Search Results for: the rockin' chair

The Rockin’ Chair by Steven Manchester

2nd place 2013 copy
The Rockin’ Chair by Steven Manchester
Publisher: The Story Plant
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (269 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Camellia

Memories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone.

Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy Grandpa John calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only then can they move beyond them and into the future.

The Rockin’ Chair reached in and touched my heart. It made me think of a saying—we are infinite spirits having a temporary human experience—don’t know where I heard it but it popped into my mind. Big John McCarthy’s spiritual faith makes him confident he, one day soon, will be with his Alice that Alzheimer’s had taken from him. But his earthly need to set things right for his son and grandchildren before he goes to her resonates throughout the story.

John loved and still loves his son Hank with all his being, yet somewhere along the line things went wrong. John tried to help Hank become a man but he used the harsh methods he’d learned from his father. John made Hank bitter. He alienated his son. Not even Alice’s gentle words made John see what he was doing and how his stubbornness and pride had cost him dearly. He suffers and works and works. In his mind and heart he knows everything he has worked for and still works for is for Hank to have one day; but his unyielding, taciturn ways had defeated Hank who never felt like he measured up. Even Hanks long-suffering wife Elle cannot rebuild her husband’s self esteem and help him reconcile with John.

Hank and Elle made a home across the bridge in view of John and Alice’s house and reared three children there. The children loved John and Alice and learned so much from them. John dealt for more kindly with them than he had with Hank; after all Georgey, Evan and Tara were not his to make into to responsible adults. Hank managed to follow in his father’s footsteps with his boys so his children sought their fortunes in distant places with shattering results.

Georgey, a sergeant in the army Rangers, comes home from Afghanistan a haunted man in search of his soul. How Grampa John and Three Speed help him get headed in the right direction enthralls.

Evan comes home with a broken heart and shattered dreams. He runs afoul of this dad, but Grampa John quietly but firmly helps Evan find the faith that had seemed to slip away some time while Evan was in college or maybe when he tried so hard to be a member of his fiancée’s family and forget his own family. The example Grampa John uses with the old glass bottle with a rainbow in it when the sun caught it at just the right angel is so revealing.

Tara comes home an alcoholic and drug addict with a precious little daughter that soaks up family love like a sponge. Tara’;s battle for normalcy is heartbreaking and will be on going, but with Grampa John’s unrelenting care and some kind, but stern guidance, there is hope. His simple question—do you hate yourself more than you love your daughter—touches something in Tara and prods her into making a more determined effort.

The hardest task John must tackle is making things right with Hank. Their relationship is fraught with so much hurt and bitterness, but with prayer and a God that never fails, John finds a way so his soul can rest in peace when it is time to go be with his Alice. Moreover, he learns it is so much better to be KIND than be RIGHT.

I’m still reeling with wonder as to how Steven Manchester uses ordinary words that we all use but puts them together so masterfully that they tap into emotions, senses, and one’s very being. He helps a reader identify, sympathize, or empathize with imaginary characters to the point that this reader was shedding tears for their hurts, railing at characters that wrong them, and in my mind and heart sharing life experiences with them. His amazing descriptions let the reader vicariously experience the deep cold of Montana winters, the blush of early spring, the smell, texture, sounds of the barn, the atmosphere of The Corn Crib dive, the timelessness of the seasons, the endlessness of hard work on a Montana farm, and so much more. Mr. Manchester’s exquisite writing style makes this poignant story memorable and joy to read.

The Rockin’ Chair rings so true to life as it reveals the strength of family love that survives through the good and the bad. It is a keeper.

Blurb Blitz Tour and giveaway: Rockin’ the Boss by Jamie Salisbury

7_16 BBT Rockin the Boss Banner

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jamie will be awarding a $25.00 gift card to Amazon or B&N to a randomly drawn commenter at the end of the tour, plus a gift basket to another randomly drawn winner at the end of the tour (US ONLY). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

7_16 Cover_RockntheBossThe adventure begins…

Max Frazier may be a stunningly handsome international rock star, but he has other hidden talents from his past. Talents the authorities want him to use. Talents Max thought of as one hit wonders and wanted to keep in his past.

His smokin’ hot employer, Ashleigh Thomas, is unaware of his past with the S.A.S. Recently widowed, she yearns to bring the entertainment agency she and her late husband owned out of ruins, with Max’s help. Together they embark on a once in a lifetime deal for Max.

Will their mutual attraction for the other turn to fire, or will it burn to ashes once Ashleigh learns the truth? As she and Max find themselves helping the authorities bring in a figure from Ashleigh’s past…will love trump evil?


Then, his voice and demeanor took a more serious tone. “Then there was your marriage to Richard and his sudden death.”

I carefully placed my fork back on the plate and stared at him, shocked that he would bring up Richard. We had been together for close to fifteen years. It had been obvious to everyone except me that he had married me exclusively for the money and connections that my family brought. What he had not expected was Papa insisting on a pre-nuptial agreement.

Richard made the best of the knowledge that he would get nothing if he ever chose to leave. As soon as we married, sex was non-existent between us. He had a steady stream of mistresses and thought little of parading them in front of me. The agency had been his idea, as he had loved the lifestyle and fame it brought. His life had ended as he had lived—hard, fast, and mysterious.

I took a bite of salad and did not react immediately. “I was surprised when you moved to Atlanta.” As I changed the subject, my tone made it clear to Max that Richard was an issue I did not wish to discuss.

“I wanted to be closer to the new team you put together. Manhattan can be so over-rated and expensive. California I love, but it’s even further away. But I do like the climate and the opportunities. Atlanta intrigued me. What made you move here?” The sides of his mouth curled up as though he already knew the answer.

What’s he up to? “Atlanta is special. My mother’s from the area, and I spent a lot of time here growing up.”

“Ah-ha!” he boomed, as he grinned at me. “Now I know why your parent’s named you Ashleigh. It’s so Atlanta, so Southern, so Gone with the Wind.”

“Better than the alternative I suppose.”

“What would that be?”

“My father wanted to name me Coco after Coco Chanel, which might have worked in France, but here I don’t know. At least fun can be had with Ashleigh. You know, the Gone with the Wind melodrama.” I replied as we left the table and headed into the living room. “Would you like coffee, Max, or perhaps something stronger?”

“A brandy sounds great, love,” his accent thicker than earlier.

The change did not go unnoticed as I left to fetch the liquor. I returned with two snifters and handed one to him. He seated himself back on the sofa as I walked around to a chair where I could gaze at him from a safe distance.

“I thought, if you are in agreement, we’d stay at a condo that belongs to a girlfriend of mine. She travels extensively. I’m sure she’d be more than happy to let us use her place.”

“That sounds fine. When do you want to leave?” His deep brown stare roamed over my body, a grin curving his luscious lips.

I shifted in my seat, trying desperately not to notice. “Day after tomorrow suit you?”

About the Author:Pensive mature woman looking through out the windowJamie Salisbury cannot imagine a time when she did not write. A skill that has served her well throughout her diversified professional career that encompassed public relations in and around the entertainment industry, photography, editing, and special event planning.

An avid reader of history, biographies, and romance it’s only natural that she prefers to write romances with characters said to be “so authentic they spring forth from the page and shake the reader’s hand.” No stranger to life threatening situations Jamie pulls from life experience when she creates her stories. Such as when her family had to escape Chile when she was a teen because of the unstable political climate.

Finding herself unable to walk great distances as a result of several foot surgeries, she started writing once again as a way to pass the time. With the completion of her first novel Perpetual Love she dove head first into the eBook and digital publishing paradigm. She couldn’t be happier with her decision to grab the publishing industry by the shoulders and force it to pay attention to all she has to offer.

Blog                       Website                      Facebook                         Romance Novel Center                         Twitter: @JamieRSalisbury

Buy Jamie’s books:
Secret Cravings Publishing                   Amazon                         Barnes and Noble                  All Romance eBooks           Bookstrand

My Journey to Pressed Pennies by Steven Manchester

My Journey to Pressed Pennies
by Steven Manchester
I suppose I discovered the writing world by accident – or perhaps it discovered me.

I’d just returned home from Operation Desert Storm, and was working as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, “The criminal justice system is vast. What about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” He smiled and told me to see him after class. I thought I’d finally done it! In his office, he explained, “There’s no written material out there on corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates.” He smiled again and dropped the bomb. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?”

Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.

I’d written a lot at my job (report writing), but it all started with my college professor’s challenge. Perhaps because of my age and experience, I understood right away that writing is a craft that takes time to evolve; to mature, so I spent the next several years PRACTICING my chosen craft. Under the pen name, Steven Herberts, I wrote in every venue of print I could get my name in: newspaper, magazine, etc. I also penned two collections of poetry, and wrote drafts for two more books. After five solid years of writing, I finally believed that I’d found my voice; MY STYLE – and was ready to contact an agent.

The greatest challenge for me has been time. First and foremost, I am a dad and my children come first. After that, there are other responsibilities that need my attention. Yet, my passion to write has constantly gnawed at my soul. To overcome the obstacle of time, I made writing a priority over watching TV and sometimes even sleeping. Once my family is taken care of and the world closes its eyes, I’m up for a few more hours each day – chasing my dreams on paper.

It has taken thousands of words, hundreds of pages, before I finally identified with a particular genre. I decided that my voice was a more sensitive one: a male perspective to a female audience. My new novel, Pressed Pennies, is evidence of that.

5_13 stephen pp-coverRick and Abby grew up together, became best friends, and ultimately fell in love. Circumstance tore them apart in their early teens, though, and they went on to lives less idyllic than they dreamed about in those early days. Rick has had a very successful career, but his marriage flat-lined. Abby has a magical daughter, Paige, but Paige’s father nearly destroyed Abby’s spirit.

Now fate has thrown Rick and Abby together again. In their early thirties, they are more world-weary than they were as kids. But their relationship still shimmers, and they’re hungry to make up for lost time. However, Paige, now nine, is not nearly as enthusiastic. She’s very protective of the life she’s made with her mother and not open to the duo becoming a trio. Meanwhile, Rick has very little experience dealing with kids and doesn’t know how to handle Paige. This leaves Abby caught between the two people who matter the most to her. What happens when the life you’ve dreamed of remains just inches from your grasp?

Pressed Pennies is a nuanced, intensely romantic, deeply heartfelt story of love it its many incarnations, relationships in their many guises, and family in its many meanings.

Early Reviews include:
Pressed Pennies is a warm, lovely story about generosity, unconditional love and acceptance, and a celebration of family.” – Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today

“An exceptional story about family, life and love…Pressed Pennies examines family life at a much simpler time” – Books2Mention Magazine

About the Author:4_13 Steven manchesterSteven Manchester is the author of The Rockin’ Chair, as well as the #1 best seller, Twelve Months (2013 San Francisco, DIY & New England Book Festivals award winner). He is also the author of A Christmas Wish (Kindle exclusive), Goodnight, Brian (2013 Southern California Book Festival award winner), and Pressed Pennies (due out May 2014). His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Three of Steven’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or his four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing.

Website ~ Facebook
Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Necessity of a Writing Room by Naomi Boom – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

Necessity of a Writing Room

Turns out, I desperately require a writing space. A lack of one messes with my head. I can’t seem to focus and my work suffers. It suffers so much that I blame my recent bout with writer’s block on a lack of my own creative space.

When I lived in Kansas, my writing area was my living room. I sat in my favorite chair, ignored the tv in front of me, and focused on my work. That room worked beautifully, and I miss it so, so much.

But then I moved. Twice. The second move was not good. I had zero space to write in, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find a comfortable workspace. Luckily, I only lived there for a span of four months before moving to my current house where I discovered a new set of problems.

First, my behemoth of a desk wouldn’t fit into my designated office. Then, my step-daughter moved in and I lost the room completely, but I won’t complain about that loss because I’m delighted she’s here. But that still left me searching for a work area. Anyplace that would allow me to work in peace, with minimal distractions, and a cozy atmosphere. I tried working in my living room but something felt off. The room felt too open and just didn’t work, which meant I had to get creative and find something else.

So, what did I do?

I emptied a storage room and squeezed my favorite rocking chair into the corner. As you can see in the following picture, it’s not pretty but it has had the most amazing effect on my ability to work.

This room makes me actually want to work and not just stare blankly at my computer screen. It’s the most freeing, magical feeling, and now I can say I have an official writing room. Although it needs some paint, and different shelves, and décor. But it has electrical outlets and my favorite chair, and most importantly, grants me the freedom to write.

If I ever move again, I now know my number one priority, aside from necessities, is to establish a creative space. Granted, my current one is far from finished. I need to find a soothing paint color and I am open to suggestions. Seriously. Suggestions for any improvement at all because I am having the toughest time deciding on a paint color.

Miss Alexandra Farris lost her heart to her older brother’s friend, Lord Maxon Collins, long, long ago. Despite her girlhood attempts to win him, he never noticed her. Now that her first season is underway, she understands why. He prefers willowy blondes, not curvaceous maidens with darker coloring like herself. Rather than wallow in self-pity, she forgets love and focuses on something more attainable—an advantageous match.

Lord Collins is plagued by an uncomfortable feeling whenever he goes near Miss Farris. One of annoyance. And yet, he can’t seem to stop thinking of her, touching her, kissing her…He must act in her brother’s stead, which means he has to approve her suitor and ensure her safety. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to find a worthy gentleman.

Wedding her off should be a simple task, but not if he can’t let her go.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“I have too given you compliments.”

“Really?” She exhaled. “Name one.”

He contemplated the matter for a moment and then said, “I told you your hair was prettier in disarray.”

She had forgotten that. “So you said one thing. Congratulations.”

“Thank you.” He swept an exaggerated bow and smirked up at her.

“That is not something to be proud of. Why, it’s not even that monumental a compliment.”

He straightened, and a light flared in his eyes. There had always been an easy mood between them, but he had never looked at her in such a way before. It was almost, well, sinful.

“Allow me to remedy my error, then.” He caught her hand in his, and gazed deep into her eyes. “Your eyes remind me of a summer storm.” Her gaze faltered from his, but he continued. “Your skin is as smooth as fine porcelain, and your hair is made of the most enticing curls I have ever seen. I can imagine your freed hair would make a man lose his senses. And lastly, you have deliciously kissable lips.”

She swallowed. His ridiculous, probably oft-used lines had the most amazing effect on her. Her knees had grown weak, and her mind was slow to focus. “I-I d-don’t think…” Her voice trailed off as he chuckled.

“With that said, you also possess a tremendous ability to irritate me beyond comprehension.”

About the Author: Naomi Boom never expected to love writing. Her inspiration struck while searching for the perfect historical romance novel to read. Nothing sounded appealing, so she decided to write her own. That one novel has morphed into a series, and hopefully many, many more.

She resides in her home state of South Dakota with her husband and toddler. Her dream is to someday find an acreage where she can raise chickens and, naturally, continue her writing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy the book at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

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The Lady Who Drew Me In by Thomasina Rappold and To Tempt an Heiress by Susanna Craig – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding digital copies of both books on tour to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Daisy Lansing’s ability to transfer images from people’s thoughts onto paper was a novelty she used to trot out to amuse her friends. But when her “entranced drawing” begins to cause serious trouble for her guardians, she is banished to the country and forced to marry a man twice her age. After the joyless wedding, Daisy is determined to bury forever the strange skill that upended her life. However, she soon finds herself a widow and in dire financial straits. Suddenly, her curse may be her one chance at true independence.

Jackson Gallway’s reputation as a rogue has far surpassed his success as a lawyer. In the wake of yet another scandal, he decides to head west. But before he can escape Misty Lake, Jax makes a promise to find an elusive killer. When he encounters a lovely young artist with an unusual talent that could help him in his search, what he finds is something neither of them can escape . . .

After her beloved father dies, Tempest Holderin wants nothing more than to fulfill his wish to free the slaves on their Antiguan sugar plantation. But the now wealthy woman finds herself pursued by a pack of unsavory suitors with other plans for her inheritance. To keep her from danger, her dearest friend arranges a most unconventional solution: have Tempest kidnapped and taken to safety.

Captain Andrew Corrvan has an unseemly reputation as a ruthless, money-hungry blackguard—but those on his ship know differently. He is driven by only one thing: the quest to avenge his father’s death on the high seas. Until he agrees to abduct a headstrong heiress…

If traveling for weeks—without a chaperone—isn’t enough to ruin Tempest, the desire she feels for her dark and dangerously attractive captor will do the rest. The storm brewing between them will only gather strength when they reach England, where past and present perils threaten to tear them apart—even more so than their own stubborn hearts…

Enjoy an Excerpt from The Lady Who Drew Me In:

The man was controlling her from six feet under. Daisy Lansing stared up at the portrait of her late husband, so angered by his betrayal she could scream. Monthly allowance, my foot.

She checked the hour on the gold watch around her neck. Her appointment with William Markelson was at three o’clock, so she had only minutes to brace herself for more bad news. Rubbing her temples, she soothed the budding throb of a headache. At the sound of a woman’s laughter outside, Daisy glanced to the window. Felice Pettington.

Daisy shot to her feet. “It’s about time,” she mumbled, scooting around the desk for a closer view. Misty Lake’s most celebrated summer guest strolled up the walkway, blond spit curls bobbing beneath her stylish bonnet as she slathered her charms on the tall man at her side.

And who do we have here?

Daisy craned her neck toward the window. The pretty heiress nestled against her handsome escort, her gloved hands like twin boa constrictors coiled around his arm. Curious as to whom the woman had snared to join her on the impromptu visit, Daisy hurried out to the porch. Felice’s sweeping yellow skirts brushed the blooming shrubs flanking the stone walk, stirring petals and the scent of rhododendrons through the air. Her mousy maid followed in the flurry.

“Yoo-hoo!” Felice unfurled her grip on the man just enough to wave her gloved fingers. “This is Mr. Gallway.” She leaned toward the man’s impressive shoulder, batting her lashes as they stepped up to the porch. “Mr. Gallway is from Troy.”

Daisy’s heart lurched, as it always did, at the mention of Troy. Even after all this time, the painful memories of her past in the city hadn’t faded a whit. Felice smiled smugly. “He’s an attorney.”

Daisy took a deep breath. Of all the lawyers Felice might have cajoled to browbeat Daisy on her behalf, the woman had enlisted a relative of Daisy’s closest friend. Tessa Gallway had gushed that her rakish brother-in-law was handsome, but the simple description hardly did him justice. Daisy gave a slow nod, her aversion to lawyers suffering a brief lapse as she studied him closer. Layers of wavy black hair matched his thick brows and the sideburns that led to his jaw. His sapphire eyes sparkled in the sunlight.

And his mouth. Good Heavens, his mouth. Daisy swallowed hard, awed by her response to the man. He was nothing like she’d imagined, yet everything portrayed in the gossip. A notorious rogue intent on skirting marriage and sowing a silo’s worth of oats in the process.

His smile widened, as though he’d heard Daisy’s unspoken assessment and expected no less. More likely he was simply too arrogant to care.

“You can wait for me here, Myrtle.” Felice waved her maid toward one of the rocking chairs on the porch.

Daisy ushered them inside, and then led them down the hall to the library. After all this time, the scent of Lawry’s final cigar still clung to the paneled walls. The familiar smell she’d relished so fondly after his death affected her differently now. How could he do this to her?

Blinking back tears, she returned her focus to her guests. Felice batted her lashes, then proceeded with a formal introduction. Extending an arm toward Daisy, she said, “Mr. Jackson Gallway, I present the Widow Lansing.”

About the Authors: A three-time RWA Golden Heart nominee, Thomasine Rappold writes historical romance and historical romance with paranormal elements. She lives with her husband in a small town in upstate New York that inspired her current series. When she’s not spinning tales of passion and angst, she enjoys spending time with her family, fishing on one of the nearby lakes, and basking on the beach in Cape Cod. Thomasine is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Capital Region Romance Writers.

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Buying options are at the publisher.




A love affair with historical romances led Susanna Craig to a degree (okay, three degrees) in literature and a career as an English professor. When she’s not teaching or writing academic essays about Jane Austen and her contemporaries, she enjoys putting her fascination with words and knowledge of the period to better use: writing Regency-era romances she hopes readers will find both smart and sexy. She makes her home among the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country, along with her historian husband, their unstoppable little girl, and a genuinely grumpy cat.

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Buying options are at the pubisher.

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Through His Heart by Deborah Camp – Spotlight and Giveaway

FS_TourBanner_ThroughHisHeart copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Deborah will award a $50 Amazon or BN GC to one randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on her tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_ThroughHisHeart“Sending you an SOS.”

When psychic Trudy Tucker hears this plaintive cry in her mind and then connects psychically with a little girl’s kidnapper, she is drawn to a small town in Missouri where everyone is suspect – including herself and her lover, celebrated psychic detective Levi Wolfe. As she and Levi work together to sort through whom and what to trust, an innocent life hangs in the balance.

Enjoy an excerpt:

A shudder raced through her and her stomach knotted. Nausea rose up to her throat as darkness descended in her mind.

“I’m sending you an SOS. Sending you an SOS. An SOS.” Can you find me? Can you hear me?

“I hear you,” Trudy whispered, answering the small, trembling voice.

“Did you say something, Rachel? Are you singing something?” This was a different voice in her head. A deep bass, but gentle. Coaxing, cajoling, cunning.

The darkness parted like a curtain in Trudy’s mind and Rachel came into view. She sat in a child’s white rocking chair, her red tennis shoes dangling inches from the floor. A wedge of purple discolored her right cheek. Her lips twitched and her chin quivered.

“Be a good girl and do what you’re told and that won’t happen to you again. No one wants to hurt you. You gotta obey, though. Can’t say ‘no’ to your elders. Your mama should have taught you that.”

“It hurts.”

“Want me to kiss it and make it well?”

Rachel rounded her shoulders, making herself smaller. “Nuh-uh.”

“Okay then. I could make it stop hurting though . . . I’ll read you a Bible story. How about that? Remember what we talked about? God is way up here . . . then there’s his disciples right here . . . and then your elders . . . and you’re way down below that.”

Glimpses of hands . . . moving up and down, illustrating the levels. Dirty nails, dry skinned knuckles.

“Where’s Mommy?”

“Are you hearing me? This is important.”

“I want to talk to Mommy.”

“She doesn’t want to talk to you! God gave you to us. Your Mommy is busy serving the Lord and now you’re here serving us because it’s been ordained. Quit touching your face! That won’t help it heal. Come sit in my lap while I read. Did you hear me ask nice? You won’t like it if I have to ask twice. That’s my good girl. You act like this all the time and you won’t get any more boo-boos.”

Was he kissing her? Was he licking her?

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ThroughHisHeartAuthor of more than 40 novels, Deborah lives in Oklahoma. She has been a full-time writer since she graduated from the University of Tulsa. She worked for a few years as a reporter for newspapers before becoming a freelance writer. Deborah’s first novel was published in the late 1970s and her books have been published by Jove, New American Library, Harlequin, Silhouette, and Avon. She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Authors Hall of Fame and she is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America. She is widely published in non-fiction and writes and edits for a magazine focused on small businesses. Deborah taught fiction writing for more than 10 years at a community college. She is currently working on a series of novels featuring two psychics who work with police nationwide to identify and track serial murderers.

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Blog | Twitter | Author Amazon Page
All of her novels are available on Amazon as ebooks

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Create a Book Trailer for Free by C.C. Koen – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. C.C. Koen will be awarding a $10 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.

Create a Book Trailer for Free by C.C. Koen

Don’t think you can handle creating your own trailer? Wrong! There are many user-friendly, video generators available that make the task easy to accomplish. If you add images to your FB or Twitter page, then you can handle these web-based programs.


If you haven’t created a video before, Stupeflix would be a good introduction. The interface is quite simple and you won’t be bogged down with a lot of extra features. The free account is sufficient for authors.

• Themes: sixteen themes are available to provide uniformity. There are two free themes, others cost $5.00, and a few are available only for PRO accounts. Stupeflix forces you to choose a theme for each video.

• Soundtracks: over 100 songs are provided, covering a variety of genres to suit any story. One-click is all it takes to add it to your video. If you want more than one soundtrack, it is possible, but capabilities are limited. Either choose a single song to play for the entire video or select music to play per slide.

• Sharing: many options available, including: email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and posting to a blog or website.

• Format: the ease of use is attributed to the slide format. Once you select a theme, you click a plus sign to add a title, image, or a video slide. To edit, select the pull down arrow that is provided when you hover over the slide (top right corner). Select from: edit, duplicate, delete, add text overlay, add audio overlay, add text to speech (Pro), or insert custom transition. The features are as simple as 1, 2, 3.

If you use Stupeflix for your book trailer, consider using my referral code.


If you want to add creative transitions, animations, and effects to your trailer, then Kizoa is the way to go. The interface is simple to use as well, but provides numerous options that go above and beyond any other free program.

Themes: there is a vast collection of templates available or you can create your video from scratch. If you choose to work from a template, music selections are also recommended. You can scroll through the songs in their library to select one that fits your theme.
Soundtracks: their library contains approximately 500 titles, including a wide range of options: holidays, ambient, soundscapes, classical, hop-hop, love, pop, rock, metal, folk, country, R&B, jazz, etc. A vast collection that will suit most authors. If you want to download your own music from another source, that option is available as well. Just make sure you are aware of the copyrights for any songs you use. If you decide not to use the Kizoa library, then search for Creative Common songs, and check the FAQs or terms and conditions so you are aware of how to cite the music, and who to give credit to in your video.

Sharing: a variety of options are included based on the type of account you have (i.e., free vs. premium): e-mail, Facebook, YouTube, burn a DVD, download, and embed in a blog. If you have a free (basic) membership, you are permitted to share via email, Facebook, Twitter, or a blog. With premium memberships you can burn to a DVD or download.

Format: Kizoa formatting is better than any other program. The features include: my images, slideshow maker (video maker), collage maker, my slideshows, and order prints. Videos can be created from a template or scratch. Either option you select, the development is simple drag and drop. Once you upload images, you drag them to the slide strip located at the bottom of the screen. If you want to add transitions, there are approximately 40 to choose from. Again, drag and drop into the “T” for transitions box. If you want to add effects like snow flurries, fireworks, glitter, sprouting flowers, etc. you drag and drop it onto the image and it is automatically applied. There is a sample screen that allows users to test any effect before making a selection. You can also add text, animations, and music to the slides.

Other Book Trailer and Video Generator Options


Still not convinced you can create your own trailer? Fiverr has designers that can help you. Fees range but most have reasonable pricing under twenty dollars.


Animoto has varying membership and feature options.

Free: permits a 30 minute video, provides web quality, the styles are limited, and the music selections include over 300 options.

Plus: five dollars a month permits a ten minute video, provides web quality, 64 video styles to choose from, and the music selection includes the same number as the free account.

Pro: thirty-nine dollars a month permits a twenty minute video, HD quality, 87 pro styles to choose from, and the music selection includes over 2,000 options.


I’m a somewhat savvy computer user, but even I found this program to be a challenge. Perhaps it’s my learning style or my preference for a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWIG) platform, but after ten minutes of confusion, I gave up on WeVideo. If you are up for a challenge, then give it a try. You may have more success.

The membership options and features include:

Free: 10GB cloud storage, 7.5 minutes/month export time, video resolution of 720p, a music selection that includes 50 titles, publish to YouTube, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Daily Motion, WeVideo, and free downloads.

Premium: four dollars per month includes the same as the free membership, plus: 30GB storage, email support, free WeVideo branding, and premium editing features.

Pro: fifteen dollars per month includes the same as the premium membership, plus: 100 GB storage and a reseller license.

Whichever direction you take, book trailers can be made on a low budget depending on how savvy you are. Even if you don’t use it for your novel, at least you’ll develop a new skill that can provide hours of entertainment.

What happens when a single mom’s four-year-old daughter falls in love with Mr. Right and she doesn’t?

Maggie Tyson’s rule: no bad boys. Her incarcerated ex-husband broke her of that attraction. Needing to escape his threats and the scrutiny of the people in her hometown, Maggie relocates to New York City. Determined to not make the same mistakes, she has a mile-long list of dos and don’ts. Unfortunately, her daughter, Cecily, doesn’t like to follow them. When Cecily wanders away from her and right into Rick Stone’s office, Maggie knows he’s the exact type she’s been trying to avoid. Can she resist him or will she succumb to his willful charm?

Rick Stone’s rule: bed them don’t wed them. Running a multi-billion dollar business doesn’t leave him with much time to do anything else, particularly with an overbearing grandfather breathing down his neck. But when a man works hard, he needs to play even harder. Voted America’s most eligible bachelor, Rick doesn’t have any problems getting women into his bed—except one.

Two auburn beauties stumble into his life.
One will break his heart.
The other—heal it.
Will he love or leave them?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“This place is packed. Why’d you pick it?”

Lodged in her brain for several weeks now, Mr. Stone’s guttural tenor replayed in her daydreams and in her sleep. She inched around performing a mental countdown from ten to zero, which helped cool her off when Cece pushed her buttons, and by some miracle she hoped would work in this instance too.

A steel gray oxford, no tie, and slim-fit pants with the same sheen as his button-down vest produced an unnatural reaction. Her tongue rolled to the roof of her mouth and withheld the groan his arousing professional attire and fresh-air scent planted in her head.

“Uh…” Mr. Stone narrowed his eyes at Matt and clamped a hand on his shoulder. His flushed face resembled the cherry red that often tinted joggers’ cheeks. “Buddy, you didn’t tell me Maggie would be here. Thought you said this was a business lunch.” He waved a folder and tossed it on the table.

Matt’s grin flashed toward her and then to his friend. “You do realize she’s cooking, right?”

Just then Mr. Stone’s gaze drifted across her chest, becoming transfixed for a while on the crisscrossed fork, spoon, and knife emblem at her left breast and then darted up to her face. If possible, his skin reddened even more as he dropped onto the wooden stool, an impact that scraped the chair back a few inches, rocking him into Matt’s shoulder.

“Let’s order. I’m starved.” An elbow shot given to his buddy, Matt knocked Mr. Stone’s bent arm off the edge of the table and pointed to the menu. “Pick something, fast. I need to get to dessert before it’s all gone.”

Using a similar mocking tone like Matt had earlier, Mr. Stone scanned the room while he spoke. “You realize we’re in a restaurant that has loads of food.”

She got a chuckle out of the amusing banter. Normally, she and Kat rubbed each other the wrong way. It was good to see the ribbing happening to someone else for a change.

“No, smart ass. Maggie’s extra special, sweet treat. There’s a limited amount.”

The menu forgotten and dropped onto the table, Mr. Stone set his chin in his hand and repositioned his arm where it had been before Matt knocked it down. In a seductive murmur he asked, “What sinful goodies do you have for me, Maggie?” Extended across the counter, his hand cupped hers from underneath and gripped it like a beggar pleading for anything and everything she could give.

About the Author: C.C. Koen writes contemporary romance with a twist. An avid reader who enjoys mystery and suspense, her stories will never be what you expect. Determined to find adventure in her dreams and life, she enjoys skydiving, sailing and any activity that challenges her. Teacher by day, romance writer at night produce an active imagination that comes to life in her writing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Carry Me Home by Lia Riley – Launch Day and Giveaway

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This post is part of a launch day blitz organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a digital copy of the book.

5_5 lia Riley_Carry Me Home_E-NovellaLove doesn’t have to be perfect to be true…

Years ago, Tanner Green loved Sunny Letman. She was meant to be his first kiss, first love, first everything. Then their world spun upside-down and out of control. Free-spirited Sunny doesn’t do commitment. Sure, guys are great for a night or a week, but she always leaves first. That is, until professional skateboarder and town golden boy, Tanner Green, unexpectedly walks back into her life.

Despite their broken history, a fragile and undeniably electric connection still holds them together. Now Tanner has to convince Sunny that even though love isn’t always perfect, it’s worth sticking around for. . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

Tanner is in the shower when I let myself inside. There’s a wooden rocking chair in the corner. I walk over, sit and close my eyes. He’s naked, soapy, skin flushed from the hot spray. I could join him. He wants me. The space between my legs throbs to the beat of my heart. What’s set in motion between us isn’t going to stop.

I rock, straighten my backbone and focus my attentions. Imagine each breath spiraling through the open door, to the sky, leaving the atmosphere. A quiet prayer. Please. Please don’t let me fuck this up. My hands grip the rocking chair sides hard, hands that ache to touch his wet skin.

The water turns off and he’s out, rubbing a towel over his body.

I’m going for it, can’t help myself.

I tried my best to be my own island.

Turns out my best isn’t nearly good enough.

The door opens and he stands, backlit in a tight white t-shirt and pair of low slung jeans. His mop of hair is wet, slicked back from his striking face.

“Good, you’re back,” he says. “I didn’t like you out there alone.”

“I was fine, nothing scary outside.”

He frowns, catching my double meaning. “I decided to sleep in the back of my car.”

“No, it’s fine.”

“I don’t mind.”

Of course he doesn’t. He’d sleep on bare concrete if he thought it would be easier for me.

“I get it.” He backs toward the door. “Tonight’s been extreme. You want space. I’ll go–”

“Stop.” I’m in the darkest corner, in this rocking chair throne, the Queen of the Shadows. There’s a great mystery at work. How can my heart be chained to this guy and still feel free?

A bead of water drops from his thick hair and falls to his shoulder. Then another. Tiny wet patches appear on his shirt each time one makes impact. The way he watches me, his gaze writes a secret poem on my skin. “Tell me you don’t want me,” he says. “Say you’re not interested and nothing will happen.”

I want to curl in a ball. Instead, I stand up.

“Sunny,” he whispers, and it’s hard to know if he intends my name as a question or an answer. Funny, the way it sounds like both.

My lids flutter closed of their own volition as he closes the distance. He’s tall enough that when he bends, his face buries into the top of my head. He inhales as if I’m a secret flower. I wish I only ever bloomed for him. A stupid notion. This moment would be perfect if it wasn’t us. If we were other people.

I hook my fingers into his belt loops and do an uncharacteristic fumble, aim too high and brush his stomach instead. His abdominal muscles flex and there’s my cue to explore. I can’t help but inch under the cotton, trace the thick muscles that make up his defined V-line. My nails gently cut to the top of his jeans. His groan vibrates into my skull.

He’s slipping, less careful with every ragged breath. His skin heats under my fingertips. There’s no choice. There’s never been with him.

I rock into him, hard, and his mouth explodes on mine like a wet, hot grenade. He bites my lower lip and even though I’m scared, I’m not scared of him anymore.

About the Author:After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

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Tale of Treasures by H.F. Parkhurst – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a grand prize of a $50 BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour and a second winner will win a $25 BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A four hundred year quest for a mysterious lost treasure; bloodthirsty Pirates; plundering Conquistadors; noble Indians; and a sinister and secret religious Order are the tantalizing ingredients stirred together in the turbulent, steamy, and exotic Spanish Main, of yesterday and today.

To the rhythmic background of classic R&B soul music, Harry Carlton and his new love Helen are unexpectedly thrust into a violent encounter with ruthless and malevolent forces and a rogue’s gallery of dastardly villains. These two, near their fifties, are not kindly white-haired grandparents ready to sit sedately in rocking chairs. Instead, they confront danger with bravery, and battle dishonesty and injustice with valor. They discover a priceless, lost artifact treasure of the ancient Indians of South and Central America. In the struggle to return the treasure to its rightful owners, they must outwit the assortment of murderous villains, and stay alive.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Aye, Capt’n.” Nate demonstrated their devious attack plan with tankards and bowls from the table. “By the time them Spanish scum be figuring what to do, we be attacking from three directions, be raking their sails and rigging, and be a blasting their ships into submission.”

The Sea Dragon crew had gathered around the three captains, and peered on silent and expectant. Always thirsty, many hoisted tankards of ale as the discussion lengthened, and Captain Nate fought the sea battle on the tabletop.

Mary pointed to the bowl representing Alonso’s ship. “This be your chance to show the fancy Spaniard who be the better man, and grab ye a share of rich booty?”

Goode scratched his beard and his broad belly. He squinted and with an intent eye peered at the layout of tankards and bowls. First, he gazed with skepticism in one direction, then another. He reached for his tankard and took a long swallow. With a broad grin, he lifted his tankard. “We sail me hearties.”

“Hoorah!” yelled the boisterous crew. They swilled drinks and trooped for the docks and Sea Dragon. On the evening tide, the pirate ships raised anchors, hoisted sails, and raced like lethal sharks across a moonlit sea to Old Man’s Cove, a thirst for gold singing in their blood.

About the Author:

H.F. earned double finalist honors in 2011 Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Literary Awards. Born and raised in the northeastern United States, he’s lived in the south, southwest, and mid-west of the US, as well as Asia, Australia, and Europe. A student of traditional Chinese martial arts for the last sixteen years, he practices daily. After forty years as a successful, international architectural interior designer of offices and hotels, he sought a new creative outlet.

In a turbulent time of global conflict, he seeks to be an ardent voice of reason speaking against illogic and the darkness of injustice, violence, and hatred pursued by the irrational and fanatic zealot faithful, worldwide.

An Objectivist, his novels reflect his commitment to logical thinking and the right of free people to rationally choose a destiny in their own best self-interests. He enjoys spinning outrageous tales based on his fertile imagination and real life experiences. Married, he lives with his wife in Florida. Currently projects are two novel series: an Epic Fantasy and an Action/Adventure. Also in the works are sci-fi novels and short stories.

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The Tithe by Elle Hill – Q&A and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Elle will be awarding a $50 Amazon 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 Long and Short Reviews, Elle. What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve never not written. I wrote stories in grade school. I moved to very, very bad novels in junior high. In high school, I penned angsty poetry. I stopped writing during the college years – you know, since getting five hours of sleep a night was a luxury. After finally graduating, though, I started whining about how I wanted to write but, you know, was I good enough, and would people buy my books, and I don’t even know how to publish or market a book. My wise oldest sister, also an author, told me to shut up and start writing. Best advice ever.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

Don’t quit your day job. Fortunately for us newbie writers, indie and self publishing have opened up new doors and allowed many new voices and opportunities. Unfortunately for us, this means the market is saturated with books. This in a time when fewer Americans are reading. It means writing isn’t a lucrative field. Then again, if you’re a writer, you probably don’t do it with dollar signs flashing in your eyes.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

On an everyday level, I try to prevent this by stopping for the night in the middle of an exciting scene. It’s really hard, but it makes coming back to the writing the next day an exercise in joy and excitement.

That said, I sometimes do get a little stopped up. This usually happens after I’ve taken a break from writing and have read several amazing books by my favorite authors. I start down the unfortunate but understandable path of “Am I as good as her?” and “But I don’t write action scenes like he does” and such. I usually move beyond this after a few days or weeks by consistently reminding myself everyone is better than someone. Still, it stings.

Who is your favorite author and why?

I hate to say it, because he’s relentlessly preachy and political. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, because I can be pretty preachy, too, especially when teaching a class about social justice issues. I just happen to clash with his politics. Anyway, my favorite author is Dean Koontz. He writes paranormal stuff, which I find sexy, but most importantly to me, he uses the most beautiful and poetic language to do so. Also, his vocabulary is pretty awe-inspiring. When it comes to writing, vocab size does matter!

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

The dance of language. Yes, a novel needs a good plot, relatable characters, and a powerful message. What truly seduces me, though, is the movement and rhythm of words, the way they fit or crash together, the hypnotic combination of words, ideas, and sounds.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Joshua Barstow, the main character, has a condition known as Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome. Her love interest, Blue, has blindness, and her best friends experience schizophrenia, a larger body size, and wheelchair use. The Tithe is a story in which people with different bodies and minds take center stage and simply live their lives, challenging readers to question why we define “disabled” the ways we do. It is an intellectual and political novel as much as a science fiction romance.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell us about?

I’m actually penning my first lesbian paranormal romance. Woot! Here’s the premise: A security guard, Jacqueline, is paid big buckeroos to escort and protect a leader, Marin, from Florida to South Dakota to attend a summit. They’re hunted by creatures who look human but clearly aren’t. The more she gets to know her charge, the more Jack thinks Marin might not be entirely human, either.

What are you reading now?

I just (as in hours ago) finished rereading Dean Koontz’s Phantoms. Before that, I read a lesbian romance by Meghan O’Brien. Who knows what’s next?

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

At risk of sounding like a foaming-at-the-mouth Dean Koontz fangirl, the novel I’m currently writing, a paranormal romance that centers around a road trip from Florida to South Dakota, was inspired by Koontz’s Innocence.

Another book series that helped show me how racial, sexual, gender, ability, and geographic diversity can create the most beautiful literary mosaic is Tad Williams’ Otherland Series.

Between you and me (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone!), The Tithe was mostly inspired by Katy Perry’s “E.T.” song. Don’t judge me. That said, and although I’d already planned my plot when I read the book (you’ll notice some similarities), I found inspiration for its tone in The Hunger Games Series.

Describe your writing space.

I bought my first house a few months ago, and for the first time in my life, I have an office. I’m tickled fuchsia! I packed the room with my desk, a bookcase, my work materials, and various cat toys (in a vain attempt to get the cats not to lie on my keyboard while I type). Take that, add coffee, and I, per Virginia Woolf, now have a room of my own.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Since writing doesn’t pay for most authors, I have a day job. I teach sociology at a local university, a job I often remark is the best one in the world.

When I’m not teaching, I’m usually either reading or cuddling with pets or my romantic partner. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I can do all three.

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?

When I first started writing, everyone’s advice was to avoid politics and make my novels as bland as rice pudding. I have my PhD in sociology, wrote my dissertation on the politics of fat, and have published and performed some very political poetry. Erasing politics from my work didn’t come naturally to me, but I did it.

I’ve since recovered. For The Tithe, I figured if I was writing a fundamentally sociological novel that explores social mores, governmental structures, and religious institutions, there was no way I could divorce myself from my progressive politics. Letting myself explore this universe – its version of utopia, its familial structures, its policing of sexuality and reproduction, the very nature of religious belief systems — was absolutely the best part of writing this novel.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

So far, I’ve published four books: Hunted, Hunted Past, Hunted Dreams, and The Tithe. I know I should say it’s impossible for me to choose a favorite, since they’re all my babies; however, that’s, you know, a big ol’ lie. By far, The Tithe is my favorite. It’s a marriage of the things that mean the most to me: sociological ponderings, political analyses, theology, social justice issues, and vivid literary characters. Okay, that makes it sound dry and academic. I promise everything is mixed in with plenty of romance, intrigue, and supernatural weirdness.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

First, I wanted to be a writer. Later, I wanted to be a teacher. Here I am, doing both. It’s a good life.

Where are you from and what do you love best about your hometown?

I was born and raised in Nampa, Idaho, a town about 20 miles away from Boise. In fact, I got my undergraduate degree at Boise State University. I moved to California to attend grad school and only occasionally visit Idaho to see one of my sisters.

What do I like best about my hometown? My friends and family, of course!

Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?

I developed my pen name because I started publishing my books right after I earned my Ph.D. and was searching for academic jobs. I figured a Google search that turned up my name connected with bodice rippers might not bode so well for me.

My nom de plume, Elle Hill, is super simple. The first name, “Elle,” is my real first initial (L). My last name is my favorite’s middle name.

Interestingly, for me at least, is that when my oldest sister, who is also a writer, independently constructed her own nom de plume, she came up with “Layne Hill,” which is our mother’s and father’s middle names. We laughed when we shared our new names, although she eventually discarded hers and now publishes under her real name.

What are your favorite TV shows?

I’m super boring, I know, but I don’t engage very much with popular visual media. As a sociologist who studied media for her Master’s thesis, I read a lot of studies that talked about the effects on women’s senses of self when engaging with unrealistic beauty standards as represented in media. I decided to stop watching TV and movies and never read another popular magazine. It’s actually a big relief for me.

If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?

My mother, oldest sister, and nephew live in Arizona. Another sister lives in Idaho. My best friend and her partner are in California. My fiancé’s entire family resides in Florida. Given how much I hate driving and flying, I would pay anything to be able to teleport.

What is a talent you wish you had, but don’t?

I have such a burning need to express myself. I blame it on being such an introvert. Anyway, I wish I could paint gorgeous pictures, shoot artistic photos, sculpt luscious figures, craft and sing songs fit for divas. I can’t do any of those things, but I do have a talent with the written word, thank goodness.

10_29 tithe Cover_TheTitheEvery seven years, the towns sacrifice their sick and disabled. No one has ever survived the angels’ harvest. Until now.

“Every seven years, seven persons from each of the ten towns must go into the desert, where they will enter into the realm of Elovah, their God.”

No one knows exactly what happens to these seventy Tithes, but everyone knows who: the “unworkables,” those with differing physical and mental capacities. Joshua Barstow, raised for twenty years among her town’s holy women, is one of these seventy Tithes. She is joined by the effervescent Lynna, the scholarly Avery, and the amoral Blue, a man who has spent most of his life in total solitude.

Each night, an angel swoops down to take one of their numbers. Each night, that is, except the first, when the angel touches Josh… and leaves her. What is so special about Josh? She doesn’t feel special; she feels like a woman trying to survive while finally learning the meanings of friendship, community, and love.

How funny that she had to be sacrificed to find reasons to live.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Josh shook her head. “It sounds so sad.”

“It wasn’t. You can’t have sadness unless you know happiness. I knew neither.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes.

Finally, in a voice mere decibels from a whisper, Josh asked, “What about now?” Shameless, she knew, but maybe voicing the question would exorcise it.

“Why are you asking a question you already know the answer to?” he asked in his inflectionless voice.

“I don’t,” she insisted.

“Everything changed when you touched me,” he said.

After a confused moment, and with many darting glances, she asked in a low tone, “In bed?”

“In the hallway. You touched me, and my life cleaved into a before and a now. Before, I existed, and it was fine. I was content. And then, you. Everything cracked open, and I felt as if I’d just reminded my senses to function. Now, everything feels so raw. Sometimes just the passing of time abrades my skin. Being with you is exquisite and real. And painful.”

Very carefully, Josh put her hands on her knees and leaned forward. She stared at the wall opposite them, against which Taro no longer pressed himself. In she breathed, and out. In and out.

Josh straightened her posture and rubbed her calf with her other foot. “What can I do to make it hurt less?” she asked him.

Blue’s lips thinned into a smile. “I don’t want it to hurt less. Every second that scrapes my skin is another one I spend with you.”

About the Author: 10_29 tithe AuthorPicBorn in Idaho during the height of disco, Elle Hill now chicken-pecks at the keyboard while rocking out to Donna Summer and KC and the Sunshine Band. She worked in Idaho for several years as a secretary and journalist before moving to California and selling her soul to academia. After receiving her PhD in Sociology, Elle Hill became a not-so-mild-mannered college instructor by night and a community activist during the remainder of her waking hours. Always a journalist and writer at heart, one of her favorite pastimes includes publishing commentary on the political and social state of the world; some of her thoughts are posted on her blog at

Elle welcomes visitors to her website at She also urges everyone to become a superhero and adopt their next non-human companion from a local animal shelter.


Twitter: @ellehillauthor

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