Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Clementina by Simon Cann - 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 to see the other stops on the tour.

Where Ideas Come From

Where do ideas come from?

Can I let you into a secret?

Promise not to tell anyone?

No writer has ever had an idea, let alone an original idea. Ever.

Alright, maybe I’m being a bit facetious…but not that facetious. At the end of the day there are very few basic ideas—most stories have similar elements. Many, many stories start with “a bad thing” happening. The protagonist then struggles with the consequences of that bad thing until eventually she finds some kind of resolution.

What differentiates one story from another is not the basic idea.

The differences come from the characters and how the stories are told.

Take five different writers, give them the same idea, and tell them to write a story and those five writers will give you at least thirty-eight different stories—just from that one idea.

So for me, an idea isn’t so much about a plot to steal the biggest diamond in the world. Instead, I’m more interested in the human aspect and in particular, what happens to people in adversity. So, to stay with the notion of a diamond theft, I’m interested in the story of the guy who is charged with guarding the diamond and how he reacts after the theft. I’m interested in the woman who is coerced to steal the diamond and why committing a crime is a better option for her.

It’s a small shift but a subtle shift. But it’s also a shift from a newspaper headline to a story. Headlines are great—and they grab our interest—but I’m in the business of telling stories and stories have a depth beyond the hook line. Plus a headline isn’t enough to sustain an 80,000 or 100,000 word book.

I guess your next question is where do those story kernels come from? And again I repeat that no writer has ever had an idea. I just pay attention to the what’s happening—whether that be watching the news or if I’m out—and when I see anything I ask myself about the situation and think about the people involved. And that’s really the key for me—I’m curious about people.

Then if something piques my interest, I write it down—quickly.

I put all my notes into Microsoft OneNote. It’s a great tool which is accessible anywhere and everywhere—on the desktop (for Windows and Mac), on phones (iOS, Windows, and Android), and on tablets. Perhaps more significantly than being available anywhere, OneNote has been supported by Microsoft for years (at the time of writing it’s been around for 13 years)—this gives me some confidence that notes I make today will be available tomorrow.

Having made my notes, from time to time I review them. Some I throw away, some I improve, and some grab me so tightly that they just have to be my next novel.

Leathan Wilkey has been hired to babysit Clementina, a seventeen-year-old whose rich daddy is going through a messy divorce and is over-compensating.

Leathan soon tires of her spending habits, her selfie obsession, and her social media preoccupation as his ward drags him from shop to boutique to jeweler, approaching each with the self-possession that comes from a lifetime of getting her own way and never once having to worry about money.

But when Clementina snaps her fingers and her boyfriend doesn’t come running, something is up. He doesn’t appear because he’s been murdered.

When Leathan investigates, he finds that the boyfriend has no background and met Clementina through a connection made by daddy’s business partner.

Daddy’s business partner who has been slowly and progressively putting daddy in a vice, grabbing more of the business, and who is now menacing Clementina directly to manipulate daddy.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Johnson McElroy and Orville Michael Mallet seemed pleased to have fixed a problem. A problem where I was having trouble understanding what really made it a problem.

The two men—one groomed to look like a logical and rational arguing machine; the other determined to display his individual creativity, which looked exactly the same as everyone else’s individual creativity—shook my hand at the door.

“You know the way out,” I said, as if I had a clue. I only knew how to enter and leave if I was driven by Reece.

The two headed for the elevator and I made my way through the cavernous entrance hall back to the open living space and the kitchen area. The kitchen area, which had more floor space than most apartments I had lived in.

“I should have a word with Clementina,” I said to Angeline Bautista, the housekeeper who had remained invisible while the two company men had been present.

“She’s gone out,” said the housekeeper.


“While you talked.”


She shrugged.

“What did Reece say?”

She looked confused.

“Reece—the driver. What did he say?”

The confusion remained. “Nothing.”

“But he must have said something when he came up.”

“He didn’t come up,” she said.

“She went to him?” I could feel the hesitation in my speech as my brain tried to catch up with the situation and make sure my language was unambiguous for the non-native English speaker.

“No. She went out on her own,” said Angeline.


“While you talked,” she said with greater emphasis.

“How long ago?”

She tilted her head from side to side. “Ten minutes?” she said. More a question than a statement.

I pulled out my phone and called Reece. “Does Clementina go out on her own?”

“Nope,” said Reece. “Daddy says no.”

“Well, she has.”

Reece swore under his breath. “I’ll be up.”

About the Author:
Simon Cann is the author of the Boniface, Montbretia Armstrong, and Leathan Wilkey series of books.

In addition to his fiction, Simon has written a range of music-related and business-related books, and has also worked as a ghostwriter.

Before turning full-time to writing, Simon spent nearly two decades as a management consultant, where his clients included aeronautical, pharmaceutical, defense, financial services, chemical, entertainment, and broadcasting companies.

He lives in London.

Website: http://simoncann.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/simoncannauthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/simonpcann

The book will be free on Amazon from July 25-29.

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Swept Away by Kristina Mathews - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kristina will be awarding a digital copy of Swept Away to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Carson Swift may look exactly like his twin brother Cody, but they’re as different as tie dye and camouflage. Reliable, responsible, and usually the designated driver, Carson is also over being his brother’s keeper, but suddenly his plans to break free are complicated by the woman they fish out of Hidden Creek . . .

Lily Price is not your typical damsel in distress. Infidelity, infertility, and downsizing provide a triple threat to her ego, but falling into the swollen river nearly ends her life. If not for the handsome stranger—make that two handsome strangers—she might not have had a chance at having a baby by any means necessary . . .

As Carson helps Lily overcome her fear of the river, she helps him save his rafting business from going under. She also saves him from abandoning all that is important to him in order to get a taste of freedom. Together they find that love is the ultimate adventure.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She struggled briefly, mumbling something, as he wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her against his chest. The buzz of adrenaline flooded his system, blocking out the cold, the current, and everything but the need to keep her head above water and bring her to shore. He kicked hard to propel them away from the strongest part of the current. Working with the flow of the river and not against it was crucial in getting them both out alive.

About the Author:
Kristina Mathews doesn't remember a time when she didn't have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn't until she turned forty that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing. While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she's remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, parent club member or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books. Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of more than twenty years, two sons and a black lab. A veteran road tripper, amateur renovator and sports fanatic. She hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors and serve as a “Ball Dudette” for the San Francisco Giants.


Buy the book at Amazon, iBooks, Google, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Chrysalis by Ann Vanino- Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ann Vanino 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.

Five Things You May Never Guess About Me!

I went to a nursery school that was under the FDR Drive elevated highway in lower Manhattan. I was living in an apartment complex just across the street and it did not seem unusual at all. It was in a small “park” – New York City style. My memories are spare, but I do remember that I loved the school, had a great teacher and we had a graduation ceremony where I played a squirrel. I lived my first seven years in Manhattan. As our family grew, we soon had my parents and three children in a one- bedroom apartment. When I was seven, we moved to a seven-bedroom house in the borough of Staten Island – “the country” as far as we were concerned. My mother, who grew up in the Midwest (my Dad was a native New Yorker) said she knew we had to move when she had three crying kids in the back of a station wagon shouting “Mommy, Mommy fly on me”!

In college at the State University of New York, I was President of the student environmental club. As Earth Day approached, we needed a program and it had to be good. Previous years, under other Presidents, we had David Brower, Founder of The Sierra Club and Ralph Nader. When Ralph Nader came, I and other students got to spend quality time with him. We had a late night meal together (he had just a grapefruit) and talked about environmental activism. He came without a speaking fee because he liked what we were doing as activists. Anyway, I had to find a speaker. I had heard of a Native American activist group named The White Roots of Peace. I had always admired the love of our natural world by indigenous cultures and thought they might come for our Earth Day program. Not only did they come, but they set up on campus for several days, teepees and all and ended their visit with a beautiful ceremony for Mother Earth!

I ran New York City’s Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Team. I managed a Division that included a team of 8 chemists and chemical engineers who responded with New York City’s police and fire departments to over 600 incidents a year. The first responders were heroes. Managing the team, I was involved in incidents involving chemical explosions and fires, leaking electrical transformers that had hazardous chemicals in their oil, expired chemicals dumped in public spaces or found in illegal drug labs that were oxidized and highly explosive and transportation accidents involving hazardous chemicals.

The reason I am a coach goes back to waiting in line for a pay phone (yes, in ancient times!). I was at a personal development workshop in the Joshua Tree Desert waiting to make a phone call and had a conversation with a woman who told me she was studying to become a coach. I asked, “what is a coach?” and soon became intrigued. I actually could not believe there was such a professional where I could help people create fulfilling lives and make a living from it! The rest is history, I went on to train as a coach and since 1996, have a coaching practice that is now focusing on career and new direction coaching.

I am serving as a volunteer and helping to coordinate a wonderful public art installation being created for the Republican and Democratic Party Political Conventions in the United States. It is titled: Our Common Ground: Vote For the Good Life. Its purpose is to provide a space for respectful dialogue on the issues of our day. The installation will have “Dialogue Dens” every hour where participants will discuss topics such as “Security or Freedom?” “Open or Closed?” (society and borders). It will be non-partisan and use paint, sculpture and light to engage convention-goers and citizens in dialogue and conversation. The creator of the installation is public mural artist, Meg Saligman, whose inspiration is that art and beauty can inspire us to move out of the political polarity we are now experiencing to find our common ground.

We are living in a time of transformation. Old ways are fading. New ways are emerging. There is an increasing focus within. Many of us are feeling a desire to create a new direction for our lives.

Chrysalis: Personal Transformation From The Inside Out uses nature’s process of Chrysalis- a caterpillar transforming to a butterfly – as a guide for our own personal transformation. Each stage of Chrysalis provides a jumping-off point, upon which to reflect about our own experiences as we each transform.

Enjoy an excerpt:


On a beautiful, open hill, there stood a tree. Day after day it experienced the rain, the sun, the wind, the heat, and the cold. In spring it blossomed; in winter it was bare. Always, it was content with life and was silent and still. This did not mean that nothing was going on. The tree had sprouted from a seed into a sapling, grown to full size and changed with the seasons. But to travelers walking by the tree, it seemed that nothing was going on. The tree was something to look at and then move beyond.

One day, a young girl named Sara sat by the tree to take a rest. As she sat, her eyelids became heavy. She hadn’t realized how tired she was, and she lay down for a short nap. During her nap, she had a dream. The tree had a face and began to speak to her. The tree said, “Sara, there are many languages and nature has one of its own. There are wonderful things to learn from nature, if you can be still and listen.”

Sara awoke with a start! What had just happened? Did the tree speak to her? Oh, she thought, I was just dreaming. She picked up her things and began walking home.

In the following days, Sara could not get the tree out of her mind. It was as if the tree was calling her.

About the Author:
Ann is an author and coach dedicated to collaborating with her clients and readers as they create fulfilling lives and bring their unique gifts to the world.

Connect With Ann Vanino:

Website: http://www.annvanino.com
Connect On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnVaninoCoaching
Follow Me On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/annvanino
Connect On Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/annvanino
Subscribe To My Monthly Newsletter: http://www.annvanino.com/newsletter-subscribe
Subscribe To My Blog: http://www.themanagershub.com
The book is FREE at Amazon.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sword of Shadows by Karin Rita Gastreich - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Karin will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Karin 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.

Sisters in magic, Eolyn and Adiana seek to revive a millennial tradition once forbidden to women. When war strikes, their fledgling community of magas is destroyed; its members killed, captured or scattered.

Determined to defend her people, Eolyn seeks to escape the occupied province and deliver to King Akmael a weapon that might secure their victory. Trapped by the invading army, Adiana is taken prisoner and placed at the mercy of the ruthless Prince Mechnes.

Even as their world is torn asunder, Eolyn and Adiana cling to a common dream. Courage and perseverance guide them toward a future where the Daughters of Aithne will flourish in a world set free from the violence of men.

"War propels the story forward, and the characters are at their best when circumstances are at their worst." -Publishers Weekly

This is the second book in THE SILVER WEB trilogy. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, or as the sequel to the first book, EOLYN.

Enjoy an excerpt:

A hush of wings on the windowsill interrupted Eolyn’s thoughts. She looked up to see a Great River Owl, its proud silhouette outlined by moonlight.

Eolyn rose to her feet in surprise, keenly aware of its penetrating gaze, though she could not see its round eyes in the dark. A breeze ruffled its feathers. Its aura was impossibly familiar: intense shades of gold, burgundy, and forest green, shot through with streaks of deepest indigo.

She held her breath and let it go in a whisper. “Akmael?”

More than a question, it was a hope, a fear, an invocation.

A shimmer passed through the owl, followed by a flash of white light. Suddenly Akmael was with her, the heat of his hand upon her throat, the strength of his fingers intertwining in her hair, the demand of his lips upon hers, warm and full of passion. The magic of the South Woods blew through the window in a humid gust, swirling about them, begging Eolyn to remember who she was and what she once meant to him.

Akmael kissed Eolyn until she had no more breath to give. Then he paused and held her close, their foreheads touching as her fingers traced the familiar prominence of his cheekbone, the line of his jaw, the curve of his full lips.

All she could hear was his desire, carried on the rhythm of his heart. She dared not speak, for if she did, she might stumble upon words of caution or prudence or common sense, and none of that had any place here. Not when he was so near, nearer than he had been in such a painfully long time, closer than he might ever be again.

This is a gift from the Gods, Akmael had once said. To deny it would be an insult to them.

“Eolyn, I—”

She hushed him with a kiss.

About the Author:
Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to THE SILVER WEB trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

Website: http://krgastreich.com
Twitter: @EolynChronicles
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Eolyn-110814625640244/

Purchase link for SWORD OF SHADOWS, Book Two of THE SILVER WEB: https://www.amazon.com/Sword-Shadows-Silver-Web-Book-ebook/dp/B01G5L1GEG/

Purchase link for EOLYN, Book One of THE SILVER WEB: http://www.amazon.com/Eolyn-Silver-Web-Book-1-ebook/dp/B01B8F4G50

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26 Hours in Paris by Demi Alex - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Demi will be awarding a digital copy of 26 Hours in Paris to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

One day to see the sights.

One night to change your life.

Magazine writer Kathryn Taylor is traveling from New York to Paris for work. But the flirtatious Frenchman she left long ago is waiting at the airport--and he wants to play. . .

No one can guide Kat through the sensual city's delights like Marko Renard. He let her get away once, and now he's determined to make her stay--even if he has to tie her down. He will wrap her in cashmere, tease her tongue with chocolate, and take her to the peak of the Eiffel Tower . . . But can he convince the bohemian beauty she belongs with him, in his luxuriously decadent world? In business, he's the master--but it's Kat's body and soul he truly longs to rule. He has just enough time to show her the pleasures of the boulevards, the boulangeries--and the bedroom. To finally get her to just say oui, he'll have to seize the day--and the night. . .

Read an excerpt:

Kat was a damn good journalist, as was Charlie. She’d worked her ass off and done her time, as had Charlie. But, shit. Kathryn wanted her byline so bad, she could practically see the ink on the paper as their boss proposed the assignment. She had to enter the arena and fight for her career.

“Get out there. Do your research,” Paul said, raising his arm and circling his hand above his head. “Lasso someone that makes your body hum, and write about the perfect place to find love, ladies.”

“Seriously, Paul? Lasso someone that makes our bodies hum?” Kat rolled her eyes. Like those kinds of men were easy to find. With the same amount of exaggeration Paul had exhibited, Kathryn swept her arm through the air and landed the back of her hand across her forehead. “Wait. Hold on a minute. Wait . . . wait. I’m seeing a handsome man, in a far-off and romantic place, sweeping me off my feet.”

Actually, she could envision someone, someone in a far-off place, sweeping her off her feet—in her dreams. But no one in New York fit the bill or compared to that distant someone.

“Paris is romantic,” Kathryn admitted in a low voice.

About the Author:
Demi Alex writes steamy romances, blending emotional fulfillments of the heart and carnal desires in her work. Born in Athens, Greece, and raised in her own version of a big fat Greek life in New York, Demi was infected with book and travel bugs early, and currently admits the only therapy for this condition is to combine the two in fictional stories that allow her characters to let loose and experience all they crave. She attended SUNY at Stony Brook, and after changing her major numerous times, graduated with a degree in Public Policy and International Studies. Her characters are loosely based on people she encounters while she travels or during the time she spends matching homes to owners as a Realtor. She simply has a passion for matchmaking that can’t be put to rest.


Buy the book at Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

The Last Great Race by Mark Morey - Author Interview and Giveaway

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

Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

The Last great race is historical fiction based upon real events which seem too strange to be true, and characters who seem larger than life. What drew me to this genre and story is that fiction couldn't come close to the events and people in this real-life story. However I don't want to be constrained by genre, with my first novel being crime and my second novel being a dark mystery. I have another historical fiction story I want to tell, and then I will see what comes next.

What research is required?

The story of Achille Varzi is well known some of us who follow motor sport. At the peak of his career he may have been the highest paid sportsman in the world, and certainly he was one of the top two or three racing drivers of his era. Fortunately for me I speak and read Italian. I bought a biography of Achille Varzi written in Italian and I also bought the memoirs of Tonino Brivio, who was a fellow racing driver and a friend of Varzi. Both of these books helped me with what really happened to Varzi, and told me a lot about the two women in his life, Norma Colombo and Ilse Pietsch. I understood Achille's attraction for Ilse who was quite beautiful and probably more worldly than her age, but Norma was quite different. I eventually thought of a common ground between Achille Varzi, the deep-thinking introvert and Norma Colombo, the free-wheeling extrovert. They didn't love each other but they did have a strong attraction that lasted many years.

There are a number of websites which outline motor racing in the 1930s, subsequently regarded as a golden era of the sport, and I used those websites to gather information about the cars, the circuits and the races, and incorporated that information into my story where appropriate. I also used online resources to map the path towards World War Two, and used that in the story. My World War Two sequence is set in Naples, Italy, and I bought the memoirs of a British secret service agent who was stationed there when the allies took control of that city. I used online resources to map out the many air raids on Naples, and to describe the way that life in that city slowly ground to a halt. The organised crime gangs of Naples, the Camorra, came to the fore when the Allies moved in and their role had to be explained. And finally I used the Internet to map out the four-day uprising where the locals of Naples drove the German army out of the city. During World War Two many millions were taken away in cattle trucks never to be seen again, but the inhabitants of Naples stole rifles and fought the German army to prevent that happening to them. I thought that was interesting.

There is a lot in The Last Great Race and the story covers a lot of ground. The story is so strange in parts that there was little need to embellish what really happened. My task was to convert those many facts into a flowing story with broad appeal, to tell a tale that seems too unbelievable to be true, only it is.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

The one thing I learned from Achille Varzi was never to let pride consume you, because that can end badly.

Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I don't follow the usual rule of writing something every day, rather I prefer to write when I feel creative. When I'm at a loss for what comes next I take a long walk, and by the time I get home I have the solution to my problem.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I am a plotter, but I also like to let the story and particularly the characters take their own courses within my broad, plot outline.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

My wife

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I'm staying with historical fiction in Italy while I work on a story set in 15th Century Venice, based on a major scandal which happened in 1428. That scandal is intertwined with sub-plots around the discrimination of gay men at the time, and the discrimination of women at the time. This story can be read for what it is, but I hope that it will encourage readers to think about the long history of discrimination, inequality, and especially domestic violence.

Do you have a question for our readers?

If any of your readers have an interesting tale they think may be worth telling, then go to my blog and send me an email about it. I am always on the lookout for good ideas.

This story is based around the life of one of the most fascinating and enigmatic sportsmen of his era, Achille Varzi: multiple race winner, twice Racing Champion of Italy and a hero to his many followers. Told partly through the eyes of Varzi and partly by fictional Italian-Australian racing journalist Paul Bassi, we follow the many triumphs and tragedies of Varzi's life: his passionate love affair with Ilse, his tragic morphine addiction, his recovery from his addictions, his marriage to Norma and his re-signing to race for Alfa Romeo.

Only war intervenes, and Paul and his wife Pia leave Achille to spy for the British at the naval base in Naples. Paul and Pia endure hundreds of Allied air-raids, they join the partisans who fought off the German army until the Allies could rescue them, and then they survive in a near-ruined city as best they can.

By 1946 Italy is still shattered but life is returning to normal, and no more normal is Achille Varzi winning the Grand Prix of Italy that year. Over the next two seasons Achille Varzi scores more successes, until he makes his only ever driving mistake and is killed in Switzerland in 1948. Even though he died too young, Paul and Pia know that Achille Varzi would never have lived in his life in any other way.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Achille crashed,” she said and drank some more. “I have never seen anything like it. He was the only driver taking the banked curve at the end of the straight flat-out. Each lap I heard the exhaust note of his car never wavering as he took that curve with his typical, stylish precision. And then on lap fourteen a sudden gust of wind came in from the desert, blowing dust and debris. I held my hat and glanced at the Englishman nearby, just as the wind caught the front of Achille's car and lifted the front wheels from the track. The car rose higher and higher like an aeroplane, flying away from the track until the rear of the car hit the ground and then the front, and it rolled over and over with the most terrible noise. Over and over until it stopped on its wheels in the middle of an orchard. There were Arab men dressed in robes and they ran to the car. I was on the wrong side of the circuit and checked that nobody was coming before I ran to it as well, and so did the Englishman.” She drank more water. “I thought he must be dead, nobody could survive a crash like that, but he climbed out of the wrecked car and brushed dirt from his overalls. He looked around and saw me but I don’t think it registered.”

“Is he alright?” Paul asked, worried.

“He’s fine although shaken. He didn’t even light a cigarette, and then he fainted. The Englishman Raymond Mays helped him, and he drove us back here.”

Paul contemplated what he heard, and that would have been a terrible thing to see.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Pia repeated and Paul hoped that Achille really was alright. If he was taking that curve flat-out he must have been doing about 300.

About the Author:
Writing technical documentation and advertising material formed a large part of my career for many decades. Writing a novel didn’t cross my mind until relatively recently, where the combination of too many years writing dry, technical documents and a visit to the local library where I couldn’t find a book that interested me led me consider a new pastime. Write a book. That book may never be published, but I felt my follow-up cross-cultural crime with romance hybrid set in Russia had more potential. So much so that I wrote a sequel that took those characters on a journey to a very dark place.

Once those books were published by Club Lighthouse and garnered good reviews I wrote in a very different place and time. My two novels set in Victorian Britain were published by Wings ePress in July and August of 2014. These have been followed by a story set against the background of Australia's involvement on the Western Front, published in August 2015. Australia's contribution to the battles on the Western Front and to ultimate victory is a story not well known, but should be better known.

Staying within the realm of historical fiction, one of the most successful sportsmen of the 1930s, Achille Varzi, lived a dramatic and tumultuous life. It is a wonder his story hasn't been told before, beyond non fiction written in Italian. The Last Great Race follows the highs and lows of Varzi's motor racing career, and stays in fascist Italy during the dark days of World War Two.


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Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. Please click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn't seem so bad.
Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms--including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora's arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.

With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.

Enjoy an excerpt:

"Today you will start lessons with me and learn to access your mage powers,” said Uncle Gabriel. “There are a few training exercises I want to start with, which will help you to access and channel your magic. I want you to have an open mind, and follow my instructions very carefully.”

I listened intently, breathlessly awaiting the secret I was so anxious to discover—how magic worked.

“You are still young and so far your powers have been diminished by the amulet, but if you have tapped into your fae magic already by mind bonding with the pegasus, that means that your powers are already manifesting,” Uncle Gabriel said.

He lit a candle and put it in front of me on the table.

“Now, our first lesson is going to be on concentration,” said Uncle Gabriel. “I want you to focus on this candle. Remove all other thoughts from your mind.”

I stared at the candle, my thoughts drifting in and out. Uncle Gabriel had said he was going to teach me to do magic. This was not magic; this was torture. My thoughts flickered back and forth like the flame on the tip of the candle. Finally I looked up.

“This is silly. Nothing is happening,” I said, getting frustrated.

“You are not concentrating,” Uncle Gabriel said, glancing up briefly up from his work. “Block out all other thoughts. If they come, push them away and keep focusing on the candle. Nothing else is of importance; your whole mind and concentration is on that candle.”

I tried again, but my thoughts wouldn’t leave me alone. Every time I looked up, Uncle Gabriel made me try again. He even changed the object of my concentration, from the candle to a smoothly polished stone, to a vase and back. I tried again and again, and every time it was the same, my thoughts came and went, flitting about in my mind, and my concentration was broken.

“Same time tomorrow, Aurora, and please practice. I expect you to concentrate on an object for measurably longer. Holding your concentration is one of the key aspects to working with your magic. You have to learn to channel your powers properly. If you can’t control your mind and will, then when you release your powers, they will be all over the place, and we don’t want that,” he said seriously.

About the Author: Farah Oomerbhoy is a young adult writer with a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Mumbai. Farah loves the fantastical and magical and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest. Her debut novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of The Avalonia Chronicles started on Wattpad where it received a Watty Award in 2015 and over 1.5 million reads. Since publication, The Last of the Firedrakes has gone on to win a silver medal in IBPA’s Benjamin Franklin Awards, become a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards and become an international bestseller. Farah lives with her family in Mumbai, India where she can be found checking for magical portals in every closet.


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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Griff Montgomery, Quarterback by Jean Joachim: Excerpt and Giveaway

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

Two people, two tragedies, two deep, devastating secrets…. Griff Montgomery is the headline-making, heart-breaking star quarterback of the Kings – a 6’4”, 33 year old womanizer. Lauren Farraday is a beautiful young interior designer, bitterly scarred by divorce, whose life is falling apart. Though they violently oppose one another in court over her beloved pug (she thinks he’s arrogant and conceited, and he thinks she’s a bitch on wheels), something happens....

These are the bare bones of this sizzling romance, riddled with passion -- the first in a brand new series that’ll tantalize football fans and have readers glued to every page and on the edge of their seats!

Griff looks like a super hero with his tousled, mahogany hair, dazzling smile, dark, sexy eyes, and a body that does something indescribable to a tight pair of jeans. Though Lauren’s sworn off men forever, one look sends shivers down her spine, making her feel lonelier than ever before. Her lustrous, long hair, sparkling green eyes, and nonstop curves make his fingers tingle at the thought of touching her. How do they deal with their cataclysmic attraction? Will they be able to drop their protective facades – his to camouflage his grief over his sister and her family, for whom he was a surrogate father, moving 3000 miles away…. And hers’ to shield her from the incalculable loss of her husband and hoped for child?

For Griff, the thought of falling in love is as foreign as toe shoes and a tutu. For Lauren, it’s like putting on cleats and a helmet and running 50 yards…. Can they, will they, risk it?

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

Griff Montgomery stopped on Elm Street in front of The Savage Beast. The sign said “Open.” Creaky hinges announced his arrival as he entered his favorite watering hole. Carla was behind the bar, setting up.

“Not open yet,” she called out.

“Sign says you are.”

“Griff?” She looked up. “Come on in.” She beamed a thousand watt smile at him.

He looked her over with appreciation. Carla’s got it all. Amazing body. Great personality. Her long, black hair swung down to cover her ample cleavage. She tossed it back with a snap of her head. His gaze rested on her breasts as the memory of their last tryst in her apartment upstairs lingered in his mind.

“You’re early.”

He preferred not to explain that he had no reason to be at home. “Got anything special today?”

“Yeah, Roddy’s new drink, the Savage Sunrise.”

Griff lifted an eyebrow. “What’s in it?”

“Same as a Tequila Sunrise, only papaya juice instead of orange. He says it’s healthier. I think it’s bullshit.”

Griff laughed. “Now I have to try it. Bring it on.”

She peeked at him as she mixed the drink. “Got a lot of free time nowadays?”

“You might say that,” he replied, avoiding the question, staring at the suggestive painting behind the bar.

She placed the glass in front of him. “When are you gonna fix me up with one of your hot teammates?”

“What’s wrong with me?” He took a sip and gave her a thumbs up.

“We’ve been bed buddies long enough to know it’s not happening beyond that.”

He seated his tall, rangy body on a stool. “Don’t know ’till you try.”

She wiped her hands on a towel and fixed him with a stare. “You gonna stop running around, whoring across the country and back, just for little ole me?”

“Whoring? Wait a minute…”

“That’s what I thought.” She turned her attention to a dozen wet wine glasses.

“Give me a chance, Carla.”

“To break my heart? No way. Besides, I’d hate to ruin a good friendship.” She dried some of the stemware.

He shot her a one-sided grin. “I knew you were gonna say that.”

About the Author:
Jean Joachim, wife and mother of two sons, is owned by a rescued pug, named Homer. She’d been writing non-fiction for what seemed like forever until she got up the nerve to try fiction. It was love. Now she spends her days in New York City in the company of her characters, with a cup of tea and a secret stash of black licorice.

Jean Joachim is a best-selling romance fiction author, with books hitting the Amazon Top 100 list since 2012. She writes mostly contemporary romance, which includes sports romance and romantic suspense.

Buy the book: Amazon (ebook) http://www.amazon.com/Griff-Montgomery-Quarterback-First-Book-ebook/dp/B014RQ9RXI/
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Website – http://www.jeanjoachimbooks.com
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