Friday, June 28, 2013

Catherine's Cross by Millie West -- Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour sponsored by Goddess Fish Promotions. Millie will be awarding autographed copies of Catherine’s Cross to three randomly drawn commenters (US only) and a $20 credit to buy any book through BQB Publishing’s online store to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A warm welcome to Millie who has stopped by to share with us five things about herself. Pay attention, in case there's a quiz at the end (just kidding...maybe ;-)).

I’ll go back to the earliest thing that I believe influenced my thinking. (For Life) Would you believe that it was a Hanna-Barbara cartoon? When I was about five years old, an action/ adventure series came on television. I think it was 1965. The name of the show was The Adventures of Jonny Quest.

In the series, Jonny and his friend Hadji, travel with his father, Dr. Benton Quest to far away countries for scientific adventures. Dr. Quest sometimes works for the United States Secret Service, and has a body guard by the name of Race Bannon. I experienced my first crush at age five on Race Bannon.

As I grew older, I found that I had a love for travel and exploring rural areas. I think this is exhibited by the locations I write about in my novels (So far, I have visited the places that I have written about.)

There was also my infatuation with Race’s piloting skills. In my early twenties, I became a commercial and instrument rated pilot, eventually earning the Airline Transport Pilot Rating while I was a captain at Sunbird Airlines. My last full time flying job was with United Parcel Service. After my daughter, Whitney, was born, I stopped flying full time and went into real estate.

The next thing that impacted my life was a tragedy. When I was ten years old, my father died. He was just forty-two, and one of the finest men I have ever known. He was a Boy Scout leader, and one evening after a Boy Scout banquet, he had a massive coronary and died. I’ll never forget my mother holding his hand and not wanting to let go when she realized he had passed away. The next morning there was snow on the ground—a rarity in South Carolina.

In The Cast Net, I reference this experience through my heroine, Mills. The falling snow and the flashing lights of the ambulance that takes her father away have left lifetime emotional scars.

I am a cat person. I love cats. When I was a child, my mother allowed us to have several cats at a time. One of our cats had kittens, and for an eight year old that was pretty exciting. One of my cats, Calhoun, lived for seventeen years; when she died, I was devastated. I went for several years without having a cat friend. Then my neighbor found a wild kitten in his grandmother’s garage and gave her to me. After Barney came into my life, I realized what a mistake I had made by depriving myself of a cat. At present, there are four cats that live with us. Three are rescue cats, and one, the only man in the bunch was picked out by my daughter from a barn cat’s litter. His name is Moose.

I am a lousy shot with a shot gun. In The Cast Net, I write about hunting adventures and shooting sporting clays with a shot gun. Every year, my husband plants millet, sorghum, and wheat on our farm. On the opening day of dove season, we have a get together with our hunting friends and shoot dove. They are a delicacy cooked on the grill. I try shooting, but I find I am a very poor shot. All I seem to get is a sore shoulder.

In The Cast Net, my heroine, Mills, learns how to shoot a shotgun, shoots sporting clays, and actually has a successful duck hunt with the hero, Cooper. She’s a much finer marksperson than I am!

My hobby is gardening. While I was working in real estate, I began a long range plan for establishing a garden on our property. I have planted ancient camellias from Middleton Place, near Charleston, South Carolina. The horticulturists at Middleton Place take the seeds from camellias that have been on the plantation for hundreds of years and produce seedlings. I have at least twenty camellias propagated from Middleton Place. In addition, I have an area in my yard with a fountain that is surrounded by numerous varieties of hydrangea. They are so lovely at the beginning of June!

Thanks, Millie, for sharing with us today! You can enjoy a sneak peek of the first chapter of Catherine's Cross here: http://bqbpublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Catherines-Cross_sneak.pdf.

When Jenks Ellington experiences a sudden, alarming sense of panic about her identical twin sister Gigi, she has to wait until nearly midnight before learning the reason for her unease: Gigi has drowned while diving for artifacts in a Low Country river near Beaufort, South Carolina. Although Beaufort County detective Seth Mason is suspicious of Gigi’s diving partner, there is no evidence of foul play. But, when Gigi’s Port Royal home is broken into and ransacked, Jenks discovers two clues—one of which leads her to the home of a local Gullah medium.

In a painstaking search for answers, Jenks delves more deeply into her twin’s life. Along the way, her bond with Detective Mason reaches unexpected depths. And what secrets could medium Meta Jane be holding? Was Gigi’s death really an accident?

About the Author:
A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Millie West has a background in aviation, as well as in real estate, and has owned and been the broker of her own company. A licensed pilot, Millie was one of the first pilots hired by United Parcel Service when they started their flight crew department.

An artist in her own right and a collection of regional art—especially from Charleston—Millie is a supporter of charitable organizations, higher education, and the preservation of South Carolina’s historical treasures. A South Carolina history buff, Millie has spent countless hours exploring the rich historical vestiges of her home state. She has viewed many treasures of the past by taking less-traveled paths into the countryside that was inhabited by Native Americans hundreds of years ago.

Her love of the fascinating, complex, and compelling history of the South is expressed in her writing.

Millie resides with her family near Columbia, South Carolina, and is an active participant in her local writers’ group, the Chapin Chapter of the South Carolina Writers Workshop. To learn more about Millie West and her first novel, The Cast Net, and her latest release, Catherine’s Cross, visit www.milliewestauthor.com or http://bqbpublishing.com/authors/millie_west/.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Audra by Amanda L.V. Shalaby -- Review Tour and Giveaway



(Historical Mystery Romance)



This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Amanda will be awarding a free eBook of her previous novel, Rhianna to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so comment here today for your chance to win! Click the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



Audra Kingsley, a wealthy heiress, may not have seen much of the world, but she knows exactly how she wants her future to play out - and a coming out ball held at her country estate, Kingsley Manor, would suit her just fine. Her father’s wish that she be presented at St. James in London seems silly since she is to marry her neighbor and childhood sweetheart, Lord Crispin Brighton, but she obliges him.

Audra travels to London with her patroness, the eccentric Lady Sutherland, intending to return home as soon as she has curtseyed to the Queen. Unknown to her, Lady Sutherland is in no rush to leave London before the Season is over and intends to show Audra she has more options in the suitor department than Lord Crispin, a second son.

Audra finds herself surrounded by few friends and is forced to attend parties, balls, and operas - all while becoming the object of a secret admirer’s obsession. As Audra struggles to make her way home to her beloved, plans to compromise her into an unwanted marriage are underway.



Looking for a sweet, touching historical romance?  Audra might be exactly what you need.  Different in many ways, not the least of which is that the hero and heroine are already madly in love and promised to each other ... at least until fate (or an underhanded patroness) steps in.

 Audra reluctantly agrees to a brief season, unwilling to leave her home in the country and her beloved Crispin, but she knows certain formalities must be met before she can be wed to him.  When her patroness, Lady Sutherland, decides they will stay in London for the season, and thrusts the unhappy Audra into the whirl of parties and balls, it's clear she has something up her sleeve.

I enjoyed reading this story. While a bit unremarkable, it's enjoyable and well-written.  The main characters are delightful, and it was refreshing to see how devoted they were to each other.  Their love was never in doubt, at least not to us (though Crispin begins to believe Audra may have opted to select a new suitor).  The whirl of the ballrooms, the mores of the times all make for an interesting historical read.  Though not entirely shocking, since the conflict is mentioned in the blurb to the story, it still was an interesting twist.

The author has a strong ability with her words, and that was the main reason I kept turning pages. The characters were well developed, the descriptions crisp and clear. Really, that's what took this story from the mundane to the enjoyable.  I'd happily pick up another story by the author and recommend this to fans of historical romance.

3.5 Flowers - This was a good book. I liked it.



Now enjoy an excerpt:

Audra soon discovered that any suggestion of being denied acceptance to Almack’s threw Lady Sutherland into hysterics, and she was forced to keep the vulgar thoughts to herself. Audra, for her part, was already several days into her London excursion, and despite the charms of riding in Hyde Park, the fun of shopping on Bond and Regent Streets, the joys of the operas of Covent Garden, and the pleasurable company of Embeth DeBlock and her mother, she was quite ready to go home. As it was, her coming out ball at Almack’s was the final matter standing between her and Crispin, and Audra easily decided in her heart that, should the six reigning lady patronesses reject her application, she would not be at all disappointed.

On Monday, however, Lady Sutherland was released of her anxiety over the matter. The Countess of Jersey, the Marchioness of Londonderry, Lady Cowper, the Countess of Brownlow, Lady Willoughby D’Eresby, and the Countess of Euston, all of them familiar with Audra’s father, Guilford, Lord Kingsley, embraced Audra with open arms. Lady Sutherland was not a particular favorite of theirs, but since she was a previous member of Almack’s, and a willing subject of ridicule for them, they consented to her presence as Audra’s patroness. Lady Sutherland positively glowed as a voucher for a full subscription was provided to her by Almack’s owner, Mr. Willis.

On Wednesday, Almack’s doors opened at ten o’clock in the evening, and the commotion was unlike anything Audra could have envisioned. Even the most elaborate of Kingsley Manor’s balls that she had watched from afar had not seen the like, as an attendance of over five hundred made their way to the unassuming Palladian building on King’s Street. When Audra had stepped down from her carriage, she caught a brief glimpse of the others lining up behind her, and she started at the hallooing of coachmen and footmen who were doing their best to maintain order and keep the crowds in motion. She had never been surrounded by so many people in all her life, and the excitement that exuded from them was infectious. As she and Lady Sutherland were ushered through the doors, a little thrill found its way through her body.

At eleven o’clock, John Weippert struck up his band on the orchestra balcony of Almack’s large room. At once, the debutantes swirled along the polished, roped-off dance floor, a collective sea of corkscrew curls and braided buns. Girls freshly introduced to society danced the waltz and gallopade with square-shouldered gentleman who twirled their ladies gracefully while sneaking sideways glances at girls prettier than their partners.

The excitement and newness of the experience lasted only a short while for Audra until the flushed faces, the wide smiles, and the eagerness in the expressions of the girls around her struck a sharp chord. Hearts impatient to fall in love filled the crowd, and despite any thrill she had felt upon first entering the establishment, an overwhelming sensation of isolation now came over her. It was so sudden it stopped her breath, and the realization she did not belong sat heavy upon her breast.


Amanda L. V. Shalaby's passion for all things Jane Austen was inspired by her mother and grandmother. She now writes her own English historical romances, and is the author of Rhianna and Audra.

Blog: http://amandalvshalaby.wordpress.com/
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/amandalvshalaby
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/amandashalaby
Pinterest: www.Pinterest.com/Amandalvshalaby
Amazon Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Audra-Crimson-Romance-ebook/dp/B00CA9DEUW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366476179&sr=8-1&keywords=audra+amanda+Shalaby

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

California Homecoming by Casey Dawes -- Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Casey will be awarding a bottle of Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir (a wine served in California Homecoming)(US ONLY) OR a $25 Amazon gift certificate (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn commenter during this tour and her Virtual Reviews Tour, as well as donating $20.00 to Fisher House in honor or memory of a serviceperson of the winner's choice. For each tour stop $5 will be donated to Fisher House in honor or memory of a serviceperson of the host’s choice.

A special welcome to Casey who is brave enough to share five things we probably wouldn't guess about her. Leave a comment and let us know how well she did :-)

You’d probably never guess… I have six children and nine grand-children. Only two of the children are biologically mine, the rest are all steps, or as I like to say, children and grand-children of my heart. Unfortunately, I rarely see any of them. We stay in touch via Facebook and infrequent phone calls. Everyone is growing way too fast! I’m proud of every single one of them.

How did all this happen? I married a few times…well, more than a few… It took me a long time to understand how relationships worked, why it was important to be realistic about the person I was considering as marriage and parent material, and what my part in a relationship needed to be. In fact, I’m still working on it.

You’d probably never guess… I have a master’s degree in theater from the University of Michigan. I was determined to make it in theater when I was young. My father was aghast--theater was not in his prescribed list of what women should do. As it turned out, I hate rejection and I left the occupation early on, although the boards still tempt me from time to time.

You’d probably never guess… One summer I moved from E. Glacier Park, Montana (population 379 at the time) to 42nd St. and 9th Avenue in New York City. I think the population of the building was more than 379! Yes, there was a man involved…

You’d probably never guess… I used to give speeches around the globe on how to make a mainframe database called DB2 perform faster. I even wrote a book about e-business software: Exploring IBM e-business Software. The miracle was that I stayed awake during the writing and editing of two editions of that book!

You’d probably never guess… I’m an introvert. Because of many years of giving speeches and working crowds as president of this or that, I appear comfortable around lots of people. When I learned that introvert/extrovert is defined as where you get energy, it all made sense. I can handle the crowds--but not for long. Then I need to take a break and be alone to recharge. During one of my marriages I was married to an extreme extrovert. It was hell on both of us!

Thanks, Casey! Now, enjoy an excerpt from California Homecoming:

Sunday morning Hunter pressed a shirt and put it on, along with his best khakis. He thought about picking up a bunch of flowers on the way, but laughed at himself. He was trying to find a room, not a relationship.

“Oh, it’s you again,” Sarah said when she opened the door, the dog standing next to her. She was frowning.

Against all reason, something about her made him want to scoop her up in his arms and hug her. Because her t-shirt and jeans were dripping with dust, cobwebs, and streaks of soap, it was probably a bad idea, but her short height and big brown eyes gave her an appealing elfin look. He’d always been a sucker for Eowyn in Lord of the Rings.

“I still don’t have any rooms,” Sarah continued and began to shut the door.

“Wait,” he said.

She stopped. “Why should I?”

He smiled. Considering their size difference, she really had no choice. But he bet she’d fight him with every ounce of her strength.

She’d probably fight like a girl -- nasty.

“This is an inn, isn’t it?” he asked.

She smirked at him. “It’s an unopened inn. No room. Get the picture?” She started to inch the door closed.

This time he shoved his foot in the gap. The swinging door clanked on his prosthetic.

Sarah gasped. “I’m so sorry!”

He grinned. “I’m not. It would have hurt a lot more on the other leg.”


When Sarah Ladina purchased an old Victorian in Costanoa with plans to turn it into a high-end destination inn, she had no idea life could get so complicated. Well, maybe she did. As an unwed pregnant woman who couldn’t cook, she had her work cut out for her. A good-looking disabled veteran, a doctor who orders modified bed rest, and an ex who’s trying to get back into her life make her wonder if she’ll ever be able to stand on her own and open the inn in time for her mother’s best friend’s wedding.

After returning from duty in the Middle East wounded in both body and spirit, Hunter Evans is in search of employment and a home, but finding a job has been tough and housing doesn’t come cheap in Costanoa, the town that he loves the most on the California Coast. Can he strike a deal with the pretty innkeeper to trade a room for handy work?

About the Author:
Author Casey Dawes lives and writes on the bank of the Clark Fork River in Montana with the love of her life and two cats who think they own the joint. To learn more about Casey, visit her website: www.stories-about-love.com.
Twitter: @CaseyDawesAutho
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/wisewomanshining
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Casey-Dawes/177311175677765
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/caseydawes/
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5313263-casey-dawes

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Disillusioned by DJ Williams -- Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will win a $30 Amazon gift certificate. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A mother’s suicide threatens to destroy a family legacy. Her sons, Sam and Daniel, are forced to leave their comfortable worlds behind and search for a woman they believe can unlock the secrets that have remained hidden. They are propelled into separate journeys from Los Angeles to the heart of the Zambezi where they are forced to confront a man known as Die Duiwel, the Devil. On their adventures they will find themselves in a place where death is one breath away, where thousands of children are disappearing into the darkness, and where the woman they are searching for is on the hunt for revenge. When they stand face-to-face with the forgotten slaves of Africa they will fight to redeem what has been lost.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Ten years later I had my hands full with two young boys while John was busy traveling the world. I went with him on occasion, but for the most part I stayed home and watched my babies grow into young men. At times it was as if I were a single parent. I could’ve spoken up. I could’ve objected to the sacrifices we made in the name of God. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t. Instead I enjoyed the comforts of being a wife, our beachfront home, a private jet leased by the church, a cabin in Lake Isabella, John’s seven figure salary, as well as his book royalties. A bonus was the respect given to us whenever we entered a room by those who didn’t know us. It was flattering, and addicting.

This isn’t my life anymore.

I’ve been locked up here for one thousand and ninety five days. I’ve had time to think about the choices I’ve made. I’ve thought about what is best for everyone. I’ve become a burden. I know it. I feel it. I hate it. The whispers inside tell me there’s only one decision to make, undoubtedly the hardest one of all. It goes against everything I’ve believed.

But nothing is the same as it once was.

God forgive me.


About the Author:With the DNA of a world traveler, Williams was born in Hong Kong, has ventured into the jungles of the Amazon, the bush of Africa, and the slums of the Far East, to share stories of those who are overcoming incredible odds. He is the co-author of Restoration Road with Mitch Kruse and has produced and directed over 140 television episodes syndicated on NBC, ABC, FOX and various cable networks worldwide. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife.

www.djwilliamsbooks.com
www.twitter.com/djwilliams316


Vinnie Esposito Boxed Set by J.M. Griffin -- Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J.M. will be awarding Tea and Chip Nuts to three randomly drawn commenters (US/CANADA ONLY) during this tour and her Reviews Tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Esposito Series Box Set:

Now you can own the first three books in the sassy and suspenseful Vinnie Esposito Series by J.M. Griffin!

By day, Lavinia (Vinnie) Esposito is a criminal justice instructor at a college in Rhode Island. By night Vinnie is an amateur sleuth, solving murders while trying to avoid getting yelled at by her Italian father, her hunky protective boyfriend Marcus Richmond, and her sexy upstairs tenant, the mysterious Aaron Grant.

For Love of Livvy (Book 1)

Vinnie investigates the death of her beloved aunt, and a mysterious box is left on her doorstep.

Dirty Trouble (Book 2)

Someone is stalking Vinnie and that’s just the beginning of her troubles.

Dead Wrong (Book 3)

Vinnie is out to save her brother from being framed after a valuable painting is stolen.

Enjoy an excerpt

The front door knocker rapped twice after the door bell rang. I hustled from the rear deck of the gargantuan house to answer the summons. Someone seemed impatient, and I was curious as to who it was. My watch read just after eight o’ clock. I swung the heavy door open to find my prospective visitor absent.

It was so quiet, the town ghostly in its seemingly deserted state. Sundays were always lazy days in Scituate, once church was over. With a glance up and down the street of the small historic Rhode Island village, neat colonial homes stretched along the sides of the road in both directions. No one came into view.

On the doorstep, a package addressed to my recently deceased Aunt Livvy sat wrapped in brown paper. Again, I gawked up and down the street, but only empty sidewalks and barren roadway appeared in the waning light. The idea of a jaunt along the main drag entered my mind. I figured it would be senseless since the street was visible for about two hundred yards in either direction. Whoever had left the package was gone, long gone.

An eternity passed, or so it seemed, while my gaze locked onto the square, little box. Reluctant to touch it, I decided to call the local fire company to come take a gander. Call me paranoid, but as a criminal justice instructor, a recent audit of a class on bomb components remained fresh in my mind.

I quickly stepped to the living room and grabbed the phone. I dialed the private number of the fire station up the street. A grunt came across the phone line that could only be Bill MacNert.

“Hey Nerd, its Vinnie,” I said. “A package was just left on my doorstep, could you come down and check it out for me?”

“Sure, you got a secret admirer or somethin’?” He cackled, as only senior men can.

“Not likely, but you never know. This package is addressed to Lavinia Ciano, not Lavinia Esposito and is wrapped in brown paper. Nobody’s here to accompany this little surprise either.”

“I’ll be right down, Vinnie, don’t touch it.” He warned.

“Okay.”

Anxious, I paced back and forth across gleaming hard wood floors in the spacious living room of my newly acquired colonial. My fingernails tapped the enamel on my teeth as I wandered to and fro. As irrational as it seemed, I finally leaned against the door jamb inside the entry to wait for MacNert to arrive.

It wasn’t long before the limber old guy came into view as he hot footed down the street with a stethoscope in his hand. This particular piece of equipment wasn’t quite what I’d expected, but then he wasn’t a bomb expert either.

When he arrived on the doorstep slightly out of breath, he glanced at the parcel, and then turned toward me.

“This was just delivered, you say?” MacNert squinted toward me with wizened brown eyes that twinkled all the time. It was as though there was a private joke going on inside his head.

“Yeah, someone knocked on the door, and when I got here to answer, there was nobody around. It didn’t seem prudent to mess with it, so I called you.”

“You just finished that bomb class, eh?” He chuckled and then sobered quickly. Since 9/11, everyone took stuff like this with a serious attitude. While he chuckled, I knew MacNert was no different.

The stethoscope ends plugged into his ears, Bill laid its diaphragm on top of the package. Removing it, he gingerly set it against the sides and listened again. I didn’t make a sound as he stood and glanced up.

“There’s no tickin’ but that doesn’t mean it’s not an explosive. You should probably call the state police barracks up the road. Have them send their bomb guys down for a lookie see, just to be on the safe side.”

“Geez, I hate to do that. I’ll feel stupid if it’s a joke,” I whined.

“It’s up to you, but if you were nervous enough to call me, then you should call them. It’s just my opinion, Vin.” He stepped over the box and wandered into the entryway. “Got anythin’ to eat? Wifey’s out of town visitin’ her sister and I’m starved.”

Bill didn’t seem over concerned, but then again, he hadn’t recently taken a bomb class either. My eyes never left the box as I answered him. “There’s food in the fridge, help yourself.”

I’d known the homely man and his family for years and respected his opinion. Tapping my fingers against my lips, I called after him, “You’re right. I’ll ring the state police now, but stick around okay?”

Unwilling to be nailed as over-dramatic by the staties, I reluctantly punched in the numbers. It was bad enough that the local cops had bugged the shit out of me for the first month after Aunt Livvy’s death. They still stopped by now and then, annoying me even more with stupid questions. Questions to which I had no answers.

After the trooper covering the desk answered, I explained what I’d found on the doorstep. He seemed unconcerned until I mentioned my name and address, and then he stated someone would be down momentarily. The swift change in his manner piqued my curiosity. I wondered why he’d suddenly capitulated when his initial response had been of disinterest.

In the living room, I paced while awaiting the arrival of the state police. Within minutes a sleek, grey Crown Victoria pulled up to the curb out front and a tall, lean trooper got out. Broad shouldered and well built, he walked with assurance and a certain amount of swagger. I stepped into the open door entry and watched him saunter through the front gate onto the walkway. He stared at the package and then at me.

“Did you call about this box, ma’am?” Keen hazel green eyes traveled over my face and down my body.

Craggy features, sculpted from granite, faced me and I felt my blood run hot as the breath caught in my throat. What was this about? I gazed at him admiring the neat package wrapped in the trim uniform.

“I did. Bill MacNert from the fire station thought it would be a good idea since it was mysteriously left on the doorstep. He checked to see if it was ticking, but it isn’t.”

“Are you Lavinia Ciano?” The trooper’s glance strayed from the name on the wrapper to me as his eyes showed a glint of humor and his mouth twitched.

Could that humor be over the name? I wondered, as I said, “No, my name is Esposito. Livvy was my aunt.” Our eyes held and my heart pounded. I licked my parched lips and then glanced away.

An oversized van idled up behind the patrol car and the trooper glanced back. Two men stepped from the vehicle dressed in heavy gear and acknowledged him. He turned to the lead man, mumbled a few words and then stared at me again. If this was an action film, I would have expected Bruce Willis to jump out of the truck announcing he was about to kick someone’s ass. This wasn’t an action film, but a real life situation instead.

The two guys angled through the front gate and hitched their gear as they hauled a peculiar looking lidded barrel toward the front door. By this time, a few neighbors had taken notice of the activities. Several people straggled along the sidewalk across the street to watch.

You’d think it was a freakin’ sideshow. I smiled and waved. Nobody responded, they just continued to gawk. A little excitement for them on an otherwise dull Sunday, I guessed. The trooper stood aside and watched the crowd, but said nothing.

The overdressed bomb guys corralled the box between them. With delicate finesse they lifted and stowed it into the metal container, loaded it into the truck and drove off. I stared in disbelief. Hell, I wanted to know what was in the package. I had a right to know, didn’t I?

The trooper turned to leave and I stepped forward.

“Uh, I’d like to know what’s in the box, if it’s not too much to ask.” My hand snuck up to my hip as my cocky Italian attitude slid into place.

Tall and Curious stiffened at my tone and turned to stare at me. It seemed he wasn’t used to being spoken to in this manner, which wasn’t any big surprise. Women tend to respond differently to men in uniform, especially a man such as this luscious creature. Well, not this chick. I teach guys like him all year long and the “I’m so wonderful” thing gets old fast.

“I’ll be sure to let you know, Miss Esposito. If we have any questions, you’ll hear from us right away.”

I gawked a moment and my eyes narrowed. His opened wide in contrast and he waited, his body tense. Maybe he thought I’d pitch myself off the steps onto his perfectly toned frame and pummel the daylights out of him or something. It was a thought, but I really wanted to know what was in the package. Besides, his muscles were bigger than mine.

In an effort to change tactics rather than be handcuffed and dragged off to jail, I smiled and spoke in as nice a manner as I could muster.

“I’d appreciate any information you could give me officer, since the package was left in such an alarming way. Should I call headquarters tomorrow?”

His look narrowed. I suspected he was unsure of where this was headed. There was a moment’s hesitation before he answered the question.

“Sure, that would be a good idea.” He gave a nod of the stiff brimmed campaign hat that covered cropped brown hair.

“All right then. I’ll call the colonel first thing.” My voice remained light and sweet, and the smile was charming, at least I hoped it was.

The colonel runs a strict police force and is a tough disciplinarian with an intense dislike for any impropriety, implied or otherwise. I’d gleaned that much from the cops in my criminal justice classes.

A tight lipped smile crossed his face. I figured he couldn’t decide whether I really knew the colonel or if this was a ploy. To be truthful, I lied by omission. I hadn’t said I knew the colonel, I just said I’d give him a call.

“That won’t be necessary ma’am. As soon as there’s any information, I’ll get in touch with you.” With a nod of his head, he turned and left.

Don’t you hate that ma’am thing? It makes me feel old. I know I’m thirty-something, but really.

Bill MacNert stood near the doorway sucking down a sandwich filled with sausage and peppers. My mother had sent the food home with me the day before. The smell of rich tomato sauce and fragrant sausage tantalized my taste buds.

“Guess it wasn’t that serious then?” Slurp noises preceded a sauce blob that dripped down his uniform shirt.

I glanced at Bill’s shirt, snagged a tissue from my pocket and dabbed at the drip.

“I won’t know until tomorrow, but if I’m the town laughing stock you’re in for it and don’t forget it. By the way, did you leave me any food?” I chuckled at his expression.

Bill’s guilt ridden grin assured me that he hadn’t, but he swore that he had. He handed me the empty plate before he headed toward the fire station. I watched the stethoscope bob up and down from the back pocket of his pants. He trotted up the street, and I felt sure the story would make the rounds since Bill was an avid gossip.

The crowd had dispersed, and I was alone again. Livvy would have had a fit over the whole affair had she been alive, but I figured there was no sense in being stupid. I act that way often enough, thank you.

Mystery still surrounded Livvy’s non-violent death. While the police weren’t forthcoming with information, the state troopers’ attitude on the phone caused me to reconsider the promise to my father to not investigate on my own. I wandered through the house deep in thought over the situation.

Darkness had descended as I headed toward the bedroom. Changing into a t-shirt and boxer briefs, I climbed into bed with a notebook. The troopers’ attitude niggled at me. I leaned back against the pillows scribbling notes about the package delivery. Words ran across the page as the scene and the trooper came to mind. The trooper’s name wasn’t on his badge, but I remembered the badge number.

The pad propped against my knees, my mind drifted over the parcel and the officer’s attitude. Warm hazel green eyes along with the trooper’s cool manner had drawn my interest. It wasn’t really just his bearing that caught my attention either and it was a struggle to stay focused.

Intense eyes sat above a strong, chiseled nose and firm jaw. I sketched the features onto the pad of paper. His lips weren’t thin, not too wide, but just right for kissing. Wondering what it would be like to taste those lips, I gave myself a mental head slap. A cop is the last thing you want or need, my inner voice echoed. This voice always echoed dire warnings through my head. It had a bad habit of doing so at the worst possible moment. Just stay focused on Livvy, I lectured myself.

Snuggled under the lightweight blanket, thoughts about Livvy and our life played in my mind. Muscles relaxed, and I realized I needed to talk to her tomorrow. The graveyard was about two blocks away from the house. I often went to her grave for a conversation when I’d become involved in one issue or another. That’s what my life consisted of, one issue or another. Most of the time the issues were huge, never mundane, not ever.

I sighed, sniffed the sweet summer scents that wafted through the open window and wondered how this summer in Rhode Island would be. The pillow slipped lower and so did I as my mind wandered over life, the package and my aunt.


About the Author: As a humorous, cozy mystery writer, J.M. adds a touch of romance to every story. She believes in fairies, doesn't believe in coincidence, and feels life is what you make it. Believe in yourself and look at the positive, not the negative, to bring about success. AND. . .never stop trying.

J.M. lives in rural New England with her husband and two very mysterious cats.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/JM-Griffin/246751368685078
Website: http://www.JMGriffin.net Twitter: mycozymystery
Blog: http://mycozymysteries.blogspot.com
Buy Link: http://www.lachesispublishing.com/proddetail.asp?prod=EspositoBoxSet1-3E


Monday, June 24, 2013

Chasing Sam by Krystal Shannan - Virtual Tour and giveaway


Today we're welcoming author Krystal Shannan to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her paranormal romance, "Chasing Sam".

Krystal will be awarding to 5 random commenters autographed swag (US ONLY) during the tour as well as awarding one random commenter with a digital copy of Open House by Krystal Shannan. A grand prize of a $25 Gift Card to Starbucks will be awarded to one random commenter during the tour so comment today, and then follow the tour for more chances to win! Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Samantha Demakis doesn’t want a mate right now. Her birth-rite and family obligations to her status as the first daughter of a noble family beg to differ. In fact, even her wolf seems to be against her. When a chance encounter reveals the man who might just be a perfect fit, will she run? Or will she fight?

Chase Michaels has been alone for seventy-five years. He’s fought in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan in the US Army. Somewhat resigned to never finding his true mate, he is shocked when his wolf reacts so strongly to a woman he runs into in the airport. Unprepared for the politics and snobbery of the noble families, Chase finds himself fighting in a different type of war —a war for the heart of a woman he knows should be his.

A lot of things are chasing Sam, but who or what will catch her in the end?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Sam? Sam, have you heard anything I’ve said?”

Sam finally tore her gaze away from Chase. When she’d seen him walk into the lounge, every part of her being began to ache. Her wolf was going nuts, urging her to go over and talk to him immediately.

“He is here to see us!”

Sam glanced up at Nicole and then again at Chase. God, he was smiling. A huge lolling sexy grin. Her heart melted into a puddle and all she wanted to do was oblige her wolf, climb into his lap, and snuggle against his broad chest.

Nicole laughed and Sam turned back with a glare. “Out of the entire Vegas strip, soldier-boy hottie ends up one table across from you in your favorite haunt.”

“Shhh… Nicole, don’t talk so loud. He can hear you.” Her cheeks warmed and she took another quick sip of her Jack and coke.

“Ooooh, this is the hottie from the airport?” Hallie giggled.

Sam put her empty glass down and looked up. All three of her sisters were smiling and waving at Chase and his friend. If only she could disappear into the leather of the seat cushion.

“Nicole, wave them over here to our booth. I want to meet the guy that finally made Sam turn her head twice.” Tess snickered. “It’s not every day you get to see Samantha Demakis blush like a high school freshman.”

“Shut up, Tess,” Sam hissed and scowled at her little sister. She wanted nothing more than to talk to Chase again, but not surrounded by her sisters or in front of whoever his friend was.

Before she could object, Nicole had hopped up from their booth and walked over to the pair. Sam stole another glance and shivered with excitement when both men stood and followed Nicole back to the table.


Krystal Shannan is a born, raised, and current TEXAN. She is married to a wonderful man who supports her dream of writing and allows her to spend many evening and weekend hours glued to her laptop. During the day she moonlights as an elementary music teacher. In addition to a doting husband, a young daughter is also part of the picture and keeps her hopping! An ornery little Welsh Corgi completes the household.

Krystal has been writing stories since she could hold a pencil. She has always dreamed of writing romance and sharing the "movies in her head" with the world. If she's not writing, she's reading -historical, paranormal, action, adventure -anything she can get her hands on that ends with a Happily Ever After!

If you are interested in receiving emails when new new books are released, please sign up for her distribution list by visiting www.krystalshannan.com and clicking the "contact" tab.

Buy Links:

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Sam-Paranormal-Romance-ebook/dp/B00BB3KD0W/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1360125077&sr=8-11&keywords=chasing+sam

Smashwords

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/282358

Krystal Shannan Love and Destiny in all Realms

Author of Open House: Pool of Souls Book 1

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Open-House-Paranormal-Romance-ebook/dp/B009FHONVG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349578082&sr=8-1&keywords=open+house+pool+of+souls

Smash words: http://www.smashwords.com/b/243147

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-openhousepoolofsoulsbook1-975136-140.html

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Open-House-Pool-Souls-Book-1/book-OHXqaaSc_0GEmuZ8gF2Wvw/page1.html?s=7FjsaPGem0CRVKqm-ocdYg&r=1

B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/open-house-krystal-shannan/1113575968?ean=2940044981362

A Very Russian Christmas

ARe: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/open-house-krystal-shannan/1113575968?ean=2940044981362

Decadent:  http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=679&osCsid=480ev0gh8av82590g1pkrlbcc7

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/262670

BookStrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/a-very-russian-christmas

Finding Hope: Pool of Souls Book 2 - Coming Soon!

Website: http://www.krystalshannan.com/

Blog: http://krystalshannan.blogspot.com/|

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/krystal.shannan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/KrystalShannan

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6543639.Krystal_Shannan

Spring's Surprise by Cynthia Gail --Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Cynthia will award one $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter and a $15 Starbucks GC to another randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sara Michaels is single again. And she’s celebrating her thirtieth birthday with a complete spa makeover and a day of boutique shopping with her two best friends. After a ten-month battle for freedom, a long weekend in Nashville, Tennessee is just what she needs to erase the memories of a broken heart.

Jack Tanner is the soon-to-be new partner at Chester & Dorsey Development Firm. Jack’s love life has been on the back burner for years as he’s built a successful career. But the moment he meets Sara, he takes a hard look at his life and his priorities.

Sara steps out of her comfort zone and spends an unforgettable weekend with Jack. She’s never felt so carefree. Until she realizes too late that three days can change everything.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“So, were you surprised?”

“I don’t think surprised is the right word. I was speechless. What did he tell Nick?”

“Not much. Just that you had called and the two of you were talking again. He didn’t give any details. He was in his car, on the way to the airport. He wasn’t sure if you would be mad or glad to see him this morning, but he said he had to take a chance.” Beth paused. “So I guess you were glad?”

“Yeah. When we talked last night, I told him all of the reasons why this wouldn’t work and, of course, he had an answer for every one of them. I finally wore down and told him that I’d try.”

“And . . . how do you feel today?”

“Is it possible to be terrified and excited at the same time?” Her hands shook as they held the phone to her ear. Her eyes were beginning to burn again. “I don’t know what to do.”

“There’s nothing to do. Just enjoy spending time with him. Give it a few weeks to settle in and see if you still feel the same. I know you care about him or you wouldn’t have been so upset when you left here two weeks ago and you wouldn’t be stringing him along with your pitiful text messages.”

“That’s the problem. I think I care too much.”

“Don’t you think he’s just as afraid? But he’s not going to let fear stop him. You shouldn’t either. You’re a stronger person than that. Nothing worth having is easy, Sara. Give him a chance and some honest time.”

About the Author:
My husband and I live in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee with our eighteen-year-old son and three dogs. When I’m not working or writing, I can be found with family and friends. I love to bake in the winter, grill in the summer, and on occasion, I sneak away from everyone and curl up with a good book.

I hope you enjoy my stories. Each one touches on modern day issues, fears, and challenges that women face every day. And each one illustrates that love is within reach if you let down those walls and allow your heart to open. Our lives and experiences are so much more meaningful when we have someone to share them with.

http://www.cynthiagail.com/
Amazon

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fatal Exposure by Gail Barrett -- Virtual Tour and giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gail will be awarding a $25 Amazon / BN (or other bookstore of the winner's choice) GC to one randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



Cold-case detective Parker McCall has spent fifteen years trying to solve his brother’s murder. Now a chance photo of the killer in the newspaper sets him hard on the woman’s trail. A former teenaged runaway, reclusive, award-winning photojournalist B.K. Elliot chronicles the harsh reality of life on the streets -- until a photo in the paper reveals her identity, blowing the lid off her secret past. With a powerful murderer now dogging her heels, and her police officer step-father determined to silence her permanently, the last person she can afford to trust is a cop. So why does sexy police detective Parker McCall tempt her to break her silence and resurrect ideals she’d lost years ago? As danger closes in, and with more than her own life at stake, Brynn must decide if the duty-bound cop will betray her...or heal her battered heart.


Enjoy an excerpt



Cold case detective Parker McCall tightened his grip on the newspaper, his gaze riveted on the photo of the woman splashed across the Baltimore Sun’s front page. She could have been any affluent shopper strolling out of the pricey art gallery—her long, glossy hair tumbling over her shoulders, the collar of her woolen coat turned up against the brisk November wind.

Except for her wary eyes.

The eyes of his brother’s murderer.

The eyes that had eluded him for fifteen years.

He lowered the newspaper to his cluttered desk, the laughter and banter of the detectives beyond his cubicle receding to a distant buzz. Then, hardly breathing, he tugged his wallet from the back pocket of his jeans. Working as carefully as a scientist handling nuclear material, he extracted a worn, faded photo and placed it alongside the page.

For several excruciating seconds his gaze lingered on the image of his younger brother, his heart making its usual lurch of guilt and remorse. Sixteen years old, his cheeks badly hollowed, his body wasted by his addictions, Tommy leaned against a graffiti-sprayed wall near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, one emaciated arm slung over the waiflike girl at his side.

The girl Parker had failed to find.

Until now.

He shifted his scrutiny to the girl, taking in her sparrow-thin legs, the baggy sweatshirt dwarfing her scrawny frame, her unruly mop of auburn curls. Then he homed in on her eyes—bleak, world-weary eyes aged far beyond her years.

He sliced his gaze back to the woman in the newspaper. She was still petite, still thin and older than the adolescent slouching against the wall beside his brother, but he’d stake his life they were the same.


About the Author:
A former RITA® and Daphne finalist, Gail Barrett has received the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Holt Medallion, the Booksellers Best, The National Readers’ Choice Award, and numerous other awards. She lives with her husband in Western Maryland. Readers can contact her through her website: www.GailBarrett.com.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Temporary Detective by Joanne Sydney Lessner -- Interview and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Joanne will be giving away the following prizes: At each stop, one ebook copy of her novel Pandora's Bottle, inspired by the world's most expensive bottle of wine. A grand prize of a $25 Amazon GC will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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

I’ve loved mysteries since I first discovered Nancy Drew, thanks to friends of my parents who offloaded their daughter’s extensive collection into my eager hands. From there, I moved on to Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy Sayers. I’ve always been a diehard Anglophile, and British mysteries have remained my favorites over the years. (Extra points to writers who include references to Gilbert & Sullivan. Reginald Hill, I’m looking at you!) But I enjoy any mystery that hides its clues in plain sight and offers a solution that is both surprising and inevitable. I’m not sure what ever made me think I was qualified to write mysteries. Maybe I’m not! But I’m reminded of my friend Gail, who’d never waitressed before, telling a potential employer: “But I’ve eaten in many fine restaurants.” There is something to be said for being able to relate to the consumer experience. So I write what I like to read, although I can’t do much about the fact that I’m not English. I also wanted to shine a spotlight on the life of an aspiring actor in New York. Most people have no idea what that day-to-day life is really like. The combination of writing in my favorite genre and opening up that world really appealed to me.

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

Since I’m using my early years as an actress temping in New York as the background for my series, my world-building is second nature to a certain extent. My research is primarily on the mystery end. What kind of poison kicks in an hour later without leaving obvious signs? Can you tell how long ago a gun was fired? Is the detective who shows up at a murder scene dressed in a suit or a uniform? It’s all mechanics. But that’s the kind of thing you have to get right or it can stop a reader dead in his or her tracks.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

Really, truly, do not run off at the mouth when you walk into an audition. You are not nearly as funny or charming as you think you are.

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

Sometimes I take a break after I write my first sentence of the day. I know I’ve just committed to a scene, and I have to gear up before I dive in and blurt out the rest of it.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

Pantser, all the way, which is a little dangerous when you’re crafting a puzzle. But I just read an interview with Gillian Flynn who admitted to working this way. I think Gone Girl is brilliantly plotted, so leaving my own work aside for the moment, it’s clearly possible to write a good mystery this way. Gone Girl also has an element of spontaneity, and that’s one thing that must be hard to manufacture if you’re a plotter. I often have a sense that my characters are telling the story. I’ll find words flowing out of my fingers, and then I sit back and think, “No…really? Well, okay, if that’s what you want to do next!” And then a new avenue of inquiry or plot thread opens up. That said, I do have signposts in mind from the start: set pieces I know I want to include, the murder, a turning point, and a general sense of the ending.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

Not what—who: my husband of almost 23 years. He’s a composer and conductor, and his desk is right next to mine. We share the biggest of our three bedrooms as a joint office (much to the irritation of our kids, who share bunk beds in the smallest) and it’s really the nerve center of our home. We spend all day together. He writes music, I write books, and occasionally we write musicals together.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’m hard at work on the third Isobel Spice novel, And Justice For Some, and I have another, non-Isobel book in progress. We’re also planning a reading of our new musical, The Haunted Hotel, based on a novella by Wilkie Collins. It was commissioned by the Signature Theatre Company in Arlington, Virginia, and if the scheduling works out, we’ll be presenting it there over the summer. I wrote myself a really fun part: the bossy, gossipy sister-in-law in a dysfunctional British family trying to get to the bottom of the mysterious death of their eldest brother. England! Mysteries! There it all is, again. Everything I love, with my husband thrown into the mix.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Should Isobel and James get together?

Phones, light typing...and murder.

Think breaking into show business is hard? Try landing a temp job without office skills. That's the challenge facing aspiring actress Isobel Spice when she arrives in New York City, fresh out of college and deficient in PowerPoint. After being rejected by seven temp agencies for her lack of experience, Isobel sweet-talks recruiter James Cooke into letting her cover a last-minute vacancy at a bank. New to his own job, and recently sober, James takes a chance on Isobel, despite his suspicion that she's a trouble-magnet. His misgivings are borne out by lunchtime, when she stumbles across a dead secretary in a bathroom stall. With her fingerprints on the murder weapon, Isobel sets out to prove her innocence by investigating the crime herself. While learning to juggle phone lines and auditions, she discovers an untapped talent for detective work--a qualification few other office temps, let alone actresses, can claim.

Excerpt

“I wouldn’t go back if I thought there were an insane murderer on the loose,” Isobel said. “On the contrary, whoever did this was very sane. Let me tell you, I wanted to kill that woman after three hours.”

Delphi looked askance at Isobel. “You…didn’t, right?”

For some reason, Delphi asking her point-blank bothered her less than James’s confused hinting. “Of course I didn’t. But I don’t blame you for asking. You hardly know me.”

“It sounds like whoever did it also wanted to humiliate her,” Sunil mused. “I mean, think about it. Captured for all eternity on the pot!”

“Could it have been somebody from outside who came in, waylaid her in the bathroom, pulled the emergency bell and left?” Delphi asked.

Isobel shook her head. “She was such an unpleasant person that it just doesn’t seem random.”

“Then you definitely should not go back there, paycheck or no paycheck,” Delphi said.

Sunil nodded. “Delphi’s right.”

“You’re sweet to be so concerned, but I’ll be fine.” Isobel smiled. “It was really nice meeting you both. Good luck with everything.”

“I think you need it more than we do,” Sunil said.

As Isobel rode south on the subway, sardined between a bike messenger in need of deodorant and a young mother juggling twin toddlers, she wondered whether to take her new friends’ advice. No job was worth risking her life. But what about the other people at the bank? They were all continuing to show up for work, weren’t they? They had no choice. They all had jobs to do.

Well, so did she. She needed the money. James didn’t have anything else for her, and even if he did, he might not send her out again. She still hadn’t proven herself, not really.

And that was what she had come to New York to do. Prove herself.

About the Author:
Joanne Sydney Lessner is the author of BloodWrites Award-Winner and Awesome Indies Mystery Pick The Temporary Detective, which introduces Isobel Spice, aspiring actress and resourceful office temp turned amateur sleuth. Isobel’s adventures continue in Bad Publicity. Joanne’s debut novel, Pandora's Bottle (Flint Mine Press), which was inspired by the true story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine, was named one of the top five books of 2010 by Paperback Dolls. No stranger to the theatrical world, Joanne enjoys an active performing career, and with her husband, composer/conductor Joshua Rosenblum, has co-authored several musicals, including the cult hit Fermat's Last Tango and Einstein's Dreams, based on the celebrated novel by Alan Lightman. Her play, Critical Mass, received its Off Broadway premiere in October 2010 as the winner of the 2009 Heiress Productions Playwriting Competition.

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Buy The Temporary Detective in Paperback or for Kindle

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fierce Creatures by A.W. Hartoin -- Book Tour and Giveaway


This post is part of a Virtual Book Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award an ebook copy of either A Fairy's Guide to Disaster or It Started with a Whisper to a commenter at each tour stop, and a grand prize of $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Another day. Another disaster.

After surviving a kidnapping and battling with spriggans, Matilda Whipplethorn finds her life in a suburban human house pretty boring. She’s been excluded from school because of her fire-making abilities and her former friends are afraid of her. Salvation comes in the form of a life-threatening illness. Her tutor, Miss Penrose, needs a medication and there’s only one place to get it, the spriggans. Matilda heads back to the antique mall to save Miss Penrose even though it just might cost her everything.

EXCERPT:

Fire was a friend of mine. I loved how it formed in my palms, pooled, and overflowed, oozing through my fingers to drop down in tiny orange spirals into the basin my father had fashioned out of a metal button. I lay on my stomach, propped up on my elbows, watching my fire, an endlessly fascinating endeavor and a good thing, too. My father was hammering on a needle, trying to make it into hooks for my mother’s pots and pans. It wasn’t going well and I expected to be there for a long time, providing Dad with fire for his forge.

Dad tapped me on the head, and I looked up. “What?”

“I need more,” he said, frowning at me from behind the safety mask he’d fashioned out of an acorn shell and some stuff the humans called Plexiglas.

I formed a fireball the size of my head and dropped it in the basin. Sparks flew out in curlicues and menaced Dad. He jumped back and slipped on his pile of metal shavings.

“Matilda, you did that on purpose,” he said, narrowing his brown eyes at me.

“It was an accident.”

“When it comes to fire, you don’t have accidents.”

A human face came down beside my dad and grinned at me. Judd was one of the few humans that could see us. It was very unusual for a human to see fairies, but Judd had turned out to be remarkable in many ways. As was his sister, Tess, who’d been the first to see me. The two of them surprised me on a daily basis.

About the Author:
A.W. Hartoin is the author of the Mercy Watts mystery series and the Away From Whipplethorn fantasy series. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two children, and six bad chickens.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Seduction of Esther by Jennifer Wilck - Virtual Tour and Giveaway


Today we're welcoming author Jennifer Wilck to the blog on her tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for her romance, "The Seduction of Esther".

One randomly chosen commenter will win a $25 Amazon GC and chocolate so comment today, and then follow the tour for more chances to win! Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Samara Goldberg has a problem even the most beautiful singing voice can’t fix. She’s a walking disaster, especially when she’s around handsome men. To make matters worse, she’s in desperate need of someone to play the character of Mordecai for the Purim spiel she’s producing and the new congregant, Nathaniel Abramson, is a perfect fit. Nathaniel is a divorced dad who’s recovering from the biggest public scandal of his life. The last thing he needs is a relationship with the choir director at his new synagogue, who also happens to be playing the lead female role of Esther in the very play he’s been coerced into joining.

Woven around the Jewish holiday of Purim, The Seduction of Esther is a story of two people whose lives mirror the plot of the Purim story. Like Esther, who had to hide her Jewish identity from the King of Persia, Samara and Nathaniel are hiding key pieces of themselves. Evil Haman wanted to destroy the Jews, and the nasty Josh will do anything to keep Samara and Nathaniel apart. Will their love survive, like the Jewish people in Shushan, Persia, or will their fear keep them apart?

Enjoy an excerpt:

She leaned toward him and pointed to a crumb on his cheek. She brushed it away and his heart slammed against his chest. He could kiss her right here. Right here, in front of all these people.

What the hell had he been thinking? There were people here. Lots of them, and most of them were looking at him. As if a bucket of cold water had tipped over his head, his desire died and he leaned back against the chair.

Samara shifted. “Josh, do you think you could go with me next Sunday to look for set decorations and costumes?”

Way to go. Here I am thinking about kissing her, and she’s thinking about Josh. Despite his discomfort over the thought of a public scene, disappointment rose like bile in the back of his throat and he swallowed.

“Sorry, Samara, but I have a meeting. How about another day?”

“I can go.” Nathaniel heard the words come out of his mouth as if from a distance. What kind of an idiot am I?

“Really? That would be great. I need to get started on the set and I could use another pair of eyes. Josh, don’t worry about it, Nathaniel and I will take care of it.”

Josh’s glare should have made Nathaniel uncomfortable. It should have made his skin crawl. It should have made him back out to avoid everyone’s attention now focused on him, to come up with some kind of excuse. It should have warned him. But it just made him smile.


When I was a little girl and couldn’t fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters’ numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).

One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital—the computer was way less scary) and five years later, I’ve gotten two book contracts from Whiskey Creek Press. A Heart of Little Faith came out in June; Skin Deep is coming out in November.

In the real world, I’m the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I serve on our Temple Board, train the dog we adopted from a local shelter, and cook dinners that fit the needs of four very different appetites. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.

When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don’t like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn’t work, I can rewrite it. It’s very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life. My inspiration comes from watching the people around me and fantasizing about how I’d do things differently.

I can be reached at www.jenniferwilck.com or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wilck/201342863240160. I tweet at @JWilck, my blog (Fried Oreos) is www.jenniferwilck.wordpress.com and I contribute to Heroines With Hearts at www.heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com.

My books can be purchased through Rebel Ink Press http://rebelinkpress.com/our-titles.html, Whiskey Creek Press www.whiskeycreekpress.com, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tainted Waters by Maggie Thom - review tour and giveaway


(Romantic Suspense)


This review is done in conjunction with the author's virtual tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Maggie will be awarding a $25 GC, winner's choice to Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo, to a randomly drawn commenter, and an autographed digital copy of Captured Lies to another randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so comment here today for your chance to win! Click the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.



He didn’t commit suicide but who’s going to believe her...

Frustrated at being fired from her latest job and overwhelmed by her consolatory family, Sam decides to move to the family’s cabin at the lake. A place she hasn’t been since her dad committed suicide there twenty years before. Or did he? Snooping is something she’s good at but someone seems to be taking offense to her looking too closely at what has been happening at the lake. What she discovers is shocking. Now she must uncover what’s real and what’s not. All that she learned growing up, may be false.

Keegan, who has recently moved to the area to finish his latest book, is also trying to find out if his grandfather, who’d passed away ten years before, died of natural causes or was murdered.

The descendants of the four families who own the land around the lagoon are dying off. Since Sam and Keegan are the only ones questioning the deaths, they find themselves working together to seek the truth. Are people being murdered? Who would benefit from their deaths? Why would there be barricades and armed guards at the north end of the lake?

To stay alive, Sam and Keegan must find the answers and convince others, before more people are killed... including them.


This was a new author to me, and I wasn't certain about the story. It sounded like a routine suspense/intrique story with a little romance thrown in.

I want you to know that I was only partly right. It was a suspense/intrigue story, with some romance. However, it was not a routine story. There was suspense almost from the very beginning of the book. It was so exciting, and a lot suspenseful and there was just enough romance to make me happy.

The plot moved quickly, and I kept on reading without realizing the time until I was almost finished with it. I just couldn't put it down. This is a definite heart stopping and awesome suspense. I never really knew who the bad guys were, and who the good guys were. Every time I thought I had it figured out, I was wrong. I like this about it. It was never predictable. I really enjoyed being surprised.

Every time I turned the page I discovered something new, different and extremely suspenseful. I know I use that word a lot, but it really applies to this story. This book really came alive to me. The characters were so clearly defined by this author, that I felt I knew them.

I loved this story from start to finish and would recommend it everyone. This is a real worth while book to read. You will not be disappointed.

5 Flowers - I loved this book! It's on my keeper shelf! I highly recommend it.

Now enjoy an excerpt:

“Where is she?”

“Who? DD?”

“Of course, DD. Who the hell else would I be calling you about?”

“DD’s not with you?”

“No, she’s taken off. She said she never wants to see me again.” Shelley’s gut wrenching sobs filled the silence.

“Have you looked everywhere?”

“I’m not an idiot, Sam. This is my daughter.”

“Okay, look Shelley. I know you’re upset. Take a deep breath and tell me what happened.”

“We had a fight last night. She said daddy wasn’t her daddy...”

Sam gasped. DD had been listening to her and Kyle.

“And this morning she’s gone. I’ve looked everywhere. I’ve asked the neighbors. I called the bus line to see if she got on. They’re checking but that could take a while. Then I thought she might have tried to find you.” She started sobbing.

She blinked back tears and swallowed a few times before she asked, “is there any way she went in search of her real father?”

“Kyle’s her real father, Sam.”

“I meant biological.”

“I know damn well what you meant. Kyle’s her father, the other man doesn’t matter.”

“Well, obviously he does Shelley. Maybe you should have told her before now about your affair.”

“There was no god damn affair. I was raped!”

She gasped as all color drained out of her face. “Oh my god, Shelley. I’m sorry. Why didn’t you tell me?” As soon as she said it she realized she was the last person she’d tell. Emotions were clogging her throat but she managed to get out, “I’ll find her. I’ll find her. She’ll be okay. I know you don’t trust me but I promise I’ll bring her home to you.” She clicked off her cell phone. Shelley was beyond talking and she couldn’t take Shelley’s sobs, which sounded like an animal’s keening howl when she’d lost her young.

Always so brilliant Sam. Always so brilliant.


Maggie Thom took the challenge and leapt off, leaving a fulltime twenty year career in management, to write full time. After her initial panic that she might need a straight jacket, she published her first book Captured Lies, October 2012. And now is excited to release her second novel, Tainted Waters, April, 2013. Her third book, Deceitful Truths (sequel to Captured Lies), available fall of 2013. An avid reader and writer her whole life, she decided to break the monotony of wishing to be an author by making it happen. Married to her best friend, she is learning that humor, love and patience help her navigate her way through her twins’ teen years. Her motto: Escape to read and Read to escape.

She can be found at:

www.maggiethom.com
www.facebook.com/authormaggiethom
www.twitter.com/maggiethom2
www.goodreads.com.maggiethom
google +: https://plus.google.com/102887579832939598896/posts
https://pinterest.com/maggiethom2/

Tainted Waters will be available to be purchased at:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/183Jtz1
iTunes: http://bit.ly/18uXqDB
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1026Y47
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/11MrCb4
Sony: http://bit.ly/16AlZCG
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/10qX93O
Diesel: http://bit.ly/14pkwen

Friday, June 14, 2013

Concrete Evidence by Rachel Grant - Review Tour and giveaway



(ROMANTIC SUSPENSE)



This post is part of a Reviews Tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One lucky commenter on the CONCRETE EVIDENCE review tour will receive a very special deck of cards created by the Department of Defense and given to soldiers who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. The cards were designed to educate the troops about international laws that protect antiquities and the need to preserve and protect cultural heritage sites in the Middle East.

The trafficking of Iraqi artifacts is part of the storyline in CONCRETE EVIDENCE, and the cards make an appearance in the book. More information on the cards is available at http://rachel-grant.net/ConcreteEvidence-BonusContent.html.

Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


A year ago she lost everything. Now she wants revenge…

Accused of stealing artifacts from a five-hundred-year-old shipwreck, underwater archaeologist Erica Kesling is determined to clear her name. She’s concealed her past and taken a job certain to give her access to the buyer of the missing antiquities. She's finally closing in on her goal when she's distracted by a sexy, charismatic intern who makes her want something other than revenge.

But Lee Scott is no intern. He's looking for the lead conspirator in an international artifact smuggling scheme, and Erica is his prime suspect. He’ll do whatever it takes to win her trust and get her to reveal her secrets, even seduce her.

As Erica and Lee struggle to conceal their real agendas, the one thing they can’t hide is the attraction that burns hot between them. When Erica’s quest puts her life in jeopardy, Lee must choose between old loyalties and a woman he never expected to fall for.



Romantic suspense is one of my favorite subgenres, and I wasn't disappointed when I picked up Rachel Grant's Concrete Evidence. I especially liked the fact that this book is based, in part, on actual events. The author's notes about the "real" story were almost as interesting as the book itself.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the relationship between Erica and Lee... I loved seeing how this relationship developed, especially knowing who Lee was from the beginning.  It was fun watching Lee pretend to be less than he was---I think at times he really enjoyed seeing just how dumb he could play his part.

The main part of the story, however, is not overshadowed by the romance--nice balance there! I like a book where I can be caught off guard by a plot twist (that makes sense), and this book provides that aspect! All in all, a very nice debut and I'm definitely looking forward to her next book.

Now, enjoy an excerpt:

In the corridor heading toward their office, anxiety slowed Erica’s pace. She wasn’t sure if she was nervous about her upcoming confession to Janice or what she wanted to ask Lee, but she brushed her fear aside. “You know JT Talon,” she said, keeping her voice casual.

“We’ve met.”

“You know him better than that.”

He shrugged.

Dammit, she wanted to know how well he knew the man. “Do we have more nepotism?”

“Is it really nepotism when you’re given the lowest job with the lowest pay?” he asked.

“It is when you’re getting paid to play Tetris.”

“The Thermo-Con searches were boring.”

She turned on her heel to face him. He stopped just short of crashing into her, and she patted his cheek. “Poor baby,” she said in a sarcastic imitation of a motherly voice. “I’m sorry your work was so taxing. Maybe after you finish your computer game, you should take a nap.”

He covered her hand with his own, rubbing her palm against the stubble he hadn’t bothered to shave. His green eyes fixed on hers, and his mouth curved in an alluring half smile. “Only if you take one with me.”

She rolled her eyes. She’d give him grief for hitting on her again, but she was the one who’d stepped close and touched him. The air thickened as his intense gaze ensnared her. Gone was the feckless intern; in his place was a compelling man she wanted to know.

She heard footsteps, breaking the spell. She tried to pull her hand away, but Lee gripped her fingers tighter.

“Well, well, well,” a familiar voice said. “If it isn’t my favorite…Cream Puff.”

She ripped her hand from Lee’s and whipped around. The last time she’d seen Jake, she’d been locked in a stinking Mexican jail cell.



Rachel Grant worked for over a decade as a professional archaeologist and mines her experiences for storylines and settings, which are as diverse as excavating a cemetery underneath an historic art museum in San Francisco; surveying a coal mining town in Kentucky; and mapping a seventeenth century Spanish and Dutch fort on the island of Sint Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles. Rachel is a four-time Golden Heart® finalist and can be found on the web at Rachel-Grant.net.


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