Tuesday, January 28, 2020

No Easy Catch by Jaqueline Snowe

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jaqueline Snowe will be awarding a $25 Amazon or 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.

A jock and a party girl teaming up—makes total sense, right? Actually, maybe…

Ambar Hernandez is a senior communications major who has no idea what she wants to do in life. She spends most of her time working on her blog after gaining a lot of readers with a story she wrote junior year and…never followed up on. The last thing she expects is an angry jock accusing her of involvement in a scam that could shake the college to its foundations.

Jeff Maddow should be focused on his senior season of baseball and not the suspicious activity happening on the team. It’s his time to shine and get drafted, but after seeing incriminating evidence, he can’t not investigate. And his first lead is the campus blogger…who’s related to a name in the document he saw.

Ambar’s been coasting, writing about campus fashion and hook-ups rather than politics and economics, but when Jeff shows up at her place spouting wild accusations, she agrees to help him just to prove the stubborn athlete wrong.

Long nights, impassioned arguments, close quarters…both Jeff and Ambar find opposites more than attract when things heat up.

Read an Excerpt

He rolled over and slowly opened his sleepy eyes. His voice was all husky and gruff when he asked, “You watching me sleep?”

Busted. “Maybe?”

“Join me.” He moved to the back of the bed and painted a perfect image with his messy hair, clear gray eyes and playful smirk. The smile was new and I shut the laptop to move into his inviting arms. His body heat comforted me when he wrapped his large arms around me, snuggling his nose into my neck. “Mm, you smell good.”

“Thank you,” I said, hating how the longer the lie went on, the more it physically affected my insides. “I didn’t wake you, did I? You were sleeping so peacefully.”

“You didn’t, but I wouldn’t have minded you waking me up.” He began kissing along my neck and bit down on my earlobe. Goosebumps broke out all over my arms and he giggled, all low and deep. “I love your body’s reaction to me.”

“She betrays any resolve I have.” I squirmed when he moved his hands up my shirt and caressed my bare skin. It felt so damn good. “Are-are you sure you shouldn’t be sleeping?”

“Ambar,” he said in a very serious tone. “You’re about the only thing in my life right now that is good. I want to enjoy you and forget about the shitstorm we started.”

Pain began in the back of my throat at the tender way he looked at me. He meant those words and I forced myself to close my eyes to prevent tears leaking out. I’m protecting him. That’s why I’m not telling him. His lips parted and he looked like he was about to say something and I couldn’t handle hearing anything else. I gripped the back of his neck and brought his face down to mine, capturing his lips in the most passionate kiss I could. It was hard to try and apologize and show him I would do anything to protect him without words, but I gave it my all.

About the Author:
Jaqueline Snowe lives in Arizona where the "dry heat" really isn't that bad. She identifies as a full-blown Gryffindor and prefers drinking coffee all hours of the day. She is the mother to two fur-babies who don’t realize they aren’t humans and a new mom to her adorable son. Her life revolves around balancing her day job in education and her incessant need to write and explore the world with her wonderful baseball-loving husband.

Blog: http://www.jaquelinesnowe.com/blog
Website: http://www.jaquelinesnowe.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jaquelinesnowe
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jaquelinesnowe
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/jaquelinesnowe

Buy links: https://books2read.com/u/bw2JMO
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/No-Easy-Catch-Romance-Chasers-ebook/dp/B08231BHSD/
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-easy-catch-jaqueline-snowe/1135212198

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Convincing You by J.M. Adele

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J.M. Adele 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.

We were connected in more ways than one—I knew it when we met.
What I didn’t know was how close he would bring me to death.
And that death would be a blessing.

Andrea has always been able to tap into messages from somewhere beyond. When she meets Ben, an unrelenting force draws them together. But it’s going to take some convincing to help Ben realise their potential. Ben never thought his friend’s little sister would be anything more than a nuisance. He was wrong. She’d always been so much more. And now, their bond could be severed and her pulse silenced forever.

*Recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.*

Read an Excerpt

A cracker loaded with brie and quince paste was passed in front of my face as Lee handed it to Ronnie.

Brie. Sweet, sweet, unpasteurised, soft, bacteria-ridden cheese. Oh, how I’ve missed you.

I licked my lips, sucking in the smell as my nose followed the delicacy.

“Are you sniffing my food?” Wrinkles carved grooves into Ronnie’s cheeks.

“It has been nine months. Nine. Months. Yes, I’m sniffing the brie. I miss it.” My statement came out as a whimper.

Ronnie took a small bite before asking, “Can you still have soft cheese if you’re breastfeeding?”

“I don’t think so,” Lee answered, scrubbing the back of his freckled neck.

I arched my sore back. “What? Of course I can. Don’t tell me that.”

Ben wrapped his fingers around my ponytail and stroked its length. “I dunno. I think it might be too risky for the baby.”

I twisted to look at him. “Bullshit. You’re wrong.” I searched his serious expression for any hint of a joke. A twitch in the corner of his mouth. A change in his eyes. Nothing. He was stone-cold sober. “Don’t tell me I can’t eat the cheese. I want the cheese. Babe, you know I can’t do without the cheese.”

Ronnie rested her forearms on the table and leaned forward, her gaze glued to mine. “I read an article last week about this woman who did all the right things during the pregnancy and as soon as the baby was born, she gorged on all the cheese. Brie, camembert, blue vein—she went to town. She fed the baby a couple of hours later. The poor thing ended up in hospital with a nasty infection.”

“Are you shitting me?” I dropped my chin, mouth agape. If this was a joke, she was no longer my friend.

“Yes. Yes, Andy, we’re shitting you.” She leaned back with a huge grin on her face as Lee and Ben sniggered. “It’s way too easy.”

“I hate you.”

“Not true.”

Ben tried to tuck me under his arm. I pouted and inched away. “You’re so mean to me in my vulnerable state. You know it’s my due date and I’m still fecking preggers.”

“He’ll be here soon. He’s just way too comfortable inside there.” Ben nuzzled my neck, whispering in my ear, “I don’t blame him. I wanna be inside you right now.”

I wriggled in my seat as a choking noise came from across the table. “Jesus, I heard that.” Ronnie scrubbed her hands over her ears, masses of dark curls bouncing as she did.

I didn’t give a shit that she’d heard what Ben said. I loved that he still found me desirable despite the fact that I’d swelled to twice my normal size and couldn’t see my toes, let alone touch them.

The loud clap of Lee’s hands made me jump. “Who wants prawns? Not you, Andy. I did a rolled turkey roast for you. Sorry.”

Prawns. Another thing I couldn’t eat. Yet. After this kid was out, I was going to fill myself with all the pre-prepped salad, shellfish, soft cheese, and wine I could get my hands on.

Lee dragged his chair back as Ronnie jumped to help him.

I rested a hand on Ben’s thigh. The delicious smell of our early Christmas dinner wafted from the kitchen. “Do you mind if we exchange gifts first? I can’t wait. We might have to run off to hospital at any moment.”

“You can’t hold off for another half an hour?”


Ben pushed his chair back.

“Babe, can you grab the presents for me please?”

“Already on it.”

He was the best.

Lee stood behind Ronnie with his arms around her teeny tiny waist, one palm spread over her stomach. They presented such a contrast. Her with sultry, dark features and caramel skin, and Lee with freckles and auburn locks. He was only just taller than her. She and Ben were eye to eye, but he was twice her girth, although they were both solid muscle. All three of my dinner companions could’ve done a Nike ad, while I was the Oompa Loompa in the background.

Not for much longer hey, baby boy?

Our hosts watched me from the kitchen. Something silently passed between them, evident from the way they held each other.

“Are you coming over here, or are you going to make me get up?” I raised a brow.

They returned to their seats with matching smirks.

Ben slid in beside me, placing down an envelope and a box wrapped with multi-coloured braided ribbons and topped with a pretty bow.

“Thanks.” I handed the envelope to Ronnie. “Merry Christmas!”

Lee had given Ronnie tickets to Sydney for her birthday two weeks ago. They were going before uni started back in March. As soon as I found out what he’d planned, I’d known what I wanted to give her for Christmas.

A smile tilted her mouth at one corner as her eyes flitted around the table. She ducked her chin and used her knife to open the present. Slipping out a piece of paper, her eyebrows scrunched before popping high. “A private ghost tour of Sydney.” Her shoulders kissed her earlobes. “I’m shitting myself. Thanks.”

“All the oldest buildings are haunted, but you already know that. I figured you could kill two birds with one stone. Face down your fear of spirits and get an inside view of some beautiful old buildings.”

“You’ll be with me. I’ll protect you, babe.” Lee kissed her cheek and she responded with a roll of her eyes.

He knew damn well she didn’t need protection. They were cute together. It was nice to see them both happy after the fucked-up shit that had gone down earlier in the year. She’d nearly died trying to save her friend from an underground sex cult. Nothing would ever clear those images from their heads, but they could create new memories—happy Polaroid moments, shining light into the darkest corners of their minds. Not that ghosts would provide particularly happy snaps necessarily, but Ronnie could handle anything that was thrown at her now. She was a badass.

“Your turn.” Ben pushed the box across the table to his mate.

“Did you wrap this?” Lee tried to hide a smirk.

“That’s all my handiwork, mofo. You know I’m good with plaits.”

My eye twitched as Lee fiddled with the ribbons, trying to delicately untie the bow. “Just rip it.”

“You sure?”

“Yes! Jesus.” I almost dragged my hands down my face.

He yanked at the paper, tossing bits on the table. “Do you know what you’re gonna call Benny junior?”

“Sebastian.” I answered without thinking.

“Hell, no.” Ben frowned.

“Why not?” I thought we’d discussed this already, but maybe that had all been in my head.

His blue eyes pierced mine. “Sebastians don’t play rugby.”

I wracked my brain trying to remember if there’d been any players named Sebastian. Surely there were. I shook my head. “What if he doesn’t wanna play?”

Ben paused, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he blinked at me.

“Are you going to make him?” I asked.

“No?” It sounded like a question.

I took it as a definitive answer, rubbing my belly. “I’m relieved to hear it.”

“Is Stewart gonna make him play league?” Ben narrowed his eyes.

“Not if he knows what’s good for him.” My brother wouldn’t dare. I’d slap him if he tried to influence my child in any way.

He scoffed. “He has never known what’s good for him. I still can’t believe they let him into the police force.”

I couldn’t get over that one myself.

“Why Sebastian?” Ben frowned.

“I don’t know. I just have a feeling.” The moniker had been rolling around in my thoughts more and more lately. There was something attached to it, tangled strings that needed unknotting. Unfinished business. I’d never known anyone with that name, but it wouldn’t leave me alone. Our son had to be called Sebastian—I knew that much. I just didn’t know why. “It’ll grow on you. Trust me on this one, okay?”

Ben pushed a breath through flared nostrils. “Do I get to pick the middle name?”

“Absolutely ... as long as it’s Ben.” I smiled with all my pearly whites on show.

About the Author:
Author of smart, sexy characters, J.M. Adele loves to flit between the dark and light sides of romance. Somewhere along the way an almost constant procession of imaginary characters settled into her thoughts and she picked up a pen to share their stories.

She lives in Queensland with her three greatest loves, her children. When she’s not writing or being a mum, you might find her hiking up a mountain, singing in the car when nobody is looking, or curled up with a good book.

Author Links:

Website - https://www.jmadele.org/
Newsletter - https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/g1p2t7
Reader Group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/JMsGemsters/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorjmadele
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/j.m.adele/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/JMAdeleBooks
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com.au/jmadele/pins/
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/c/JMAdele
BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/j-m-adele
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14553832.J_M_Adele
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/J-M-Adele/e/B0174OOYJC

The author is putting her book on sale for $0.99 through the end of next week, with all proceeds donated to the Australian bushfire appeal.

Buy Links:

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49457085-convincing-you
Universal Link - https://books2read.com/u/b6k6K0
Amazon - (Preorder) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B082WFS6KJ/

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Jay Got Married by James Robinson Jr.

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. James Robinson Jr. will be awarding a $25 Amazon or 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.

Five Things You Probably Wouldn't Guess About Me

1. I collect watches—mainly the Invicta model. At last count I have fifty timepieces in my collection, but I’ve given a lot away. In fact, I have this custom whereby if someone compliments me on a watch, and they look watch worthy, I take it off and give it to them. They’re always quite shocked at the gesture. Usually, the giftees are younger people who seem worthy of such an act of generosity.

During one trip through a Wendy’s drive-thru, a young man—obviously a watch lover—complimented me on my watch and I gave it to him through the thru window after I had given him my debit card. As I got my food at the next window I lamented: “Damn, that was one of my favorite watches.” But a tradition is a tradition.

Don’t get me wrong, if I’m wearing a $500 collector’s edition, I say thanks to the person who paid the compliment and go on about my way.

2. I have found that using clipart and even shots of my own lovely visage in my books make them more interesting and accentuate my points. If my friends at Its Raining Books choose to print this picture, you’ll see what I mean:

Suffice it to say, I had an online company replace one of People’s sexiest men with my face. Who does that? Read the book for further explanation.

3. Usually, casual strangers and reading friends are more likely than family to buy my books and leave a review than family. None of my adult children—ages, 37-40—have read any of my 6 books. My 62-year-old cousin asked for my first book 8 years ago. I mailed it to him at a cost of $5. Who mails people books? I know he has yet to read it.

I gave my aunt my latest book (I told her that I mentioned her in one of the essays) but not only has she not read the book, I suspect she hasn’t read that essay. Maybe I’m being too sensitive.

Oh, she gave me a few tidbits that lead me to believe that she read it but, I’m thinking, she didn’t read it.

Family are the worst.

4. I can be a bit of a perfectionist. Sometimes I go through a lot of work to create the perfect image. In addition to my People Magazine work of art, to end my lead essay I rented an exact replica of a tuxedo that I wore 43 years ago at my wedding. I then bought a cutout of Gal Godot of Wonder Woman fame—to avoid copyright infrngement—and had a photo session in studio. My goal is to have her actually take a picture with me. My wife says that’s taking it a bit too far. What can I say, it’s what I envision. Here is the picture that I did use:

Again, if you can’t see the picture, buy the book. Come to think about it, buy the book anyway.

5. After writing the tongue-in-cheek essay that featured the same title as title of the book, Jay Got Married, I ended up in the doghouse for a while. What I thought was a perfected innocent essay turned out to be a bit of a marital quagmire. In the essay, I proposed the question: “what would I do if something happened to my wife and I was forced with the prospect of living without her?

“She’s loyal, honest to a fault,” I said, “puts up with my crap, cleans the toilet after me, and makes a mean cherry pie.” I went on to discuss my possibility of finding a mate in the 21st century at my age in this crazy world of dating and concluded that I would die a lonely, old man. But my wife didn’t take it that way; she merely said that I killed her off. Tell me, ladies, does this sound like an offensive scenario to you?

I see it every day—one member of a long-term married couple not wanting to be the last of the duo to say adios. My wife never finished this essay. In fact, she never finished the rest of the book. Sometimes, you can’t win for losin’.

Jay Got Married consists of 9 humorous and, at times, poignant essays chronicling the ironies of everyday life in word and picture. Take for example the lead essay, aptly titled, "Jay got Married," where I find myself mired in a horrendous dream.

In the fantasy, my aging father--dressed in his favorite Champion t-shirt with stains covering the front--marries my wife and I like he did 42 years ago but, this time around, the my 92-year-old ex-clergy dad forgets his lines causing me to coach him through the event with hints like: "ask for the rings, ask for the rings." All the while, my best man sings Sonny and Cher's, "I Got You Babe."

Finally married, my wife and I end the ceremony with a kiss. But as I turn to exit, my eyes catch a glimpse of the bridesmaid who is no longer my wife's best friend but now Gal Gadot from Dell Comics and Wonder Woman Fame. She is dressed in full Wonder Women regalia and looks totally shocked by the whole affair.

My mother turns to my father (now in the audience) with a quizzical look and says, “Dad, look at that bridesmaid. Isn’t that Superman?” She doesn't get out much.

As we exit the church, and the bubbles fill the air--no one uses rice anymore—my wife ignores the limo and takes off on a sleek motorcycle, leaving me in the lurch—hence the cover.

Sure, it's sounds crazy. But, in truth, isn't the world of marriage crazy these days? In my case, what would one do when faced with the prospect of losing their beloved wife after 42 years? At age 67, would they remarry? Would they even want to remarry? These and other marital tidbits are discussed with humor and as much reverence as I could muster.

P.S. The author pairs up with Wonder Woman again in a final bit of photo wizardry Why? How? How are tricky copyright infringement laws avoided? Read Jay Got Married and find out.

Read an Excerpt

But though they may not have realized it, there was a cultural paradigm in place in the child’s household, an unwritten rule that existed for the young moviegoer and their parents—a decree that could never be broken. Paying the adult ticket price before you had reached the throes of puberty was a fate worse than death.

This silent pronouncement wasn’t totally about bringing in the cash. Based on the information at hand, ticket prices in 1965—when I was in the 12-13 age bracket—were about $1.25 for adults and 75 cents for children. But back then, 50 cents was a lot of money. We could pay 75 cents to get in and use the other 50 for snacks. Paying that for admission just wasn’t in the cards. And anyway, it was the principle of the thing.

For a big 12-year-old kid like me, who looked like he was 15, this was a nightmare scenario. I was a hulk of a boy, and when I stepped up to the window and announced that I wanted a child ticket, a hush fell over the crowd.

I had never seen this scenario play out before, but the guy who was ahead of me—a boy they used to say was “big for his age” like me—had come prepared. Born ahead of his time, he had found a foolproof way to beat the voucher thugs at their own game. In an unprecedented move for a 12-going-on-13 fusion, he brought his birth certificate along as collateral. What genius!

About the Author:James Robinson, Jr. is an award-wining author who has written 6 books in both the fiction and non-fiction genres. His first book Fighting the Effects of Gravity: A Bittersweet Journey Into Middle Life, was an Indie Award winner for nonfiction. His first foray into fiction, Book of Samuel, was a Readers’ Favorite Award Winner. His latest book—Jay Got Married—is a collection of 9 humorous, sometimes poignant essays.

Mr. Robinson resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife of 43 years. He is the father of three daughters ages 37, 38, and 40 and has six grandchildren

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/James-Robinson-Jr./e/B0074O0QLI%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJRobinsonJr/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamesrobinsonj1

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Amber Hollow by Edgar Swamp

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

To self-publish or not, that is the question!

I’ve written a dozen books, four of which I self-published, eight of which I thought didn’t make the cut but were great practice. I chose to self-publish after shopping a single manuscript for over two years without getting a nibble; the only sign of improvement was my rejection letters were getting more personal. Instead of, “Dear sir or madam…” they were finally addressing me by name, and instead of a typical form letter reply, they were actually mentioning the book’s concept and telling me why it wouldn’t work for their publishing house. It was frustrating to be dragging this same manuscript around, trying to find someone interested in publishing it and having to either print or photocopy it so that someone else could read it (this was before sharing digital files became so easy; I was actually quite behind the times in regard to computer technology).

I began to take notice of self-publishing companies in 2007, when it appeared that they were no longer considered “vanity publishing” but were now called print on demand. POD technology differed because with vanity publishing, you were required to buy a certain number of books from the printer for them to do business with you, and the costs were staggering. With POD, they’ll print a single book at a very modest fee, one at a time, no problem. I gradually came to see self-publishing as a more viable way to get my idea out there, a way to have a finished product to hand someone, instead of a stack of loose pages. My idea was if I could sell enough copies, then a traditional publisher would take notice. Fast forward 12 years…

I am about to burst the bubble, maybe break somebody’s heart regarding the dream of self-publishing. I apologize for doing this, but here is the skinny: When I self-published my first novel The Gyre Mission in 2012, I had an “If I build it, they will come…” conviction. Seriously. All I had to do was write the best book ever, hire a publicity company to help me spread the word, and rake in the money as it sold like hotcakes. Ahem…I feel kind of silly now, but dreaming big and ambition are closely linked. Always dare to dream; don’t let anyone take that away from you.

The thing is, 200,000 other people had the same idea, and suddenly, the market became saturated, simply flooded with books by people whose stories otherwise never would have been told. It’s like the wave of DIY punk and grunge bands from the ’80s and ’90s, when musicians decided to start their own music labels so they could put their own records out (haha, really dating myself here!). The thing with that, though, was they could tour to promote them, literally take the word right to the masses. The same adage cannot be applied to a writer, unless you can somehow book yourself at small book stores across the country and either have the funds to take off work or plan on eating ketchup packets from McDonald’s and sleeping in your car.

And that, of course, leads to digital marketing. Wow did that make life easier! I remember sending manuscripts in the mail, and the delight I experienced once I could send them electronically. What you saved on postage could buy you groceries for a year! However, keep in mind that those other 200,000 people doing the same thing as you just became 300,000 people, and they are not only competing with you, they are competing with the 500,000 books that are traditionally published each year. Trying to get a large media outlet (any traditional media outlet — newspaper, magazine, the Oprah Winfrey show etc.) to even read your query letter is next to impossible without either a connection at the source or a celebrity endorsement. For example, my latest novel, Amber Hollow incorporates several small towns in Wisconsin. The publicity company I hired pitched the city’s local media, small newspapers catering to maybe 8,000 readers total in a town with a population of the same number. They did reply, I’ll give them that, and their answer was “We are not interested at this time.” Translation: “We aren’t interested until the writer becomes famous or the book is endorsed by a celebrity.” Yes, even these podunk little towns that probably struggle daily to find enough stories to fill the pages of their tiny publications don’t even want to take the time. And the kicker for me was, I am from one of those tiny towns! The fact that I was a local didn’t even motivate them! Maybe it was because of the tryst I had with the mayor’s daughter…I swear that kid isn’t mine (just kidding!)

And the cost of advertising? You’ll find that it eclipses the cost of editing, cover design, and interior formatting. And all the work you have to do even if you hired a publicity company is amazing; get ready to do a lot of writing, and it sure as shootin’ ain’t gonna be your next book! You’ll be writing anything you can just to get your name out there. That said, thank you for letting me write this guest post for It's Raining Books! I truly appreciate the opportunity!

In summary: It’s really nice to have a finished product of your work, and with dedicated time, hard work and financial resources you may find success. My point here is that it looked like a quick-fix solution when I first embarked upon it and over a decade later, I see that it is just as much work as trying to be traditionally published. So, no matter what path you take, it will involve a lot of hard work, patience, persistence, and luck, so keep on writing and do what you think is best for you. Cheers!

On July 15, 1991, an isolated village in Northern Wisconsin is ground zero for an unprecedented, fiery tragedy. Of the community's 600 residents, there are only five survivors. Detailed accounts by the victims contradict each other; the only link is a man named Anthony Guntram, but because he is presumed to be dead, this claim can't be verified. Further investigations reveal a culture enshrouded in mystery. What are the survivors hiding?

Only the villagers know the secret of Amber Hollow, a place where sanity is checked at the town line and the parameters of reality become blurred. An unconventional horror story by design, Edgar Swamp delivers an action-driven page-turner that will keep readers guessing until the calamitous ending.

Read an Excerpt

“I’m not going back!” the woman screamed, her eyes rolling in terror. “You hear me? I’m never going back!”

“We understand,” Sadie said, approaching carefully from the opposite side of her partner, although her reply couldn’t have been farther from the truth. So far, she didn’t understand anything. However, she knew for certain that this woman’s passing wouldn’t do them a damn bit of good at getting to the truth. They needed to keep her still so she wouldn’t let go.

“We’re here to help you,” Jeremy said, “in fact, we were on our way to the hospital to visit you, to ask you some questions—”

“You have questions, you can ask Anthony Guntram! It’s his fault, all his fault!”

“I’m afraid we can’t do that, ma’am.” He gazed down, saw a police boat approaching from the mouth of the river. Good timing. “Please, let us help you. Take my hand.”

“I don’t want your help!” she screamed, and in her exertion one of her feet slipped and she almost fell, the only thing keeping her from plunging over the side was her grip on the cable, which apparently was pretty tight. “You can’t help me, no one can!”

“Let us try,” Jeremy begged.

“Never,” she croaked in a husky voice, and then she let go of the cable.

About the Author:
Edgar Swamp is the author of the “Gyre Mission,” “Glitch in the Machine,” and “Blackout.” His short stories have appeared in Alienskin, Macabre Cadaver, and Urban Reinventors. When he isn’t holed up in his office playing online poker, he likes to dig up the recently deceased and make furniture out of their skin. He lives and works in San Diego, California.

Website: http://www.edgarswamp.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/47170769
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Edgaraaronswamp

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0578496445/

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Once Upon a Time, Bitches by Branden LaNette

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Branden LaNette will be awarding a $50 Amazon or 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.

Five things we’d probably never guess about you

I was struggling to share one thing about me no one would guess, so five is going to be incredibly challenging and I’m here for this. Thank you for making me dig a little deep.

I used to hate my name. I was completely embarrassed for most of my life. I used to go by Brandie. Now, if anybody calls me that, it’s like nails on the chalkboard. I find it repulsive actually. I have thought long and hard to become who I am and love the person staring back at me in the mirror. So, I’m incredibly proud of my name. I also love getting saucy with people that question if it’s really my name.

If I could have 20 babies, I would. I have a medical issue that forced me to have C-sections, I would have died without them. Unfortunately, the limit for my body was six of them, so now I’m going to dream about adopting them in the future.

I am a crier. I cry when I’m happy, mad, sad, I cry for everything. My heart is incredibly big and being a loving person is probably my most incredible trait.

I feel energy at an incredible level, from other people. It’s overwhelming at times and it forces me to check out more often than I should. I really have to protect my energy by avoiding things like media, and news etc. gossip, it will put me down for days.

I am deathly afraid of needles. It's easy to stereotype someone with tattoos and think it’s the same thing, but the tattoo machine is on the surface of my skin, needles go in it and I just can’t deal with that.

That’s Branden on the cover. Yes, she has a boy’s name, a Mom bod, and her tattoos are not photoshopped. She doesn’t look like your typical author and she sure doesn’t look like the next self-help Instagram sweetheart.

However, besides being a wife, mom to six kids (plus others with fur), coach and business owner, Branden is the author of the new book, Once Upon a Time, Bitches. It’s a fast paced, in your face, expletive laced, nothing held back message to women everywhere: There is no magic fairytale, but if YOU work at it enough you can come pretty close to creating your version with a happily ever after.

But first, no more whining and no more damsel locked in a tower, bullsh*t. Is it possible to design a fairytale life? Control your destiny? Be the hero in your story? Branden thinks there is and she wants to help you.

Read an Excerpt

Success is different for everyone, clearly. Right now, with an 8-month-old baby in my arms as I type this, I define success as getting clothes onto both of us.

Success doesn’t have anything to do with your bank account, either. So don't think you can’t speak up in a meeting or approach someone with a business idea just because you think they’re “more successful” than you are. Fantastic Fran may be making $1 million per year and you’ve only got only $47.22 in the bank.

Your idea could be worth $10 million, maybe more, who knows? You’ll never know unless you speak up and take a chance.

Success also has nothing to do with followers, likes or clicks. And it sure as fuck isn’t about approval from friends and family.

Move the f on with that sh*t.

“Success” is what you say it is. It is waking up AF to be alive. Success is wearing your heart on the outside and sharing a gift with another human. Success is happiness in the things you do, not in the things you have.

Success isn’t ANYTHING anyone else tells you it is. It’s what you tell yourself it is. Which ultimately means that, if you’re taking my advice, you should ignore everything I just said success is and/or isn’t because, in the end, only you can define what in the fuck success is for you. Only you.

Only you.

Don’t let me or anyone else define what makes you happy. Your inner feelings define what success is, and your smile describes it to the world.

Fran thinks I am a hot mess, and she’s right. Karen thinks I’m a superstar, and she’s right, too. Neither of their opinions affect my definition. Neither of their judgements dulls my shine.

I know I’m a success because I have everything I’ve ever wanted, saggy boobs and all. I could do without some of the cellulite, but now we’re just nitpicking.

About the Author:
Branden LaNette doesn’t look like a typical author but she has long ignored what she “should” do, say and look like. On her own at a very young age, Branden eventually found herself with the wrong guy, the wrong job, and a bleak future. The fairytale she was promised as a child never materialized.

Finally, Branden decided that she wanted something different for her life, and realized no one was going to do it for her. Prince charming wasn’t coming to save her—she’d have to save herself.

Step by step, decision by decision, through major trials and tribulations that would stop most people in their tracks, Branden learned how to turn heartbreak into happiness and self-judgement into inner joy.

Today, Branden LaNette is an entrepreneur, coach, speaker, wife, and stay-at-home Mom to six C-section babies (ages 1-16) and way too many f-ing pets. Somehow, however, she manages to juggle all of this effortlessly (a blatant lie) while pushing her way through the kinds of fear and self-doubts that whisper within all of us (totally true) to achieve her goals. Her most recent dream come true is this book, one that is destined to have a major impact on millions of women across the globe (or at least nine people in Michigan.)

Through it all, she has found her happiness, her joy, and more importantly, her voice.

Website: http://www.BrandenLanette.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Branden.Lanette
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Branden_Lanette
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/Brandenlanettel

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Once-Upon-Time-Bitches-Fairytale/dp/1947814869/

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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Spring at the Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green

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

Fleeing from a romance gone wrong, Ellie Farmer arrives in the pretty village of Sunnybrook, hoping for a brand new start that most definitely does not include love!

Following an unscheduled soak in the village duck pond, she meets Sylvia, who runs the Little Duck Pond Cafe. Renting the flat above the cafe seems like the answer to Ellie's prayers. It's only for six months, which will give her time to sort out her life, far away from cheating boyfriend Richard.

But is running away from your past ever really the answer?

Clashing with the mysterious and brooding Zak Chamberlain, an author with a bad case of writer's block, is definitely not what Ellie needs right now. And then there's Sylvia, who's clinging so hard to her past, she's in danger of losing the quaint but run-down cafe altogether.

Can Ellie find the answers she desperately needs in Sunnybrook? And will she be able to help save Sylvia's Little Duck Pond Cafe from closure?

Read an Excerpt

It’s been that kind of a day.

Earlier, when I was taking photos of the duck pond, I was so focused on getting the best shots that I almost came a cropper on the gnarly tree roots protruding through the earth at one end of the pond.

Someone shouted, ‘Careful! They’re treacherous when it’s icy!’ I looked across at a cottage, set all by itself a little way back from the pond, and saw a woman with short white hair in the garden, up a ladder, looking over at me. I waved to show her I was fine and she went back to cleaning the sign that hung above the front door of the quaint, two-storey cottage: The Little Duck Pond Café.

I march across the green, making for that same cluster of oak and horse chestnut trees trailing their branches over the duck pond. If I can just disappear among the trees, out of sight of Zak Chamberlain . . .

My heart is still bumping wildly after my encounter with him as I pick my way along the bank. The early ice is starting to melt, making the ground underfoot muddy – but I’m careful to step over the slippery tree roots this time.

I glance back to check he’s not still there, in the garden. Distracted, I slide on a patch of muddy bank but manage to remain upright.

But next second my foot meets a tree root and this time, I lose my balance, staggering sideways into the pond.

One foot planted in the shallows, I gasp as icy water fills my shoe and shoots up my leg. I try to turn but I’m hampered by the layer of silt underfoot and I can’t halt my momentum. My arms shoot out as I desperately try to get my balance, but the next second, I’m falling – splashing backwards with a shriek into the chilled, green-slime-soup of the duck pond.

About the Author:
Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little.

Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’.

Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger at all – unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Spring at the Little Duck Pond Café is the first in Rosie’s brand new series of novellas centred around life in a village café. Each novella is a ‘stand-alone’ read.

You can connect with Rosie Green on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Rosie_Green1988
Amazon purchase link: https://amzn.to/2W8uXF7

NOTE: Book is free. Readers will be able to read the whole series on Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rosie-Green/e/B07CZYV7DW%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

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Death in the Family by Lanny Larcinese

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

Welcome to It's Raining Books. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

Great question. I am a crime writer with a strong noir influence. To me, noir is like blues music, a frame of mind, a way of seeing the world and people that expresses in thought, word and deed. That would be me. For my stories, sustaining our better angels is a constant struggle against a bevy of natural tendencies (e.g., tribalism, selfishness) that want to fight it. My stories are about those struggles.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

Even struggle is holy.

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

Quirk: I am given to long, serpentine sentences written as much for rhythm and musicality as information contained in them. Such writing is a no-no in most crime writing. I usually have to break them up during edits but it galls me.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

Pantser all the way. I can no more look at a blank page on my Word program than on a yellow legal pad. If I knew what to put in an outline, I’d just go ahead and write it.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

A roll of paper towels: I have all kinds of pollen allergies and my sinuses are a raging rapids.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Yes. Why do you like the kind of book you like?

Donny Lentini is a talented young man hungry for his mother's love. To please her, he becomes guardian angel to his mob-wannabe father. When the father is murdered and found with his hands hacked off, Donny is dealt a set of cards in a game called vengeance. The pot is stacked high with chips; the ante, his soul and the lives of loved-ones. With the help of friends—ex-con, defrocked Jesuit Bill Conlon along with former high-school nemesis, Antwyne Claxton—he digs for whether the murder had anything to do with the mob's lust for a real estate parcel owned by the family of Donny's lover. He's new at this game. He doesn't cheat, but plays his cards well. And he gets what he wants.

Read an Excerpt

My foot slid over to touch Dad’s.

“Is this about the money you lost at the table?” I said. “Should we play a few more hands?” I kept my eyes fixed on his.

Dad reached over and put his hand on mine.

“I didn’t lose the office cleaners,” he said. A bead of sweat meandered toward his jaw. “The union was working on ’em going back three years now. It was a done deal by the time I got there. Don’t I otherwise do good?”

“Whatever,” German said. “Just don’t let it happen again. And tell Donny here to mind his manners or you’ll be back driving a truck.”

The baseball bat leaning in a corner was an exclamation point punctuating German’s directive. If it came down to that I’d slash his throat with a rusty knife. Yet I had to walk a tightrope. Dad would have preferred the bat to the demotion. He was a climber and German his future.

German picked up a couple of coded folders and put them into a filing cabinet, slamming the drawer down its rails like a runaway train.

“Oh, and Joojy wants to see you. I don’t know about what.”

“What about?” Dad said.

“You don’t hear? I said I don’t know! Maybe that thing. Now get outta here, both yiz. I got to take my daughter to ballet.” ”

About the Author:
Lanny Larcinese ‘s short work has appeared in magazines and has won a handful of local prizes. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s a native mid-westerner transplanted to the City of Brotherly Love where he has been writing fiction for seven years. When not writing, he lets his daughter, Amanda, charm him out of his socks, and works at impressing Jackie, his long-time companion who keeps him honest and laughing—in addition to being his first-line writing critic. He also spends more time than he should on Facebook but feels suitably guilty for it.

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Death-Family-Lanny-Larcinese-ebook/dp/B07XSLCCL1/

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Heroes in Love by David C. Dawson

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. David C. Dawson will be awarding $10 Boroughs Bucks to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Can love last a lifetime? Billy Walsh and Daniel Richards never intended to be matchmakers. After all, they're only at the start of their own love story. When Billy uncovers a failed love affair, he learns it lasted more than fifty years until it fell apart. He and Daniel see their own fledgling relationship through the lens of the now estranged couple, and they vow to reunite the elderly lovers. But as they set about their task, the pressure of modern life threatens to tear them apart.

Read an Excerpt

“Hey. You okay?”

The voice was familiar. Billy pulled back from the window, opened his eyes, and turned to see the black wavy hair and brown eyes of the man he had collided with in the hospital entrance under an hour ago. Clumsily, he tried to wipe his eyes with the back of his hand and merely succeeded in smearing his hand with a gob of snot from his nose. His humiliation was complete.

Then the man’s oh-so-kissable lips moved, and he said, “Come on. You need a coffee.”

The cafeteria was on the ground floor of the hospital, close to the entrance. It was noisy and packed with people, and there was a long line at the counter.

Billy’s Good Samaritan introduced himself as Daniel. He invited Billy to find a table, while he queued up to buy them hot drinks.

As Billy waited, he reviewed the rollercoaster day. True, most of it had been downhill. Steeply. But this last turn lifted his spirits. He looked across the crowded cafeteria at Daniel standing in line. His back was to Billy as Daniel ordered coffees from the bored-looking assistant on the other side of the counter. He stood tall and confident. His dark blue linen suit gave him the look of a Hollywood actor in sharp contrast to the shabbily dressed people on either side of him. His haircut was obviously expensive, and he was well groomed.

Billy looked down at the sleeve of his shirt. The remains of his egg sandwich from earlier was smeared across it. He licked his fingers and rubbed the stain, in the hope of making the stain disappear.

“Here you are. I got some chocolate chip cookies as well. I love them, and I thought you might need the sugar.”

Daniel placed a large plastic tray on the table. He handed Billy a chipped mug of cappuccino, placed a large plate of cookies on the table, and sat opposite. Billy slid his arm into his lap, to hide the egg stained sleeve. “You okay now?”

Billy nodded. “Yeah. It’s been a really shit day, and I guess it all finally got to me. Work went tits up this morning. Then I met my mother’s oncologist this afternoon, and—” He stopped. Not wanting to repeat what he had learned.

About the Author: David C Dawson writes contemporary thrillers featuring gay men in love. He’s an award winning author, journalist and documentary maker. His debut novel won Bronze for Best Mystery and Suspense in the FAPA awards, and he has published two books since.

David lives in London with his boyfriend and two cats. In his spare time, he tours Europe and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus.

Social Media:

website: http://www.davidcdawson.co.uk
blog: http://blog.davidcdawson.co.uk/#home
instagram: http://www.instagram.com/davidcdawsonwriter
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/david.c.dawson.5
twitter: http://www.twitter.com/david_c_dawson
pinterest: http://www.pinterest.co.uk/mrdcdawson/heroes-in-love-influences/
linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/DavidCDawson

Buy Link:

Boroughs Press: http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/books/heroes-love
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B083QRQ319
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083QRQ319
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B083QRQ319
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B083QRQ319
Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/3G28pL
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/999639

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Secrets of the In-Group by Carolyn Re and Loretta Re

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carolyn Re and Loretta Re 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.

Welcome to It’s Raining Books. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

Contemporary Fiction can show women in all their marvelous complexity and we wanted to reflect our own stories and life in Australia. We felt that older women’s stories should be told by women in that age group, and we wanted to make their stories relatable to readers in all age groups. The desire for friends and romance continues throughout life, but if you’re not working and your children have left home, how do you meet new people and keep up with the times?

What research is required?

Two lifetimes of experience helps! But we needed to do quite a lot of research on social media as neither of us is on Facebook (can you believe that?) nor Pinterest nor so many online activities our characters had to master. For example, Denise buys and sells Japanese netsuke ornaments on eBay, and Neelam makes cooking vlogs. The novel is set in Carolyn’s home town of Albury, in Australia, so that gave her the opportunity to explore it like a visitor and see it through new eyes.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine

Most of the women inspired us in their own way, but Kate was such a positive person with her can-do attitude, that we hope it’s rubbing off on us. She showed that it’s always possible to create new paths in life, find new friends and be a catalyst for change. Her enthusiasm for setting up a wedding planner business was infectious, as was her ability to encourage or cajole the other women into living their best lives.

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

Not so much quirks as goal-setting. If you already have discipline from one field of work, it’s not too hard to transfer it to another. Thinking of your writing as a regular job helps with that. Carolyn’s whippet, Ziggy was like her life coach as she decided that once she’d taken him for his morning walk, she’d sit at her desk and write. Ziggy never let her shirk the walk and so became the trigger for a great habit.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

We love plotting, and being able to discuss the various twists and turns with each other was a great help. Writing a book like this is similar to doing a jigsaw puzzle where all the plots and adventures have to come together to create a coherent whole. We don’t feel that the pantser approach would work for us.

Look to your right—what’s sitting there?

Carolyn has bookshelves stashed with dictionaries, a thesaurus, an old set of Encyclopaedia Britannica and Arthur Mees’s children’s encyclopaedia, all of which have now been made redundant by the Internet! But she can’t bear to turf them. Loretta lives in Sydney, so the view on her right shows glimpses of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the water. Quite inspiring.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

Some readers told us they’ve grown fond of our characters and want more stories about them, which appeals to us, so that’s a possibility. We also enjoyed the crime and investigative elements in this novel, so we’re toying with the idea of writing a crime thriller.

Do you have any question for our readers?

There was much debate between ourselves, our two editors and some of our early readers as to whether we needed the last chapter or not. What do you think?

A small town. A world wide web. Is the net really a friend?
What do you do when the children have flown the nest and you have time on your hands?

Six women in the Australian riverside city of Albury realise that, without social media skills, they’re staring irrelevancy in the face. Their book club won’t cut it any more. It’s time to go virtual.

But their decision to plunge into the on-line world brings shocking revelations and unexpected outcomes. Friendships, new and old, are tested and their lives teeter on the edge of collapse. They must navigate a path through the chaos. But who exactly can they trust?

Read an Excerpt

[Denise has sent off a valuable package she sold on Ebay. She’s waiting anxiously for payment from Nancy, her regular customer in the US.]

—Now the panic was rising to a crescendo again. Logging into her bank account for the tenth time in thirty minutes wasn’t going to make ten thousand dollars appear miraculously in her account, but it was all she could do. Each viewing made her heart pump harder. Could there be a delay because it involved so much money this time?

Two days later, and still no sign of the payment, she sent a frantic email.

Nancy, the money hasn’t arrived and I posted your package days ago. What’s happened?

A reply arrived the following day, but it wasn’t what she was expecting.

Dear friends, it read. Our dear Aunt Nancy is in hospital after suffering a stroke. The stress of her beloved mother’s death recently has played its part and the doctors can’t say how well she will recover, so we ask for your thoughts and prayers at this very sad time. Stacey (Nancy’s niece)

Denise stared in horror. Poor Nancy. But what a terrible time for this to happen. It would surely delay the money being forwarded. Denise’s heartburn became a little worse.

She sent an email back to Stacey, saying how sorry she was to hear the news and how she hoped for Nancy’s full recovery, but received no update. She waited a few days before sending another email to enquire about Nancy’s health, but rather than hearing from Stacey, she received a return message:

About the Authors
Carolyn Re worked for over twenty years as a general practitioner before turning to writing. No longer needing to produce serious medical and scientific articles, she's now writing contemporary fiction for older women. Carolyn lives in the regional city of Albury, New South Wales, with Ziggy the whippet and three contented chickens.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/regal525
Website: https://outsidethesquare101.com/

Loretta Re is a former lawyer who is now writing novels and screenplays. Her book for middle grade readers, Stand Up and Cheer, is a story inspired by the rescue of the Uiver DC2 over Albury during the 1934 Centenary Air Race. It was voted one of the best books for literacy and language development in 2015. Loretta lives in Sydney and is on the board of Writing NSW.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/abridgedtoofar7

Buy Links


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Thursday, January 9, 2020

The World of Ashford Manor by Toni Cox

Five Things You Might Not Know

I have a cat, named Kitty, who sleeps on my desk whenever I work.
I love dragons and unicorns and collect them in all colours, shapes, and sizes.
I study something new every year – 2020 it is a combination of writing techniques and marketing.
My parents own a Big-5 Safari Lodge in South Africa.
Due to health reasons, I had to become a Vegan and eat only gluten-free meals.

The animal within him was never far from the surface, but with her, the wolf was untameable.

Patrick Blakesley, born to a bloodline of werewolves, falls in love with the mysteriously shy, yet ravishingly beautiful daughter of his new employer – the Lord of Ashford Manor.

When the town of Ashford is besieged by a sudden spate of murders, suspicions fall on Patrick, for he has been discovered for the beast that he is.

Although forced to go into hiding, it does not stop Patrick from pursuing his love for Angelica. Shacked up in an old boat shed, they discover pleasures such as only forbidden fruits can yield.

As Patrick discovers all that Angelica has to offer, the brutal murders continue.

Are they strong enough together to discover the true beast and tame it, before all of humanity perishes before its wrath?

A steamy paranormal romance that merges romance, thriller, mystery, and the paranormal.
Read an Excerpt

Patrick stood at the edge of the precipice of white cliffs, and gazed out over the ocean, staring at the distant continent across the water; the ship he had stepped off earlier was already out of sight.

Too long had he been away from home.

He now turned his back on those distant shores, burying deep within the memories of the last three years. He strode out powerfully, his long legs steeled from the years in the war. He had miles to go to Ashford and would not reach it for several days.

There would be inns along the road, and he hoped to find accommodations there for the nights.

After a good day’s march, Patrick readjusted his weighty satchel and stepped off the rutted road to allow a wagon to pass. The two heavy draught horses snorted uneasily as they went by him.

He looked up into the sky and realised night would be upon him soon.

“Good sir,” he called out to the driver, “would there be an inn close by?”

“Not for another twenty miles, ‘m ‘fraid.”

The horse nearest to him exhaled nervously, and the driver shifted his attention away from Patrick.

Stepping back, Patrick cast another heavenward. Wispy clouds sailed across an orange tinged sky as the sun began to set in the west. Soon the moon would rise.

Leaving the driver to calm his horses, Patrick turned away from the road and headed towards the nearby forest. A vein in his neck throbbed at the thought of spending the night within the confines of the dark trees before him.

He walked deep into the woods, well out of sight of the road. At a pebbly creek, he hung his satchel upon a high branch of a tree before slaking his thirst with the cool water.

As the light faded, Patrick gathered firewood and made a fire pit with rocks from the riverbed. He put dry moss and kindling in the centre, and then stacked some logs around it, but he did not light it.

Instead, he removed his clothing, folding it neatly and arranging it next to the fire pit. His clothes were worn and faded, but clean. Although muscular, his tall body was made of clean lines, long legs and a broad chest. Years of war had made him lean and tough.

Naked, he cast an approving glance over his sparse camp and then walked away from it. Over the years that he had been away, he had learned to control himself. It had not always been easy, and until even a year ago, there were occasions where he could not trust himself. Today, however, he was in control.

Away from his camp, with the moon rising over the forest, his naked body distorted, changing shape with agonising contortions. Breathing heavily, the werewolf ’s fur bristled in the cool evening air, and he raised his snout to taste the scents on the wind. Tonight, he would hunt.

About the Author:
Born in Germany in 1976, International Bestselling Author Toni Cox moved to South Africa in 1991. Although she has spent much of her working career in the timber wholesale business, she is also an accomplished horse rider, has a diploma in project management, photography, and nutrition, and has a passion for books and all things fantasy.

From a young age, her dream had always been to put her imagination into words. When she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2013, she decided life is too short not to follow her dream. With the support of her husband and three children, she began writing book 1 of the Elemental Trilogy in January 2015.

Toni Cox writes Epic Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, and Dark Fantasy. She is a firm believer in dragons.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ToniCoxAuthor
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/tonicoxelemental
BookBub: http://www.bookbub.com/authors/toni-cox
WordPress: http://www.tonicoxelemental.wordpress.com
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonicoxauthor/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authortonicox
FB Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/toniselementals
Website: http://www.tonicoxauthor.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/tonicox
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/tonicoxauthor
Pinterest: https://za.pinterest.com/tonicoxauthor/
Newsletter: https://www.tonicoxauthor.com/subscribe

Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Wolf-Ashford-Manor-Toni-Cox-ebook/dp/B08297961X

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Harvest by Olga Werby

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Olga Werby will be awarding 2 books to a randomly drawn commenter (LIZARD GIRL AND GHOST and SUDDENLY, PARIS) via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome to It's Raining Books. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

My background is in astrophysics and psychology. Granted, it’s not a very likely combination for a career…a regular career. But it is perfect for a writer of science fiction! “Harvest” is a book about first contact between an old alien civilization and the people of Earth. It’s all about physics and psychology!

What research is required?

I’m a scientist. I’m very interested in the development of life, consciousness, and civilization. Over the past several decades, we’ve learned a lot about human biology not only on the molecular level (DNA) but also the chemistry and physics of biology. We can see the range of possibilities for behavior and emotion programmed into us by our evolutionary development. We’ve also learned about other human species that didn’t survive to the present day but whose echoes we carry in our very genes—Heanderthals, Homo floresiensis, Homo denisovans, and the newly discovered Homo luzonesis. There are many more, of course, but it takes time and luck to find evidence.

Only the Homo sapiens are alive on our world today. And only a small percentage of those developed the capacity or desire to take over the world and impose their culture on the rest of the peoples. Why? Why did some Hominids made it and some didn’t? Why did some civilizations flourished and others fell? We can answer some of these questions with psychology, sociology, paleontology, anthropology, biology, and simple luck.

Luck seems to have played a huge role in human evolution and survival on our planet. Those who were lucky enough to live in fertile environments with species of plants and animals that were easy to domesticate won the life lottery, so to speak. The unlucky ones didn’t make it to the present day or ended up colonized…

We have some ideas about what it takes to survive and thrive on Earth. But what does it take to survive in the galaxy? Can we use the same principles and apply them on a larger scale? “Harvest” is a book that focuses on galaxy-wide civilizations and what it takes to become one. To get at some of these answers requires a lot of research.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

“Harvest” is a story of first contact. 30,000-year-old alien artifact is found on one of the moons of Saturn, buried in the ancient ice. This means that back when humans didn’t even begin agriculture or domestication of animals or started using symbols to keep track of ideas or to send messages to each other; before the days of making clay pots and weaving baskets; back when we haven’t even discovered the Americas; in the deep time before the dawn of our civilization (night time, really), some aliens were already advanced enough to send a craft across the trillions and trillions of miles of space to our home star system. Why did they come? What do they want?

I became interested in the idea of galaxy’s first star-fairing civilization a few years back. I wanted to use all of the science I knew to extrapolate the implications of being the first intelligence and the first civilization and then the first space-fairing culture to arise in the Milky Way. There had to be the THE first. What if it is NOT us? How would we, humans, handle first contact with such people? Would it go well for us? Would it be like “Star Trek?” I had a feeling that it might not really play out that way…

The story of Vars, a professor of socio-biology who studies human origins and civilizations, came from my exploration on these ideas. I wanted her—a “soft” scientist—to try to solve the puzzle of communicating with someone very different from us, whose motivations we simply don’t understand. For when the time comes, it won’t be the physicists and mathematicians who will be on the forefront of interfacing with aliens. It will be diplomats, sociologists, linguists, and lawyers! (perhaps teachers…)

I guess what I admire the most about Vars is that she never truly gives up hope. That makes her the most human.

I have posted the first three chapters of “Harvest” on my blog: https://interfaces.com/blog/my-books/harvest It’s a good introduction to Vars.

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

“Harvest” is fully illustrated—why do only kids get to have pictures in their books? Below is a small collection of images from the book.

Researching and creating images for my books helps me understand the universe of the story at a deeper level. I assume not many other authors do that, although I’ve heard J. K. Rollings made illustrations for “Harry Potter” (which unfortunately didn’t make it into the finished books).

Are you a plotter or pantser?

By the time I actually start writing a new novel, I’ve usually spent a year or so taking notes and doing research. I tend to have a general idea of what the book will be about. But that said, I’m the seat-of-my-pants kind of writer. I write to find out what happens next! Once I know my characters and understand their predicament, the story is written by them. They decide what they want to do and how to proceed and how to solve problems that I throw at them. They drive the action. I know this sounds crazy, but it works well for me. I’m always surprised by the end of the story—the finished book is nothing like I’ve imaged it…but it does contain all of the elements of my research for the story. This was especially true of “Harvest.”

Look to your right—what’s sitting there?

Books…and more books…Yea, books!

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’m currently finishing up “God of Small Affairs.” In some ways, this is the opposite story from “Harvest.” While “Harvest” focused on real science and extrapolated it as far as possible, “God of Small Affairs” is about mythology, about gods who walk the earth and help shape the human race into what it has become. It is a more intimate story. It focuses on a small town in Wisconsin and it’s aging population that is in the process of becoming irrelevant due the pressures of progress. During a murder investigation, a god tries to find the best path into the future for this community. It’s a human drama with a mythical twist.

You can read the first few chapters of “God of Small Affairs” here: https://interfaces.com/blog/my-books/god-of-small-affairs/

I hope to release “God of Small Affairs” in a few months.

Do you have a question for our readers?

How do you make decisions on what to read next? I tend to read everything a particular author has ever written, once I discover someone I like.

Do you ever put the book down before the last page? I have a very strong work ethic and find it very difficult to stop reading a book to the end even if I don’t particularly enjoy it. But I’m learning. And as I learn, I try to notice (as a writer) what elements of the story made me put the book down. Was it the unlikable characters? The slow beginning? Too many difficult names? I read not only for pleasure, but to learn to become a better writer.

Almost a century after Keres Triplets asteroid impact and subsequent nuclear exchange almost ended all human life on Earth, a strange artifact is discovered on one of the moons of Saturn. Who should be sent to the outer reaches of the solar system to initiate the first contact with an alien culture? Dr. Varsaad Volhard, an evolutionary-socio-historian, is chosen to help the world understand the alien civilization that left an artifact some thirty thousand years ago, before humans even learned to farm, at the time when other human species still walked the earth. While Vars prepares for the mission, her father, Dr. Matteo Volhard, discovers nanobots among the microplastics he studies. The bots are everywhere and seem to have been created to bond with human cyber implants. Why? Matteo is made to keep his discovery a secret...as well as his and his daughter's true origins. Both were donated to a Human DNA Vault as babies. Matteo was raised as a Seed before leaving with his young daughter to study ecology around the world. Who knows what? Who is in control? How does one communicate with non-human intelligence? People seem to die in gruesome ways as their cyberhumatics go haywire on Earth and on Luna and Mars colonies. Is Earth under attack or is it all just a cosmic misunderstanding? Vars needs to use all she knows to solve the mystery of the ancient civilization on Mimas, as her dad battles the alien nanobots at home.

Read an Excerpt

Vars slept on the plane…or tried to. She was too confused, too keyed up to really sleep. That coffee might have been a mistake. Ian said that he couldn’t tell her anything until they arrived at his EPSA office in Seattle, which was conveniently her own hometown where she lived with her dad. The man just smiled a lot and talked about how much he had enjoyed reading Vars’s new book.

There was a strange edge to their interaction. If Vars hadn’t believed Ian’s credentials, she would have bailed on him a long time ago. Even so, she felt like she was being kidnapped. And, in a way, she was. She’d had to cancel the last two lectures of her book tour and apologize to her agent over and over again. Ian had promised that EPSA would send an official excuse letter, but Vars still felt like she let her agent and publisher down.

They landed at a general aviation airport, and another black car whisked them to EPSA’s headquarters, just outside of Seattle’s city limits. She was taken to a conference room on the top floor of the EPSA science building, which Ian called the “tree house.” She immediately understood why–it was surrounded on all sides by a balcony planted with a row of trees and some shrubbery. It was quite nice, but Vars couldn’t enjoy it; she was simultaneously exhausted and adrenalized. It was just a matter of time before she crashed.

She must have looked it, too, because someone handed her a very big, very steamy cup of coffee. She sipped it gratefully, completely oblivious to how she came to be holding it. It was still very early in the morning, way before Vars even liked to get up, much less attend a meeting.

About a dozen EPSA people joined her and Ian around the conference table. Vars noticed that several paper copies of her book were laid out; some even looked read, with cracked spines and dog-eared pages.

“So,” she said to Ian. “Is now a good time and place for you to tell me what this is all about?”

“Now is perfect,” Ian said with a big smile. “We are very grateful to have you with us today, Dr. Volhard. This is my exobiology team.” He pointed one by one to the people on one side of the table. “Dr. Alice Bear. Dr. Greg Tungsten. Dr. Bob Shapiro. Dr. Saydi Obara. Dr. Evelyn Shar. And Dr. Izzy Rubka.”

Vars had heard of some of these people by reputation, of course, but never met any of them personally. EPSA people were a reclusive bunch, tending to mix with their own to the exclusion of others, even with the same research interests. It was one of the reasons Vars always wanted to join the organization–to get access to the best and the brightest minds and a chance to discuss the origins of life over coffee… But the introductions were happening so fast, there was no chance that she would remember how any of these names linked up with faces. Vars doubted she would even recognize these people walking down the street.

But Ian just continued. “And this group,” he gestured to two men and a woman, “is on loan from JPL–Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. Trish Cars, Dr. Ron Silverman, and Dr. Benjamin Kouta.” Vars gave up on remembering who was who. “And these two,” Ian said, nodding to a pair of identical twins sitting next to him, “are Ibe and Ebi Zimov, our computer science wunderkinds from EISS, European Institute of Space Science.”

About the Author:
Olga Werby, Ed.D., has a Doctorate from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on designing online learning experiences. She has a Master's degree from U.C. Berkeley in Education of Math, Science, and Technology. She has been creating computer-based projects since 1981 with organizations such as NASA (where she worked on the Pioneer Venus project), Addison-Wesley, and the Princeton Review. Olga has a B.A. degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics from Columbia University. She became an accidental science fiction indie writer about a decade ago, with her first book, "Suddenly Paris," which was based on then fairly novel idea of virtual universes. Her next story, "The FATOFF Conspiracy," was a horror story about fat, government bureaucracy, and body image. She writes about characters that rarely get represented in science fiction stories -- homeless kids, refugees, handicapped, autistic individuals -- the social underdogs of our world. Her stories are based in real science, which is admittedly stretched to the very limit of possible. She has published almost a dozen fiction books to date and has won many awards for her writings. Her short fiction has been featured in several issues of "Alien Dimensions Magazine," "600 second saga," "Graveyard Girls," "Kyanite Press' Fables and Fairy Tales," "The Carmen Online Theater Group's Chronicles of Terror," with many more stories freely available on her blog, Interfaces.com.

Website: http://www.interfaces.com/blog/
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/olgawerby
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4056895.Olga_Werby
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OlgaWerby/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OlgaWerby
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDE3BNceupMYgvoaoAps2mg
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/olgawerby/

Selected Book Links on Amazon:

“Harvest”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R8HGKWN
“Becoming Animals”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078P6BB6K/
“Suddenly, Paris”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014OM5158/
“The FATOFF Conspiracy”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014S0W4WO/ “Twin Time”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZM578L/
“Lizard Girl & Ghost: The Chronicles of DaDA Immortals”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZM578L/
“Coding Peter”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LFP45WC/
“Pigeon”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014TZ1TQA/
“Fresh Seed”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FFDZNYB

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