Search Results for: the perfect distance

* The Perfect Distance by Dianne May

* The Perfect Distance by Dianne May
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Before Finley Thompson’s husband died, he told her to run and keep running. So she relocates with her kids to a small town in North Carolina. Her false sense of safety ends when a runaway horse barrels into her yard and she meets her surly but disarming neighbor, CJ Sinclair.

As a permanently disabled Navy SEAL, all CJ wants is peace, and to build his animal rescue. His peace is interrupted when his sassy and beautiful neighbor stirs up his past, which threatens to uncover his connection with her dead husband.

But both Finley and CJ are hiding truths of their own, and digging into the past may unleash secrets from which neither CJ nor Finley will survive.

The Perfect Distance is an intense and emotional ride filled with suspense and romance. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this well written story and getting to know the two main characters, CJ and Finley. This small town story has intricate plot weaving, good pacing and the characters are easy to connect with.

Finley and CJ are two damaged people who have a lot of secrets. They had tragic pasts and do not trust people. When Finley moves next door to CJ, they find it hard to ignore the spark that ignites whenever they are near each other.

I loved CJ, he is a tough alpha male who is protective but also sensitive. He is a retired Seal who was injured on the job. I was excited to read this story because one of my favorite genres is stories about military vets who come home with scars and have a hard time acclimating. This story immediately drew me in and I devoured every word. I just couldn’t put it down. I wanted CJ and Finley to be together and get the HEA they deserve.

When I first started reading this story, I felt a bit overwhelmed by the number of characters being introduced so quickly, but as I kept reading, I found myself engrossed in the story. This intriguing story kept me guessing about who the bad guys were and what would happen next. I highly recommend this mesmerizing story; it will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Perfect to the Corps by Dee S. Knight

Perfect to the Corps by Dee S. Knight
Publisher: Whispers Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (66 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Dahlia

Lisa Adamson and her friend are spending the last few days before school starts on the beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. When a good looking man approaches, Lisa is struck first by familiarity, then by a powerful force drawing them together. She thinks of herself as a married woman, though her husband fell in the fighting for control of an Iraqi village two years ago. Now, she thinks maybe the time is right to move on. That is, when she can think at all. It’s not easy when she’s around the alluring Bran Douglas. His tight abs and muscular thighs are more than enough to fuel her imagination of what he would be like in bed. She’s not sure how much longer fantasies will be enough to sustain her—or how long she can maintain her loyalty to Mark.

For years, Bran Douglas heard Mark Adamson brag about his beautiful wife. Having seen picture after picture, Bran would know Lisa anywhere. But he’s shocked to look up and find her enjoying a beer in the hotel lounge, just a few yards away. In the remote Iraqi desert, Bran had half fallen in love with the idea of Lisa, and for that reason, he’d kept his distance in the two years since Mark’s death. Now, seeing her in person, he knows those feelings were more real than he’d imagined. He knows from Mark’s stories how sweet she is but the photographs didn’t begin to show how hot she is. As though mastered by an invisible puppeteer, he finds he can’t resist going to her. Yet how can he face her, knowing what he does about Mark and his death?

What fate brings together let no man tear asunder.

Lisa needed a getaway from everyday life and going to the beach with her best friend sounds like the perfect solution. Have a habit to eat healthy foods including vegetables cialis generika and fruits and also consume supplements for health. The market is already flooded by different tablets and medicines that are made to help achieve infinite satisfaction viagra online while in arousals. Memory is levitra wholesale said as a human being’s ability to encode, remember and recollection of information passed on to them functionally. The hospitals providing urology treatment in Kolkata has considerably increased being equipped and assisted with the panel of urological experts and specheck it out tadalafil tablets 20mgts. A familiar-looking stranger enters the serene picture with drinks and a body that Lisa can’t help fantasizing about. Throwing caution to the wind, Lisa decides to end her two-year bout of celibacy and try to move on from her husband’s death. However, her new companion isn’t exactly what he seems.

Bran fell for her without ever having spoken to her or seen her in the flesh. Unfortunate circumstances have made her available and fate offered a chance for him to finally meet her. Throughout the course of exploring their mutual attraction, they question their loyalty to the memory of a man close to both of them. How do they move forward when the past is what connects them and can ultimately destroy them?

Ms. Knight created a whirlwind romance packed in a short story about past love, loss, and being open to find love again. Sometimes finding love again isn’t possible with the same man and getting over the past can be toughest part. Lisa’s character is a great example of what many people with spouses in the war struggle with these days. She is your everyday working woman trying to find her way in this world without her husband. She believes she’s not missing anything by not having a new man in her life and she struggles with letting go of the past. Bran may not have been completely forthcoming to Lisa, but he is quite honorable in his intentions to the widow, which he makes clear to her from the beginning. With the focus of the story mostly on these two characters, it was easy to connect with both.

Although the story makes good use of the pages it contains, I couldn’t help but wish for more of both Lisa and Bran’s back story and a little more of the future. I recommend this story to readers looking for a quick read with a relatable heroine and hero you’ll want to hold on to.

The Distance Between Us by L. A. Witt

The Distance Between Us by L. A. Witt
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (146 pgs)
Other: M/M, M/M/M, Ménage, Anal Play, Voyeurism
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Rosemary

From money pit to windfall…or is it a pitfall?

After ten years together, Ethan Mallory and Rhett Solomon are calling it quits. They’re more than ready to dump their heavy emotional baggage. The only thing they can’t seem to unload is the house. They’re stuck living as roommates with a hefty mortgage hanging over their heads…at least until they can bring in some extra money to pay it down. Solution: rent out a room.

Enter Kieran Frost. Suddenly, the only thing Ethan and Rhett both want more than getting away from each other is getting close to their single, young, hot roommate. Complicating things is the fact that Kieran doesn’t mind the attention from both, and he certainly doesn’t mind sharing.

Their combined chemistry ignites something else that Ethan and Rhett had thought was long dead—the mutual attraction that drew them together in the first place. Except bitter jealousy over Kieran could only push them even farther apart…

The Distance Between Us is an emotionally gripping book that grabs the reader’s heart and never lets it go.

Little did Rhett Soloman and Ethan Mallory realize the impact that renting a room in their house to Kieran Frost would have on their lives. Let’s have a look cialis on sale at few of such ways: 1. Do cheapest cialis not suffer in silence, get treatment to experience a healthful sexual life. Vasodilation will lead to an improved blood flow in certain areas buying online viagra of the penis, which invites sexual erection. Smoking can also affect your sperm motility and count, buy levitra online so it is very important to ditch cigarettes. Faster than Kieran can hand over the first and last month rent, these three roomies are burning up the sheets. It doesn’t take long for casual, no strings sex to become the catalyst for discovering why Rhett and Ethan’s relationship ended.

The Distance Between Us is written in first person from Rhett’s perspective, and while that can sometimes limit character development, that is not the case with this book. Through in-depth and revealing conversations between the characters, Ms. Witt does an amazing job peeling away the layers of all the key players.

While beginning to date again in his late thirties is a daunting prospect, Rhett is ready for Ethan to move out so he can break free from the limbo they are currently living in. Watching Rhett wrestle with his complex emotions about the break up is often heartrending, but it’s also tremendously satisfying when he begins to understand exactly what his feelings are. Everyone around him (including the reader) can see that he is not anywhere close to being over Ethan, but it takes a lot of soul-searching for Rhett to begin to grasp that.

On the surface, Ethan comes across as very nonchalant about Ethan. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure I liked him all that much, and I thought Rhett was better off without him. It doesn’t take long to see that Ethan isn’t as detached as he’d like everyone to believe, and in fact, he plays a surprisingly pivotal role in the culmination of the book.

The Distance Between Us is a realistic portrayal of a long term relationship, and the problems that sometimes arise when partners fail to communicate. It is also an accurate depiction of just how far apart two people’s perceptions of one another’s actions can be.

The Distance Between Us packs an emotional wallop that is perfectly balanced with blazing hot sex. Ethan, Rhett, and Kieran will linger in your hearts and thoughts long after the last page is turned.

All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Connie di Marco 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.

Rob Ramer was the perfect husband until he committed the ultimate family faux pas—he shot his sister-in-law to death. Believing himself under attack by an intruder in his home, he fired back. But when evidence is discovered that Rob’s wife, Brooke, was plotting his murder, Brooke is charged with conspiracy in her sister’s death. Geneva, a third sister, is desperate for answers and seeks the help of her friend, San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. Geneva’s lost one sister and now it seems she’ll lose the other. Was this a murder plot or just a terrible accident? Julia vows to find the answer in the stars.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The same headlights stayed behind me for several blocks, remaining about two car lengths behind. I’m very careful about locking my car doors, especially at night. I look over my shoulder when getting into my car too. I clicked the door locks again for good measure. Two cars passed me in the next lane, but the car behind remained at the same distance. When the next light turned green, I accelerated quickly and kept my speed up for the next few blocks, hoping a police cruiser wasn’t waiting in an alleyway speed trap to ticket me. The car following matched my speed. Why would anyone be trailing me, and if so, how long had I been followed?

I cast my mind back, trying to remember if I had noticed anything outside Macao or earlier. No one had been around. I hadn’t seen any cars pulling out behind me. But then, it was the last thing on my mind. I was only intent on meeting Tony.

After the next light, I slowed to a crawl, watching to see if the driver would become impatient and pass me. Again, the car matched my speed. A chill ran down my spine. Someone was definitely following me and they didn’t care if I knew.

I quickly reviewed my options. I had no intention of leading a stranger to my apartment. Of course, after my wallet was left open with my exposed driver’s license that night in Moira’s apartment, my follower, if he were the same person who attacked me, would already know where I lived. I nixed the idea of heading for my grandmother’s house. I didn’t want to bring any trouble to her doorstep, nor to Gale’s. Even so, that would involve driving back toward Russian Hill. I could return to Cheryl’s but didn’t like the thought of being unprotected on a deserted downtown street when I got out of my car. Whoever he, or she, was, I had to lose them. On the off chance they didn’t know where I lived, I had no intention of leading them to my apartment.

When I reached Divisadero, I turned left and headed for a neighborhood that I knew was a warren of intertwining streets. I made a fast turn heading west on Turk and an even faster right on Baker, leading me up Terra Vista. By now I was too frightened to even look in the rear view mirror. I raced up Terra Vista and took the corner on two wheels. I didn’t see car lights behind me as I turned the corner, only the ambient glow of headlights down the hill. I drove halfway down the block and spotted a long driveway leading to a garage at the rear of a house. I pulled down the driveway and parked behind the house. I doused my headlights and turned off the engine. My hands were sweating and my heart was pounding.

I hadn’t imagined the black sedan following me. I had no idea what kind of car it was, only black, late model, could have been a Mercedes, a Cadillac, I honestly wouldn’t know the difference unless I saw an insignia. My engine made small metallic pinging sounds as it cooled. I waited but heard nothing. I carefully rolled down my window and listened. A glow from headlights highlighted the tall tree branches in the next yard. I heard a car moving slowly down the street. The motor was almost silent, but I could hear the crunching of dry leaves under tires. He was searching. I had temporarily lost him, but now I was trapped in a driveway behind a private home. I prayed no one in the house would turn on outside lights or do anything to signal my presence. How long would he cruise the street?

Ten minutes elapsed but it felt like an hour. I twisted in my seat and once again saw the same glow of headlights. Again I heard the crunching of leaves and small branches under tires. The car came to a stop directly in front of the driveway. Its headlights were fixed against the wall of the house next door.

My mouth was dry and I could barely swallow. If the driver found me, what would he do? What could I do? I could lean on the horn and hope to wake the occupants of the house. The arrogance of following me in such an overt manner was more frightening than an attempt to track me covertly. Was someone trying to discover where I lived, or did they already know? Did someone wish me harm or were they only trying to frighten me? If so, they were doing a damn good job of it.

My heart was racing. I closed my eyes and deliberately slowed my breathing and prayed. Then I heard an engine rev and tires squeal. The sedan barreled down the street as if angry to have lost me. I was too afraid to turn the car around and pull out. It could be a trick. He could be waiting at the foot of the hill. I was cold now and shivering. I wanted to be home in my own bed more than anything in the world. I had to take a chance. I turned on my parking lights and saw that the driveway continued on past the garages. A narrow space next to the last garage led to an alley behind the homes. I started the engine but left my headlights off. I followed the concrete path along the side of the garage and through the opening to the alleyway. It led to an intersecting street. At the corner, I hit the brakes and looked around carefully. Nothing moved. I glanced up at the street sign. Fortuna Street. I almost laughed with gratitude at the name. I wiped tears from my eyes and
took a deep breath. Following Fortuna I reached Turk again. No other cars were on the street. I turned west toward the Avenues keeping a lookout, but didn’t spot the black sedan again.

When I reached home, I pulled the car into the garage, made sure the heavy door was properly locked and climbed the back stairs to my kitchen. Wizard padded out to greet me. He tried to make a dash for the yard, but struggling to hold on to my purse and keys, I grabbed him at the last moment. I didn’t want him out this late at night, and I was too tired to have to call him in later. I reached down and closed the hatch on his kitty door before he could get free. He looked at me and uttered a low growl in his throat.

“No. Sorry. It’s been a rough day and a rougher night. You’re in.” I doled out a couple of kitty treats and dropped them in his plate. He attacked them at once. I turned off the kitchen light and in the dark, peeked out the living room windows to the street below. I saw no cars that seemed out of place. Then I walked down the stairway and shoved the bolt across the front door. Wizard eyed me strangely, sensing something was out of kilter. Upstairs, I shed my jacket and poured a glass of wine. The light on the answering machine was blinking. Gale had left a message reminding me of the open house on Sunday. Cheryl hadn’t spoken of it earlier and I suspected she might bail on the whole idea. Then I kicked off my shoes and shed my clothes. I slipped into my flannel pajamas, propped some extra pillows on the bed and settled in.

I thought about the couples I knew. Cheryl dealing with a divorce, Brooke in jail accused of planning her husband’s death, Moira dead, and forced to turn over information on her boyfriend to the police. David and Geneva seemed the only happy people in the world, in spite of their family difficulties. Only Gale was completely content as a single woman. Maybe I was better off in my alone state than I knew.

Wizard climbed onto my lap and started kneading the comforter furiously. Was Cheryl right? Was it was time to consider dating? The thought of it brought no joy. If someone told me to climb Mount Everest with no equipment, it would seem an easier prospect. But if I didn’t take a chance, I’d be a woman alone with her cat forever. I finished the wine, turned off the bedroom lamp and snuggled down under the comforter. I heard the foghorns in the distance as my eyes closed involuntarily.

About the Author:

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring Julia Bonatti, a San Francisco astrologer who never thought murder would be part of her practice: The Madness of Mercury, All Signs Point to Murder, Tail of the Dragon, Serpent’s Doom and Enter a Wizard, Stage Left (a prequel e-book novella). Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Penguin Random House. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers Association (UK) and Sisters in Crime.

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How to Handle Negative Criticism by e rathke – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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How to handle negative criticism

To publish at all is to invite criticism. No matter what you write, someone will hate it. Even if you end up as celebrated as Cormac McCarthy or sell as many copies as JK Rowling, people are going to hate every single word you write down. The bigger the audience of fans, the larger the number of haters. Ideally, the haters will always be outnumbered by fans or at least those who appreciate what you’re trying to achieve. But the reality of publishing is that people are going to tear apart your book in Goodreads or Amazon reviews.

The trick, I think, is understanding which criticisms to take in. My own fiction always bends towards the weird and the wild, the caustic and ecstatic. Try as I might to write a simple tale with broad appeal, I find myself always twisting the narrative towards those ancient dark trees and the cold caves where those with a commonsense dread of danger are unlikely to follow.

With that comes those who will not follow. They’ll see the way the road bends and they’ll realize this is a path they’d prefer not to see the end of. Some who do will wish they hadn’t and they’ll tell anyone who will listen that they should avoid those woods, those caves, for there are monsters lying in wait.

Some, though, will hear of these strange dark forests and feel compelled to see them, to experience them. They may go with great trepidation and they may be shaken by the experience. But they may also find something there—a sensation, a new perspective, a burgeoning desire—that makes them seek other dark forests, other abandoned caves. They may spend the rest of their lives hunting out monsters, not to kill them, but to bask in their monstrousness, their weirdness.

We invite criticism when we publish anything, but we don’t need to give every criticism equal weight. Often the reviewer will let you know within a few sentences whether they were the target audience or not. If someone who was never going to like your novel tells you that they didn’t like your novel, should you be surprised? Should you take that criticism to heart?

But there will be those who came to your book with open eyes and open arms, excited for the weird and the wild, the uncanny and the ecstatic, and they will find your attempts lacking. They’ll find your words stilted and your world flimsy, your characters automatons without personality, and every joke you spent hours perfecting will leave them cold.

What do we do with this?

Well, first we shatter, fragile creatures that we are. We shatter and moan and maybe rage a bit at the unfairness of it all. And why did they have to write the review publicly anyway? Why couldn’t they have just rated it two stars and moved on?

The first thing: do not respond to the review. If you feel you must respond, definitely don’t argue. There is no way for this to work out well for you, even if you’re right. It’s an argument you lose the moment you engage.

Give yourself time. Try to forget about the review for a while. Read a book. Play a video game. Go for a run. Walk your dog. Cuddle your cat. Cry in the shower. Whatever you need to do to get past the fact that someone hated your book in public for good and real reasons.

It may take a week or a month or a year, but eventually you should look at that review again. With the distance of time, you’ll hopefully be able to acknowledge where this person had a point and where they missed or misunderstood something or where they simply didn’t like something for reasons so unknowable or personal that it may have nothing to do with your writing or book. But pick through these criticisms and find the ones that may apply. The ones that make you nod along or accept that, yes, they had a point.

Use this to write the next book.

“My name is Ineluki. I come from past the mountains and ice. It took me many days to reach here. All I know are dead. Will you take me in?”

And so begins a calamitous year at the edge of the world.

Chief for the year, Aukul’s life has never been better. His people respect him, he spends his nights with the love of his life, and his skills as a butcher and chef improve every day. Then Ineluki, a young stranger, wanders into town with nothing but an empty book. He begins telling stories of the world beyond the one they know. His stories challenge their reality and lead to a summer of unprecedented disasters.

One by one, the villagers begin dancing. Dancing tirelessly, as if in a trance, until they die. Believing Ineluki is to blame, Aukul confronts him on the worst night of his life.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Umok was the first to see the boy. There was nothing special about the boy except that he wasn’t one of us and didn’t seem to be an Uummanuq. Not that anyone really knew, then, what the Uummanuq looked like. Not really. But he was too tall to be one of them and much too short to be one of us. Maybe strangest of all, he was dressed as a woman. One of ours, not the Uummanuq women, assuming anyone knew, then, what the Uummanuq looked like when they weren’t smashing our homes down. But he wore a loose, open vest, his trousers tight and reaching just past his knees. In his hands, a hidebound book.

It was a clear day, just past spring, and though the edge of the world is known for its deathly cold, our summers are quite warm. Warm enough to wade out into the sea and gather crabs or lobster. Or even to swim out to where the leviathans burst through the water, spraying the skies with their misted breath.

Umok was so distracted by the boy that she dropped her arm, accidentally flinging her gyrfalcon, Feo, to the ground. When Feo shrieked the way she does, the boy turned to Umok and smiled a big toothy grin. To hear Umok tell it later, the boy had fangs like a wolf and eyes that glowed with menace.

We’re not prone to superstition, but much changed that summer and especially come winter, when the days last barely a blink and the nameless ones call out to us in the long night, and mothers wake to missing children, never to be seen again.

But the boy didn’t stop when he saw Umok. It was like he had a set destination. Like he knew where we were. And maybe that’s the most shocking of all. That he just wandered out from the dark green summer mountains and walked right to our little village at the edge of the world with nothing but the clothes he was wearing, an empty book, and a mouthful of words that would change the shape of all our lives.

About the Author:e rathke writes about books and games at A finalist for the 2022 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award, he is the author of Glossolalia and several other forthcoming novellas. His short fiction will appear in Queer Tales of Monumental Invention, Mysterion Magazine, and elsewhere.

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Finding Covers: Premades and Commissioned by L.T. Getty – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Finding Covers: Premades and Commissioned
I just want to give a preamble that I’ve been published through Champagne Books and we don’t get a final say in our covers, but we do get to give style sheets and advised the artists what our heroes and heroines look like, time period etc. Even though this article might not be completely relevant to those seeking traditional publishers, I think if you are going through a publishing house and they ask for what you imagine for the cover, it’s a lot easier if you have a small portfolio of covers you think look great, ones you don’t like, as well as the style of your novel. And just remember: Every author on the planet eventually gets the cover They Hate. Just don’t be a jerk about it.

The point of any book cover is to sell your books. I think most authors are trying to build their brand, and while we’ve all been snookered by bad advertising and are all told from a young age don’t judge a book by its cover, often times that cover is what gives a general idea of what a story is about in a short amount of time.

You may know more than me and be able to design your own or work with someone who can make beautiful and appropriate covers, but we’re going to assume that the average person here doesn’t know where to start.

Finding the cover to The Mermaid and the Unicorns was a fluke. I guess I’m basic because I have an Etsy account, and I think I was either liking other premade covers for other projects or looking for stock images when I stumbled across the cover that I thought was appropriate. I asked friends and took the plunge, and let’s just say I’m very happy with the purchase.

My one niece wants an illustrated-style variant, but that’s another conversation.

Here’s how it originally looked when I stumbled across the original, or shall I say, Immortal Princess?

I had to ditch the pretty design in the corners for the print book final, mostly because of the formatting requirements. Only twenty print copies with those misaligned covers exist.

But let’s pretend that this perfect cover sold minutes before I took the plunge and is no longer available. Where would I find a cover?

The first thing I would do is look at books with cover art I like, even if you think it’s not necessarily for the project I currently have in mind. Build a portfolio because, I have more than one project in me, aaaand if I happen to stumble across something that is close, but say a little off (I wrote a series that has a Pegasus, not a unicorn) wouldn’t it just be awful if I were to follow that artist, and if they say stuff on Facebook along the lines of, “So what is everyone writing now?” and I tell them how much I love winged horses – maybe that’ll inspire something. Could be the wrong genre, say more adult than middle grade, or they make the best cover and it’s out of your price range or someone beats you to it.

There’ll be other covers. Chill.

Don’t worry about price ranges at this time, just find covers you like and figure out who the artists are. Odds are, the more spectacular the cover the higher the price, and I’m not going to tell you what your budget ought to be, but be honest. If your budget is $200, there’s no shame in going to a Facebook group that does say, Paranormal Romance and saying what your budget is, and things you like: The hero is a blond vampire, you wouldn’t mind a motorcycle, hate the color yellow, etc. Generally speaking though, if you are purchasing multiple covers at once, say a trilogy, the artist usually offers a three-set at a deal as opposed to selling each individual cover that looks like it could be a set. Talk to them ahead of time if you are doing a series and you want the same model. This isn’t always possible, but sticking with the same artist, asking for a similar feel may be your other better option. I promise not to discuss variants, but: there’s zero shame in taking say, 6 years to produce a trilogy, having the original covers, and then switching the series as a whole to a more unified look once the original is done. I know, I want matchy-matchy covers for my bookshelf too, but I think that’s more realistic if you don’t know when Book 2 is coming out (or “Aaaah it’s four books”). Those of us who read Indie get it. My preference isn’t to use the same models on every cover and obscure their faces, but that’s another conversation yet again.

Premade covers will generally run you less money than commissioned works. Just because a cover is premade, doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone. If you really like an image, but pretend there’s a dragon or a wolf there that doesn’t belong in your story – contact the artist. Just be advised that if you delay and ask questions, someone else might snap up the picture. Font choices for the title and the name can be changed, and you can request to see different font styles, and this is where I would commission a friend or two to compare and contrast, not only at full size but as a tiny little thumbnail too. Before I purchased Immortal Princess, I advised I would like a wrap and we communicated and she asked if there was anything else I’d like. Because I self-published, I own the rights to the image and can use the picture as I see fit. She said to get back to her when I was ready with a final spine width, and she custom made everything for that specific format.

This cost a little extra ($40) but we reused the background for the back wrap and I just had to send her the text I wanted. She asked me what I liked, what I didn’t, and I wanted to keep it simple and clean. If I were to ask her for a more custom background image, say, “Hey, I saw this image. Can you do a more mermaid style?” You can’t see her shop but that was an option, but I decided that the background was stunning, so I was okay using it again.

When you are going in with commissions, I think it’s good to provide as many visual ideas of what you like and don’t like. Now, if you go in with Art Nouveau in mind but are going in with someone who does gritty realism, don’t expect them to be able to do what someone else does.

I have art, I just need to slap on some font

Okay, you might be able to do this, and to be fair this is probably the easiest thing you can do by yourself. Actually, let’s take a minute: I Can Do This. I’m not professional and a professional will laugh at me, but I can tinker and look somewhat professional enough to fool most people. Depending on your background and how much you have goofed around with various programs, maybe you can too. I think if you go through all the trouble of having a professional grade novel, you should spend the $$ on a graphic artist who knows how to stage font. Why is this important?

Because if you are using the internet at all for sales, a graphic artist who isn’t doing a slap job is going to make your title visible when people are browsing through titles. Believe me, it’s all good and well that most people think I have a beautiful cover, but they need to know the title and the author name if they have a chance of finding it. Go ahead and search for “Mermaid and Unicorns Book”. I don’t even show up on the first page unless they get the entire first title, “The Mermaid and the Unicorns”.

I’m not going to tell you this picture makes a great thumbnail or hey that looks crowded, for all I know you sell most of your books in person at conferences so you’re not worried about how funny it looks scrunched when it’s reduced to 8% of its original size on a website. All I’m saying is that what would spend me probably a good solid evening and some tears going over font choices a graphic artist who does this regularly could probably whip up and make look pretty for a relatively low cost. My time is worth something to me, so I’ll usually pony up the money so I can spend my time wisely, like avoiding getting back to my editor.

I don’t want photo manipulations, I want an artist. Like, traditional paint or a more comic style. Where do I find them?

Okay, this is going to sound like it’s very specific but hear me out:
Your Local Comic Con.

Now before you say, “But I don’t write science-fiction and fantasy” don’t worry, there’s plenty of comics for every genre. The thing though, is that if I were to go to a large publisher artist who does beautiful illustrations, they’re probably well out of my price range.

The guy who is selling fan art at the forgotten part of the con though, unless he’s making a lot of $$, ask. It never hurts to ask. Odds are they’re selling fan art because it makes them more money than their original work. But if you’re looking through their portfolio, and you see the original stuff is in the style you like, ask. You may need to hire this person to do the line art, another person to color (digital or traditional) and another person to do the title font, or you may get it all wrapped into one.

Can I use my own photos for the artist to use?

Talk to the artist. I have never done this but I’ve seen it done. This would probably be a commission, not a premade though.

Alright, this has gone on long enough so I’ll stop. If it’s not considered spam, how about I leave links to some Facebook groups in the comments below? Also, post some of your favourite covers and give love to the artists.

Daphne’s a typical mermaid, and at least according to her, that’s a problem. She’s courageous and has a beautiful singing voice, but lacks the power of an elemental, the ability to command water with the sound of her voice. Jealous of her best friend, she makes a deal with a sea-witch, only to be betrayed, in place of her beautiful tail and flukes Daphne’s left beached with a pair of human legs. The spell keeping Daphne looking human will become permanent, unless Daphne can hunt down and bring the scheming Lorelei a unicorn horn before the next full moon.

Unable to reach her friends and family for help, Daphne doesn’t know how to walk, much less where to find a unicorn or how to catch one. Even if she’s successful, Daphne’s still not sure if she can trust Lorelei and her pint-sized kraken to keep their end of the bargain and let her return to the sea.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“You’ll see lots as you travel from place to place,” Daphne told the small dolphin. “Come, your mother won’t forgive me if I let you roam from the pod.”

Why hurry? Echor asked as he swam, spinning around different plants and sponges that grew along the rocks, before focusing in on a vibrant snail. It was not a very old reef, though it was well inhabited by many vividly-colored, small fish. The young dolphin seemed to take pleasure in disturbing them and watching them scurry into their small hiding crevices and among the anemones. You’re so lucky that you get to stay in your town all the time. This part of the sea is so beautiful!

“I think it would be neat to see so much of the ocean,” Daphne said, thinking of her small town of Thranda. Unlike the dolphins, who often travelled long distances in a single day, most merfolk lived in towns unless they left their communities to hunt or travel to another community. She had known members of his family since she was a little mermaid, and only got to see them a few times a year when they passed through her home to feed in a nearby bay. She heard a series of warnings behind her—the other dolphins had detected something with their echolocation. Unless it was something exceptionally large, they should have been safe within the pod, but Echor was very young. “Echor, let’s return to your family.” The young dolphin had wandered off while Daphne had turned her head, chasing a seal that had left her bob, trying to swim away from Echor.

“Echor!” Daphne called, swimming after him. She caught up to him, then looked over her shoulder as she heard a familiar sound. An orca! Daphne suppressed a shudder. It was large, but far enough away for her to find a hiding space. Still, killer whales almost always travelled in groups. The killer whale dove when he spotted her. She knew the others would want to help, but they were no match for an orca. He swam quickly towards her and Echor. Daphne knew she would be hard pressed to out-swim the large creature.

Hide! the orca told her.

Daphne then saw the immense shadow and wooden keel of a ship following the orca. The killer whale dove deep, though the water was too clear and shallow to truly hide his massive form. A harpoon followed him, missed, and was quickly pulled back to the surface by a rope. Another harpoon plunged into the water, and then another. The rough waters churned green and grey in the ship’s wake, and Echor’s warning chatter only told her that there was another human vessel. It came from Daphne’s left, and it dragged a net behind it.

About the Author: L.T. Getty is a rural paramedic from Manitoba. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy and generally being creative.

Website | Goodreads
The book is on sale for only $0.99 at Amazon, Amazon CA, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

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Shelter from our Secrets, Silence, and Shame by Rebecc L. Brown – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rebecca L. Brown, MSW, RSW will be awarding a $15 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.

I thought I’d share an excerpt from my book. This is the beginning of one of the chapters, I don’t want to spoil it; enjoy!

People say that I’m good with people. I’ve always been in the helping field. People and animals seem to be naturally drawn to me. Maybe it’s feminine intuition mixed with maternal instinct. I’m able to feel an energetic connection with people, and I prefer to be around others than on my
own. All my formal training, although helpful and a great foundation, just helped to lay the groundwork for what was to come: working with people to enhance their connection, healing and promoting growth and learning.

I’ve had my own struggles. Haven’t we all? I was separated from my family at an early age and taken in by a family who had the best of intentions. They wanted me to fill a void in their lives, but after a few years, I became invisible, a burden, and was left to myself most of the time. I felt that I had done something wrong. I became sensitive to strong emotions and could sense someone’s energy from a distance, particularly the negative. Negative energy is louder than positive energy. It takes me longer to trust people, and I withdraw myself sometimes. It’s a primal instinct. Some may say a coping strategy. Sometimes it’s more comfortable being alone, than risking being hurt and rejected, again.

I have a big heart.
I can hold space for people’s pain.
I can see into their soul.
I know when their insides don’t match their outsides.
I recognize the walls people put up to protect themselves.
I help them to break down their barriers and obstacles.
I lead them to a new understanding of themselves.
I teach people to trust themselves, to trust in others again.
Like I have learned to do.

We met on a cold and dreary day.
She approached me with gentleness and a bit of trepidation.
She wanted to make a connection.
Trust takes time for me.
She seemed like she was going to invest the time.
Our connection grew day by day.
She asked me to trust her.
I tested her to be sure she deserved my trust.
We found a new home together.
We work well together.
We take long walks together; we run together.
We can read each other’s body language now.
We have made other friendships together.
We have a strong relationship.
We respect each other.
We trust each other.
We challenge each other.
We work together.
We play together.
We help each other heal.
We help others heal.

I have blonde hair, brown eyes.
I weigh over one thousand pounds.
My name is Dolly.

To find out more about Dolly, my equine therapy partner, pick up a copy of my book and learn more about Equine Assisted Therapy and how it changed my life, both personally and professionally.
You can also check me out on Instagram and see our weekly “Mental Health Moments” straight from the horse’s mouth!


As a mental health clinician, Rebecca Brown has been a safe place for many to seek shelter from their secrets, silence and shame. Inspired to finally slow down, stop running from herself and share her own story, she found ways to seek and savour her own shelter.

Rebecca’s personal journey takes us through sadness, tragedy, self-sabotage, the impossible pursuit of perfection, distorted thinking and eating, engaging with her shadow self, divorce, and numbing with alcohol, all in an attempt to avoid the story needing to be shared.

Dispelling the limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves can unlock our limitless potential to reach goals we never dared to dream. From the Boston Marathon to working with horses, Rebecca sets out to prove to herself that anything is possible when you don’t listen to the negative stories you tell yourself.

Everyone has a story. We become who we are because of what has happened to us, and because of the stories we tell ourselves. But do our stories continue to serve us well, or keep us stuck? Are our stories fact or fiction? Is it time to rewrite the versions we have been telling ourselves?

Shelter provides strategies to help reframe the thinking patterns we have developed, and offers tools to recognize when we are suffering from our own thoughts, feelings and actions. Resilience-building techniques are woven through the pages, and encouragement for the lifelong journey of collecting moments of awe and happiness.

Seeking and reading Shelter is a gift of self-compassion and self-discovery. Rebecca’s hope is that it will be read with a highlighter in hand, pages folded down, re-read, recommended to a friend, and used as a guide to start sharing our own stories with those we love.

We may not have written our beginnings, but we have the ability to write every word from this point forward and just imagine where our stories can take us when we are free of secrets, silence and shame.

About the Author:REBECCA BROWN is a clinical social worker with over 35 years in practice ranging from medical social work, childhood trauma, vicarious trauma for first responders, international psychological first aid, and Equine Assisted Therapy. She is honoured to hold a faculty appointment with the Department of Family Medicine at Western University in London, Ontario. She teaches extensively on the topics of trauma and resilience and has delivered keynote presentations throughout North America. She shares her life and career with her husband, a family physician and trailblazer in the field of Lifestyle Medicine. Together they live and work on the shores of the Great Lake Huron, where they seek and share shelter with their six adult children, four grandchildren, extended family and friends, two dogs, two cats and one horse.

Website | Instagram | Goodreads

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

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The “MAGIC” of OUR ENERGY by C.D. Hill-Lavalle – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. C.D. Hill-Lavalle will be awarding a $15 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.


Did you know that every human being on this planet radiates an energy that affects their surroundings and their current reality?

Most of this energy is “Quantum”–something our top physicists today are eagerly studying and experimenting with. This energy radiates out from our bodies and connects us to all things, bringing in good or bad outcomes depending on what we expect, or “put out there”.

It is generated through our belief systems and based on the underlying emotions behind our affirmations, thoughts and actions. And since we are all “connected”, it also creates our “Shared” reality—a fact that scientists as well as physicists are now discovering.

There are only two emotions that underlie everything we choose to express and believe. They are simply: “Fear” or “Love”. Only in the absence of ONE of these, can the other exist, and they each produce a different vibration and energetic outcome. Animals can sense these emotions in us; and this explains why carnivorous animals “increase their attack” when fear is displayed. Animals sense these emotions more keenly than humans do—lessons we can learn as we spend time in nature (away from our electronics).

Fear is the most dangerous emotion, as it only creates “destruction” in one form or another, especially, if what we fear is not “REAL” (as it is 99% of the time). It is the underlying emotion of all worry, stress, guilt, hate, depression, condemnation and anger (to name only a few). It radiates out a limited distance, but then comes back to the one radiating this energy, in the form of illness or more negativity–often drawing in that which we fear the most! If we are in fear often, it can actually cause severe disabilities, as fear and stress is the underlying cause of almost every disease we have today.

Our capitalistic monetary system is another fear-based creation, one that generates the fears of not having enough, not being enough, losing it all, and more—why poverty, illness, crime and disease has been steadily increasing everywhere. And have you noticed what has happened in the last two years? NEVER BEFORE: in all our history, have we ever had as much widespread sickness, disease, addictions, mental illness, children committing suicide and unreported deaths! These are all ignored and unreported to keep the masses focused on just “One”–one that a new, highly profitable and experimental drug can fix (according to its investors, but so far failed to do). FEAR has been used globally over the centuries to control and manipulate the masses—more today, with this planned pandemic, than ever before!

It is unfortunate, that everything being presented today by our mainstream media is controlled and “scripted”–all to keep the masses “In Fear”–purposely avoiding good news, existing cures, or controversial truth from surfacing. I personally know of many doctors, virologists, scientists and experts being threatened from revealing life-saving alternatives, again, to keep people in fear.

In promoting fear it is dividing and separating families and loved ones, making people fearful of their neighbours and friends, restricting people from gathering, talking, worshipping in churches or even being at a loved one’s deathbed. It is all to gain control and the majority’s compliance and acceptance of the most inhumane acts, all in the pretense of “Safety”. Our governments have even resorted to threats, bribery and coercion, restricting our most basic human rights and freedoms if we fail to agree, comply or consent. This is why we are seeing people rise up today. Many are awakening to truth and many feel “Enough is Enough”!

Today, it is more important than ever to do your own research and discern your own truth. If you constantly feel bad, or ill, look at the emotional state you’re dwelling in. Find things that give you “Joy” more often, as this is a love vibration that can give you strength. In fact any underlying love energy, not only returns more of itself, but is far more powerful and radiates further than any energy ever known to man and is solely responsible for our optimum health, vitality and personal evolution.

This is also known by those who control our “controllers” (all explained in my book); and why the 1% who holds the most wealth, controlling governments, corporations and countries, have to keep us all in “FEAR”. Our awakening and evolution has “Always” been their greatest threat (why the necessity to withhold truth and keep our populace “In the Dark”).

“Crimes against Humanity” are the greatest crimes that can ever be committed. They should be seen as such in our justice systems. And since they are always an attempt to gain control and profit, they should carry the greatest penalty. A total removal and distribution of all their wealth, assets and entire holdings, given to those who were their victims, would certainly be poetic justice and a blessing to many. It would be interesting to see their reaction in having to live as the majority of people on this globe have to live today!

Read “How to Control an Entire Planet…in 5 easy steps” and you will get the complete story behind what’s occurring today and the solutions to end it all. You’ll receive the tools to heal, become empowered and gain a level of prosperity you’ve never known before. All this is simple. It only takes our discovery of truth, and for us to unite in compassion.

And this MAGIC ENERGY has prophesied: “If just 144,000 people (out of 7 billion worldwide) can “Awaken and Evolve”, EVERYTHING will change globally for the betterment of ALL”!

Be the first to find the answers to enhance your life!

Visit “”, read all about it, see the “Chapters” on pg. 2 and click on the links (at the very bottom of the page) to be taken to the bookstores where you can order.

“Enjoy the Journey – Enjoy the Read, and Make a Difference!”


Written under the guise of a Sci-Fi thriller, this little book ends up revealing more than just a riveting exposé. It soon reveals the very mysteries our civilization has been searching for, for centuries!

The “five steps” (narrated by an ancient and technologically superior race) tells how they easily set up their control and indoctrination of the planet’s populace to fulfill their sinister agenda. Initially seen as a detailed and prophetic set of instructions, the reader will soon suspect: this vague reference to another time and place, to an unknown and primitive world, is too familiar, too real and too foreboding.

All darkness will come to light as you journey down the “rabbit hole of the Matrix”, soon revealing the very “Who, What, How and Why” to every major event occurring globally today. More importantly, you’ll discover the “simplest” solutions to gain back and enhance your personal freedom, prosperity and future happiness!

It may just change your life and it may just change life as we know it on this planet!

“Fantastic…stimulating!” “One of the most interesting books I’ve ever read, second only to the Bible!”
— Ms. .J. G. Shuker
Great-grandmother & native elder to 14
children, and a retired pharmacist assistant.

“In her new book, Cheryl brings a unique and intriguing viewpoint on the world we live in today.” “Thought provoking!”
— Jessica Busch, Program Manager
Women’s Own Resource Centre

Enjoy an Excerpt

How you use the facts presented, I will let you decide, based on whatever stage of enlightenment you find yourself in. Whether you are an ambitious human wanting to conquer a less evolved race, a lover of mysteries, crimes and intriguing tales, or someone who is seeking answers to the meaning of life—this book will surely satisfy.

In this time and era of “No More Secrets”, where controversy and scandals are becoming the norm, I offer you a new exposé, a “Planetary Exposé”— one filled with mystery, corruption, intrigue and plenty of “food for thought”.

At the very least, I present these words to plant a seed in the minds of the inhabitants of this little blue planet, a planet that represents merely a tiny speck among the many universes that exist today. Our planet is the youngest, with a human population described by many other life-forms as: “uneducated bags of mostly water, primitive and savage in their current evolution.”

Under the guise of a science fiction, the first five chapters reveal an actual planetary takeover and the steps that were used to set up control of its populace, narrated (in italics) by one of the ancient and dark race of beings who had been involved with two, attesting to their proficiency in this process. One planet, after years of their control, exhausted its life—a physical legacy of a doomed culture. The second planet (a more successful takeover), this alien race will now refer to—one still under their control, and one that has been for thousands of years.

From the sixth chapter forward, I take the story in a new direction, revealing more important history, secrets, discovery and channel—offering powerful solutions to aid our own planet in its present day survival and ways to improve the health, safety and prosperity of all human beings. Note pages are added with the hope as you make your discoveries, it may inspire you to make a difference in your own life, or that of others. You may even discover more of your past within these pages—stifled memories of a distant yet forgotten ancestry.

Written to educate the inhabitants of our own planet, this five-step process is also a confessional of sorts, by a dissenter one could say, of this alien race. I’ve heard that he is one of many of his kind who is tiring of the control and deceit they have perpetuated. In its telling, there may be hope for our own understanding: that all souls, aliens and humans alike, can evolve, absolve their misgivings, and seek forgiveness. This is something we as humans would do well to master for our own peace and evolution.

This book, I’ve also found, has some divine “magic” within its pages. Every reader will discover a part of this story that is especially dedicated to them; and once read, then randomly opened with intent, each reader will find a valuable message for that day.

I hope that it will not only inform, but inspire, long after its completion— helping you gain the wisdom and power to not only enhance your own life, but all life on our planet.

Follow this journey and decide for yourself.

About the Author: Born of humble beginnings, Cheryl could be seen as just an ordinary person; but she’s an “old soul” who has had some extra-ordinary experiences in her life. This, her first book (written in a love for humanity), is an accumulation of over fifty years of research and study, validated through personal experience and a host of miraculous events. Initially, this research was for her own personal healing and evolution – to “make a difference” in the world. It now facilitates her gifts as a quiet channel and intuitive healer (hoping to re-open a nature and healing retreat again).

Born with a passion for business, she became the sole income-earner during most of her twenty-seven years of marriage; however, through that experience and business success she also witnessed much injustice, abuse and discrimination, fueled by our current systems. Life eventually took her to see and experience the “other side of the tracks”, meeting thousands who were struggling with poverty, illness and addictions—all trying to cope with (or “escape” from) a system that has plagued mankind for centuries, and now, threatens the very planet we reside upon.

She is compelled to share her knowledge and discoveries with the world and “Right the Wrongs” done, so humanity can learn the truth of their existence and their potential for change. After six years of compiling information and unforeseen challenges, this writing has now emerged at what may be considered the perfect time – a time when the world is in massive fear and chaos, with people “questioning” more than ever before, realizing what’s really important in life and wanting solutions for their own peace, healing and prosperity. In this “Time of Awakening”, it is hoped that many will discover: that ALL life matters and everyone has the potential to heal, prosper and evolve “naturally”, and with grace.

She is hoping, as this book is shared and distributed globally, that she can in some way make the difference she has sought for humanity and for life on our planet, and help others who wish the same.

Website | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon, Amazon CA, Bookshop, Indigo Chapters, Barnes and Noble, or Book Depository.

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The Christmas Pawdcast by Emily March

The Christmas Pawdcast by Emily March
Narrated by: Andi Arndt , Jason Clarke
Series: Audible Original Stories
Publisher: Audible Originals, LLC
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Holiday
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Mary Landry and her pregnant rescue dog are on their way home for Christmas when the unthinkable happens: Her car breaks down along a deserted stretch of mountain highway in the middle of a blizzard. Facing dire conditions, Mary seeks shelter from a lone cabin in the distance whose warm light beckons her like a Christmas star.

Nick Carstairs has one wish this season – to ride out his least favorite time of the year in peace while working on the latest episode of his hit True Crime podcast. The sexy-voiced podcaster didn’t plan to host a stranger and her pregnant dog, but he’s happy to help a traveler in need…it’s an extra perk that she’s gorgeous. Now if she would just stop trying to change his mind about Christmas.

As they spend time warming up by the fire – and an unexpected attraction roars to life – will Mary help Nick discover the wonder of the season after all?

My goodness, I didn’t know stories came this sweet! Sweet as in adorable, lovable, cute, tender, loving, romantic and PUPPIES!

It was really cool to have two narrators, one for the heroine, Mary, and one for the hero, Nick. It’s the first time I’ve read/listened to a story about a hero who is prematurely gray. Since this is a Christmas holiday story, it was great that a hunky Santa look-a-like owned and rocked his natural look sans belly.

Of course, the story uses the well-known trope of being stranded in a stranger’s home, and as they get to know each other, they fall in love. What I found amazing is the personality and realness the author imbued her story with. When a guy is delicious looking and a hunky treat for the eyes, it’s natural for the heroine to lust after him. These days, stories tend to follow through with the instant attraction and the character driven plot turns into a vehicle for sheet action. I’m thrilled that this is not that kind of book and Mary, though acknowledges Nick’s blatant masculinity and how much she’s drawn to him, the author had Mary and Nick stay on track. This is foremost a romance. A story of two strangers accidentally coming together and, by being forced by a blizzard to stay together, have to communicate, share and compromise. She’s a great cook, an avid Christmas holiday fan, and is committed to finding orphaned/abandoned pets their new furever homes. Nick is a divorced dad who dotes on his son, a son who is unfortunately spending the holiday with his mom. The hero is a bit of a Grinch. Not because he despises Christmas, but because he’s lost focus on the simple joys that bring the true Christmas spirit to life. He’s lost, and I’m tickled that his own Elf on a Shelf worked that holiday magic making sure he could get ‘found’. Nick’s holiday recovery is pragmatic, influential, timely and surprisingly fun.

You know, I don’t believe I am using the right words to adequately convey how charmed and delighted I am with this novella. It took a little over 2 hours to listen through the whole thing and The Christmas Pawdcast has everything, and I do mean everything, a romance reader needs to believe that this growing love between Mary and Nick is real, powerful, healthy and has a bright future. There is character accountability, emotional growth and healing as well as forgiveness. This is an absolute gem of a holiday story, packed with feel-good moments, and wishes for a puppy just as personable as Frank *ahem* I mean, Angel.

The pace is perfect and every moment kept me engaged, interested and charmed. The Christmas Pawdcast is, as far as I know, only available in audio format. If romance fans have access to audiobooks, then this is a story not to miss and I highly encourage giving this book a try. This was a splendid listening experience and worth all five stars of its rating especially since the narrators did an awesome job of bringing the story to life.

I had the best time, had a lot of fun and was thoroughly enchanted. My hope is other romance readers will have just as good a time as me when they read/listen to The Christmas Pawdcast too.

Best Player by Jaqueline Snowe – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jaqueline Snowe who is celebrating last month’s release of Best Player, the third book in her Cleat Chasers series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card!

Falling for my brother’s best friend is not an option—right?

Kenzie Hill needs a place to stay the summer before college, so when a spot opens up at her brother Aaron’s ‘baseball’ house, she accepts. Living with a bunch of dudes who walk around shirtless won’t distract her—she has plans and nothing will get in her way. Not even her brother’s best friend.

Tanner Johnson has one thing on his mind—his future in the MLB. After choosing to wait another year before entering the draft, he now dedicates every second to getting better on the field, or letting loose. His best friend’s sister shouldn’t even register on his radar.

The first kiss is an accident and the second leads to more. They agree it’ll just be a fling and that Aaron can never know. Kenzie’s just starting her future, while Tanner’s is already planned.

Falling for her brother’s best friend was never an option—but what happens when suddenly, it is?

Reader advisory: This book was previously released by Finch Books.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Leaving the home I’d grown up in—the house packed with every memory I had—hurt more than I’d anticipated. My throat burned each time I held back emotion, but it wouldn’t do any of us good to mention the overwhelming worry and sadness. We couldn’t afford wasted sentiments when every second of every day we worried about our dad—fighting cancer wasn’t a single person’s battle. It took all our efforts.

“I can’t believe our baby girl is going away to college,” my dad said from the front seat of the old navy mini-van that smelled like used sports gear. He craned his neck and gave me a weak smile. I returned the gesture, hoping I hid the bubbling anxiety growing in my chest, and raised my fists in the air.


He coughed, the sound better than it used to be, but I still tensed every time I heard it. Each breath he took was a struggle. “While I’m not thrilled you’re going to be living with Aaron and two of his teammates for the summer, they seem to be decent young men. They’re better now than they were his freshman year. Good lord, they were hellions. But he promised he’d take care of you for us.”

“Dad,” I mumbled. “Come on.”

“I mean it. Your mom and I are going to be hours away trying out different treatment facilities. Someone needs to look out for you, K-Bug.”

I will not cry. Nope. I will not. “I’ll be fine. Really. I’ve been looking forward to college for years.”

“But not everyone goes two months early…” My mom let the words hang and our eyes met in the rearview mirror. Hers were tired and gray. My heart hurt for her and how strong she’d been for all of us. She’d been our family rock forever and while the thought of being away from them was freeing, it also left a hole.

“It’s better like this, I promise. It’ll be a good way for me to get acclimated to the campus and I signed up for two classes already. Introduction to Film and Online Biology. Both sound awful, but it’ll help me get ready for my hard schedule this fall.”

“K-Bug, you’ve never had to worry about grades. You’re our smart girl,” my dad said, not hiding his pride. Another wave of gratitude went through me. Despite Aaron’s insane athletic abilities, my parents had never once made me feel less important or talented. Not once. The world needed more of them and the gratitude switched to anger at the injustice of my dad getting sick.

It wasn’t fair.

But showing my internal battle would do none of us any good on the already emotional day. I swallowed down the grief and worry, plastered a smile on my face and spoke with a practiced enthusiasm that I’d mastered with all the hospital visits. “I’m just excited for the newness. New friends, new experiences, new things to learn and new mistakes to make. I’ve always heard about how college is this life-changing experience of fun, embarrassing stories and the place where you meet lifelong friends. I want that. I’m ready for it.”

“Then that’s what you’re going to do.” My dad’s voice held a finality to it and we all remained quiet for the rest of the drive. The campus was about two hours away from our childhood home—the house my parents had sold—and the moment we left the driveway that morning was the last time I’d set foot there. It was an odd combination to experience—utter excitement about what was next, and longing for what used to be. My constant battle was defining myself. I had always been Aaron’s younger sister. The daughter. The girlfriend.

I wanted to be me.

College was my answer.

“Honey, we’re going to stop and get some shakes. Would you like anything?” my mom inquired as she pulled into a fast-food place. My dad had a softness for milkshakes and we’d made an unspoken agreement that when he wanted one, he got one.

“Yeah, I’ll get a coffee. Want me to run in and buy one?”

“That’d be great, K-Bug.”

They handed me a twenty-dollar bill and I grabbed my phone before heading inside the diner. The humid air was hard to swallow, but it was a brief escape from the confines of the car. My dad got cold real fast, so we couldn’t have the air on too high. I fanned myself, moving the end of my old jersey-shirt to get air on my midriff. Sweat dripped down my muscles and a cold milkshake sounded perfect. I ordered—my mom preferred chocolate, my dad mint-cookie and I always got banana.

My phone went off and I almost ignored it, since my ex-boyfriend had thought it a great time to reconcile after our disastrous prom weekend. No thanks, Sean. That ship sailed. But it wasn’t him. It was Aaron, my ridiculous, awesome and obnoxious older brother.

Aaron: Yo, you almost here?

Kenzie: Stopped for milkshakes. Maybe fifteen minutes out.

Aaron: Coach just called and wants to meet me at the field—Tanner is here though. He’ll help you unpack. That cool?

Kenzie: That’s fine. Mom and Dad will be pissed if they don’t see you though.

Aaron: I’ll try and be back in an hour. Coach knows they’re here but said this is important.

Kenzie: Okay, see you soon.

Aaron: No backing out now, kid. You absolutely sure about living here?

Kenzie: There’s no home to go back to. Yeah, I’m sure.

I didn’t expect a response from him, and the few minutes I had to wait for the shakes were spent thinking about my future roommates. Sure, it was only two months, but these guys had the personalities of celebrities.

Aaron—my brother who’d slept with countless ladies the past two years and suffered a sex scandal. Zade Willows—the all-star pitcher who had a fan club named after him. Tanner Johnson—the giant center fielder who could make girls faint with a wink. Yeah. It was going to be an adventure living with them until their fourth roommate, Jeff, got back from playing baseball overseas.

Me, the awkward kid without an ounce of athletic ability, was living in the baseball house in the center of Jockville. Life was funny sometimes.

“Order’s up!”

I thanked the hostess and carried the drinks back to the car. Too soon, we were pulling into the chipped driveway of my new temporary digs. White house, large porch that had seen better days, overgrown trees in the front and backyard and the door wide open. I pulled my long dark-blonde hair into a high messy bun and took one final breath.




“What’s up, Hill family?” Tanner’s voice boomed from him. He leaned against the front railing, his height almost putting his head on the roof of the house. His hair was midnight black and it spilled from his head in messy curls, but his light brown eyes were killer. Yeah, I had a little bitty crush on him after having met him a couple times over the past three years, but it was hard not to. He was my kryptonite—long eyelashes, mischievous grin, the perfect dimples and real tall with broad shoulders. I gave him a little wave, hoping I didn’t blush too much.

I was going to be living with him, so it didn’t bode well for anyone to know about my crush. “Hey, TJ.”

“Roomie, let me grab your stuff. Aaron had to head to the field, but he’ll be back. Good to see you, Mr. and Mrs. Hill.” He swaggered—it was the only way to describe it—to the car and gave both my parents a hug. It pleased me to see how good he was to my family. The warmth on the back of my neck had nothing to do with his fitted shirt and workout shorts that showcased how much time he spent in the gym.

“You’re too kind, Tanner. Really,” my mom gushed and I had to roll my eyes. Even she succumbed to his charm. She had to know how much he got around… I mean, he was one of two single guys who lived in the baseball house. I snorted into my fist and Tanner slid me a look.

“Laying it on thick there, TJ.”

“What? I can’t hug my second-favorite set of parents?” He dared to raise one beautiful dark eyebrow, challenging me to call him out. I did.

“They brought you all beer and homemade casserole for at least a week. You don’t need to suck up.”

His grin widened and, after patting my dad on the back, he walked to the trunk of the car to help get my five bags. It was sad that, moving into college, I only had five bags’ worth of stuff. That was one lesson learned after seeing my dad go through his struggle—material things didn’t matter all that much. Life was more about the experience.

He walked past me, smirking, and picked up two of the bags. “Come on, Kenny. Let me show you to your room.”

He didn’t lower his voice or do anything weird, but those words coming from his mouth sent a shiver down my body. I cleared my throat and picked up the final load. “After you, Johnson.”

My parents took their time bringing food into the small kitchen while I followed Tanner into the house and up the stairs. I had been there before, but only for a small amount of time where they could hide their craziness. Now, they’d let it all hang out. The mess, the dirty bathroom, the pile of useless things stacked in the corner. Why did they have a stack of empty boxes? And empty cups? They had a kitchen…why didn’t they use it?

He led me down the upstairs hallway. There were two rooms on each side, two with their own bathrooms, but I wasn’t that lucky. While Zade and Aaron across the hall had one each, Jeff and Tanner shared theirs. And Jeff’s was the room I was using…meaning I had to share a bathroom with Tanner Johnson.

Two months was going to be a long time.

“Okay, Kenny. Here’s Jeff’s room.” He opened the door and gave me a bemused look. “He’s the neatest out of all of us. I saw you scowl on the way up. We’re not total pigs.”

“I’ll just have to do some cleaning, that’s all.” Thank God I brought supplies.

He chuckled and dropped my large duffel bags on the beige carpet. I took a hesitant step inside the room and sniffed. Nothing smelled off and there weren’t any weird stains on the carpet.

“Did you just smell the room?”

“Yes, I did.” I jutted my chin out at him. “I’ve lived with Aaron. I know how smelly boys can be. It seems fine so far.”

“God, this is going to be fun.”

“I’m bursting with excitement,” I deadpanned.

It earned me another grin, showcasing his impressive dimples, and I scanned the rest of the room. The walls had various baseball posters of the team and MLB teams. The sheets had been stripped from the queen-sized bed and the dresser drawers opened and emptied. I placed my bag on the desk and spun around. Tanner watched me with a curious expression and I did not look at his mouth when his lips quirked up on one side.

“We need to talk about some ground rules.”

Shit. Butterflies formed in my gut and I felt foolish. I wasn’t sure what I’d thought he was going to say, but it wasn’t that. Crossing my arms, I scrunched my nose and asked, “About what?”

“Living here.” He stepped farther into the room and with that small action, the walls seemed to close around us. He took up so much space and his warmth crowded me. “I know you’re pretty chill from everything Hilly’s told us, but I want to get it all out in the open, you know?”

I bit my lip to prevent myself from smiling. Was he going to give me the talk? Holy shit. I hoped he was because I wasn’t going to make it easy for him. “Okay. I’m listening. Should I write this down?” I moved toward my backpack, but he shook his head.

“We share a wall and a bathroom. The foundation here isn’t great and I don’t plan on being a saint just because you’re here.” He winced and moved his hand to his neck, stress lines forming around his eyes. “I mean, I’ll be more discreet about it. I won’t…you don’t have to see anything.”

“Tanner, what are you talking about?” I asked, successfully keeping my face blank. He had to know what my life had been like with Aaron. Hell, everyone knew the baseball house was notorious for hooking up. I wasn’t dumb or naïve. But watching him struggle through this was worth it. “What do you mean by saint?”

“Christ,” he said, then rubbed his hand over his face. Gone was the playful expression—uneasiness replaced it. “I don’t want you uncomfortable, but you might run into girls who…spend the night.”

“Ohhh, you have a girlfriend?” I whistled, getting another worried look. “Do I get to meet her?”

“Kenzie.” His cheeks turned just a little bit red and I pressed my lips together to prevent breaking character. “You might hear…stuff. I don’t want you to… Shit. I don’t know how to do this. I didn’t think it through.”

“Okay, enough. I’ll stop.” I laughed and enjoyed the myriad expressions crossing his face. They ended in curiosity and I closed the distance between us so we stood a foot apart. “I know you’ll have hook-ups. That’s fine. All I ask is that she doesn’t hog the bathroom the morning after and that you don’t fuck too loud.”

He blinked. It was slow and telling, and I bit my lip, but it did no good. I burst out laughing at how uncomfortable he was and I hit his shoulder without real force. “I was messing with you before, but I appreciate you trying to warn me.”

“I thought—Aaron said… Never mind. I didn’t want to shock or upset you.”

His comment warmed me, but his use of my brother’s name did not. “Whatever warning Aaron gave you, forget it, okay? I’m not this naïve, innocent kid.”


“Your tone doesn’t agree with your word.” I pursed my lips and gave him my best leveling stare. “Mean it.”

He gave me his signature crooked grin, narrowed those baby browns just a smidge and lowered his voice like a soccer coach. “Okay.”

We stood, not in a face-off or battle, but in a weird bubble of not really knowing the other person. He was the playboy with a bright future. I was the innocent younger sister of his best friend. Two months living with him, good or bad, would be an adventure, and my excitement for something new overshadowed the awkwardness. I held out my hand, grinning, and broke the tension that had formed in the last two minutes. “Thanks for letting me live here, roomie. I think we’re going to have a hell of a time.”

He placed his large hand against mine and shook, a slow smile forming on his too-handsome face. “I already regret agreeing to this.”

About the Author Jaqueline Snowe lives in Arizona where the ‘dry heat’ really isn’t that bad. She enjoys making lists with colorful Post-it notes and sipping coffee all day. She has been a custodian, a waitress, a landscaper, a coach and a teacher. Her life revolves around binge-watching Netflix, her two dogs who don’t realize they aren’t humans and her wonderful baseball-loving husband.

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