Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Shades of the Future by Suzanne Lilly - Virtual Tour and Giveaway!


(A novella length, contemporary YA with paranormal elements published by Turquoise Morning Press)


This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Suzanne will be awarding a pair of designer sunglasses to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US/Canada only), so comment today AND follow the tour (if you click on the tour banner above, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops) -- the more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a some awesome new sunglasses!



What would you do if you could see your future? Would you accept it or would you change it?

Mariah Davis loves animals, running, and her hunk of a boyfriend, Kevin Creamer. Everything looks bright for her until the day she finds a pair of sunglasses that allow her to see the future.

When she glimpses a disaster looming, she tries to avoid it but fails. She has a car accident that lands her in a wheelchair, smashing her hopes for a running scholarship to the veterinary program at Ohio State University. She pushes Kevin away, thinking he’ll want to end their relationship now that she can’t walk.

Will she ever learn to trust and love again? She could search for an answer in the sunglasses. But she’s afraid what they reveal might destroy her.



I was intrigued by the premise of this story -- because who wouldn't like to make sure things in our lives went well?  If we had the power to know what would happen, would we try to change things?

Mariah finds a $400 pair of sunglasses and is excited to have them ... until she starts seeing things that are going to happen.  At first it's harmless enough (a pop quiz in trig!  Cool... she can study), but it becomes less innocent as she sees herself in a horrible accident.  Despite her efforts to change the future, she's unable to and her life is changed forever.

I'll be honest, if I hadn't committed to reviewing this story for the tour, I may not have read past the first chapter or so. They were rather ho-hum, day in the life of a teen and failed to grab me.  But, I had committed to it, so I kept turning pages, and I'm really glad I did.  Mariah's struggle with how her life changes, with decisions and behavior and with the temptation that looms to use the glasses was fascinating to watch.  She wasn't a typical flightly teen when we started. She had her head on pretty straight and knew what she wanted in life, and exactly how she'd get it.  When all that is stripped away from her, she's a bit of a mess.  And it's the rebuilding of her new life that's awesome to see and was realistic and sweet.

The author, too, has created an awesome community in her book and from looking at her website, it seems she has other Honey Creek books.  Her secondary characters are fun and colorful and I could see the diner, especially, so clearly.  I want to visit, sit and have a piece of chocolate beet cake.

If you're a fan of YA that isn't full of sparkling vampires, but instead addresses real issues for teens in a way that's both touching and entertaining, I'd recommend Shades of the Future.  Don't let the beginning stop you from reading to the end.  It's worth every minute you spend to see how Mariah works through the trials that are given her. 

3.5 / 5 Flowers - Good!  I liked it!


Suzanne Lilly is a writer at night and a teacher by day, which is why she’s known online as the TeacherWriter. Her articles and stories have appeared in numerous places online and in print. She writes light romance, young adult, and middle grade novels. When not busy with words, she enjoys swimming, hiking, reading, fine arts, and cooking. She lives in California with her family and furry friends and has yet to feel an earthquake.

Author website: http://www.suzannelilly.com/
TeacherWriter blog: http://www.teacherwriter.net/
Fridays at Honey Creek blog: http://www.honeycreekbooks.com/
Suzanne Lilly at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5258804.Suzanne_Lilly
Follow @SuzanneLilly on Twitter: http://twitter.com/suzannelilly
Available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Suzanne-Lilly/e/B006HY79IY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_2 and most online book retailers in digital or paperback.

Monday, July 30, 2012

No Remorse by Ian Walkley - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

Today we're welcoming author Ian Walkley to the blog on his tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the action/thriller novel, "No Remorse".  I'm so glad I saw this tour, the book sounds amazing and it's on my TBR list.  Remember folks, the holidays aren't too far away and books make GREAT gifts.

Ian is giving away a $50 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour so comment today AND follow his tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of his tour stops)! The more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

Ian was gracious enough to answer all my prying questions. Thanks, Ian!  Also, he asks a question at the end that I'd love to see your answers to... and now, I turn the floor over to our author.

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

My writing heroes were Ludlum, Maclean, Wilbur Smith—action adventures, global conspiracies—so I naturally gravitated to thrillers. I tend to like action and suspense, but I get bored with mysteries that basically take up lots of pages with manipulated scenes designed to delay the revealing of the secret. Thrillers are basically about creating tension that makes the reader want to turn the page. And given many males particularly do not read fiction, I would like to write books that get men back reading again, while also appealing to female readers. I think the answer is short chapters, lots of action, and a mix of conflict, violence and sex. That is, a thriller. My readers write to me about how they stayed up all night to finish No Remorse, or how their husband wouldn’t pay them attention until he had finished the book. It is a great airplane read. When I was running my marketing consultancy I traveled a great deal, and loved to read escapist thrillers while flying. I wanted to write a book that other travelers would enjoy.

What research is required?

Many thriller writers such as Lee Child say they do little research, while others like John Gilstrap and DPLyle do a great deal for their technical thrillers. I have a background as a market and social researcher, so I have some understanding about motivations and behavior. There is a great deal of research into aspects of No Remorse, such as settings like Paris and Dubai, and into some of the activities of the bad guys. For example I found that global human trafficking is a business rivaling drugs. And there are some terrible things happening with slavery and kidnapping. I also did a considerable amount of research into the whole corruption of the financial system, and the development of computer software that could be used in the way described in the book.

Name one thing you learned from your hero.

One thing that you cannot control is the past. My hero has serious female problems because his fiancée left him for his brother four weeks before their wedding. Will he be able to work with the woman who is effectively his boss? Gradually, he realizes that he has to give up those chips on his shoulder that come from past failures and past problems with trust. But then, can he trust the organization he is forced to work with?

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I’m a little old-fashioned about trusting computers. I back up my work every day, and more often if I make changes to substantial sections of plot. I have enough material saved for about six novels I think! I will sometimes get up in the middle of the night or early hours to write because a great idea comes when I’m dozing. I use photos for prompting about characters, and diagrams of relationships, and I try lots of different things – index cards, software, flowcharting – for plot formulation and scene structure. I write best in the early morning and try to hold off the marketing stuff until after lunch.

Plotter or pantser?

I would like to say that I outline and plan. I try. I use cards, A3 pages, software programs with structure outlines. But I find every 10,000 words or so the writing takes a life of its own. I have to keep referring back to my storyline. With No Remorse, I found I could add deleted chapters back in some cases, because they fitted with a sub-plot. So, I don’t mind having to delete chapters or characters. It’s all practice, and might be useful another day.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

Directly to my right is my window out to my backyard and pool, and my second computer screen. Below the desk is sitting one of our dogs, a poodle/shihtzu cross called “Charlie” who sits at my feet every day while I’m writing.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’m working on a crime thriller set in Australia. There’s a preview at the end of No Remorse. It is about a woman vigilante Kasey who acts as bait to catch bad guys. When she goes to a country town called Deception Crossing she encounters an American she was in love with several years earlier. There are lots of bad things happening in Deception Crossing and soon Kasey and the American find themselves and their loved ones under serious threat.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Thanks for the opportunity… I would like to ask readers whether they think thrillers should have more explicit sex and violence or whether they prefer such things to happen “off stage”. Traditionally, thrillers tend not to have many sex scenes because they slow the pace down. But with the popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray, I am wondering whether there will be any change here. Similarly, true crime tends to have more explicit violence and this genre seems to be increasing in popularity. What do readers want in thrillers?

Two men, exiles from their respective societies, take conflicting approaches in the quest to regain their place and self-respect, and find themselves at war over a kidnapped girl.

Lee McCloud (“Mac”), a special forces soldier facing trumped-up charges of murder, is forced to work for a mysterious government outfit operating outside the law.

Khalid Yubani, cast out of Saudi Arabia for an offence against another member of the Royal family, seeks revenge through ruthless acts of evil. Engaged in the worst forms of human trafficking, Khalid buys Sophia, the daughter of Mac’s best friend, who has been kidnapped in Mexico. With time running out for Sophia, Mac enlists the help of a beautiful computer genius, a British SAS soldier and a Lebanese fixer to try to find Sophia and save her from the terrifying fate that Khalid has in store.

Although starting the quest as a man with no remorse, Mac gradually discovers a side of himself that he suppressed after witnessing the abduction of his own sister years before.

Dodging assassins, corrupt generals, evil medicos, Mossad agents, corrupt bureaucrats, and sharks, Mac ignores the order to stay out of trouble and follows Sophia’s trail from Mexico to Paris, London and Dubai, and the island of Andaran, where Khalid and his henchmen are waiting…

EXCERPT:

The long journey had been a nightmare, bouncing along in trucks and noisy cargo planes. First, they had thrown Sophia and Danni into the back of a truck filled with crates of vegetables, barely enough room to move, struggling to breathe in air that reeked like steamed cabbage. Crammed in with them were two others, Jeanette from Toronto, and Erika, from Sweden, who explained in stilted English that she was an exchange student, taken in Mexico City. Jeanette cried as she told them three men grabbed her as she was walking through the grounds of her hotel to the pool. The two bottles of water they’d been given were soon empty, and they sucked water from the lettuce leaves in one of the crates. Sophia tried to reassure the others, to talk her own confidence up. Air trickling in through a small ventilation grill couldn’t disperse the heat and fumes, and after a while Jeanette began to retch. The stench was revolting, and soon all four of them had emptied their stomachs into a plastic bucket they found in the corner.

"I'm so sorry, Sophe." Danni said, as the truck lumbered along. "I wish I'd never suggested we go shopping by ourselves."

Sophia shook her head and held Danni close and said words she was not so sure of herself. "They'll get us back, I'm sure of it." Still, she cursed herself for nagging their parents to let her and Danni go shopping. It should have been safe, only ten minutes from their hotel. But it wasn’t.


Ian Walkley has had a career in social and market research, and has been writing novels, short stories, travel articles and copywriting since 2008. He has co-authored two publications on small business and his first novel, No Remorse, was published in 2012. Ian's screenplay "Deniable Justice" placed fourth in the Writer’s Digest 2011 Competition for best screenplay. Ian has travelled extensively and researched his subject, and brings a knowledge of location and technical detail to the exotic settings and big screen thrills. Ian lives in Brisbane with his wife and three children.

http://www.ianwalkley.com/
http://www.facebook.com/ianwalkleyauthor
http://www.twitter.com/ianjwalkley


Friday, July 27, 2012

Author Interview: Cheryl Rhodes

Today I'd like to welcome author Cheryl Rhodes, here to talk about her contemporary romantic suspense, Ringer.  Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl, and for answering all my prying questions!

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

I write women’s romance. About 15 years ago I took a Saturday class on writing romance offered by Catherine Spencer, a local Harlequin romance writer. I wrote a couple of romance novels and submitted them to Harlequin only to find out that the competition to break into Harlequin is fierce - and nearly as tough with other publishers as I tried to find a home for my writing.

Romances follow a patterned script: boy meets girl, they have huge conflicts, they overcome the obstacles, fall in love, and live happily ever after. Following this script many romance novels feature a hero who comes across as a jerk and often the heroine is a woman that everyone else, particularly the hero, walks all over. I was writing based on the Harlequin romance formula, loosely following a book by Vanessa Grant on how to write a romance. After a couple of attempts I went outside the box. Creating male jerks on paper is one thing. Trying to find a reason why a woman would be attracted to them is another. I couldn’t connect that bridge.

In my novel Ringer, I didn’t follow the pattern. In the opening chapter, Matt does come across as a jerk because he’s angry paramedics are taking him to the hospital and he is not cooperative. His original hostility is replaced by Mr. Nice Guy and throughout the rest of the novel he is kind, attentive, and respectful to everyone he crosses paths with. Nobody walks over his love interest Holly. She’d rather walk out than be a door mat and she nearly left Matt stranded inside the hospital until he had an attitude adjustment.

In recent years I have discovered several cozy mystery series writers: Cynthia Baxter, Elaine Viets, Blaize Clements, Jessica Beck, and Paige Shelton. Their novels cover a little of everything that I like – romance, comedy, mystery, and suspense. The main character, amateur sleuth, is always a female with a love interest that has a supporting role throughout the series. The novels have a happy ending but not necessarily happily ever after because their love carries into the next novel where their developing story continues. The men in their lives are not jerks but they can be a little unreasonable, mostly out of concern over the heroine’s sleuthing activities. My writing has switched to the cozy mystery genre and I have a publisher looking at my new series so everyone keep their fingers crossed for me!

What research is required?

I write contemporary so I don’t have to research life in another century or become familiar with paranormal or science fiction. I admire writers who can write in those genres. They must go through an incredible amount of research to keep their novels accurate of the era they write in.

My romances feature horses and Standardbred horseracing. I’ve owned horses all my life and I’ve worked in both the Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing industries. I draw a lot from my own experience but the plots and characters are pure fiction and not based on any people I know or actual events. In my novel Ringer Matt Winter claims a horse that he knows has been switched, but he doesn’t know who did the horse swapping and why. His intent is not to race the ringer horse but to remove it from the racing scene and flush out the horse’s previous owners who are hiding behind a fake stable name. He needs to figure out what their scheme is and what happened to the real horse he’d owned as a foal.

I’ve never known anyone involved in swapping racehorses. Prior to a race the racing officials check the horse’s tattoo number against the sheets of the horses entered in the race and are able to catch errors, though occasionally a horse does slip past the check points and runs in a race. Mostly that is due to human error. The groom or trainer brought the wrong horse to the pre-race area and the paddock judges didn’t do a thorough check. The racing industry is highly regulated and participants are fined for any wrong doing whether or not it was intentional. Even the racing commission’s judges and stewards will be fined if they missed an irregularity that should have been caught as part of their normal job duties. Whenever I have questions to create a realistic scene I ask people I know in the horse racing industry. Everyone loves talking about their horses!

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

Rather than naming the one thing I have already learned from my hero/heroine, I’m going to switch it up and say the one thing my heroine Holly learned from is that it’s okay for a woman to drive solo from British Columbia to California. Except in Holly’s case she ended up with sexy horse trainer Matt Winter as a passenger. The one thing I would like to learn from Holly is how to hotwire a car! So far I haven’t mastered that ability!

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

Wow! I’m boring. I have a horsey hideaway. If I’m fleshing out a scene or trying to figure out dialogue I often can figure out the missing links when I’m horseback riding. I’ll saddle up my Appaloosa, Whistler, and go for a quiet, relaxing ride when I’m able to work out what comes next in my writing. Whistler is very tolerant of me talking to him during the ride!

Plotter or pantser?

Definitely a panster. I start writing and I might have some idea of the mystery or the person who is going to die but it usually takes me a few chapters of writing to get a feel of where the characters are going and how I should develop the storyline. Sometimes I don’t know who the murderer is until I’ve written at least half my novel. I’m often fluctuating between two or three potential bad guys and then something becomes obvious to me who committed the crime. That also means I have to go through the entire novel again and check for consistency.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

Right now my foster dog, Gabby, is sitting to my right on my sectional sofa. I volunteer with Dogwood Rescue and I often have a foster dog in my house waiting for its forever home. Many of Dogwood Rescue’s dogs have been rescued from the pound in their final days right before being scheduled to be euthanized usually for no better reason than space restraints. Too many dogs coming in to the pound as strays or owner surrenders and the dogs that have been there the longest are the first to be put to sleep when new dogs come in and space is needed. Gabby is a wonderful black German wirehaired pointer. She is smart and loves to snuggle. Her crime was her previous owner in Idaho kept putting her outside to roam the neighborhood and the dog catcher had no trouble catching her because she’s very friendly, loves people, and loves going for car rides! Gabby was a frequent guest at the dog pound. The previous owner bailed her out a few times and then decided to hold on to his money and told the pound to keep her. Gabby is staying with us in Surrey, British Columbia waiting for her forever home. Here is her profile on Petfinder if anyone is looking for a loving dog. http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/21937588

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I write articles for magazines so at any time I could have something available on the magazine racks or coming soon.

I have another romance novel that will published with Musa Publishing in December – Horseman Spell. This is a sweet romance that also takes place in the Standardbred racing industry. Pam’s new neighbor Scott is the younger brother of an ex-boyfriend. As neighbors they put their differences aside to become friends and just as their relationship heats up to the next level, big brother returns to town determined to pick up where he left with Pam.

 Do you have a question for our readers?

Who has a favorite horse story? I’ll start. In December 2002 my husband Kerry and I went to a local horse auction. We saw a Standardbred horse in bad shape. A walking skeleton – several hundred pounds underweight, covered in rain rot and lesions, legs swollen two to three times their normal size. Not sure whether or not he would live, I outbid the meat buyers and took him home for $50. I named him Lucky and told him all he had to do was stay alive and he’d have a home with me forever. Ten years later Lucky is still with me and he’s never had to worry about his next meal.

 A horse who is a dead ringer for a missing racehorse. A missing cousin whose body was never found. An attempted murder. Is anything what it seems? Holly Thompson is drawn into the middle of this puzzle when she rescues sexy horse trainer Matt Winter and flees with him and the look-a-like horse.

Holly and Matt follow clues from British Columbia to Matt's home in Oregon to a horserace in California, trying to find who is behind the horse-swapping scheme. Matt didn’t count on losing his heart to a feisty woman who can saddle her own horse and hotwire a truck. And Holly has done the unthinkable: fallen in love with a horseman, something she vowed she’d never do. Is Matt a wealthy racehorse owner or just another backstretch con artist, cheating on horses and women? And will he ride to her rescue when they unravel the mystery of the ringer?



Cheryl Rhodes spent many years working in the horseracing industry with both Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. She lives in Cloverdale, British Columbia with her husband Kerry and their Border Collie cross, Shadow, and Dalmatian, Holly. She owns three horses: Whistler, a gorgeous Appaloosa; Cajun, a mischievous Quarter Horse; and Lucky a retired Standardbred racehorse. When she’s not helping Kerry in their home renovations business or spending time with her animals, Cheryl enjoys traveling, photography, swimming, reading, and writing mysteries.

Follow Cheryl Rhodes:
Blog http://cherylrhodes.blogspot.ca/
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/cheryl.rhodes.754
Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/cheryl_rhodes

Buy links for Ringer

Musa Publishing http://musapublishing.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=240
Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Ringer-ebook/dp/B007TWCOO2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1342634623&sr=1-1&keywords=ringer
Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ringer-cheryl-rhodes/1110498696?ean=2940014943260
All Romance eBooks http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-ringer-772909-149.html

Ringer is available from other online booksellers and iTunes. Or your librarian can order it on their Overdrive system.

The first chapter of Ringer can be read here. http://www.drb1stchp.com/2012/04/ringer-by-cheryl-rhodes.html

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Living the Legacy by Genie Gabriel - Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway!

Today we're welcoming author Genie Gabriel to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the contemporary romance, "Living the Legacy".

Genie is giving away a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and a $10 Powell's Bookstore GC to one commenter at every stop, so comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops)! The more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

Genie was gracious enough to answer all my prying questions. Thanks, Genie!

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

As both a reader and a writer, I want a happy ending and I want good to win over evil. Romances have these two elements. In addition, there are so many subgenres within romance that I have the latitude to write a variety of stories. My latest release, LIVING THE LEGACY, has elements of suspense and action/adventure in addition to the central romance between the two main characters. This is the third book of my Legacy Series, which focuses on eight adopted siblings and their widowed mother, determined to continue the legacy of compassionate justice built by their policeman father before he was gunned down.

Each book focuses on one of the siblings and their love interest, and also uncovers part of the mystery of why their father was killed. (Their mom has her own story too.) Since each character is unique, each story is different. Some main characters find romance and danger when the story begins. Others are just starting a relationship when the book wraps up. Some of these books may lean more toward women's fiction, but the hero and heroine develop a relationship and the antagonist(s) receives a fitting comeuppance.

What research is required?

This made me chuckle because I'm doing middle-of-the-book research for one of my LEGACY books. I do a lot of research before I start writing, as well as research on topics that come up as the book develops.

Research comes from a number of sources, such as real-life experiences and the emotions related to those experiences. However, that only gives me an overall tone for the book or the character--then my imagination takes over. I grew up in a small town and my LEGACY series is set in a small town. There were some things I really liked about small-town living and other things that drove me to move to the big city. So my fictional town of Halo is definitely not a replica of the small town where I grew up. But I had great fun building this town. I even have maps with the streets laid out--before the town is blown up. :)

When I don't have real life experiences, I look for other sources. For instance, I've never been a policeman, but that's a big part of life for the O'Shea family of my Legacy Series. Fortunately, my local police department held a Citizen Police Academy that I was able to attend. While I was learning about the various departments, I also watched the officers who were talking to us or leading us through training exercises. Under the uniforms, there were many different personalities, just as there are in any occupation.

I also want to see the vulnerabilities and problems too. Not just for police officers, but for any career. So I look for newspaper stories of arrests gone wrong or attorneys behaving badly. I search the Internet for blogs written by bomb techs or watch videos of firefighters. Books written by someone retired--like a former pastor--can be revealing too. Retirees don't have to worry about losing their job, so they are more open about some of the funny happenings or near disasters. Another resource I use is the curriculum descriptions at colleges and speciality schools. What classes does a doctor have to take? How do you become an EMT? I also interview family and friends who work in different occupations. Um…can you tell I'm in research mode?

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

Courage wears many faces. It may mean taking out bad guys like Collin, the hero and police sniper in LIVING THE LEGACY does. However, courage can also mean comforting others when your entire town has been blown up and your knees are knocking, like small-town cafe owner Beth. It can mean rebuilding your business when all that's left are splinters of boards and a dream. Or, courage can mean stepping away from a career you've focused on since you were six years old when you realize your wife and unborn child are more important.

 Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I love to use storyboards for my books. There are nine contracted books in my LEGACY series, so these storyboards take up an entire wall in my office. It's a great visual reminder of my characters, their personalities and what's important to them. Since I'm also a graphic designer, I design the covers for my books, and also have those on the storyboards. It's interesting to see how the covers develop from the first rough drafts to the final versions.

Plotter or pantser?

Detailed plotter. In addition to the visual storyboards, I also do boards that are mostly text for each scene and chapter. However, since there are so many books in my LEGACY series, I ran out of wall space. So the scene and chapter boards are on databases in my computer.

I want to clarify that being a detailed plotter does not mean I plot once and the story never changes. My plots are more like road maps. They lay out where I want to go and the basic route to reach that destination. However, I'm open to interesting side trips--and my characters always seem to come up with those!

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

My printer--nearly buried with junk mail that needs to be recycled, and notes about "really important stuff."

Anything new coming up from you? What?

More books in my LEGACY series! LIVING THE LEGACY is the third book and, as I mentioned, six more are contracted to be released every other month through July 2013. So that series has been, is, and will be my life for awhile.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Do you have a preferred length for a book? Do you like a book you can read in one sitting? Or do you like to savor a longer book over several days or weeks? Or is length irrelevant once you dive into a story that captures your interest?





A reluctant sniper cherishes the innocence of a small-town woman, but their love may destroy them both.






As the fire crews brought the flames under control, Collin and other emergency personnel picked their way through what was left of Halo.

The blasts had sent dirt, rocks, and pieces of buildings hundreds of feet into the air. The explosions also took out phone and power lines, and ruptured natural gas pipelines, which resulted in the fires that destroyed most of the downtown buildings. Vehicles not used to evacuate were reduced to grotesque sculptures of twisted metal. The remains of the town were covered with a thick layer of water-soaked sand, dust, and ash.

Turmoil fisted in Collin's gut as he paused by the crater that used to be Beth's house. Jagged teeth of concrete gaped where the foundation once stood. Bits of charred boards lay scattered on the street. The refrigerator and stove were crumpled into a warped parody of what was once a kitchen.

He knelt and lifted a splintered piece of wood from the thick layer of dust that covered the rubble in the street. The broken and twisted string still attached identified it as a piece of Beth's cello.

Collin closed his hand around the debris until the painful gouging against the palm of his hand registered in his brain. Thank God Beth had been in Pendleton and not at home or at her cafe.

Collin stood for a moment and forced himself to breathe. Shoved away the thought he could have lost this beautiful, innocent woman before he really knew her, and let determination rise in its place. Beth would become part of his life. He would protect her from all that was ugly in this world and not let evil like Aaron Swaggerty ever come near her again.


For years I've been fascinated by the puzzle of why some people collapse under life's traumas and others emerge triumphantly stronger. These triumphs of the human spirit over the ugliest of adversities became the basis for my stories. Yet my dramatic stories have always contained touches of humor, and sometimes I have great fun writing romantic comedy novellas. However, in all my stories, my passion for writing romance is an outlet for the powerful messages that people can overcome great difficulties, and true love can turn life’s heartaches into happily ever after.

My Web site: http://www.geniegabriel.com/
My LEGACY blog: http://oshealegacyseries.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Timeless Sojourn by Jamie Salisbury - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

Today we're welcoming author Jamie Salisbury to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the contemporary romance, "Timeless Sojourn".

Jamie is giving away a a $25 Amazon GC, so comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops)! The more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

Jamie was gracious enough to answer all my prying questions.  Thanks, Jamie!

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

I write romance probably because you can add so much around it. There can be a thriller, who done it sub plot, but it always comes back to the romance aspect of the story. It’s all about the romance. I suppose I’m drawn to it because I’m a hopeless romantic. I always believe in the happily ever after.

What research is required?

There is always some amount of research that has to be done. I research the locales where the books take place, especially if it is somewhere I’ve never been. In Timeless Sojourn, I had to draw upon a couple of friends who actually had hands on knowledge of part of what I was writing. I am fortunate that my editor is also a librarian. She is an invaluable wealth of information. If I couldn’t find it (or for info on upcoming books) I go to her.

Name one thing you learned from you’re hero/heroine.

That it is never too late to start over or reinvent yourself. You can either sit around feeling sorry for yourself or you can make the changes to make things better.

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

Nothing bizarre if that’s what you mean. I like to write without the TV, stereo or any other sort of outside noise. I like it quiet so I can concentrate and get into what I’m writing. I’m not superstitious so that doesn’t apply. I simply sit down and write and if I feel as though I’m having an off day and things aren’t coming out as I would like them to I either quit for the day or move on to something else.

Plotter or panster?

Both! If an idea comes to mind while I’m writing I’ll simply go with it and see where it takes me. On the other hand I’m in the beginning stages of a book and on this one I feel I have to sit down and plot everything out before I write.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

The window looking outside over the backyard. From this vantage point I can’t see the yard, only the foliage of the trees on the perimeter of the yard.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

Currently I have several projects that are in various stages of production. I’m researching one story, another is a Scottish/British historical set in the 1890s. I’ve also begun work on the sequel to Tudor Rose and I’m writing down ideas for the sequel to Timeless Sojourn. So you see, my mind never shuts off.

Do you have a question for our readers?

What would you like to see happen in the sequel to Timeless Sojourn?

Recently divorced at a time when most women are enjoying their children being grown, Anne Harrison finds her life in chaos. At the urging of her forever-friend Kat, Anne moves back to Seattle, her childhood home, to get back her former confidence and make a fresh start.

Confident, creative, and a successful businessman, Geoffrey Quinn has depths not immediately apparent to those who come into contact with that cocky, devilishly handsome exterior.

The last thing either is looking for is a relationship. Anne finds Geoff highly irritating (and young!) at best, while Geoffrey finds her magnetic and wise. To his amusement, she futilely attempts to dismiss him each time they cross paths, and sparks fly.

Watch as this seemingly unsuitable, disparate duo lights a fiery, compelling attraction neither sees coming. But who will get burned?

Kat and I are just finishing up the dinner dishes and getting ready to sit and solve the problems of the world when the phone rings. Kat answers. “Of course, she’s right here. We just finished cleaning the kitchen.”

Geoffrey she mouths to me, handing me the phone.

“Hey, how are you? I asked.

“Great, thanks. I was wondering if you’d like to come over for dinner Friday night. I grill a mean steak.”

“That sounds great, Geoffrey. Can I bring anything, oh, and what time?” I smile at the thought of that killer body slaving over a grill.

“How about if I pick you up at seven, and bring something for dessert, if you don’t mind.”

“That sounds great. I’ll see you Friday.”

I hang up the phone and Kat is standing there with a huge grin on her face.

“You’re going to have dinner at Geoffrey Quinn’s?” she cackles. “You do know he’s falling hook, line and sinker, don’t you? He never invites women to his place.”

“Enough already, Kat! Geoff is young enough to be my son. We simply enjoy each other’s company.” I replied, hoping to shut her up.

“Oh no, Anne, he’s taken with you and you are quite smitten with him, although you’d be the last to admit it. Don’t play the age game crap with me because I know better.” She’s still smiling like a match maker as I turn away, my face warm from blushing.


Jamie Salisbury cannot imagine a time when she did not write. A skill that has served her well throughout her professional career. Public relations in and around the entertainment industry, photography, editing, and special event planning all elevated her passion for writing.

An avid reader of histories, biographies, and romance, it's only natural that part of the products of her pen are historical romances featuring characters so authentic they spring forth from the page and shake the reader's hand. Many of her teen years were spent in Chile, but she and her family were forced out of the country when the political climate demanded it.

Taking the plunge to take her writing professional came as a result of a series of foot surgeries that left her with a lot of time on her hands. Unable to walk great distances at the time, she started writing as a way to pass the time. Her experiences of how dramatically her life had changed at first. Then the new world of e-publishing inspired her to digitally publish her first novel, Perpetual Love, rather than relegate it to the dreaded drawer. She couldn't be happier with her decision to grab the publishing industry by the shoulders and force it to pay attention to all she has to offer.

Two more novels have followed: Blood Lust and Tudor Rose, with more to follow soon. Jamie now lives outside of Atlanta, but the love for travel has never abandoned her. Adventure, exploration, and intrigue permeate her prose to the core.

In those few moments of the day when she's not writing or thinking about writing, she finds knitting a way to relax and unwind. Other interests include photography, equestrianism, reading, and of course traveling.

Jamie hopes her writing will entertain, enlighten, and inspire others to pick up the pen and pursue their own dreams. She loves to be contacted by readers, writers, and history buffs.

Website: http://www.jamiesalisbury.webs.com/
Blog: http://www.jamiesalisburyauthor.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @JamieRSalisbury
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/JamieRSalisburyAuthor

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mind Secrets by Chris Reynolds - Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway!

Today we're welcoming author Chris Reynolds to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the paranormal YA, "Mind Secrets".

Chris is giving away a a $10 Amazon GC, so comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops)! The more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

Thanks to Chris for answering all my prying questions!

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

I never planned to write Young Adult Urban Fantasy. When I returned to writing a couple of years ago after taking a break — to do some ‘proper’ journalism — I was well into adulthood and decided it was about time I wrote a grown up book. After completing the first draft, I showed it to a few friends and one of whom asked why I was writing a book for adults when the main character was a teenager. He suggested I try reading some young adult fiction and recommended The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I was so impressed with that book that it totally changed my attitude. Why was I wasting my time reading all these dull adult books when there was all this fantastic YA stuff I could read? My friend was right; I ditched the adult book and re-wrote it with the 15-year-old boy, Michael, at the heart of the story.

I love the genre because it is so plot-driven. Young people want a story that is interesting, draws you in and keeps you turning the pages. That’s what I wanted to write and YA gave me the chance to do that.

What research (or world-building) is required?

Mind Secrets is set in contemporary London, so I had a couple of research trips into town to recreate a few specific places which are mentioned in the novel. There’s a scene where the Perceivers — young people with mind powers — march on Parliament, so I walked from Buckingham Palace to Parliament Square making notes and taking pictures with my phone so the scene would seem authentic.

Developing the rest of the world was more tricky as this involved sitting down and working out the consequences of teenagers with special powers. If it happened in today’s society, I asked myself, what would be the result? Adults would be scared of teenagers, they would try to ‘cure’ them of their powers and this would create a tension between two segments of society.

But I also wanted to know how it had all happened. Michael, as he journeys through the story, uncovers not only the truth about his past, but also how teenagers became Perceivers in the first place, and the conspiracy to keep it quiet. As a writer, I had to know the answers ahead of time, which involved a lot of thinking, scribbling on pieces of paper and getting stuck.

But I don’t like to over-think my story or the world because some of it has to emerge in the writing. If it is an exciting journey for the writer, it is an exciting journey for the reader, and if I think of a great idea half way through, I can always go back and add it in.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

This is a difficult one. My hero, Michael, begins the story having had his memories wiped, so he literally knows nothing. It’s difficult to learn from someone who doesn’t know anything!

There are some writers who say things like “I was half way through the novel and my character turned round and said ‘I wouldn’t do that’ and made me take the story in a whole different direction.” That’s not the way I see it. I may change my plan or discover things, but that’s because I’m spending hours thinking about the story and characters as they emerge on the page. So I learn the best way to shape the novel and to tell the story, but I don’t learn anything personally from my character because I’m the one who made him up!

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I must start the day with a pot of tea made with loose leaf Assam, on a tea tray with tea strainer, tea spoon, tea spoon rest and jug of milk.  

Plotter or pantser?

I have to plot out my novel first. This is a lesson I learned many years ago when I wrote a book in the white heat of excitement, got to the middle and realised I had written myself into a deep dark hole. There was no depth to the characters, to the world or to the story. After that, I decided I would always write down the plot first. I may change it as I go, but I always start with an outline because I remember that deep dark hole and it wasn’t a pleasant place to be.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

My wardrobe. I’m sitting up in bed writing this on my netbook, which I do far too often. Any sensible person would be sitting on their ergonomic chair, at their expensive height-adjustable desk and working on their more sophisticated desktop computer. But it’s Sunday morning and I don’t really want to get up yet.  

Anything new coming up from you? What?

Some readers have already asked me about a sequel for Mind Secrets. It’s a self-contained novel, but I’ve left a little door open to allow me to write more, so that’s a possibility. I’ve also had an idea for a series of short stories about the characters and ideas in Mind Secrets which is begging to be written. But, then, there’s the idea for a series of time travel novels which I’ve already plotted out. I’ll sit down and write one of these things later this year, but it sort of depends how Mind Secrets goes. If it’s a huge success, that time travel idea will have to wait.

Do you have a question for our readers?

There’s been a lot of talk about the difficulty of young people being able to buy electronic books because they need things like credit cards and bank accounts to do so. Are they having to rely on parents to buy them books or give them gift cards, and is this a problem?
(c) Chris Reynolds, 2012

On the run and without his memories, Michael escapes from a man called Carter onto the unfamiliar streets of London. There, he meets a gang of teenagers with the power to sense the thoughts and feelings of others. They live in fear of ‘the cure’, a mysterious process which takes away their power and, some believe, destroys their personality. Suspecting the cure caused his memory loss, Michael goes undercover to investigate the truth behind the doctors of the cure clinic. What he discovers leads him to a conspiracy that runs to the heart of government and reveals the shocking reality of his own past.

Mind Secrets is a compelling thriller set in a contemporary world and will appeal to anyone who's ever wondered what it's like to have mind powers.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Chris Reynolds is a lover of adventure stories. Chris spent her time growing up avidly reading them, watching them on TV and writing them in her school exercise books. She was often frustrated that stories written by other people didn’t go the way she wanted them to, so she decided to write her own. In the interim, she has worked for the BBC and independent radio as a journalist, written for magazines and some published non-fiction books. Now her stories are available for all to read, following the release of her acclaimed debut novel “Mind Secrets”.

Chris lives among the Chiltern Hills, north of London.

http://www.chrisreynolds-writer.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/ChrisReynolds01

Twitter: ChrisReynolds_1

Amazon.com for Kindle

Amazon UK for Kindle

Smashwords for all ebook formats

PAPERBACK

Amazon.com

Amazon UK


Barnes and Noble (US)

Waterstones (UK)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Breathless Press New Romance Releases - Virtual Tour and Giveaway


Breathless Press is celebrating the release of five awesome romance stories with a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions and we're helping to get the word out.

Every comment on this post (and all the others during their one week tour, click on the banner above to find out all their tour stops) earns you an entry to win a $20 Breathless Press Gift Certificate! So comment here, and all the stops -- and tell a friend. A deal like this is too awesome not to share!



Breathless Press is an e-book publisher specializing in Romance and Erotic(a) stories.

Our mission statement is simple: To provide the opportunity for readers to connect with romance authors through the purchasing of quality e-books at a low price.

Starting in the summer of 2009, Breathless Press came into existence. Since then, we have been producing top end romance and erotic stories for valued readers to enjoy.

Our Goal?

Breathless Press is an electronic publisher of paranormal, erotic, and mainstream romance, releasing one to three e-books a week in a variety of downloadable formats. It is Breathless Press' mission to provide readers with quality romance books in electronic formats and to raise the standard in e-publishing.  http://www.breathlesspress.com/


Meet Harriet Ruby, a well-balanced MIT graduate with a degree in languages, whose life has been good but ordinary and predictable. Wanting new experiences before she settles down to a career and family, she accepts a position as a tour director in Europe.

Meet Will Talbot, a handsome Europol spy and covert operative for the US government with a dark troubled past, major trust issues, and dissociative amnesia. Driven by guilt over something he believes he did, he has a penchant for rescuing innocent victims caught up in dangerous circumstances.

Harriet’s first solo stint as a tour director in Spain and Morocco is going well until they get lost in the medina in Tangier. There, one of her tourists becomes ill. Harriet needs to find a doctor, can’t speak Arabic, and doesn’t know how to get out of the walled city. A handsome and mysterious stranger, Will Talbot, examines the tourist, pronounces him dead, and offers to help her smuggle the body out of Morocco. At this moment, Harriet’s once-predictable life turns upside down. Little does she know that getting out of Morocco is only the beginning of an incredible adventure in pursuit of murders, smugglers, terrorists, and a meaningful relationship.


EXCERPT:

Looking back on it, I could see everything would have worked out fine if Archie Philpot hadn't chosen that particular time and place to die.

Not that he did it maliciously, mind you, nor did he exactly choose. But I'm sure if he'd thought about the welfare of the many—our tour group, to be specific—as opposed to the convenience of the one, he might have staved off the event for another ten or twelve hours. Then there would have been no problem.

Well, not exactly no problem.

But perhaps I should start when everything began to fall apart.

My name is Harriet Ruby, Tour Director Extraordinaire. Or so I'd thought. I had just begun to believe my first solo stint in Europe was a roaring success when we got lost in the medina—the ancient walled city—in Tangier.

"Let's stop here for a moment," I called to my tour group.

While they assembled, I glanced around at the souk, the market place within the city walls. It was a maze of tiny shops, tents, and winding passageways crowded with Moroccans.

"I'm never going to find my way out of here." I pulled out my cell phone and punched in my driver's number. Mario knew the route and spoke Arabic, but he had gone to fix a flat tire on our bus while I herded our fourteen tourists around the medina. That was two hours ago.

No answer.

Harriet, this does not bode well for your goal of a long and successful career in the tour business.

With the back of my hand, I swiped at the perspiration popping out on my brow. "Please stay right here and don't go anywhere. I'll be right back."

All of them smiled and nodded. Grimacing, I hurried to one of the tea shops we had passed to look for someone who spoke English. No luck. I was only gone for two or three minutes, I swear—well, maybe it was five or six—but when I returned to the place where I had left my tourists, they were gone.

This was not starting out to be a good day.

"Mez Harri Boobies!" The shrill cry sliced through the confusion of sweating bodies crowding the market. An arm shot out of nowhere, and a brown hand clamped my wrist. I swallowed my shriek of surprise. Tangier was rife with hands that grabbed at foreigners.

"Mez Harri Boobies, you come queek," the man whispered in my ear. "Mezter Pillpot no good, yes? You come."

"It's R-u-b-y, not Boobie." I repeated my name for Mr. Takamura, one of the three almost-English-speaking Japanese tourists in the small group I was directing through Spain and Morocco. While my name was not destined to be in lights on Hollywood marquees, for the past twenty-four years, it had served me well enough. I had a sentimental attachment to it.

Without a reply, he released my arm. Insinuating his slight body into the crush of street peddlers, dirty children, and veiled ladies, he moved quickly out of sight. With a deep sigh, I tucked my Adventure Seekers sign under my arm and followed him, devastated by the foreboding that I would be nicknamed "Hairy Boobies" for the rest of my career as a tour director, which might not be very long after this little incident.

He penetrated farther into the ancient market through twisted, narrow passageways filled with malodorous bodies and a myriad of colors rippling in the heat—red, blue, amber, purple of clothing, goods for sale, food, tents. In pursuit, I skirted white-robed Moroccans bartering for goods, men sipping mint tea, and women painting the hands of girls with rich sienna-colored henna. The humid air, replete with an exotic mixture of scents—ginger, curry, rare perfumes, cigarette smoke, donkey dung—stirred my senses. The crowd babbled in many languages, counterpoint to the lilting melody of the seruani pipes.

"Wait!" How in the world had they gone this far in such a short time?

He hesitated for an instant, turned, and waved. Then he disappeared again. Finally, Mr. Takamura stopped in a small plaza with a colorful tiled fountain in the center, a calm refuge in the midst of chaos. In stray beams of sunlight, tiny motes of dust danced in the thick atmosphere. The Japanese gentleman waited for me to catch up, then smiled and bowed.

My gaze followed his nod. "Ohmigod!"

Archibald Philpot of London, the eldest and most distinguished of my tourists, knelt doubled over the lip of the fountain, hurling his guts. Oh, boy.

My tourists—three American and two Swedish couples and the other two Japanese—watched with helpless concern on their faces while a growing knot of Moroccans glared at us, mayhem glinting in their dark eyes.

The disbelief and thin-lipped anger on their faces indicated they were not pleased about the desecration of what was probably their water supply. I couldn't blame them. This could get dicey. A drop of sweat dribbled into my eye.

Edith Johnson, a ditzy fiftyish blonde trying to look thirty, was the first to see me. She clapped her hand to her bosom and cried, "Thank goodness you're here, Harriet. Do something."

Who, me?

I dropped down beside Archie. His complexion was grayish-green, his rheumy eyes were glazed over, and by the stench, I guessed the poor man might have a case of diarrhea. My stomach heaved. Swallowing hard, I managed to maintain my tour director decorum. This was definitely not in my job description.


The hometown girl and the handyman both carry emotional baggage. Are they destined to remain friends, or is there room in their hearts for more?

***

Wendy Danforth is preparing to be a single mom with her ex-husband in jail for spousal abuse. She returns to her hometown to renew her faith and heal. Caught off guard by the handyman in residence, attraction hits, swift and piercing, but she quells her unruly emotions. She's in no hurry to get involved in another relationship. Besides, at almost nine months pregnant, she's not exactly looking her best.

Jake Roberts, hired to renovate the Danforths' house, takes one look at his employer's daughter and wants to run far and fast. He hasn't possessed an ounce of faith or been around a pregnant woman in three long years, not since his wife and unborn son died in an auto accident.

They become friends, and when her ex-husband escapes custody, Jake steps up to protect Wendy and her unborn child. Will the danger and close proximity test their friendship? Or will it lead to more? Can Jake regain his lost faith, or will it elude him forever?


EXCERPT:

Jake sat on the step with his head in his hands, undecided whether to let her know he'd overheard or pretend ignorance. How could he ignore the pain she'd suffered? More surprisingly, he realized he wanted to be there for her, to prove that not every man was prone to acts of violence. Although, like her father, he had some thoughts on what he'd like to do to her ex if he ever had the chance.

She took the matter out of his hands when she sat a couple steps below him and, placing a hand on his knee, asked, "How much did you hear?"

His head jerked up, and he searched her eyes, expecting to see anger and disgust at his audacity, but there was none. "Pretty much all of it. I'm sorry, Wendy. I didn't intend to eavesdrop, but I didn't want to barge in on you either."

"Are you all right?"

"You're asking me? After all you've suffered, I should be asking you that question."

"My suffering ended the day he was found guilty. All that's left now is the sentencing in two weeks' time, and I don't need to be there for that."

"But you're expecting his child. How is that not suffering, considering what he put you through?"

"Every life is a gift from God. I don't always understand His methods, but at least I have one good thing resulting from a failed marriage."

"Did you love him that much?"

"At first, yes, very much. He was the man I'd always dreamed about, kind, caring, and it didn't hurt that he was gorgeous to boot." She smiled at the memory, and Jake felt a distinct twinge in his gut. Jealousy? No! Couldn't be.

"Love died a slow death when the abuse started. He always made me feel like it was my fault until the day I ended up in the hospital with a broken arm and didn't go back. I realized, then, my dreams of a happily ever after were never going to happen."

"What did you do? Where did you go?"

"A social worker at the hospital made a couple of calls and arranged a bed in a shelter for abused women. My arm being broken meant I couldn't work for a couple weeks, but when I returned, I found out from my boss, Emma, that he'd been haunting the place, waiting for me to show up. She'd had to call the police on a couple of occasions.

"She became my best friend. Emma encouraged me to lay charges and file a restraining order against him, which I did. I also filed for divorce. He didn't show up in court, didn't contest it, so the judge granted the petition based on the abuse."

"I would think so." He huffed in agreement.

"I saw Clyde around from time to time after that, and he never made any effort to approach me, for which I was thankful. But the night before the divorce became final, he showed up after I got home from work. The rest, as they say, is history."

"Can you really put it all behind you that easily?"

"Believe me, Jake, it hasn't been easy. Easy started yesterday when Mama met me at the bus stop with her arms wide open. Until then, I'd hoped, but wasn't at all certain of my welcome, circumstances being what they are."

He placed a hand over hers where it still rested on his knee. "For what it's worth, I'm glad you're here. You are one remarkably strong lady, and I'm honored to be your friend."

She felt the heat of a blush enter her cheeks at his soft-spoken words. "My faith is what's strong. I had to believe the Lord has a purpose for me in this life."

Shaped by regrets. Bound by duty. Driven by secrets.

Rowan's future is jeopardized by the regrets she harbors and the deadly secrets she unearths.

***

Obligated to give up the man she loves, Rowan O'Reilly takes over Buccaneer Bed & Breakfast. Though her heart is in shambles, she is drawn to Avery Stone, a mysterious guest who reminds her of Bjorn…and everything she lost.

Haunted by a fatal decision, Avery escapes his past in Buccaneer's attic, but he can't ignore the previous owner's peculiar death, the strange bones exhumed by the spirited Rowan…or the annoying doctor vying for her attention.

As visitors wreak havoc on Buccaneer, Rowan stumbles onto deadly family secrets and unknowingly unearths a murderer. Yet nothing, not even the threat of her predecessor's fate, can stop her from digging for the truth.


EXCERPT:

A cool breeze wafted through the open door of the garage. Alone with the bones that he and Jordan had spent the morning unearthing, Avery savored every drop of his latest Red Eye. The quiet solitude and the absence of guests suited his spirits. No one bothered him while he recreated his three little specimens. The dig had yielded two new skulls, confirming his belief he was dealing with two rabbits and a cat.

"I ran into Terry Jordan as he was leaving." From the doorway, Rowan looked at him with a haggard expression. "He told me you completed your collection."

Perspiration soaked her tank top, pasting the fabric to her chest, and mud caked the sides of her running shoes. The spirited woman wasn't self-conscious about her appearance. One more quality he admired about her, though he didn't like her ability to sneak up on him. Over the years, he'd relied on his sixth sense to warn him of someone's presence long before a noise betrayed the intruder, but for some obscure reason, Rowan shut down his inner alert system.

"Did you go running?"

"Made it to the marsh." In her hand, she held a glass half-filled with clear blue liquid. She took a mouthful. Droplets trickled down her chin, which she wiped against her collarbone. "Are you going to introduce me to the poor dead animals?"

He invited her to approach the table. "Meet Calvin, Cisco, and Rascal."

A bright smile accentuated the glow on her face. "Nice names." She scooped up Cisco's cranium and examined it from every angle. "I see markings on the frontal bone."

"Very observant." That she showed interest in the findings pleased him. "But you missed the ones at the back." He set aside his Red Eye to cup the skull. His fingers brushed her hand, and he relished the softness of her touch as he flipped the skull for a better view. "Here…and there." The tip of his index finger traced the shallow furrows.

"They don't resemble teeth marks."

"No teeth." The lines were too precise to be random animal bites. "A tool was used. Something like a pocketknife or—"

A spasm rocked Rowan's body. The skull and the glass slipped from her hands. He reached out for Cisco's remains but failed to catch the glass. It shattered on contact, spilling its contents on the cement floor.

Can the doctor, who made a life out of helping animals, heal a human?

One by one, household dogs disappear only to come back after senseless abuse. Veterinarian Jordan Powell will stop at nothing to ensure her patients' safety. Even if that means seeking help from ex-boyfriend, police officer Nate Thrillson, the man whose heart she once broke.

The last thing Nate wants is a relationship. He has an inoperable cancerous tumor in his brain and his days are numbered. Yet, he couldn’t resist Jordan.

It’s a race against time to save the dogs and the man who captured her heart. Can the doctor, who made a life out of helping animals, heal a human?


EXCERPT:

"We have to talk." His tone dripped with tension.

She turned to him. "I've had enough bad news for this week. Whatever it is can wait a couple of minutes."

He looked irked and worried, and he avoided her gaze. The moment seemed to stretch forever and Nate ran his hand over the back of his neck. Eventually, he nodded.

She indicated for him to sit at the kitchen table and pulled out the leftover lasagna Petra had brought over that morning. She popped it into the oven.

"I hope you like lasagna," she said in an attempt to start a normal conversation.

"Did you make it?"

"No." She sat across from him. "Petra did."

Why was Nate so tense? She was curious to know what he intended to tell her, but given the pained expression on Nate's face, she was also scared. From the look in his eyes, it wasn't going to be something she wanted to hear.

"So anything new about the case?"

He shook his head. Her attempt at conversation failed.

It wasn't until after dinner as Jordan washed the dishes that Nate spoke. "We have to talk."

Jordan turned to face him, the damp rag from drying the plates hung in her hands. "Can't it wait?"

"No." He stood, and walked closer to her, his stance powerful. He looked dangerous. His eyes were cold, hard, the look in them hollow and heartbroken.

She didn't expect to hear any good news so she braced for the worst. "What is it?"

Nate sighed deeply, as though stalling what he had to say. "I can't see you ever again."

A stalker who wants revenge…a past flame rekindled…Jemma Leigh's summer just got interesting.

***

Jemma Leigh Harding has drawn the attention of an unknown stalker and returns to her hometown of Somerville, a safe haven—or so she thinks—on the east coast of Canada.

Theodore Garrity is the last person she expects to see, considering how easily he walked away from her after graduation to join the army.

Their past history involves secrets Jemma Leigh is hesitant to share. When it becomes clear the stalker has followed her home, Teddy becomes her unlikely bodyguard. Will the terror and past hurts separate them forever? Or will love blaze a fresh path for their future?


EXCERPT (some adult situations):

Jemma Leigh quickly grew aware of Teddy's heated gaze. Her own increasing desire for this man decided her next words. "You know, he probably won't show up until tomorrow afternoon at the very earliest. We're probably wasting a few hours that could be better spent doing other things," she suggested. "After all, Jim would alert us if there's anything unusual going on."

"True enough. What would you suggest?" he asked, and she watched as his eyes raked over her from top to bottom. "I'm easy."

"Yes, I seem to remember that about you." She giggled as she walked toward him, trying to appear sexy, but her muscles were stiff and sore from disuse. Her cast, thankfully, replaced with an air boot for support, made getting around a lot less cumbersome. She stopped a couple feet in front of him, pulling her tank top up and over her head in one graceful move. His surprised gaze drank in the site of her, and his eyes darkened with desire. Satisfied, she turned her back and requested, "A little help here."

"Always my pleasure to help a damsel in distress." He quoted her earlier words as he unfastened the hook on her bra, freeing her breasts to fall into his greedy hands as she felt herself being pulled backward toward him.

"This probably isn't a wise move, Jemma Leigh."

Maybe not, but loving you is all I can think of now that we're truly alone.

Jemma Leigh felt the hardness of his shaft as it pulsed against her derrière. It had been so long since he'd held her like this. If things go wrong, I don't want to go to my grave without loving this kind and gentle man one more time. "I don't care whether it's wise or not. Love me, Teddy. Make love to me like you used to. Help me forget everything but you, if only for a little while."

"Ah, Jemma Love, what if he hopped a plane and rented a vehicle? We need to be alert. We can't do this, not here, not now, as much as it pains me to say so."

"Yes, we can. How can I be alert to the danger when all I can think of is you? Remembering how it felt to have you inside me, moving as one, has drove me crazy all summer. We're alone now. Just you and me. Don't let him destroy what we could be to each other," she said, turning into his embrace and taking the opportunity to run her hand up and down the ridge of his shaft. "It's been so long, Teddy. There's never been anyone but you for me." Standing awkwardly on tiptoe, she kept most of her weight on her good foot and kissed him, summoning all the passion she had stored up over the years.

Suddenly, he lifted her in his arms and carried her down the hall to her bedroom. Setting her on her feet, he asked, "Are you sure about this? If I need to stop, it has to be now."

"Don't stop." She pushed her jeans down over her hips, baring herself to his view as she finally stepped out of them. She stood boldly before him in the near darkness, clad only in silky thong panties. "Make me yours, Teddy. Let me feel you inside me once again."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Star Crossed by Kele Moon - Virtual Tour and Giveaway!

Today we're welcoming author Kele Moon to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the erotic romance, "Star Crossed".

Kele  is giving away a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US/Canada only please), so comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops)!

The more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

Heavyweight UFC fighter, Romeo Wellings comes from the hard streets of New York where his family ties to the mafia cause him nothing but pain. His life takes a surprising detour when he crosses paths with the twin sister of his long time enemy. After a steamy one-night stand, he faces the fight of his life, but it’s not in the cage. The secret relationship that blooms between Romeo and his real life Juliet has him battling his family and a dark past rather than let her go.

The only lawyer in her hometown of Garnet, Jules Conner is also a volunteer Sheriff’s deputy and co-owner of a successful MMA training center. Strong and dependable, Jules is always there for those who need her. Until one forbidden night in Las Vegas with Romeo leaves her feeling so alive she can’t stop reaching out to the sexy, bad boy of MMA, even knowing the forbidden love affair could jeopardize everything.

As the tide rises against them and the people they love work at keeping them apart, Romeo and Jules hold onto a dream for a better life together and vow to go down fighting rather than accept a tragic ending.


EXCERPT:

“Got enough bags?” asked a warm, sexy voice behind her, amusement laced thickly in his New York accent. “Don’t they teach those country boys manners? They got you carrying everything. I guess chivalry’s officially dead.”

Jules turned around, giving Romeo a look of horror. He just smiled in response, bold and cocky as ever. She wasn’t sure why she was surprised. She glanced back to Wyatt, seeing that he had indeed heard Romeo and was now glaring in their direction as he waited for their tickets.

“Wellings,” she said coolly, despite her pulse picking up and her body responding to him being so near. “Strange coincidence running into you.”

“Not that strange. We all got places to be.” He stepped closer, invading her personal space. Jules jumped when Romeo reached out and grabbed her hand, squeezing it in his larger one. His thumb swept over the top of it as he leaned in and whispered, “If you were on my team, I’d carry all those bags for you.”

Jules jerked her hand out of Romeo’s embrace, turning around to make sure Wyatt hadn’t seen. Feeling very self-conscious, she snapped, “I’m a capable woman. I don’t need anyone to carry my bags for me.”

“Maybe you do, and you just don’t know it yet.” Romeo’s smile grew broader. “You ever think of visiting New York?”

“I’ve been to New York,” Jules said, unable to resist a teasing smirk. “I ain’t all that impressed with it.”

Romeo laughed. “That’s ’cause you haven’t seen my New York.”

Wyatt came up before Jules could respond. He handed her the new ticket, saying, “They fixed ’em.” He grabbed Clay’s carry-on off Jules’s left shoulder, all the while glaring at Romeo before he managed a tense greeting. “Wellings.”

“Conner,” Romeo responded, all good humor gone from his voice.

It was an awkward moment. Jules was just pondering how to break away without being too rude to Romeo or too obvious to Wyatt when one of Romeo’s brothers, who lingered near the sliding glass doors, waved him down.

“You coming or what?”

Romeo waved back, looking irritated at his brother before he gave Jules a look: longing, regret, sadness. She wasn’t real sure what it meant, and she didn’t have time to analyze it.

He turned to leave with a clipped, “Later.”

“Okay,” Jules said softly, trying to sort out her own feelings. That seemed like too humble a good-bye for what they’d shared, but she found herself echoing his words. “Later.”

A freckle-faced redhead born and raised in Hawaii, Kele Moon has always been a bit of a sore thumb and has come to enjoy the novelty of it. She thrives on pushing the envelope and finding ways to make the impossible work in her story telling. With a mad passion for romance, she adores the art of falling in love. The only rules she believes in is that, in love, there are no rules and true love knows no bounds.

So obsessed is she with the beauty of romance and the novelty of creating it, she’s lost in her own wonder world most of the time. Thankfully she married her own dark, handsome, brooding hero who has infinite patience for her airy ways and attempts to keep her grounded. When she leaves her keys in the refrigerator or her cell phone in the oven, he’s usually there to save her from herself. The two of them now reside in Florida with their three beautiful children, who make their lives both fun and challenging in equal parts—they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Email: kelemoon@me.com
Website: http://www.kelemoon.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kele_Moon
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kelemoon

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vicki's Key by p.m. terrell - Virtual tour and giveaway!

Today we're welcoming author p.m. terrell to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the paranormal romantic suspense, "Vicki's Key". 

p.m. is giving away a gift basket of goodies from the real town of Lumberton, where Vicki's adventure takes place to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US/Canada only please), so comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the banner over there on the left, it'll take you to a list of her tour stops)! The more you read and comment, the better your odds of winning. You could be introduced to a great new author AND win a GC!

Thanks to the author for answering all my prying questions!

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

My father was an FBI Agent and I think from an early age, I was interested in crimes and the people who committed them. Though he couldn’t talk much about specific cases, I often heard bits and pieces that intrigued me. I originally wanted to become a criminal psychologist but life got in the way and I ended up in computers instead. So I combined the two—using computers to commit white collar computer crime, which ended up being my specialty in the computer field (working for law enforcement, of course) as well as my suspense/thrillers.

Later, I realized that I love reading romance and I began to add more of a romantic element to my suspense/thrillers, which I believe have made the whole experience much richer and more satisfying.

What research is required?

In my latest book, Vicki’s Key, the main character is a psychic spy, which is based on the real-life psychic spy programs conducted through the CIA and the Department of Defense. I conducted in-depth research, not only of the types of missions these spies have been engaged in, but also in the personal toll it takes on them. The side effects suffered by Vicki in my book are actual side effects reported by the real psychic spies. The method she uses to induce a self-hypnotic state that enables her to travel around the world in her mind was also based on real-life experiences. A few years ago, I probably would not have been able to write this book or conduct this type of research. But fortunately, many of the cases in which the psychic spies were engaged are now in declassified government documents.

In Vicki’s mission, she must travel in her mind to a remote village in Afghanistan, along the Pakistan border. I conducted in-depth research into that region, as well as the uranium that is mined in Afghanistan, which makes it a strategic stronghold for both Russia and China.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

Believe it or not, I learned that the side effects suffered by psychic spies are similar to those I have experienced when I am immersed in writing. My books take me around the world and to different cultures and times in history. I often can tell you exactly what my characters are doing at any given moment in my book but I have to reorient myself to what is happening around me in my own world.

I spoke to a reader recently who said she becomes immersed in a book and can’t put it down, even when she knows she has things to do around the house or with her job. I am the same way. But because I am writing the book, that feeling of not putting it down can continue for weeks or months.

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

I do believe if you are meant to be a writer, you will find the time to write. It might mean giving up a social life, television time or a hobby, but the passion of writing can have such a strong pull that it is difficult to impossible to ignore. I have been writing since 1970 and I cannot imagine a world in which I am not able to write. I often perform research in the mornings and then write for a minimum of three hours a day. Often, when I am completely immersed, I will write for 14 or 16 hours a day. It does become easier, the longer a person writes. My goal used to be to write one book a year. This year, I am doing three books and I hope to write at least two books per year going forward.

Plotter or pantser?

I plan the crime first. I remember having lunch with a chief of police once; I asked him how I could poison someone without anyone detecting it. He looked at me for a long moment and then said, “You’re writing another book, right?”

I line up my technical experts and I plan the crime right down to the details. Then I decide whose point of view would best serve the plot. In my series, Black Swamp Mysteries, I actually have five main characters and depending on the crime involved, the book will be written through any one of a combination of those five characters’ eyes.

I also know what pivotal scene will be in the mid-point of the book. Many writers sag in the middle; they have a beginning and an ending but a lackluster middle. I know that midway through my book, something is going to happen that is going to propel the rest of the book forward like a roller coaster.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

My closed circuit television screens. Because I write suspense all day long, I can be quite paranoid! I have closed circuit cameras all the way around my home and I frequently glance in the cameras to make sure all is right in my world.

And just below those cameras, I have two dogs asleep on their pillows: my rescue collie and my rescue Jack Russell. They usually remain in my office with me all day while I write, even though I have doggie doors everywhere and they have the full run of the house and the back yard.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

This fall, the next book in the Black Swamp Mysteries series will be released. In Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, Dylan Maguire returns in his first CIA assignment—to interrogate recently captured Brenda Carnegie, the main character from Exit 22. But when he discovers her true identity, he realizes his mission just became very personal.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Thanks for asking! Yes, I would love to know where your readers purchase their books. Is it in a big box store like Barnes & Noble? Online at amazon or other online retailers? Or with independent book stores or anywhere else?

Following a flawed CIA mission, Vicki Boyd leaves the Agency to begin a new life in a new town assisting an elderly woman. But when she arrives, she finds Laurel Maguire has suffered a stroke and her nephew has arrived from Ireland to care for her. Vicki quickly falls in love with the charming Dylan Maguire, but all is not what it seems to be at Aunt Laurel's house. And when the VIA arrive to recruit Vicki for one more mission, she finds her CIA past and her new future are about to collide... in murder.


p.m.terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of thirteen books, including six suspense/thrillers and two historical suspense. Suspense Magazine says "p.m.terrell gets better with each and every book she writes" and Midwest Book Review says, "p.m.terrell is a master at skillfully combining drama, action, suspense and romance to engage the reader in an adrenaline rush of page turning adventure." PBS television host Barbara Berlin says, "p.m.terrell is the next John Grisham." A full-time writer for more than 12 years, her latest series, Black Swamp Mysteries, combines international intrigue and adventure with the CIA's psychic spy program, resulting in a series that appeals to lovers of suspense, romance or the paranormal. Prior to becoming an author, terrell operated two computer businesses focusing on computer intelligence and white collar crime. Her clients included the CIA, Secret Service and Department of Defense. For more about terrell and her books, visit www.pmterrell.com.

www.pmterrell.com
Twitter: @pmterrell
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