Friday, June 24, 2016

Leaving Shangrila by Isabelle Gecils - Guest Blog and Giveawy.


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Isabelle Gecils will be awarding a $30 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.

Five Things You Might Not Know About Isabelle Gecils


This is a hard question. I feel that my life is an open book these days. But here it goes.

1) I am a consultant in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy. I work closely with engineers and statisticians, manage large and complex projects and a large staff. In other words, could not be a more different experience than writing a book.

2) I am a mountain goat, minus the goat. That is, I love traipsing on mountains, whether hiking, biking or skiing. I love the outdoors in general. I sometimes wonder if that is a relic of my childhood growing up in Shangrila, because it was so lush and mountainous there.

3) Those who read Leaving Shangrila will know that I had not been anywhere, until I boarded the plane to come to the United States. Since then, I have travelled so much all over the world – often seeking mountains, but not always. I truly love it, but I wonder if my wanderlust is to make up for all the years when I did nothing.

4) I write new year’s resolution every year. For the coming year, the next 5 and the next 10. Some of the goals are easy, some more challenging. Every year I accomplish all the short term goals, except one. Sometimes the long term goals change, but for the most part I accomplish them too. I read a study when I was a teenager about the power of writing resolutions, and I have been doing it ever since.

5) My life today could not be more different than my early years in Shangrila. I have so many good friends, a loving and supportive family, relative financial freedom and mostly functional relationships. That is partly why I wrote Leaving Shangrila, because I wanted to show that is possible to have a life of your choosing, rather than one that others want for you.

Leaving Shangrila: The True Story of A Girl, Her Transformation and Her Eventual Escape by Isabelle Gecils, is the captivating memoir of a charmingly complex heroine.

Isabelle paints a colorful world as she tells the tale of how she forged her own path in the midst of turmoil. The story, set in Brazil where she grew up, is populated with fascinating characters, both good and bad. From a narcissistic mother to her perpetually flawed lovers to three resilient sisters, Leaving Shangrila’s motley crew make for an endlessly intriguing storyline.

Leaving Shangrila begins with young Isabelle, trapped in a hellish world. Surrounded by lies, manipulation, and abuse, Isabelle is desperate to escape the adversity of this place. Filled with tremendous strength and an unyielding drive to survive, she begins her journey toward freedom and self-realization. Through the trials and obstacles along the way, Isabelle goes back and forth to balance who she is with what she must do to survive.

With themes of perseverance, self-reliance, and the resilience of the human spirit, Leaving Shangrila: The True Story Of A Girl, Her Transformation and Her Eventual Escape highlights the important character traits one discovers on the path to finding their self. Truly empowering and inspirational, readers everywhere will relate to this coming of age story.

Read an excerpt:

My entire class staged a school play, except that, unlike everybody else, I watched it rather than act in it. Joining the theater troop required almost daily rehearsals at one of my classmates’ lavish colonial homes near school. I was not invited to join the group. They already knew I would not come.

At the school grounds, my classmates cracked jokes about what happened during their afternoons together. They perched on one another as they traded stories and exchanged hugs. I heard about the English classes they took after school, their boat trips around the bays of Rio de Janeiro, the excited chatter that accompanied field trips I was never allowed to join. When the entire class decided to spend a lightly chaperoned weekend in Cabo Frio, a town with white, sandy beaches and coconut trees lining the boardwalks, my jealousy meter spiked. For two months, that is all anyone talked about. Since I did not even receive an invitation, nobody spoke with me.

I felt lonely observing them. I longed to be as adored as were the two most popular girls in my class: Isabela and Flavia. Isabela, despite the discolored white spots all over her skin due to type 1 diabetes, was the reigning queen. The boys swooned over Flavia, two years older than the rest of us although she repeated third and fifth grade due to her poor academic performance.

I observed these two girls, searching for what it was about them that made them special. Yes, they were both beautiful. While their beauty may have helped with their popularity, it surely was not the main factor, as there were other pretty girls too. I decided that what they had in common, what nobody else had, was that they were the best athletes in my class, even perhaps the best in all of the school.

Isabela and Flavia were always the ones everybody wanted to have on their team and as their friend. They were either team captain or the first pick. They seemed to try harder than everybody else. So I thought that if I truly focused on sports, then I could be just like them. If only I could excel on the handball field—as girls did not play soccer, despite the madness surrounding the most popular sport in Brazil—then maybe, just maybe, my social standing could change too. I made a plan. One day, I would be just as great as these two. One day, I would be chosen first.

At the beginning of each week, the P.E. teacher assigned two captains. They, in turn, each picked a team for the week. We played handball on Tuesdays, volleyball on Thursdays. And every week, for the past three years, I was the captain’s last, grudgingly chosen pick. I knew why. Had I been captain, I would have chosen myself last too.

I did not score any goals in handball. My throws were either too weak or out of bounds. Knowing this, my team did not bother passing the ball to me. I spent the game playing defense, barely succeeding at blocking the other team’s powerhouse players as they demolished the team I was on. When an opponent charged towards me dribbling the ball, I got out of the way. In volleyball, I removed my thick glasses for fear they’d be broken, and as a result, I could not see the ball coming to hit me in the face.

I did not particularly enjoy playing sports. However, to change my standing in the team-selection pecking order, I practiced with a purpose. During games, I became more aggressive. I wore my glasses. I reached for the goal, whereas before I simply stood on the sidelines. I blocked more aggressively too—even if it meant pulling my opponent’s shirt or hair—no matter that this often led to a penalty against my team. During these early weeks, I returned home with two broken eye glasses, earned a couple of red cards, and made my teammates angry.

At home, after completing my homework, I begged my two sisters to play ball with me. They did play, but not for long. When they grew tired, I threw the ball against the wall, attempting to increase my arm strength. When my arms felt tired, I ran around the farm to increase my speed and reflexes by dodging a pretend ball. At night, as I drifted to sleep, I prayed silently so that my sisters would not hear me plead: “God, please, make me be chosen first.”

As weeks turned into months, I became quite adept at catching the ball as it ricocheted from the wall towards me. I was no longer chosen last. That horrible fate was bestowed on a shy and almost as awkward classmate who had the extra disadvantage of being overweight, which slowed her down compared to me; I was slight and scrawny. Yet, despite months of effort, I did not score any more than before, did not throw the ball any harder or more accurately, and hardly touched the ball at all. Since I often increased the penalty count with my new, more aggressive tactics, the coach had me sit out whenever there was an odd number of players.

A year into this futile attempt, I felt a deep sense of disappointment but realized the foolishness of pursuing an utterly impossible dream. Maybe one had to be content with their lot in life, I concluded. Any attempts to try to change who one was, or what one wanted, were futile. Feeling defeated and deflated and knowing that, despite any effort, the sports court was not a place for me, I talked myself out of my goal. I stopped practicing in the afternoons. I removed my glasses again during games. I accepted that I was not meant to be popular and that the world where my classmates lived did not belong to me.

I hated my life. I hated going home where there was nothing to do and nobody to play with. I hated how different we were—with our round house, with our religious meetings, with our inability to do anything other than go to school. Not knowing what to do to change any of it, I returned to my routine, finding friendship in books and getting all my validation from my grades.

Two months later, I felt sick.

My head and muscles hurt; my nose was running; and I coughed uncontrollably. I barely slept. My mother suggested I stay home. No matter how sick I felt, I would never choose to stay home with my stepfather lurking around. Anywhere was better than home. Despite my illness, I dragged myself to school that day. It was a Tuesday, which meant handball day. That morning, I walked to the handball court, hoping my swollen eyes and drippy nose would help me avoid playing at all.

“Coach, I am sick,” I said with narrowed eyes. “Can I sit out the game today?”

“Being sick isn’t enough reason not to play,” the P.E. teacher said, not even bothering to look at me. “So, go play.”

Although students never questioned the decisions of a professor, I protested feebly.

He dismissed me again, treating me as a little pest who could not be taken seriously.

“Here is what you will go do,” he told me. “Your team needs a goalie. Go defend it,” he said, pointing towards the goal. The regular goalie was also sick that day, but unlike me, she had the good sense to stay at home.

Off to guard the goal post I went, grateful at least that I did not have to run or be pushed around on the court. I hoped that a strong team defense would prevent me from having to exert much effort. My teammates groaned and shook their heads in disbelief as they saw me standing in front of the goal, mumbling that the team had already lost. The opposing team congratulated themselves before the whistle blew. “This will be easy,” they bragged within earshot, ensuring I knew they considered themselves to have already clinched victory. Having me guard the goal was the same as having no goalie at all.

A surge of anger and despondency bubbled up within me upon hearing their snickers. I felt tired of always being at the bottom of the totem pole, tired of feeling ridiculed and different. I puffed my chest as if this would make me larger, ignoring how painful it felt to take deep breaths.

My team’s defense did not keep its end of the bargain. The balls from the opposing team flew towards the goal at unreasonable speeds, from what appeared to be impossible angles. Yet, I blocked them out. I blocked every single ball that came towards me. I shielded that goal as if my life depended on it. At the end of the game, my team won by a landslide.

Not used to the taste of victory, I did not distinguish the elation I felt from the confusion at this unexpected turn of events. My dumbfounded classmates looked at me as if they saw me for the first time, trying to make sense of what had just happened.

They, and I, were in awe.

My feat as the goalie made the gossip circuit and by the following week, despite some lingering doubt about my abilities, I was picked third in the line-up. I had jumped seven places in one week! This was better than an improvement; it was a major victory!

At the sound of the whistle, the players moved. I tried to concentrate. Not feeling as angry as I did the previous week, my confidence waned even before the game started. But I wasn’t playing for the game. I was playing for my dream, my rank in the social pecking order, and my desire that for once, people would pay attention to me.

Nobody pierced my defense of the goal. My team won again.

Two weeks later, the captains planned the team selection for the school’s annual Olympic Games. The teams played together for two months in preparation for the week-long competition, held at a sports complex where all the parents—and the large, extended families that most Brazilians had—watched the games. The Olympics was the talk of the school.

My class split the girls into teams; these teams would play both handball and volleyball. The P.E. teacher selected the team captains. To my utter surprise, Isabela was not one of them. Thus, there was a possibility that Flavia and Isabela, the two best players, could be on the same team together. And that, I was sure, would lock in victory for whichever team they were a part of. I hoped that I would be chosen, even if last, to the better team. It was obvious to me that the opposing team would have no chance and would simply be crushed.

There was an air of excitement and nervousness at the school playground as the captains readied themselves to make their picks. Flavia was one of the captains. Ana Cristina, a strong but not stellar player, was the captain of the opposing team. After a coin toss, Ana Cristina was first to select players.

“I want Isabelle,” she said pointing at me.

She clearly meant Isabela, with an “a”, and not me, with the French spelling of a name most Brazilians did not get right. It made no sense to me that she would have chosen otherwise. So I did not budge.

“You heard her, Isabelle,” the coach said, tapping me on my shoulder. “Hurry up and move to Ana Cristina’s side.”

I was too stunned to hear the loud murmur emanating from the cluster of the other girls at this unexpected choice. This could not be right. I thought Ana Cristina had been crazy to select me. This choice guaranteed that Flavia would pick Isabela next. Ana Cristina’s team would be decimated. No team could win against the two stronger players.

I looked at Ana Cristina with panic in my face and shook my head. “Don’t do it,” I whispered. “Pick Isabela first.”

She looked at me, puzzled.

“Why?” she asked

“Get the next strongest player. Don’t let them be on the same team. Worry about the goalkeeper later!” I stated, with a modicum of desperation in my voice.

She stared at me with a serious frown on her face and gestured impatiently, beckoning me.

“Isabelle, just come over here.”

As I walked, she spoke loudly enough for all the other girls to hear. “If I do not choose you, Flavia will. Then my team will not ever have the slightest chance. Nobody can score when you are defending that goal. You are the most important player here and the one I want on my team.”

Still stunned, I moved next to Ana Cristina as the selection continued until all girls were sorted into teams. Once I got past my horror that we would now face Flavia and Isabela together, I remembered my wish made months earlier, the one I gave up so easily, about being chosen first. Yet, even in my wildest dreams, I had never expected that it would happen during the most important and visible athletic event of the school year. I felt an unfamiliar feeling of elation fill my chest. I felt I could burst. A broad smile spread across my face. I went home, screaming with joy: “I was chosen first! I was really chosen first!”

And for the first time in my life, I believed I was good at something.


About the Author:
Isabelle Gecils grew up in Shangrila, a remote farm in a lush jungle in Brazil. But who really knows where she hails from? Her immediate family hailed from 6 different countries: France (dad), Egypt (mom and grandma), Turkey (grandpa), Lithuania (grandpa) and Poland (grandma). There is a freedom in belonging nowhere and everywhere at the same time.

Leaving Shangrila is the story of Isabelle’s journey from a life others choose for her to one she created for herself. To support the writing of this memoir, Isabelle completed the Stanford Creative Nonfiction Writing certificate program. She currently lives in Saratoga, California, with her husband, four sons and two territorial cats.

Isabelle_gecils@yahoo.com
www.Isabellegecilsauthor.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IsabelleGecilsAuthor/
Twitter: @IsabelleGecils
Website: http://www.Isabellegecilsauthor.com

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Royal Nanny by Karen Harper - Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win a copy of Karen Harper's newest historical novel The Royal Nanny. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In 1897, a young cockney nursemaid takes her first train ride, leaving London for the lush and sprawling Sandringham Estate, private home to Britain’s royal family. Hired by the Duke and Duchess of York to help rear their royal children, Charlotte Bill is about to become privy to all the secrets families hide, and caught between the upstairs and downstairs worlds.


Enjoy an excerpt:

Truth was, I used to wish the widowed Dr. Edwin Lockwood, my former employer, would marry me, though I knew that was quite out of the question. But when I first went to work at his house as nursemaid, I was only thirteen and such a dreamer. People think I’m a no-nonsense person, but I still harbor flights of fancy in my head and heart, and to mean something to someone else is one of them.

But in the nearly ten years I worked in London, I knew it was not that I loved the doctor, but that I did love his two little daughters and hated to leave them, especially after I’d been promoted to nurse after five years there. Now his new wife didn’t want me about because her stepchildren doted on me. But the doctor gave me a good character, which the Duchess of York’s friend, Lady Eva Dugdale, had somehow seen. So here I was, headed to the Duke and Duchess of York’s country house to help the head nurse of two royal lads, one called David, nearly four years of age, the other, Bertie, a year-and-a-half; and a new baby to be born soon.

Beat down the butterflies in my belly and practiced saying, “Your Grace, milord, milady, sir, ma’am,” and all that. What if Queen Victoria herself ever popped in for a visit, for the duke was her grandson—well, there were many of her offspring scattered across Europe in ruling houses, but he was in direct line to the British throne after his father, the Prince of Wales. And since the Prince and Princess of Wales often lived on the same Sandringham Estate, so Lady Dugdale said, I wager I’d see them, right regular too, that is if the head nurse, name of Mary Peters, let me help her with the royal children when their kin came calling.

“Ticket, please, miss,” the conductor said as he came through the carriage. I had a moment’s scramble but handed it to him and had it marked. When he passed on, I put it as a keepsake in my wooden box of worldly goods, which sat on the floor next to my seat. The carriage wasn’t too full, not to Norfolk with its marshy fens and the windy Wash my papa had described to me. Oh, I was so excited I could barely sit still. I was to disembark at a place called Wolferton Station where someone was to meet me. I was just so certain everything would be lovely, and fine and grandly, royally perfect.


About the Author:
NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author Karen Harper is a former university (Ohio State) and high school English teacher. Published since 1982, she writes contemporary suspense and historical novels about real British women. Two of her recent Tudor era books were bestsellers in the UK and Russia. A rabid Anglophile, she likes nothing more than to research her novels on site in the British Isles. Harper won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for DARK ANGEL, and her novel SHATTERED SECRETS was judged one of the Best Books of 2014 by Suspense Magazine. The author and her husband divide their time between Ohio and Florida.

Website


Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Pork by RS Anthony - Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour from Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC-- click on the banner for the other stops on the tour and more chances to win.

High school is torture for Steven Walthurst, and home isn’t a whole lot better. The only place that offers respite is an abandoned tree house at the edge of town. But something lurks in the nearby woods, and the long line of elm trees has a clear message for Steven: keep out.

Then one day, Steven finds a little girl lying unconscious, perilously close to the woods. As the two get to know one another, Steven experiences real friendship for the first time—and gets closer than ever to knowing the darkness that skulks between the trees.

He dedicates himself to keeping his new friend safe, but the tranquility of their fragile hidden world doesn’t last long. When an act of cruelty pushes Steven to his limits, his secrets—and those of the dark woods—come close to unraveling, threatening to destroy the one thing making his teenage life bearable. Can Steven save everything he’s built from crumbling under the pressure?


An exclusive excerpt:

Judge Watterson got back in the wagon and Butch looked around the yard. Steven was still watching with interest, especially Butch. He was leaning on the table where Bob had put his plastic cup and crossed his ankles, scanning the row of cars parked for repairs and washing. There were a decent number of high-end cars in the lineup and Butch nodded approvingly. A moment later, he caught Steven staring at him with a wet sponge in his hand. They didn’t greet or offer each other the faintest nod of recognition. The tension was palpable in the hot afternoon as Judge Watterson’s engine roared to life.

“It could be the piston slap or the connectin’ rod bearings,” Bob said above the noise. “Hard to say without givin’ it a thorough check.”

Butch uncrossed his ankles, put his hands in his pockets, and stood up straight, watching Steven with narrowed eyes. Steven squeezed the sponge tighter.

“Trouble is, there’s been an increase in the number of cars here lately, Judge. I may need a day or two before I can take a look at it. If you can leave your car here in the meantime, it’d be fine. But if you need to use it, you can bring it another day,” Bob explained.

“Oh, that’s okay, Bob. I’ll just use my BMW while you fix this one. Always good to hear business is doing great.” Judge Watterson winked.

“Thanks, Judge.”

“I’ll swing by in three days, if that’s okay with you,” he said.

“That’d be fine. You and your son need a ride back?”

“No, that’s quite alright. My driver followed us in the Beamer just in case I needed to leave this here.” He tapped on the wagon’s hood.

“Alright, then. See you later, Judge.”

Butch and Steven were still glaring at each other like two angry pit bulls when the judge put an arm around Butch’s shoulders. He had no idea what was going on. “Come on, son. Let’s go,” he said, slipping on a pair of sunglasses. Butch turned away slowly and followed his father out of the yard as Steven looked on.

“He's your friend, Stevie? Seems like you two know each other,” Fenton asked as father and son walked out of the yard.

“He goes to Halstead High,” Steven replied, eyes still on Butch, who was now getting into his father’s black BMW.

“Well, he’s gone. You better get washin’ that car. Soap’s dry by now.”

Steven wiped his forehead and got back to work.


About the Author:
Rosemary Anthony writes suspense fiction with a twist. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Management from the University of Science Malaysia and recently made the jump from writing official documents to writing fiction novels. Blessed with 17 nephews and nieces, she finds the world of young adults to be a thrilling source of inspiration for her books.

Rosemary lives in a small town in Malaysia and travels as often as possible to broaden her cultural horizon. You can find out more about her books, giveaways, and new releases on:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rsanthony.author/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/r.s.anthony
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosebudmary
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15142449.R_S_Anthony

Her debut fiction Pork can be found at Amazon. NOTE: “Pork” will be free on Amazon June 21-23, 2016

What others are saying:

“Stay with this new author. She’s impressive.” – G. Harp

“The plot is elaborate leading to an unexpected twist in the end which I loved. It is a very good read-- you won't be disappointed!” – D. Mantzari

“...makes for an entertaining read, just prepare yourself to have a few WTF moments while enjoying the experience...” – Book Mafia Blog

“The author has a lovely writing style with clear, sparse prose that allows the story to breathe. Bit by bit each character plays a part in unraveling the mystery...” – The Welshbird

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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Marionettes by Kerry Alan Denney


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kerry Alan Denney will be awarding a $20 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-- more chances to enter!

Resuscitated after he drowns and dies in a flood, David Flint discovers he has returned from the other side with an uncanny ability: He can “jump” into people’s bodies and minds, and control their thoughts and actions.

David believes it's a gift, and wants to use it to help people. Then four members of a ruthless drug ring savagely attack his fiancée and leave her in a coma, and David tries to use his new power to destroy the whole ring. But the ringleader, a voodoo priest known as the Zombie Master, is a formidable man with a deadly secret: He has the same incredible ability as David.

When the two human marionette masters clash in a brutal bloody showdown, using the ring’s members as their puppets, David discovers he’s battling for much more than his life—he’s fighting to rid the world of an evil human abomination.

Marionettes illuminates the greatest achievements of the human spirit and the darkest corridors of our minds, and answers the age-old question: What are the consequences of absolute power?

Enjoy an excerpt:

My head was turned sideways, and I struggled to push myself into a sitting position only to find another sadistic little swordsman was trying to slice his way out of my gut.

“Let me adjust your bed. Take your time, sweetie,” the angel said. She used the bed’s controls to raise it so I could sit up.

The combination of the brutal swordsman in my gut, the vicious little bastards in my throat, and jackhammer-man in my head made me want out of this bad dream. That’s when things got mega-weird: I found myself inexplicably staring down at… me. My face was slack, my features drooping, and my open eyes looked empty and barely aware.

It scared the hell out of me, dream or not.

I saw the angel’s delicate hands gently adjust my shoulders and brush strands of my long dark hair out of my eyes from her perspective, as though her hands were mine.

I’m Cynthia, a nurse, I realized. I have two kids—Johnny and Leah—and a doting husband named Paul who is a wonderful father to our children. I want more than ever to help my patient, David Flint—the subject of much gossip among the second floor nursing staff—to be well and whole again.

“Little pieces, David,” Cynthia said, feeding ice chips from a spoon to the bedridden zombie who looked like me. I worried about the slack look on my face. “Let them melt in your mouth.”

Cynthia knew about Karin’s tragic death, and felt sorry for me at the same time that she felt hopeful for my continued recovery. This screwed with my mind, and because pity is something I can’t tolerate, I found myself jerked out of Cynthia’s perspective and back into my own.

I felt the cool, soothing comfort of the melting ice slide down my throat and wash away some of the little swordsmen. Take that, you bastards. But the pleasant sensation triggered a darker, nasty memory of brackish waters involuntarily swallowed recently.

My body shook with spasms as the memory rose to the surface of my mind and hit me like a sledgehammer blow crushing my skull. The surrounding dark waters engulfed me, and I panicked.

“Can’t… breathe,” I rasped, grabbing Cynthia’s arm. “Save me.”

“Oh honey, you’re remembering, aren’t you?” Cynthia took my hand and set the cup of ice chips on the rotating bedside table.

“Drowning,” I croaked, squeezing her hand. “Save me.”

“No, David, you’re not drowning. You’re in the hospital, safe and alive, and I’m right here with you.”

“Don’t leave me.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

I looked up into her kind eyes, and saw worry etch lines in her brow. I suddenly remembered the razor-sharp chunk of glass penetrating my gut as I submerged beneath dark waters, unable to stay afloat any longer. That was when I gave in to the merciless deluge, seeing Karin’s face before me as I drowned.


About the Author:
Colleagues and readers have dubbed Kerry Alan Denney The Reality Bender. The multiple award-winning author of the paranormal thrillers Dreamweavers (Juju Mojo Publications, August 2015) and Soulsnatcher (Juju Mojo Publications, April 2014), the post-apocalyptic sci-fi/ horror thriller Jagannath (Permuted Press, February 2015), and numerous short stories published online and in anthologies, Kerry blends elements of the supernatural, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror in his work: speculative fiction at its wildest and craziest. With joy, malicious glee, and a touch of madness, he writes reality-bending thrillers, even when the voices don’t compel him to. His protagonists are his children, and he loves them as dearly as he despises his antagonists... even when he has to kill them.

On July 24, 2015, Jagannath became a #1 Amazon bestseller. On March 31, 2015, Soulsnatcher won 2nd Place as 2014 Book of the Year in The Drunken Druid’s International Book Award competition. Jagannath and Soulsnatcher each received a rave blurb from New York Times bestselling author James Rollins.

Kerry lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia with his golden retriever Holly Jolly, a veteran professional Therapy Dog, where he is currently writing his next supernatural thriller... and deciding who to kill in it.

Be on the lookout for Kerry’s new post-apocalyptic/ paranormal thriller A Mighty Rolling Thunder, coming December 3, 2016 from Burning Willow Press.

Kerry’s website: http://www.kerrydenney.com
Follow Kerry on his Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Kerry-Alan-Denney/e/B00K378HHS
Follow Kerry on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KerryDenney
Kerry’s Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8187822.Kerry_Alan_Denney
Kerry’s Facebook Author/ Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/KerryAlanDenneyTheRealityBender
Join Kerry on Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102464185794371169075/posts

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How to Draw Cool Stuff by Catherine V. Holmes - Spotlight and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Catherine will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner, and another winner will receive a print copy of How to Draw Cool Stuff (international) both via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How to Draw Cool Stuff: Holidays, Seasons and Events is a step-by-step drawing guide that illustrates popular celebrations, holidays and events for your drawing pleasure. From the Chinese New Year to April Fools' Day, Father's Day to Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s Eve - this book covers over 100 fun days, holidays, seasons and events, and offers simple lessons that will teach you how to draw like a pro and get you in the spirit of whichever season it may be!


Enjoy an excerpt:

This book evolved out of necessity. After exploring art catalogs and libraries and wading through the "how to draw" section of book stores, I found a few good resources but none that had all the qualities I was looking for in a drawing book. Some ideas were too basic and often insulting to my older, more artistic students. Other material seemed to serve as a showcase for beautiful artwork but lacked any concrete instruction.

As a "travelling" art teacher with a limited budget and limited preparation time, I need a single resource that is easy to transport and can be used to teach all levels of students from middle school to high school and beyond. This book was created to fill that need and I want to share it with teachers and artists in similar situations. These projects will allow you to bring interesting and informative lessons that offer clear objectives and foster achievement without the need for expensive/multi-dimensional supplies: a regular pencil and eraser is all that is needed (sometimes a ruler or fine pen). Fancy art pencils, costly paper or kneaded erasers are not required for success. All pages have been student tested and approved.


About the Author:
Catherine V. Holmes is an art/ELA teacher and visual artist from historical Plymouth, Massachusetts. She studied at Boston University and at Bridgewater State College where she earned her BFA and MA in ED. She is currently working towards her second Master's from the University of Scranton. Catherine Holmes specializes in portraits, architecture and illustrations. Her art is inspired by her feelings, ideas, and experiences, whether they are found in nature, the media or in man-made structures. Catherine is also heavily influenced by the interests and suggestions of her students. "To see success through their eyes inspires me to be a better teacher and creator of art." Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drawcoolstuff
Website: http://www.HowToDrawCoolStuff.com

Buy the book at Amazon. Check out the books series, as well.

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak - Interview 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 to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks for stopping by It's Raining Books. What group did you hang out with in high school?

It’s probably fair to say that I was associated with the intellectual clique, particularly the subset that was angry and fighting against the system (this was the Sixties, remember, so fighting the system was chic).

What are you passionate about these days?

I’m passionate about women, family, Bourbon, sushi, politics, writing, caviar, travel, punctuality, telling the truth, wine and dogs (in no particular order).

If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?

I’d try to be more responsible in terms of personal habits. I had a very long and tough road to publication, and I’m sure most of my obstacles were self-inflicted. Had I been more focused, I think I would have been published sooner.

Ebook or print? And why?

Along with my other books, Friend of the Devil will be released simultaneously in both print and electronic form. I don’t have a preference as far as reading goes, unless I’m traveling---in which case a Kindle saves space and weight. I’ve notice recently that the trend toward ebooks seems to be reversing, so maybe readers are becoming more traditional.

What is your favorite scene in this book?

That’s a tough question to answer, because they’re all in there for a reason. I think the flashbacks to Mississippi in 1947 are probably among my favorites, which is interesting because I resisted including that line of narrative. Toward the end of the book, I like the verbal chess matches between David and the chef. I also like the ending, although I won’t give it away.

In 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano. The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The two young men emerged from the woods onto Highway 49. There were no street lamps, and Joseph was grateful for the moonlight. Slowly and deliberately, they walked toward the intersection of Highway 61. When they got to the Crossroads, the site was unremarkable: a small general store, a gas station, and miles of desolate blackness stretching in every direction.

“Here you go, baby.” Willy stopped a few hundred yards from the intersection and turned to face Joseph. “You on your own. Can’t take you closer than this.”

“Where are you headed?”

“As far away as I can git,” he laughed, “as fast as I can git there.”

“Thank you. I appreciate your help.”

“Well, this wasn’t no charity. You know that.”

“Even so.”

“You got some questions?”

“What do I do? Just walk up there and wait?”

“You won’t be waitin’ long,” said Willy. “The man’ll be along shortly. You don’t need no business card, neither. Trust me on that.”

“Okay.”

“You’ll be fine.” Willy studied him carefully. “Shoot, you look like you don’t got a care in the world.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. But I’m here for a reason, of my own free will.”

“I understand.” He patted Joseph on the arm. “You look me up when you open your restaurant, hear?”

“I will.” He watched Willy head back for the woods. “I definitely will.”

“I’ll be here,” Willy called over his shoulder.


About the Author:
Mark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on www.palmbeachillustrated.com. He is the holder of the Certificate and Advanced diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Mark’s work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. He is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). His first novel, Friend of the Devil, is published by Black Opal Books.

Website: http://www.markspivakbooks.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4659831.Mark_Spivak
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mark.spivak.3
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Spivak/e/B007QASMAC
Barnes and Noble Author Page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/mark+spivak?_requestid=552756

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Monday, June 6, 2016

The Sheik's Desires by Elizabeth lennox and Leslie North


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $10 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.

Get four breath-taking sheik romances from two of your favorite authors - all in the same boxset!

The Sheik’s Challenge by Elizabeth Lennox

When she sings, she sounds like a cat in heat…but Ana, a brilliant mathematician, stuns and surprises Najid del Sabur, Sheik of Safir. Her bright eyes defy him and her smiles sooth him, while her body makes him lust for her. But can he catch her? Can he convince her that her past won’t hurt their future?

The Prince’s Challenge by Elizabeth Lennox

She can’t sit still. She’s beaten every nurse and doctor on her floor at cards. And she’s achingly beautiful. But is she friend or foe? Having been caught in the line of fire by a bullet meant for his brother, Prince Jual del Sabur, Minister of Defense for Safir can’t decide if the lovely Sonya was part of the assassination attempt or innocent and just caught by bad timing. All he knows is that he is definitely caught by her startling eyes and her soft sighs as he explores that question.

The Sheikh's Untraditional Lover by Leslie North

Ultra-traditional and devastatingly handsome Prince Zafar Tadros thinks a business/sports complex is not what is needed for his country—but he believes in helping his family. With the region increasingly doing more business with Western companies, his father Sheikh Ahmadi has ordered this new business/sports complex to be a mix between West and East cultures.

Zafar has decided he will work to integrate as much traditional elements as possible, but Belle Mooney, an innovative American architect has taken her direction from Zafar's father and is going for innovations. The two clash over designs—and only one can win.

The Sheikh's Stubborn Partner by Leslie North

With the deadline fast approaching, playboy Prince Adyan Tadros must supervise the only construction company that will take on the job of building the business/sports center in less than six months. The meticulous Edna Abbey has taken over her father's construction company while he recovers from a stroke, and the last thing she wants to do is rush the project. But with attraction between her and the Prince growing everyday, she may be glad for the distraction...


Enjoy an excerpt from The Sheik’s Challenge By E. Lennox

Two things hit her all at once. First, the man was naked! Well, he had a towel wrapped around his lean waist, but that was it. He had another towel in his hand that he used to dry his hair, then rubbed it against his chest. Ana couldn’t do more than stare, fascinated by that hand as it moved the towel over all of those muscles. They were everywhere, the skin and muscles flexing as he dried himself off. Was his hand moving more slowly? Was he…

Her eyes flipped up to his and she blushed when she realized that he was watching her, watching him. “I’m sorry,” she whispered and licked her dry lips.

“I enjoyed it,” he murmured. “Feel free to take over.”

Ana felt her breath catch in her throat and her eyes moved down over his body again, her mind spinning out of control at the idea of drying off that man’s chest and arms. And…everything else.


About the Authors:

Leslie North

Read FIVE full-length, highly rated Leslie North novellas for FREE! Sign up for free books here.

Leslie North is the pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women's contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.

The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren't afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.

Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.

She LOVES reader feedback, and if you have any comments, don't hesitate to contact her via email.

Website: http://www.leslienorthbooks.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/leslienorthbook
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leslie-North/736187383071331

Elizabeth Lennox

USA Today (c) bestselling author Elizabeth Lennox writes contemporary romance novels featuring sheiks, business tycoons, royalty, and other sexy rich men. Her male lead characters are smart, driven and determined, but can still be sensitive and vulnerable. Elizabeth's female lead characters come from a variety of backgrounds. They are strong, intelligent and independent, while still feminine and caring.

Although Elizabeth wanted to be a romance novelist since the eighth grade, that dream only became a (paid) reality for her in 2009 and a full time job in 2012. Along the way, she received a BS in History and held different jobs in the real estate, government consulting, and financial industries. All during that time, though, she was always writing, using her personal experiences, dreams, and travels throughout the United States, Europe and the Caribbean as backdrops for her stories. To date, she has written over 80 books and sold over 1.7 million copies. Her free novellas have been downloaded over 2.9 million times since 2013.

Elizabeth lives in Virginia with her husband and two children. Their home is just outside of Washington, D.C., and many of her novels are set in this area.

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