Thursday, April 18, 2019

Single Girl's Guide to Conquering LA by Carla Roxanne

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

Los Angeles can be a tough place for a single girl, especially for those who come on their own from other cities or small towns, with no family or friends living in the state of California, let alone Los Angeles. Many young girls have stars in their eyes when they land in LA, hoping to make it big in acting, modeling, or music. Unfortunately, a large number of them fade into oblivion without anyone ever even knowing who they are because they lack guidance, assistance, funding, and most importantly, knowledge. Well, if you're a single girl and you have your sights set on living in the 'City of the Angels,' there are a few things you will need to know before you make the move. Whether you come to LA to become a star, or if you simply want to enjoy living in a place with great weather year-round, a beautiful coastline, and some of the best-looking, fittest people in the world, this guide book will help you navigate your way through La-La Land. It will help you avoid some of the pitfalls that many people before you have fallen prey to, and if you play your cards right, before you know it, you will be living a lifestyle which will make your family and friends green with envy.

Read an Excerpt

The Who: In LA, almost everyone has a roommate. With the high cost of living in the city, it makes perfect sense to split the cost with someone else so you can afford to do something other than simply pay rent every month. A good roommate can be an asset, but it’s not always easy to find one. Living with a woman can be challenging, as women can be catty and jealous, and you don’t need that kind of drama in your life. Having a man live with you can be very beneficial. Men are a lot easier to get along with. They’re not hormonal like females, so not too many things bother them, and they generally have good attitudes. They’re also more prone to go out and about, so they will more than likely be gone frequently. If you find one who has a work schedule that is the opposite of yours, or who works all the time, you’ve got it made. Besides, there’s nothing like having a man around to fix things for you and to do some of the things you don’t want to do, such as taking out the trash. With housing being so expensive, having a roommate will give you disposable income, which will allow you to build a little nest egg for a rainy day.

About the Author: Carla Roxanne is a Senior Executive Assistant for one of the top insurance companies in the nation. She has spent many years in administration supporting and organizing some of the highest-ranking executives in Los Angeles. In her spare time, she writes poetry and short stories.

Blessed with the gift of the gab, she has the innate ability to draw people to her through her stories.

The Single Girl's Guide to Conquering LA is Carla's freshman project. Visit her website for details of her next book.

Born in White Plains, New York, Carla currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

The book is on sale for $0.99.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Oh, Baby! by Jill Blake

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jill Blake 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.

Five Things You Might Not Know About Jill Blake

1. I speak Russian, as well as a smattering of French and Hebrew. Oh, and medical Spanish—which means I can’t give you directions to Pasadena en español, but I can ask you where the pain is. On second thought, even if my Spanish were better, I’d still have trouble giving you directions, because I am what people politely call “geographically challenged.”

2. I run. Or at least I used to, before my knee gave out. These days I walk and work with a trainer when time allows. Exercise is a great stress reliever, plus it burns calories (did I mention I love chocolate?). It also helps with sleep and mood and may help prevent dementia. So I make it a point to work out, and I make my characters work out too.

3. I have a mild form of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). My husband also has it, as do my kids. It manifests in different ways in each of us, though the cardinal symptom is difficulty concentrating and completing the task at hand. This means I have to overcompensate in order to get things done. So I make lists, and outlines, and create all sorts of scaffolding to keep me on track with writing. The same techniques help me get through the more tedious tasks that are part of my day job, too, like charting, and dealing with assorted paperwork.

4. I love musicals. In fact, the only songs I know all the lyrics to are from the various musicals I saw, heard, or accompanied (on piano) during my misspent youth. Evita, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Oliver!, Guys and Dolls, South Pacific, Miss Saigon, Phantom of the Opera, and Les Miserables. My kids probably have nightmares from the “bedtime lullabies” I used to sing. (“Sing you fools, but you got it wrong. Enjoy your prayers because you haven’t got long. Your queen is dead, your king is through. She’s not coming back to you…”) Seriously, why would you want to hear plain old lullabies when you could listen to that?

5. I’m a big believer in psychotherapy. It’s great for treating anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, and a whole host of other conditions. It can also help folks who are going through a stressful period in their lives. But in the absence of any serious mental health issues or significant life stressors, I have to say: writing is cheaper than therapy. Which is one of the reasons I will continue to write…

Lena Shapiro. Successful surgeon. Dutiful daughter. She sacrificed her personal life to build her career and take care of her mother and sister. Now thirty-nine and single, she watches her peers pairing off and having kids, and wonders if she missed out on her own chance at happiness.

Assigned to mentor a visiting colleague, Lena finds herself falling for the man instead. But Adam Sterling is all wrong for her: he’s too young, too arrogant, and too willing to push personal and professional boundaries. And he’s leaving L.A. for a job on the opposite coast.

With the date of Adam’s departure looming ever nearer, will Lena retreat to the safety of her familiar solitary life, or will she take a chance on an uncertain future with the man who might make her dreams come true?

(Please note: This is a steamy contemporary romance that contains mature themes and explicit content, meant for adults 18 and over. It is a stand-alone novel, with no cliff-hangers, and a guaranteed HEA.)

Read an Excerpt

Copyright © 2019 by Jill Blake

Adam folded his arms across his chest, blocking her way. “The world won’t grind to a halt if you cut back your hours or take a day off once in a while.”

“I know that,” Lena said, glancing at the clock. “I’ll make some adjustments. But right now I feel fine, and I still have patients to check on.”

“Are you kidding me? You’re still hooked up to an IV.”

“Which the nurse is about to remove. Dr. Goodman said I’m good to go. He didn’t specify where.”

“Because any reasonable person getting discharged from the ER would go home.”

“I’ll go home after I finish rounding,” she said.

He glared at her, then cursed, pivoted on his heel, and strode out of the room.

Lena stared at the privacy curtain that continued to sway in his wake.

Where was the feeling of triumph at having won the argument? She should be glad that Adam was finally gone. But all she felt was deflated.

“Here we are,” the nurse said, bustling in with a clipboard. “We’ll go over your discharge instructions after I get that IV out.”

Minutes later, Lena was alone again, pulling on her clothes. There was a cursory knock, followed by the squeak of wheels.

“Your carriage, Princess.” Adam pushed the wheelchair toward her.

She blinked against the prickle of tears. Damned hormones. “I can walk.”

“Not to your car,” he said. “Hospital policy.”


“Your patients are all taken care of,” he said. “Your partner will see the post-ops shortly. He said you should go home, and congratulations on the pregnancy.”

About the Author: A native of Philadelphia, Jill Blake now lives in southern California with her husband and three children. During the day, she works as a physician in a busy medical practice. At night, once the charts are all done and the kids are asleep, Jill writes steamy romances with smart heroines, sexy heroes, and guaranteed happy endings.


BUY LINKS: Book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour

Oh, Baby! (A Prescription: Romance! Book) -

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Dukes by the Dozen by various authors

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC.

What's better than a dashing duke? A dozen of them! In this case, a baker's dozen--thirteen of your favorite historical romance authors have come together to bring you more than a dozen tantalizing novellas, with one per month, for a year's worth of never-before-released romances.

Duke in Winter by Alyssa Alexander
February - The Difference One Duke Makes by Elizabeth Essex
March - Discovering the Duke by Madeline Martin
April - The Duke and the April Flowers by Grace Burrowes
May - Love Letters from a Duke by Gina Conkle
June - Her Perfect Duke by Ella Quinn
July - How to Ditch a Duke by May McGoldrick
August - To Tempt A Highland Duke by Bronwen Evans
September - Duke in Search of a Duchess by Jennifer Ashley
October - Dear Duke by Anna Harrington
November - Must Love Duke by Heather Snow
December - The Mistletoe Duke by Sabrina York
January - Dueling with the Duke by Eileen Dreyer

Read an Excerpt

from Dueling with the Duke
by Eileen Dreyer

She had a face that was completely forgettable. At least that was the way Jamie had described her. A girl you might overlook if you weren’t careful, which Jamie had said would be a shame.

Jamie had been correct. If Adam had simply seen Jamie’s wife sitting at a desk, he would have walked right by. It was when she moved that she began to make an impression. She had a compelling grace, especially for a small woman. He would have expected her to, well, bounce like a small bird on a fence. She glided as if books rested on her head.

Of course, he thought almost smiling. A marquess’s daughter. She had undoubtedly balanced a goodly number of books on her head.

“How can I help you, Your Grace?” she asked, setting her glasses down on a table and rising to her feet. “I don’t believe we’ve met?”

“To my eternal regret,” he said, “we have not met before now. I should have begun at the beginning. I am Adam Marrick, Mrs. Grace. Jamie’s cousin.”

And there it was, he thought. The reason Jamie had fallen in love with Georgina Wyndham in the first place. That smile. Wide, bright, warm, all-encompassing, as if she embraced not just him but the world. Before he knew it, Adam was smiling back.

“He loved you very much,” he said.

Her eyes glittered with welling tears, but that smile held. “I know,” she whispered. “I loved him dearly. I am so very glad to finally meet you. He spoke of you as well, of course. You were quite his hero. Hussars, wasn’t it?”

“It was.”

She invited him to sit, where they enjoyed a bit of society over tea.

“Lully,” he blurted out, appalled at his own clumsiness. “I’m really here for her.”

His words were met with a rather stark silence. “Pardon?”

He nodded, setting down his saucer. “I am actually here to bring her some news.”

Again Georgie tilted her head. “Lully is four, Your Grace. What news could you have to give her?”

This wasn’t going the way he’d planned. He should have believed Jamie from the start. Maybe his reaction to Georgie wouldn’t have knocked him so off-center.

“I need to take her to Scotland.”

“I beg your pardon?”

He tried briefly closing his eyes. “She is needed there.”

She was staring at him as if he’d begun to bark like a dog. “In Scotland.” Suddenly she was getting to her feet. “Are you feeling perfectly well, Your Grace?” she asked. “I can call for the local physician. He is old, but….”

He should have known this would be her reaction. “No,” he said, There was no avoiding it. He had to get to his feet as well. “No,” he said, grabbing his cane and hoisting himself up, his knee protesting like an unoiled hinge. “I am not ill. I was coming to see you anyway. I promise. Not only because I wanted to meet the woman who had stolen Jamie’s heart, but because I made a promise to him.”

“That is lovely.” Her voice didn’t sound like it. “But not to the point.”

He nodded and took another breath. “There is news,” he repeated. “Jamie’s mother has died.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

She neither sounded nor looked like she meant it. Having known Jamie’s mother well, he couldn’t really blame her. “If we could sit...”

Giving him a chagrined nod, she sat after him. “How can that concern us?” she asked. “Jamie’s family made certain we knew we were not welcome.”

“Well, since Jamie is…gone, it means that Lully has inherited. I need to take her with me to accept.”

Adam didn’t think you could see fire in the color green. He certainly could now.

“Inherited? Inherited what? Jamie was disowned.”

“You cannot disown a title, Mrs. Grace.”

“A what?”

“She is no longer simply a little girl,” he said as gently as he could. “She’s a duchess.”

She seemed to glide up to her feet, rising to her full height, which suddenly seemed not so insignificant. Following to his own feet, Adam wondered suddenly how anyone could possibly think she was forgettable. She was Boedica, Titania, Maeve. He had the oddest feeling she was looking down at him, instead of standing at his shoulder.

And then she closed the conversation.


About the Author:
New York Times Bestselling, award-winning author Eileen Dreyer has published 40 novels and 10 short stories under her name and that of her evil twin, Kathleen Korbel in contemporary romance, paranormal romance, historical romance, romantic suspense, mystery and medical forensic suspense. A proud member of RWA's Hall of FAME, she also has numerous awards from RT BookLovers and an Anthony nomination for mystery. She is now focusing on what she calls historic romantic adventure in her DRAKE'S RAKES series. A native of St. Louis, she still lives there with her family. She has animals but refuses to subject them to the limelight.


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Monday, April 15, 2019

Lion Dancing for Love by Laura Boon

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Laura Boon will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN 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 should readers expect when they pick up your book?

They should expect to meet a sassy heroine recovering from bad decisions in her past and the self loathing they induced, as well as a hero who lost his wife to cancer and has to be pulled back into feeling and not just existing in the present. They should expect to read about friendship and laughter, champagne, maple sugar, dancing, and the odd rant about reality TV. I hope feel humor, passion and joy and sigh with happy satisfaction at the end.

Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.

The sparkly lights and champagne on the cover reflect the glamor of the Maple Sugar Ball held annually in Willow Springs, the grand finale to Lion Dancing for Love. The cover is also branded with the Deerbourne Inn series banner.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I am committed to improving my craft and becoming an ever better writer so that I can entertain my readers while also raising issues of social injustice. I have book 2 in my Romancing the Alps series coming out later this year. I also have ideas for a Regency romance that I’m really excited about. One of the wonderful things about being a romance writer is that I follow in the footsteps of trailblazers who write in more than one sub-genre such as Lisa Kleypas and Megan Crane.

Favorite book to recommend?

Nooooo! It’s so hard to choose just one. I’ll recommend Spirited Quest by Julie Howard, another title available in the Deerbourne Inn series, which I really enjoyed.

Favorite place to read?

Anywhere except in a car or a bus. I get motion sickness and the words start to blur. Thank goodness for audio books!

Do you have any pets?

I have two delightful doggies by the name of Beau and Arro. Beau is a Pekingese and Arro a Pekingese cross Shih Tsu. Beau is less than a ruler high and Arro smaller, but they have enormous personalities and make me laugh every day. As I write this, it is raining outside. Arro has woken up with an excess of energy and is racing around in circles, jumping over Beau every second circle or so.

Any last words?

Read what you love.

Thank you for hosting me.

Licking her wounds after a bad relationship, San Diego accountant Caitlyn Summers travels to Willow Springs to help her friend gear up for the annual Maple Sugar Ball. She isn't planning on staying long, but one encounter with the delicious Corey Duncan has her re-evaluating her plans.

Corey swore off love when his wife Annie died from breast cancer. Caitlyn is too young, too citified, and vibrates with a passion and energy that will upend the safe, comfortable rhythm of his life. Corey has to choose between playing it safe and taking a risk on love. Caitlyn needs to find the patience to let Corey lead. If not, the Maple Sugar Ball might end in a sticky mess, instead of a slow dance with the man who has captured her heart.

Will their fire burn hot enough to erase doubts and past hurts?

Read an excerpt:

She walked across to Corey, tucking her hair behind her right ear, unexpectedly shy at his acknowledgement. She squared her shoulders. “Hi.”

“Hey.” He stood and pulled out a chair for her, a half-smile playing on his lips. “You and I can’t avoid each other.”

She shrugged. “It’s a small town. Although you’ve looked awfully busy.” Too busy to say hello was her unspoken message. She’d let him know she was interested, and he had ignored her ever since.


Her drink arrived, and they fell silent while the waitress fussed with a coaster and peanuts.

He rubbed his hand against his chin and gazed directly into her eyes. “I’ve been a bit preoccupied, mostly with you.”

“Me?” She choked on a swig of champagne and coughed as the bubbles went down the wrong way.

He grabbed her glass and set it down before patting her on the back.

“I’m fine,” she gasped.

“Sorry. I take it that was my fault for surprising the heck out of you.”


“Why? You’re the one who kissed me.”

And why wouldn’t she when he looked so delectable? She was tempted to kiss him again, rub out the mischievous twitch to his lips. Instead she retorted, “And you’re the one who didn’t kiss me back.”

About the Author:
Laura Boon stole her first romance from her father’s bookshelves as a teenager, The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and was immediately captivated. After holding a variety of positions in publishing, from bookseller to sales rep and publicist, she eventually found the courage to write her own stories. She was born in Zambia, grew up in South Africa, and went to university in America. She now lives in Australia with her husband and their adorable dogs Beau and Arro. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys sleuthing for artisan chocolate and beautiful stationery, watching tennis, and walking alongside Sydney’s beautiful harbor.

You can find Laura online at:

Book Bub:

Lion Dancing for Love Buy Links

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AUS:
The Wild Rose Press (publisher):

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Friday, April 12, 2019

The Girl from the Lighthouse by Willard Thompson

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Willard Thompson will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN 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. How did the idea for this book occur to you?

I was in the Santa Barbara Art Museum with my wife, standing in front of a painting by Berthe Morisot, one of the characters in The Girl from the Lighthouse. The painting was titled View of Paris from the Trocadero. In it, two women stand with a small girl looking off into the city of Paris far in the distance. The women are blocked from moving forward into the city by a wooden fence that cut diagonally across the painting. It isn't a strong barrier, more symbolic. Because I have done a lot of research and writing about the Victorian era, I was struck by how the painting represented the restricted status of Victorian women, and I got the idea to write about a woman of that era who was strong and independent, and in no way taught about women's roles. To accomplish that I had to create a place where am I protagonist, Emma, grew up abandoned by her mother at age five. She was raised by her father and three other men. I chose a lighthouse on the remote and rugged California coast.

What is your favorite scene in the book and why?

Emma Dobbin is a young American girl studying art in Paris, France in 1870, and trying to find her way in Victorian-era society. She regularly goes to the Louvre Museum to study and copy the masterpieces there where she is befriended by Impressionist artist Berthe Morisot. They go to lunch together. Here are the scene and the picture Emma is studying:

Sitting on a bench in the Louvre Museum a month later, hunched over my sketching pad, I’m focusing on the masterpiece in front of me, oblivious to people walking up and down the marble-walled Grand Gallery. A Jacque-Louis David portrait of a reclining woman is in front of me, so elegant in its simplicity, yet so beguiling and mysterious, I can only stare at her, trying to imagine the thoughts going through her mind. I can’t help wonder if Madame Récamier had any of the same feelings I do while she was being painted.

I set pencil and pad down, after adding a final few strokes and turn to a friend who has just come by. “Ah, Bonjour, Mademoiselle Morisot. Pardonne-moi. I was lost and didn’t notice your approach.”

“Bonjour Emma. I would be pleased to have you call me Berthe. I saw you and wanted to ask if you would join me for lunch.”

“Yes,” I tell her. “Yes, I would like that. I have done enough for today. Some days—like today—the work seems hard, and I get distracted. I haven’t seen you for some time, Berthe. It will be pleasant to catch up.”

“Oui I have been with my family. If you are finished...”

Together we leave the museum, cross rue de Rivoli, and walk along the stone-canopied sidewalk to a café on the corner of rue Royale, across from the Place de la Concorde. We take an outdoor table. Berthe orders a meat and cheese plate, with a glass of wine, and a mushroom omelet for me.

“How is your work progressing?” She asks as we settle in.

“It’s been several months, and I still copy with pad and pencil, sometimes I try watercolors—I think I have learned a great deal, but I’m still not ready to try oils.”

“You should,” she encourages me. “David is a good artist for you to copy. His portraits are beautifully executed, especially the one of Madame Recamier you are working on. Portraits like that are the kind of commissions you are likely to get when you are ready.”

“How so?”

“There is always demand for portraits of wives and children, and other women that are best done by women artists. You should also study some of Vigee Le Brun’s portraits.”

I study the wine in my glass, using the pause to consider Berthe’s recommendation. “I hope to paint landscapes one day,” I tell her.

“Difficult for a woman,” she replies. “Traveling alone to paint a landscape is often...” She pauses, “how do I say, looked down upon. There are not many buyers for the work of a woman landscape artist.”

“I want to be free to paint whatever I want.”

Berthe cuts a slice of cheese from the wedge on her plate and adds it to a piece of baguette before taking a sip from her glass. She looks at me with her doleful dark eyes the whole time. “That can be difficult,” she says at last. “Consider your decision carefully. It is easier for us to paint in a boudoir than side-by-side in a world with men.” She pauses again and picks at a piece of ham.

Feeling frustrated, and looking for a response that won’t offend my friend, I stab my fork at a mushroom. “It seems to me women in Paris have only limited freedom. Do you find it that way, Berthe?”

What drives you to write?

Honestly, I can’t remember ever wanting to be anything other than a writer. My first novel was started in the seven grade when I wrote about being a midshipman on Old Ironsides, the USS Frigate Constitution. The business successes I achieved in the advertising agency world of New York were all based on my writing, and when I decided the business world was not for me, I became a freelance journalist to help support my family. From there I became the editor and publisher to two magazines. I didn’t think my writing was particularly special at first—I thought anyone could do it. Then I realized that’s just not true. It’s a monstrous gift that was given me.

But to answer your question more specifically, I think it is when I see injustice in the world, and it sticks in my craw that I have to get rid of it by writing. Several unpublished and my first published novel all dealt with injustice is some form or the other. Dream Helper, my first novel in the Chronicles of California trilogy, which won a gold medal from the Independent Book Publisher Association, came about when I learned the real story about how badly treated the Chumash Indians were treated by the Franciscan missionaries at the Santa Barbara Mission. The Girl from the Lighthouse is about the unjust way women were treated in the Victorian Age.

Tell us how you came to choose the cover elements.

The lighthouse where Emma Dobbins was raised is a significant element in the book. It represents a world without female influence which is important to Emma's mindset when she arrives in Paris, and it also represents a remote and lonely place that is an iconic figure for the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But it is only the past. I wanted the cover to represent the new world of Paris, France to readers and potential book buyers. I shared my thoughts with Peter at Bespoke Book Covers in the UK, and he came up with the illustration we chose. It is looking into the familiar sights of Paris as if the viewer is a newcomer's, and the colors suggest perhaps an early morning sky as if the viewer is just arriving there.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

This may sound strange coming from a man, but my favorite character is Emma Dobbins, my protagonist. After writing the original manuscript of The Girl from the Lighthouse in a third person voice, my editor and I realized the story was not working. So I completely rewrote it in the first person, present tense to bring the reader as completely into Emma's life as possible. So I had been thinking about Emma for two years, but now I had to become her literally. She was always intended to be an independent woman with strength of character and a well-formed moral compass. Those traits had to serve her well as she dealt with the trials and tribulations that confronted her in a new country where the language is unfamiliar to her, as well as the social structure. I have always created strong female characters for my novels, but my experience with Emma has been unique. She is by far not a perfect young woman. That's what the novel is about. I am pleased that many people have complimented me on how I captured her.

How did you choose your characters' name?

Several years ago, I was doing some genealogical family history research, and I came across information about my grandmother, who I never knew, named Emma Thompson. The more I researched and learned about her the more I began to see her as a remarkably strong woman raising five sons as a widow at the turn of the 20th century. She came from a challenging background herself and yet seemed to thrive in the Canadian world she lived in and overcame the issues of being a single woman raising her family. Well, I want to point out that my protagonist in my novel, Emma Dobbins in no way is representative of the life of my grandmother, I believe she does represent the spirit and the strong moral compass of my grandmother.

Other character names are usually randomly selected. I look for names that resonate with me for a variety of reasons, and are different enough not to confuse the reader. In this novel it was important to find French names except for Emma and the Italian lad.

What is the single best piece of writing advice you have ever received?

The best writing advice I ever received came from a playwright, not a published author. He showed me how to bring my reader and my characters as closely together as possible without intruding my own voice on them. My writing is heavily in dialogue with the absolute minimum of what we might call "reader feeder" to explain backstory or a character's state of mind. I very much respect my readers and as such expect that they will understand what is intended without spoon-feeding it to them. The backstory appears where it is organically intended, not where the author chooses to place it. What that means is that it's not linear, we learn about Emma for example and how her upbringing bears upon the present when it's appropriate to the story. Done right my stories are like being an audience in a theater that has no stage and no walls, so the interaction is straightforward.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

All my favorite authors are writers of historical fiction. The list could be a long one, but the top four in order are John Steinbeck, Edith Wharton, A.B. Guthrie Jr., and Wallace Stegner.

Readers' experience and intake with a book vary. If you could ensure that a reader took away a certain element, be that a theme or moral from your book, what would it be?

I mentioned above that I am motivated to write when troubled by injustice. Emma Dobbins in The Girl from the Lighthouse is far from being a perfect character. She is flawed in that she doesn't always respond to the expectations the Victorian era placed on women. Sometimes she offends people important to her. But on the other hand, she is a kind young woman, strengthened by her own moral compass, commitment to honesty, and a positive belief in the future. I would like readers to take away this balanced picture of her, and see how it can apply in the 21st-century.

What makes this book stand out from the crowd?

First of all, this is an honest book. It is well researched, and there are no "author's convenience" scenes where reality is blurred or overlooked to create a good outcome. My characters, both the ones I create and the real people with whom I populate the story, are all well drawn and three-dimensional. Second, I invite my readers to be a part of the story. By that I mean I do not feed them important background of factual information where it is convenient for me to do so; I present that information in real life dialog between my characters when it is organic to the subject at hand. I believe I honor my readers by not belittling then, instead I give them credit for being intelligent people.

The Girl From the Lighthouse tells the compelling story of Emma Dobbins.

Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she was raised by her father, a lighthouse keeper at Point Conception in California, where early on she discovers her artistic talent. At the age of 17, Emma travels to Paris with a chaperone, to attend art school but is separated from the chaperone when the woman becomes ill. Emma arrives alone in Paris with no money, no language skills, and no friends. A chance meeting with a young working girl in the train station becomes her first Parisian friend.

The setting is Paris in the 1860s-70s, the start of the Belle Èpoque. France soon is involved in the Franco/Prussian War and the Commune Uprising; difficult times for Emma and all Frenchmen. Initially rejected by art schools, her determination keeps her moving toward her goal in the art world, where the Impressionists are starting to change the world. Frenchmen fall in love with her beautiful face and lustrous dark hair. Some wanted to paint her, others to court her, but either way, she does not abide by the rules they try to impose on her because she never learned them. She grows into an accomplished artist but never gives up her own principles... even when someone steals something precious to her and she fights to get it back.

The story is told in the first person, present tense, allowing the reader to enter the story and feel a part of it as it unfolds, sharing with Emma her highs and lows, loves and rejections, all focused in the art world of Paris. The novel is filled with vivid characters, both fictional and real people, and the story unfolds gracefully from the 1870s until 1912, just prior to the start of WWI.

About the Author:
Willard Thompson is an award-winning historical fiction and romance writer living in Montecito, California with his wife Jo. His newest historical romance, THE GIRL FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE was published in early 2019. His previously published three novels of historical fiction DREAM HELPER DELFINA'S GOLD, and THEIR GOLDEN DREAMS are part of his CHRONICLES OF CALIFORNIA trilogy. The Independent Publishers 2009 Book Awards selected DREAM HELPER for a gold medal as the best fiction in the Western/Pacific Region.

Thompson is a past president of the board of directors of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. He is a native of Manhasset, New York and a graduate of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Evil Embers by Cristelle Comby

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/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

After narrowly preventing the destruction of Cold City, PI Bellamy Vale needs a rest. Or rather, he needs a plain and simple vanilla case—no monsters or otherworldly creatures involved!

When foreign businessman Eli Smith shows up at his doorstep with a thick wallet and a request to find his missing sister, Vale doesn’t think twice before agreeing.

If he’d known body-hopping demons and smoke monsters came attached to this job, however, he might have.

Read an Excerpt

I started feeling eyes on me about two blocks up. I was hoping it was just one guy…and that it was the kind of guy I could win a fight against without losing all my teeth.

I turned off Maltese Street and into a familiar alley. The rusted-out dumpster was where it usually was, tall enough for me to hide behind in a crouch. I wished I had my knife with me. My gun might have been nice too, but too much noise would have put me back in Morgan’s crosshairs. I was going to have to wing it.

Another set of footsteps came into the alley. They slowed down as they got closer. I heard labored breathing on top of the steps, like the guy was running a mile to get me. In a voice so low it barely echoed off the walls, he muttered, “Where is he?”

That’s all I needed to hear. The moment the intruder got past the dumpster, I gave him a hip tackle that should have sent him into the opposite wall. But somehow, he managed to flip me around in mid-air and I was the one that hit the wall with a thud. I was still shaking my head clear when I saw a fist aimed right at my nose. I jerked my head to the side, making the attacker’s hand slam into the brick with a meaty slap. My right fist jabbed into his belly and side, working his body like a jackhammer.

I bucked my hips and used my left hand to help flip him over. But once again, he kept the flip going and I wound up on the bottom before I could blink. This time the fist struck, and my head went blank a couple of times as the blows hit home. I wrapped my hands around his arm as the third punch landed and applied pressure to the elbow. The strangled cry from my attacker’s mouth sounded familiar.

“Smith?” I asked in confusion, relaxing the pressure.

“Mr. Vale,” the shadowy figure said back, confirming my guess.

I released his arm, and we both got back on our feet, a bit unsteadily. Something about his gait told me he was a lot less steady than I was right then.

“I…I must apologize,” he said. “I was quite certain you were a robber of some sort.”

“A robber that doesn’t use a gun or a knife?” I asked. “In this city?”

He sighed. “Yes…upon reflection, that theory does seem rather foolish.”

I took the time to check myself over for any severe damage. Aside from new aches and pains, nothing was pressing. “What were you doing following me in the first place?”

“I was most interested to see if you had managed any progress on the leads we found.”

“So, instead of waiting at my place for me to come back, you stalk me across town to make sure I’m on the job?” I admit I was more than a little offended. Sure, I can be a bit devious when it comes to getting the money I need, but I’m enough of a professional to stick with a job until I either figure out that it’s not worth pursuing or I get paid.

It made me want to punch my client all over again.

About the Author:
Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva, where she still resides.

She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

She is the author of the Neve & Egan Cases series, which features an unlikely duo of private detectives in London: Ashford Egan, a blind History professor, and Alexandra Neve, one of his students.

Currently, she is hard at work on her Urban Fantasy series Vale Investigation which chronicles the exploits of Death’s only envoy on Earth, PI Bellamy Vale, in the fictitious town of Cold City, USA.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Money or Men by David Burnett

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. David Burnett 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.

Love or loot?

Erin must choose between the money of which she has long dreamed and the man who she has loved. Eight years ago, she chose “loot” when Chris, her former husband, competed for her hand against the god of money. Now, with a promotion within reach, she is poised to take her place among the elite of Wall Street. She will soon be working twenty-four-seven to reorganize a failing company, and she has been ordered to find someone to care for her children.

She has few options, and she reluctantly concludes she must beg Chris for help. She has not talked with Chris, written, texted, friended, private messaged, or tweeted Chris since leaving him, but if he will not keep their children for the summer, she will lose her promotion, and her dream of wealth will vanish.

Opposites had attracted when they had fallen in love. Erin remembers a Chris who was laid-back, satisfied, and, worst of all, unambitious. He seems not to have changed. He lives on a small island with no home mail delivery. He had been an author, but Erin can find nothing he has published since their split.

But Chris’s photo is the one personal item on Erin’s desk, and she still dreams of him when she sleeps. She fears if she asks Chris to care for their children for the summer, she will be drawn back into his world. She will choose Chris over money, “love over loot,” lose her drive to succeed and everything for which she has worked. Her promotion will be denied – and lightning will not strike a second time. How can she send their children to live with him without becoming entangled herself?

Read an Excerpt

The night after he had consented to care for the twins, she’d dreamed she and Chris had been communicating, and she had awakened, crying out for him, her t-shirt and shorts soaked with perspiration. After a quick shower, she had spread soothing cream over her body and laid down, covering herself with the cool sheet.

As she lay in the darkness, she had begun to cry. She wanted to impress Chris.

No, she wanted him to be proud of her. She wanted him to regret letting her go, which seemed crazy, even to Erin, since it had been she who had orchestrated the leaving.

She smiled as she entertained those thoughts, then she gently shook her head, dismissing them from her mind. Even though, sadly, her dream had been her best encounter with a man in the eight years since their divorce, it wasn’t going to happen in real life. Shouldn’t happen in real life. Not now, when she was on the cusp of her dream life in New York City.

Ahead, Erin spied a bridge, and a sign told her she had reached the Folly River. She crossed the bridge onto the island Chris called home.

The business district was four blocks long and, perhaps, a couple wide, and she maneuvered the Lexus slowly down the aptly named Center Street, observing the sidewalks full of tourists and the beachwear shops, their windows full of t-shirts, catching the aroma of fried fish mixed with the smell of salt wafting in from the ocean, her ears perking to the strains of jazz drifting through the open doors of one of the restaurants. She braked at a crosswalk, allowing a woman with a barely there bikini to push a baby stroller across the street, and an aging hippie with a white ponytail to amble in the other direction. The twins’ faces were plastered against the windows.

It resembled the old beach town near her grandmother’s house, and for a moment she was transported back to her youth when she was fifteen, and she and her sisters spent a glorious summer there, free from her father’s oversight.

Stopping for what appeared to be the town’s sole traffic light, her thoughts turned back to Chris. He would be waiting around the corner, at the town’s pier. She glanced in the rearview mirror, checking her appearance, a sense of foreboding sweeping over her. Her stomach began to rumble.

Alexandra’s “communication” was not the goal, not today. After all, for years she had insisted she no longer loved Chris Stephens, and nothing had happened to change her feelings.

Beyond that, her career was like an airplane beginning to take off. She was taxiing down the runway and by the autumn, she would take flight. There was little space in the aircraft for children. A boyfriend, let alone a husband, surely would be unmanageable.

All she wanted today, was to begin an amicable relationship with the man who would care for her children. She should be able to do that, shouldn’t she? Even with Chris?

As she waited for the traffic light to change, a police car with the slogan “Protecting Paradise” emblazoned on its bumper cruised past. Erin glanced to her left, spotting the car that had followed her when she had turned off the interstate. It was turning while she was going straight. The girl in the front seat saw Erin and smiled.

Erin waved.

Ahead, to the left, she spied the pier.

Chris would be waiting.

“I should have taken the beer…”

About the Author:
We recently moved to our new home near Charleston, South Carolina. Four of my books are set in Charleston, and I’ve always enjoyed the Carolina beaches. I now have the opportunity to walk on the beach almost every day and to photography the ocean, the sea birds, and the marshes that I love.

I love photography, and I have photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. My wife and I have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During trips to Scotland, we visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen, and Kismul Castle on Barra, the home of my McNeil ancestors.

I went to school for much longer than I want to admit, and I have degrees in psychology and education. In an “earlier life” I was director of research for our state’s education department.

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