Friday, January 30, 2015

Winter Fire by Kathy Fischer-Brown - Interview and Giveaway

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

Thanks for dropping by It's Raining Books to chat with us today. If someone were writing a story about you, what would your blurb say?

The onetime late ’60s-early/’70s hippie folk-singing actress wannabe always wanted to write. Even as she pursued an education and short career in the theater, ideas for stories and fleshing them out proved far more fulfilling. As an author, Kathy draws on a vivid inner life to provide fodder for her novels, a mix of historical fiction and romance with a little fantasy thrown in.

Would you tell us a little about your newest release that isn't in the blurb?

I have nothing really new out. My last book was The Partisan’s Wife, the final book of The Serpent’s Tooth trilogy, which came out about three years ago. The blurb doesn’t include tiny details, of course, or how much fun I had doing the research. Or anything about the secondary characters. Basically it’s the story of a man and woman who have loved each other for a long time, but have been separated for years by a circumstances and a number of obstacles. (All of this is covered in the first two books, btw.) Now they’re together again, but the war is closing in around them and each must make choices. What was your favorite scene to write in this story?

I have a number of favorite scenes from Winter Fire. One that comes to mind is a scene about two thirds of the way through the book. When I wrote it, I had a very dramatic image in my mind of Ethan and Zara (the hero and heroine) standing slightly apart in the middle of a snow-covered corn field, the two of them silhouetted against the evening sky, its colors against the snow. It’s a hard scene for her, because she digs deep inside herself and her fears to explain that, as a stranger to her own people, she doesn’t blame him for having second thoughts about protecting her from a posse out to arrest and most likely hang her. She knows of the pain he relives over the memories she incites from his past. I like this scene for its quiet intensity and for getting to the heart of both their internal conflicts.

If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

Good question. I wouldn’t trade places with any of my main characters; their lives are too angsty and complicated. Probably Mercy van Allen, a secondary character in The Partisan’s Wife. She’s a woman of some means, who lives with her mute, palm-reading sister on a farm along the Hudson River. Both are kindhearted but quite eccentric, with a soft spot for stray animals and people. But I’d only trade places for a day or two at most, preferably for no more than an hour. Eighteenth century life was hard, and I’d miss my modern comforts.

When Ethan Caine pulled the unconscious woman from the half-frozen creek, he had no idea that his world was about to explode. Dressed in quilled doeskin of Iroquois design, she stirred up dark secrets from his past. At the same time, she was everything he desired. But she was more Indian than white, and on the run for murder. He needed to know the truth. He needed to find it within himself to trust her.

Banished by the Seneca Indians who had adopted and raised her, ostracized by the whites in the settlement, Zara Grey wanted only to be accepted. “Ethancaine” treated her with kindness and concern. It was easy to trust him. But her Indian ways disturbed him, and in her heart she would always be Seneca.

Enjoy an excerpt:

October, 1779. Six Nations Territory

She ran. Breathless, heart straining. Despite the stabbing pain in her side and the fire in her lungs, she forced herself on through the crackling underbrush. The cold wind whipped hair in her eyes. Briars tore her face and hands.

Yet with each labored stride, the soldiers' shouting voices drew closer. She dared not look back for fear of losing ground, dared not avert her eyes from the forest path.

But where was she to run? As if the question were an obstacle in her path she stumbled to a halt.

There was no one to help her. The People had gone, taking with them all help, all hope. She was alone. The outcast. Nameless.

Gasping, she slumped to her knees into the dew-drenched leaves.

The witch Jiiwi is no more!

The truth of it choked her. She set her teeth against the cry of anguish rising in her throat. She could have chosen death! Death at the hands of The People would have been swift. Nichus, her-husband-no-longer-her-husband, had assured her.

But her fear of death had been stronger than her fear of the unknown. She had chosen life. And with it, banishment.

She tore wind-blown hair laced with leaves and twigs from her face and glanced back over her shoulder. The soldiers were nearly upon her.

Five of them. They slowed their pace. Perhaps they knew she could run no more. They approached as if puzzled, talking among themselves. "Savages musta left her behind when they sneaked off," one of the men said. "Why d=you suppose...?"

“Hotakwih!" she said to herself, unable to hold back the tears. It is finished. Raising her eyes to the sky above the autumn colored hills, she whispered, "Hohsah" It has begun. She bowed her head. “Haywokahweh!" I have gone in a circle.

When the blue-coated soldiers caught up with her, she no longer had the strength or the will to resist.

Two of them edged closer to her in the shadows. "Here, we're not going to harm you," one said, his voice a raspy whisper. "Do you understand?"

She could not bring herself to look at them. Soon they would do more than talk. She knew. Soon they would see what she was. They would take her away. Take her back. Back to where the circle had begun.

She shuddered.

“Not so close,” the other man ordered. “Give her room. You"re scarin' her.”

A twinge of unease rippled through her stomach. These were the same blue coats that had left a trail of ashes where thriving villages once had stood, who girdled the fruit trees so they would wither and die, who laid waste the fields of corn and squash and beans. She had seen them before, in her dreams. Her dreams had shown them the way.

“Good God!” Another of them cried out. “She's white! The woman's white!”

The first man knelt before her. “Do you speak English? Can you tell us your name?”

She would not trouble herself to reply.

“Here!” A man fumbled in his pack, producing a slice of jerky. He extended it just beyond her reach, an attempt to lure her closer, like a starving dog. But she would not oblige him. “I'll wager you're hungry.”

She lifted her head slightly and eyed the meat with longing. Three days of subsisting on nothing but roots and groundnuts had left her light-headed and weak. But she would accept none of their food. She looked down at the leaves.

“Suit yourself,” the man grumbled, and tore off a piece with his teeth.

In the distance, the shouts of men rose above the morning stillness. An acrid odor wafted on the wind through the trees. Across the meadow, lush with green grasses, beyond the expanse of ripening fields and orchards, the soldiers had set fire to the village.

From a place deep inside her, as if awakened by the sounds and smells, an old terror forced itself past the dust of forgotten memory.

Zara! Run!

Voices from the past rang out across time. Silenced for so long, they gained new strength and force on the billows of smoke darkening the sky.

Mama! Her own voice. The voice of the child she had been.

For as long as she could remember, her dreams had been filled with fire and smoke. And a savage host tore her from one world and thrust her into another. So it had been in the past. So it would be again.

“Haywokahweh!” she said, and she closed her eyes.

The circle was complete.

Enjoy watching the book video:

About the Author:
As a child Kathy wanted to be a writer when she grew up. She also wanted to act on the stage. After receiving an MFA in Acting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts and playing the part of starving young artist in New York, she taught theater classes at a small college in the Mid-West before returning home to the East Coast, where over the years, she and her husband raised two kids and an assortment of dogs. During stints in advertising, children’s media publishing, and education reform in the former Soviet Unions, she wrote whenever she could.

Her love of early American history has its roots in family vacations up and down the East Coast visiting old forts and battlefields and places such as Williamsburg, Mystic Sea Port, and Sturbridge Village. During this time, she daydreamed in high school history classes, imagining the everyday people behind all the dates and conflicts and how they lived.

Claiming her best ideas are born of dreams, Kathy has written a number of stories over the years. Her first published novel, Winter Fire, a 1998 Golden Heart finalist in historical romance, was reissued in 2010 by Books We Love, Ltd., which also released Lord Esterleigh’s Daughter, Courting the Devil, and The Partisan’s Wife.

When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, photography, playing “ball” with the dogs, and rooting on her favorite sports teams.

Amazon Author Central:
BooksWeLove (Publisher):

Buy Links:

Amazon US kindle
Amazon US paperback
Amazon UK kindle
Amazon UK paperback
Amazon Australia kindle

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Under Texas Blue Skies by Debra Holt - Spotlight and Giveaway

1_6 BBT_TourBanner_UnderTexasBlueSkies

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Debra Holt will be awarding a $10 Amazon/Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

1_6 Cover_UnderTexasBlueSkiesJ.D. Sterling, the sexy star of country music, had come back home to McKenna Springs, Texas. Years before, he had left to chase his dream and had succeeded. His life was almost perfect. Almost. He was still missing the part of his heart he had left behind…Mandy Lawson.

Amanda Lawson had changed from the young, innocent Mandy…the teenager madly in love with the bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Heartbreak and tragedy would do that to a person. She was determined to keep her well-ordered, work-driven life on the successful path she had fought to achieve on her own. No singing cowboy with a devil’s smile in his green eyes and a sexy body in tight jeans was going to be allowed close enough to break her heart again.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I have other business in town also,” Amanda spoke up. “I don’t know why I was called out here but…”

“Because I want you.” Those jade green eyes pinned her to her spot. J.D.’s choice of words knocked the air out of Amanda’s lungs for a moment. Did he think that he could turn that look on her, along with that famous half-grin that sent deep grooves down his cheeks and made fingers itch to touch them and females swoon at his feet? He was still the lying, no good cowboy who had played her for a fool and then left her behind when the bright lights beckoned. He wanted her? Well, he'd had her once, but never again.

Cold blue eyes pinned him. “People don’t always get what they want, J.D. But sometimes they do get what they deserve.”

When Mandy stood looking at him with those blue eyes, where once there had been the warmth of love glowing in them for him, there was now a cool curtain, devoid of anything but a banked anger mixed with a dash of indifference. For some reason, he felt he had been judged and found lacking in her estimation. He definitely had to regroup. There was another battle ahead, and he had fought many in his lifetime and won each of them. This would be the most important one. Losing was not an option.

1_6 AuthorPic_Under Texas Blue SkiesAbout the Author: Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and owning a wedding planning business (ah, romance!).

Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (more story ideas!) When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance...Janet Dailey's Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary western romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles...and sighs... to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

The Seymour Agency represents Debra and she is soon to have two contemporary romances published by Spencer Hill/Tulip Romance and Astraea Press. Debra invites you to visit her website at She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Perfect Catch by Anna Sugden - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anna will award a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter, as well as 4 signed copies of A Perfect Catch AND 4 exclusive A Perfect Catch notebooks. (international giveaway). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

He's the perfect catch…for now!

When it comes to romance, Tracy Hayden is not looking for a rematch. She's had epic passion—and problems!—with professional hockey player Ike Jelinek. Brilliant on skates and magic in bed, his too-traditional-for-her views were like a bucket of ice water on their affair.

Then an injury takes Ike out of the game, and everything changes. Suddenly he needs her services-providing business—even though he once claimed it was their biggest problem. Tracy's determined to be professional, despite the sizzling attraction between them that won't go away. Maybe they need a second fling to fix that!

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

The first period started quickly, with Ike facing a shot within seconds of the puck dropping. He snatched the biscuit out of the air, stealing a scoring opportunity from the Oilers’ rookie wonder kid. Throwing it back out to the corner, he allowed him¬self a satisfied grin. Whatever had been bothering him earlier was out of his mind now.

All around him, his d-men and the Edmonton top line chirped at each other as they fought for the puck. The air was filled with grunts as bodies thudded into each other. Ike poke-checked and blocked, shoved and kicked—anything to keep that hunk of rubber out of his net.

Finally, Jake broke free and hit Kenny with an outlet pass, clearing the zone and starting a rush to the other end.

Ike kept his eye on the action while steadying his breathing and rolling his tight shoulders. A whistle stopped play. He grabbed a drink from his bottle and skated around his crease before resetting his position.

The Cats lost the face-off, but regained the puck. The battle at the other end of the ice was fierce. A linesman’s arm shot up, alerting Ike to a delayed penalty against the Oilers. Ike started to head to the bench for an extra attacker, but they touched up almost immediately and play was blown dead.

The Cats’ power-play unit cycled the puck well, but didn’t get any clear-cut chances.

“Get shots on net,” Ike muttered. “Their guy has a rebound problem.”

In the blink of eye, everything changed. One of the Oilers intercepted a sloppy pass and a breakaway was on. Two on one. Kenny and JB raced back to provide cover.

Ike watched the rush unfold, making sure he kept the puck in sight.

The shot stung as it bounced off his chest. He corralled the puck and sent it out to Kenny, but once again it was intercepted by the opposition.

There was a wild goal-mouth scramble.

Bodies went flying. Sticks clashed.

The Oilers’ agitator, “Steeler,” planted himself on the edge of the crease, his huge body screening Ike’s view.

“Get your ass out of my face,” Ike growled.

The crude reply involved an anatomically impossible suggestion, followed by a creative one involving a sheep. Ike jabbed the guy with his stick and tried to find the puck.

All of a sudden, play seemed to unfold in slow motion.

A Cats’ player was tripped and fell into one of the Oilers. They both caromed toward Steeler, who got hit from the other side by Kenny.

Ike, his gaze glued to the puck on the wonder kid’s stick, got sandwiched between the tumbling players. He saw the shot and stretched out with his catching glove to snag the biscuit as the mass of bodies hit the ice in a pile.

The whistle blew.

Steeler fell on top of Ike.

A skate blade flashed. A sharp pain shot through Ike’s arm.

Shocked, he stared at the cut that had gone through both his jersey and his protector. A thin red line marred the skin beneath.

Around him, players peeled off and got to their feet.

“Crap, man. I’m sorry,” Steeler said as he helped Ike up.

“Are you okay?” a linesman asked.

Ike nodded, but the pain in his arm worsened. “I think I’d better get this looked at.”

He’d barely finished speaking when the cut suddenly widened and blood spurted out.

Ike clamped his other hand on his arm and started to skate to the bench.

He was almost there when his legs went weak. His vision blurred. His legs crumpled.

The arena went silent. Then, there was a collective gasp.

Someone in an Oilers jersey wrapped an arm around his waist. An Ice Cat grabbed him from the other side. Between them, they pulled him to the bench and shoved him through the gate into the care of the trainers.

Stars danced in front of Ike’s eyes as the trainers helped him stumble toward the locker room. Fire burned in his arm. He was vaguely aware of blood, wet and warm, pulsing though his fingers. Bile rose up his throat.

Once in the locker room, he gave up his loose grip on consciousness. As everything faded to black, he wondered just how much bad luck that damn fall had brought him.

About the Author: Harlequin SuperRomance author, Anna Sugden, loves reading and writing happy endings as much as hockey! When not reading or watching hockey, she loves football, good food & wine, making simple cross-stitch projects, and collecting memorabilia, penguins and fab shoes!

A former marketing executive and primary teacher, Anna lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and two bossy black cats. Learn more about Anna, her heart-warming romances and her shoes at You can also follow her on Facebook (, Twitter ( Pinterest ( and on the Romance Bandits blog (

Buy the book at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or Harlequin.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

The Devil to Pay by Renee Bernard - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away a $50 B&N or Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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

I began in historical romances and will probably never abandon it completely. Historicals were my first love as a reader and you know what they say about your first. There is something essentially magical about pulling a reader away from their modern life and into the fantasy of Victorian England. I love the constraints of the period and I believe it adds more power to every rule-breaking romance when the simplest misstep meant social exile and scandal.

But I never wanted to be boxed into being only known for one genre and as publishing doors began to shift and open, I made the decision to take on more and challenge myself in new genres where traditional publishers would never let me go. With The Eternity Gambit series, I am making my debut with romantic comedy and light paranormal romances. Of course, it’s still me so rule-breaking is to be expected.

The authors at the PNR tables always looked like they were having so much fun at conferences and I was envious of those inside jokes about shape shifters. But when I heard anyone talking about werewolves, my quirky brain would start thinking about what kind of shedding issues would crop up the first time a girl tried to vacuum the apartment she shared with Mr. Midnight Howler? Vampires inspired similar lines of campy jokes and I had to face the truth. It was clear I was never going to write paranormal with a straight face.

What world-building is required?

Turning Heaven and Hell into an office comedy meant an oddly authentic reliance on what is already out there. It may have helped that my father was a minister and Navy Chaplain so I had a strong understanding of the construct I was going to drastically alter. Beyond the Bible, I pulled up multiple doctrines, dogmatic writings and books on mythical references for the creatures on both sides of the divide.

Most fictional books with angels and demons play on a grand Good vs. Evil scheme and it would have been the obvious choice to pick that up and just give characters new fancy weapons and armor to make it fun.

Yuck! I hate obvious choices.

I think when you’re world building, the braver you are when you cross those lines, the better it is. I spent a lot of time ensuring that the details were consistent, that if someone threw a temper tantrum about all the Archangels playing poker on Thursday nights to socialize, I was prepared. I try to never make random choices and I encourage other writers to look at the little details as big opportunities. From the beverage your hero picks up to the cut of his coat…every image adds to a reader’s experience and can bring depth to the story.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

From my hero, Lucifer, I learned that even if you are in a job or position in life that is miserable, there is honor and solace in doing your best. It may not be pretty but you take what you can, give what you have and love whenever the chance comes.

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

Let’s see. I’m all about building a playlist for each book so that as I work I have my own soundtracks for inspiration or to prod me into the right mindset on those mornings when I’m not feeling it. If I’m writing a love scene, I light scented candles or incense to try to relax and turn off my internal censors. I talk to myself and read scenes out loud to make sure the timing and flow is working which may explain why my cats like to sit on top of the printer and stare at me. (I provide dinner and a show.) I have a cup of tea going all the time and am notorious for reheating it twelve times as I forget to actually drink the stuff—or for losing my cup as I wander around the house talking to myself.

I won’t read fiction while I’m writing to protect my headspace. I avoid news programs (except for Jon Stewart) and as much gritty reality television as I can. My husband has likened me to the world’s weirdest hermit because my office looks like a book troll’s sanctuary but I am happiest in my writing cave.

My only superstition is that I don’t ever type the words “the end”. When a book or project is done, it is “finis”.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I’m essentially a plotter once I have the seeds of character/story. I outline the book in very basic terms to give myself a framework to build on. The plan is loose enough for inspiration to strike but tight enough to keep a wandering brain like mine on track to meet her goals.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

It looks pretty standard over there. There is a statue of a Celtic warrior queen, my printer, a file box, a twelve inch diameter green quartz globe in a metal stand, my pen holder jammed with way too many pens, a hatbox of craft supplies, pillar candles, a glass mosaic box hiding my stash of writing chocolate and a generously, messy spread of paper. (I think I need to clean up my desk a bit.) The paper tends to be writing notes, research bits and pieces, bills and correspondence and my children’s art work which they love to drop off and tape to my work area.

As I survey it, it occurs to me that I have an office supply fetish that I may need to address at some point. I mean, how many pens does one woman really require?

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’m working on the follow up novels for DEVIL TO PAY, so readers can look forward to more with DEVIL MAY CARE, DEVIL OF A JOB and DEVIL IN THE DETAILS. Apparently, I just haven’t gotten it out of my system yet and the employees of Hades Enterprises, LLc (or H.E.LLc) are too fun to leave hanging.

But I also have a new historical romance series coming out, “The Duchess Club”, which will include THE WICKED DUCHESS, THE WILLFUL DUCHESS, THE WANTON DUCHESS and THE WILD DUCHESS. For fans of the Victorian set romances, it should be a very satisfying ride. I’m aiming for sizzling summer reads.

And then because I have a problem setting limits, I am also planning on a dystopian romance in a world I’ve created called THE IMBALANCE. It’s one of the riskiest projects I have but I’ve been working on it and holding it close for a long time. It will either shake things up and redefine where I can go as a writer, or just be that book of the heart that gets discovered after I’m gone. We’ll see.

How’s that for an action-packed 2015?

Do you have a question for our readers?

When you find a new author you like or love, do you like to reach out to them via email, FB, or a good review? Or are you afraid you’ll get signed up for a newsletter you didn’t want?

Workplace comedy is always fun but when the company in question in H.E.LLc (Hades Enterprises LLc) and your job is being Lucifer, let's just say, there are some unique challenges beyond Casual Fridays and who keeps taking your lunch out of the break room. Even if Hell really is just a place where evil is tracked and analyzed in endless cubicles-no brimstone and not a human soul in sight-there's no room for error. This Lucifer (who is the seventh unlucky archangel to get the position behind the black onyx desk) is about to have his entire world rattled when a very sweet and likable mortal woman crosses his path.

After all, angels can't lie. And when Jayne Hamilton wants to know what he does for a living, all bets are off. Because "dating" isn't exactly in the cosmic scheme of the Eternity Gambit, but Love... Well, Love is never really off the table.

Now, if Lucifer can just figure out how to win the girl and get himself fired, he'll be one very very happy angel.

"Filled with sparkling wit and devilish charm, DEVIL TO PAY is a delightful visit to the Shangri-La of Hell!" -- Erin Quinn, The Three Fates of Ryan Love, NYT Bestselling Author

"Only Renee Bernard could make dating Satan sexy as sin! Funny, fresh, irreverent and utterly adorable!" - Dakota Cassidy, National Bestselling Author

First book in the new Eternity Gambit series from USA Today bestselling author Renee Bernard. This is a romantic comedy series with an original paranormal twist that defies categorization and turns every notion of Heaven and Hell on its ear.

Enjoy an excerpt:
“Smitten without a prayer,” Lucifer regained his focus on the present moment. “There’s no Sanction for me.”

“Wrong,” Uriel said softly. “How many people have walked into your building’s lobby in the last seventy-five years?”

Lucifer calculated his answer trying to remember. “Two. Besides her, I think it’s two.”

“Invited?” Uriel asked.

“Of course! Mortals can’t even see the structure unless—“ Lucifer stopped himself. “Oh, my God!”

Uriel smiled in triumph. “See? Sanctioned.”

“What did I just miss?” Raphael put the cards in the box.

“She found him without an invitation. She walked in of her own free will and unless it was Sanctioned, Management would have never allowed it.” Uriel smugly folded his hands like a magician revealing his best trick. “I’d say Michael’s going to eat his own hat when he finds out.”

Lucifer was speechless as he absorbed the implications.

Sanctioned. Was it really true that she’d been allowed to come to me? That there’s a chance? It’s all still human free will and the long shot of the millennia, but oh, God…thank you. I’ll have to get Malcolm to send you a gift in the morning for this one!

Luke shoved the chips at Azrael and excused himself with a bow. “I hate to win and run, but I have to see a Demon about a fruit basket.”

He instantly vanished and Raphael’s laughter filled the room. “You gotta love his exit lines!”

About the Author:

What in the world is a retired Navy chaplain’s daughter doing writing scorching hot historical romances and paranormal romantic comedies and even comic books? Renee Bernard is applying a great education from traveling all over the world to story telling and doing her best to keep her father proud. Truthfully, her father is her number one fan, even though he has sworn never to read a single word of her books (a vow he has kept to this day!) Nothing stops him from telling everyone he knows that his daughter is now a USA Today Bestselling author or from handing out bookmarks on the golf course. Love can make even a minister do strange things!

Renee Bernard is a freelance writer and host of “The Romance Bookmark” on Readers Entertainment, as well as a contributor to Romantic Times BookReviews magazine. Renee currently lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. (Note an interesting proximity to great wineries!)

DEVIL TO PAY is available now online wherever books are sold and is coming soon to Audio! The Eternity Gambit series is a fun departure from her well-known Victorian set historical romances and creates a new world for readers unlike any other. DEVIL TO PAY is the first book in this new series and is gathering up 5-Star reviews and momentum as more readers discover that office politics can hit a whole new level of crazy when you work at Hades Enterprises, LLc (or H.E.LLc).

For more information, please visit her website at or

You can also find her at:

Facebook at Renee Bernard Fan Page -
Twitter: @ReneeBernard

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

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Marine's E-Mail Order Bride by Cora Seton - Spotlight and Giveaway

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

If Gunnery Sergeant Zane Hall wants to save his family’s ranch, he’ll need to fix up the buildings, stock the spread with cattle—and find a wife. The first two are easy with the help of his brothers, but getting hitched is proving more difficult. When he meets mountaineer Kenna North through an online ad, she seems like the perfect fit—at least in her e-mails. She wants the same thing he does: a temporary marriage to secure an inheritance. But when Zane meets Kenna, she’s nothing like he expects, and Zane finds himself changing his priorities, fast.

If Storm Willow wants to save her family’s seaside cottage, she’ll have to keep her boss happy—which means taking Kenna’s place and marrying Zane when Kenna is detained out of the country. As long as Storm acts her part, no one will know that she’s an imposter. But when she falls for the handsome Marine, Storm begins to wonder if holding onto the cottage is worth giving up on love.

Can a fake marriage lead to real happiness? Or is disaster just a heartbeat away?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Kenna, can I ask you a question?” Zane stopped outside the door to her room.

“Of course.” No matter where Storm’s gaze rested, the Marine was fascinating, from his direct gaze, to the curve of his smile to the hollow at the base of his throat.

“When you realized what you had to do to get your inheritance, what did you feel?”

Storm searched for an answer. Kenna had been furious, of course, but she couldn’t say that to Zane, not when the way he was looking at her told her he too was struggling against a current of desire.

“You know what I felt?” he went on when she didn’t reply, and his deep, warm voice touched off a new wave of want within her. “Relief. I wanted to marry anyway, but I was beginning to think I was the only one in the world who felt that way. The guys in my unit acted like marriage was a death sentence. Even the women I met seemed to think that.” He shrugged. “You’d think no one believed in marriage anymore. I do, though. I’ve always known exactly what I want. To get my family’s ranch back, to fall in love with a beautiful woman, and to start a family with her. When I heard Heloise’s conditions for inheriting the ranch, I thought, ‘Well, now I’ve got an excuse for going out and getting a wife.’” He laughed, but it was a bitter sound. “I’ve never told anyone that.” He looked away and the brim of his hat hid his face from view for a moment. When he turned back toward her his gaze was direct and searching. “What about you? Have you ever wanted something like that?”

Storm barely trusted herself to answer. Kenna would say no—she’d never wanted a husband or a family.

But Storm wasn’t Kenna.

“Yes. I’ve always wanted to marry, too. My parents were so happy together and it’s been so hard on my mom since…” She caught herself just in time, realizing she was getting her story crossed with Kenna’s. “I’ve always wanted to marry. I want…” What did she want? “I want a partner in life. Someone I can depend on. Someone I can celebrate with when things go well. I want us each to have our separate passions, but I want us to have plenty that we do together, too. Does that make sense?”

“That makes perfect sense. Kenna, I—”

“Call me Storm,” she said on impulse. “All my friends do.” Each time he said Kenna’s name it felt like a slap to the face. She didn’t want to remember Zane was her boss’s pretend fiancé, not hers. She didn’t want to think about Kenna at all.

“Storm,” he said slowly. “I like that. It suits you better than Kenna. Storm, I feel like you and I—” He broke off, turned away, and surveyed the parking lot beneath them. “Never mind."

About the Author:
Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.

Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a neglected one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel. Visit to read about new releases, contests and other cool events!


Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Loose Corset by Christine Raines - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Christine will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly selected winner during the tour via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Hello and thanks for stopping by and visiting with us at It's Raining Books. Where do you get your ideas?

I get most of my ideas from asking the “what if” questions. What if the monsters under children's beds were real? What if dragons still lived today but in the form of humans? The questions I have are endless. I'll never be at a loss for inspiration.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way growing up or as an adult?

Growing up, the first author to really make an impact on me was Stephen King. I loved the way his stories could chill me to the bone. These days, I admire his amazing characters and fantastic world building skills. I still dream of being the next Stephen King.

How do you market your book? What avenues have you found that work best for your genre?

Marketing is the aspect of being a writer that I have the most trouble with. I have a blog and website, and I use many forms of social media. It's crazy some days trying to keep up with it all. We only have so much time to devote to marketing. We have to pick what works best for us. My blog is my number one tool. I also had great success in gaining exposure when I did an international Goodreads giveaway.

Do you write under a pen name?

No. I seriously gave it consideration when I sold my Dice & Debauchery series to Ellora's Cave. I write mostly urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Contemporary romance and erotica is new to me, but I truly believe in the stories. I also think that they're representative of the romantic and geek in me.

What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?

I had to answer this question because ice cream is my most favorite food in the world! I love chocolate chip cookie dough. My particular favorite was this flavor put out by a chain called Bruster's. The cookie dough balls were wonderfully soft and the ice cream had a light maple flavor. It was divine.

What is your favorite thing to eat/snack on while writing?

Cookies and chocolate. I have an incorrigible sweet tooth. Writing to me feels like doing a thorough work-out. I get really snacky and only sweet stuff will do.

Tell us about the first story you ever wrote and how old you were.

I have a poem I wrote about the moon when I was five years old. It won a prize at the local fall festival. The first stories I wrote were about the kids in my neighborhood. We would go on great adventures, and there would always be a corny joke at the end. Everyone loved to read them. To this day, the people I grew up with still ask if I'm ever going to publish those stories.

When it comes to writing, what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?

My strength is in my characters. I'm a character driven writer. I love all the layers each individual has and peeling them back slowly as the plot moves forward. My dialogue flows well and allows me throw in some humor. My weakness lies in self doubt. Am I good enough? Will anyone get my characters? Will they think I'm funny? I'm lucky to have phenomenal critique partners and beta readers. Their support and encouragement helps me overcome my weakness.

Are you self-published or traditionally published?

I'm a hybrid author. I have books that are traditionally published and self-published. I believe this is the way of the future for most authors. Traditionally publishing takes a long time, and to stay in the minds of readers, you need to keep producing. Self-publishing is much quicker and it satisfies your readers with new material.

What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?

The most difficult part is revising. I love the thrill of writing a first draft, but revising can be tedious. It's slow torture for someone who would rather be working on a new story. Yet I know how necessary revisions are to producing the best story you can possibly create.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Never give up. Patience and perseverance will take you much farther than you think. Even when you're only selling a few books or if you've been rejected time and time again, don't give up.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on the final revision for an urban fantasy novel called OF BLOOD AND SORROW. My protagonist is a sorrow phage. She works at a funeral home and feeds on the grief of mourners. One night in the morgue, a fledgling vampire awakes and she cannot stop him from escaping, loosing him on an unsuspecting city. Her desire to right this wrong leads to a much more terrifying problem. I hope to have this book out by mid-February or early March.

Has becoming a published author been everything you envisioned?

Not at all! I think all authors have an idealistic fantasy of what it is like to be published. It has not improved my ego, and I feel like I have to work harder to improve and writer better stories. It's a challenge I'm happy to take, though. Just one good review from a reader makes it all worthwhile.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today, Christine. It's been a pleasure having you.

Dice and Debauchery, Book 1

A weekend away at a convention is exactly what overworked student Morgan needs. Dressed as her character from her favorite online game, Morgan is braced—seriously, could her corset be tighter?—to meet the other players. As Lady Gyrfalcon, she’s ready for everything—except her intense attraction to Dean. A clandestine meeting in the hallway of the hotel and Morgan’s corset is looser but now she can’t breathe for entirely different reasons.

Utterly charmed, Morgan decides to roll the dice and indulge in a fantasy-worthy weekend of sexy roleplaying, scorching sex and life-altering orgasms. Still, through it all Morgan is too smart to believe the chemistry constantly stripping her of costumes and control can last more than the length of the convention. But if she wants to keep a relationship so intense she thought it only existed in fiction, she’s going to have to let go of her cool-headed logic and allow herself to fall far and fast for the perfect guy.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Stomping out of the bathroom, I froze upon seeing Russell standing in the alcove between the drinking fountains across from me. Dressed as Snidely Whiplash, he had the perfect sneer for the character.

“Come to kidnap me and tie me to the train tracks?” I folded my arms and stepped out of the way of a group of girls going into the bathroom.

“Don’t tempt me. It would save us all a lot of trouble.” Russell’s sharp and bitter tone carried a phantom slap.

I hesitated, weighing the situation. He obviously didn’t like me, but why? I hadn’t felt such hate when we first met, no matter that we were playing enemies. Did something so horrible happen between him and Emily, he was taking it out on me? But why did it feel more personal than that?

“Okay.” I took in a deep, slow breath and let it out. “Clearly you wanted to talk to me since you’re waiting here. What did you want to say?”

“End this thing between you and Dean now. Today at least. Don’t drag it out. You’ll only cause more damage if you do.”

Not what I expected in the least. What did he have against me and Dean? Did he not think I was good enough for his cousin?

“What’s between Dean and I is our own business.” There. A mature and reasonable reply. I wasn’t going to resort to growling back at him.

“And what is between you, hm?” Russell raised his comical eyebrows. It looked silly and somehow foreboding. “Girlfriend and boyfriend? Or just a con fling?”

About the Author:
Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood but make her a great Jeopardy player. As an avid gamer, she's either going on adventures with her son or rolling dice with friends. Christine is a proud member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. She has several short stories and novellas published. Loose Corset is the first book of her geeky and hilarious Dice & Debauchery series.

Goodreads: Goodreads

Buy the book at Ellora's Cave.

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Hearts on Fire by Alison Packard - Cover Reveal and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour revealing the cover of Alison Packard's newest book Hearts on Fire which will be released on February 3. One randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter will receive a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Country music star Jessie Grant has it all. An amazing voice, a string of multi-platinum albums, and a sold-out concert tour. But just before her Hearts on Fire tour rolls into Las Vegas, her lead guitarist is badly injured and is unable to play. Desperate to find a replacement before the night of a televised live show, Jessie is forced to accept help from the last person on earth she wants to see again.

Drew Carmichael has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the best up-and-coming musicians in Nashville, without cashing in on his renowned father’s name. When Jessie’s manager calls and asks him to fill in for her band’s injured guitar player, he agrees to help Jessie out even though she cut him out of her life four months ago.

In Sin City, sparks fly between Jessie and Drew, and it isn’t long before they give in to their mutual attraction. But when the dark past Jessie has successfully hidden for ten years explodes in the media, their tenuous bond is put to the test, and both Jessie and Drew must learn to trust each other if they don’t want their newfound romantic relationship to go up in flames.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Jessie Grant stared at the cheery yellow wall in her dressing room, and fought the overwhelming urge to throw something. Anything. Her agitated gaze fell on the lovely vase of flowers that had been delivered just before the show, and she had to remind herself that violence, especially towards a perfectly innocent bouquet of pink roses and white calla lilies, wouldn’t solve anything.

But then again, it might relieve the tension that was coiled inside of her like a tightly wound spring.

“Calm down.”

“Calm down?” Jessie whirled around and met the exasperated eyes of her manager. “You expect me to calm down when my guitar player, who, unbeknownst to me, was half-wasted during our set, and decided to stage dive into the audience.” She pointed a finger at him. “That broken arm of his isn’t gonna to heal in four days. I need another guitar player, and I need one now.”

“Relax,” Wally Lindell said in a soothing voice. “I’m working on it.”

“How are you working on it?”

She propped her hands on her hips and gave him her best glacial stare. It didn’t faze him. It never did. He’d been her manager since she was fifteen years old, and he knew her better than anyone. So he should have known that she would be totally freaked out about losing her lead guitar player four days before her exclusive gig in Las Vegas, after all, he was the one who had dubbed her a perfectionist.

“I put in a call to Drew.”

Jessie’s already churning stomach lurched wildly. “Drew Carmichael?”

“How many other guitar players named Drew do you know?” Wally shot her a wise-ass grin.

Only one.

“So you talked to him?” she asked, as she moved to the make-up table. She picked up the bottle of water her stylist had left out for her and took a sip. Maybe the simple task would soothe her frayed nerves.

It didn’t even come close.

“What did he say?”

“I left him a message. He hasn’t called me back yet.” Wally shoved his hands into the front pockets of his black jeans and looked her straight in the eyes with an unflinching directness.

She’d seen that look before; the one telling her that while she might be the star, he was the one who’d gotten her there, and before she went off half-cocked, she’d better let him have his say. And of course, she would. She respected Wally far too much not to listen to him.

“He’s the only guitar player we can get on such short notice that knows your set list,” he continued. “I don’t know what happened between the two of you, but whatever it is, you need to put it aside for the sake of this gig, and maybe the rest of the tour.”

“What makes you think something happened?” she asked with feigned nonchalance.

It was best not to let anyone, especially Wally, know how much she cared about Drew.

“Because you two were as thick as thieves last spring, and now it’s like he’s dropped off the face of the earth. Did you have a falling out?”

“No.” Jessie scowled, as she returned the bottle to the table. “We didn’t have a falling out. I’ve been on the road for months now and he…he’s got a life.”

A life that didn’t include her.

About the Author:
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Alison now lives in Southern Nevada where she’s still getting used to the blistering summers and the slot machines in every grocery store.

When not working at the day job that pays the bills, keeps a roof over her head, and supports her book and chocolate habits, Alison spends most of her free time writing. But when she takes a break, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

Amazon Author Page:
Barnes and Noble Author Page:

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Running Away With You by Suzanne Sweeney - Spotlight and Giveaway

1_8 BBT_TourBanner_RunningAwayWithYou

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn guest. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

1_8 BookCover_RunningAwayWithYouJuliette Fletcher’s life has been full of surprises ever since she began dating NFL superstar Evan “Big Mac” McGuire. He’s everything she could ever have wished for – strong and tender, and wrapped up in an exquisite package. She has experienced more happiness than she ever dreamed of, but she’s also survived enough pain and anguish to last a lifetime.

It’s Evan’s rookie season as starting quarterback with the NJ Sentinels, and it looks like he just might take the team all the way to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. And now Juliette is planning her dream wedding in the dazzle of the paparazzi’s camera flashes.

But Juliette is about to learn how quickly a dream can turn into a nightmare. Dark secrets begin to emerge – the kind that wreck careers and break hearts. Is silence a betrayal, even when the truth could cause anguish to the ones you love? And when the past threatens to cast its shadow over the present, how far is too far to make certain it stays buried?

Running Away With You is the third book in the Running Series.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I hear the water running in the bathroom while Evan showers. AC/DC is blaring, and when I hear Evan singing along to “You Shook Me All Night Long”, I can’t help but smile. We have a routine when he’s got an away game, and “You Shook Me All Night Long” pretty well sums it up. The first few weeks of the season, I felt guilty for keeping him up all night so close to a game, but then I realized that the night before the game, he’s safely tucked away in his hotel room by eight o’clock. That more than makes up for whatever sleep he may have missed the night before.

He doesn’t need to bring much with him when he travels. He’ll wear a suit jacket on the plane, and then again on the way home, so there’s no need to pack that. He needs workout clothes, something to wear to dinner, and lots of clean socks and underwear. God, he has great underwear. Some say Armani on the waist. Others say Andrew Christian in gold. They are all tight-fitting boxer briefs and all make him look sexy as hell. Not that he needs any help in that department.

“Why are you staring at my underwear?” he laughs. I am so caught up in my thoughts, I never heard him turn off the music. Now, he’s standing in front of me wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist. Water droplets cling to his skin, and all I can think about is licking them off one by one.

My God, he’s delicious.

1_8 Author Pic Running Away With YouAbout the Author: Suzanne Sweeney is a graduate of Georgian Court University where she studied Education and Sociology. For some time now, she has been sharing her love of literature with the young minds who sit before her in class each and every day. After years of teaching the art of writing, Suzanne has finally taken her own advice and put pen to paper in order to produce her most recent book, Running Away With You. She writes what she lives, residing in the community she loves, Point Pleasant, with her family who provide a constant source of inspiration and support.

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Wild Marauders MC by Tory Richards - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tory will be awarding $25 eGift Card for Bath and Body Works or Starbucks Coffee to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. , and a $25 eGift Card for Bath and Body Works or Starbucks Coffee to a randomly drawn host. (US/International) Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

When a prospect kidnaps Kat thinking she's a doctor, Kat finds herself under the protection of the club's president. Lynch likes Kat's spunk and full curves but when she steals his Harley to escape he has no choice but to follow club rules and deal out punishment. Tempers erupt between them, passions explode, and punishment becomes the sweetest ecstasy!

Enjoy an excerpt:

I waited for him to speak.

“I hope you’re going to be a good little girl until I sort this shit out.”

I stiffened. I was anything but little. Sure, I was short, which made for a fuller figure than I would have liked. At twenty-seven I was comfortable with it, until someone brought attention to it by making a comment. In the old days I'd run away to cry in a corner somewhere when the skinnier girls, like the stuck-up cheerleaders I’d gone to school with, had called me fat. These days, a reference to my full figure didn’t bother me. It was the “good little girl,” part that fired me up, and if I was going to be honest, my unwanted attraction to him.

I tossed my long hair over my shoulder. “Then maybe you’d better take me home now and save yourself some grief. I’ve never been a good little girl, and I don’t intend to make things easy for you.” It was a threat and we both knew it. They were only words, empty meaningless words that I knew deep down I couldn’t possibly back up. The only thing I had going for me was my smart mouth, brains, and a nature that wouldn’t let me give in without a fight.

The slightest curve of his sensuous mouth didn’t fool me into thinking that he’d found my comment funny. His gaze zeroed in on my boobs, and I felt an immediate and unwelcome response from my nipples. Traitors! If that wasn't bad enough, something warm and wet flowed from my core to my panties.

“I’m not afraid of you,” I said, drawing his attention back to my eyes. I was only afraid of what he made me feel. I couldn't understand where it was coming from, but I had a feeling that he had this effect on every woman.

About the Author: I’ve often referred myself as a grandmother who writes smut, but I'm also a daughter, sister, mother, aunt, friend, and author. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a writer. When I was ten I penned short stories on notebook paper, graduated to a manual typewriter at thirteen, then an electric one somewhere around seventeen, and finally my first computer in my forties.

I was a closet writer. I didn’t share my stories or hobby with anyone because it was personal and a kind of therapy. Not until I was in my forties did I pursue a publisher, and that was at the encouragement of my daughter and niece. The result of that was my first contract offer for a sweet romance that ended up being a best seller on the publisher’s website for two months. That full length contemporary romance is available at Amazon under the new title, Kiss Me!

I was born in Maine, live most of my life in Florida, and retired from Disney. My free time is spent with my family, friends, and penning tales of erotic romance. I believe in happily ever after and a hot, wild ride to get there!

Amazon Author Page -
UK Amazon Author Page -
Smashwords Author Page -
Tory Richards Website/Blog -

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Visting Lilly by Toni Allen

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Toni will be awarding a free e-book of VISITING LILLY and a FREE TAROT CARD reading for one lucky commenter to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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

I enjoy writing about ordinary people who end up having to deal with extraordinary situations. Every day we encounter the ordinary, but what happens when we bump into something we’ve never experienced before? Especially things that make us stop and question previous beliefs. In Visiting Lilly Detective Inspector Jake Talbot, a down to earth cop, is confronted with the possibility of time travel. His personal understanding of life is challenged in as much as he can, like everyone else, label young Frankie Hayward a schizophrenic, or dig deeper and form his own judgment.

Unravelling a mystery appeals to the part of me that likes solving problems by following a trail and putting the pieces together. I’m always fascinated by stories from history where we end up asking, why or how, someone did something. Are we able to get into someone else’s head and work out what motivated them to perform a particular act?

I’ve always enjoyed reading fast past action thrillers, so it appeals enormously to place my protagonist up against as many obstacles and baddies as possible. First I want the reader to love my protagonist, so I’ll show his life and his world, then I want the reader to not only care about whether he succeeds, but also whether he lives or dies.

What research is required?

With Visiting Lilly it’s all based in Farnham, Surrey, which is where I live; so no special research on location required. My world building challenge came with the shady workings of a secret department in the Ministry of Defense. We never see their base of operations, but the reader has to believe that they are there, manipulating from behind the scenes. I’ve already had one reader say that they Googled something to do with the department and couldn’t find any information online. When I said that I’d made it up they were stunned, because they’d completely believed it existed.

The paranormal, astral travel, time travel part came easy, because I work as a professional psychic and my entire working life is full of paranormal experiences. I’m doing what everyone suggests a writer should do; writing about what I know.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

From Jake Talbot I’ve learnt that when you’re used to being part of a team and having loads of support, that suddenly going it alone feels incredibly uncomfortable, and very frightening.

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

I write best in total silence, late at night. Any interruption literally makes me lose the plot. I turn off phones and become very unsociable. Shhh, she’s writing!

Are you a plotter or pantser?

I’m a bit of both. When I write I have the beginning and the end, always, before I start writing. Joining the dots up is the pantser part. I set my characters off and instruct them where to end. No U-turns, no going off at a tangent, that is the desired end, and you will arrive there…or else!

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

You really want to know? It’s terribly dull. My landline telephone, a pad and a red pen. I like red pens.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’ve just finished writing another thriller involving Jake Talbot. It’s called Saving Anna, and anyone who’s read Visiting Lilly will know who Anna is. We’ll be starting editing early 2015.

I’m very excited by Saving Anna, it brings Talbot up against an old enemy, more manipulation by the MOD and...well, you’ll have to wait and see if Frankie appears again or not.

Do you have a question for our readers?

I’m writing in a cross over genre. Mystery thriller with a sprinkling of sci-fi/paranormal. Do you enjoy the ‘paranormal’ side of my stories, or would you prefer straight mystery/thriller? How does the mix sit with you?

D.I. Jake Talbot is a burnt-out British detective given a second chance to believe in love, friendship and the transcendent essence of the human experience. When he investigates a seemingly innocent visitor to a residential care home for the elderly he uncovers a dangerous family hiding a forbidden romance that mysteriously crosses the boundaries of time. The deceitful family does all they can to prevent Talbot from discovering their secrets surrounding an unsolved murder, family betrayal; at the core of which is a keenly intelligent, though somewhat mentally challenged young man who is fixated on an elderly woman being held captive by her own grandson. Talbot sets out to right the many wrongs done to the blameless, and in turn, rediscovers his own humanity.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Jake comforts a sozzled, worried Helen - Chapter 6

He spent most of the night reading Frankie’s blog in his bedroom, the soft glow from a table lamp enough to scribble down some notes, the bed behind him unused, and his eyes aching from staring at the machine. For comfort he’d stripped off and put on his dressing gown, made himself as relaxed as the tension in his neck would allow. It must have been gone three when the door swung open, the sound of Helen creeping in making him turn, the sight of her mussed-up hair where she’d tried to sleep startling him into thinking she was a ghost. His pulses raced. Christ, this is what Frankie’s blog did for you, got you so involved in his crazy world that suddenly his reality became your own.

‘You okay?’ he whispered.

‘No,’ she said, sounding maudlin. She slumped down onto the bottom of the bed and burst into tears, a half-empty bottle of wine cradled in her lap.

‘Hey, hey,’ he said softly, and placed an arm around her shoulders, drawing her close.

‘I … I’m so … confused,’ she managed to say between great, heaving, alcohol-fuelled sobs. ‘Everyone’s lied to me, haven’t they?’

Not knowing what everyone had said, Talbot chose the middle line, ‘Not lied, Helen.’

‘What then?’

‘It’s a cover up, for something.’ He kissed her forehead.
‘He’s meant to be crazy,’ she said angrily. ‘Frankie is supposed to be a harmless schizophrenic, with a wild imagination, who lives in his own bizarre dream world … and … and writes a love story about someone who isn’t real called Lilly.’ She looked up at him, tears sparkling on her cheeks. ‘Now it’s all sinister, Jake, all creepy and bad—and bloody scary.’

About the Author:
Toni Allen is a professional tarot reader, astrologer, author and photographer.

I’ve been a professional tarot reader for about 30 years, and an astrologer for about 25. Now, thanks to the internet, I have an International client database. My main website is creaking because I haven’t updated it for so long, but it’s still fully functional and full of lots of interesting information. A new build is underway, with lots of modern bits and pieces so that you can connect with me via Facebook and easily keep up to date with events that I’m offering readings at.
Amazon author page:
BN Author page:

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Just The Way You Aren't by Lynda Simmons - Serialized Novella and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will receive a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift certificate. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Read the second part of Lynda's serialized novella:


I’m standing here looking at her, fully aware that she hasn’t moved since landing too hard at the bottom of the stairs, but I still can’t accept that she’s dead.

Ophelia, the woman who took me in when no one else would. Loved me and cared for me, nursing me back to health both physically and emotionally despite warnings that I was too wild, would never change. At first, I did my best to prove them right, hiding from her, fighting her, even drawing blood more than a few times. Yet she didn’t give up, kept offering food and affection, until finally my saner, more rational nature came to life again.

In short, Ophelia saved me. And how did I repay her kindness and generosity? With death, apparently.

“It’s not your fault,” Fluffy says, the only one to come up the stairs to sit with me.

The rest of the cats close ranks around the body.

“Of course it’s his fault,” says Bernard, the giant Maine Coon and self-appointed leader of the colony. “He’s been told again and again to stay out from under her feet on the stairs.”

“I panicked,” I say in my defense. “The noise of the fight was bad enough, but when the stranger leapt out and started hissing and growling, I just froze.”

“Post dramatic stress syndrome,” one of the Calico twins offers.

“Yes, yes,” says the other, the two of them nodding like the bobble-heads Ophelia keeps on a shelf in her room.

The twins haven’t been here long and I’m still not sure of their names. Although from what I’ve seen Tweedle Dumb and Dumber would work nicely.

“I’d say it’s the Newcomer we ought to be looking at,” says Scruffy, taking the attention off me and pointing it squarely at the skinny guy in the back.

Scruffy may be hard on the eyes, but he’s always been a good friend. And once the other heads are turned, I send him a slow blink, letting him know I appreciate the effort.

“Now hold on,” Newcomer says, backing up a step, pressing himself against the front door. “The giant is the one who started the fight. I was only looking for a way out.”

Annie, the creaky Abyssinian gets to her feet. “If that was your goal,” she says, stretching her back slowly, carefully, “then all you had to do was wait until morning. That door behind you opens every day, giving us access to a cat door that lets us come and go as we please.”

The stranger shakes his head. “A cat door? Here?”

“You don’t have to use it,” Fluffy says. “There’s no requirement to go outside at all. But if getting away is what you want, Ophelia would never have stopped you.”

“She’s good people,” old Tom mutters and gets to his feet as well. “Was, good people.”

He’s been here a long time and never liked the fact that Ophelia let me sleep on the bed too. If any of them are going to turn on me, he’ll be the first.

“I know it’s none of my business,” Newcomer says. “But wasting time trying to blame someone for what happened isn’t going to solve our biggest problem. We need to figure out how long it could be until someone comes looking for the old . . . for Ophelia.”

Sneaky Manx, who no one trusts, finally speaks up. “Newcomer’s right,” she says in that silky voice of hers. “When was the last time a human being came to that door?”

“Fifteenth,” Fluffy says. “Her daughter and the cheques come on fifteenth.”

“When is that?” Newcomer asks.

“No idea,” she admits.

Newcomer takes a step forward. “What about newspapers, mail delivery, parcels?”

Bernard shakes his massive head. “She read her news online, got her mail from the big box down the street and liked shopping at the stores.”

“There must be someone,” Newcomer insists. “Friends, sorority sisters, Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

“Ophelia kept to herself,” Sneaky Manx purrs. “It’s something I liked about her.” She leans close to the body, sniffs her hair. “Won’t be long before she starts to turn.” She seems to smile as she straightens. “If no one comes soon, we may have to eat her.”

“I saw that once on TV,” one of the twins says.

“Only it was dogs,” the other adds.

“Polished off the meat in a matter of days,” they say together. “And gnawed on the bones for a week.”

They laugh and high-five and Bernard lurches to his feet. “No one is eating anyone! Do you hear me?”

“What about the birds?” Sneaky asks, licking a paw. “They should be fair game now.”

“Not as long as I draw breath,” Tom growls then turns to Bernard. “I say we set up a watch. Keep eyes on Ophelia and the birds in case someone gets a wrong-headed idea about who we are.”

“I agree.” Fluffy stands, her silky fur brushing my cheek, tickling my ears. “We should also set up a crew to get at the food. Cans are out, but we should be able to rip open the bags.”

“Take Annie with you and get started,” Bernard says. “Manx, you and the twins make sure the toilets are accessible for water. Scruffy you’re on litter box detail and Tom, you and I will head up security. We don’t know when fifteenth is, so for now we take care of Ophelia, the birds and ourselves. Maintaining order is paramount in situations like this. Now everyone get to work.”

He dismisses the troops with a flick of his tail. Tom takes first watch on Ophelia and Bernard heads up to the second floor to check on the birds.

“What about me and Newcomer?” I ask.

Tom looks from me to Newcomer and back to me. “You boys should find a place to hide,” he says at last. “Before I kill you both myself.”

What happens when an everyday Cinderella makes a play for the prince?

A moment of madness. That’s all muralist Sunny Anderson expected when she donned a glittering mask and a fabulous gown to crash the gala at Manhattan’s newest boutique hotel. Project manager Michael Wolfe has no idea that the beauty staring up at the mural on the ballroom ceiling is also the artist who painted it. He’s captivated and she’s willing, but when their moment of madness on the sofa in his suite comes to an abrupt end, his princess is off and running, leaving nothing behind but a pair of earrings. He’s determined to find her again, but all he has to do is look closer at the woman painting the mural in his office to see that the one he needs is standing right in front of him.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sunny’s feet moved of their own accord and she stared straight ahead, horrified and thrilled at the same time. Wondering what she was playing at and not at all surprised when he fell into step beside her.

This was why she wasn’t ready to leave, she realized. She was enjoying herself too much. Enjoying the fact that as Sonja she could do anything or say anything. Be shocking and sexy, and make Michael Wolfe sit up and take notice.

She glanced over at him as they walked, feeling beauti­ful, powerful, but most of all desirable. Because if that wasn’t hunger she saw in those dark eyes, then she’d been out of circulation for far too long.

Which was a distinct possibility given that her last sexual encounter had been almost a year ago in the back of Vince Cerqua’s convertible when the top wasn’t the only thing that wouldn’t go up. She’d spent the drive home assuring him that it happened to men all the time; at least that was what she heard in the tearoom.

She felt her face warm, knowing instinctively that Michael’s top would never let him down. Not that she wanted to find out. Not really. Not now, at any rate.

“Where will you be going in the morning?” he asked.

“New Jersey.”

He drew his head back and she laughed. “There’s a theater group I’m rather fond of. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. I’m just a wanderer. Never in one place long enough to plant a garden as they say.”

“Is that what you’d like to do? Plant a garden?”

“Yes,” she said, slipping in a touch of Sunny, but staying true to Sonja. “Of course, with so many emerging artists, I’m not thinking about that right now.”

He stopped and took her hand. “What are you thinking about?”

Trouble. And sex. Mostly sex. For all the good it did her.

Truth to tell, Sunny wasn’t the kind to have a one-night stand. She was conservative in her thinking and cautious when it came to matters of the heart. She was the kind who delivered hampers at Christmas, painted faces at the community center on Halloween, and made sure her organ-donor card was signed. No question about it, she was Sunny the good: Balanced. Friendly. And utterly predictable.

But Sonja? Now there was a real vixen. A woman who traveled the world, took risks every day, and was never, ever predictable. It seemed a shame to make her leave the ball so early when she was only in town for one night. And Sunny had the rest of her life to spend being good.

Michael ran his thumb across hers and the pull was stron­ger than ever, bringing her back a step. After all, it wasn’t as though he was a total stranger, some masked man she picked up at the sushi bar. This was Michael Wolfe, Beast of Brighton, Terror of the Tradesmen. And she already knew he looked good without a shirt.

Maybe Hugh was right. Maybe a moment of madness was good for the soul.

The music changed again, the singer launching into a slow, sultry torch song that begged an answer to the question women had been asking for centuries: what is it with men and commitment?

Sunny had wrestled with that issue herself for years, convinced that the boy she’d loved too much would come back for her one day. Pale and contrite, wanting nothing more than to love her the way he should have all along. But commitment wasn’t on her mind at all when she twined her fingers with Michael’s and gave him Sonja’s best come-hither smile. “I’m thinking we should go to your place,” she said, and was sure she was floating as they headed for the door.

About the Author:
Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.

With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat - a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman.

When she's not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she's found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!

Amazon Author Page:

Buy the book at Amazon.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Who Am I? by Megan Cyrulewski - Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan 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 joining us at It's Raining Books. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

For my first book, I wrote a memoir. It started out as a sort of therapy for me. I never intended to share it with anyone but my friend read it and said I should try to get it published. I love memoirs because I love reading how people triumph over tragedy, which is why I finally chose to get mine published.

What research is required?

For my next book, I’m working on a crime fiction and my research is my 3 years of law school! I have to use that law degree for something, right? When I first started writing this book, I researched things like, “Easy way to kill someone,” “arsenic poisoning,” “car accidents,” and so on. I thought that any day the FBI was going to show up at my door.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

In my crime fiction book (hopefully published next summer) I learned how to be smart. I know that sounds vague but if you read my book next year, it will make sense.

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

Without thinking about it, I tap a pen on the table when I’m thinking. It’s not bad when I’m at home but I’ve gotten some looks when at the local café.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

Plotter, but I’m a Type A personality so everything is always plotted out in advance.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

Bins of stuff because I’m moving to a new house in January. My room looks like a disaster area.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

Like I mentioned earlier, hopefully my crime fiction book will be published next year!

Do you have a question for our readers?

If you read memoirs, why? What do you like about them?

Thank you!!

Megan Cyrulewski is an ordinary person who has faced extraordinary challenges and now wants to inspire people and show them that hope gives them the power to survive anything. Who Am I? is about her journey into postpartum depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, visits to the psych ward, divorce, domestic violence, law school and her courageous struggle to survive with her sanity intact - and how a beautiful little girl emerged from all this chaos.
Enjoy an excerpt:

Tyler was out of control—I had to stop him from taking my daughter…

Before I could even react, he snatched Madelyne out of my arms and put her in the back of his car. She started to hyperventilate.

“What are you doing?” I screamed.

Tyler ignored me as he tried to strap her in the car seat.

“Tyler! She’s terrified! You can’t do this! Let’s take her to a park or something. She has to calm down before she can go with you!” Was he crazy? How could he do this to his own child?

I squeezed in between him and the doorframe of the car door. “Tyler! Stop!”

“Don’t touch my car!” Tyler screeched as he tried to slam the door shut. I had my leg in between the door and the frame so he couldn’t close the door. I tried reaching Madelyne who was still wailing and howling. It was a horrific sound. All of a sudden, Tyler put me in a chokehold and dragged me from the car. I could see my dad out of the corner of my eye trying to get someone’s, anyone’s, attention.

“Help!” I screamed. “Help me!” But we were parked too far away from the actual police station and since it was Sunday, no one was around. “Someone help me. Please!”

Tyler tightened his arm around my throat. I couldn’t breathe. Oh my God, I thought. He’s going to kill me. Tyler was completely out of control. I knew if I didn’t do something soon, I was going to blackout.

About the Author:
Megan Cyrulewski has been writing short stories ever since she was ten-years-old. Eventually she settled into a career in the non-profit sector and then went back to school to get her law degree. While she was in school, she documented her divorce and child custody battle in her memoir, Who Am I?, which was published in 2014. Megan lives in Michigan with her 3-year-old daughter who loves to dance, run, read, and snuggle time with Mommy. Megan also enjoys her volunteer work with Troy Youth Assistance as the Fundraising Chair on the Board of Directors.

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. a Rafflecopter giveaway