until you hear me out.”

Her heels clicked closer and his body tensed, waiting for what came next. The dangerous, musky scent of her perfume wafted under his nostrils and he inhaled. She approached the bench beside him and put down a business card. “My number’s on there. I’m staying at the Christie. Call me when you’re ready to talk. It’s important or I wouldn’t have come.”

He glanced at the card. Carrie Jameson. Producer.

She turned and walked away. He let her go, feeling like a smashed up car after a hurricane, tossed and turned through the air before being spewed crudely across the highway, left to rust and burn.

He picked up the card. His hand shook and the rare sting of tears shamed him. What the hell was he supposed to do now? Carrie was back and his libido told him only too clearly there was no way in hell he wouldn’t go to her. How was he supposed to let her go a second time when he’d lived the last three years regretting he didn’t stop her the first time?


About the Author:
Rachel lives with her husband and two young daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. In 2012, she sold two books to Harlequin Superromance and a further three in 2013. She also writes Victorian romance for Kensington--her debut was released in April 2013 and she has since signed for three more.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family and beloved black Lab, Max. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!

Website: http://rachelbrimble.com/
Blog: http://rachelbrimble.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachelBrimble
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rachel-Brimble/181873201887441?fref=ts
Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Intensity by C.C. Koen - Spotlight and Giveaway

12_2 intensity VBT_TourBanner_Intensity copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


12_2 intensity Cover_IntensityWhat would you do to improve your life?

Twenty-one-year-old Serena Thomas is faced with a tough decision. Unable to get ahead of debt and loneliness since her grandmother’s death she finds a new job, placing the sheltered virgin in an underground escort business. She tells herself it’s just a temporary life choice, but destiny has a different plan. She meets a mysterious and gorgeous man, who happens to be her new boss. Will Serena fit in or will she be left all alone again?

Lincoln (aka: Linc) Jefferson has an unusual life. He established The Lounge, an exclusive escort club for very personal reasons. A place where the women say who, when, and what type of sex they’re willing to have. The escorts possess all the power and the money. It’s a business Linc guards at all costs. Trying to maintain the secrecy is a constant challenge and one that’s tested when he enters into a relationship with Serena. She tempts him unlike any woman, even though he’s surrounded by beauty on a daily basis. The more time they spend together the harder it is for him to keep his secrets. Will Serena stand by his side or will she abandon him?

Sparks and passion fly, taking these two on a journey neither could have expected.

Enjoy the excerpt:

He yanked me up from my seat and launched his lips on mine so fast the contact zapped me with a thousand volts. His strokes, bold at first, lightened to soft, tender kisses almost as if he was asking permission to enter—to taste.

The heat from his hands, holding my upper arms, seared me.

My fists clenched and unclenched over and over at my sides.

Touch him? Don’t touch him?

Unable to deny myself, I moved closer, aligning my body with his. My hands gravitated of their own volition, melting to his tight abs and drifting upward, over his chest and up to his neck, where I held on for the ride.

His loud groan rumbled across my breasts, and his firm arms wound around my back, crushing me against him.

For the first time in my life, I surrendered and parted my lips, ready to welcome him in. Instead of tongues diving toward one another, Linc stilled and clamped his mouth shut. As I started to step away, he clenched my hips, holding me in place. He pressed his forehead to mine and slammed his eyes closed.

Kiss me, please.

About the Author: C.C. Koen writes contemporary romance with a twist. An avid reader who enjoys mystery and suspense, her stories will never be what you expect. Determined to find adventure in her dreams and life, she enjoys skydiving, sailing and any activity that challenges her. Teacher by day, romance writer at night produce an active imagination that comes to life in her writing. Intensity is her debut novel.

http://www.cckoen.com/
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http://www.facebook.com/cckoenbooks
http://twitter.com/authorcckoen
http://www.goodreads.com/authorcckoen
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