Researching Almost a Millennium by Jeanbill – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jeanbill, whose debut novel, Almost a Millennium debuted early this year. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of the book.

One third of Almost a Millennium is devoted to medieval history, mostly within England, an episode in Arab country, one in Germany, and one in Italy. Obtaining the facts that happened during those times were available and accomplished by means of good, old research. However, the task became difficult when there were contradictions of facts or no facts available, especially when the Normans destroyed many of the Anglo-Saxon documents after their invasion and conquering of England. In some cases, finding older books and documents, made it possible to use that information to find the facts of the discrepancies. And for the unobtainable information, I had to use my common sense and judgment to good use to fill in the missing information.

Seeking several sources about certain incidents, I found some historians tainting the stories with their own biases and agendas, such as condemning and discoloring the feudal system of the time. There were multiple sections within England that had forms of feudalism, but there were several kinds, without having a standard to follow, the thegns and earls enforced their own standards. We, today, must remember the people of the land had to have some type of protection from criminal-acting insiders and the Viking outsiders. They would surrender to feudalism so they had some protection from those threats: to continue to live, marry, have children, and to lessen their fears that were predominate in those times. And they needed further protection from God via the Roman Catholic Church.

The chapter regarding cryptography took some time for I had only a small amount of knowledge. I not only had to read about it but also had to peruse that information in order to understand it. In my learning, I realized that there was a war extending over many years between the cryptographers and the cryptanalysts. In the periods from before Christ until today, one or the other was the winner for that period. And today, when we punch a 12-digit passcode with capital and small letters, numbers, and characters we are in the era of cryptography prevailing, but for how long will that be the case?

I demanded of myself to write the facts of the past without any bias or hidden agenda that I might have. I placed myself into the two main leaders of that time—William I and Pope Urban II. I needed their thoughts to be placed within written history to help readers to understand what they had to do as leaders of their era. Many historians write discouraging remarks about William I. Those remarks, colored with adjectives and verbs about the incidents, still may reflect the facts. But when one is a leader, he reacts to the period and circumstances of the time and reacts accordingly. Some will hate leaders for their actions and some will love their actions. True leaders will always be criticized for their decisions, but they must be made, hoping that they will be the right ones. Harry S. Truman, a president, leader of the United States had to make a decision to, hopefully, end a war in the 1940s. The war did end, but over 200,000 civilians were killed because of his decision.

9_4 jeanbill Almost a Millennium by JeanbillAlmost a Millennium, by Jeanbill, was published in January 2015 and is available for sale on Amazon.

Almost a Millennium is an eclectic novel about the unlikely connection between an English monk and an American physician that lived nearly 1,000 years apart, one of today and one in the medieval period. It begins at their birth, traveling through time to their adulthood.

Using cryptography, Paul, a monk at Llanthony Abbey in Wales, writes a four-page document about his life and a harsh critique of the crusades. He places his writings in safekeeping in the hope that it will survive the crusades and eventually land in the hands of someone who can decipher his secrets. When Fred unexpectedly comes across Paul’s book and ciphers Paul’s cryptic message, he has no idea that four pages of millennial history will challenge him to rethink Christianity.

“Almost a Millennium by Jeanbill is a deeply compelling historical fiction novel. Although a work of fiction, the story is a depiction of England’s history and the power dynamics at the time. It is a richly detailed story and many times I found myself forgetting that I was reading a work of fiction as the historical events described felt very authentic. The setting of the story and the character development were simply amazing as we dived into Paul and Fred’s compelling background stories. Paul and Fred were two people so different and yet so alike. The pace of the story was set from the beginning and this held true to the very last page. Jeanbill used a unique and very captivating style in developing this story.” – Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers’ Favorite

About the Author: 9_4 Jeanbill Headshot

Jeanbill has been associated with medicine for more than 50 years, practicing as a general practitioner. He studied many hours in the medieval library of University of Notre Dame, researched and wrote over a period of 20 years in his spare time.

Jeanbill resides in Lynden, WA. Married to his other half for 57 years until cancer separated them, he has four children and 14 grandchildren.

Readers can connect with him on , Facebook, and Twitter.

Author Interview and Giveaway: Rachel Lacey

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Rachel Lacey, whose latest release, Ever After, the third book in her Love to the Rescue series, was recently released. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card.

Rachel is currently working on the first book in a brand new series set in the mountains of North Carolina. The series follows three semi-reformed bad boys who met as kids in the foster care system who’ve reunited as adults to open an extreme outdoor sporting facility together.

“It’s been so much fun to write,” Rachel said, “and I can’t wait to share more details soon!”

I asked Rachel how long she’d been writing.

“Is it cheesy to say forever? I actually started writing my first book when I was thirteen. I’ve always written for fun, but I rarely finished what I started, and I never let anyone else read it. About five years ago, when my son was two and I was starting to think about what I would do when he started school, I decided to sign up for a romance writing class and see what happened. Four years later, my first book was published. Being an author has always been my dream job, and I feel so lucky that I’m getting the chance to live my dream!”

Rachel told me she wants to be her favorite author, Jill Shalvis, when she grows up.

“I love her writing. She makes me laugh, she makes me swoon over every hero she writes, and she makes me cry (and I love books that make me cry),” she explained. “Hers was the first book that I read and thought ‘This is what I want to write!’ I adore everything about her writing style.”

Another author who has influenced Rachel’s own writing is Lori Wilde. Lori was Rachel’s writing teacher when she first decided to pursue a career as a romance writer.

“She taught me the ropes, and when I read her books, I could see all the things she’d taught me put into practice,” she explained. “It doesn’t hurt that she is also an amazing author! I have learned so much from her.”

If Rachel finds herself stuck on a certain part of the book she’s writing, she might give herself the night off.

“Sometimes I need to let things simmer for a bit to figure out where I’m going,” she explained. “But then I just have to keep moving forward. Maybe what I’m writing is awful and will get thrown out during revisions, but in the words of the incomparable Nora Roberts, ‘I can always fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank one.'”

“What is your most embarrassing moment?” I wondered.

“That would have to be the time I had a few too many mojitos and sang karaoke in front of Gloria Estefan! I was at a party at her hotel in Miami. She showed up, and everyone was mobbing her. My friends and I were trying to “stay cool,” and somehow we decided it would be a good idea to take over the karaoke machine. No, I can’t carry a tune, and yes, we were singing one of her songs! I did get to meet her that night too, and she is amazingly sweet and down-to-earth.”

Finally, I asked. “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“Never give up, and never stop learning. When I decided to get serious about my writing, the first thing I did was sign up for a class, which led to more classes and a critique group. I learned so much from them! And really…keep writing.”

9_4 EverAfter_bookCAUGHT IN THE ACT

Olivia Bennett is not having a happy birthday. Instead of blowing out her twenty-nine candles, she’s stuck in jail, caught red-handed in a graffiti incident that (perhaps) involved one too many strawberry margaritas. Worst idea ever. The only bright side is that she ended up in the strong arms of the most gorgeous lawman she’s ever seen.

Pete Sampson (aka Deputy Hot Stuff) faces intense pressure from the sheriff to find out who’s behind a string of vandalisms. And after her spray-painting spree, Olivia is suspect number one. Still, Pete can’t stop thinking about her. Wanting her. Now he’s torn between his duty and his overpowering desire for the vivacious waitress. But he may have to bend the rules because true love is more important than the letter of the law . . .

About the Author:9_4 Rachel Lacey Head Shot croppedI write small town contemporary romance for Grand Central Publishing/Forever Romance, and it is a dream come true to be able to write books for a living. The first thirty years of my life led me around the globe on some amazing adventures. I’ve been climbed by a monkey on a mountain in Japan, gone scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, and camped out overnight in New York City for a chance to be an extra in a movie. These days, I’m a work-at-home mom with a seven-year-old son, and the majority of my adventures take place in the books I write. I currently live in warm and sunny North Carolina with my husband, our son, and a variety of rescue pets.

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Lessons I Learned from Captain Eri by Perrin Pring – Guest Blog and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Perrin Pring will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Lessons I learned from Captain Eri

When I started writing The Ryo Myths, I had no idea that Captain Eri would become the character I would aspire to be. The Ryo Myths takes place in space. There are aliens, gods with unlimited powers, people with super human strength, and then there is Captain Eri. She’s a ringer, a human with wings, but her wings are damaged, and she can’t fly. Out of all of the characters in The Ryo Myths, Captain Eri is technically the one with the greatest disadvantage. She is the most human of everyone.

Which is why I like her. She can’t rely on magic or godly powers to get herself out of the mess she’s in. On top of that, she’s suffered terribly at the hands of someone she once loved. In other circles she’d be called a victim, but I didn’t want her to be that. I wanted her to be a survivor.

Right now, ‘strong female characters’ are in – the Katniss Everdeen. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Hunger Games, but what people misconstrue from Katniss is that in order to be a ‘strong female’ one has to be constantly kicking physical ass. This is great, and I have no problem reading and watching things about women who are just out there dominating (River Tam, anyone?), but being a strong woman doesn’t mean simply laying waste to the competitors. It means dealing with the emotional baggage.

Captain Eri has moments where she breaks down. Things get messy. She has the opportunity to make some really bad decisions which one wouldn’t blame her for making, but instead of collapsing into hysterics or puffing her chest out and tough guying her way through an emotional battle field, she slows down and allows herself to fail.

And I love that. Captain Eri fails, and from those failures, she succeeds. She’s not perfect. She’s not impervious to tears. She’s not afraid to f*#! people up when they need it. She takes in the wreck that is her life and pulls herself back to her feet. She falls at times, but she never gives up, and I can only hope that when I need that kind of strength in my own life, I can do as well as Captain Eri.

Filion felt safe in his role as a Dream Searcher. He was paid to venture into other’s dreams and exert influence over individuals whom he would never meet in the flesh.

But that was until he received The Summoning. Filion has been called to track down and protect Ryo, the last of the Chozen. She is the only hope of preventing a tide of evil driven by the Afortiori and the prospect of universal slavery if they aren’t stopped.

Time is ticking and Filion has no idea of how to find Ryo let alone how to protect her, yet destinies of planets rest in her hands. Enlisting the help of a rag-tag band of mercenaries, Filion will set out to search the wastes for Ryo. Together they will confront an evil whose power they just might have fatally underestimated.

I was a natural flier, I could take a punch, and I was smarter than most. Within five years I was a full-fledged pilot. On my last assignment, I was Master Pilot Eri Everfar, commanding pilot of a class B Federal war ship, the Seeker, and that’s where I met him, Drakier Lu…

Filion and his new friends have escaped Bok and are stuck in an asteroid field that isn’t supposed to exist. They’ve almost run out of fuel, their water supply is seriously depleted, all of their food has been destroyed, and the girl they’d just risked everything to save, Ryo, is dead.

Captain Eri’s former lover, Drakier Lu, has been promoted to Master Commander of the entire Federal Fleet, and his assignment is to find and capture the Dark Horse. Captain Eri has been identified as a Tiori, and she and her associates have just become the Federation’s most wanted. Things aren’t what they seem though, and the line between good and evil blurs as the players’ true motivations come to light.

Filion and the crew return, traveling the galaxy and dodging the Federation and the Tioris, all the while searching for a rogue planet that may or may not be harboring the one person who can save them all…

When I was on Lamu, I inhaled an Afortiori’s vileness. That blackness will be what allows me to win. I will use their own evil against them. Because of this I am tainted. I am but a degree different from what I fight, but in that degree, hangs the balance between universal slavery and Free Will.

Having fled from Lamu only moments before its destruction, Filion and his friends find themselves hiding in the shadows as the Federation and the Afortiori mobilize against their worst enemy, The Etulosba and its crew. The Etulosba, Ryo, plans for her final battle. She was engineered to fight for Free Will, but to win that war, she will have to become what no Chozen was meant to be – an Afortiori. Caught in Ryo’s wake, Captain Eri is torn between leading her crew and confronting Drakier Lu, her former lover and torturer. Will she be able to overcome what he did to her, or will she fail, thereby becoming what he made her and letting down Ryo, her crew, and ultimately, the universe? Filion and the crew return in the final installment of The Ryo Myths. Join them as they begin a journey that not all of them will survive.

Enjoy an excerpt from The Degrees of Destiny:

Initially, she’d thought the energy transfer had been temporary. Then she’d tortured Teeive instead of killing him, and now she realized the true cost of what she’d done. Some of his energy lived on inside of her. She hadn’t foreseen that. Inhaling Teeive’s energy had been like filling a suitcase with sand. She’d dumped out most of the sand, but grains of it remained, and they were expanding. She could feel the cold, calculating, psychopathic tendrils of Afortiori vile spreading and threatening to overtake her body. It wasn’t a battle she was sure she could win, but it might be what won her the war.

“I held that evil inside of me,” Ryo continued. “It powered me. I became high on its force. Then it left but not all of it. Some of it still lives within me.” She stood and faced Wiq. “I cannot fight this war without it.” She stood and faced Wiq. “I cannot fight this war without it. That blackness will be what allows me to win. I will use their own evil against them. Because of this I am tainted. I am but a degree different from what I fight, but in that degree, hangs the balance between universal slavery and Free Will. You and I, we have fought over Free Will, we have fought for Free Will, but we have never had Free Will. Captain Eri must exercise her Free Will because to me, she is everything that those words mean. If she does that, I can stay on the side of the right. I can fight this blackness and use it to save her. If she denies it though, or if she dies…”

Ryo looked at her hands. They flashed and became translucent. Wiq could see Ryo’s veins. As Wiq watched, a shadow spread through Ryo’s blood, darkening it to black.

“This vileness inside of me is not static. It pushes. It grows. I fight it, but I’m fighting on all fronts. She is my hope. She is my faith. She is what keeps this blackness at bay. She must not fail, or we all die.”

About the Author:

Perrin is the author of The Ryo Myths, a sci-fi/fantasy trilogy that has been heralded to engage both nerds and non-nerds alike. Check out her books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. When not writing, Perrin enjoys drinking coffee and swimming, although usually not at the same time.

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The House at the End of the Street by Jennie Jones – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter a $20 Amazon GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheHouseAtTheEndOfTheStreetGemma Munroe loves hard, laughs hard and plays hard. Or at least she did before today. Her dream is finally within her grasp – owning the toy shop in Swallow’s Fall. Only one person has the power to get in her way: Josh Rutherford – the love of her life who kissed her and left her ten years ago is coming home.

Josh will be in town for five days. He’ll finally sever the ties to a youth filled with poverty by selling the properties that are now his. He’s returning healthy, wealthy and emotionally stable, and then he’ll leave forever. It’s all in the plan. Everything…except for Gem. He never forgot her, but he definitely forgot the effect she has on him. Now she’s got problems, and he can’t seem to leave without trying to help her solve them.

(Author note: every book in the Swallow’s Fall series can be read as a stand-alone story.)

Enjoy an excerpt:

‘I was hoping we could have our business chat.’

’Oh, business.’ Gem fiddled with her large hoop earrings. Beneath her fleece-lined jacket she wore a thick white V-necked T-shirt and she’d been warm enough for the winter cold, but now she felt hot—and a little bothered.

‘I was wondering—what your position is,’ Josh said. ‘And if you needed help in some way. I mean—are you in a position to make the purchase?’

‘Yes.’

‘Are you sure?’

No, but she wasn’t going to let Josh know that. ‘I wouldn’t mind a week or two to gets things finalised.’

‘No problem. And what about the flat above? Are you intending to live in it?’

‘Of course. Where else would I live?’

‘I’ve got a place in mind. A five minute walk out of town.’

‘What place?’ she asked, frowning.

He shook his head. ‘Maybe later. Let’s stick to the shop for the moment.’

‘Actually,’ she said, ‘I am a little busy. Can we have this chat tomorrow?’

Josh looked up at the wall art.

Gem had created history with her mural of the town, but she couldn’t tell from Josh’s expression what he was thinking.

‘It’s not graffiti,’ she said. ‘Don’t utter that word unless you top it with “art”.’

‘I wasn’t about to say anything except … it’s stunning. It’s got flair. And charm.’ He looked her up and down then grinned. ‘Bit like you. When you’re not covering up whatever it is that’s bothering you with your temper.’

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheHouseAtTheEndOfTheStreetBorn and brought up in Wales, Jennie Jones loved anything with a romantic element from an early age. At eighteen, she went to drama school in London then spent a number of years performing in British theatres, becoming someone else two hours, eight performances a week.

Jennie wrote her first romance story at the age of twenty five while ‘resting’ (a theatrical term for ‘out of work’). She wrote a western. But nobody wanted it! Before she got discouraged a musical theatre job came up and Jennie put writing to one side.

She now lives in Western Australia, a five minute walk to the beach that she loves to look at but hardly ever goes to – too much sand.

Jennie returned to writing four years ago. She says writing keeps her artistic nature dancing and her imagination bubbling. Like acting, she can’t envisage a day when it will ever get boring.

All of Jennie’s bestselling Swallow’s Fall series books can be read as stand-alone stories.

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5 Reasons We Love a Tortured Hero by Rachel L. Demeter – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rachel L. Demeter will be awarding a Momentum bundle of 3 romance titles chosen by the winner to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

5 Reasons we Love a Tortured Hero

There is something genuinely captivating about a damaged hero or heroine. Here are some possible reasons as to why our love for the Heathcliffs of the world remains so strong and sure:

1) Redemption and the beauty of hope.

Redemption is a beautiful, powerful force. It reminds us that change is possible and nurtures the prospect of hope. We all yearn to better ourselves, to grow as individuals, to overcome seemingly impossible odds … and the tortured hero’s journey symbolizes this concept.

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2) Stories that feature a tortured hero often lend themselves to a more dynamic read.

Stories that focus on the trials and tribulations of a tortured hero/heroine often bear higher emotional stakes. More pages are dedicated to characterization. These stories tend to delve further into backstories, have greater obstacles, and contain profound character arcs. Consequently, the subject matter, themes, and overall tone are typically deeper and more complex than that of a “casual read.” This is simply a phenomenon that comes with exploring the darker territories of the human psyche.

 

3) For the love of the “bad boy.”

Tortured heroes commonly boast “bad boy” behaviors. They are ruthless, gruff, and naughty rule breakers. Stories (especially romance novels) are a form of fantasy escapism—and who wouldn’t want to escape into the arms of a man who’s ready to rock your world?

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4) Genuine love.

Romances that feature a tortured hero truly probe the boundaries of compassion, sensitivity, and unconditional love. Because of the hero’s (or heroine’s) imperfections, the love interest must learn to love and accept him in spite of discovering these things. And when you truly know and love someone . . . well, there’s the magic of romance.

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5) The tortured hero is just plain sexy.

Low, sardonic whispers. Impenetrable darkness and dangerous secrets. Penetrating eyes. Mesmerizing stares. Mystery, danger, and intrigue = sexy in one deliciously masculine package.

Finding Gabriel truly embodies my passion for the tortured hero. Writing this novel was a deeply personal experience and a true emotional rollercoaster. At times, the subject matter forced me into uncomfortable and often brutal territories–and the road to Gabriel and Ariah’s Happily Ever After is certainly paved with an abundance of loss, discovery, hope, and, of course, searing passion and relentless love.  Every word emerged straight from my soul; I was connected to both Gabriel and Ariah on such a profound level … more than I ever imagined possible. When I typed “The End,” I broke into tears. They were no longer characters, but real people and beloved friends.

I had yearned to create a pair of imperfect, emotionally and physically scarred protagonists whose deep affection for each other could triumph over seemingly impossible odds. And Colonel Gabriel de Laurent is very much a haunted soul. His twisted past has hardened his heart and driven him to the brink of desperation. Ariah’s gentle nature and ability to persevere presents the ideal counterpoint to his darkness. Though, like Gabriel, she also suffers from a tragic past.

I hope that Gabriel and Ariah’s journey through darkness touches your heart as much as it did my own.

 

“There is no paradise on earth, but there are pieces of it. What there is on earth is a broken paradise.” – Jules Renard

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MediaKit_BookCover_FindingGabrielColonel Gabriel de Laurent departed for the war intending to die.

After a decade of bloodstained battlegrounds while fighting in Napoleon’s army, Gabriel returns to the streets of Paris a shattered and haunted soul. Plagued by inner demons, he swallows the barrel of his flintlock pistol and pulls the trigger.

But fate has a different plan.

Ariah Larochelle is a survivor. Orphaned at twelve and victim to a devastating crime, she has learned to keep her back to walls and to trust no one. But when she finds a gravely injured soldier washed up on the River Seine, she’s moved by compassion. In spite of her reservations, she rescues him from the icy water and brings him into her home.

Now scarred inside and out, Gabriel discovers a kindred spirit in Ariah – and feelings he imagined lost forever reawaken as he observes her strength in the face of adversity. But when Ariah’s own lethal secrets unfold, their new love is threatened by ancient ghosts. Can Gabriel and Ariah find hope in the wreckage of their pasts – or will the cycle of history repeat again?

Perfect for fans of Gaelen Foley’s Lord of Ice and Judith James’s Broken Wing, Finding Gabriel features all the dark romance, searing passion, and historical intrigue of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Look at me. Look at what you have saved.”

Gabriel released Ariah’s chin and tore away the bandage in a harsh movement. As his eyes bore into her own, pale moonlight fell upon the deformity, illuminating the twisted flesh and grotesque welts. The sight reminded her of a beautiful chateau . . . a stunning fortress situated along the coastline . . . one that had fallen into ruin and neglect. The skin was concave, destroyed, cavernous – a remnant of former glory. And the surrounding features – his burning eyes, the right side of his face, his powerful body – dwarfed the disfigurement with a striking beauty.

“Look at the monster you have created. Look upon my face, Ariah.”

She shivered at the sound of her name; slightly muffled from the injury to his mouth, it slid from his tongue with equal parts venom and hunger.

“I was supposed to die that night . . .” The last of his words ended in a choked whisper. His face fell forward in despair until his forehead was pressed against her own. He was impossibly close. And he appeared every gram a flesh-and-blood warrior – coarse and ruthlessly untamed. Sweltering heat radiated from his body and engulfed all five of her senses. She was suffocating. Visions of that long-ago night echoed in her mind until she could perceive nothing else. Ariah gave a shallow cry as she struggled to free herself once more.

“Don’t. Don’t leave me. Please.”

Her movements ceased. The words struck a chord deep inside her chest. She connected her gaze with his and was rendered speechless by the naked anguish in his stare. Regret and desire were etched in every line of his face – but what stole her breath was something entirely different. For the second time, it was neither anger nor resentment that radiated from his eyes, but a longing so intense that it nearly overwhelmed her: hope.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FindingGabrielRachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of eleven years. She enjoys writing dark, poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love.

Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul.

Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness.

Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.

Don’t be a stranger! Rachel loves to connect and interact with her readers.

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Cover Release: Falling for Her Enemy by Victoria James

We have some cover love for Victoria James’ upcoming release, Falling for Her Enemy, that releases on November 9, 2015.

About Falling for Her Enemy:

Release date: November 9, 2015
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Bliss)
Series: Still Harbor #2

She’s  falling for the one man who could destroy everything… Alex McAllister always dreamed of a life filled  with the laughter and love of a family, but being abandoned at a young age left  her wary of letting anyone in. Now that she’s settled in Still Harbor, Alex  struggles between keeping her distance and the magnetic pull of the handsome  stranger who claims he’s the biological father of her adopted daughter.

Hayden Brooks never wanted to be a father. Long hours spent building his  family’s real estate empire suits him just fine. But when he discovers an ex  put the baby he unknowingly fathered up for adoption, his world crumbles. He  tracks the child to Still Harbor with the intention of bringing her home—and  comes face to face with his daughter’s stunning adoptive mother.

The paternity test is in. And Hayden’s about to make the most shocking  decision of his life, just in time for Christmas…

Find it online:

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Falling for Her Enemy can be read as a standalone but also check out the first Still Harbor book, Falling for the P.I.

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Interview and Giveaway: Joe Cosentino

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome back Joe Cosentino, whose second novella in the In My Heart series, A SHOOTING STAR, releases today. Joe is offering a giveaway of AN INFATUATION, the first In My Heart bittersweet dreams novella from Dreamspinner Press. Post a comment about his interview. We will select the winner and Joe will email you the ebook!

After AN INFATUATION was released by Dreamspinner Press, Joe received numerous requests from readers for a second novella in the In My Heart series. Since AN INFATUATION was loosely based on his high school days through adulthood, he thought back to his days as a theatre major in college, and A SHOOTING STAR was born.

“Like Harold in AN INFATUATION, Jonathan in A SHOOTING STAR is loosely based on me, though I haven’t won an Academy Award—yet,” he explained. “He is ingenuous, funny, warm, gullible, and has an open heart. As is the case with Stuart in AN INFATAUTION, Barry, Jonathan’s loyal scene partner in A SHOOTING STAR, is loosely based on my spouse. Similar to Mario in AN INFATUATION, David in SHOOTING STAR is a combination of a number of young men I met as a theatre major in college and as a young actor. They were gay, bi, closet-gay, or straight. Each was handsome, muscular, charismatic, sensuous, and almost other-worldly like Greek gods. Though they appeared to hold the world in the palm of their strong hands, they each had a secret weakness. The acting professor, the hysterically hypochondriac Professor Katzer, is a lampooned version of an acting professor I had in college who has since passed away. I want to play him in the movie version!”

In addition to the two novellas in the In My Heart series, he’s also written DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery from Lethe Press, which is a funny mystery about two college theatre professors who use their theatre skills to solve murders on campus—as they fall in love with one another. You can read his guest post about that here.

He’s also written PAPER DOLL from Whiskey Creek Press, the first Jana Lane mystery about an ex-child star making a comeback as she discovers who attached her in the past and who is after her in the present.

I asked him which was his favorite and he said, “Picking a favorite would be like picking a favorite child. (Though my mother would probably pick my sister. Hah.)”

As a kid, Joe played make believe constantly.

“‘Let’s put on a show!’ was my motto with full scale musicals in the garage starring my sister and me,” he told me. “Eventually I became an actor in film, television, and theatre, working opposite stars like Bruce Willis, Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Morphing into writing plays and now novels seem like the perfect progression.”

He came by this honestly. He gets his sense of humor and love of theatre from his funny Italian-American family. He remembers, as a kid, watching his mother mop the floor while singing “Let Me Entertain You” from the musical GYPSY, and his father wrapping a sweater around his waist while smoking a cigar and singing/dancing “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of Hair” from the musical SOUTH PACIFIC.

Joe is a college professor/department head like Martin Anderson in DRAMA QUEEN, so during the day he’s busy at the college. So he write in the evenings. He’s a bit tired, but finds he doesn’t censor himself and writes more creatively. Also like Martin Anderson, he has a cozy office with a window seat looking out at the woods, cherry wood fireplace mantel, cherry wood desk, and cherry wood bookcases.

“It’s the perfect place to write,” he assured me.

When Joe is writing a mystery like the Jana Lane mysteris or the Nicky and Noah mysteries, he starts at the end with a shocking ending, then works backwards with clues as well as plot twists and turns. With his romance books, however, he starts with the characters and do lengthy character biographies to get to know the characters. Once they start talking in his head, he starts typing.

Finally, I asked, “What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?”

“For the rest of this year, I will be editing for release: A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (a winter holiday novella taking place in Capri, Italy) from Dreamsprinner Press, THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TAKES FROM FAIRYLAND (gay fairy tales novella) from Dreamspinner Press, PORCELAIN DOLL (the second Jana Lane mystery) and SATIN DOLL (the third Jana Lane mystery) from Wild Rose Press, DRAMA MUSCLE (the second Nicky and Noah comedy mystery) and DRAMA CRUISE (the third Nicky and Noah mystery) from Lethe Press. I will also finish my new gay romance novel set in the Jersey Shore, COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK. Next year I plan to write CHINA DOLL (the fourth Jana Lane mystery), DRAMA ALOHA (the fourth Nicky and Noah mystery, and COZZI COVE: LOOKING FORWARD. Looks like I’ll be really busy.

9_2 Shooting Star coverOn the eve of the best night of his life, winning an Academy Award, Jonathan Bello thinks back to his one great love, David Star. Flipping back the pages of time, Jonathan recalls his handsome, muscular, and charismatic college roommate. Since Jonathan was a freshman and David a senior in the Theatre Department, David took Jonathan under his wing and molded him, not only as an actor but as a lover. With every wonderful new adventure, David left his joyful mark on anyone with whom they came in contact, but Jonathan soon uncovered David’s dark past, leading to a shocking event. Undaunted, Jonathan celebrates the captivating man who will always hold a special place in his heart.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

Enjoy an excerpt:

As an Italian-American, I subscribed to my mother’s theory that if someone doesn’t want you to see something, he will hide it in a locked vault covered with cement. So I inadvertently took a quick look at my roommate’s things on the other side of the room. He was incredibly neat. Numerous theater textbooks and play scripts lined his bookshelf in alphabetical order. The bulletin board above his desk displayed artistically arranged programs from various comedy, drama, and musical college productions listing the same male lead in each show: “David Star”.

“Do you always look at other people’s things?”

I nearly got whiplash as he entered the room.

Stammering like a kid caught masturbating by his parents, I said, “I… w-was… ad-m-miring y-your… r-room.”

Though it was a fall September day, he took off his scarf (violet) and rested it on a tall coat-rack, which held scarves in various colors like a department store window display. He was taller than me, with a chiseled, handsome face, and straight, shiny black hair, which fell down his thick neck. I admired his perfectly sculpted muscles, housed in a turquoise designer dress shirt. But what captivated me the most were his piercing crystal-blue eyes—and the enormous bulge in his skin-tight, designer beige pants.

“What’s your name?”

“Johnny Falabella.”

He looked at me like a surgeon examining a tumor. “No, it’s not.”

“Excuse me?”

“It’s Jonathan Bello.” He opened a bureau drawer, pulled out a bottle of hair gel, and tossed it to me. “You should gel your hair.” He opened his closet, revealing a multitude of color-coordinated shirts and slacks, and lay some on my bed. “And you can wear these.”

I looked at his perfectly pressed designer clothes. “Where did you get all these things?”

“They were gifts, mostly.”

“You must have some generous friends…. Sorry, I don’t know your name.”

“I’m David Star.” He took a bow.

Looking back at his play programs, I said, “You must have starred in every play at the college over the last three years.”

“Guilty as charged.”

“What happened to your last roommate?”

“He went to LA over the summer break and started auditioning. He got cast in a new TV sitcom. I hope it takes off. It’s called Cosby.”

“At the orientation session, they said freshmen are housed with other freshmen. How did I get a senior for a roommate?”

His eyes twinkled. “Just lucky I guess.”

“Do you think it was some kind of an administrative error or something?”

“Or something.” He added matter-of-factly, “I asked for a freshman roommate.”

About the Author: 9_2 shooting star author France pictureJoe Cosentino is the author of An Infatuation and A Shooting Star (Dreamspinner Press), Paper Doll the first Jana Lane mystery (Whiskey Creek Press), Drama Queen the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press), and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. His upcoming novels are A Home for the Holidays (Dreamspinner Press holiday novella), The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press short stories novella), Porcelain Doll the second Jana Lane mystery (Wild Rose Press), and Drama Muscle the second Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press).

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Saving the Children by Fran McNabb – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

The lives of six orphans lie on the shoulders of a nurse and a wounded Special Ops soldier. . .

After losing her husband and unborn child in a car accident, Victoria Lafferty has devoted her life to helping South American children find homes in the US, but her plans are thrown into chaos by a rebellion in the country.

When his mission is compromised and he is shot and captured, Major John Dawson is kept alive so the rebel leader can “take care” of John himself for killing his brother.

Together Victory and John face the hostile jungle and the rebel leader, but will deep-seated guilt and a desire for revenge stand in the way of their life together?

Enjoy an excerpt:

The distant scream of a jaguar shattered the morning quiet of the jungle. Major John Dawson lay unmoving and imagined the beauty of the big cat stalking his prey in the last moments before the sun drove the animal into hiding.

John waited for another roar or scream from the thick underbrush—anything to help his mind escape the pain.

It didn’t come.

Finally he forced his eyelids open to face another day in captivity somewhere in the bowels of the tiny country of San Gabriel. Weak streams of light struggled through the hole in the thatched roof and fell on the dirt floor. The odor of lingering smoke and burned cornmeal sent his stomach muscles into knife-cutting contractions.

God, don’t let me vomit.

He covered his lower face with his hand then took several long deep breaths. Carefully he turned his head to the side to see how far the bucket of water sat away from him. He needed to wet his parched mouth, but getting to it meant moving, and moving meant more pain.

Bracing himself, he swallowed, lifted his elbow to begin the slide, but stopped. Talking and footsteps outside the door of his hut made him stop. His body went on alert. With a bullet still lodged somewhere in his left shoulder area and fever draining his body of every ounce of energy, there was nothing to do but wait for the makeshift door to be thrown open.

He gritted his teeth. He hated being helpless.

About the Author:

Fran McNabb grew up along the beaches and waterways of the Gulf Coast and has used this setting in many of her novels. She and her husband live on a quiet bayou harbor and love to spend time fishing and boating with their sons and families. Visit her at www.FranMcNabb.com.


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Interview with Miki Vincent from 12 HONEYMOONS by K.L. Brady – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner, and a Kindle Fire HD (International Giveaway) to another randomly drawn winner, both via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Today’s interview is with Miki Vincent, a wealthy D.C. socialite and Georgetown graduate who has accomplished…well, she’s achieved…well, she comes from a good family of high performing attorneys. Miki joins Author K.L. Brady today to discuss 12 Honeymoons.

Brady: Great to see you again. It’s been a few months. How’s life?

Miki: Long time no see! Life’s great. Although I do think you could’ve found a better way to introduce me. I’ve accomplished a lot since the beginning of 12 Honeymoons. I’m just saying.

Brady: Yes, yes. Perhaps that was a bit unfair. But more about the story and less about you. In the beginning of the book, you were in court fighting simple assault charges against the boyfriend formerly known as Mitch. How did that all….happen? I have to say, I never thought you’d represent yourself in court.

Miki: See…what had happened was… It’s really a very simple explanation. But it’s also complicated. Mitch was a lying sack of… well, he lied. And, through a series of purely accidental bumps with my car door…and fist, he suffered a few minor contusions. In other words, I kicked his butt. But he conned me out of thousands of dollars. What else is a girl supposed to do?

Brady: It was following this alleged incident that you devised the honeymoon plan.

Miki: Yes. One of my more brilliant plans, at least at the moment. I, like many women out there, am sick and tired of following rules for women that were created by men; they always fail miserably.

Brady: Can you give us a example?

Miki: Yes. Take the 90-day rule. It dictates that if you meet someone and you wait 90-days to sleep with them, you’ll know what kind of man you’re dealing with. Well, what they don’t tell you is that the jerks know all about the 90-day rule, too. And jerks can wait 90 days for sex.

Brady: You look flustered. Could I offer you some tea? A valium, perhaps?

Miki: No, thank you. But some ice cream would be nice. Anyway, I devised the honeymoon plan to keep women from ever having to suffer broken hearts at the hands of jerks again. Men are always on their best behavior during the first 90-days and then suddenly things change. At first there’s no arguments, lots of dinners, movies, flowers, dancing; they put on their best performances. Then they pull the old switcheroo and begin distancing themselves from you before they dump you. So, why not enjoy the heck out of the first 90 days and then dump the jerks before they get the chance to break your heart? All the fun. No broken hearts. That’s the plan.

Brady: So, how do you get married or experience long-term relationships this way?

Miki: You don’t. Who needs marriage when you can have a lifetime of honeymoons? *Cough* Anybody else thirsty? Could I get a cup of water?

Brady: Water! Okay, back to the interview. Now, tell me about your dog, Mack. He’s adorable.

Miki: He’s a Jackapoo, part Jack terrier and part poodle. I adopted him from a friend of mine who passed away. He doesn’t roll over or play dead, but he types…and he’s pretty handy with squeaky ball toys.

Brady: Tell us more about this friend who passed away. Mr. Abernathy, right? He left you an enormous inheritance.

Miki: He was the most generous and caring person I’ve known outside my family. Well, he was my family, like a grandfather to me. Anyway, I’d rather not discuss him anymore, if that’s okay with you.

Brady: Still difficult, huh? I understand. Okay, if not Mr. Abernathy, how about Pam McGhee? She’s your best friend, right?

Miki: Best. Friend. Ever! Beautiful, a talented artist, one of the smartest people I know but a little but paranoid these days. She thinks her husband is having an affair. Joe would never have an affair. I mean, if he’s having an affair, I’m broke. I’m not broke. But I will concede he’s not been himself for months. Something’s going on with him. Is it another woman? I don’t think so…but I’m also not willing to bet on it.

Brady: Speaking of affair, I’ve heard your greatest affair, the love of your life was Ricky. Care to tell us a little about him.

Miki: Ugh. No. I don’t feel well. Did somebody turn up the heat in here? Give me a second, please. I need to check something on the WebDoctor. My symptoms are getting worse.

Brady: Er…um, okay. Perhaps, we should wrap this up. Thank you for being with us today, Miki. Best of luck on your future endeavors.

Miki: Is my neck swollen?

MediaKit_BookCover_12HoneymoonsMiki Vincent’s entire life stalled because she’s addicted to the beginnings of things, especially relationships. She relishes in the emotional highs, first hugs, first kisses that new love brings. But sex always ruins it. That’s why abstaining during the first three months of a relationship—following the 90-day rule—was supposed to help land her down the aisle with Mr. Right. Miki finds out the hard way, Mr. Wrong can wait that long, especially if his ultimate prize is her inheritance.

One assault charge and depression later, Miki devises the Honeymoon Plan, guaranteeing her a lifetime of firsts and zero heartaches. But following her own rule sends her life into an out of control spiral in which she’s sentenced to more than perpetual break-ups. A new pursuit and a string of sexy suitors offer her the opportunity to jumpstart her life and test her new strategy. The only problem? It just might work.

Miki’s best friend Pam, a repressed artist, struggles to keep her honeymoon alive but she can no longer ignore the blatant evidence staring her in the face: Her husband is having an affair. A different kind of “honeymoon plan” designed to free her from her troubles, and a chance meeting with a handsome artistic stranger, help reignite her passions. But will they destroy her marriage in the process?

Enjoy an excerpt:

I spent my time trolling Facebook and shopping Tiffany & Co. for engagement rings, looking back on those dizzying, emotional highs between day 1 and day 89 after you meet someone new, wondering why I couldn’t put them on Groundhog Day repeat. I wanted to relive each first touch, first hug, first kiss, and first roll in the proverbial hay during The Honeymoon Phase—those heavenly moments at the beginning of a relationship during which sublime happiness could not be contained, when you agreed to everything and fought about nothing. And the butterflies. Oh, the butterflies. How they flapped around in your stomach as you lie giddy with anticipation waiting for the phone or the doorbell to ring. The mere thought of you compelled him to acknowledge your presence on earth and in his life. And don’t even start on the lovemaking. It was so delicious and frequent you could produce enough serotonin and dopamine between the two of you to fuel a medium-sized Chinese village in the Shanghai Province. I convinced myself that this vision of perfection, excitement and passion was how we all should experience love, not just in the first ninety days, but always.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_12HoneymoonsK. L. Brady is a D.C. native but spent a number of her formative years in the Ohio Valley. Her writing career started in the pages of diaries when she was 7 or 8 years old. But it wasn’t until her 40th birthday and an Oprah “Live Your Best Life” moment that she finally answered her calling and wrote her first novel–The Bum Magnet. The originally self-published novel was picked up by Simon & Schuster in a two-book deal, and K.L. hasn’t looked back since, penning the follow-up, Got a Right to Be Wrong and self-publishing the first books in two young adult series and a spy thriller series based on her 20+-year career in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

She has a B.A. in Economics, an MBA, and is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association, Romance Writers of America, Sisters In Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She’s addicted to writing and chocolate—not necessarily in that order—and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. She is hard at work on several projects, including the next installment of the series.

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Better Than Chocolate by J. Lynn Rowan – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J. Lynn Rowan is awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

perf5.000x8.000.inddCarmella Sannarelli just found out that her best friend, Sadie Miller, has broken her engagement and is eloping on St. Croix. Though Carmella agrees to act as the maid of honor, she’s determined to find out what went wrong between her friends.

But she’s not counting on coming face to face with Ryan Wutkowski (the jilted fiancé) on the plane, or with staying at his hotel during a two-day stopover in San Juan. They try to act like nothing’s changed. But Carmella’s totally flustered by the weird vibes Ryan sends her, as well as how tingly and off-kilter she feels every time he so much as looks at her.

Now Carmella can’t stop thinking about Ryan or his behavior, even though most of her time in St. Croix is taken up by pre-wedding activities and dodging advances from the womanizing best man. And she knows there’s more to the story behind Ryan and Sadie’s breakup than either of them will admit to her.

Especially after Ryan shows up at the rehearsal dinner and gets himself invited to the wedding…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Ryan taps my arm. “Why are you on a flight to San Juan?”

I peer at him, my eyes narrow slits. “Why are you?”

A rhetorical question. Although his suit coat is probably in the overhead bin, safe inside a garment bag, his dress pants, crisp white button-down shirt, and Italian leather shoes tell me everything.

He answers anyway. “I have a conference over the next couple days. I have to go straight from the airport to my first meeting.”

The plane levels out, as does my head, and I wriggle to sit up straight. “They could at least let you check into your hotel first.”

“Well, fortunately the conference is at my hotel.”

“It’s a pretty fast trip.” I press my face to the window glass, squinting against the glare.

He shifts in his seat. “I had some vacation time coming, so I extended the trip through the middle of next week.”

So he’s not the only one who decided on a Caribbean adventure in the wake of his and Sadie’s breakup. I close my eyes, glad I didn’t say it out loud.

“Carmella, why are you going to Puerto Rico by yourself?”

The advantages of having Ryan for a flight companion have just turned moot. There’s no way to avoid this discussion. The flight’s too long. “I’m on my way to St. Croix.”

There. I said it. Sort of.

“What’s in St. Croix?”

His voice is low, and when I glance at him, he looks away. His jaw shifts, his profile a stern mask.

“I think you already know,” I answer slowly.

“Sadie.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_BetterThanChocolateJ. Lynn Rowan started writing stories as a small child, usually starring her favorite cartoon characters. Most of her work through middle and high school was filled with typical teenage angst and melodrama, and usually mirrored the books she loved to read. But eventually she found her own author’s voice and decided to seriously pursue a writing career.

Historical fiction remains J. Lynn’s “first love”, but she has enjoyed the journey to becoming an author of romance and chick lit. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Central New York Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society. She is also a teacher who tries to instill a love of learning, reading, and writing in her students.

When she’s not writing, J. Lynn enjoys travelling, gardening poorly but enthusiastically, studying various topics in American history for her own expertise, and channeling Julia Child every time she steps into the kitchen.

A native of Oswego, NY, she now lives in Charlotte, NC, with her own Romantic Hero of a husband and the most adorable baby on the planet.

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