Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Take Me to the Willow by Shelly Brimley

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Creating Lily

When I think about what messages I want to convey when I write, I am compelled, for some reason, to write about struggle. The things that result from struggle are the things that make us real and raw, no pretenses, no façade. When you are wading through the mud, you go from wanting designer heals to wanting sturdy, water resistant boots. That’s what I like. I like to see people’s focus shift. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with liking nice shoes, I’m just making the point that necessity changes us. It makes us more aware of what really matters. Struggle forces us to think about necessity, and it motivates us to look for greater insight and answers. What that looks like for me is more sincere prayer and a deeper awareness that I am in need of divine help in order to handle well what comes my way. Lily is a woman who was acquainted with the true essence of struggle from the very beginning, and it left her a woman who craved depth and genuine love. She learned early on that things mean nothing and people mean everything, and what she wants more than anything is to create for her own family what was never provided to her as a child.

I believe that many people, if not most, are the result of their nurturing, or lack thereof. It is exceptional when you meet someone who defies the odds and does what is unexpected, one who decides she wants something different than what the psychology books predicts will happen based on life experiences. This is why I admire Lily. She is exceptional despite the fact that she’s not “supposed” to be. Lily believes that love is the answer to all of life’s problems, and even if it isn’t, it’s at least worth a try.

In defending his life-long friendship with Charlie, Will may have inadvertently had a hand in the growing chaos that leads to the horrifying night when his familiar world is shattered.

When Will Wright, the eighteen year old son of a small-town Arkansas sheep herder in 1905, begins reading his mother’s journal, he is inspired by its startling content to start putting his own experiences to paper for posterity. An unsophisticated but principled young man, Will is becoming increasingly aware of the hatred that exists in the world. When he begins his own journal, Will can’t know what events are to take place in the next five years – from his mother’s battle with a life threatening illness, to his embarrassments of learning how to be in love for the first time, to witnessing Charlie’s fate at the hands of the bigoted townspeople. While part of him wishes the pain in those pages didn’t exist, he knows that the original purpose for keeping the journal has been realized - to show his kin how he became the man he is. He will probably never go back through and read again the pages he’s written, but someday, someone will, and they will see that along with the hurt, Will’s life had been one that knew true joy, absolute love, and undying friendship.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I’ve only been in this cell for three days, but it feels like a might lot longer than that. I know what I did wasn’t considered proper by most folks down here in the South, but I don’t regret doin’ it. And I’d do it again, if I had the chance. Charlie never did anything wrong. He’s just colored. Not much he can do about that, and even if he could, I suppose he wouldn’t want to anyhow. I didn’t feel it right that Charlie be ignored when all he came to do was buy feed and tools like the rest of us. So when Eli Carver said he don’t take no “colored” money, I thought it best to point out that he must be blind as a bat since Charlie’s dollar and my dollar are both the same shade of green. And when I held the two right in front of Mr. Carver’s face and politely asked him to show me the difference, he later told Sheriff Coleman I was threatenin’ and causin’ a disturbance. When I heard that, it just made my blood boil, and I decided Eli Carver needed to be taught a lesson. I went back to that store, although Charlie tried to get me to leave it be, but the next thing I knew, I was holdin’ Eli a foot off the ground against the door to his very own supply store. If Sheriff Coleman hadn’t been right there, I might have been able to argue my side, but there’s no point arguin’ against proof and common sense. Besides that, Sherriff Coleman is known for his feelin’s about colored people, so I knew I was beat before I started. I suppose I just didn’t care.

About the Author:
Shelly Brimley was born in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived most of her life until moving to Mexico to study abroad. After graduation, Shelly did some volunteer work in Africa and completed her graduate degree while working in an adolescent drug treatment center. After acquiring her Master’s degree, she worked as a counselor at a residential shelter for children who had been smuggled and trafficked into the USA from different countries around the world. She also taught English to adult refugees before resigning to raise her children. Shelly wanted to use her experience working with others as a source of inspiration in her writing, offering a voice for those who are not typically heard or considered.

Website: http://www.shellybrimley.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shellybrimleyauthor


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Friday, May 27, 2016

Talisan by Colleen Charles - Interview and Guest Blog

VBT_Talisman_Banner copy

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

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

I’ve been a voracious romance reader for over 30 years (yikes, I just dated myself). I’ve read thousands and I love that they will always have a satisfying ending. When I read, I want to be swept away and that’s what I strive for in my own writing.

What research is required?

For this book, it all came out of my own mind. I had to do quite a bit of research about the foliage and animals native to that area of Arizona. I try to make everything as genuine as possible.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

True love can be right in front of your face but if you you’re looking for something or someone else, you won’t see it :).

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

My favorite place to write is in bed!

Are you a plotter or pantser?

Absolutely a plotter. If I pantsed, nothing would ever make it to the page.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

Bingham Charles, my purebred Ragdoll cat. The narrator of Talisman is based on him!

Anything new coming up from you? What?

I’m pretty prolific so I release a new book every few weeks. My next series about the US Marshals.

Do you have a question for our readers?

Thank you for asking such an excellent question! If your readers could have me write the book of their dreams, what would it be and why?

FREE Full-length, standalone steamy romance novel at http://www.colleencharles.com/free.

perf5.000x8.000.inddJust one kiss to break the spell...

That's all she needs.

Cursed by a jealous witch, Penelope DeLacroix's spells are all going wrong and backfiring, creating havoc in town. The vengeful witch won't quit until she has all of Penelope's powers. And all it will take is one perfect, heartfelt kiss from Penelope's one true love to put an end to all this turmoil.

The only problem? Penelope has no idea that Dr. Lucas Collier, the compassionate local veterinarian, is in love with her. Nor does he know that she's in love with him. They're both too stupid to figure it out.

But I know.

And I have to do something about it.

But what can I do?

I'm only her cat.


Every witch has a cat.

I'm hers.

I'm Talisman.

And I'm going to fix this.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Jessie! It’s so great to see you,” Penelope exclaimed as she strode forward and enveloped the much older woman in a warm embrace. “I don’t think I’ve seen you since this summer when you were accepting your first place award for your apple pie at the Shadow festival. Did you bring one with you? I just love your pie.”

Jessie grimaced, her face a contorted mask of wrinkles and sadness. Maybe loneliness. I’m really smart and talented but I’m not a mind reader. Who knows what had prompted this surprise visit from the old bat.

Jessie padded her plump figure over to Penelope’s armchair in the receiving area of the shelter where Pen’s desk sat, all worn mahogany and ornate scrolls. She liked to spend quiet evenings there doing paperwork while she allowed the animals to roam free around her. She’d speak to all of us in her lilting tone not knowing that we understood her perfectly.

And we wanted to respond, we really did. Unfortunately, we could only communicate with each other and had to use gestures and actions to try to get through to our mistress. Even though Penelope was a witch from a long line of ancient witches, her powers didn’t involve any kind of telepathy as some other's did.

As Jessie sank in to the overstuffed chair, a whooshing noise exploded throughout the room when the air escaped from the cushions under her ample girth. Too. Much. Pie.

About the Author:Colleen Charles is the pen name of Tami Stark, #1 Bestselling Author on Amazon. After 26 years in Corporate leadership at a Fortune 500, I discovered people within the organization lacked integrity. I'd always known deep in my soul that I was trying to fit a square peg in to a round hole since I'm the typical creative type. I miss my staff but I don't miss the corporate world. It's been said that the Universe will let you know if something isn't right for you. The first time, it will hit you with a pebble. Then a brick. Then a boulder. Let's just say that I got flattened. When my fifteen pound toy dog, Nigel, was threatened, I knew it was time to say goodbye.

It's sad but true.

Here's what I found within the first thirty days of being free. Writing stories from my heart that readers love means more to me than working myself in to an early grave for people who only care about their bottom line.

My heart has never been more full and my soul has never been more satisfied.

I've never worked so hard in my life but it doesn't even feel like work. It's worth it. All of it. Because it's about the joy that's found within the journey. The highs and the lows because I get to write stories for all of you.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, enjoying and recommending the stories that I write. When you share my work with others, nothing is more rewarding. Your word of mouth is my very best friend ... that, and your reviews. There is nothing more important to me than all of you.

I love to hear from my readers and answer all communications personally.

Website: http://www.colleencharles.com/free - VALUABLE STARTER PACKAGE for new subscribers
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Colleen-Charles-1505026199744713
Twitter: https://twitter.com/booksbycolleen

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Forbidden Heat by J.L. White - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J.L. White will be awarding a $40 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.

They call us the Firework Girls.

I’m Isabella. My comfort zone consists of a bank of test tubes and a Bunsen burner. But having to take a philosophy class to graduate from college—well, that’s causing a different kind of burn altogether. I mean, the hottest professor at Hartman is looking right at me.

Can you blame me for looking back?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Feeling dizzy, I back away from the table with heavy limbs. The girls I met don’t notice my departure but Justin Kirby does.

He’s right next to me with his hand on my lower back.

“I need to sit down,” I say.

“Okay sweetheart,” he says.

He steers me away, past an empty chair.

“Wait,” I say, but he leads me to the basement stairs and we start to go up. I’m having trouble managing them.

I mumble something as we wind through the crowd on the main floor, bumping against a shoulder here and an elbow there. The music is pounding. I feel it in my body, but it sounds muffled, along with all the other sounds in the room. He steers me up another flight of stairs. He has to put his arm around me to keep me from tripping on the steps.

What’s the matter with me?

There’s a long, dark hallway at the top, with several rooms breaking off on either side. Justin Kirby is practically dragging me along.

When he opens a door, I see a bed in the room and know I’m in trouble. I’m almost too out of it to panic properly.

All of a sudden, he half lets go of me, half shoves me into the doorjamb.

I hit my forehead on the wood, trying to hang on to something. There’s screaming and yelling—I’m hearing his voice, I think, and someone else’s, a woman’s voice—but it’s all confusion to me and now all I can do is think about the fact that I’m falling and can’t stop.

About the Author: J.L. White writes steamy romances featuring smart, sexy women and the swoon-worthy men who adore them. Her sexy love stories are full of passion but don’t skimp on the tenderness. She’s addicted to trendy coffee houses, poolside lounging, and HEAs. When not tapping blissfully away on her laptop, she takes time to enjoy life with her husband and their children.

Website: http://jlwhitebooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JLWhiteAuthor

Forbidden Heat will be $0.99 during the tour. Buy Forbidden Heat (Firework Girls, Book 1) and Midnight Heat (Firework Girls, Book 2) at Amazon.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

New York Nights by Stephen Leather - Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

Five Things You Might Not Know About Stephen Leather

1) I collect Sony Aibo robot dogs. I have six, of various types and colours. They’re awesome, the walk around on their own, exploring their environment and generally having fun. I also have three (real) cats and the cats really don’t know what to make of them. The robot dogs were made by Sony up until 2006 and in 2014 they announced they would no longer be servicing or repairing them, which is sad. But there is a guy in Tokyo who still works on them and has spare parts so I think mine are good for a few years yet!

2) I am one of Amazon’s most successful independent self-publishers and have sold more than a million eBooks. My book The Basement has been at the top of the Amazon bestseller charts in the US and the UK. I was one of the first writers to realise that there was a market for cheap eBooks and in 2011 I had four of the top 5 bestselling books in the Amazon UK charts.

3) I have to have noise when I’m writing, and it has to be random noise, music won’t do! One of the most productive places for me to write is in an airport coffee shop – I always try to get to the airport three hours before my flight and I always get a stack of writing done. When I’m at home I sit in front of the TV with my Mac on a coffee table. I watch TV as I write. I did most of my homework at school and university with the TV on, and most of my working life was spent in busy newspaper offices so I need a buzz around me as I work. Working with the TV on helps when I need to describe a character’s clothing and the credits are always a good source of names! I drink a cup of coffee pretty much every half hour and one of my cats - Peanut Butter - sits on the sofa next to me to keep me company.

4) My uncle Tony Williamson was a writer, mainly for classic TV shows in the 1960s such as The Avengers, Department S, Jason King, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and The Champions. I think seeing him work first attracted me to writing as a career. He wrote a few books that were published in the UK and I have hardback copies of them all. He also wrote books in the US under the name Stephen Cade. He died not long before my first book was published so I never really had a chance to talk to him about writing, which is a pity. All his books are long out of print and I keep meaning to get them digitized and make them available as eBooks.

5) I really hate lifts, or elevators as Americans call them. I mean I really really hate them and avoid them whenever I can. My publisher used to be based on the 22nd floor of a tower block in London. I used to walk up the stairs rather than use the lift! I have been stuck in lifts four times in my life so my fears are not groundless! Once I was stuck for more than an hour at the top of a building in Budapest. I really thought I was going to die. I had my mobile with me and I called the Budapest Fire Brigade and they wouldn’t come out because there was no fire. The caretaker who had the elevator key had gone on holiday and wasn’t due back for a week. Eventually they got the caretaker from a neighbouring building to come over. It was a nightmare!

Teenagers are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line. New York Night is the seventh novel in the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sara could see that he was afraid so she smiled what she hoped was a comforting smile. ‘It’s a game,’ she said. ‘It’s just a game.’

‘If you want to play a game, let’s play Grand Theft Auto,’ said her brother. Luke was ten, six years younger than she was. They rarely played together but she needed another pair of hands for the Ouija board and Luke could be relied on to do as he was told.

‘Because I want to play this,’ she said.

‘It’s stupid,’ he said. ‘I’ve never heard of a game like this before.’ He sat back on his heels. They were in her bedroom. He was rarely allowed into her room and had looked at her suspiciously when she had first suggested they play a game together.

‘You liked Charlie Charlie didn’t you? Well this is the same. You can ask it question and it’ll answer.’

‘Charlie Charlie is for fun,’ said the boy.

‘So is this. But with Charlie Charlie you can only pick one of four answers, right? This way the spirits can talk to us.’

‘Spirits? You mean ghosts?’

‘It’s all the same. Look, it’s a game. Just a game. Do you want to play or shall I tell mom you haven’t done your homework?’

Okay, okay,’ mumbled Luke. ‘Don’t give me a hard time.’

About the Author:
Stephen Leather is one of the UK's most successful thriller writers, an eBook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan "Spider' Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels.

Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country's most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world.

Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London's Burning, The Knock and the BBC's Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV. You can find out more from his website www.stephenleather.com and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenleather

Jack Nightingale has his own website at www.jacknightingale.com You can buy New York Night on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, or Smashwords.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cap - Poetry by Kruze - Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

Five Things You Might Not Know About Kruze

This was a hard question or me to answer so I asked my sister and my two best friends and this is what we came up with. I have a hard shell but I am soft hearted for a lot of people and a lot of situations. I grew up playing sports so I always had the mindset to be tough and mean, I guess it also showed in my appearance. Only the people that truly know me knows that I have a heart of gold.

I shoot league pool for the APA. Currently I’m rated as a 5 in both 8 ball and 9 ball. Pool was first introduced to me by my biological father but when I became a teenager my step-father kind of shaped me. He prepared me to play league pool when I turned 21.

Although I do not do it often, I love to dance. I have to be comfortable with the people around me in order to actually get on the floor and dance. Otherwise, I will enjoy watching others around me.

I am an extremely flirty person. I will attempt to flirt my way out of any situation whether it be traffic tickets or something else. Sometimes I will be flirting with a person and won’t even notice I am doing it until it is pointed out by someone else.

Out of all the things about me I think the most comical thing is I think that my chipped tooth is sexy. My sister pointed this out to me and all I could do was laugh because it is so true. I think it fits my personality and I refuse to get it fixed. It is a part of me.

Cap - Poetry is a compilation of short poems that'll have you shaking your head and dropping your jaw at the same time. The poems focus on love, sex, relationships, and life, all from the viewpoint of a Capricorn.

Enjoy an excerpt:


Standing at the alter waiting for my future bride.
Joking with my Best Woman but hiding how I feel inside.
Since many love us together I figured we should do this.
But deep down inside I doubt this would be marital bliss.
The song starts and our guests rise to their feet.
Sweat pouring down my face like someone turned up the heat.
Hands starts to shake and people think it’s my nerves.
But the truth is I’m mad because I feel marriage is for the birds.
Now I’m staring at the ceiling wishing that I could take it all back.
Why did I get myself in this? My thoughts are off track.
I need to buy some time to figure a way out.
How the hell did I let “Will you marry me?” come out of my mouth.
I blame my mom because they are too close.
I told her to chill out but she stays doing the most.
My sister was in on it too, even helped plan this thing.
Forcing me out of bed to buy a beautiful wedding ring.
Shifting my weight at the alter as panic is setting in.
How could I be marrying this girl when I’m sleeping with her friend?
Her family thinks that I’m perfect while I’m doing so wrong.
Telling her that I love her but hiding pictures in my phone.
I wanted to end this and tell her to find another fish in the sea.
She’s a lovely woman but just not someone for me.
The whispers bring me out my trance. “Here comes the bride,” they’re saying.
I see my life is about to end so I just start praying.
Lord if you get me out of this I promise not to return to this place.
I started to stop the wedding then realized it was too late.
My future bride is in my sight marching down in her gown.
Here she comes with her father, what do I do now?
I take his spot next to her and we continue making our way.
This is some bullshit. I definitely had better days.
“You may all be seated,” the minister said to our guests.<
Then he continued with the ceremony as my heart race in my chest.
I make it to our vows, she went first with hers.
Damn, she should be with someone else because I’m not who she deserves.
I’m up next. It’s time to take my vows.
Take a deep breath and wipe sweat from my brows.
“You know that I love you.” A lump formed in my throat.
My mouth suddenly got dry as soon as I spoke.
“You’re okay!” Someone yelled from their seat.
But whoever it was definitely didn’t know me.
Tears formed in my eyes as I grab my chest then neck.
Everyone went into a panic when I hit the deck.
“Someone call the ambulance,” I heard my mother cry.
I rather fake a heart attack because marriage is suicide.

About the Author: Kruze is a proud produce of Philadelphia and the Founder/Owner of Urban Legends Publishing. While being educated at Parkway Program Marquita discovered her passion for writing. Ever since her discovery, she has not been able to travel without two essential things, a book and a pen. Stay up to date with the author through https://www.facebook.com/kruze.da.author215 .

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Convergence by Michelle Grey - Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Michelle Grey will be awarding a $50 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.

Five Things You'd Probably Never Guess About Michelle Grey
Hello, and thanks for letting me stop by! I love getting to visit with readers, but I struggled mightily with the topic of this blog post which was to share five things you’d probably never guess about me. Probably because thing number one is – even though I’m a social extrovert, I’m really not comfortable talking about myself. So, I’m going to hang up my hangup, and try to go with four more things.

- I am an eternal optimist. And that drives my husband (the cup half empty guy) crazy. But I guess it works – we’ve been married for almost 29 years. He suggested I share a talent I’m really good at that’s one of his favorites, but I can’t go there. There are limits, people…

- I enjoy drinking, and can usually handle my liquor, but at my first ever writer’s retreat with my friends in our local RWA chapter, I drank too much the first night and stepped off the porch into a bush. Yep. I didn’t have youth or grace on my side – so embarrassing. That was probably six years ago, but these women STILL haven’t let me live it down.

- I went to college to be a pharmacist. Such an odd choice, because my two least favorite subjects were math and science. I never finished my degree because my husband had an opportunity to start a business that was his passion. Looking back, I’m so glad I didn’t go down that road. It wouldn’t have made me happy. Writing has always been my heart and I’m so glad I get to do that now!

- I taught my mom to drive when she was 60 years old. She’d spent her entire life depending on others for rides, and it was awesome (and simultaneously frightening as hell) to teach her. She only drove us into a ditch once though, so Win! I still miss her every single day, but watching her gain her independence and be able to get herself where she wanted to go was a memory I treasure.

Thanks for letting me share a few fun tidbits about myself. It was actually really fun! Hope it gave you a chuckle today. Happy Reading!

Nothing comes between Tori Whitlock and her tornado chase season -- not a serial killer, not even the hot FBI agent who’s vowed to save her life. But Detective Jack Mathis plays tough. Ending this case isn’t just his job, it’s his mission. And he finally has the advantage.

He faces Tori’s hostility and objections head-on, interjecting himself into every aspect of her life, and leaving him no time to dwell on his own.

Through the twists and turns of the madman’s game, Tori is forced to adapt to her unwelcome circumstances. Still, she fights Jack's presence, and her attraction to him, as he tries to open doors better left closed.

For Tori and Jack, life and death decisions are part of their jobs. But, can they overcome their pasts and realize that there’s a difference between life and living?

Enjoy an excerpt:

This meeting isn’t about Glenn and his new show.”

Tori checked Cam and Dwayne to see if they were as confused as she was, but neither one was looking at her. She sat back and cocked her head. “Then what?”

Alan tugged at his shirt collar. “The emails. Cam gave them to me. And I gave them to the FBI.”

Her head swiveled to Cam, her voice low and menacing. “You rat bastard. I want my key back. You had no right.”

Cam’s steady eyes assessed her. “Would you have turned in the emails?”

Tori rolled her eyes. “Of course not. I –”

“Exactly. I had no choice but to be the responsible one.”

“Responsible my –”

Alan raised his voice, interrupting their spat. “Either way, the FBI thinks the emails are credible enough that they’re sending their lead agent on the case down here to become your best friend for a little while.”

Fingers dug into the chair’s padded fake leather arms as she shot a pointed look at Cam. “I don’t need another ‘friend.’ I’ve got enough of them already. What’s he going to do, live with me?”

“Probably. And chase with you, too.”

Tori’s chair exploded against the conference room wall as she flew out of it and planted her palms on the table. “Oh, hell no.”

About the Author:
Michelle Grey is an avid lover of books, and had always thought that someday she would take up her pen and write romantic suspense. In 2009, Michelle was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer, and she realized that “somedays” aren’t guaranteed. This life changing event motivated Michelle to pursue her dream of becoming an author.

In January of 2013, Michelle released her debut novel, Dangerous Ally.

In September of 2013, the next book in her Long Shot Series, Unspoken Bonds, was published.

Now a cancer survivor, Michelle decided to use her platform to promote awareness of ovarian cancer and its symptoms. In January 2014 she published, Are You Listening: A Personal Journal of an Ovarian Cancer Survivor.

Because it is so important to spread the word, one hundred percent of the proceeds from this $.99 ebook go directly to the Vicki Welsh Ovarian Cancer Fund to support their mission of fighting ovarian cancer through awareness, education, research and support.

Michelle lives in the Midwestern US with her husband of twenty-eight years and has four amazing and unique children, a wonderful son-in-law, and two beautiful granddaughters. Michelle believes that any day that involves family, writing, or reading is a great day, indeed.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michellegreyauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichelleGrey13
Website: http://www.authormichellegrey.com

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Secret Door by Stephanie Burkhart - Spotlight and Giveaway

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

It's 1927 and Lord Zoltan Kristos, Hungary's Minister of the Interior, takes great pains to hide the fact he's a werewolf from the world. Despite his efforts, he's recognized when he goes to the Austrian-Hungarian border to inspect the area for damage from a recent rare earthquake.

Zoltan is accused of stealing Kurt Meklau's witch, Inna, and is recklessly followed to Volturn Manor, a residence belonging to another werewolf family, the Vargas. After a fight with Meklau, Zoltan barely escapes and his adversary is found dead.

Sophia Varga and Tomas Martin find Zoltan. Sophia is determine to attend to Zoltan's injuries and protect her home, but when Kurt's father, Marcus, comes seeking revenge, Sophia is tested like never before. As Zoltan and Sophia work together, attraction and desire flame between them.

Will the secrets Volturn Manor harbors offer Zoltan and Sophia the clues they need to defeat Marcus and give them the opportunity to explore their feelings for one another?

Enjoy an excerpt:

He looked her over seductively. His heart skipped a beat with desire. She rubbed the lotion into her hands and placed them on his stomach. He groaned, reaching out with his left hand and threading his fingers into her hair, jerking her head back so they were eye-to-eye. She set her jaw. His pulse pounded. Something intense flared between them, yet she kept her hands on his abdomen. Encouraged, Zoltan tugged her toward him, pressing her chest against his. Her nostrils flared and her brow furrowed in confusion.

He stopped, reminding himself he needed to offer a choice. "Do you want me to kiss you?"

"No." The sound of her denial was weak. He held her close.

"Do you want me to release you?"


"How should I solve my predicament?"

"I don't know."

"I do." He leaned close, her sweet fruity scent sending his senses into overdrive. He placed his lips on her jaw and kissed her.

About the Author:
Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. She served 11 years in the US Army and currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate and is addicted to coffee. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.


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

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Monday, May 16, 2016

The Bad Decision Legacy by Morgan Kay

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

The Bad Decision Legacy will be $0.99 during the tour.

The Men of Machismo series revolves around nine friends who worked together in a male revue. Each book follows the life of a different former dancer seven years later. The Bad Decision Legacy is Will and Tonya’s story.

Tonya’s psychotic ex is stalking her. Not the best time to meet men, still her best friend begs her to show up for blind date dinner. Her plan includes the meet and greet, then heading home. Of course, she never expected a man who sent every hormone in her body into high alert. Will looked like her next bad decision.

Will’s work as a divorce lawyer included discouraging embittered women from ramming their soon to be exes with the car or setting fire to their husband’s latest girlfriend. No wonder he fell hard for Tonya. The first woman he met with no agenda, well almost none. It’s obvious Tonya is knee deep in trouble, but refuses to ask for help. Instead of running the other way, he contemplates dashing into the tornado she refers to as her life. With any luck, he might survive.

Enjoy an excerpt:

An image of her looking beautiful and festive, wrapped in holiday greenery and Christmas lights filled the screen. It was from more than two Christmases ago, back when she wanted to do something special to celebrate the holidays. An ad for boudoir photography sounded like a perfect gift. Who knew it would come back to haunt her?

Listening to her co-worker’s grating laugh, she studied the photo. Technically, everything was covered, but she still looked nude. This wasn’t good. Her boss would fire her for sure. One of the accountants had to remove a calendar with an attractive model attired in a hockey jersey due to the fact another employee claimed it was sexual harassment.

The lack of laughter had her closing the email, deleting it, and emptying the trash can. A creeping sense of horror had her erasing her history. It would remain on the company server for about forty-eight hours before it disappeared with the rest of the trashed messages.

Richard, the IT manager, informed her he could recover anything for up to forty-eight hours after she deleted it. After that, no luck, he’d explained, since they didn’t back up all data, only the essential. Emails didn’t figure into that, thank goodness. The email was gone. Would Richard search the files?

Tonya twisted in her chair, crossing and uncrossing her legs. Be rational; think logically, she reminded herself as she tried to slow her rapid breathing. Pushing up out of her chair, she walked to the file cabinet and began to rifle through the files as if she were looking for something. Michelle breezed into the room.

Her co-worker’s purse landed on her already crowded desk, as Michelle searched for an empty place to set her oversized soda. Her rain slicker fell onto a brightly colored plastic chair. Michelle pivoted on her stiletto boot heels to greet Tonya.

“Hey, girl. Sorry, I’m late, but my youngest had…” Her voice drifted off.

Her co-worker’s excuses were endless as to why she was late. Her children figured prominently in them. It was hard to say if she was making them up, because kids do get sick, and are difficult, or might even lose the car keys as her eldest did yesterday. It was odd for her to stop in the middle of a sentence.

“Hello, trouble with the kids?” Tonya pushed out the words, hoping her voice sounded ordinary, not showing the strain.

“Yeah, something like that,” Michelle responded, not elaborating like she normally would. A furrowed brow and a tilted down chin indicated something else might be troubling her. “Tonya, you’re as a white as a sheet. I mean, I know you’re white and all, but…”

Morgan K Wyatt writes steamy romances with a side of laughter under the name of Morgan Kay. The wisecracking heroines and hunky heroes are similar to the ones in her mainstream novels, but in the Steamy Interludes series, the bedroom door is left open. Real life issues, humor, dogs are also staples in Morgan Kay romances.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter Goodreads ~ Pinterest

Pre-Buy/Buy Links:


BN http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bad-decision-legacy-morgan-kay/1123639153

iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-bad-decision-legacy/id1101294547?mt=11

Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Men-Machismo-Bad-Decision-Legacy-ebook/dp/B01E46YQ1Y/

The Bad Decision Legacy will be $0.99 during the tour.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Serpents and Doves by G. Lloyd Helm - Guest Post and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. G. Lloyd Helm will be awarding 10 paperback copies of the book to 10 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. (international giveaway)

Five Things You Might Not Know About G. Lloyd Helm

First off let me state that I am a monogamous heterosexual homo sapien married to the same woman for 45 years. I am shamelessly in love with her, and deeply dependant on her. I have been a kept man for a large part of those 45 years. She is my patron, my muse, and occasionally my scourge. We have two children who are not children any more. During our time in the Air Force I was in loco parentis while she was out doing AF stuff. Now let me explain the irony of this. When I was a kid I used to pretend that I was a career soldier with a family. I was a Marine off to fight in various battles but often home to the wife and kids. If I had known how twistedly prophetic that was I might have found a different pretend, but I didn't and then I found myself trekking all over the world with two sons and a military wife.

Another thing about me that most people don't know, unless they are very intimate with me. I have been a performer since I was a child. I have done plays and sketches, but more especially I have been a singer. I have sung tenor in dozens of choirs, including a Methodist Chancel Choir that was asked to perform at Lincoln Center in New York. I have also done solo work in various clubs, especially when I was in Germany. The Germans have a thing for small clubs and they set them up everywhere. Gas Station goes out of business today, by tonight it is a coffee house. I did dozens of those with my friend Mark.

But one time I did an unexpected solo out of a choir. It was my college choir and we were touring/ performing in some of the local high schools, but with typical teenage disdain the audiences weren't particularly enthusiastic so, though I was in the back row (I'm a tall tenor) I was tired of seeing these brats yawn. They were not much younger than me but still--as the choir began to sing "Let the Sun Shine in" from the musical "Hair" I stepped out from the back row down to the front middle and started shouting, "Come on Sing. You know the words. Sing" and waved my arms. It startled the audience so much that they actually began to sing. It was a great concert from then on with the kids afraid to sit there like lumps. Later the choir director told me "You scared hell out of me," but in later concerts he began warning the audience that things were not going to be as quiet as they thought, and he assigned some others to jump out with me and get the audience singing.

Another thing about me that is kinda odd, my usual work uniform is my night shirt. Nobody can see me dressed like that mostly, but if someone rings the door bell --they better not as I have a no solicitors sign-- I come to the door in my night shirt to chase them off my porch. And I'm really nasty about it. I ask them if they can read and point at the sign, then close the door on them. I'm sure I have a reputation--that crazy old man at the end of the block.

Stephen Mitchell did not know what he was getting into at a small church college in Tennessee. Sex, protest, friendship, and Civil rights. The title “Serpents and Doves” comes from the warning Jesus gave to his disciples as he sent them out to preach the gospel, knowing the dangers they were going into. He said “I send you out as sheep among wolves, therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Stephen Mitchell learns first-hand what that warning means when he goes to a Tennessee church college in the midst of the turbulent 60’s. He learns about friendship, war, protest, the sexual revolution, and civil rights.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Ethan’s suicide rocked the school, but not nearly as much as Stephen expected. The New Jersey and New York folks mostly didn’t know anything about Ethan or the BSU so they noted the suicide as a bit of news, but it didn’t effect them much. There was some anti-homosexual noise and the inevitable nasty jokes, but Ethan Patrick’s passing caused no more than a ripple for the most part.

There was some noise and protest from the Mason First Baptist Church when Billie Jo asked them to hold the funeral service, but finally they said they would bury him, but not in the church cemetery. They ignored the fact of his suicide and the reasons for it and held a small service. Stephen debated with himself whether he should go. He had about decided not to when Cathy Powell cornered him and asked if he would go with her. “I really don’t have the strength Steve,” she said. “I’m just a wreck. Can’t you please come with me?”

Stephen seriously thought about saying, Why don’t you go ask David Hall? But didn’t say it. “All right. I’ll meet you at the church.”

She smiled sadly, but Stephen thought he saw just the smallest glimmer of triumph in it.

The coffin was set across the aisle in front of the altar. Closed. It was silvery gray and looked more like a large tin can than a coffin. The congregation was small, mostly people from the BSU but a few from Beacon’s faculty including Dr. Conners and Dr. Marchant. Having the Pope there was no surprise. Probably here to make sure the sumbitch is really dead, Stephen thought, and then felt bad about thinking it.

About the Author:
G. Lloyd Helm has been writing for 40 years, having published poetry in a wide variety of magazines and newspapers including “The New York Poetry Anthology,” “Stars and Stripes News,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “The Antelope Valley Press,” and “The Antelope Valley Anthologies,” among others.

… Has published short stories and memoirs both in the US and in England in such journals as “Pligrimage” which published the memoir “Football” in spring 2005, and a second memoir “4 April, 1968” in the winter of 2008. He has published short stories in “Citadel” the literary magazine of Los Angeles City College,” “Delivered Magazine,” which is based in London, “Short Story Library,” The University of S. Illinois’ “Eureka Literary Magazine,” “Tales as like as not,” and London’s “Black Gate Magazine.” Recently published “Even Up” a Civil War Ghost story at www.ruthlesspeoples.com, an English on line magazine, and the short story “A Lovely Elephant” in “Delivered Magazine” an English fiction journal. “The Other Fellows Shoes,” Pulp Empire III, Metahuman Press, Cedar Rapids, IA Nov. 2010. Is being published in an on line experiment from Alfie Dog Publishing in England. May 2012.

…Has published three novels in the F&SF field, 1) OTHER DOORS, From MousePrints Publishing, and 2) DESIGN from American Star. 3) WORLD WITHOUT END from Rogue Phoenix Press, www.roguephoenixpress.com OTHER DOORS, originally published in 1997, was published electronically by Rogue Phoenix Press in July 2010. Also Published a literary Romance novel called SOMETIMES IN DREAMS, from Siren’s call. Most recently a volume of short stories called TRAIN WHEELS, FLYING SAUCERS, AND THE GHOST OF TIBURCIO VASQUEZ. Many of these stories appear on the Alfie Dog site.

…Is in process of publishing an adult literary novel called SERPENTS AND DOVES with Rogue Phoenix Press, which will be out in May 2016.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2809594.G_Lloyd_Helm
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/G.-Lloyd-Helm/e/B007QEJNDI

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Diamond in the Rough by Lori Robinett - Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Ranch hand Aidan Brackston has built a new life at the Diamond J, and he keeps women at arm’s length to protect his secret . . . until he walks into the local scrapbook store on an errand for his boss. When he accidentally knocks Gina on her ass, she respond with a slap . . . and the fireworks begin.

Single mom Gina Montgomery has her hands full running a business and taking care of her little boy. The last thing she needs is a man in her life, but when a tall, dark and sexy cowboy strides into her store, she’s reminded that she’s still a young woman with hopes and desires.

Just as passion ignites between Aidan and Gina, her little boy is kidnapped by rustlers. Will the two of them be able to save her little boy . . . even if that means exposing Aidan’s secret?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Gina pressed against the Plexiglas window of the store room again, just as the door swung towards her. The door smacked her face with a sharp POP and she fell backwards, landing on her backside with a thump.

Light silhouetted the dark figure in the doorway, radiating around him like a halo. He bent towards her, hand extended, and the halo turned into a cowboy hat. Ah, there was that good looking cowboy she was just thinking about . .

She reached up and took his offered hand, and he pulled her up so she stood mere inches from him. She'd been right about his height. She looked straight ahead at his broad chest. His muscles filled out his plaid flannel shirt. Dark hairs curled over the shirt where his top two buttons were undone. Her eyes wandered up the curve of his neck, over the strong line of his jaw, and settled on his lips. They were parted slightly, welcoming, inviting. She looked at those amazing blue eyes . . . which were not focused on her eyes.

There was a sharp pop as she slapped his face.

About the Author:
Lori is the author of four books, and serves as a mentor for aspiring writers. She is a creative soul trapped in a paralegal’s body. Several years ago, she discovered (and won) National Novel Writing Month and rediscovered the joy of escaping into a world of her own creation.

She lives in rural Missouri with her husband. One very spoiled Miniature Schnauzer and Miniature Beagle allow Lori and her husband to live in their house, and the outside is patrolled by BK (short for Barn Kitty) and Patches (a sweet tom cat stray that missed his calling as a lap cat).

Her novels cover everything from romance to thrillers, but mystery is the thread that binds them all together. Her favorite authors are Tawna Fenske, Tierney James, Colleen Donnelly, Allison Merritt, Lisa Medley, Lea Waite, Susan Mallery, Hugh Howey, HP Mallory and, well, the list goes on and on.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8290968.Lori_L_Robinett
Website: http://lorilrobinett.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoriRobinett
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LoriLRobinettauthor/

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Beyond Good Manners by Tara Woods Turner and J. Blake Turner - Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tara Woods Turner & J. Blake Turner, PhD will be awarding a $15 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.

Unlock the key to creating a cultivated life for your child with this targeted parenting guide. You will learn how to raise an engaging, accomplished and sophisticated child, one who gets noticed for all the right reasons. From fine dining, travel and art appreciation to navigating social media with integrity - Beyond Good Manners: How to Raise a Sophisticated Child will show you how to take your child to the next level. Whether your child is 5 or 15 this is the one book you will reference time and again for advice and techniques that are relevant, practical and insightful.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Let's imagine you’re dressing for a dinner party and your child insists on wearing a glittery, sparkling ballet tutu instead of the $80 shantung capri pants you bought for her. What should you do? Let her wear the tutu. Crushing her sense of whimsy will do nothing to cultivate a sense of style for your child. It is not necessarily a battle of wills. She is simply trying to tell you something about herself. Listen carefully and then take the lead. Compliment her ownership of her appearance and use it as an opportunity to open the conversation about choices. Explain to her that she can wear the sparkly tutu but she should understand that it is not the most appropriate thing in her closet to consider. Tell her that this is an occasion where there is room for negotiation but that this will not always be the case. Then unveil some awesome ideas to add to the fun. You can show her how to further explore the topic of ballet and ballet costumes. She can read age-appropriate books on ballet and describe her favorite parts to you; watch documentaries on or video clips about actual child ballerinas; recreate a scene from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake with her dolls or arts and crafts supplies. Introduce her to basic French ballet terms such as pas de deux or pliè and see if she can reproduce the first five positions. Kick off your shoes and do it with her! In future she will don her tutu with pride because she not only earned it but because her appreciation is now informed. More importantly, you have quieted her frustration - not her voice - and created a platform for growth and development. With time she will find more constructive, cooperative ways to display her individuality and creativity because you wisely chose to not make her behavior the basis for your response.

About the Authors:
Tara Woods Turner is an etiquette consultant, author and content contributor. She lives in New York City and believes strong societies are built upon strong families. She also spends way too much time analyzing James Taylor lyrics.

J. Blake Turner PhD, a researcher in mental health and associate professor at Columbia University, lives in New York City and is much more sophisticated than he used to be.

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

No Reason to Hide by P.H. Turner - Spotlight and Giveaway

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

From the author:

Amazon's Kindle Scout program has accepted my latest mystery, No Reason to Hide. Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It’s a place where readers help decide if a book gets published by Kindle Press. Please click my link https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3J7NFQQ1E13CJ and vote for my novel by clicking the Nominate Me button. My book stays in the Kindle Scout program until May 22.You're not committing to purchase the book. As a thank you from Amazon and me, you will receive a free ecopy of No Reason to Hide if the book is accepted for publication. Please share with friends and thank you!

Evil knows your name,

Navajo cop Jessica Akee finds the body of a young male sprawled in the weeds behind a convenience store on the Reservation. What at first looks like just another gang killing is a far more disturbing murder. On loan from the Phoenix PD, top cop Charlie Stone partners with Jessica to find the killer. She harbors a dark secret, but Charlie isn't going to let her keep it...

he extends his hand,

Jessica's younger brother runs with a Native gang, dabbles in rituals best left alone, and ignores Jessica's pleas for him to turn away from the razor's edge between good and evil.

and charms you into the abyss.

When her brother lifts the veil between the two worlds, the Shadow Warrior slips in seeking revenge. All that is human of Ricky is stripped away, and Jessica believes the last card has been played, but the Shadow Warrior turns his vengeance on her. Can Charlie save her before the demon claims Jessica as his own and returns to the bottom of the abyss?

Enjoy an excerpt:

My younger brother's grin was triumphant. "Don't play yourself or me for stupid. I'm a Cobra."

"Where were you last night?"

"Oh, so now you're not my loving caretaker. You're a cop." He jacked his pants up to his waist. Buttoning and zipping with only one good hand was hard for him.

"Don't you ever talk to me like that. Knowing where you were last night is caring for you. Answer me."

He barked, "I was home. Mom was there. She can vouch for me. She's working days."

If Mom was working day shifts, she could back him up—if he was telling the truth. If he wasn't, well, I didn't want to think about it. "I'll ask Mom."

"Yeah"—he sneered—"you do that. Check up on the little bro."

"Stop acting like a jackass. You have a family who loves you, and you have opportunities if you don't screw them all up. Here, throw your shirt around your shoulders. I'm taking you home, and then I'm going back to work."

"Is Mom going to be at home?" He sounded like a little boy, and his eyes were rounded with fear.

"Mom will be home after work. Would you like me to pick you up a burger? You can eat before you go to bed. I'll call and check on you until Mom gets home."

"Yeah, I'm hungry."

Still not a thank you, but less mouthy. He needed help getting up on the running board and into my police unit. I drove through Burger King and then on to Mom's house. She lived on the Nation in a weather-beaten single-wide where the three of us had grown up. I vividly remembered the day the front door banged shut behind my Dad. What I hadn't known was his back was the last I would ever see of him.

About the Author:
I call Austin, Texas home now after working on the East and West coasts, the Rocky Mountains, and an island in the Gulf of Mexico. I've come full circle to live and work close to the farm my family settled in the 1850's.

Truth is stranger than fiction, and years in the news business provided lots of peculiar characters and stories to write about. My books are set in my favorite places, the desert canyons and high mountains of the American West.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pht97
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/P.H.TurnerAuthor
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/P.H.-Turner/e/B00NZ8RW0K/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Less Than Human by Allen Long - Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Allen Long will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN 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 Don't Know About Allen Long

1. When I was a journalism student at Virginia Tech, I was one of the top students in my class, and this earned me an internship with United Press International covering Jimmy Carter in the White House. I was supposed to report to Wesley Pippert, but he was called away on an assignment, so I reported directly to his boss, Helen Thomas. On my first day at the White House, Serbians and Croatians, two groups that didn’t get along, were outside protesting the visit of Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito with President Carter. Before I arrived, there had been some violence and an arrest. Helen virtually shoved me out of the White House and said, “Go find out what’s happening outside.” My press credentials weren’t convincing because I was only an intern, and the Serbians suspected I was a Croatian spy, and the Croatians thought I was a Serbian spy. However, I managed to avoid getting beat up and got to the bottom of the story. When I returned to the White House, Helen said, “You aren’t in the union, which means you can’t send stories over the wire.” So I composed the story in my head and dictated it to Helen, who typed it up and sent it over the wire.

2. I was once a child guest on Willard Scott’s Bozo the Clown show, although the host that day was Cousin Cupcake. I sat between a white kid and an African-American kid. Out of the blue, the white kid punched the black kid. I said, “What did you do that for?” Using a racial slur, the white kid said he hit the kid because he was black. I was about six, and this was the first time I heard the N-word and witnessed racial prejudice.

3. When I was earning my M.F.A. in fiction writing at the University of Arizona, I also volunteered at the Hunger Action Center. When I asked the director what I could do to most help the organization, he said, “Please get us non-profit status. I want to expand operations, and all the local churches have donated as much as they can afford. If you succeed, I’ll give you a paying job.” Without any experience in accounting, I collected the data I needed to determine we were indeed a non-profit, and I filled out the necessary forms and sent them off. I graduated with my M.F.A. and moved with my wife and son to the San Francisco Bay Area, where I ended up working in the business world for twenty-five years because the cost of living was so high. About six months after our move, I learned the Hunger Action Center had been granted non-profit status. I wondered how my life would have turned out differently if I’d stayed in low-cost Tucson and accepted the position there.

4. I virtually fell in love with my second wife Elizabeth on first sight. A mutual friend introduced us over lunch in a San Francisco Italian deli. After that, our friend made a quick exit, and Elizabeth and I talked for about 90 minutes. We felt so close at the end of this conversation that we hugged and fell in love. Our twenty-first wedding anniversary is July 1, 2016.

5. I once told my three sons a humorous story with so much vigorous gesturing on my part that my chair exploded beneath me, throwing me to the floor while my kids split a gut laughing. This is one of many stories that has passed into family legend.

In Less than Human, Allen Long tells the story of his often nightmarish childhood in the wealthy suburbs of D.C., the wonders and mysteries of teenage love, his ill-advised journeys into corporate America and a hellish marriage, and ultimate breakdown. And yet, his story is mostly one of triumph. He draws strength from the joys of fatherhood, he finds true love in his second marriage, and through working with psychotherapists and leading a life rich in self-examination, he overcomes both child abuse and the resulting PTSD, finally learning that instead of being less than, he is, indeed, human. Less than Human follows an unconventional path, arranged as much by theme and association as by chronology. These stories take many forms, from driving narrative to lyrical reverie, at times evoking mythic overtones, and this variety, along with an unflinching confrontation with the conditions and consequences of childhood abuse, create its own form of suspense--in what direction will this book take us next?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

While the zookeeper threw apples into the makeshift pool and coaxed the elephants to swim to retrieve them, he recited a long string of facts. These awe-inspiring creatures have 150,000 muscles in their trunks and they can use this appendage to suck up to 15 quarts of water at a time, which they then squirt into their mouths. Also, he said, elephants can hear with their ears, trunks, and feet. In addition, these captivating mammals are believed to have the same level of intelligence as dolphins and non-human primates and they can feel grief, make music, show compassion and kindness, mother one another’s infants, play, use tools, and recognize themselves in mirrors.

When some of the elephants exited the pool, they used their trunks to throw dirt on their backs.

“Dad, what are they doing?” Ben asked.

“Putting on sunscreen,” I said.

The boys giggled.

The zookeeper continued to lecture, but we tuned him out and focused solely on the elephants as the great gray wrinkly creatures with the small dark eyes and long eyelashes and formidable, floppy ears shaped like the African continent bobbed and swayed in the hot July afternoon. Perhaps the boys’ minds wandered briefly to Babar, one of their favorite books about an anthropomorphized elephant, just as mine may have flashed briefly upon the proverbial elephant in the room at home, but our thoughts quickly returned to the magnificent elephants and our simple but immense male joy.

About the Author:
Allen Long was born in New York City and grew up in Arlington, Virginia. He holds a B.A. in journalism from Virginia Tech, an M.A. in fiction writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Arizona. He has been an assistant editor at Narrative Magazine since 2007, and his fiction and memoirs have appeared in a wide variety of literary magazines. He lives with his wife near San Francisco.


Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Friday, May 6, 2016

Eolyn by Karin Rita Gastreich

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

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

I began writing fantasy because I wanted to tell the story of Eolyn, who dreams of practicing magic in a world where the craft is forbidden to women. Eolyn’s struggle to define her own path in the face of oppression and persecution resonated with me. It’s the sort of journey I think many people can relate to, even though it’s set in an imaginary, feudal realm.

I didn’t know much about fantasy as a genre when I began writing Eolyn, but I’ve come to love fantasy as an author. It’s a never-ending adventure in writing. There are tropes and guidelines, but no hard-and-fast rules. Every story brings something new and unexpected. As an author, I love this sense of uncharted territory.

What world-building is required?

The answer to this question really depends on the story you’re writing, and the world it’s set in.

In the case of Eolyn, the story actually grew out of one of my favorite pasttimes: reading about history, especially women in history. I’ve read a lot over the years about women in Renaissance and medieval times. Eventually, these readings inspired my novel, the story of a solitary witch in world hostile to women practitioners. So, rather than starting a novel and then doing the research, I let the reading I did as a hobby lead me to writing a novel.

One aspect of women in medieval times that interests to me is how they managed to wield power without ever picking up a sword, much less charging into battle. Learning how these women shaped events around them influenced my own women characters, many of whom who strive to defend their way of life, making a difference in the world without ever learning weaponry.

Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.

Love, courage, determination, and respect are powerful tools. More powerful, in the long run, than hate, violence, and oppression.

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

When I’m ready to focus on my writing, I often light a candle, usually a green one. A long time ago a friend told mean that green candles symbolize fertility and creativity. I think it’s always a good idea to petition for creativity when sitting down to the next scene. Does it work? Who knows. But I have a fondness for candles, and any excuse to light one is a good enough excuse for me.

Are you a plotter or pantser?

Both. I can’t start a novel until I have a solid idea of how it will end. That being said, during the writing, if my characters start pulling me new directions, I always follow their lead.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there?

A cup of tea, a writing journal, and two pairs of reading glasses.

Anything new coming up from you? What?

Yes, there is! First of all, fans of Eolyn will be happy to know that the next two books of The Silver Web trilogy are slated to be rolled out within a year. The Sword of Shadows (previously marketed under the name High Maga) is being revised and will be released this fall. Daughter of Aithne is complete and ready for release in the spring of 2017.

While we’re working on the final edits for these books, I’ve also started a new novel, The Hunting Grounds. After three novels in Eolyn’s world, I’m taking a break from medieval fantasy and trying my hand at paranormal romance. I’ve just begun unveiling this work in progress with my writer’s group, and I’ve gotten a very positive response. This is a short novel, so if I can get it polished and ready to go, I may have it out as early as this fall.

Do you have a question for our readers?

I would love to know what you enjoy reading, and who some of your favorite authors are. Also, do you have any other questions for me?

In a land ravaged by civil war, the Mage King Kedehen initiates a ruthless purge of the magas. Eolyn, last daughter of the magas and sole heiress to their forbidden craft, seeks refuge in the South Woods.

When she meets the mysterious Akmael, heir to the throne of this violent realm, she embarks on a path of hope, seduction, betrayal, and war. Desire draws Eolyn toward Akmael’s dark embrace, but fate binds her to Corey of East Selen, a cunning mage whose ambition challenges the limits of love and loyalty.

Can she trust either man?

Hunted in a realm of powerful wizards and brutal deceptions, Eolyn must find her own path to freedom or she will burn on the pyre.

"Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes, with a romantic thread." -Publishers Weekly

Enjoy an excerpt:

Mage Corey closed the distance between them. His magic spread in a hush through fallen leaves, surrounding Eolyn, cutting off all retreat, and daring her to defend herself with a counter spell. He stopped just in front of her, his face a breath away.

“Sometimes I like to imagine you and I live in a world where we do not feel compelled to keep secrets from each other,” he murmured.

Eolyn’s throat went dry.

“Indulge me in this fantasy and tell me: Why do you desire to go to the King’s City?”

Eolyn willed her eyes to remain steady on his. “It is a child’s wish. I had a friend growing up. I believe he lives there. I wish to find him. That is all.”

Mage Corey studied her a moment. Then he stepped away and continued his walk. The autumn earth released Eolyn’s feet. She quickened her pace to catch up with him.

“A friend,” Corey asked, his voice a mask of idle curiosity, “or a lover?”

“A friend. We were only children when we knew each other.”

“I see. I am sorry, Eolyn, but I cannot take you to the city, not because I object to you finding your friend, but because I am averse to leading fawns into nests of vipers. Still…” Corey stopped, his expression thoughtful. “I know many people in the city. If you give me the name of this friend of yours, perhaps I could...”

Eolyn’s expression put a stop to his words.

“I see I am pressing too hard. Very well, Eolyn. We have had a fair exchange: one truth for one truth.” Touching Eolyn’s chin, Corey brought her gaze back to his. “Perhaps we can continue down this path when I return.”

About the Author:
Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to The Silver Web trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

Website: http://krgastreich.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/EolynChronicles
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Eolyn-110814625640244

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