Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Up and In by Deborah Disney- Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Deborah will be awarding an eCopy of Up and In to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five Things You Might Not Know About Deborah Disney

Five things you would probably never guess about me? I’d love to turn that around and see if there are five things you can guess about me! I’m quite the fan of guessing games. Is that number one? Okay, let’s not count that.

One. A superficial one. My hair is really curly. Like really curly. As yet another example of how we always seem to want what we don’t have, I have been straightening my hair for years. My introduction to the GHD hair straightener was life-changing!

Two. I am very interested in politics. Australia seems to be going through a bit of a bizarre period, politically, and I have had a lot of trouble aligning myself with anyone on either side. I am a big fan of our new Prime Minister though, and for the first time in a long time, I have felt really hopeful about what might be achieved while he’s in charge.

Three. I believe in reincarnation, but I have also started to wonder if there might be something more scientific and less spiritual to it. I have wondered if some past life recollections may be the result of memory transfer through DNA. It’s hard to reconcile that theory though with reports by people of past life recollections coming from a culture that their ancestors have never been a part of. The whole idea of reincarnation really intrigues me.

Four. Now I’ve brushed on religion and politics, back to the superficial. I am hopeless at outfit planning. I never do it, and then when I am about to go out, I am standing there wondering what the hell I am going to wear. Time and time again. I never learn.

Five. I have absolutely no comprehension of why people like flirting with death. Jumping out of planes, bungy jumping, white-water rafting, skiing fast down tree-lined cliff-faces – I just do not get it! Snuggled up in front of a fire with a good book and a glass of wine – now that sounds like the way to spend your earthly hours!

Thanks for hosting me today :-)

MediaKit_BookCover_UpAndInDistinctly middle-class parents, Maria and Joe have committed every bit of available income to giving their daughters Kate and Sarah the best education possible, which to them means attending the most exclusive girls school in the state. But when Kate befriends the spoilt and moody Mirabella, Maria finds herself thrust into a high society of champagne-swilling mother-istas she hasn't budgeted for. Saturday morning netball is no longer a fun mother-daughter outing, but a minefield of social politics.

While the increasingly neurotic Maria struggles to negotiate the school mum hierarchy, Joe quietly battles a midlife crisis and Kate attempts to grow up as gracefully as possible (without having her life ruined by embarrassing parents).

For every woman who has ever felt she may be wearing the wrong shoes, this is a book that will remind you - you're not alone.

Fans of Liane Moriarty and Fiona Higgins are sure to enjoy this debut offering from new Australian author, Deborah Disney.

Enjoy an excerpt:

There it was again. That damned full stop. How does so much passive aggression fit itself into such a tiny punctuation mark?

Fine with me.

‘Fine with me, full stop.’

‘Fine with me full stop, no x.’

‘Fine with me full stop no x, no way am I ever going to let you think you are in any way deserving of the lathered-up, flattery-filled, signed-off-with-a-kiss kind of email I always send to everyone else on this email list.’

And there you have it. That is what she was able to say to me with one little full stop.

Of course, if any of the obsessively-stroking-and-simultaneously-self-aggrandising netball mums on this email list ever decided just to hit ‘Reply’ instead of ‘Reply all’ to the coach’s weekly email, I probably wouldn’t know that this little full stop means that I am absolutely, categorically, no longer in the fold. Unfortunately, because I am still on the email list, every week my inbox fills with messages ending with ‘x’ – not emails addressed specifically to me, just a plethora of inappropriately ‘Reply all’ emails sent to every woman with a daughter in the Red Rockets Under 10 Division 1 netball team. Every ‘x-ending’ email I have read over this netball season has served to reinforce the knowledge that if I were the object of Bea’s contrived affections her response to my offer to organise a group gift for our daughters’ netball coach would instead have gone more like this:

(Reply all)

Oh Maria, you are always so thoughtful. Of course I had been planning to find Linney the perfect gift – she has done such a stellar job with the girls this season! Sadly, I am just run off my feet this week. With putting the finishing touches on the gala, and having the nanny taking time off for her final exams, I just haven’t had a chance to even think! You are a life saver! Truly. I can’t wait to see what you choose – you have such impeccable taste! By the way, where did you get those absolutely to-die-for wellies you were wearing last week? I absolutely covet them. I just have to have some. Anyway, I must press on, I have a hundred emails to get through. I see another one just popped up from the Governor’s Office. Did I mention that the Governor and his wife will be joining us at the gala? I have known him forever, of course. Just adored his Christmas card last year! Remind me to tell you about it. Thanks again for organising the gift. You are an absolute gem! Bea x

I guess, in a way, ‘Fine with me full stop’ is in fact a lot easier than the alternative. Back when I actually gave a damn what Bea thought of me, the alternative would have filled me with insecurity. What kind of ‘perfect’ gift would she have chosen for Linney? Did she really like my wellies? Would she ever choose them over her Louboutin ballet flats to go to an Under 10’s netball game – even when the grounds were covered in mud like when I wore mine the previous week – or did she really just plan to sit them on the porch by way of decor at her thousand-acre ‘hobby’ farm up the coast? How would I confess that I actually bought them at Kmart? And shit, shit, shit, the Governor is coming to the gala? It was bad enough that I had to hide from Joe that it was costing us $500 a head just to be at the gala, but now I would have to somehow convince him to pay a grand for a decent new dinner suit as well?

I have to wonder, though, if it was really such a relief to open up her fine-with-me-full-stop email, instead of receiving one of the phoney rambling prop-ups she sends to all the other netball mums – the ‘lower-case beas’ – then why did it feel like I had just had my face slapped?

Admittedly, I cared a hell of a lot less than I once would have. Before I realised that my name had been wiped off the Bea-list, ‘Fine with me full stop’ would have spiralled me into days of tortured analysis. What did I say that I shouldn’t have? Is she upset that I invited Lauren’s daughter for a play with Kate instead of asking Mirabella? What is it? What did I do? Did she wave to me in traffic and I missed it? Did Kate do something to upset Mirabella? Is it because Kate got a better score than Mirabella at the eisteddfod?

After being off the Bea-list for almost six months now, though, I have started training myself to see things differently. When I think about what got me wiped off the Bea-list in the first place, my reaction to her flagrant snubbery is now more a mixture of amusement and incredulity, rather than feeling any sense of self-recrimination.

About the Author: Australian author, Deborah Disney, grew up in the regional city of Toowoomba and now lives in Brisbane with her husband and two school-aged daughters. Deborah has a BA/LLB from the University of Queensland and practised as a solicitor for a number of years prior to having children. She chose to specialise in litigation law as that seemed like the best preparation for what is now her looming battle – mothering her daughters through the teenage years. Deborah's first novel, Up and In, is a satirical look at the interactions of school and sporting mums.


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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Exclusive Excerpt from True Deceptions by Veronica Forand

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Veronica will be awarding a $20 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.

After his partner was murdered, Simon Dunn was done with MI6. But the cold, violent world of British intelligence never lets anyone go free. Now Simon has been blackmailed into a new job...with a beautiful new partner who's going to get them both killed.

Robotics expert Cassie Watson is a newbie field agent with as much sophistication as...well, a pacifist, vegan computer nerd. Now she's abruptly thrust into the cutthroat world of espionage with a partner who is as cold as he is brutally-and brutishly-handsome.

But when their mission is betrayed from the inside, Cassie will be forced to place her life in the hands of the one man who's anything but trustworthy...

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

Simon made his way toward his bedroom with only a towel covering his bottom half. Cassie blocked his way. She’d changed into tight jeans and a low cut blouse. Sweet and sexy.

“Can I talk to you?” The hesitation in her voice didn’t bode well for the conversation.


She nodded and sucked in her bottom lip. He’d give up everything to spend one night with free access to those lips. She must have noticed his focus on her mouth, because her hand touched her lip in an attempt to remove a nonexistent crumb from the corner.

“I’m embarrassed to say I doubted your ability. But you not only succeeded, you also brought Alex back unharmed.” Cassie inched closer to him as though she’d abandoned veganism and was starved for a steak.

Was his pretty California girl coming on to him?

“So you’ll trust me from now on?” he asked, maintaining his position in front of her.

“I don’t have a choice.”

“Cassie, you always have a choice. Be decisive. React. Don’t second-guess every move you make. If you want something, take it.” He bated his breath to see what she would do.

Stepping forward, she placed a hand on his chest. He brushed his fingers across her cheek and felt her lean into him. The tilt of her head against his palm short-circuited his normal control.

“What if I want you?” she whispered.
He should refuse her. She was his subordinate, and sex could screw up their already delicate relationship. Or it could strengthen it. Maybe give her more confidence. And then what? When the assignment terminated, they’d each go their respective ways with fond memories. Perhaps.

“Like I said. If you want something, take it.”

About the Author:
Veronica Forand is an attorney and an award-winning writer of romantic suspense. She's lived in Boston, London, Paris, Geneva, and Washington, DC and currently resides near Philadelphia. An avid traveler, she loves to roam across continents with her husband and kids in pursuit of skiing, scuba diving, and finding the perfect piece of chocolate.

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Amazon Author Page | Entangled Publishing Author Page

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

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Five Things You MIght Not Know About Jo Hiestand - Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jo A. Hiestand will be awarding a McLaren/"Last Seen" ceramic mug and a CD recording of the song featured in the book to several randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour (International Giveaway). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five Things You Might Not Know About Jo A. Hiestand

I met one of my future friends at Girl Scout camp. We were in the fifth grade and didn’t know each other then. I was walking through the woods and saw Pixie holding onto something at the base of a tree. On coming up to her, I realized she had a snake by its tail. She was trying to pull it out of the hole in the ground. I grabbed onto the tail and we both yanked. The snake wouldn’t budge. We assumed it’d eaten a rabbit or something like that, and the tummy bulge prevented the snake from moving. We left it there. I wonder how many friendships are formed over a stuck snake?

In 1980 I was the St. Louis agent for The McCalmans, an internationally-known Scottish folk trio. I’d met them when I was living in England, trying my hand at professional folk singing. I asked if they’d come to St Louis (where I lived) if I got them gigs. They said they’d love to. So when I returned home I firmed up about eight venues. They were here during the hottest summer St Louis had seen in decades! 100º+ temps. The guys stayed with me--at that time I lived in an apartment that had one window A/C unit in the living room and one window unit in one of the two bedrooms. I’m sure they were miserable. They were in town for two weeks, and I doubt I’ll forget a moment of it. Including me cutting one of the guy’s hair – and when I was finished, he didn’t even have to wear a hat!

At one time our family had a pet skunk. Because he resided with us, I was used to skunks, so when I was a camp counselor and saw a skunk in the woods, evidently injured, I thought nothing of picking it up. It looked as though its back was broken, for it was dragging its hind legs. I brought it back to camp and asked the camp director if he’d drive me to the nearest vet so the skunk could be helped. He yelled that I should put that skunk down and leave it alone. When I put him on the ground, it bit my thumb. A week went by and an infection set in at the bite site. The director rushed me to the nearest doctor. I learned that an animal that drags its hind legs most likely has rabies—for which there’s no cure if you get it. I was sent home and started the treatment (at that time, three weeks of daily injections—the needle injected sideways under the skin at the stomach.) I learned later that Missouri Highway Patrol troopers came into the camp, searched the woods, found the skunk, and flew its head to a lab for brain examination. Yep, the skunk was rabid. I give wild animals a wide berth, now. I don’t want to go through that again.

I’m a fairly competent baker, but a pie I made was my all-time flop. I made a blueberry-strawberry pie for a dinner I hosted. On cutting it at the table I saw that it was swimming in a thin, blue watery mess. Someone tasted it and spat it out. It was bitter! I couldn’t figure why. I knew I’d put in the sugar. The next day, on looking at the ingredients I’d used, I realized instead of using cornstarch I’d used baking soda. At least it would absorb any pie odors!

You can never be too careful about your word choices when traveling abroad. My friends and I were in Edinburgh, Scotland, and had climbed to the top of the Sir Walter Scott monument. Back on the ground, I wanted to get some shots of the whimsical stone gargoyles that decorated the monument’s exterior. I sat on a bench next to the monument to change the camera lens. The area seemed to be a great place for older folks to sit and talk, perhaps feed the pigeons. My friends were anxious to go to the Castle, situated at the upper end of the Royal Mile. I got up from the bench--turning toward the Monument and, unfortunately, the older adults--and said, “I just want to take a photo of these old gargoyles.” I’m probably the first St Louisan who’s been cussed out in Gaelic.

So, there are five truly note-worthy things about me that most people don’t know. Aren’t you thrilled! Thanks! Jo

One dark night, popular singer Kent Harrison goes missing after his performance at Tutbury Castle. When his body's found in a forest, the police investigation focuses on Kent's ex-wife, a local herbalist, a covetous colleague, and even the curator of another castle who tried to lure Kent into performing there. But his occasional singing partner, Dave Morley, seems to have the biggest motive. He's dying to make his name, money, and the big time, especially at the medieval Minstrels Court reenactment, where Kent's appearance guarantees SRO. Did Dave murder Kent to eliminate the competition...or had their partnership struck a wrong chord? To entice him into investigating, ex-cop McLaren's girlfriend plays detective. But Dena ends up in great danger. Now McLaren must not only solve Kent's murder but also rescue her, a hard task when a blast of jealousy, anger, and lies mutes the truth.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She seemed to be floating in a bizarre landscape where time had ceased to function and the sole inhabitant stared mutely at her. For, framed in the open doorway, silhouetted against the florescent light in the hallway, stood a tall figure dressed in dark coloring. A rubber mask of a smiling Margaret Thatcher covered his face. His hands were gloved, the left holding a coil of rope, the right holding something dark that glistened in the light. He stepped into the room, not speaking, yet making his desires known with the gesture of the gun.

About the Author:
Jo A. Hiestand knew in grade school that she wanted to be a mystery writer. But life got in the way: singing in a semi-pro folk group, traveling to New Zealand, working as a camp counselor, co-inventing P.I.R.A.T.E.S. (a mystery-solving treasure-hunting game), becoming a tour agent for a Scottish folk singing group, attending a citizen police academy and riding along with police officers… But she needed to immerse herself in All Things British for her books. England beckoned and she responded.

She bee-lined to Derbyshire, feeling it was the ‘home’ of her books. Derbyshire also bestowed the essential English police contacts and transformed the St. Louisan into an Anglophile.

She’s returned nearly a dozen times to Derbyshire, researching and photographing for her McLaren cold case detective novels.

In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English. She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.

Her cat, Tennyson, shares her St. Louis home.

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Myth and Magic by Mae Clair - Q&A and Giveaway

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

Thanks for stopping by and answering some nosy questions for us. Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

Writing romantic suspense allows me to incorporate mystery and romance in my stories for plots with deeper complexity. I like crafting a suspense atmosphere for my readers, making them think and question along the lines of the mystery, while at the same time delivering a satisfying romance.

What research is required?

I really didn’t have to do much research for this novel. What I did have to create were a few legends related to Stone Willow Lodge, plus a murky history regarding the man who originally constructed it in the 1800s.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

From my hero: Never allow guilt and/or fear to control you.
From my heroine: Sometimes it’s necessary to step out on a limb and risk your heart.

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

Like most writers, I am never without a notebook to jot down stray story ideas whenever they strike. I’m superstitious about a number of odd things (like the number 13), but I don’t think they factor into my writing habits. I can’t listen to music with lyrics when I write, only soft instrumental compositions (is that a quirk?), and I do my best writing in my den. It has a comfortable, welcoming feel and is my own personal space. In my mind it invites creativity and story crafting.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

A little of both. I used to be a total panster, but I’ve started a 3-book mystery/suspense series, and it’s almost impossible to pants when tackling something like that. I’ve since learned to make detailed notes and scribble partial outlines. On the downside, I sometimes get stifled by knowing I have an outline to follow. Of course I veer from it frequently, but just knowing it’s there can occasionally inhibit the panster in me who can produce far more quickly than the writer who reviews notes to see if I’ve covered all my bases.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

My cell phone, the book I’m reading (The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon), the carrying case for the flash drives I am never without (it holds six) and a “Yahtzee to go” game in a read canister.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I hope to release a short paranormal Christmas novella called FOOD FOR POE in November. I’ve also just signed a three book deal with Kensington Publishing’s new Lyrical Underground imprint devoted to suspense, thrillers, and mysteries. It’s the series I mentioned up above.

The first novel, A Thousand Yesteryears will be releasing in April of 2016. The series is centered around odd events that take place in Point Pleasant West Virginia, including the return of the Mothman (remember the movie The Mothman Prophecies with Richard Gere?), UFOs sightings, and mysterious men-in-black. I’ve visited Point Pleasant twice in the last two years in order to do first-hand research for the series and am thrilled that Lyrical offered me a contract.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Before I answer that, I’d like to thank you for inviting me onto your blog. I loved your interview questions! As for the last, Myth and Magic is a Halloween-themed novel. It was so much fun writing that aspect….pumpkins and hayrides, Halloween costumes, and a corn maze. There is even a lavish Halloween party near the end where the guests attend in costume. Personally, I love Halloween because it allows us to indulge in make-believe. I’d like to ask your readers what they enjoy most about October’s spooky holiday!

MedaiKit_BookCover_MythAndMagicLove and danger intertwine


Veronica Kent fell in love with Caith Breckwood when they were children. As a teenager, she was certain he was the man she was destined to marry. But a traumatic event from Caith's past led him to fear a future together. He left Veronica, hoping to save her from a terrible fate. Twelve years later, Caith, now a P.I., is hired to investigate bizarre incidents at the secluded retreat Veronica manages. Returning to his hometown, Caith is forced to face his nightmares—and his feelings for the woman he’s always loved.


After the callous way Caith broke her heart, Veronica isn’t thrilled to see him again. But strange occurrences have taken a dangerous toll on business at Stone Willow Lodge. Forced to work together, Veronica discovers it isn’t ghostly apparitions that frighten her, but her passion for a man she has never forgotten. Or forgiven. Can two people with a tarnished past unearth a magical future?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Finding little on the menu she didn’t like, Veronica settled on a hot turkey sandwich with provolone cheese and sourdough bread. Merlin ordered baked sole and wild rice, smiling at the pretty brunette who obviously found him attractive. Accustomed to his flirting, Veronica merely waited until the waitress left before continuing their conversation as though nothing had happened.

“What is it you want to tell me about Galen and Aren?”

Merlin shifted, forced to refocus on business. “I’m surprised they didn’t already tell you since you’re the manager. They think the way to solve the problems up there is to hire a private investigator and have him pose as a guest.”

“An investigator?” Veronica tried to act surprised.

“You won’t believe what those idiots did.” Merlin smiled, but there was something off-kilter about his grin. “They hired Caith, Ron. My screwed up, black-sheep brother is coming home.”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_MythAndMagicMae Clair opened a Pandora’s Box of characters when she was a child and never looked back. Her father, an artist who tinkered with writing, encouraged her to create make-believe worlds by spinning tales of far-off places on summer nights beneath the stars.

Mae loves creating character-driven fiction in settings that vary from contemporary to mythical. Wherever her pen takes her, she flavors her stories with mystery and romance. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail and cats.


Buy the book for only $0.99 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, or Kensington Books.

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Burned by Natasha Deen - Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Two years ago, Josie Smith’s life went up in smoke. Literally. Everyone and everything she ever loved burned in a fire—one set by a crooked cop. To survive, Josie’s been living under the radar as a homeless kid while trying to find a way to knock the cop down a few notches and put her on the other side of the prison bars. But time’s running out. A pimp’s got his eye on Josie, and if she doesn’t get off the streets soon, she’ll be the one brought down. Her salvation and the key to the cop’s undoing seem to lie with a car thief and a rich kid. Trust and teamwork don’t come easily to Josie—in fact, they don’t come at all—but if she can’t find a way to make the team work and find justice for her family, she will get burned all over again.

Enjoy an excerpt:

It would be so easy to kill her.

So easy.

So simple to pass by her on the streets, take her breath with the same ease I’d take her wallet. I’ve been on the streets for two years and I’ve learned how to pick pockets and steal apples, which alleys are safe to sleep in and which ones to stay away from.

And I know how to use a knife.

How easy it would be bump into her. Instead of slipping my fingers into her purse, I’d slide my blade between her ribs, and I would whisper, “This is for Emily and Danny and Emma.”

And she would look at me, startled, shocked.

And I would smile and walk away, leave her bleeding on the streets and the red stain of her life dripping from the smooth edge of my knife.

But I can’t.

I won’t.

Death would be too easy for her. A cop murdered on the streets. She’d get a hero’s burial and people would cry. The department would decorate her and the Police Chief would make speeches about her “sacrifice and loyalty to the people she served.” Newscasters with their helmet hair would use their The World is Ending voices and talk about the need for better policing. People would rally for tougher laws. Cops would roust the homeless.

I live with these people.

They’ve been rousted enough.

I won’t bring pain and torment to their already tortured lives.

Besides, if she died on the street, no one would know the truth of her.

The lies of her.

I will not kill her.

She will not die.

Not by my hand.






About the Author:
Natasha Deen is the author of over a dozen books and divides her time between writing, presenting at schools, and speaking at conferences. Her previous novels include the CCBC Best Pick for Kids and Teens and 2015 Sunburst Award nominated Guardian, and the True Grime series. In her spare time she cuddles on the couch with her furry and non-furry family, and thinks the best way to beat writer’s block is with tea and cookies. Visit her at


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Lake of Sins series by L. S. O'Dea - Virtual Tour and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN Gift Card. Please click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Today, the author is sharing a little about what makes her afraid as an author. Thanks for visiting our blog!

As an author what scares me the most is handing over my work for the first time. As much as I believe that the story is more inside of me than created by me, it is still mine to protect. I let it out of my mind and nurture it, shaping, editing, and revising. Then one day, I have to let it go. It must be similar to what a parent feels when sending their child off to school for the first time. You desperately want everyone to like (heck, love) your child, but you know that there are going to be some who don’t.

I was so afraid when I handed off the first book. I deliberated a long time on who I should ask. I finally chose my niece. She has the kindest heart of anyone I know. Even with that being said, I was terrified. I wanted her honest opinion but I also wanted her to like it. She later told me that she was also afraid. She wasn’t sure if she’d like the book and was afraid to hurt my feelings. Luckily for both of us, she enjoyed the story.

This fear is getting a little more manageable since I’ve received good feedback on my first two books. I now have a group of beta readers, mostly family, who I can trust to give me honest feedback (I also know that they like my genre and style – so that helps). I don’t think that there will ever come a time when I don’t fear the feedback the first time I release a book. I still get nervous when I see a new review on Amazon. I say a little prayer that it will be a good review and if not that then at least a kind one. However, I do think that this fear will lesson with time and experience. I wonder what fear is waiting in the recesses of my mind to takes its place.

Now it's time to check out the books!

In a world where class distinction means the difference between imprisonment and freedom and even life and death, being chosen to stay in the encampment and breed is the only way to guarantee survival for a teenage Producer.

Every year after harvest, the finest examples of teenage Producers are assigned mates; the rest are loaded onto carts and hauled away, never to be seen or heard from again. Trinity, a sixteen-year-old Producer, knows that she has no chance of being chosen to stay. She isn’t even full-blooded Producer. Her father is a House Servant and she’s spent her entire life hiding her differences, especially her claws and fangs.

She has one week to sneak into the forest and discover what happens to those who are taken. Her plan is simple, but she doesn’t count on being hunted and captured by predators long believed to be extinct. Can she elude her captors to uncover the fate of her kind and return to camp before her escape is discovered?

Trinity's plans have gone horribly wrong and she is now fleeing for her life, but at what cost to her friends and family. Can she save any of them without sacrificing herself?

Hugh Truent, an Almighty, learns of Trinity’s escape and that she is the offspring of two different classes which is supposed to be impossible. If it’s true, it would be the discovery of a lifetime, but he needs scientific proof. In his quest for answers, he soon realizes that there are those who will kill to keep this find a secret.

Trinity’s struggle to survive in a society based on absolute segregation of the different classes along with Hugh’s dogged determination to find the truth at any cost, sets into motion a collision between the groups that shatters the foundation of their world.

Read an excerpt from ESCAPE

She ran blindly away from the sound of the Guards, her backpack slamming against her spine with each stride. If they catch my scent, they will find me. She skidded to a stop. The forest had ended. A rock wall loomed in front of her, stretching to both sides as far as she could see. Little crevices and divots peppered the wall, but it was too steep to climb. She had to make a choice. The wrong one would cost her freedom, maybe her life.

The trees rustled behind her. Too late. They found me. This had all been for nothing. Now, the best she could hope for was to be taken with the others. Her chest tightened. She had to make sure that her mom and Remy weren’t punished because she escaped. She raised her hands to her shoulders and slowly turned. Her breath caught in her throat. A Tracker, the deadliest of predators, stood on its back two legs, towering above her, front legs hanging down like arms. Brindle fur covered its body and its eyes glowed yellow in the shadowed forest. Its tongue lolled out the side of its mouth, exposing a row of sharp teeth on the other side. Someone should tell it that they no longer exist in the wild.

About the Author: L. S. O'Dea grew up the youngest of seven. She always wanted to do what her older siblings were doing, especially reading stories.

Ill at a young age, she immersed herself in books. Her life changed when she read a short story written by her older brother and realized that normal (somewhat anyway, since her brother was a bit weird in her opinion) people created these amazing stories. From that day forward, she wanted to write.

However, as with all good stories, obstacles rose in her path (mostly self-created obstacles) and it took her many years to put finger to keyboard and type her first book.

Goodreads ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Website ~ Blog ~ Amazon Author Central

The first book of the series is on sale for $0.99 until the end of the tour.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Frailty of Things by Tamsen Schultz

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tamsen Schultz will be awarding a $30 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.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be so many things that I think that’s why I write now—I get to inhabit different professions (if only superficially), live in different places, and experience different things all while I write. That said, my first memory of wanting to ‘be’ something was probably when I was really little and I used to go to the hospital with my dad while he did rounds with his patients. I think the donuts they always had and the fact that I could play with the rubber gloves (I used to blow them up and draw faces on them, anyone else do that?) made it seem like a great job to have. The idea of being a doctor stayed with me through college where I finally ended up being a philosophy major and then becoming a lawyer (yes, second semester of organic chemistry killed me). But though being a doctor was always in the back of my mind, along the way I also wanted to be a vet, a writer, a professional rider, a diplomat, a CIA agent, and a few other things that fall into the government/international affairs bucket of jobs. I think it’s one of the great travesties of our system of professionalism that having only one career is the standard. There are, of course, a number of people (a lot of women, actually) that are now able to manage more than one in their lifetime and hopefully I’ll be one of them, but unfortunately, I’m not certain I could fit in everything!

Coffee, tea or hot chocolate?

All three are popular in our house! I prefer coffee, but when we have lots of guests over, or my stomach just isn’t ready for coffee, we make chai (my husband is from India and we use his grandmother’s recipe). My kids, of course, love hot chocolate, although the younger one sucks up chai like a little leach, too. If you’re interested in trying chai, here’s the recipe!

Chai Masala (this is the mix of spices you will add to black tea. Make this masala and then only add about a 1/2tsp of it per cup of tea you make. It keeps for a while so you can store the rest in the cupboard with the rest of your spices)

3 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp ground fennel
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground clove
½-1 tsp ground cardamom

We add water, tea bags (just use a black tea without too much unique flavour. We use Lipton, but you can use any brand), the appropriate amount of masala, and sugar to taste to a pot and boil it all together (for the sugar, start with about 1tsp per cup, but you may want a little more. Traditional chair is quite sweet). Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and add milk to a nice latte colour. Let the milk warm up, then remove the tea bags, pour and enjoy!

What genre do you typically read? Why?

I pretty much read every genre expect fantasy, horror, and sci-fi. I just started a mystery book group with a neighbour as I LOVE mysteries (this should come as no surprise given that I write romantic mysteries), but I also started a book group at the company I work for and we’re reading non-fiction business books, which I am surprised to discover I’m finding interesting. I love a good literary fiction novel though too, especially ones that dive into family and community. And when I’m really stressed out, I turn to regency romance—they are a total escape and I love pretending I have little more to do than sleep, organize a house, wear pretty dresses, ride horses, and go to balls (and yes, I’m aware that’s not really how life was like back then, but like I said, I like to pretend!).

Share a favourite childhood memory.

One of my favourite childhood memories is our first big trip out of the US when we went to Fiji. We flew from San Francisco to Hawaii and when we arrived there, our connecting flight to Fiji hadn’t left LA yet so we ended up flying to Australia and then back to Fiji (about an extra eight hours of travel time). We arrived at the international airport late and had to drive across the island to the local airport for a flight the next day—the roads were mostly one, maybe one-and-a-half, lanes and we were driving on the left side (my first experience with that) and it was getting dark. Along the way, my parents and a family friend traveling with us decided we needed to stop and see one of “The Most Beautiful Beaches in the World,” as decided by some magazine. To get there, the roads were unnamed, narrow, and dirt. Needless to say, a time to two, we needed a little extra help to get to where we wanted to go. We finally made it to the beach and then on to the town we were staying at for one night before flying onto the small island where we were staying. Only when we got to the airport the next day, we arrived just in time to see our flight (the only one of the day) taxing down the runaway without us. It was about 48 hours of a comedy of errors, but I love that memory because it was the first time that I really recognized the fun in just going with the flow. We laughed a lot in those few days (and during the rest of the trip) and made the most of our unplanned experiences.

Do you have any shameless addictions? ie. Tea, Books, Shoes, Clothes?

Books, books, and more books. I honestly think I have a small addiction to shoes, too but I’m doing my best to not let that one take over my sanity (and bank account!).

What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a new book?

Starting. Honestly, for me starting a new book feels overwhelming. I usually know where I want it to go, how I want it to end, and the major plot points along the way so when I sit down to write for the first time I know exactly how long of a journey I have ahead of me to fill that huge canvas. It can be a bit daunting.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages a day?

I don’t. I’ve said this before, but for me (and I think a lot of women) I’m really good at feeling guilty about things I either do or don’t do (I didn’t make sure my son had enough in his lunch, I didn’t get that laundry folded, I forgot to call my mom….you probably know what I mean). I’m trying to let some of that go and I know if I give myself daily word counts, it will just become one more thing I will feel guilty about not hitting. And so I don’t do that to myself and instead, I write when I can and when I do write, I’m very focussed and productive.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I love writing a series because I love community and a series lets me create one that is dynamic and engaging. In addition, a series like mine, where the location is essentially a character, also allows me to use the location familiar to my readers to enhance or minimize the actions of the people. In other words, setting different characters in similar places (like the hospital or the local coffee shop or the local quilt shop) can help show each character’s unique personality. I also love that I can give me readers little glimpses of people and couples after they’ve each had their own happy-ever-after in previous books and I can also introduce new characters slowly before finally giving them their own story. In short, I love the continuity and depth writing series offers to both authors and readers!

MediaKit_BookCover_TheFrailtyOfThingsIndependence. Kit Forrester is a woman who wears her independence like armor. Despite keeping secrets and hiding her past, she’s built a life she loves and is accountable to no one. Until, that is, one of the world’s most wanted war criminals sets his sights on her and she must weigh the risk to one against the chance of justice and closure for many—a decision Kit couldn't make on her own even if she wanted to.

Certainty. As a man who makes his living in the shadows of governments and wars, certainty isn’t a part of Garret Cantona’s vocabulary, and he’s just fine with that. But when Kit walks into his life, he realizes he’s never before been so sure about anything or anyone. Suddenly, he finds he’s looking at the world, his world, in a different light. And now that he is, he’s determined to protect it, and her, in whatever ways he can.

Frailty. No one knows better than Kit and Garret that an appreciation for what is, or what was, or what might be, can be born from the uncertainty and fragility of life. But when a hunt for a killer leaves Garret no choice but to throw Kit back into her broken and damaged past, even his unshakable faith in what they have together might not be enough to keep it from shattering into a million pieces.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“We need to talk,” Caleb said. Kit didn’t respond for a moment. She and her brother didn’t talk. They never talked. Not anymore. There had been a time in their lives when that hadn’t been the case. There had been a time when she’d idolized her older brother, when he’d looked out for her, when they’d gone fishing together, and when she had believed that he had an answer for everything.

But that time had long ago passed, and they hadn’t been in each other’s presence for more than a few days a year for over a decade. Kit started to speak but stopped short when a second figure emerged from the passenger side of Caleb’s car.

She was glad her face was hidden in the shadows of her hat and scarf as Garret Cantona, her brother’s right-hand man, straightened to his full height. Kit was tall, easily five foot eleven, but Garret’s six-foot-three form dwarfed hers. Like Caleb, he wore jeans and work boots, but rather than a jacket, Garret sported a black sweater and a gray beanie. She knew the hat covered light-brown hair that, if it got too long, curled in ways that bothered him. And she felt, more than saw, his light-blue eyes—eyes rimmed with thick, black lashes—studying her.

“And I see you brought your Mini-Me,” she added, forcing her gaze from Garret back to her brother in time to see a look of irritation flicker across Caleb’s face.  

About the Author:
Tamsen Schultz is the author of several romantic suspense novels and American Kin (a short story published in Line Zero Magazine). In addition to being a writer, she has a background in the field of international conflict resolution, has co-founded a non-profit, and currently works in corporate America. Like most lawyers, she spends a disproportionate amount of time thinking (and writing) about what it might be like to do something else. She lives in Northern California in a house full of males including her husband, two sons, four cats, a dog, and a gender-neutral, but well-stocked, wine rack.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dating the Alphabet by Samantha Napier - virtual tour and giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Samantha will be awarding a digital copy of Dating the Alphabet to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ramona Rawlings is going to make dating fun again. Armed with an alphabet poster, post-it notes and her best friend Emma, Ramona is going to date the alphabet - from A to Z, Archie to Zolon and everything in between.

Throw in the chaos of managing a theatre restaurant with a roster full of strong personalities, unfulfilled dreams and lustful hook ups and Ramona's world is turned upside-down.

In between Evan the arrogant, Ivan the emotionally stunted and Glen the racist, Ramona discovers what she really wants: to be a good friend, to emotionally connect with a man and to replace her vodka-tonics with kale smoothies. But how many frogs will she have to kiss before she finds her fairytale?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Mercifully the music was turned up again, and a lovely fresh face sat down opposite me. This new man, with a smattering of freckles and a receding hairline, seemed to be breathing heavily.

‘Are you okay?’ I asked

‘Yeah. I just got here, and the host told me to rush up and grab this spot. Have I missed anything?’ he asked.

‘Nope, nothing at all. My name’s Ramona,’ I said hopefully.

‘Hi, my name’s Adam,’ he said, putting out his hand. I was so excited about an A being right here in front of me that I didn’t notice what he’d done. I just sat there beaming. My excited grin couldn’t have been wider. I actually kept grinning until I realised he must have been thinking I might be slightly simple.

In our five minutes together I found out he was an engineer, still can’t remember which type he said he was, but it didn’t matter, because he was my A. The rest of the allocated five minutes flew by, and not really because it was scintillating conversation, but more because I was so excited that my plan was whirring into action. I went through the motions with the other guys, and curiously no other real ‘A’s came and sat at my table.

I nearly gave myself a neck injury trying to keep an eye on Adam as he went from table to table. I was pretty sure I’d laid enough groundwork, but as soon as the MC announced he end of the evening I made a beeline for him. Of course I made it seem as casual as possible, but honestly, if anyone had tried to get in my way it wouldn’t have been pretty!

‘So?’ I tried to sound cool.

‘Ramona, I’d like to see you again, so I indicated on the feedback form that you’re the only one I’d like the details of, and I look forward to getting that information.’

‘You know I could always just give you my details now and we could get this rolling.’ I winked and gave a little flirtatious smile.

‘I think we should stay with the procedure here tonight. It just seems like the right thing to do,’ Adam said solemnly.

‘Okay,’ I said, confused. I didn’t want to overthink it; I wouldn’t let those little ding-ding alarm bells going off in my head dull my enthusiasm.

We stood there awkwardly, waiting for the MC to bring us the information. To pass the time I took out my phone and saw my home screen filled with messages.

I had left the most competent person in charge at the restaurant, and it seemed they still needed to ring me constantly. I’d been so caught up with tracking Adam that I’d forgotten to follow up on the Tarzan crisis, but I knew it was too late to help now. I would deal with that disaster tomorrow.

I ignored all the work texts and missed calls and went straight to Emma’s number and texted: I found my A.

Samantha started her career in entertainment dressed as Snow White in a theatre restaurant. There she met her husband, Gordon, also a writer and together they started their own production which resulted in three lovely, loud boys. She has had short plays produced and is looking forward to the debut of her full length play 'Signing Off' and comedy web series 'Kings of the Kitchen'. Samantha and Gordon also hold their workshop 'Book, Screen or Stage' to help writers see the potential their project could have. Her time in the theatre restaurant and the stories her fellow flight attendants have shared with her have inspired DATING THE ALPHABET.
Facebook: Facebook

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The Diamond Grenade by Daniel Julian - Spotlight and Giveaway

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This stop is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Daniel will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to five randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheDiamondGrenadeThe Diamond Grenade is the story of a family line and a revolution told in five novellas - a complex tale told simply.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Book I: A Father’s Fate

At one point, on the banks of a confluence where two rivers ran together like closing thighs, there was a certain boatman. This boatman, name of Gur, had a fine long pole (not too bendy, not too strong) with which to move his long wide boat upon the water. Gur slept with his pole, lest it go missing. Then one evening while he was ferrying a few paying passengers from one put-in to the next, Gur’s pole got stuck in thick river-bottom mud and muck and he lost his grip and the pole sank out of sight. Cursing, Gur leapt into the water and dove for the pole. Long minutes passed and Gur’s nubile daughter Guri, at the prow of the boat, began to wail. Gur did not come back up. They found him later downstream. This is how the girl Guri became a very young boatman with a shoddy pole.

The thing about Guri is that she knew everybody. All the fares on her boat. They didn’t necessarily know each other all too often, but everybody knew Guri. And somehow she knew everybody back. She just had a mind for it. Who went with whom and how the families fell out. Names. All the names Guri knew. But only one name made her sing: Tuc. Tuc drank and threw dice, but early in their acquaintance he’d made bold to say that Guri would make a good mother. This observation of Tuc’s about Guri had won her over, so she sang his name in the dark. One syllable songs are short, but carry on the water.

Guri’s favorite disgruntlement was that there was no word for girl boatman. It was poling-upriver hard to get more than a grunt out of half her older passengers, because they didn’t see clear to it being right for her to be doing a man’s job. Tuc suggested ‘boatwoman’, but Guri allowed as how that was more the busty mascot off the bow of a ship than a person who poled for a living. Tuc took to riding with Guri quite frequently. Then one night, he brought her a new pole, and it was a good pole.

Not long after the new pole, Tuc convinced Guri to elope with him a ways downriver to a town where he had prospects. When they got there, they traded the boat and pole for two goats. Guri was better with people than with animals, so Tuc tended the herd while she met and memorized every person she could find. Soon she had so much work taken in to do for folks that what with going to the big, clean houses to perform services inbetweentimes, and attending in good turn to the day’s worth of all the waiting piecemeal work filling their modest house, Guri was too busy to make a baby.

Guri got fed up with being too busy to make a baby and made a baby. Tuc split. Guri’s popularity made her fatherless child the ward of the town. Everybody parented him. That’s why he grew up angry. His name was Gur, after his grandfather. Boy did he have a chip on his shoulder about being told what to do. Everybody told him when and where to jump. Only Guri could make him ask how high. Usually his answer would be jump why? The thing about having a whole village full of parents is that they are going to contradict each other and some of them are bound to be weird people.

About the Author: As in medical school, praxis then practicum: I saw one, did one, taught one… now I do one after the other. One novella after another I mean. And they’re good. I saw novellas while acquiring my Bachelor's Degree in English Language and Literature/Letters with a minor in Psych at Indiana University in the mid-nineties, I taught and did novellas a few years later while pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Lit. at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and I have done a fancy set of five well here now (as I pursue an AAS in Accounting at a community college, btw). For more about me, check out my website.

A set of five good serial novellas. Hope you find the time to enjoy them. Please help spread the word. You can download the book here: at no cost.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Laura McNeill will be awarding a $20 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.

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true.

In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It's temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?

Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Every day, somebody, somewhere, needs a hero.

Think about it. The mom lifting a two-ton truck to save her son after a car crash. The dad who can't swim—who jumps in the water anyway—to pull out his drowning daughter. The guy who kicks down a door of a burning house because his friend’s kid is trapped inside.

All of a sudden, getting hurt doesn’t matter. There’s no thinking twice. Just a gut pumping, jump-off-the-cliff, no turning back.

For these regular people thrown into crazy life or death situations, there's one big hero moment. Then, they go back to work, their jobs, or school.

And it's someone else's turn.

I’m only in the third grade, but I’ve been waiting for my chance to be a hero my whole life.

An ear-piercing shriek yanks me back to the school playground.

“Emma Dunlop’s stuck up in the oak tree.” My best friend Mo runs up, breathless. He bends over, chest heaving in the humidity, and puts both hands on his knees. “She’s freaking out.”

Shielding my eyes, I grit my teeth. The tree’s as big as a monster, with twisted brown branches that extend like arms, thick emerald leaves at the fingertips. Spanish moss hangs from the lowest limbs, the ends curling like a snake’s tail.

Though I can’t see her through the tangle of limbs, I picture Emma hanging on tight to the rough bark. Shaking. Really scared. Trying not to look down at the brick-red clay.

I run a hand through my hair.

She’s in trouble. And I know why.

Legend says a man’s head—a genie—is hidden in the leaves and branches. Weird, rough pieces of wood make up his face. He has knots for eyes. A bump for his chin. It’s for real. I’ve seen it.

All the kids know the story. If you touch the genie’s nose, your wish will come true. Of course, my dad doesn’t believe in stuff like that and says I shouldn’t either. He’s a Ph.D. And does an important job at the college. So I guess he knows what he’s talking about.

But that’s not going to save Emma now. I start to jog, then full-out sprint. At the base of the tree, I push through a crowd of my classmates. Third and fourth graders, gaping, heads tilted, mouths open like baby birds. When I reach the trunk, I squint up and find Emma’s brand-new saddle shoes dangling high above me. I see pale, thin legs, and the crisp edges of her plaid jumper. And despite everyone talking and whispering, I hear Emma crying. It’s a whimpering wail, like a hurt animal.

“Y’all go on back inside now. Go back to class,” my teacher says, pushing the group back an inch or two. I end up jostled next to the school librarian, who’s holding her hands like she's praying.

Our eyes meet. Mine flicker away.

“Don’t even think about it, Jack,” she warns.

But I kick off my shoes anyway and grab hold of the trunk. Deep down in my belly, I make myself act like I'm not scared. I don’t like heights or even hanging upside down from monkey bars. But Emma needs me.

About the Author:
After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family. Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.

Laura works at Spring Hill College as the school’s web content and social media manager and is active in her community—participating in fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, and Providence Hospital’s Festival of Flowers.

Laura was recently awarded a 2-book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishing, a division of HarperCollins. Her novel, Center of Gravity, set in Mobile, Ala., will be published in July of 2015. Laura is represented by Elizabeth Winick Rubenstein, president of McIntosh and Otis literary agency in New York. Her writing awards include those from William Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Writer’s Digest, RWA, and the Eric Hoffer competition.

She holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in interactive technology from the University of Alabama. She is a native of Upstate New York and currently resides near the Alabama Gulf Coast with her two children.

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Pretty When You Cry by Skye Warren - Spotlight and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_PrettyWhenYouCryI came from a place of dirt floors and holy scriptures. They told me the world outside is full of sin, and the first night I escape, I know it’s true. Ivan saves me, but he does more than that. He takes me. He makes me his own girl.

My conditioning runs too deep. Ivan sees what I am.

That’s the thing about showing a mouse to a cat. He wants to play. And it’s terrifying, even for me. Because the only thing darker than my past is his.

Enjoy the excerpt:

So far a city looks exactly how I thought it would—gutted buildings and dark alleys.

A den of wickedness.

This morning I woke up on my floor mat in Harmony Hills. Sunlight streamed through the window while dust rose up to meet it. The white walls somehow kept their color despite rough dirt floors.

A desperate trek through the woods and a series of bus rides later, I made it to a city. This city. Tanglewood. It could have been anywhere. They’re all the same, all sinful, all scary—and the only thing that makes this one special is that I ran out of money for bus tickets.

My shoes are made of white canvas, already fraying and black from the grime of the streets. I made these shoes by hand when I turned twelve, and the heel on the left side has never fit quite right. But the bamboo soles lasted four years in the hills. Now they’re cracking against concrete. I can feel every lump in the pavement, every loose rock, every rounded hump as the sidewalk turns to cobblestone and then back again.

That’s not the worst part.

There’s someone following me. Maybe more than one person. I try to listen for the footsteps, but it’s hard to hear over the pounding in my ears, the thud of my heart against my chest. Panic is a tangible force in my head, a gritty quicksand that threatens to pull me down.

I could end up on my knees before this night is over.

But I don’t think I’ll be saying my evening prayers.

Men are standing outside a gate that hangs open on its hinges. They fall silent as I walk close. I tighten my arms where they are folded over my chest and look down. If I can’t see them, they can’t see me. It wasn’t true when I was little, and it’s not true now.

One of them steps in front of me.

My breath catches, and I stop walking. My whole body is trembling by the time I meet his eyes, bloodshot red in a shadowed face. “What’s your name?” he asks in a gravelly voice.

I jerk my head. No.

“Now that’s not very polite, is it?” Another one steps closer, and then I smell him. They couldn’t have showered in the past day or even week.

Cleanliness is a virtue.

Being quiet and obedient and small is a virtue too. “I’m sorry. I just want to—”

I don’t know what comes next. I want to run. I want to hide. I want to pretend the past fifteen years as a disciple of the Harmony Hills never happened. None of that is possible when I’m surrounded by men. I take a step back and bump into another man. Hands close around my arms.

A sound escapes me—fear and protest. It’s more than I would have done this morning, that sound.

I’m turned to face the man behind me. He smiles a broken-toothed smile. “Doesn’t matter what you want, darling.”

My mouth opens, but I can’t scream. I can’t scream because I’ve been taught not to. Because I know no one will come. Because the consequences of crying are worse than what will happen next.

Then the man’s eyes widen in something like fear. It’s a foreign expression on his face. It doesn’t belong. I wouldn’t even believe it except he takes a step back.

My chest squeezes tight. What’s behind me? Who is behind me that could have inspired that kind of fear? The men surrounding me are monsters, but they’re backing off now, stepping away, hands up in surrender. No harm done, that’s what they’re saying without words.

I whirl and almost slip on a loose cobblestone.

The man standing in front of me is completely still. That’s the first thing I notice about him—before I see the fine cut of his black suit or the glint of a silver watch under his cuff. Before I see the expression on his face, devoid of compassion or emotion. Devoid of humanity.

“We didn’t know she worked for you,” one of the men mumbles.

They’re still backing up, forming a circle around us, growing wider. I’m in the middle. I’m the drop, and the men around me form a ripple. Then they fade into the blackness and are gone.

It’s just me and the man in the suit.

He hasn’t spoken. I’m not sure he’s going to. I half expect him to pull out a gun from somewhere underneath that smooth black fabric and shoot me. That’s what happens in the city, isn’t it? That’s what everyone told me about the outside world, how dangerous it is. And even while some part of me had nodded along, had believed them, another part of me had refused.

There had to be beauty outside the white stucco walls. Beauty that wasn’t contained and controlled. Beauty with color. Only apparently I was wrong. I haven’t seen anything beautiful—except him.

He’s beautiful in a strange and sinful way, one that makes me more afraid. Not colorful exactly. His eyes are a gray color I’ve never seen before, both deep and opaque at the same time.

He steps closer, the light from a marquee sign illuminating his face, making him look even more sinister. “What’s your name?”

I couldn’t answer those other men, but I find something inside for him. I find truth. “I’m not allowed to say my name to someone else.”

He studies me for a long moment, taking in my tangled hair and my white dress. “Why not?”

Because God will punish me. “Because I’m running away.”

He nods like this is what he expected. “Do you have money?”

I have fifteen dollars left after bus fare. “Some.”

His lips twist, and I wonder if that’s what a smile looks like on him. It’s terrifying. “No, you don’t,” he says. “The question is, what would you do to earn some?”


My voice is just a whisper. “I’m a good girl.”

He laughs, and I see that I was wrong before. That wasn’t a smile. It was a taunt. A challenge. This is a real smile, one with teeth. The sound rolls through me like a coming storm, deep and foreboding.

“I know,” he says gently. “What’s your name?”


He studies me. “Pretty name.”

His voice is deep with promise and something else I can’t decipher. All I know is he isn’t really talking about my name. And I know it isn’t really a compliment. “Thank you.”

“Now come inside, Candace.”

He turns and walks away before I can answer. I can feel the night closing in on me, the sharks in the water waiting to strike. It’s not really a choice. I think the man knows that. He’s counting on it. Whatever is going to happen inside will be bad, and the only thing worse is what would have happened outside.

I hurry to catch up with him, almost running across the crumbled driveway, under the marquee sign for the Grand, desperate for the dubious safety of the man who could hold the darkness at bay. It’s the same thing that kept me in Harmony Hills for so long—fear and twisted gratitude.

About the Author:Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of dark romance. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely romantic. Newsletter SignUp:
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Monday, October 19, 2015

Perfectly Toxic by Kristine Mason - Spotlight and Giveaway

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

What do you get when you mix a mad scientist, a psychopath, an ice cream lady and a repo man? Something perfectly toxic…

Melanie Scarlet is a knife-wielding badass who knows how to dispose of a body, and make evidence disappear. But Mel, a.k.a., the Ice Cream Lady, draws the line at one thing: she refuses to live with her husband, Cash Maddox, unless he quits the repo business that nearly got him killed—no matter how much she loves him.

To thaw Mel’s heart and convince her to leave the Everglades and move back home to Tallahassee, Cash is finally ready to retire from his adrenaline-fueled job…until homeless men begin vanishing. As Mel investigates the disappearances, Cash’s temper goes into overdrive when he realizes his wife has been keeping a dangerous secret from him. She’s been doing more than scooping ice cream—she’s a cleaner for the underground criminal investigation agency, Above the Law.

Mel isn’t the only one with a secret. A scientist has created a drug that will cure psychopaths by deadening the urge to dominate, hurt and murder. To prove his chemical combination works, he uses the homeless as test subjects. He breaks and scrambles their minds, turns them into killers, then tries to fix them. But what if the scientist creates a killer he can’t fix? A true psychopath he can’t control? As Cash joins Mel and the ATL crew, they learn firsthand, the results could be…toxic.

Enjoy an excerpt:

When Melanie reached the front door, she touched the faded, sun-bleached wreath she’d made over two years ago. Nostalgia settled over her heart. Although Cash had still been recovering from his injuries, those days had been happy ones. He hadn’t been able to repo.

Betrayal and frustration gave nostalgia the boot. Dang it. They could have been good together. She knocked on the door. Instead, they were living separate lives because she wasn’t enough. Not enough excitement, not enough of a challenge. His accident had taught her that she didn’t need those things anymore. Then again, she had signed on to ATL and did still chop the occasional car or boat. Oh, God. There was also those bodies she’d disposed of in her daddy’s swamp.

The door opened and Cash’s large body filled the threshold. His t-shirt clung to his arms and chest, revealing the muscles she loved to hang onto when she rode him. Her heart beat hard as she shifted her gaze from his chest to his mouth. How she’d love to shove him against the door and kiss that arrogant, overconfident smile off his lips.

“How are ya’, babe?” Cash asked, his tone rough, sexy.

She met his gaze. His dark-brown eyes held hunger, lust and smugness. During their two-year separation, they’d found excuses to see each other. Then they’d have a long weekend of hot sex. Cash was in for a rude awakening. Just because he knew how to make her moan didn’t mean he’d be getting any action during this visit.

He took a step forward and crowded her space. She inhaled his cologne as he slid a finger along her jawline until he reached her chin. “I’ve missed you.” He leaned forward, brought their mouths so close together his warm breath brushed her lips.

God, how she ached for him. If only he loved her enough. The reminder stung and bolstered the promise she’d made to herself: no sex, discuss making their separation permanent.

“Don’t touch me,” she murmured. “I have my period.”

About the Author:
Kristine Mason is the bestselling author of the popular romantic suspense trilogies, C.O.R.E. Shadow and Ultimate C.O.R.E. She is currently working on her next trilogy, C.O.R.E. Above the Law, along with a series of Psychic C.O.R.E. novellas.

Although Kristine has published a few contemporary romance novels, she focuses most of her energy on her romantic suspense stories, which she loves for their blend of dark mystery/suspense and sexy romance. She is fascinated with what makes people afraid, and is famous for her depraved villains whose crimes present massive obstacles for her heroes and heroines to overcome.

Kristine has a degree in journalism from Ohio State University and lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, four kids, and two dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s chauffeuring kids, gardening, or collecting gnomes. Oh, and she makes a mean chocolate chip cookie!

Connect with Kristine on Facebook, Twitter, or email her at You can also find out more about Kristine’s books at .

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Dark Summoner by D.D. Miers - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $20 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.

"It wasn't the first time I'd had a vision, but it was the first time one had tried to kill me."

Abby Davenport has spent the last fifteen years forgetting her past until a fateful night reveals her false reality. Thrust into a new world of dark sorcery and ancient magic, she's shocked to discover her destiny lies as the keeper of a powerful relic. Now everyone wants to control, own, or destroy her. No longer able to discern truth from lie, she’s torn between a charming guardian and a mysterious summoner. Abby finds herself strangely drawn to each man—one sworn to protect and one who calls to her soul. Can she survive the strange and dangerous labyrinth of the first realm, where every move, emotion, and reaction must be a calculated one?

Enjoy an excerpt:

His six-foot-plus frame leaned against the leather walls, arms crossed over his muscular chest, his demeanor casual yet controlled. To say he intimidated me would have been an understatement.

He seemed like the devil incarnate—a strange combination of wickedly handsome and utterly terrifying.

A strange black smokiness swirled around his frame, and I couldn’t tell if it was coming from him or somewhere in the club. Everything about him exuded danger. Whoever he was, that thing took one look at this man and disappeared. I couldn’t help but feel slightly grateful. The brief windows of light allowed me glimpses of his dark and brooding features. Much of him remained in shadow. But I noticed his stunning eyes. They glowed unnaturally and danced as he watched me. With abnormal speed, they flashed from crystal gray to black coal and back again. His short, jet-black hair was tousled yet perfect, and a slight stubble bordered his jawline.

His riveting stare petrified and aroused me at the same time. Looking at him made me desirous for things I never thought I would want. I was recovering from the silent assault when a sudden daze clouded my mind, and my eyelashes fluttered uncontrollably. There wasn’t time for me to panic as it lifted within seconds.

I was no longer in the club.

About the Author:
With her debut novel Dark Summoner, D.D. Miers begins the Relic Keeper Series, a fast-paced romantic saga filled with danger, destiny, and magic, set in her favorite genre, Paranormal and Fantasy Romance.

Born with a wildly overactive imagination, she’s told stories of enchanted worlds, treacherous villains, and epic love for as long as she can remember. She keeps a watchful eye for the paranormal hiding around every corner and constantly checks the window or rearview mirror for a vampire or fairy.

Although she has a fondness for all things fantasy, she's an epic romance fan at heart and in everything she asks, “What would Jane Austen do?” The journey to becoming a published author has been a long but exciting one. A fervent desire for taking readers from the ordinary to the extraordinary keeps her motivated, and she believes that everything is better with a good helping of romance thrown in.

D.D. is a proud member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) and the Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Sub-Genre of RWA (FF&P). She continues to attend conferences and writers’ workshops in order to help inspire, share, and promote her love for romance.

During her downtime, she loves to spend time with her family, share her obsession of all things romance with other fans, and catch up on her never-ending TBR list. She resides in beautiful Southern California with her wonderful husband, an adorable toddler, two kitties, and the many different characters living in her head.

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