Friday, November 29, 2013

The Unholy by Paul DeBlassie III -- Excerpt and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will receive a $50 Amazon or BN gift card. The Rafflecopter is at the end of this post.

A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, The Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision.

Enjoy this excerpt:

Lightning streaked across a midnight dark sky, making the neck hairs of a five-year-old girl crouched beneath a cluster of twenty-foot pines in the Turquoise Mountains of Aztlan stand on end. The long wavy strands of her auburn mane floated outward with the static charge. It felt as though the world was about to end.

Seconds later, lightning struck a lone tree nearby and a crash of thunder shook the ground. Her body rocked back and forth, trembling with terror. She lost her footing, sandstone crumbling beneath her feet, and then regained it; still, she did not feel safe. There appeared to be reddish eyes watching from behind scrub oaks and mountain pines, scanning her every movement and watching her quick breaths. Then everything became silent.

The girl leaned against the trunk of the nearest tree. The night air wrapped its frigid arms tightly around her, and she wondered if she would freeze to death or, even worse, stay there through the night and by morning be nothing but the blood and bones left by hungry animals. Her breaths became quicker and were so shallow that no air seemed to reach her lungs. The dusty earth gave up quick bursts of sand from gusts of northerly winds that blew so fiercely into her nostrils that she coughed but tried to stifle the sounds because she didn’t want to be noticed.

About the Author:
Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and writer living in Albuquerque who has treated survivors of the dark side of religion for more than 30 years. His professional consultation practice — SoulCare — is devoted to the tending of the soul. Dr. DeBlassie writes fiction with a healing emphasis. He has been deeply influenced by the mestizo myth of Aztlan, its surreal beauty and natural magic. He is a member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.

Amazon Author Page:

Buy the book at Amazon or

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jason Helford -- Interview and Short Story

It's Raining Books would like to introduce Jason Helford, whose debut novel From a Killer's Mind was released earlier this year. He was brave enough to stop by and answer a few of our questions AND he has also sent a short story for your reading enjoyment!

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

I actually consider myself a mixed-genre author. My ideas, as you will see when my other books are published, are varied, and are hard to truly pigeon-hole into any one genre. The most important thing to me is a successful story and narrative, which may require genre elements from a number of sources. From a Killer’s Mind is a mix of Horror, Psychological Thriller, Science Fiction and Urban Fantasy. I’m drawn to odd ideas, and I like figuring out what aspects of different genres will properly support these weird ideas. For instance, my next novel draws on some aspects of old Greek Mythology and fiction relating to questing heroes and how they are poked and prodded through their journey, and I also had to reverse some of those elements to make the story pop, and work for the reader. Ideally, I’d like to produce original and new works, which, in my mind, requires a cobbling together of the old into an interesting new whole.

What research (or world building—for fantasy/paranormal/sci-fi) is required?

That is dependent on the book I am writing. From a Killer’s Mind required some delving into the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in order to pick the group of mental issues and traumas that would make my main character, John, work. It also helped me choose and develop my other characters, which are closely tied with John’s mental state The next book, which I will release in a few months, required some research of Greek Myths and stories. The book I am currently writing has required a lot of research on earth sciences, the brain and the notion of future tech.
,br> Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.
,br> There is no hero in this story, but I learned how to truly write without judging from my main character, John. It is a common refrain for learning writers, but until you come up with an extreme case of it, the notion can remain nebulous and hard to really understand. Some scenes were quite gruesome, and I actually had to step away from the keyboard and take a few deep breaths, but I made sure that my language was not accusatory or judging, and that I allowed the scene to play out as it had to, with no narrative commentary. I also wanted to engender some confusing sympathy in the reader, so that they would start to understand this horrible character they were reading. Two of the themes I overlaid in this novel are that even those deserving of harsh justice are deserving of some understanding, and that the worst criminals often started out as victims: neither one of those themes would have worked if I was judging my main character. I also learned that I really don’t like being in the head of a serial killer. Wee bit dark.

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

When I’ve finished one novel, I like to take a month or so to let the next book idea speak to me. I have the ideas for most of the novels I am going to write already worked out, but the specifics—the significant details that will make my story really pop—are things that hit me at random moments when I’m suddenly inspired. I don’t know if that is odd, but I will sometimes just be talking to a friend, say one small thing, and suddenly a couple dozen notes will just hit me and a whole section of the book just fleshes out. My Dad is a table-knocking God-forbidder, so I definitely have some mild superstitions, but nothing too weird or quirky. At least that is what I like to tell myself. Knocks on wood.

Plotter or Pantser?
,br> I am a plotter for all of the details, thematic overlays, and general tone and scope of each chapter, but I am a pantser for dialogue and certain characters that I want to be quirky. I like organic dialogue, and I find I get there best when I have a general idea of where I’d like a conversation to go, but I let the characters talk for themselves, so to speak. I should have probably put this in as a quirk in the question above, but I let the story play out like a movie in my mind, and describe what is happening, letting the odd characters kind of flesh themselves out and take the conversations where that type of character likes to go. So, the answer to your question is “yes.”

Look to your right—what is sitting there?

My dog Sunset. She is a Brittany, and she thinks she is a person and I am both a pillow and vending machine. Anything new coming up from you? What?

My next book, Written in Hell, will be out in the next few months. It is about a mediocre writer who failed in life, but is huge in Hell, and was given an invitation he could not refuse. The story follows him through his travels and travails in Hell. I believe that it is a new and non-clichéd take on Hell, and just a really bizarre, fun story. I have another untitled work that I am just beginning to write that is an apocalyptic story set in the future, interspersed with some themes of hope. I’ll be mixing up narrative voice and person to actually drive the plot, trying to create an interesting structure to the story. I plan to stay busy.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Can you dig it?

While you, dear reader, are thinking how to answer Jason's question, enjoy this promotional short story:

“Oh, yes, yes, yes,” said the grizzled, little man, patting a spot next to him on the bench he was sitting on, just outside of the light cast from the basement window. “Sit, sit, I have a book to tell you about. A book about the best of us. Yes, yes, yes, the best, the very best…”

His voice trailed off as he twitched and glanced around the dim room, seemingly looking everywhere at once. Every time the thin, feeble rays of the waning sun shining through the basement window caught his face, the man’s eyes glinted like a predator staring out from the edge of the dark, his lined countenance fierce and mercurial. The rhythmic pat-pat-pat of his hand sounded hurried and impatient on the old wood, thumping out an anxious rhythm. His clothes showed wear, riddled with holes and frayed threads. The threads stuck out to make his outline look indistinct and animalistic in the shadowed basement.

“John was the best of us. Yes, yes, undeniable,” he muttered quickly, his words coming so fast that they melded into a long, nervous sound. “His numbers were undeniable, and once the book, From a Killer’s Mind, came out, we learned his techniques. His care. His love…love…loved what he did, yes, yes! Did it alone, though? I don’t know. The book makes excuses, tells tales, but John is larger than any one man’s jealousy. You read it and decide. I know I’m alone…mostly. Mostly alone, alone alone…until I’m not…”

He cackled and jumped off of his seat, and rummaged through some boxes and loose items lying around in piles, his bare feet slapping on the basement floor. He grabbed what looked to be a hairy bit of leather from a small box in a low shelf under the window, causing a waft of stale, faintly rotten-smelling air to enter the room with it. His hands were a blur, petting and stroking the thing, turning it over in his hands again and again as he talked and fidgeted while staring out the window.

“John’s story is my story. I want his story. Mine,” muttered the man, looking back from the window with intensity in his eyes. “His Mama and Papa, they loved him fiercely. All his little friends, too. They had to love him to help him in the end. The sweet end. You don’t think I can take as many as him?! I’m careful, too! I like to keep my friends, too! See!”

The little man ran around the room, pushing and pulling odd sacks hanging from the ceiling sporadically throughout the basement, causing the chains they were hanging from to squeal on their rusty hooks. They looked like punching bags, but whenever he hit them, sending them swinging to and fro, they sloshed and splashed like half-filled water bladders. He picked up a screwdriver from a table in the corner and punched a hole in one bag, laughing and running faster as the room filled with a putrid stench and the sound of a thick, gelatinous stream splashing on the floor.

“John killed, but so do I,” yelled the wide-eyed man, pushing the bags back and forth like some sick child’s game. “He had his techniques, but so do I! So do I. Good book, I learned a lot, but he’s the best. The best. I want to be the…”

Suddenly, he stopped, and ran to the window. His face lit up as he peered into the lengthening afternoon shadows to see a young man walking alone between his house and the forest, carrying a basketball.

“Ahhhh, I see you,” he whispered with a grinning snarl, tapping on the window until the young man stopped, looked, and began to cautiously walk over to the window to investigate the sound. “I seeeeee youuuuuuuuu…”

“Shhhhhh!” he snapped as he dipped lower in the windowsill, looking back into the room and holding up his hand. “You will scare him away. Mine. Mine. Need to catch up to John. And I will. I will. In time. Buy the book! From a Killer’s Mind. You will learn. Enjoy John. Now go!”

About the Author:
Jason Helford is a first time author, having recently published his debut novel, From a Killer’s Mind, in July of 2013. He’s a devoted husband and father, an avid comic book collector and an enthusiastic craft beer drinker. Prizing originality and creativity more than anything else, his favorite authors are Hunter S. Thompson, Chuck Palahniuk, Ray Bradbury, Terry Brooks, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Robert Asprin and Albert Camus. Please don’t be offended if you are an author and your name wasn’t mentioned, he probably likes you, too. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Bella, his daughter, Maddie, and his goofy dog, Sunset.

John has been a successful serial killer for his entire adult life, committed to his craft without detection or disruption. He’s spent years perfecting his process and meticulously planning out each kill, honing his abilities to horrible heights; however, when one kill doesn’t go as planned, his confidence is shattered, and his dark life starts down an even darker road, to either his salvation…or his ultimate downfall. John finds his private sanctum infiltrated by chaotic characters from the most unlikely of places, putting him through an existential crisis of the soul. As John loses control, his true crucible begins.

From a Killer’s Mind, the debut novel of writer Jason Helford, is a mind-bending, scary, and emotionally honest trip through the life of a serial killer, laying bare the killer’s soul for all readers to see. The remarkable twist at the core of this novel is something that will leave you open-mouthed, shocked, and completely hooked, until the very last page.
Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Kobo, or Diesel. For iBooks, search for "From a Killer's Mind" in the iBookstore.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Forward to Camelot by Susan Sloate and Kevin Finn --Guest Blog, Review, and Giveaway

This review is in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions AND we have a special guest blog by one of the authors! Leave a comment or ask a question and you'll have a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card. You can see the other posts on the tour (and get more chances to win) by clicking on the tour banner.

First, let's hear from Susan Sloate as she shares with us some little known facts about herself:

1) I was on CANDID CAMERA when I was four years old, and several times after that. I don’t remember a lot about the experience personally, but apparently my segments went over very well with audiences, and my mother got a lot of phone calls asking if I could be in commercials or feature films. A few years later, Allen Funt, the creator of the show, wrote a book called CANDID KIDS, featuring the most interesting children from the series, and I had twenty pages in the book! That was the start of my belief that I was born to be an actress. Fortunately I later found out I was really born to be a writer.

2) I got my first book contract by doing what you’re told NEVER to do—instead of bothering to write a query letter, I picked up the phone and called editors personally. (I guess they were so surprised to hear from an unknown writer that they couldn’t hang up on me!) I asked for work and was given the chance to audition by writing a couple of sample chapters—and got hired to write a girls’ series book about Olympic dressage (horseback riding). That was the first of eight books I wrote for one book producer, and indirectly led to my writing another 3 for another publisher shortly thereafter. I do NOT think you should always do what the experts advise you to do!

3) I collect Disney trading pins, which are some of the coolest collectibles in the world and give me an excellent excuse to keep going to Disney parks (not that I really, you know, NEED an excuse.) At one point I had over 200 pins that I was trading, which isn’t many at all—I’ve met traders who owned eight or ten THOUSAND. Look for the pins the next time you’re in a Disney park—they’re really amazing!

4) I stopped outlining books and became a ‘pantser’ when I read Stephen King’s ON WRITING (and yes, it IS the best book on writing I’ve ever read). He doesn’t believe in outlines, thinks you should just jump right in, and after thinking about it and comparing the two approaches, I agree. When I do Nanowrimo (and this month is the 8th time I’ve attempted it—have already won 6 times), it’s natural just to jump in without an outline. But I realize now that doing an outline tended to take me away from the emotional heart of the book, so it’s no longer worth doing.

5) I hadn’t realized how deeply I was affected by the Kennedy assassination for several years after it happened. Then my mother started baking bread and at one point in the process, she would have this log of dough on the kitchen counter, which she covered with a towel so it could rise. Well, her kitchen towels had thin horizontal stripes, and every time I saw that towel-covered log I thought of Kennedy’s casket lying beneath the flag in the Capitol. I began reading about it in the 80’s and more in the 90’s, after seeing Oliver Stone’s JFK. That was the genesis for FORWARD TO CAMELOT, though it took years after that for Kevin and I to do enough research to write it.

Thanks for hosting me today – it’s been great to be here!

Now, a little about the book, Forward to Camelot:


On the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination comes a new edition of the extraordinary time-travel thriller first published in 2003 with a new Afterword from the authors.

On November 22, 1963, just hours after President Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President aboard Air Force One using JFK’s own Bible. Immediately afterward, the Bible disappeared. It has never been recovered. Today, its value would be beyond price.

In the year 2000, actress Cady Cuyler is recruited to return to 1963 for this Bible—while also discovering why her father disappeared in the same city, on the same tragic day. Finding frightening links between them will lead Cady to a far more perilous mission: to somehow prevent the President’s murder, with one unlikely ally: an ex-Marine named Lee Harvey Oswald.

Forward to Camelot: 50th Anniversary Edition brings together an unlikely trio: a gallant president, the young patriot who risks his own life to save him, and the woman who knows their future, who is desperate to save them both.

History CAN be altered …

My thoughts about the book:

I could not put this book down. I absolutely loved it. Stayed up late to read it, and when I couldn't keep my eyes open, I went to bed, only to get up at 3 am to finish it. Couldn't sleep because I kept thinking of this story.

It made me wonder "What would our country have been like if JF Kennedy had not been assassinated?" I kept wishing this book was based on fact, not fiction. In fact, the two authors spent years researching every bit of information they could find before this story was written. So a lot of things mentioned in this book are not fiction.

I cannot remember when a story grabbed me like this one did. Our heroine, Cady, goes back in time, supposedly to find JFK's bible. But once there, she begins to change a lot of things. Not on purpose, but if one thing is changed, others are also changed inadvertently. She decides to find out what happened to her father who disappeared at the time of the assassination. Then she tries to stop the murder.

I found myself holding my breath sometimes, I was so tense. This story is not only a mystery, but a drama, a romance and because of the time travel, also a paranormal. There was absolutely no let up in the tension, until the very end.

I really loved this story, and recommend it to everyone. If you don't read this book, you will always be sorry. I give it a 5+++++++++ flowers.

About the Authors:
SUSAN SLOATE is the author of 20 previous books, including the recent bestseller Stealing Fire and Realizing You (with Ron Doades), for which she invented a new genre: the self-help novel. The original 2003 edition of Forward to Camelot became a #6 Amazon bestseller, took honors in three literary competitions and was optioned by a Hollywood company for film production.

Susan has also written young-adult fiction and non-fiction, including the children’s biography Ray Charles: Find Another Way!, which won the silver medal in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Awards. Mysteries Unwrapped: The Secrets of Alcatraz led to her 2009 appearance on the TV series MysteryQuest on The History Channel. Amelia Earhart: Challenging the Skies is a perennial young-adult Amazon bestseller. She has also been a sportswriter and a screenwriter, managed two recent political campaigns and founded an author’s festival in her hometown outside Charleston, SC.

After beginning his career as a television news and sports writer-producer, KEVIN FINN moved on to screenwriting and has authored more than a dozen screenplays. He is a freelance script analyst and has worked for the prestigious American Film Institute Writer’s Workshop Program. He now produces promotional trailers, independent film projects including the 2012 documentary SETTING THE STAGE: BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, and local content for Princeton Community Television.

His next novel, Banners Over Brooklyn, will be released in 2014.

For updates and more information about Forward to Camelot: 50th Anniversary Edition, please visit < href="">

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Change of Heart by Barbara Longley -- Review and Giveaway

Contemporary Romance

This review is done in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Leave a comment, or ask the author a question, for the chance to win 1 of 4 $10 Amazon gift cards. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Cory Marcel worked tirelessly over eight grueling years to develop a successful military career. After her commanding officer violently assaulted her, she lost everything—especially her trust in people. Despite the emotional damage threatening to sink her, Cory agrees to accept a new job at a furniture store in Perfect—a job that could offer the fragile brunette the chance to start over.

Ted Lovejoy cofounded Langford & Lovejoy Heritage Furniture, but lately he feels like an outsider in his own business. When he meets Cory, Ted realizes his company can do more than just build furniture—it can also help rebuild lives. He longs to help Cory recover from her pain, yet every time he gets too close to her heart, she pushes him away.

While Cory can’t resist her attraction to Ted, she fears the demons haunting her will drag down both of them. Could this kind, soft-spoken man help her finally bury the past…and unlock a future full of hope and happiness?

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book about getting through the bad stuff with the help of some wonderful friends.  Truly, the cast of characters in this book are what made it special.  It's not that I didn't enjoy our hero and heroine, because I absolutely did, but this book is really about a group of folks who felt so real, I'd know them if I passed them on the street.

Ms. Longley has a great skill for story-telling and making a reader care.  She breathed life into these folks and gave them real problems and flaws.  PTSD isn't a simple thing to write about, and if you consider that half the characters in the book suffer from it in one form or another, you have an even more difficult task. The author was up to the challenge.

It's clear this is part of a series as there are couples who are newlywed, or expecting children and I could tell that they were from earlier books. However, that doesn't mean I was lost or this book lacked something.  It didn't. Though I expect readers of the previous novels will enjoy this book even more than I did.

The romance is sweet and tender.  The one person in the book with few flaws is our hero, Ted.  But he needs to be nearly perfect in order for Cory to trust him (eventually).  He's what I'd call an "Omega" male -- not alpha, but not really beta either.  He's strong, but not pushy or aggressive.  He's handsome, but not overly so.  He's intelligent, but not a nerd.  He's just the perfect person for Cory.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. It had its ups and downs, and the occasional draggy spots, but it really didn't matter much to me.  I fell in love with the town and its population and can't wait to revisit.

4 Flowers - This was a very good book! I'd recommend it to my friends.

Enjoy this excerpt:

“I can’t believe you did it again,” Ted shouted, plowing both hands through his hair. “You swore I would be part of the hiring process. You swore.” He glared at Noah.

They had twelve employees now, split between two shifts. With the exception of Paige, all of their staff belonged to the same exclusive club, sharing the bond of brotherhood their veteran status gave them. Ted didn’t belong. He was an outsider in his own business, a company that had been his idea from the start.

No one seemed to care that he was the Lovejoy part of Langford & Lovejoy Heritage Furniture. Despite half ownership and being the human resources director to boot, Noah continued to make staffing decisions without conferring with him first. That cut him deep, and in this case, completely severed his last straw.

“This was an emergency call on my part.” Noah widened his stance and crossed his arms in front of his chest—his commander stance. “Besides, I never swore. I said I’d try to follow the hiring procedures, and for the most part I have. Cory is an exception. We talked about it, and you agreed we need someone to take over the web maintenance, social media and order processing. I’m adding shipping to that roster, which will ease up your load considerably. You can spend more time in production, which is what you said you wanted.”

“That’s beside the point. Did you post the job? Take Applications? How about an interview with me included?” Restless and edgy, Ted couldn’t shake the feeling that it might be time for a change. Langford & Lovejoy flourished, while his discontent grew by leaps and bounds.

“Hey, kid. What’s got your boxers in a bunch?” Ryan strolled into the conference room for their usual Monday morning meeting. “We could hear you shouting from the first floor.”

“Maybe it’s the fact that you and everybody else around here still see me as a kid. It’s damn insulting,” he shouted again. “I have a masters in business administration, and I sign your paycheck.”

Paige waddled in behind her husband, rubbing her distended belly. “Watch your language. I don’t want the baby to pick that stuff up.”

And there it was, the other exclusive club he couldn’t gain entrance to—the happily married and reproducing group. Ryan and Paige had just finished building their house on the west side of town and were expecting their first child. Noah and Ceejay were also expecting. This was number four for them. Ted rolled his eyes. “I doubt that pea in the pod is paying any attention to what goes on here.”

“They do.” She laid her folder on the table and settled into her chair. “Babies can hear things.”

“Whatever.” He took his customary place with his back to the door. Something he always did out of deference to Noah and Ryan, who both coped with PTSD. They had to have their backs to the wall, and Ted didn’t care where his back faced either way. “Noah hired someone without consulting with me first. We’ve been having the same argument for five years now, and my bungee cord is just about out of stretch.”

He’d worked his ass off to get through school, worked around the clock to grow their business into a thriving success. What did he have to show for all that sacrifice? He’d become a twenty-four year old workaholic with a healthy savings account and pockets full of nothing but loneliness. No one respected or included him. He hadn’t even taken a vacation in all that time, and he was worn to a stressed out frazzle. Did anyone bother to notice? Nope. “I don’t care if this Cory guy is a freaking genius. You had no business hiring him without my say so,” he snapped.

Noah’s jaw twitched. “Cory is—”

“I’m sorry. Maybe I should leave,” a soft feminine voice said from behind him.

About the Author:
As a child, award-winning author Barbara Longley moved frequently, learning early on how to entertain herself with stories. Adulthood didn’t tame her peripatetic ways: she has lived on an Appalachian commune, taught on a Native American reservation, and traveled the country from coast to coast. After having children of her own, she decided to try staying put, choosing Minnesota as her home. By day, she puts her master’s degree in special education to use teaching elementary school. By night, she explores all things mythical, paranormal, and newsworthy, channeling what she learns into her writing. Barbara loves to hear from readers, and can be reached through her website:, Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sunrise Over Brasov by Stephanie Burkhart -- Review and Giveaway

Romantic Suspense

This review is in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding A Sunrise Over Brasov Coffee and Chocolate Basket (which includes a Coffee Mug, Starbucks gift card, Andes Chocolate, magnets, and Lori Powell original book bag) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Rosa Getzi lives a life of intrigue at Poiana Brasov with Clement, a werewolf, and Cassandra, the witch. Her past doesn't matter to her – until she discovers what it holds.

Prince Michael Sigmaringen joins his sister-in-law, Caroline, and the vampire prince, Darius, in a daring rescue, igniting Rosa's desire to find her family. However, all is not as it appears. Rickard, Rosa's friend, escapes with her. Clement will go to any lengths to get Rosa and Rickard back.

At Darius' fortress, Michael soon discovers Rickard is a new breed of werewolf – one who can control the change, and Clement hopes to exploit Rickard's abilities.

Michael's courage, strengths, and convictions will be tested like never before. Can Michael and Rosa find true happiness and the rid the lupine haunting of the Sigmaringens once and for all?

A romantic suspense that's heavy on the suspense, Sunrise Over Brasov is a thrilling read that kept me guessing.

It starts at a gallop and, though is slows down here and there, the tension is high throughout. I thought I knew who our villains were, but then as time went on, I wasn't as sure. Who's good? Who isn't?

Our heroine, Rosa, has no memory of her past -- doesn't really even notice that lack -- until she's rescued from where she was kept a willing prisoner. She, and a werewolf named Rickard, were drugged until they never gave a second thought to their circumstances until they were forced to. Theirs is a strong friendship, formed in adversity, and adds much flavor to the story.

It's heartbreaking to see Michael come to realize Rosa has no memory of him. How awful it must be to feel so much for a person who doesn't remember you!

Once the rescue happens, though, the chase is on. Clement and Cassandra (a werewolf and a witch) aren't about to let their prizes go that easily.

Ms. Burkhart has woven an interesting and unusual historical tale of suspense and romance here. It's part of a series, but easily stands alone with backstory peppered throughout to aid the new reader in understanding. Well done!

Enjoy an excerpt:

Some inner voice encouraged her to leave with him. It was the right thing to do. "Turn around," she said quietly. "Why?"

"So I can change."

"I don't trust you." His reply was quick. "Leave your chemise on." He walked to the window and glanced outside, then checked his pocket watch.

Rosa figured that was the most privacy he was willing to afford her and unfastened her robe. Quickly, she stepped into the winter dress without putting on a corset. "I need you to lace up the back."

Michael approached and tied up the stays with familiar ease. There was that word again -- familiar. Rosa shivered. What did it mean? How was he familiar when she couldn't recall seeing him before? She found her boots and slid them on. They were lined with fur and went up to her knees. She couldn't articulate her compliance, but could say an instinctual desire drove her to do his bidding. Yes, there were clues, but no easy answers.

He was a witch, like her. She responded to his kiss, enjoying it far too much, though she wouldn't admit that to him. He hadn't hurt her, and he knew her mother. The thought of finding her mother filled her with a sense of comfort. In all honesty, Rosa, however, couldn't remember her life before coming to Poiana Brasov, but she hated to think that Clement and Cassandra, who had been so kind to her, had deceived her. Rosa wouldn't deny her instincts and decided to follow the clues. When there was a minute, she intended to get her answers from Michael.

Her boots secure, she slid her arms into her winter coat. Michael grabbed a scarf and gloves from a shelf in her closet, presenting them to her. His face betrayed nothing -- not one hint of pleasure or dissatisfaction. Instead, he grabbed her gloved hand and led her out of the room.

Rosa noticed the noise continued outside of the fortress. Just on the other side of her door, Andrei lay crumpled on the ground. His chest rose and fell. Thank Corvinus he appeared to be sleeping.

Michael moved with unnatural speed. His grasp on her hand was tight, tugging her behind him. They proceeded down the hall toward the servants' staircase.

The inner fortress remained quiet. Several candles in wall sconces had burnt down to the stubs, casting long, inky shadows over the stone walls.

Reaching the staircase, Rosa paused. "I need to check on Rickard."

"There's no time. We delayed too long as it is." Michael dragged her down the stairs.

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


Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Desert Breeze Publishing.

Vault of Secrets by Hawk MacKinney -- Excerpt and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by a href="">Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Vault of Secrets is a compelling tale of intrigue, murder, deception and redemption that leads retired Navy SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram in search of the connection between seemingly random murders and a banking conspiracy. Working with the local homicide investigator, who just happens to be a former Navy buddy, Craige Ingram's attempts to protect a lonely widow and solve the case before another person dies are only thwarted by a psychotic killer whose motivation is based on pure pleasure. The instincts and skills Ingram and his buddy acquired as Navy SEALS are tested to their limits.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Predawn risers were at Duke’s breakfast diner in booths and at tables. The aroma of fried eggs, pancakes, grits, bacon and country ham filled the air. Gray caught Craige up on Sedgewicke’s autopsy reports—chronic degenerative heart condition, sky high cholesterol and arterial disease.

“His heart wasn’t what killed him. Got us a crafty one here,” Gray sighed. “CDC Atlanta verified Fred’s gas chromatography runs on the poison.” Handed Craige the folder.

Craige’s eyes zeroed to the big, bold word—ACONITE. “Lethal dose of aconite in Royce’s tissues,” Craige said. “Gives the how but not the way it was slipped to Sedgewicke.” He looked through the rest of the toxicology report. “Not very original. Rome’s Julio-Claudian's treacherous family of brigands was in some ways a lot more honest than most of us and far more sophisticated with aconite. They called it wolfsbane and used it often. Wife of old Octavian Augustus, a determined old dowager, the Empress Livia, it was rumored to be her favorite method for eliminating rivals. She kept her supplier on call. Augustus wouldn’t eat anything except food prepared by his own slaves. Livia wanted her son Tiberius to succeed to the purple. She was afraid Augustus meant to be rid of Tiberius, so she dusted her husband’s figs with the bane. People do get away with murder and simple makes for better odds.” Craige glanced at the next page. “This gone beyond your office?”

“Only CDC,” Gray said. “Your crack about possible killings we don’t know about keeps troubling me.” He scratched his wiry mustache. “Marshall’s suicide, Sedgewicke murder, two women dead, the Stanley break-in.”

Craige closed the folder, his face stony serious. “I’ve never done, what I’m about to do. Ask you for a favor...”

“No…” Craige’s monotone hardness surprised Gray. “But I gather that’s about to change.”

About the Author:
With postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction.

Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series… murder and mayhem with a touch of romance. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention. Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series is due out this fall with another mystery-thriller work out in 2014. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012.

"Without question, Hawk is one of the most gifted and imaginative writers I have had the pleasure to represent. His reading fans have something special to look forward to in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Intrigue, murder, deception and conspiracy--these are the things that take Hawk's main character, Navy ex-SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram, from his South Carolina ancestral home of Moccasin Hollow to the dirty backrooms of the nation's capital and across Europe and the Middle East."
Barbara Casey, President
Barbara Casey Literary Agency
Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Monday, November 25, 2013

Qwillia Rain-- Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Qwillia will be awarding a grand prize of a messenger bag, pens, post-it notes, and a key-chain wallet (No geographical restrictions) as well as three Amazon gift cards: $20, $10 and $5 to randomly drawn commenters during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Why do you write in your genre?

First, the genre I tend to gravitate toward the most is erotic romance with BDSM elements. This wasn’t a conscious decision on my part, honestly. I began writing when I was 12 and the scenes I wrote tended toward the more graphic end of the spectrum, whether they were romantic/sex scenes or murder scenes (yes, I also play with romantic suspense); my focus wasn’t on shock value, but on eliciting a physical and mental reaction from people. I was simply putting the movie in my head down on paper.

As my writing progressed and I delved into reading genres that better reflected what I wrote, I could see that I wasn’t an oddball. There were others out there with the same skill set as mine, and I realized it was nothing to be embarrassed about. It was even better when I discovered the books that incorporated BDSM into them (these books were out decades before Fifty Shades) and I realized the bits and pieces of stories that I’d kept hidden because they seemed “wrong” were actually celebrated.

What draws you to it?

The psychology of the relationship is the most fascinating thing to me. Whether it’s Dominant/submissive, Master/slave, or simply vanilla with a twist, the trust and respect between the couple or individuals involved is amazing. The strength that comes from that bond imbues the character with self-confidence and awareness that they carry through to other aspects of their lives—at least by the end of the story.

What research (or world-building – for fantasy/paranormal/Sci-fi) is required?

For writing, it’s a never-ending learning process on what works best to inspire and compel me to write the next story; to delve into the next bit of weirdness from my characters without worrying about the end product until I get there. There are so many opinions and tools available on the writing craft, a person could get lost trying to figure out what works best for them.

For BDSM, research is done with lots of reading and hands-on practice and keeping an open mind. It also requires an understanding of your personal limits (both hard and soft) and what you will and won’t do in any given situation. I’ve attended readings at a dungeon with other authors who write in the same genre, chatted in online groups, checked out the social networking sites that people in the Lifestyle use, talked to Doms and subs, attended a fetish conference, and even let someone use a whip on me (definitely proved I’m a sting not a thud type of girl.) I use it all when it comes to figuring out what drives my characters to be the way they are.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

Never deny who you are at your core. It’s okay to tone it down for those people who get nervous or antsy when what you’re interested in is mentioned. Respect others’ right to choose, but don’t be afraid to educate someone if they are willing to listen. If a person wants to be judgmental, nothing you say is likely to change their opinion, so don’t waste your time arguing.

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

Hmm, odd or quirky? Well, I love the number 13, feel my luckiest day is always a Friday the 13th (mainly because I was born on that day), and I tend to be obsessive-compulsive about alphabetizing Mcs and Macs before the Ms in bookstores (I was taught to shelve books by a librarian).

As for habits and quirks…when I’m working on the rough draft of a story I can’t have any noise around me and I type with my eyes closed, usually in the dark so I have no visual distractions. Once a book is done and in the editing phase, I can have a movie playing while I write if I need the “feel” of the scenes when I’m rewriting, but it has to be a movie I’ve seen at least five to ten times before. Favorites for editing right now: Prince of Persia, Poseidon, History of Violence, and Man on Fire.

Plotter or pantser?

Actually, I’m what my friend calls an ADHD writer who is now semi-medicated.

When I first started writing I would put down on the page whatever came to my mind and out of sequence, then put all the scenes together where they needed to go, and finish by writing the bridging scenes between the other scenes. Sometimes this ended up leaving me with scenes that weren’t necessary or had nothing to do with the story I was writing, so I’d have to trash them, no matter how much I loved them.

After publishing and dealing with nearly 14 months of writer’s block, I discovered that I could still enjoy my ADHD ways, but narrow the focus and stay on task by using some tools a friend of mine put together using other writing methods and theories. It’s made things interesting to say the least, but allowed me to keep my focus on the story and moving it forward instead of spinning off into directions that don’t gel with what’s going on.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

More blog interviews and subjects that I need to finish writing for my blog tour and my two bookcases of romance novels that I’ve carried with me for the last 30 years. Ironically, the novels are predominantly series romance and historical romances (two genres I haven’t worked in—yet.)

Anything new coming up from you?

A few things, both writing and travel related.


I’m currently working on completing the fifth book in the Diablo Blanco Club series (it’s actually the fourth in the chronological order) and the second book in my Poker Posse series. The DBC book has been fighting me for the last three years, but I’m determined that it will be finished this year—damn it!

As for the Poker Posse book, this is the third or fourth permutation, because I haven’t been able to pin down the motivations of the characters until recently. It too will be done.

In October I’ll be attending Moonlight & Magnolias in Atlanta, Georgia and teaching a class at the conference on Character Growth Mechanism.

Do you have a question for our readers?

How do you feel about BDSM or erotic romance? Also, if you’ve never read BDSM (and Fifty Shades, in my opinion, is not a good representative of the genre) would you be willing to try one if you found the right author (because I’d be more than willing to suggest some excellent authors, who write in all the varying levels of the genre—from light to hardcore—if you’re willing to keep an open mind and look beyond the whips, ball-gags, and bondage?)

About the Author:
Born in California but raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Qwillia Rain embraces fully the independent spirit of the West she grew up in, even if she currently resides in North Carolina.

Qwillia has worked at a diverse mix of jobs including casino change person, bill collector, book store and video store clerk, and computer teacher to Kindergarten through 8th graders, but writing has always been part of her life.

In 2007 her first book (recently revised and self-published) Santa's Elf, was published, opening a whole new world where she can play with her characters and get paid for it.

Fan Page:
Twitter: @Qwillia

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Love in The RV Park by Jeffrey Ross - Spotlight and Giveaway

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

This quirky and fast moving romance revolves around passionate lovers in tangled and mostly unfulfilling relationships. The tale is complete with hot housewives, rock musicians, exotic dancers, motorcycles, steamy nail polish-melting love scenes, hard drinking college professors, hybrid alien children, a romantic bug exterminator, girl fights, a New Year’s Eve brawl, religious zealotry, prophecies (The Temple of Just DOET) —and more. Ultimately, Love in the RV Park is about the male perception [misperception?] of the female psyche.—and the novel attempts to answer an age-old question: What do women want? Laugh or cry—you’ll come away enlightened after reading this zany romance.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Shadows on the Sun
The RV Park Couple No One Has Met

Tennessee Williams knew distinctly
—No shadows dance upon the Sun
And now you know it, too
But the sun shines anyway...

Yes, the pair lives together in an older single wide
A two-room palace smelling like ash trays, old coffee, and ecumenical paint.
He might have looked like Elvis (the 50’s Elvis) three decades ago…
She is still a beauty, hardened some. Though her tattoos have lost that etched
and sexy look, she still turns heads... and has a poignant “way” any male or
female might recognize.

Yes, they still cut impressive figures together—but anachronistic—
Sometime, long ago, they left Public lives together
and rode a bus to Hamilton City, and thought they’d stay a day or two—walking
hand-in-hand through the diesel fumes, neither excited nor dismayed. some time went by—
Then they waited to see if spouses were angry or perplexed—
They never heard a thing from the Old World—now, in late middle age,
Still they live and love in a rent-by-the-week mobile home,
Bathed in eerie and accusing pink light each winter morning—
Haunted by frosty windows in the dark sky December…
They wander to the Blue Caboose Diner for most meals
Coupling down cracked and slippery concrete sidewalks
Without cares but with many cares...

He listens to the world on an old AM transistor radio
She reads newspapers someone left behind—
and paints her nails and adjusts toe rings each morning …
He shaves a weathered face carefully, with a blade and mug of manly lather—
The modern age, the spiritus mundi, well that means nothing to this dyad. They have each other...

Sure, they live and love in a rented mobile
They love with the freshness of just-cut Timothy Hay, of Morning Glories, and the late April Rain…

There are no shadows dancing on the Sun…
But the sun shines anyway …

About the Author:
Jeffrey Ross, who resides in Arizona, is a writer, rockabilly musician, and former full-time community college teacher. He has had four "Views" pieces published on, has authored and co-authored several national and international op-ed articles on community college identity, purpose, and culture, and has recently published numerous parody poems and articles on the Cronk Newshigher education satire website. Ross co-authored the comic and critically acclaimed campus novel College Leadership Crisis: The Philip Dolly Affair (Rogue Phoenix Press, 2011).

Twitter @salinaschick
Blog Open Salon

Buy the book at Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords.

Into the Fire by Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pouge

Today we're visiting with Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pouge on their tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for Into the Fire.  Click the banner for tour dates.

The authors will be awarding a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.  Enter using the rafflecopter at the end of this post.

The Virus changed them, but that was only the beginning… … death…mutation…insanity…corruption…terror… …all that remains is hope.

In the wake of destruction left behind by the Virus, it took Dani and Zoe months to find each other. But their reunion was short-lived. Dani has been taken, and though little distance separates them, they might as well be worlds apart.

From the moment she hears Dani’s scream, Zoe’s only goal is to save her best friend. She and her companions scramble to come up with a rescue plan, but when a ghost from Jake’s past reappears, lines are blurred, decisions become harder, and secrets are revealed…and some secrets are best left buried. To keep heartache and fear from consuming her, Zoe must cling to her determination. She will see Dani again.

Dani awakens inside the final hold-out of civilization: the Colony. Remnants of the former world surround her—electricity, safety, social order—but all is not what it seems. As she faces her most manipulative adversary yet, she loses sight of who she is and who she can trust. Friends become enemies, enemies become allies, and allies will betray her. Dani will have to decide what she’s willing to do and whose lives she’s willing to risk if she is to have any chance of breaking free.

An Excerpt:

I froze. He’s leaving. I glared at Jake’s back, but feeling his misery, my anger quickly subsided. “We can figure something—”

“Stop!” He pulled his arm back and slammed his fist into the wall, denting it. “There’s nothing to figure out. My sister will not be used as a pawn.” His face fell. He leaned back and brought his hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose. “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”

He’s already made up his mind. Instantly, I started to question everything about Jake and me…about us. My reservations from the first time I met him—the first time he saved me, opened his mouth, and pushed me away—flared to life, and I chided myself for being so naïve. I knew something like this would happen.

The questions jumped off my tongue before I could contain them. “What about Dani? What about me? You’re just going to leave?”

When he didn’t respond, reality burst overhead like a looming storm cloud, clearing away the fog that had settled in my heart and mind. How could I have been so stupid?

The conversation we’d had on the dock back in St. Louis resurfaced from under a month’s-worth of foolhardy emotions. Jake’s words replayed in my mind.

“For whatever reason, I know you don’t want to let me in…or maybe you just don’t know how…what are you afraid of?”

This. This feeling of inexplicable loss was what I’d been afraid of—the living lump of hysteria swelling in my throat, the desperation in my heart. I couldn’t swallow it away.

Biting the inside of my cheek as hard as possible, I willed myself to calm down. Keep it together, Zoe.

Jake strode past me to Becca, pulling her up to her feet.

Lunging at him, I pushed against his chest as hard as I could. “You’re leaving?” He stumbled away from Becca, and I pushed him again. “You’re going to kill Dani!” I shoved against his shoulder. “You’re going to kill us all if you take her!” I smack his chest. “I won’t let you ruin everything.” I won’t let you break my heart! I pushed, shoved, and slapped him again and again.

“You son of a bitch!”

Jake gripped my arms firmly, immobilizing me and forcing me to look up at him. His eyebrows lifted with sympathy…or is it sorrow? I was too upset to differentiate between his emotions and mine.

“Let go,” I warbled.

As he opened his mouth to speak, a gunshot cracked through the air, and Jake yanked me down to the floor.

Lindsey Fairleigh lives her life with one foot in a book—as long as that book transports her to a magical world or bends the rules of science. Her novels, from post-apocalyptic to time travel and historical fantasy, always offer up a hearty dose of unreality, along with plenty of adventure and romance. When she's not working on her next novel, Lindsey spends her time reading and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She lives in the Napa Valley with her loving husband and confused cats.

Lindsey Pogue has always been a little creative. As a child she established a bug hospital on her elementary school soccer field, compiled books of collages as a teenager, and as an adult, expresses herself through writing. Her novels are inspired by her observations of the world around her--whether she's traveling, people watching, or hiking. When not plotting her next story line or dreaming up new, brooding characters, Lindsey's wrapped in blankets watching her favorite action flicks or going on road trips with her own leading man.



Buy links:


Into The Fire (The Ending, #2) -
After The Ending (The Ending, #1) -

Barnes & Noble:

Into The Fire (The Ending, #2) -
After The Ending (The Ending, #1) -

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel by Linda Bennett Pennell

Today we're visiting with Linda Bennett Pennell on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel.  Click the banner for tour dates.
Linda will be awarding a $15 Amazon or BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or BN GC to a randomly drawn host.

When people meet me for the first time, I imagine they see a reasonably well-preserved woman of a certain age who they believe has led a traditional, suburban life. And in many respects, they are right. Even so, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. They involve travel, animal husbandry, music, weather, and crime.

In our early-marriage, pre-children days, my husband got a hankering to travel. Money was scarce, but that didn’t dampen his burning desire to see . . . Alaska! It gave him no pause that we lived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida at the time. “From sea to shining sea” took on new meaning. We bought a truck with camper, sans bathroom, and set out. Thank goodness it wasn’t Patagonia. Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff, Canadian Rockies, Calgary, Dawson Creek to Fairbanks to Anchorage and back – the trip took over two months. Did you know that given 24 hours of daylight cabbages grow to the size of weather balloons? Moreover, Alaskan mosquitoes must be the biggest in the world, but I digress. At that time, the Al-Can highway was a two-lane gravel wilderness road – no motels, no grocery stores, no restaurants, no restrooms. Naturally, Canuck’s Revenge set in as soon as the tires hit the gravel. It was a very long seven days from Dawson Creek, BC to the first little Alaskan town. We are still married, but my husband hasn’t mentioned traveling rough again. He values his life.

Although I have been to Alaska, deep snow is something I’ve experienced only once. I got stranded in the north Georgia mountains by a freak snowstorm one spring break, but as for living with it? Nope. Sleet – check. Ice – check. Snow - nada. As a kid, I worried all fall. Everybody knew reindeer needed snow to be able to land on your roof. Didn’t have a chimney for Santa either. Christmas Eve was always a nail biter!

And what did I pine to find under the tree? A horse, of course. When my husband and I decided to breed Quarter Horses as a small side business, I was overjoyed. Horses are one of God’s most noble creations and one of His most needy. Owning a horse is like caring for a toddler. We gave our last two equine children to my first cousin once removed. They were his first. He thought free horses a wonderful gift. He was such an innocent.

My other passion from childhood is choral music. Singing with the Texas Master Chorale brings me great pleasure. We have sung in some wonderful venues including Lincoln Center, San Marco in Venice, and St. Peter’s in the Vatican. Knowing the rules, I did not partake, but at least one of my fellow Protestants took his First (Catholic) Communion that day. Hardily a crime, but I’m glad no one asked him to repeat his catechism.

As for crime, my debut novel, Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel, is filled with it - not exactly your traditional romance. While there are two love stories running throughout the plot, it also includes murder, lynching, moonshine, gambling, prostitution, and of course, gangsters. People, especially men, are somewhat taken aback that I write about such topics. In reality, however, I have had close relationships with real-life gangsters, primarily Crips and Latin Kings. Such is the life of a secondary public school administrator.

Scratch the surface and there’s no telling what you will find, which makes people infinitely fascinating. Don’t you think so?

Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel tells a story of lives unfolding in different centuries, but linked and irrevocably altered by a series of murders in 1930.

Lake City, Florida, June, 1930: Al Capone checks in for an unusually long stay at the Blanche Hotel, a nice enough joint for an insignificant little whistle stop. The following night, young Jack Blevins witnesses a body being dumped heralding the summer of violence to come. One-by- one, people controlling county vice activities swing from KKK ropes. No moonshine distributor, gaming operator, or brothel madam, black or white, is safe from the Klan's self-righteous vigilantism. Jack's older sister Meg, a waitress at the Blanche, and her fiancé, a sheriff’s deputy, discover reasons to believe the lynchings are cover for a much larger ambition than simply ridding the county of vice. Someone, possibly backed by Capone, has secret plans for filling the voids created by the killings. But as the body count grows and crosses burn, they come to realize this knowledge may get all of them killed.

Gainesville, Florida, August, 2011: Liz Reams, an up and coming young academic specializing in the history of American crime, impulsively moves across the continent to follow a man who convinces her of his devotion yet refuses to say the three simple words I love you. Despite entreaties of friends and family, she is attracted to edginess and a certain type of glamour in her men, both living and historical. Her personal life is an emotional roller coaster, but her career options suddenly blossom beyond all expectation, creating a very different type of stress. To deal with it all, Liz loses herself in her professional passion, original research into the life and times of her favorite bad boy, Al Capone. What she discovers about 1930’s summer of violence, and herself in the process, leaves her reeling at first and then changed forever.

Enjoy an excerpt:



June 14, 1930

O’Leno, Florida

Jack jammed a finger into each ear and swallowed hard. Any other time, he wouldn’t even notice the stupid sound. The river always sorta slurped just before it pulled stuff underground. His stomach heaved again. Maybe he shouldn’t look either, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the circling current. When the head slipped under the water, the toe end lifted up. Slowly the tarpaulin wrapped body, at least that’s what it sure looked like, went completely vertical. It bobbed around a few times and finally gurgled its way down the sinkhole. Then everything went quiet . . . peaceful . . . crazily normal. Crickets sawed away again. An ole granddaddy bullfrog croaked his lonesomeness into the sultry midnight air.

About the Author:

I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother's porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.

As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to herself or himself, "Let's pretend."

I reside in the Houston area with one sweet husband, one German Shorthaired Pointer who thinks she’s a little girl, and one striped yellow cat who knows she’s queen of the house. Favorite quote regarding my professional passion: "History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up." Voltaire



Twitter: @LindaPennell

Buy link:

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY by Barbara Casey: Virtual Tour and Giveaway

Barbara Casey, author of The Gospel According to Prissy, has come by to speak with us as part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour--remember, the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

Three Army veteran misfits, a college dropout, an unmotivated high school graduate accused of murder, a controversial warden of a women's prison, and a little girl with the gift of prophesy – these are the people 31-year-old Lara Kruger invites into her life after suffering a miscarriage, a divorce from an abusive husband, and unemployment.

Now, enjoy an Excerpt:

Miriam walked away from her desk and paused in front of the unframed full-length mirror she had salvaged from the recent renovations in the women’s shower rooms. The edges were chipped and blackened, and there was a fairly large crack that ran vertically from one corner to the other. The condition of the mirror was the result, no doubt, of one of many displays of frustration and anger within the prison walls before she took over. Still, the mirror served its purpose. On those rare occasions when Warden Miriam Temple of the Braden Women’s Correctional Institution needed to be sure she looked her best, at least she could do so in the privacy of her own office.

Studying her reflection, she saw a tall, aging fifty-nine-year-old woman with dark hair streaked with gray cut in a simple shag, myopic brown eyes made evident by the wire-framed glasses, and a raw-boned body that could be considered well-proportioned if it weren’t for the fact that it was about twenty pounds on the heavy side, fifteen of which had settled around her thighs and buttocks. “Pear shaped, as opposed to apple shaped,” she frequently reminded herself, “so that means at least I won’t die of a heart attack.” The fact that her ear lobes were also plump and didn’t have the diagonal creases indicating some type of heart disease seemed to confirm that fact. She didn’t know if these old-wives’ tales she had grown up with were really true, but she liked to keep an open mind, especially when they worked to her benefit.

She normally didn’t wear make-up, but this morning before leaving for work, she had dug out her small tapestry bag that held what few cosmetics she owned and applied a little blush and a touch of lipstick. She rubbed one cheek with her hand now, thinking that maybe she shouldn’t have bothered. She didn’t need to impress anyone. Even if there had been the awkwardness that sometimes comes with being a large woman, it had been replaced years ago by the confidence born from a privileged background and the level of acceptance and comfort from which she viewed herself.

Her dark gray suit and crisp white blouse were clean and unwrinkled, thanks to the prison laundry facilities. The plain black pumps she wore looked both practical and appropriate to complete the over-all appearance of discipline, control, strength, and above all, a positive attitude. It was the attitude within the prison that Miriam had worked the hardest on when she took over as head warden six years earlier. There had been a stifling wave of hopelessness and despair among the female inmates so thick it made it difficult to breathe. This was manifested daily in brawls, food fights, and a behavior of non-compliance in general. “Animals get treated better than we do,” had been the mantra at the prison.

For six years Miriam had been working fourteen-hour days, overseeing the operations of the facility, staying on top of problems, writing reports, and talking to every person she could reach about helping to set up programs for “her girls” as she referred to them. Each of Miriam’s programs offered something to a few of her girls, but not to all, something she struggled with daily. She constantly researched what other correctional institutions were doing not only in this country but other countries as well, trying to come up with new ways to stimulate her girls and help them feel enthusiastic about their lives.

It had worked. She started getting noticed after the first year of her tenure. Complaints from the prisoners dropped, a State audit confirmed that for the first time in over a decade the prison budget would be in the black, and the over-all appearance of the facility was vastly improved. Government officials who previously had been reluctant to show interest now started to open doors for this hard-working, persistent, and obviously dedicated woman.

And then Prissy had been born.

About the Author:
Barbara Casey is president of the Barbara Casey Agency, representing adult fiction and nonfiction for authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, and Japan. She is also the author of numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Her award-winning novels have received national recognition, including the Independent Publishers Book Award, the Dana Award for Best Novel, and the Publisher’s Best Seller Award. Her novel, The House of Kane, released in 2008, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and her novel Just Like Family received special recognition by the 7-Eleven Corporation. Two other novels, The Gospel According to Prissy (released in the spring of 2013) and Shyla’s Initiative, both received an IPPY Award for Best Book in Regional Fiction. Her most recent young/new adult book, The Cadence of Gypsies, has been selected as an Amazon Best Read and received the 2013 IPPY Living Now Award.

In addition to being a frequent guest lecturer at universities and writers’ conferences, Ms. Casey served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003.

Find me online at:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Winter's Heat by Cristin Harber - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

Today we're visiting with Cristin Harber on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for the contemporary romantic suspense, "Winter's Heat".

Cristin will be awarding a $25 GC to Victoria’s Secret, and gifted e-copies of the five titles in the series (starting w/ Winters Heat. Three novels and two novellas) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so comment today AND follow her tour (if you click on the 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 really great prize!

After putting her life on the line to protect classified intelligence, military psychologist Mia Kensington is on a cross-country road trip from hell with an intrusive save-the-day hero. Uninterested in his white knight act, she’d rather take her chances without the ruggedly handsome, cold-blooded operative who boasts an alpha complex and too many guns.

Colby Winters, an elite member of The Titan Group, has a single objective on his black ops mission: recover a document important to national security. It was supposed to be an easy in-and-out operation. But now, by any means necessary becomes a survival mantra when he faces off with a stunning woman he can’t leave behind.

When Titan’s safe houses are compromised, Colby stashes Mia at his home, exposing his secret—he’s the adoptive father of an orphaned baby girl. Too soon, danger arrives and Mia lands in the hands of a sadistic cartel king with a taste for torture. As hours bleed into fear-drenched days, Colby races across the globe and through a firestorm of bullets to save the woman he can’t live without.

Enjoy an excerpt: She smelled like vanilla and sugar, even after the hell she’d been through that day. Her soft hair brushed up against his bare bicep. Unsettled need prickled down his neck. His throat tightened, and fire ran to his groin.

“Mia…” Distraction and anticipation stole words from his lips.

His heart pounded loud in his chest, fighting for his attention. With each flutter of her eyelashes and innocent movement against his skin, his tension spiked. It was shocking. He was on the job. There was no time for distraction. Losing control was unheard of. Unacceptable.

His arm was cemented around her shoulder, and it wasn’t moving. He stared as the broken white lines on the highway passed in quick revolutions, one right after another. The hum of the truck’s engine poked at his concentration.

He needed to get out of this truck. He needed cool, fresh air to cover him. Right now. Deep, mind-clearing breaths were in order as soon as possible. Anything to get his disciplined mind back to what it did best—analyze, act, accomplish.

Winters made a sharp exit off the highway onto an unlit ramp. He jammed on the brakes. Gravel spit from under the truck. The back end skidded and fishtailed before it came to a stop. His heart thumped. His throat tightened. The faint scent of burned rubber filtered into the pickup cab.

Oh, what the hell. No way was he getting out of this truck.

As fast as he pulled off the road, he brought her close to his face, and without even a second to hover over her, he crushed his lips onto hers. Her tense mouth gasped a breath, then melted. The hot caress of her tongue sent explosions from his chest to the palms of his hands. The pounding in his heart didn’t get any better. It only pushed his racing pulse faster, making it gallop wild, as intoxicating rockets flamed inside him.

Insanity. She was delicious insanity.

In between breathless pants, wicked want fired. Her lips were full. Her kiss was better than he expected, and hell, he expected a whole lot. She stoked him faster than he could ever remember. A kiss unlike any other kiss. There was no denying that.

He knotted a hand in her hair, held her to him, and devoured her. The press of her silken flesh made him hunger for more. His breathing deteriorated into a desperate rasp of torture. With each inhalation, he smelled, tasted, and consumed feminine beauty. This angel was a vixen in disguise, and God help him, he wanted her.

Her small hands wrapped into his T-shirt, then she stroked his stomach, flexing her fingertips against the fabric and straining against him. He dropped his lips to her neck, and she moaned. That perfect purr fanned his desperation. Her goose bumps flashed under his tongue’s caress, and she shuddered with each whipping kiss.

She tasted of sweat and tear gas, of soft woman, and carnal ambition. There wasn’t a timid thing about Mia. Who was he to assume what she wanted? To think she needed soothing and caring? It seemed all she needed was him. Hard. Tough. Possessive.


Lover of all things sexy and happily ever after.

I live outside Washington, DC with my family: my husband (who doesn’t mind my collection of book boyfriends), an independent toddler, and an English bulldog named Britta who loves to be a conversation piece. Oh, we have a baby on the way—arriving about the same time as WINTERS HEAT debuts!

I love southern food, listen to country music, am always too hot or too cold, and spend hours reading and writing. I cheer on my University of Louisville Cardinals-GO CARDS! When I’m not pregnant (or nursing), I like a little bourbon or sweet wine. Pregnant or not, I love a lot of chocolate.

I can’t save the world, so instead, I write about those that do. There’s a special place in my heart for those who keep us safe. My Titan series debuts this fall with five titles available in 2013: WINTERS HEAT, GARRISON’S CREED, WESTIN’S CHASE, CHASED, and GAMBLED.


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