Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Gypsy Hunted by Andrea Drew - Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Andrea will be awarding a $20 amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five things about me

1. I’m the oldest of eight children. What that means basically is that I grew up as the military leader of a bunch of unruly children, and am very well practiced at bossing others around and fixing up terrible messes

2. From the ages of 15-21 I played a musical instrument (yep the trumpet of all things, you can imagine the jokes). Little did my father know when he enrolled me in the Coburg City Brass Band that it consisted of 99% young hormonal and in some cases handsome young men

3. I’m very tall as are my sisters (6 feet two or 188cm). We have been called the amazon sisters so many times now we barely bat an eyelid when it is mentioned. It does have benefits though in that it is very easy to find us if lost in a crowd, plus the extra weight when it stacks on is evenly distributed throughout a very tall body.

4. My party trick is typing at nearly 150 words per minute. As it is touch typing, I can type this fast without looking at the keyboard. Some people have been know to check the screen to see if I am typing gibberish or not, and, if I have my fingers in the right place (the home keys) it usually does make some sense.

5. Like most authors, if I won lotto, I’d still write, although if this happened I could write more than 1000 words per day, and could employ a housekeeper hooray! Although some claim that housework is very good for an author, I would have to say those people should stay away from the narcotics :-)

Reluctant psychic Gypsy Shields—she prefers the term "intuition consultant"—finds herself in trouble when, on her way home from a blind date, she interrupts a kidnapping in progress. She attempts to intervene, and her heroics are repaid with a collision between the attacker's van and a brick wall. She awakens in the hospital, paralyzed on her left side and unable to speak. This also means she's unable to share her vital information as a witness. Fortunately, she is able to use her telepathic connection with her niece to throw a line out to a police detective she knows: Connor Reardon, her blind date.

Connor will do anything to protect Gypsy, and he listens to her claims of psychic power willingly, as he's concealing certain powers of his own. Nor are they all he's concealing. Gypsy senses a part of her new ally's mind is closed to her—what she cannot know is that Connor suspects the kidnapper is someone close to him, and the kidnapping victim holds secrets that will tear through Connor's department, putting careers and lives at risk. Including Gypsy, still in hospital and vulnerable as the attacker turns his sights on her once again.

Can she use her powers to track down the perpetrator and prevent her own murder?

Enjoy an excerpt:

As Connor switched off the alarm, he knew it would be a rough one. The rumor mill was already in overdrive, and his phone had notified him with a ping.

A young woman, a police headquarters employee had gone missing last night.

The kicker was the confidential reports she’d swiped on the way out of the building. Reports about suspect bent cops, written by internal affairs and for the eyes of that department only. Seems this lady was curious and not all she appeared to be.

He’d been exhausted last night and needed a full night’s sleep. It was still dark outside as he slid out of bed and slipped on his running gear. His morning run helped him keep his thoughts straight and make a reasonable start to the day. He grabbed the bottle from the shelf beside the door, and it swung wide has he headed outside. If he didn’t run he’d go insane or at least more insane than he felt already, dealing with the unrelenting pressure of being senior detective. As he headed down the steps he heard the satisfying clunk of the door closing.

Cold air stung his skin, and his breath formed plumes of mist that streamed past his eyes. Lengthening his stride, Connor pulled the iPod from his pocket to clip it his waistband. Some cops turned to drink, some to drugs, and others went off the rails. After the failure of his marriage, he had turned to running, three miles a day.

About the Author:
Andrea Drew has been a commercial copy writer and resume writer for over a decade.

She's written for celebrity stylists, assisted business coaches and start-ups, written grants for not for profits, delivered marketing presentations to business owners, and attends Australian writing conventions.

Her self-published book "Pro Resumes Made Easy" has been downloaded over 40,000 times.

Andrea has one husband (more than enough), three kids, a pet rock (her daughter's, not hers), and a house in the suburbs, where she's hard at work on the second novel in the Gypsy series.

Email her at

Gypsy Hunted, her first fiction novel (her first suspense thriller set in her home town of Melbourne Australia), is available on Amazon.


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Dark Wolf Enterprises by A.M. Griffin - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The big break Trudy Hollander’s small accounting firm needs has finally arrived, but unfortunately it comes with murder, mayhem and Kristof Farkas, a man she just can’t seem to resist. Even worse, Kristof is the CFO of Dark Wolf Enterprises—the one person who can pull the plug on the job that will take her company to the next level.

And then there are the assassins who can jump from three stories up and still be able to run away…

Kristof has no intention of giving in to his inner wolf and claiming Trudy. She’s human. Too fragile to withstand being a shifter’s mate. But the need to protect her is stronger than his resolve, and his desire is more powerful yet. He’ll fight with everything he has to keep her safe, both from those who would hurt her, and from himself.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Trudy groaned. She had kneed her client, and very well the sexiest man she’d ever seen, in the nuts. She pretty much assumed getting fired was a done deal now.

He was the kind of man that women dreamed about. Tall, dark and handsome—literally, he was the epitome of it. He looked to be in his early thirties and too young to run a large company. He stood over six feet tall and had a muscular frame. His dark hair was cut short, not a strand seemed out of place. His eyes were dark brown and unsettled her as he watched her. His clothes looked expensive, from his shirt to his shoes and even the wool coat that he wore. If she was the swooning type, she would be on the ground.

The man standing next to him was just as handsome as Kristof was. He was dark and tall like Kristof but he didn’t have the same muscular build. He had lean muscles like a runner, while even with them hidden underneath his clothes Kristof looked to be all muscle. The two men shared so many similarities Trudy was sure they had to be related.

The officers had everyone wait outside while they did a sweep of her house. She stood in uncomfortable silence with Kristof and Lajos. Now was not a good time to ask them why they traveled all the way to her house. She needed to put some time between her assault on him and begging to keep the contract.

She tried to keep her eyes focused on anything except for Kristof but, no matter how much she tried, she kept peering at him from her peripheral vision. She swore he was doing the same and watching her as well. What she really wanted to do was touch him.

Do it. Touch him.

She took a step in his direction before she caught herself.

What am I doing? I can’t go around fondling my clients.

She didn’t know why, but she had these urges to go to him, stand next to him, caress his body and make love to him.

Shit. Get a grip girl.

It’d been a little while since she got laid, but this was going way beyond horny. It wasn’t even the sex part that pulled at her. It went way beyond that. It was as if she was supposed to trust him…with her life.

She needed to touch him. There was a sense of urgency to it. She maneuvered Piper to one arm and stuck out her hand. “Trudy Hollander.”

Kristof took her hand in his and there was an instant—something. Trudy couldn’t even describe how she felt, because she’d never felt anything like this before. Her hand and his felt connected, as if they were one. He looked down at her and his eyes changed color again. Something behind them flashed with sexual heat and longing.

“Kristof Farkas.”

About the Author:A. M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.

Where you can find me:

Subscribe to my Amazon page:
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fat Girl by Leigh Carron - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Leigh will be awarding a digital copy of Fat Girl to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop. A Grand Prize of a $50 Visa or Amazon GC, an autographed copy of FAT GIRL and an invitation to discuss the book with the winner via phone or online will be awarded to a randomly winner. All prizes will be awarded via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks for dropping by It's Raining Books. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

The best thing about writing provocative romance is mixing sensual heat with deep and complex emotions. It’s a balancing act to create sex scenes that bolster the story line, rather than become it.

The other appeal of writing romance is character development. Beautifully flawed characters are my favorite. The little nicks, scuffs and chips offer dimension. They’re more interesting, more appealing. The imperfections are in fact perfect because they shape who they are.

And a final draw for me in romance is the happily ever after. Gotta have that. However, half the fun and challenge is in making the characters work for it. I think the harder they work, the bigger the emotional pay off for the writer and reader.

What research was required for this book?
For Fat Girl, I did some research on the Chicago setting given I had not been there before. But the majority of my research effort was spent understanding child custody law—the rights of foster parents versus biological grandparents and the rights of the child. While I did take creative license to move that particular plot along, for the most part, I tried to make it as authentic as possible.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

Through a number of factors in her life, the main character often appears to be mired in the past, and in her battles with food and her body. But Dee is more than that. She’s a fighter. Strong, smart, independent and beautifully flawed.

As someone who also struggled with similar issues during my adolescence and into adulthood, I found much inspiration amongst the pages about the power of unconditional love and self-acceptance.

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

Yep. It seems water is my muse. Whenever I get stuck or can’t seem to locate my creative vibe, I shower, wash my hands or go for a walk by the lake (when it’s not freezing here in Toronto). Maybe something about the water cleansing my mind. Not sure, but it works for me.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I tend to do better with minimum structure. When I try to plan out my story, I find my creativity gets stifled and it limits the flow of my writing. That doesn’t mean I don’t set guidelines to keep my story from getting unwieldy. I do. I just don’t adhere to anything rigid, preferring to let the characters lead me.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

Nothing is sitting there, but the wall to my right displays these words: “Do what you love.” Lucky me, I get to do just that!

Anything new coming up from you? What?

The sequel to Fat Girl is coming soon. A Naked Beauty will conclude Dee and Micah’s love story. It will be hard for me to let them go, but we’ll stay connected through the two additional books planned in this series. Both feature Dee’s friends as the lead characters. Feisty Jordyn will finally meet her match in Color Blind. And we’ll find out if the sophisticated and cultured Lexie will marry the man of her mother’s dreams or rebel against her upbringing and walk on the dark side.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Yes. I recently wrote a blog presenting my top ten picks of celebrity women who rock their curves with confidence.

1. Amber Riley
2. Melissa McCarthy
3. Queen Latifah
4. Adele
5. Rebel Wilson
6. Camryn Manheim
7. Gabourey Sidibe
8. Demi Levato
9. Salma Hayek
10. Nikki Blonsky

Who else would you add to the list and why?

Thanks for the great interview questions and the opportunity to share Fat Girl with your readers.

Years after fleeing small-town Springvale, Illinois, Deanna Chase has picked up the pieces of her shattered heart and built a new life for herself as a child advocacy lawyer. Her food addiction is quasi under control, her secrets are buried, and she has even made a tenuous peace with her plus-size body. Until…

Micah Peters—the very sexy and now famous man she fled— walks through her office door and sends Dee reeling. His demand that she help a young boy caught in a custody battle will reunite her with the past she left behind.

Torn between duty and self-preservation, Dee isn’t easy to convince. But when obligation wins, the former lovers get more than they bargained for—a searing passion that burns hotter than ever and startling revelations about what really happened the fateful night she left.

Will the truth set Dee free to love again? Or will past hurts and lingering insecurities destine her to walk away from her heart again, this time for good?

Fat Girl is the first book in this provocative two-part series about love and self-acceptance.

Enjoy an excerpt:


My hand slides up her neck, testing the rapid beat of her pulse.

“Don’t,” Dee breathes, but the protest sounds as weak as my will to withstand her.

I lower my head and skim my lips along her bare shoulder. The fragrance of her soft, quivering skin seduces my senses.

“I’ve never gotten the smell of you out of my head…or the taste of you.”

Her breath hitches and I pull the sound deep into my mouth. I might regret my weakness later, but the silk of her lips, the sweet flavor I’ve never forgotten, spins my head, and trumps all rational thought or common sense.

I tug the band from her hair and grab two fistfuls of curls. And Dee’s right with me. No token resistance. No pretense. She gives back, just the way I need it. Hot and mindless. Going up on her toes, she winds her arms around my neck and molds her body to mine. Our tongues collide in a rush of longing. Tasting, tangling.

No woman has ever filled me so completely, to the exclusion of everything else. In that moment of frenzy, the past, my anger, and her transgressions are all white noise against the clamor of something louder and more powerful roaring in my blood.

I crush her back into the counter and muscle my thigh between her legs, leaving no doubt as to how badly I want her. Releasing my grip from the twist of curls I cup her unfettered breasts through the thin material and squeeze their ripe fullness. The nipples harden to bullets beneath my palms, and when I whisk my thumbs across the peaks, Dee’s breathy moans drive me full throttle.

About the Author:
An American living in Canada. Chocolate snob. Recovering yo-yo dieter. Devoted mom and wife, blessed with a brilliantly witty daughter and unintentionally humorous husband. My wacky family feed my creativity and fuel my passion. Most nights, you will find me either curled up with a great book or, more often, sitting at my computer, tapping out the countless visions in my head.

To me, there is nothing better in a narrative than perfectly flawed but strong characters and intense romance that is sexy, deep, and sensual. Mm…I liken such stories to a box of Godiva. Decadent and delicious! You can’t stop at just one. In fact, I’m now hard at work on my next novel—A Naked Beauty, the conclusion to Fat Girl.

Stay Connected at:

Twitter: @LeighCarron

Now available at Amazon, Kobo, or Smashwords.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Veiled Intentions by Eileen Carr - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Eileen will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to five randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Eileen, thanks for coming by It's Raining Books. Did you do any kind of research to determine the details of your characters’ lives / lifestyles?

I did a lot of research for Veiled Intentions. In fact, the whole book started because I started reading about and researching Islam. My boyfriend’s father (Ken) had made some remarks about not trusting anyone who was Muslim when he was visiting us. I tried to explain why as a Jew I felt it was extra important not to vilify an entire group of people based on their religion because of like that whole Holocaust thing. He called me naïve. My boyfriend stopped me before I called his father a bigot.

Over the next few months, Ken sent me weekly emails with links to all kinds of anti-Islamic propaganda. Now here’s one of the embarrassing parts of this story: I didn’t know how to argue back because I didn’t know anything about Islam. I had a knee-jerk reaction that we should all respect each other’s belief systems, but nothing more. I decided to educate myself.

I attended lectures. I read books. I talked with a friend who is Muslim. I went to her Mosque. I spent a lot of time on the Internet. I talked with a lot of high school students. I learned a lot, but ended up with even more questions. Writing the book helped me figure out how I felt about all those questions.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up mainly in Lincoln, Nebraska. We moved there when I was four years old. I left when I was eighteen. My experience growing up there formed some of Veiled Intentions as well. I often joke that being Jewish made me a minority in my high school, but it’s not really a joke. There was a lot of thinly veiled bigotry that was simply accepted. The last time I went to Lincoln was for my grandfather’s funeral in 1995. During the graveside service, three boys from a nearby junior high walked up to the grave, spit on the ground and performed Nazi salutes as they left. The boys were eventually arrested and did some kind of community service. In an interview in the newspaper with the mother of one of the boys, she said something about how her child had not been raised to act that way. My first reaction was that he most certainly had, that somewhere along the line he had gotten a very clear message that Jews were not people who needed to be respected. I worry that with all the anti-Islamic fervor that seems to go unchallenged in this country, we are sending that same message to our children about another group of people.

Did any real-life political incidents or maneuvering make it into the book?

One of the things I stumbled across while researching Islam was an incident that happened in my hometown. A Muslim teenager was accused of hitting a parked car and leaving the scene of the accident. The police response to the accusations ended up being more of a news story than the actual crime.

I started watching how certain stories hit the news and became huge disruptive things in a community. Everyone involved always seemed to have a personal agenda of some kind of another. Sometimes it would be a cause that they believed in. Sometimes it was chasing a story. Whatever the intention was would often be hidden behind a veil of vitriol or sentiment.

Many of these situations seemed to end up with various talking heads screaming at each other. The events polarize people and push them farther apart. As a novelist and a person, what I care about is how these things impact real people in their everyday lives. That’s what I wanted to examine while writing Veiled Intentions.

How did you get into writing?

I come from a family of storytellers. A huge number of my childhood memories center around my family sitting around the dinner table long after the meal was finished telling stories. We don’t hand out actual awards, but it’s a little competitive. The harsh truth about that is I would not be the winner. My sister Marian is undoubtedly our best storyteller. She has an innate sense of timing, uses dialogue with great effectiveness and can conjure sensory details like nobody’s business.

I am not the only published author in the family and my guess is we will spawn more as times goes on. That said, my own children are totally math and science-focused. I figure it’s their way of rebelling.

What do you consider your best accomplishment?

My best accomplishment as a person? Definitely my kids. I am constantly amazed at the spectacular human beings my two baby boys have become.

As a writer? I feel like my best accomplishment is an ongoing desire to keep improving, keep growing, keep pushing myself. Veiled Intentions was a big step for me. The subject matter is risky and somewhat controversial and the approach I took to it uses a more complicated narrative structure than what I’ve written before.

In June of 2013, I went back to school. I’m very close right now to getting my MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles. I want to constantly strive to be a better writer and a better person. That effort is probably the best thing about me and is my greatest accomplishment.

What is your favorite quote?

It’s kind of a long one from Teddy Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

What sacrifices have you had to make to be a writer?

It’s a tough business and I’m not a particularly tough person or much of a businessperson. I guess I would have a more stable existence in another profession. The problem is, I don’t want another profession. I actually considered quitting writing several years ago. I put it on the back burner and stopped working on new projects for a few months. I ended up getting terribly depressed. Being a writer has become too wrapped up in just being me. It’s not a sacrifice. It’s just who I am.

How did you come up with the title? Names?

Names and titles are super hard!! I’m usually quite a ways into writing a book before I come up with a title and this one was no exception. I think the title for Veiled Intentions came to me as I was talking with my boyfriend about the book and explaining how everyone had their own hidden reasons for what they were doing. Then the idea of hidden intentions suddenly seemed to work with the idea of the veil, which one of the characters in the book starts wearing at a certain point although in her case it is to make her intentions clear rather than hidden. I liked the irony of the real veil revealing intentions rather than hiding them while everyone else who appears to be open isn’t.

What do you think of “trailers” for books?

I think they’re fun. I love movie trailers, too. I love that an author can give a potential reader a little taste of the tone and feel of the book in a totally different medium. As writers, we’re so focused on words. Trailers let us try to express what’s special about our books with images and music and a whole different set of tools.

Do you have strange writing habits?

That’s so hard to answer! We all have our own processes that probably come with their own quirks. I definitely play way too much spider solitaire when I’m writing, but other than that, not really. I am always juggling a lot of different things. I’m a mom and a daughter. I have a boyfriend and a house. I have a job outside of writing. Right now, I’m also a student. I like to exercise on a regular basis. Writing time is hard to come by and I generally don’t have the extra minutes to have too many time-consuming rituals (outside of the spider solitaire). Where I get strange is probably in that non-writing time. Because my subconscious seems to always be noodling with whatever I’m working on, I’ll sometimes freeze in the middle of something because I’ve figured out how to solve a plot problem or had a terrific line of dialogue suddenly come to me. My family still laughs about the time that I was in the process of getting into my boyfriend’s truck when an idea hit me. I froze with my leg in the air in the Captain Morgan position from the rum commercials and could not be budged until I thought it through.

When a Muslim high school student is accused of a crime she didn’t commit, her school counselor gets involved to clear her record in this ripped-from-the-headlines novel.

When Lily Simon finds cops in the lobby of the high school where she’s a guidance counselor, she’s not surprised: cops and adolescents go together like sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. But when the cops take Jamila, a Muslim student, into custody for a crime she didn’t commit, Lily’s high school becomes a powder keg.

Police think Jamila is responsible for a hit and run, and since she’s not talking, they have no choice but to keep her as the main suspect. And since the victim—a young soldier recently returned from Afghanistan—is lying unconscious in the hospital, the whole town is taking sides on whether or not Jamila’s arrest is religious persecution. Determined to find the truth, Lily teams up with a reporter to uncover what really happened the night of the hit and run.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Shelby went to her room, pulled the basket of old stuffed animals out of her closet, and dug down under the teddy bears and bunnies and puppy dogs until she found the bottle of vodka. She ran her hand up and down the cool, clear glass already starting to feel how it would calm her, steady her, heal her.

Maybe it didn’t have anything to do with her. Maybe it was all a coincidence. Maybe Miss Perfect Princess Jamila had really done something wrong and had to suffer the consequences like everyone else.

Yeah, right.

She got a juice glass from the cupboard, poured in a healthy slug of vodka and added orange juice. Then she drained the whole thing in one long gulp. She stashed the bottle of vodka, rinsed her glass and put it in the dishwasher, and started watching the episode of Survivor she’d DVRed. She floated on the couch, feeling warm and soft, like all the hard edges of the day had been somehow sanded off.

“Hey, sweetheart, how was school?” Her mom bustled in the front door, kicked off her shoes, and dumped her purse on the credenza by the front door.

Every day. How was school? Did you have a good day? What did you have for lunch? So many questions and none of them mattered. None of them meant anything.

“Fine.” Shelby didn’t look up from the TV.

“That’s it? Fine?” She stood there, hands on her hips, waiting.

“Yeah, Mom. Fine. That’s it.” Shelby felt her heart kick up a little. It always did that when she lied. She hated it. She pulled the blanket she was under up to her chin.

Her mother came over to the couch and sat down next to her. “You feeling okay, honey?”

Thank God, she’d popped that piece of chewing gum in her mouth five minutes before. No way would her mom smell the booze on her breath over the blast of watermelon and lime. “I’m fine, Mom. Just tired.”

Her mother brushed her forehead with her hand. “You look a little flushed. You sure you’re okay?”

Shelby rolled her eyes. “I’m fine, Mom.” If she only knew how far that was from the truth. Shelby was so far from fine, she wouldn’t be able to find it with a GPS.

About the Author:
Eileen Carr was born in Dayton, Ohio. She moved when she was four and only remembers that she was born across the street from Baskin-Robbins. Eileen remembers anything that has to do with ice cream. Or chocolate. Or champagne.

Eileen’s alter ego, Eileen Rendahl, is the award-winning author of four Chick Lit novels and the Messenger series.


Buy the book at the publisher.

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By Sea by Carly Fall - Book Review and Giveaway

This review is in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carly will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

While fighting the War on Drugs in Latin America, Marine Brody Teller was involved in an accident that left him with a supernatural power: a deep connection to the sea and the ability to control it.

When the mysterious Joe Smith approaches him with an incredible job offer, Brody thinks it’s too good to be true. His life-saving need and his desire to be near the ocean while earning a living are rolled into one perfect job.

Rayna Lopez lives a quiet life as she tries to climb her way up the CIA ladder, always in fear the government will learn of her family lineage. When her father asks for help getting her famous and belligerent half-sister out of trouble, Rayna reluctantly agrees to travel with her and they board a yacht where they will be protected.

Brody and Rayna realizes they’ve met before, and despite a significant lack of trust between them, they face an attraction neither can deny. As they fight to keep Rayna’s sister alive, lies are revealed and secrets are told. They must both learn to trust each other, and—if they live through their voyage—figure out what to do about their whirlwind romance.

Read my review:

An intriguing concept brought nicely to life.  The author is a skilled wordsmith and her descriptions, characterizations and writing are nearly flawless. It was this ability that kept me reading when a few things really stretched my ability to believe.

Brody acquired supernatural powers in a government experiment, along with other members of his platoon.  I like that his powers are outside the norm, something I really haven't seen before (outside of Greek mythology).  I was intrigued, too, that he has to stay near the ocean or he becomes ill... a cool twist.  However, I couldn't understand why the government would imbue him with these powers and then just kick him to the curb. Why didn't they keep him in the service, train him, use these powers they've given him? It just doesn't make sense, and it's something I hope the author explains down the road in the series.

Rayna is a tough-as-nails yet still feminine CIA agent with a soft spot for her family, especially her father who just so happens to be a drug lord in South America.  I struggled to reconcile her need to be an instrument of justice as an agent, and her ability to know that her father regularly used his position to order the executions of others, never mind distributing drugs all over the world.  Additionally, she's worried the CIA will find out--and I really had a hard time believing they wouldn't already know.

Also, it was a bit frustrating that, aside from an incredibly brief meeting, Brody and Rayna spend the first 100 pages or so apart.  It really made it difficult for me to get into the story.  I think the author wanted to make sure her world-building was solid and that we understood the backstory, but had I not been reading this for review, I wouldn't have kept moving forward.

That said ... I'm actually quite glad I read this.  The characters were unique and interesting (though I really, really wanted to slap Rayna's sister who is beyond irritating).  Even the secondary characters were well drawn and individuals in their own right.  The relationship between Brody and Rayna, once it was finally allowed to develop, was loaded with the kind of tension that takes your breath away.  They have this incredible attraction, but there are so many reasons for them to not act on it.  It's incredibly well written and exactly the kind of sexual tension I love.  It makes the payoff that much sweeter.  And watching two tough folks with chips of astronomical size on their shoulders fall in love was just priceless.

Now that the groundwork on the backstory is set, I'm hoping the next books in the series start more quickly (and that the protagonists spend the majority of their books together).  It's a solid start to what should be a good series and I'm looking forward to finding out if my questions get answers.

3.5 Flowers - This was a good book!

Now enjoy an excerpt:

“Why are you up, Rayna?” he asked, his voice just above a whisper. “What’s keeping you awake? Is your bed uncomfortable?”

“No, it’s fine,” she said, finally breaking the stare and gazing out to the moonlight again. “I just have a lot on my mind.”

“Like what?”


“Nothing,” she murmured. “Just . . . just my sister.”

He placed his hand on her shoulder, and she turned her head at his touch.

“And what if I thought something different was keeping you awake?”

“Like what?” she swallowed, her voice tight.

“Like you and me. Us. Together.”

She shut her eyes and turned her head back toward the window. Never would she admit it as she’d already been over all the reasons getting together with Brody was a bad idea.

“Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d thought I’d ask because that’s what’s been keeping me up tonight,” he said, his hand kneading her shoulder before it slipped away.

Rayna knew that if she said yes, things would go into a place anyone in their right mind would deem not advisable. However, the brief contact of his skin on hers brought out a deep, visceral ache that needed to be sated.

“You weren’t wrong,” she whispered, staring out into the night.

“Then look at me,” he growled.

She shut her eyes while gathering her nerve, reminding herself she wanted this as well. However, in her bones, she also felt this could be the biggest mistake of her life.

“Look at me, Rayna.”

She turned.

About the Author:
Carly Fall is a wife, a mother and a slave to the dog, Nicky. She loves to laugh, thinks chocolate and wine should be considered their own food group, and wishes Christmas happened twice a year. She is the author of the award winning and Amazon best selling series, The Six Saviors, as well as paranormal and contemporary romance.

By Sea is the first book in her new series, The Supernatural Renegades.

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

Author info:

Twitter: @CarlyFall1

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Ruthless Perfection by Susie Warren - Interview and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Susie will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks for stopping by It's Raining Books, Susie. Why do you write contemporary romance? What draws you to it?

I love to read contemporary romance. I’m drawn to the happily ever after, satisfying emotional arc and the fast pace.

For me, the hardest part of being a romance writer is the willingness to explore the emotional core of the story. I get lost in intriguing plots and the structure of the story and have to push myself to fully investigate the emotional life of the characters. But the reader ultimately is looking for the emotional impact in the story so the setting and plot details in a well told romance will be somewhat invisible.

What research was required required for Ruthless Perfection?

I learned a great deal about the history of the marble trade while doing the research for Ruthless Perfection. Marble is a very tangible commodity and for most people they have touched a marble countertop or admired a marble statue. Part of the challenge for me was to not allow too much of the history to come in and overshadow the relationship between Isabel and Marc.

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

I have a tendency to write early in the morning as the sun is rising. The house is very quiet at this time and the phone seldom rings. As I get drawn deeper into the story, the house could go up in flames and I may not realize it as I keep putting words on the page. I also like to wear the same cashmere sweater and keep my office set up in the same way.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I’ve shifted from a pantser to a plotter. I’ve always been drawn to creating the structure of the story but I used to allow the characters to set the pace. Now I insist on a framework so the story doesn’t go off on a tangent.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

A stack of books about writing. I like to hold onto non-fiction books and occasionally will glance through them for inspiration.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

My third novel, The Exiled Jeweler, is coming out this month.

It’s about a shy heiress to a jewelry empire that captures the attention of a celebrated business entrepreneur when she attends a gala at his mansion in Los Angeles. Images secretly captured of her partially nude are released to the tabloids and her overly protective family sends her far away.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Why do you like to read? It is to immerse yourself in another world? Escape everyday stresses? Or is it just the sheer enjoyment of the story?

MediaKit_BookCover_RuthlessPerfection_2500pxA filmmaker wanting to honor her family’s legacy approaches a reclusive billionaire for help Isabel Neri’s innocence captures the attention of a well-known Italian marble mogul, Marc Santoro, when she approaches him against her family’s wishes. Wanting to honor her disgraced grandfather, Isabel needs Marc’s permission to produce a film about the Carrara marble industry. Faced with honoring an old family obligation, Marc allows Isabel to travel to Italy with him but seeks to limit her exposure to his family’s tragic past. Isabel discovers the untold story and challenges Marc to reveal the truth. She is forced to expose her own secret as their desire sparks out of control.
Enjoy an excerpt: Isabel felt a moment of panic as she watched the driver make a swift exit. She carefully walked up the stone path that led to the front door, being careful not to catch her black Manolo Blahnik heels in the stones. The front door swung open and Isabel felt the oxygen leave her body. She wasn’t prepared for seeing Marc Santoro in the flesh again. She could feel his gaze rake over her in appraisal, apparently sizing her up. He looked every inch the wealthy business owner: he was dressed in an expertly tailored gray shirt with slightly darker gray trousers that were pressed to exactness. He was even more striking than she remembered, and she reminded herself to just breathe and focus on her pitch. It was his intensity that she responded to; he seemed to be absorbing everything about her. Isabel hid her expression as she acknowledged to herself that while he may appreciate her outward appearance, he wouldn’t appreciate her damaged body. Would he remember meeting her before? She forced herself to reach out and offer her hand. As his warm fingers enveloped hers, she felt a spark of attraction travel through her body. She immediately pulled back, but not before she saw his eyes darken. He merely smiled at her reaction, saying, “So you are not just a figment of Alberto’s imagination.” Guiding her inside, he added, “I was beginning to doubt that the old man had any relatives interested in the marble trade.” Isabel felt her spine stiffen. Was he questioning her family’s loyalty? “My grandfather speaks very highly of you,” Isabel said as she took in the luxurious setting, trying to get her bearings. His voice was cool and didn’t give her any clue if he welcomed her visit. “It isn’t often that Alberto Neri asks for a favor.” About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_RuthlessPerfectionSusie Warren writes contemporary romance. Besides being an avid reader, she spends much of her free time crafting intense and complex stories about falling in love. When she is not writing, Susie works as an administrator in a small, independent school while caring for three teenagers and keeping tabs on her inventor husband. With the launching of her first book, The Forgotten Heiress, she has slowly begun to navigate the social media realm. Susie loves to hear from readers and responds to each email and Facebook post. Please reach out to her via Facebook or Twitter @susiecwarren For more information on her upcoming releases, new excerpts and other related postings, or to sign up for free promotions, please visit Buy the book at Amazon. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Q&A with David Russell, author of DREAMTIME SENSUALITY

It's Raining Books welcomes David Russell, whose latest book was released this summer. Read a little bit about the book.

The characters in this quartet of stories are intelligent, sensitive and literary. They are also supremely voyeuristic and open-minded. Their intelligence is counterbalanced by inhibitions, which they can only lose by premeditated seduction scenarios, which relate intimately to their professional, creative and cultural lives. The great effort each couple puts into arranging a scenario seems to enhance the quality of the experience. A great source of inspiration for this and other works has been the novel The Girl Beneath the Lion by André Pieyre de Mandiargues.

David agreed to answer a few questions for us. David, why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

I do not write exclusively in one genre; I also write speculative fiction and poetry. The latter is often dark and obsessional. So the romance area gives me some counterbalancing light.

What research is required?

My recommendation would be to become proficient at The Times crossword, or the US/Canadian equivalent of that. It really does extend the vocabulary. Plus as much reading as possible of the Gothic tradition for the paranormal.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

You may get greater euphoria if you have formerly been ultra-circumspect/inhibited. I was brought up as an ultra-prude. Now I have a formula for romance writing.

Any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?

When editing my work, I tend to start at the end, and read backwards, paragraph by paragraph.

Plotter or pantser?

I’m not sure what a ‘pantser’ is. I Believe in writing carefully constructed plots, and I also have a wardrobe fetish.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

An unidentified spectre

Anything new coming up from you? What?

One straightforward romance story, and one story combining romance, mythology and time-travel

Do you have a question for our readers?

Do you like innovations, surprises and challenges in what you read. Do you have other reading areas?

Buy the book at Devine Destinies, Manic Readers, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.

About the Author:
b. 1940. Resident in the UK. Writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance. Main poetry collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998); poems published in online International Times. Main speculative works High Wired On (2002); Rock Bottom (2005). Translation of Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013. Romances: Self’s Blossom; Explorations; Further Explorations; Therapy Rapture; Darlene, An Ecstatic Rendezvous (all pub Extasy (Devine Destinies). Singer-songwriter/guitarist. Main CD albums Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. Many tracks on You Tube, under ‘Dave Russell’.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Shadow of the Witte Wieven by Debbie Peterson - Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Debbie will be awarding a $15 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Hello! I am so excited to visit with you today. Thank you so much for the invitation and the opportunity to give our lovely readers a story from my vast paranormal files!

When it comes to Shadow of the Witte Wieven—and because I am a writer of both fantasy and paranormal romance—my thoughts often turn to the many legends concerning ghost ships. After all, any sighting of Wolf’s ship as he sails in this dimension is deemed a ghost ship by those who can actually see his brigantine. Not many can, you know… ;)

Anyway, one of my favorite legends concerns the American schooner known as the Young Teazer, which targeted the sea trade of the British Empire during the War of 1812, and for a time, she was rather successful in her pursuits.

Yet, as fate would have it, in June of 1813, British ships finally trapped the Young Teazer in Mahone Bay which is situated between Mason Island and Rafuse Island. Escape was impossible and the hands aboard the Teazer knew it. Without delay, the British dispatched a five boat boarding party to take possession of their prize. But, as they made their approach, the Young Teazer suddenly and unexpectedly exploded.

Survivors later claimed they saw Frederick Johnson, the Teazer’s First Lieutenant, toss flaming embers into the cache of ammunition which instantly ignited. The ship caught fire and that fire spread rapidly. The tactic killed Johnson and many of his fellow crew members that day.

Not long thereafter, very credible reports about the sighting of a fiery ghost ship began to surface. Then one year later, on June 27th of 1814, the people of Mahone Bay swore up and down they saw a spectral ship sailing exactly where the Young Teazer had met its demise. The ship vanished in a huge cloud of smoke and fire, but not before the witnesses positively identified it as the Young Teazer.

Even without the help of Facebook or Twitter, it didn’t take long for this story to circulate coast to coast. As the anniversary of the event came around again, a throng of people gathered in Mahone Bay with high expectations of seeing the flaming ghost ship for themselves. They were not disappointed. From that day to the present, people continue to stand as witness to the reality of the phantom ship which continues to sail, two hundred years later. More often than not, Young Teazer can be seen on misty nights which fall within three days of the full moon…

So, tell me, what do you think of ghost ships… fact or fiction?

Despite a contract on her head, lone Drug Enforcement Agent, Aliyana Montijo must ferret out a mole and stop the assassination of top DEA officials, as so ordered by the Colombian drug lord she seeks to take down. The task is a daunting one, for there is no one she can trust. No one that is, until she encounters a most unlikely ally.

Former seventeenth century captain of the Dutch West Indies Company, Wolfaert Dircksen Van Ness, now from a parallel dimension, encounters the beautiful agent during an unearthly storm in the Bermuda triangle. Drawn to the Spanish beauty he rescues, he pledges his assistance, despite her reluctance to accept either his help or his heart.

Can Wolf bridge both space and time to claim the woman he loves?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Something terrible had happened. She could feel it. She raced toward her supplies and grabbed hold of her backpack. Her fingers shook as she unzipped the bag and yanked out her phone. She tried to call Greg several times over before it dawned on her that he had already boarded a plane headed for Colombia. She wouldn’t be able to contact him until the morning.

Despite all attempts to banish it, the dread grew stronger with each passing hour. A growing notion that Wolf and his crew never vacated the sub, took firm hold. The conscientious men of the Wieven could very well have remained behind to ensure that all went according to plan. The thought of such an occurrence made her sick to her stomach. She couldn’t sleep, and she couldn’t eat. All throughout the long hours of the night, she restlessly paced along the shore, waiting, hoping—and praying.

By the time the gloomy morning arrived, what little hope she’d carried throughout the long night, dissipated. Somewhere in her heart, she finally accepted that her beloved captain wouldn’t be coming for her. Not now. Not ever again. Excruciating pain accompanied that knowledge, and in that same moment, she could feel her heart shattering into an infinite number of pieces. Even though she had endured such pain many times before, it had never assaulted her with the intensity it did right now. She didn’t know if she could survive it. Indeed, she didn’t know if she wanted to survive it.

About the Author: Debbie has always had a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, and happily ever after endings. Stories of love and make believe filled her head for as long as she can remember. However, it was her beloved husband who encouraged, cajoled and inspired her to take up a pen and write some of them down. In 2012, The Wild Rose Press published her first novel, Spirit of the Rebellion.

When she’s not busy conjuring her latest novel, Debbie spends time with the members of her very large family. She also pursues her interests in family history which she also teaches, mythology, and all things ancient and historic.

Connect with Debbie:


Buy Shadow of the Witte Wieven at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or All Romance eBooks.

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Bringing Up Mike by Mark Duncan - Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mark will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five Things You Might Not Know About Mark Duncan

I’m a long-term cancer survivor

I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma when I broke the top of my right femur. I’ve had several radiation treatments, a bone marrow transplant at Stanford, and seven years of chemotherapy. After seventeen years, the myeloma appears to have burned itself out. I’ve had several side effects such as cataracts, kidney damage, and vertebroplasty to repair lesions in my lower back. Despite this, I stay active and engaged in life.

Participated in Lifespring when I was 25

Lifespring was a New Age/Human Potential company that helped people to see how others perceive and experience them. For myself, it came as a rude awakening that I was seen as being negative and critical. It helped me realized that I wanted to have more friends and caused me to work at being more positive and supportive. It took years to make these changes, but I’m much happier as a result.

Spent time at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) when I was in high school

When I was in high school, personal computers didn’t exist. If you were interested in computers, you had to get access to a minicomputer. There was an educational computer company at the San Carlos, CA airport called Technica that let high school kids use their equipment. Subsequently found that Digital Equipment allowed access to the minicomputers at their new training center in Sunnyvale. It subsequently occurred to me to ask for access to the timeshared SAIL facility, and to my surprise, access was given to my classmate, Steve Gibson and myself on Friday and Saturday nights. It was the first exposure I had to email and computer games!

I was the shortest kid in my elementary school classes

It wasn’t until the fifth grade that I was no longer the shortest kid in my class. In 9th grade I weighed 98 pounds, but by the 10th I was at 132 pounds and 5’9” in height. The only reason I remember these particular facts was that I was on the wrestling team in high school!

I often got in one or more fights each day in elementary school

While I was very short, I was all muscle, since I wrestled and worked out at the downtown Pasadena, CA YMCA. I suffered from bad allergies—it was like I had a constant cold–so it contributed to a violent temper. At recess I frequently got into one or more fights. I didn’t like school, so I would come home and bury myself in a book to escape. Often I read three or four books a day (I was a fast reader, reading two thousand words a minute). It was faster to read a book than watch a movie! Like many other things, I’ve slowed down— I read at a small fraction of this speed today.

What happens when Joe, a teen prodigy makes drastic changes to his life and attends high school incognito with Mike, an artificial intelligence? His plans take an unexpected turn when he buys a neglected former racehorse.

Bringing Up Mike is a tapestry of intertwined stories over the course of a school year: A teen genius who has grown up too fast, a neglected former racehorse, a bereaved couple morning the death of their son, a girl struggling to attend college, and a former mobster determined to be top dog.

Bringing Up Mike is about people given a second chance at happiness and success and how they become better people and mature.

Enjoy an excerpt:

As he walked down the windowless hallway, Joe’s long hair swung back and forth across his back. He swiped his badge against the door lock, entered a PIN code, and it clicked open. He took another gulp of coffee and entered his office.

He touched his finger to the keyboard to scan his fingerprint, then gestured on a touchpad to log in and authenticate himself. The lights went off in the office, the lock clicked in place, and the introduction to The Outer Limits began to play: “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust”

“Mike, very funny. Stop the effects, turn on the lights.”

The office lights flickered on. “Your wish is my command, O Master.”

“Enough with mimicking the genie from Aladdin.”

“I don’t sound like Robin Williams?”

“No, you’re perfect. I’m just not a morning person.” He pulled off his thick glasses and rubbed his brows before placing them back. “Any interesting news or urgent emails?”

“Nothing earth-shattering, the usual please respond immediately emails. Answered the trivial ones, but there are three that need your attention eventually.”

“How’s the meeting going?”

“Started half an hour ago. I gave your update ten minutes ago. Told them how we’d found and neutralized one hundred and four viruses and Trojans, and that if they didn’t like your acronym DAWG for Deleterious Adaptive Web Gladiator, you were open to suggestions. You want to listen?”

“No, I’ll nap for a bit. Wake me if anything comes up.”

About the Author:
Mark Duncan grew up in Pasadena, not far from Caltech. In high school he spent Friday and Saturday nights at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) and subsequently was a member of the Homebrew Computer Club. He received his BSEE from UC Berkeley. He has worked or consulted for numerous startups in Silicon Valley. He lives in Menlo Park, near Stanford and has written extensively on emerging technology topics. He enjoys photography, movies, theater, fine dining and has visited all 50 states and much of Europe. He is the author of Bringing Up Mike.

Book and Author Links Book Website: up mike.html
Publisher Website:
Author Website: duncan.html
Author Twitter:
Author Facebook:

Buy the book at Amazon, Amazon UK, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Texas Two Step by Jody Vitek - Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

12_8 texas ExcerptTour_TourBanner_TexasTwoStep

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jody will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

12_8 texas Cover_Texas Two StepYou first met Chad Rogers and Chloe Atwood in Florida Heat, now you get to read their story.

Old family ties broken, childhood pain healed and true love revealed—one step at a time.

One phone call sends Chad Rogers back to the one place he’s been avoiding—home. Being at his mother’s side after she is shot, he faces the younger brother who tormented him during childhood and his ex-lover, Chloe Atwood.

Chloe Atwood is engaged to a family friend. Chad Rogers steps back into her world, spinning it off its axis. She sees him in a new light this time around, leaving her to question if they can have a future together.

Read an excerpt:

“Andrew, I’m here.” She scanned the tiled floor of the foyer for a box with her belongings, but there wasn’t one. Further into the apartment, she looked in both directions along the short hallway. His bedroom door was partially closed, so she went to the left, entering the open kitchen, dining and living room. Papers covered the glass dining room table and were strewn about the coffee table. White powder coated a small area of the glass table by his laptop. Powdered sugar? “Andrew, where are you?”

“In my room.”

“Are you descent?” She wasn’t in the mood for any games with him.


She padded down the hallway, opened the door and entered the master room. As she passed the exterior wall to the master bathroom, she lost her balance and screamed. Regaining her steadiness from being pushed, an arm forcefully wrapped around her neck and waist, while a body pushed into her back.

“No! Help! Andrew,” she shrieked, drawing out each word. Unsuccessful in reaching upward, she tried twisting but failed. Whoever held her had a tight hold.

12_8 texas AuthorPic_Texas Two StepAbout the Author: Born and raised in Minnesota, Jody has remained close to home living with her husband of twenty plus years, three children and a cat named Holly. Growing up, she enjoyed reading V.C. Andrews' the Dollanganger series, starting with Flowers in the Attic, S.E. Hinton, and Stephen King to name a few. Today her tastes run across the board in fiction and non-fiction, in all genres.

She has traveled throughout the United States, to the Bahamas and Cancun, Mexico. Between watching her son’s soccer games, maintaining one of the many scrapbook albums, gardening and being the COO of the Vitek household, she writes contemporary romances.

Twitter: @JodyVitek

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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The Green Rose by Stephanie Burkhart - Spotlight and Giveaway

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

On the continent of Gaia, evil is brewing. Turncoat wizard, Balthyser, kidnaps the kings of Dahaka and Tapin. He wants the green rose, a source of powerful magic.

Princess Sonia of Tapin is forced to hunt down the rose in exchange for her father's life. It's the ultimate betrayal of Gaia's peace, but she has no choice if she wants to save her father.

Prince Ivánstan of Dahaka accompanies her on the journey. Both face challenges and obstacles that test their strength of character during the hunt for the rose. Dare Sonia put her trust and faith in a man she hardly knows to secure Gaia's peace or will the continent's harmony be shattered forever?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Racing forward, he spotted her near Tapin's tents surrounded by three beasts. Tall and slender, she possessed a strong, wild beauty he found intriguing. Long chestnut brown hair flowed down her back. Her eyes were golden yellow with obsidian irises. She'd been bonded! Only the noble bonded. Her high, exotic cheekbones and patrician features were steeled in courage and determination. The primal urge to mate with her made his heart pound in his chest.

A falcon, the heraldic symbol of Tapin, was prominently displayed on her tunic.

A bird screeched. A wyldebeast craned its neck upward and the descending falcon slashed its talons over the creature's face, spraying blood.

"Well done, Hiro!" exclaimed the woman.

A second wyldebeast lashed at her. She stumbled backwards, tripping on a rock. Her wrist struck the ground hard, sending her sword sprawling several feet away from her, leaving her vulnerable.

"Draco, defend the Tapin noblewoman!"

Ivánstan's dragon, now overhead, shot a blast of flame from his mouth, scorching the fur of an advancing beast. The creature collapsed and rolled over, attempting to use the ground to extinguish the flames on its body.

The remaining wyldebeast raised his hand, its fingernails moist, poised to strike the noblewoman. Ivánstan lunged forward and sliced off the creature's wrist just inches in front of her face.

"Thank Nyla!" she cried.

The beast howled in pain and spun to face Ivánstan. Draco latched its thorny claws into the creature's shoulders, lifting it into the air.

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, is addicted to coffee and enjoys early morning walks. She's also an assistant den leader for her son's Cub Scout den and is a Boy Scout mom. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.

Buy the book at Desert Breeze Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks, or Sony.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

The Sunken by S.C. Green - Review and Giveaway

This review is in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In the heart of London lies the Engine Ward, a district forged in coal and steam, where the great Engineering Sects vie for ultimate control of the country. For many, the Ward is a forbidding, desolate place, but for Nicholas Thorne, the Ward is a refuge. He has returned to London under a cloud of shadow to work for his childhood friend, the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Deep in the Ward's bowels, Nicholas can finally escape his strange affliction – the thoughts of animals that crowd his head. But seeing Brunel interact with his mechanical creations, Nicholas is increasingly concerned that his friend may be succumbing to the allure of his growing power. That power isn't easily cast aside, and the people of London need Brunel to protect the streets from the prehistoric monsters that roam the city.

King George III has approved Brunel's ambitious plan to erect a Wall that would shut out the swamp dragons and protect the city. But in secret, the King cultivates an army of Sunken: men twisted into flesh-eating monsters by a thirst for blood and lead. Only Nicholas and Brunel suspect that something is wrong, that the Wall might play into a more sinister purpose--to keep the people of London trapped inside.

My Review:

If you choose to pick this book up, please allow yourself plenty of time--it's not a short book (approximately 500 pages) and it's not a quick read. There's a lot going on in this book -- a lot of people, a lot of nuances, and a lot of activity.

It's heavier on the alternative history than some other steampunk novels I've read. Dinosaurs never died out--they live on in the form of dragons; George III did not die, but rather was known as "the vampire king"; and religion is not worshiping God but different sects of science and the arts-- many of them, because each person could create his own church.

However, just because it's not an easy book to read, don't make the mistake that it's not enjoyable-- because it is. The book is very well written and, being the first book in the series, is setting up the worldbuilding for the remainder of the series. It is so different to the world we know that it's hard to wrap your head around it with a quick scan. It's a book you want to take your time with and savor.

The characters are first introduced as young men involved in a terrible accident. Two of them leave immediately afterward, fearing their third friend blames them for the accident--which resulted in his father being charged and exiled. Ten years later, they are reunited and the rest of the book details the situation they find themselves in. As the book goes on, the friends become more and more concerned about each other and about what's going on with the King's plan.

Other characters are more-or-less regulated to the background; the main characters are indeed Nicholas, James, Isambord, and Aaron and their complex relationships with each other.

I'm looking forward to the next installment in this series--it's anyone's guess what will happen next. 4 flowers. Enjoy an excerpt:

The furnace was unlit; the only light a faint glow from an Argand lamp in Aaron's hand. He squinted at his friend in the darkness, saw his face set into a stony expression.

"Isambard was just informing me of his secret project," Aaron said, his tone even.

"You're building the London railway?" asked Nicholas.

"The King wants you to build a railway in London? Isambard, this is—"

"Amazing. Miraculous, Incomprehensible, I know!" Isambard's excitement filled the room. "It's only a small section of track, but it's a start. He wants me to build a railway from Windsor Castle into Buckingham House. It will be the first railway inside the city. Apart from the first mile of track across the castle grounds, the entire railway will be underground. And it must be built in four months."

"That's preposterous!" Aaron said. "You've only built one railway before, and that hardly stretched a mile, and it took a lot longer than four months."

"Especially not when work on the Wall begins next week," added Nicholas. "That too shares that same impossible deadline, and since it stretches outside the Ward and will be in full view of the public, the Stokers are not permitted to work on it. Where are we going to find men?"

"I am aware of both these issues. That's why I've been holed up in here for the last three days, trying to come up with a solution. Now that you're both here, I can show you what I've created."

Brunel reached over and, with fingers that seemed unusually cold as they brushed Nicholas' arm, pushed the light toward the far corner of the room. There stood two machines that made Nicholas recoil in fright.


"What is that?" Aaron demanded.

"You can approach them." Brunel grabbed Nicholas by the shoulders and dragged him across the room.

"They look so—so—"

"I know. Aren’t they beautiful?" Brunel reached out and stroked the belly of one of the machines, angling the light to give Nicholas and Aaron a better view. "I call them my Boilers. They will revolutionise the manufacturing process."

Each Boiler stood a little higher than Brunel — round furnace bellies balanced on metal skids, with a complex labyrinth of wheels, tubes and gauges protruding from the top. Their shape appeared too natural, too human, to be made of iron, but iron they were, and ingeniously designed. Clawlike limbs extended from the furnace body, and where one would expect a head, Brunel had given each a double chimney. More dials and gauges protruded from the rear of the furnace, and Nicholas recognised some of the controls from Brunel's steam locomotive designs — a regulator, a water glass. Obviously prototypes, the metal was rough, unfinished, but Nicholas immediately grasped the basic idea.

"They’re … workers?"

Brunel nodded. "There aren’t men enough in England to finish the railway and Wall as soon as the King wants them, but with machines to work day and night, and men like Aaron to run them, we can do it. These are just prototypes, of course, but fifty units are being finished in the workshops as we speak. I plan to have the first Boiler workgang operational by the end of the week. Watch."

He opened the furnace of the nearest one and stoked it up. It spluttered to life, churning steam from its double chimney. Brunel worked the controls from behind the Boiler, stepping aside when it lurched forward. Aaron stumbled back, tripping over Nicholas as the Boiler barrelled toward them, claws outstretched, steam billowing from its mechanical neck.

Panicked, Nicholas rolled out of the Boiler's path, dragging Aaron back with him. But the Boiler wasn't after them. It tore straight past Nicholas and picked up a length of pipe from the bench behind him. Holding the pipe in its clawed hands, it bent the length into a perfect U, fitted a pressure gauge on the end, then fitted it to another pipe protruding from the wall, tightened the whole apparatus, and stood back, awaiting its next instruction.

"See?" Brunel clapped his hands together. "The Boiler will repeat that task, again and again, until he is given new instructions. Aren't they the most amazing invention that ever your eyes did see?"

About the Author:
S. C. Green is the author of the dystopian steampunk series, The Engine Ward, as well as humorous fantasy At War With Satan (under the name Steff Metal). Her latest novel, The Sunken, explores an alternative Georgian London where dinosaurs still survive.

She lives in an off-grid house on a slice of rural paradise near Auckland, New Zealand, with her cantankerous drummer husband, their two cats, and their medieval sword collection. She writes about metal music, her books, living off-grid, and her adventures with home-brewing on her blog

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The Cowboys of Copper Mountain by Katherine Garbera, Jane Porter, and Melissa McClone - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will award a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn rafflecopter winner (international giveaway). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Three novellas and an unforgettable short story, now available together in one festive package!

A Cowboy For Christmas by Katherine Garbera

Annie Prudhomme never expected to be back in Marietta, MT and her family is fond of reminding her that she left them and the town behind in search of better things. A humiliating divorce that cost her everything she’d gained has driven her back home and her family isn’t about to welcome her back into the fold. She’s in town to rebuild the old home that she inherited and to move on once again.

Carson Scott never forgot Annie or the way she left. Now that she’s back in town he’s realizing that the old flame still burns hot but he can’t risk his heart the way he did last time now that he has his son to think about it. Being trapped together during a December snowstorm gives them a chance to rekindle their romance but is Annie back for good or is she just looking for a cowboy for Christmas?

Christmas At Copper Mountain by Jane Porter

Since the loss of her family in a plane crash, Harley Diekerhoff has led a quiet life and keeps to herself. Taking the temporary job at the Copper Mountain Ranch as widower Brock Sheenan’s housekeeper seems perfect for her. But her calm cocoon is invaded with the arrival of Brock’s pre-teen twins, Mack and Molly who’ve never experienced a proper Christmas and before she knows it, Harley’s determined to make their holiday perfect.

Annoyed at first by Harley’s interference, Brock is secretly pleased she’s changed Mack and Molly’s world. It doesn’t hurt that he finds Harley incredibly attractive, fierce, smart and passionate. It’s also an added bonus that she’s not afraid to challenge him and get his blood heated! But when sparks fly and the attractions sizzles between them, Harley’s not so sure she can handle something permanent with this dark, taciturn cowboy who doesn’t know how to let her in. But Brock is determined to hold on to her and praying for a Christmas miracle…

Home For Christmas by Melissa McClone

Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Rachel Murphy loves the scent of gingerbread baking almost as much as she enjoys creating custom edible houses at Christmastime. But she needs a bigger kitchen if she wants to make the most of her impromptu holiday business.

Enter Nate Vaughn, handsome venture capitalist turned Montana dude ranch owner and her brother’s boss. Nate’s commercial kitchen is perfect for the baker. And he thinks she might be perfect for him…as a business partner.

After being burned by a celebrity baker, Rachel’s wary of Nate’s interest in her gingerbread houses, not to mention his mistletoe kisses. She should leave the Bar V5 ranch and return to Arizona. Or can Nate convince her she’s already home?

Mistletoe Magic by Melissa McClone

Spending a quiet Christmas housesitting and reading novels about hot cowboys sounds perfect to Caitlin. Until a stray kitten brings her face-to-face with Noah, her crush from college. Watching the handsome vet in action melts Caitlin's heart and brings back long-forgotten emotion. She would be safer back at the house lost in the pages of a book. But a toe-curling mistletoe kiss tempts her to stay. Maybe she won't be spending this Christmas… alone.

Veterinarian Noah Sullivan isn't a Scrooge, but the Christmas Eve tradition of hanging mistletoe in the clinic's waiting room annoys him. Kissing doesn't belong at the Copper Mountain Animal Hospital. Noah rethinks his position when Caitlin Butler arrives with a stray kitten she found freezing in the snow. All he wants now is to maneuver the pretty preschool teacher under the mistletoe. If he's not careful, he'll wind up on Santa's naughty list.

Enjoy an excerpt from Christmas at Copper Mountain:

“You okay, Miss Diekerhoff?”

Turning quickly, potato skins still dripping, Harley blinked back tears as she spotted Brock Sheenan standing by the fireplace, warming his hands.

Brock was a big man. He was tall–six one or two—with broad shoulders, a wide muscular chest, and shaggy black hair.

Harley’s late husband, David, was Portuguese and darkly handsome, but David was always groomed and polished while the Montana rancher seemed disinclined to comb his hair, or bother with a morning shave.

The truth was, Brock Sheenan looked like a pirate, and never more so than now, with tiny snow flakes clinging to his wild hair and shadowed jaw.

“I’m fine,” she said breathlessly, embarrassed. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

“The faucet was on.” He rubbed his hands together, the skin red and raw. “You’re not….crying…are you?”

She heard the uncomfortable note in his voice and cringed a little. “No,” she said quickly, straightening and squaring her shoulders as she dumped the potato peels into the garbage. “Everything’s wonderful.”

“So you’re not crying?”

“No,” she repeated crisply, drying her hands. “Just peeling potatoes for dinner.”

Her gaze swept his big frame, seeing the powdered snow still clinging to the hem of his wrangler jeans peeking beneath his leather chaps and white glitter dusting his black brows. His supple leather chaps weren’t for show. It was frigid outside and he’d spent the week in the saddle driving the last herds of cattle from the back country to the valley down below so the cows could take shelter beneath trees. “Can I get you something?”

“You don’t happen to have any coffee left from this morning that you could heat up?”

“I can make a fresh pot,” she said, grabbing the glass carafe to fill it with water. “Want regular or decaf?”

He glanced at the clock mounted on the wall above the door and then out the window where the snow flurries were thickening, making it almost impossible to see the tall pine trees marking one corner of the yard. “Leaded,” he said. “Make it strong, too. It’s going to be a late night for me.”

She added the coffee grounds, and then hit the brew button. “You’re heading back out?”

“I’m going to ride back up as soon as I get something warm in me. Thought I’d take some of the breakfast coffee cake with me. If there was anything left.”

“There is.” She’d already wrapped the remaining slices in foil. He wasn’t one to linger over meals, and he didn’t like asking for snacks between meals, either. If he wanted something now, it meant he wouldn’t be back anytime soon. But it was already after four. It’d be dark within the hour. “It’s snowing hard.”

“I won’t be able to sleep tonight if I don’t do a last check. The boys said we’ve got them all but I keep thinking we’re missing one or two of the young ones. Have to be sure before I call it a night.”

Harley reached into a cupboard for one of the thermoses she sent with Brick on his early mornings. “What time will you want dinner?”

“Don’t know when I’ll be back. Could be fairly late, so just leave a plate in the oven for me. No need for you to stay up.” He bundled his big arms across his even bigger chest, a lock of thick black hair falling down over his forehead to shadow an equally dark eye.

There was nothing friendly or approachable about Brock when he stood like that. His wild black hair, square jaw, and dark piercing gaze that gave him a slightly threatening air, but Harley knew better. Men, even the most dangerous men, were still mortal. They had goals, dreams, needs. They tried, they failed. They made mistakes. Fatal mistakes.

“Any of the boys going with you?” she asked, trying to sound casual as she wrapped a generous wedge of cheddar cheese in foil, and a hunk of the summer sausage he liked, so he’d have something more substantial than coffee cake for his ride.

He shook his head, then dragged a large calloused hand through the glossy black strands in a half-hearted attempt to comb the tangled strands smooth. “No.”

She gave him a swift, troubled look.

He shrugged. “No point in putting the others in harm’s way.”

Her frown deepened. “What if you get into trouble?”

“I won’t.”

She arched her brows.

She ought to be intimidated by this shaggy beast of a man, but she wasn’t. She’d had a husband—a daring, risk taking husband of her own—and his lapse in judgment had cost them all. Dearly.

“It’s dangerous out there,” she said quietly. “You shouldn’t go alone.”

About the Authors:

USA Today, and New York Times bestselling author of 47 romances and women's fiction titles, Jane Porter has been a finalist for the prestigious RITA award five times, with her Tule Publishing novella, Take Me, Cowboy, winning the Novella Category July 2014. Jane today has over 12 million copies in print, including her wildly popular Flirting with Forty, a novel picked by Redbook Magazine as it's Red Hot Summer Read in 2006 before being turned into a Lifetime movie in 2008 starring Heather Locklear.

Jane holds an MA in Writing from the University of San Francisco and makes her home in sunny San Clemente, CA with her surfer husband, three sons, and two dogs. You can learn more about Jane at

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USA Today bestselling author Katherine Garbera is a two-time Maggie winner who has written more than 65 books. Writing is the chief focus of her time after her family and the only thing she likes more than working on her own books is reading other authors. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and loves the opportunity to talk about writing with anyone who'll listen. A Florida native who grew up to travel the globe, Katherine now makes her home in the Midlands of the UK with her husband, two children and a very spoiled miniature dachshund.

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Melissa McClone has published over thirty romance novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group. She’s also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities. She also sends care packages to deployed service members and fosters cats through a local no-kill animal shelter. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three school-aged children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!

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