Favorite Desserts by VK Sykes – Guest Blog and Giveaway

7_1 VK Summer-at-the-Shore-Release-Week-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publishers. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a copy of Summer at the Shore.

Favorite Dessert recipes for VK Sykes (picked by Vanessa)
1. Apple Pie – starting with Randy’s favorite. It’s all about the pastry. A tender, flaky piecrust is a thing of beauty. When you find a good recipe, you stick with it.

2. Chocolate cake – My favorite. First of all…chocolate. And second, because there are just so many different variations on chocolate cake. You can never get bored!

3. Blueberry crisp – simple ingredients that bake into the perfect summer dessert. And you can even convince yourself it’s (sort of) healthy.

4. Salted caramel gelato – okay, not really a recipe, but we both love it. An insanely good comb of sweet, salty, and creamy.

5. Lemon bisque – a lemony, mousse-like dessert with a graham cracker and pecan crust. This was my favorite dessert when I was a kid, and I often asked my mother to make it instead of cake (see #1) for my birthday. Now when I have lemon bisque, it reminds me of my mother and my childhood!

7_1 VK SummerAttheShoreJUST A SUMMER FLING?

Morgan Merrifield sacrificed her teaching career to try to save her family’s bed-and-breakfast and care for her younger sister. She can’t let herself get distracted by Ryan Butler. After all, the rugged ex-Special Forces soldier is only in Seashell Bay for the summer. But her longtime crush soon flares into real desire-and with one irresistible kiss, she’s swept away.

Ryan values his freedom. As much as he wants Morgan, he’s not ready to settle down with anyone, much less in sleepy Seashell Bay. But his code of honor doesn’t allow him to leave a woman in distress-and she’s in desperate need of help to fix the inn. It only takes one day working under the same roof and Ryan is already hoping for a lifetime of hot summer nights . . .

About the Author: V. K. Sykes is a wife/husband writing team -Vanessa Kelly and Randall Sykes – who write romantic suspense and single-title contemporary romance. One of the great things they appreciate about being writers is that they can work anywhere so Vanessa and Randy split their time between Ontario, Canada, in the summer and Florida in the winter. Both locations have shores just as beautiful as the imaginary Seashell Bay.

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Lily’s Most Embarrassing Moments by Jill Shalvis – Guest Blog and Giveaway

7_1 Second-Chance-Summer-Blog-Tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter to win a copy of Second Chance Supper.

Most Embarrassing situations that my heroine Lily got herself into during Second Chance Summer
1. Ran outside in her skimpy pjs to grab some wood to start a fire and plowed into hero. She ran up the stairs back inside before she remembered that her pjs have “kiss it” across her butt.

2. When she buys the local convenience store out of junk food and the cashier guy asks her if she’s high, or just been dumped.

3. When she sees sexy Aidan for the first time in ten years and backs into a display in the store trying to get away. Stealth, she is not.

4. When she thinks about maybe running the smug Aidan over and he just smiles at her, knowing she won’t do it because, dammit, she likes him too much.

5. When he realizes that she loves him before SHE realizes she loves him, mostly because she hates when he’s right…

7_1 Shalvis_Second Chance Summer_MMCedar Ridge, Colorado, is famous for crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, and pine-scented breezes. And it’s the last place Lily Danville wants to be. But she needs a job, and there’s an opening at the hottest resort in her hometown. What has her concerned is the other hot property in Cedar Ridge: Aidan Kincaid-firefighter, rescue worker, and heartbreaker. She never could resist that devastating smile . . .

The Kincaid brothers are as rough and rugged as the Rocky Mountains they call home. Aidan has always done things his own way, by his own rules. And never has he regretted anything more than letting Lily walk out of his life ten years ago. If anyone has ever been in need of rescuing, she has. What she needs more than anything are long hikes, slow dances, and sizzling kisses. But that can only happen if he can get her to give Cedar Ridge-and this bad boy-a second chance . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Come here,” he said.

“I’m right here.”


She walked into his arms. He pulled her in and kissed her. He kissed her until he knew he’d taken it as far as he could without tearing off that pretty sundress right then and there, and only then did he lift his head.

“Oh,” she breathed, staggering back a step, clearly trying to play it cool—which might have worked if her eyes weren’t dilated and the pulse at the base of her throat wasn’t going apeshit crazy.

He gave a slow smile and pulled her back in, not hard for him to do, since she already had a grip on his shirt like he was her lifeline and she was going down for the count.

She cleared her throat. “So you showed up all Captain America to save the day, and now what? I jump into bed with you? Was that your plan?”

“Yeah,” he said, “but in my version we didn’t talk this much.”

“A full-service rescue then,” she said evenly.

He tried a cajoling smile. “I’m really good at full service.”

“Do you really think this is a good idea?”

He laughed softly and let his mouth brush over her temple and then her ear, which caused her to shiver. “Of course it’s not a good idea. Or we’d have gone for it already.

But sometimes the bad ideas turn out to be the best ideas of all.”

“Yeah?” she asked. “Name one.”

“Bringing out your keys from the convenience store after the postcard display demolition.”

She let out a soft laugh and fisted her hands in his hair.

“So what now? We really going to try this out?”

Were they? He’d promised himself he wouldn’t give her a chance to devastate him again. But somehow over the past few weeks he’d lost sight of keeping his heart safe and moved onto wanting to heal her heart. “I’m game.”

She hesitated so long he took a step back from her and prepared himself to leave. But her hand came out and gripped his. “You’re wearing too many clothes,” she said softly.

About the Author: 7_1 JillShalviscroppedNew York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley – Spotlight and Giveaway

6_30 ashley Ride-Steady-Blog-Tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher as Ride Steady is released today. Enter to win one set of the Chaos series: FIRE INSIDE, OWN THE WIND, and RIDE STEADY via the Rafflecopter below.

6_30 Ashley_Ride Steady_MMThe ride of her life . . .
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy—until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa’s pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he’s the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa’s acting, it’s clear she’s falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker’s secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa—or ride away forever . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Yo!” I heard Snapper call and I looked to him to see he was looking beyond me. I turned around and saw Tabby was heading toward me and Snapper. “I’m takin’ Carissa out on my bike. You wanna look after her purse or put it in Shy’s room or somethin’?”
At his request, Tabby’s gaze immediately cut to the pool tables. When she took them in, for some reason, her face got hard before she softened it and looked back toward us.
“Not a problem,” she said, stopping at us. “Go. Ride.”
“Never been on a bike,” I told her and her face split in a big smile.
“Then go. Ride.” She leaned in to me. “Beware, wind in your hair, moon on your skin, you’ll fall in love.”

I wasn’t sure that was a good thing. I’d fallen in love with something I couldn’t have, and if I fell in love with the wind in my hair and the moon on my skin, without someone to give that to me, I couldn’t have that either.

But to heck with it.

Maybe this would be the only bike ride I’d I’d have in my life.

And maybe the kiss Joker gave me was the only fabulous kiss I’d ever get.

And maybe my dream of having a family or the other dream of getting behind the steel guarding Joker’s eyes was lost to me.

But I was still breathing.

So I’d take what I could get.

Tabby put her hand on my purse, which was lying on the bar. “Got this. Have fun.”

“Thanks,” I whispered.

She winked at me.

I looked to Snapper. “Let’s go.”

“Meet you at the end of the bar, babe.”

“Right!” I chirped, jumped off my stool, threw Tabby a smile, nabbed my jacket that I was sitting on and bounced to the end of the bar.

When I got there, Snapper had pulled on his leather jacket. He grabbed my hand and guided me out the door and to his bike. Then he got on his bike before instructing me on how to do the same.

The bike roared, he backed out on an angle, and we glided over the tarmac of Ride.

He pulled out onto Broadway and I got it.

The wind in my hair.

The moon on my skin.

The leather of his jacket in my nostrils.

The solidness of him under my hands at his waist.

We got close to the onramp of I‑25 and he shouted, “Hold on!”

“Sorry?” I shouted back.

“Hold on!” he yelled, taking one hand off the grip and using it to pull my hand from his waist and around to his stomach.

He put his hand back on the grip and we turned up the ramp, going faster, faster, faster, the wind whipping my hair and biting into my skin. I curved my other arm around him, put my chin to his shoulder, drew in air and leather, and I got it.


That it being why this was the life for a biker.

No encumbrances. You wanted to smoke pot, you smoked it. You wanted to wear a tube top, you wore it. You wanted to drink shots, you drank them. You wanted to make out hot and heavy on a couch in a room filled with people, you did it.

You wanted to live, you lived.

You wanted to be free, you got on your bike and rode in the moonlight.

You did not drink martinis you didn’t like. You did not take a job your mother‑in‑law thought you should have. You did not take guff from your ex, not ever.

You did what you wanted.

You were free.

In all that was happening to me, all that I was feeling, all the disappointment of that night and the bizarre devastation I felt that the first time this happened, me on the back of a bike, I would have preferred it be with Joker . . . right then, for that moment, I let it all go.

I let it go, held on to Snapper and I let myself feel it.

Feel something rare and beautiful and overwhelming.

Feel something I knew for certain I hadn’t felt in my whole life.


About the Author:6_30 AshleyKristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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Side Swiped by Lia Riley – Spotlight and Giveaway

6_30 lia Sideswiped-Print-Release-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a copy of Sideswiped by Lia Riley. She stopped by today to answer a few questions:

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

At this point I’ve written ten, nine which you’ll be able to read by end of 2015. The first shall never leave my computer. Choosing a favorite is like picking a child–can’t do it. They each have a special place in my heart in their own way. Some were easier. Some hard. Some made me laugh. Some made me cry in bed out of frustration. But they each have been a part of my writing journey.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I have two Facebook reader groups and interact a lot on social media. I love hearing from readers and we can talk about everything from Australia, to future releases, to how hot Michael Fassbender looks in the new Macbeth trailer.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Truth? A writer. Or a professional book reader :-)

How do you do research for your books?

I buy research books on Amazon, visit places if it allows (I was lucky enough to be back in Australia while drafting Sideswiped and made the most of it), and my old friend…Google!

What is your most embarrassing moment?

You want me to pick one…because that would be impossible. How about the time in a state of newborn exhaustion I drove to the grocery store with my shirt open and nursing bra unclasped and didn’t realize until (wait for it) the dairy section. Oops.

Thanks so much for having me on your lovely blog!

6_30 lia Riley_Sideswiped_TPIt was only meant to last the summer . . .
Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless SoCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight-because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

An hour later I’m zipping the back of Talia’s wet suit at the edge of the tide line. Moonlight glimmers on the black water. The waves line up perfectly, peeling clean. I breathe deep, savoring the air’s briny tang and the musty smell of decomposing kelp. My awareness is sharpened by anticipation, the five senses amplified by the dark.

Talia shuffles at my side, getting antsy.

“You sure about this?”

“Yes. Well, sure enough.”

Another set breaks. The conditions are choice. If she changes her mind, I might need to have a ride—a quick one.

Maybe two, tops.

“What’s that noise?” She stills. “There it is again. Can you hear it?”

I concentrate and smile when a sound like a wheezing donkey drifts from beyond the breakers. “Fairy penguin.”

“Shut up! There are penguins around here?”

“Sure. In the summer they build burrows in the scrub along the coast. If you stand outside a colony right after sunset, things get pretty noisy.”

“Penguins.” She almost whispers the word. “That’s so cool.”

The wash races over the sand and breaks across our toes. I figure out a plan of attack. “We’ll paddle to the left shoulder where the wave’s less steep. Stick with me, okay?” No one else is out and my voice feels extra loud even though I’m speaking quiet.

“Have you ever been to Rome?” She takes my hand.

“No, not yet.”

“Me neither. But I can’t imagine the Sistine Chapel being more amazing than this.”

Besides the moon, there’s zero light pollution. The Milky Way arches in a dazzling band across the sky’s apex. Individual stars are indistinguishable in the brilliant haze.

“You ready?”

She squeezes my hand in reply.

We paddle out.

“Whoa!” She pushes her chest up to better peer over her board’s tip. Around us the water casts a luminous green-blue light.

“Phosphorescence. Cool, eh? It’s blooming phytoplankton, caused by this marine species of dinoflagellates releasing enzymes that—”

“That’s enough, Sid the Science Kid. Let me retain this fairy kingdom illusion a little while longer.”

“Science is cool, Captain.”

“I never said— Oh, crap!”

Instead of duck-diving under the incoming wave, the water wall pounds her in the face. She breaks through the other side, coughing out a lung.

“We can head back to shore, don’t have to—”

“I’m fine. Please. There’s a wave coming. I can feel the pull. Can you?”

“You want it?”

“It’s all yours.”

I take off on a left break and fly down the smooth face. For a few perfect seconds, I’m right here in the moment. Rational thought is eclipsed and with it the aggravating confusion of having everything: Talia, Tasmania, honors, and still hungering for more like a greedy bastard. I paddle back to her.

“You looked great.”

“That was good.”

She sits, bobbing lightly. “It’s not as freaky out here as I imagined.”

“Fucking hell, Captain. You said you weren’t scared.”

“No, I never did. I’m scared by everything. But I want to do this.”

We’re quiet. A few more waves come but I let them go, happy to be with my girl, the stars, and the radiant water.

Hard not to believe in magic on such a night.

She clears her throat. “About what happened back at the house…if this is going to work, you can’t shut me out. You’re not just a you anymore; we’re an us. We have to be there for each other.”

I bob on my board and drag my fingers through the water. The phosphorescence lights from my touch. Finally I speak. “Karma’s got this mate; he’s on the crew of a Sea Alliance vessel. There’s an opening for a gig, with voyages to Japan and Antarctica.”

“You want to go for it?” I can’t decipher her expression.

I almost say no, but honesty’s easier in the anonymous dark. “Yeah, kinda. But I want to be with you more.”

“Oh, Bran, that’s way too much pressure.”

“What do you mean?”

“Imagine coming home in a few months and I’m all vegged on the couch, watching awful reality television. Will you think to yourself, ‘I could be gallantly defending the high seas but instead I’m attached to this boring anchor’?”

“Life with you is bound to be a lot of things, but boring isn’t the first depiction that springs to mind.”

“But life isn’t always night surfing. I…I can’t compete against a fantasy.”

“I never said you had to.”

“Isn’t supporting the other’s goals a fundamental part of the good girlfriend/boyfriend job description? I mean, say I always wanted to volunteer in Africa? Join the Peace Corps.”

“Do you?”

“I used to toy around with the idea. Now? I’m not sure but I don’t want to close myself off to opportunities.”

“We can travel through Africa someday.”

“Peace Corps is one of my dreams, not yours. I want you to have the freedom to pursue your own happiness.”

“You make me happy.” I strike my words like flint before sucking in a rough breath. “Look, I’m not a guy cut out for the long-distance thing. I hated every second we were apart the last two months.”

“Bran…” She reaches out her hand and I take hold. “I won’t let go.”

“Me neither.” I scrutinize the sky, heart clanging. Everything appears so deceptively still. In reality, the Earth careens through space. Talia and I, we’re little specks of cosmic dust in the grand scheme. It wouldn’t take much to blow away from each other.

“But in the future—”

“I hear what you’re saying and I appreciate the support. But the only future I’m willing to discuss is the one where it’s me and you—together.”

Better to orbit far away from black holes.

About the Author:6_30 Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme2After 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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Favorite Writing Snacks by Tiffany Snow – Guest Blog and Giveaway

6_29 tiffany Power-Play-Tiffany-Snow-Release-Week-Blitz
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. One randomly drawn reader will receive a copy of Power Play. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.

Favorite writing snacks
My favorite writing snacks really varies depending on how close my deadline is. A typical day with a deadline approximately two weeks away will look like this:


7:30 am – Brew a pot of coffee, sit down to have a cup while taking care of email and social media.

8 am – Pour another cup of coffee and open my manuscript. Reread what I wrote yesterday to be inspired for today.

8:22 am – My coffee needs heating up. Quick break to do that and top off with more coffee.

9 am – I’ve written twenty-five words and I’m a little hungry. Some breakfast will help get the creative juices flowing.

9:37 am – An egg, piece of bacon and another cup of coffee. Okay, now I’m ready to write. Bacon fixes everything.

10:43 am – More coffee. Is there something sweet around here? *rummages through week-old muffin tin*

11:35 am – It’s lunchtime! A legitimate time for a break. There must be cold-cuts in the fridge…with a side of Cool Ranch Doritos and Pepsi.

12:02 pm – NOW it’s technically lunchtime, but I’ve already eaten. Time to get back to work.

1:15 pm – Vaguely hungry again and don’t know what happens next in my manuscript. Think I’ll have a snack and brainstorm.

1:35 pm – Snack pack of Cool Ranch Doritos chased with snack pack of Cheetos later and still don’t know what happens next. Pour a glass of white wine and decide to change location to the porch. A fresh view will help.

1: 58 pm – It’s hotter out here than I thought and the sun is bright. Back inside.

2:46 pm – Wine is gone but feels a little naughty to pour another glass. Let’s have something sweet instead. I think there are some Oreos in the pantry…

3:24 pm – It’s almost “happy hour,” so another glass of wine is totally fine. But it should be civilized, with food, so time to dig out the water crackers and cheese. Now it’s not wine-in-the-middle-of-the-day but a very French snack.

4:40 pm – They have tea time in Britain so I can do that here. I may even have some Earl Grey. How very Continental of me. And they have biscuits, too, which means cookies and hey, I still have Oreos. This works…

5:28 pm – Look at me, working late! That deserves a cocktail! After all, it was Hemingway who said “Write drunk, edit sober.” Granted, I’m no Hemingway, but still. Time for that margarita. And you can’t have a margarita without chips and salsa so let’s dig those out, too. I can totally get some more word count in with this.

6:12 pm – Quitting time! And time to make dinner for the family. Weird that I’m not even hungry. I’ll just have a glass of wine while I cook.


Sage Reese lives for her job. More precisely, she lives for her debonair boss, Parker Andersen. Sage handles everything for Parker, even as she fantasizes about the one thing that isn’t in her job description: him. But when a high-stakes account crosses the line from shady to deadly, a tough cop starts giving Sage the attention she wishes Parker would . . .

Detective Dean Ryker couldn’t be more different from Parker. While Parker wears expensive suits like a second skin and drives a BMW, Ryker’s uniform is leather jackets and jeans . . . and his ride of choice is a Harley. While Parker’s sexiness is a reserved, slow burn, Ryker is completely upfront about what-and who-he’s after. And Sage tops his list.

Now, as Ryker digs deeper into the dark side of Parker’s business, Sage finds herself caught between two men: the one she’s always wanted-and the one who makes her feel wanted like never before . . .

About the Author: A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Tiffany Snow earned degrees in Education and History from the University of Missouri-Columbia, before launching a career in Information Technology. After over a decade in IT, she switched careers to what she always dreamed of doing – writing. Tiffany is the author of romantic suspense novels such as the Kathleen Turner Series, which includes No Turning Back, Turn to Me and Turning Point. Since she’s drawn to character-driven books herself, that’s what she loves to write, and the guy always gets his girl. She feeds her love of books with avid reading, yet she manages to spare time and considerable affection for trivia, eighties hair bands, the St. Louis Cardinals, and Elvis. She and her husband have two daughters and one dog.

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Interview with Laura Nicole Diamond

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Laura Nicole Diamond, whose latest book Shelter Us was recently released. You can read our review here. I asked her to share something about the book that wasn’t in her blurb.

“Sarah’s maternal grandmother Bibi is an incredibly important person in her life. Bibi came to the U.S. from Guatemala alone, 17-years-old, pregnant with Sarah’s mother, and determined to make a better life for both of them. She’s strong, vibrant, and independent. Some of those personality traits are based on my own grandmother, who is positive, full of energy, and was a huge force for fun in my childhood. Her immigrant background is based on my living in southern California, where so many people come from Central America looking for a better life.

Another important element of Shelter Us that is not in the book jacket is the influential role of Judaism on Sarah. Her late mother was a convert to Judaism. One of the foremost memories Sarah has of her mother is her commitment to ‘welcome the stranger,’ a fundamental tenet of Judaism. The title Shelter Us comes from a lullaby Sarah’s mother used to sing to her, and which Sarah sings to her children, a song adapted from a Jewish prayer.”

The characters came first for Shelter Us. Laura started writing scenes from Sarah’s perspective.

“She was almost fully developed, although I knew next to nothing about what would happen to her. I say ‘almost fully’ developed because she evolved and deepened as I got to know her better,” Laura explained. “In fact, when I started writing, I did not know that she had had an infant die. I knew only that she was a mother of two young boys who was in a deep funk, that she was searching for elusive happiness. As I wrote, I discovered what had happened to create that depression.”

Shelter Us is Laura’s first foray into fiction. She’s always kept a journal and published personal stories on her blog, but she never had an inclination to write fiction.

“I was not a child who made up stories. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up (because adults have a strange need to press children into a corner on this subject), I answered: ballerina, actress, lawyer, teacher – even President of the United States – but never writer,” she told me.

Once she became a mother, writing became even more important to her as a way of preserving memories as well as puzzling through decisions.

“When I decided to take a break from practicing law and have more time for my then-toddler son and myself, I realized with a thrill that I could spend more time writing. It had always been a pleasure for me, because it was only for me,” she said. “Gradually I realized that I wanted to publish and share my work. I was writing about was parenthood, my daily struggles and joys. After I published a non-fiction collection of essays called Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood, I was writing one afternoon about a mother (guess who?) but felt compelled to start making things up. I wanted her to do things that I hadn’t done, or wouldn’t do, and that is how my fiction career began.”

“What is your writing space like?” I asked.

“Describing my writing space is a tour of my home and neighborhood. At the moment, I am in my backyard at our large blue-tiled table, straining against the glare of my laptop screen because it is such a gorgeous day that I couldn’t stay inside any longer. Frequently I am in the dining room, facing toward the casement windows and the trees outside. Hummingbirds love the one closest to the house, and I love the light and views in this room. When I get stuck, I’ll sometimes just describe what I see, or sit for a minute in silence and wait for words to strike me. Other times, the house is filled with noise – my two boys, their friends, the Xbox games, shouting, music – and I’ll retreat into my bedroom, sit on my bed, and try to get something done.

I wrote the scenes that would make up the first draft of Shelter Us in the writing studio of Elana Golden, in the Rockenwagner café on Arizona street in Santa Monica (which is now closed), in the Village Pantry in Pacific Palisades (also closed), and the public library in Pacific Palisades (blissfully still open).”

“What was the scariest moment of your life?” I wondered.

“I have had several scariest moments, but they all have the same reason: I thought I’d lost my son. Once, at eighteen months, I was with my two boys at home and suddenly he was gone. I looked all over my house and couldn’t find him. That story, ‘Finding Emmett,’ is in Deliver Me, so I won’t tell you where I finally found him. Later, at two years old, he wandered off while we were on a pier. We found him entering the teacup ride, tagging along with another family. The worst was when he was nine years old and I watched helplessly as he fell out of a tree and came within inches of smashing his head at high speed on a driveway. It’s a wonder I don’t make him go through life wearing a helmet.”

She loves hearing from readers, and it always surprises her with someone she doesn’t know tells her they’ve read her books or blog, because she still feels like it’s only friends and family who read them.

“Most often people reach out to tell me that they’ve connected with something I’ve written, that they’ve felt the same way and I’ve expressed it for them. It feels like a privilege to be trusted with that intimacy, and an honor to have gotten it right,” she said. “I had one snarky comment on a blog about a field trip my 10-year-old son was taking to Sacramento, flying on an airplane without parents. I confessed that I hugged him so hard that he said, ‘Too much love, Mom.’ The commenter flew off the handle about what a controlling, smotherer I was, and that he hoped my child would get away from my apron strings soon. I laughed.”

usSince the death of her newborn baby, lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Sarah Shaw has been struggling to keep it together for her law professor husband and two young sons. With her husband burying himself in his career and her friendships all having withered, she is lost in a private world of grief. Then one day, walking in LA, Sarah s heart catches at the sight of a young homeless woman pushing a baby in a stroller and saving them becomes her mission. An unlikely bond grows between Sarah and the mother, Josie, whose pride and strained relationship with her own mother prevent her from going home to Oakland. Through her friendship with Josie, Sarah slowly learns that those we love are never far, even in death and that sometimes it is the people we set out to save who save us.

About the Author:6_26 laura-nicole-diamond-headshot-2015-4-251Laura Nicole Diamond is the author of Shelter Us and the editor of Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood, a collection of true stories by 20 writers. She is a civil rights lawyer and former Editor-In-Chief of L.A. Family Magazine. Laura also writes about family, parenting, and social justice for several publications, and on her blog, Confessions of Motherhood. She sits on the Board of Trustees of PATH (People Assisting the Homeless). Laura is a native of Los Angeles, where she resides with her family.

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A Day in the Life of Dane Cobain – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Dane Cobain, whose No Rest for the Wicked was recently released.

A Day in the Life of Dane Cobain, Author of No Rest for the Wicked

Hi, folks! My name’s Dane Cobain, and I’m a writer, poet, musician and social media marketer from the UK. My debut novella, a supernatural thriller called No Rest for the Wicked, was released by Booktrope’s Forsaken imprint on June 11th, and so when I was asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest post for Long and Short Reviews, I jumped at the chance!

I loved what Pearl R. Meaker did in her guest post, and so I thought that, as I’ve never done a post like that about my writing, I’d give it a go! What follows is my secret to cramming in 16-18 hours of work every day, so listen closely…

07:45 AM: My first alarm goes off. I grunt, turn the alarm off, roll over and go back to sleep.

08:10 AM: My second alarm goes off. At this point, I know that if I don’t get out of bed, I’m going to be late for work. I pull on some clothes, pick up my rucksack, put my book and my lunchbox inside of it and walk to the bus station.

08:35 AM: I jump on the bus to work.

09:00 AM: I arrive at work, log on to my computer and get to it. Even when I’m at work, I pick up all of my writer e-mails, and I tend to work pretty fluidly. It’s not unusual for me to be pushing my books on work time, but then it’s not unusual for me to be doing unpaid overtime at home, either.

13:00: Lunchtime. I use this opportunity to catch up with all of my personal e-mails and to do a few bits and bobs on my website. A lot of my writing buddies are from America, and so I tend to get loads of e-mails and notifications from them when I’m asleep, due to the time difference. My lunch break is my opportunity to catch up with them all. If I have any time left after that, I read my book for a while.

14:00: Back to work!

17:30: I finish work and leave at 5:30 on the dot.

17:37: My bus arrives and I head home.

18:15: I get home and hop pretty much straight on my computer – sometimes, I leave it turned on, so I don’t even need to wait for it to boot up. I have a unique method of working which I call ‘the schedule’ – basically, I listen to music while working, and I change activity at the end of each song, alternating between doing stuff on my computer, tidying my house and writing. I’m pretty obsessive about it, because it’s the only way to get things done! At some point, I cook dinner and make my lunch for the following day, I go for a jog (whilst memorising poetry) and a shower, and I spent half an hour listening to an audiobook.

23:00: This used to be my cut-off point – I didn’t do anything productive after 11, because I wanted to be able to sleep. Then, I realised that sleep is overrated, anyway! Now, between 11 PM and midnight, I work on the RPG game that I’m creating!

00:00: At this point, I do some work for Forsaken, the horror imprint that publishes my work. As well as being on the roster as an author, I also help to market the imprint and to guide our authors through the publishing process. There’s usually quite a lot for me to do!

01:00: 1 AM is the new 11 PM – it’s my cut-off point for productivity. At this point, I usually do some colouring in to help me to relax a bit, and then I go to bed.

So there you have it – that’s what I get up to on a typical weekday! As you can see, there’s always something going on. I have a lie in on the weekends (because Charles Bukowski said that you should never get out of bed before noon), but then I usually work until later into the night, too. Plus, I don’t have to go to work on weekends, so I get loads done – I wrote this article on a Sunday evening.

Thanks again to Long and Short Reviews for having me, and please do check out No Rest for the Wicked and let me know what you think! You can find me on Facebook and Twitter if you’d like to keep up with me – at least, you can try!

Dane Cobain - No Rest for the Wicked CoverWhen the Angels attack, there’s NO REST FOR THE WICKED.
Father Montgomery, an elderly priest with a secret past, begins to investigate after his parishioners come under attack, and with the help of Jones, a young businessman with an estranged child, Montgomery begins to track down the origin of the Angels.

The Angels are naked and androgynous. They speak in a dreadful harmony with no clear leader. These aren’t biblical cherubs tasked with the protection of the righteous – these are deadly creatures of light that have the power to completely eradicate.

When Jones himself is attacked, Father Montgomery knows he has to act fast. He speaks to the Angels and organises a final showdown where he’s asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.

About the Author: Dane CobainDane Cobain is a writer, poet and musician from a place you’ve probably never heard of, somewhere in England. When he’s not writing books, he’s reading and reviewing them on his book blog – SocialBookshelves.com – or working at his day job in social media marketing. Find him at Facebook or follow him on Twitter @DaneCobain.

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Ten Things You Don’t Know About Writers by Amy Impellizzeri – Guest Blog and Giveaway

NBTM_TourBanner_Lemongrass Hope copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Amy Impellizzeri will be awarding a signed copy of the book (US Only) and a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

10 Things You Don’t Know About Writers

1) They read reviews.
Even if they say they don’t. They do.

2) They LOVE to read. The best writers read a lot. All genres. Every genre. In fact, they have to actually – and reluctantly! – take a hiatus from reading when they are in the throes of a writing project.

3) They need thesauruses.
In an early version of Lemongrass Hope, my editor found 147 instances of people
“whispering.” PLEASE NO MORE WHISPERING she wrote in exasperation. I’ve heard
similar stories from writers whose characters can’t stop sighing, glancing, gasping, and more!

4) They would still write whether or not anyone actually reads their work.
(But they like it better when you do!)

5) They don’t do it for the money.
Very few authors get crazy rich writing books. (This does not apply to E. L. James or J. K. Rowling.)

6) They do often work in their pajamas.
Or in my case, in my never-actually-been-to yoga pants.

7) They have day jobs.
Emerging and new authors often have to supplement income with freelance writing, copy-editing, or day jobs that have nothing to do with writing at all. The day I stepped down from my VP position at the start-up company I loved, to write full-time, was bittersweet, but also a HUGE gratitude moment for me.

8) They eavesdrop.
Fiction writers – especially when in the middle of a work-in-progress – are almost always living with characters in their head. When they overhear some funny or juicy piece of conversation in the coffee shop, you can be sure I (ahem, they!) are jotting down notes to incorporate into their work at some point.

9) They change (and sometimes forget!) character names.
In Lemongrass Hope, Celeste had about three different names in the initial manuscript before I settled on Celeste. I was constantly “finding and replacing.”

I’ve heard many stories of writers forgetting the names of the characters and switching them inadvertently halfway through the initial manuscript before the editors get hold of it.

10) They grow sour cherries, pears, and grapes on the side.
(Ok, that one might just be me.)

Layout 1 (Page 1)Set in the past, and present, LEMONGRASS HOPE is a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel. LEMONGRASS HOPE weaves together ordinary lives and events to tell an extraordinary tale of connection, loss, renewal, and of course, hope. As Kate Sutton’s decade-long marriage to Rob erodes and unravels, Kate fears that the secrets she guards from the world, including Rob’s emergency room proposal, and a whirlwind love affair from her past, have always doomed her fate. When Kate unwittingly receives a glimpse at what her life could have been had she made different choices all those years ago, it is indeed all she could have ever wanted. A confirmation of her greatest hope … and her greatest fears. Read the book hailed by New York Times Best-selling authors and reviewers, including Jacquelyn Mitchard, Oprah’s very first book club selection author.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“It seems you did not actually read my amazing piece on all of this in Time Travel, Inc.”

Kate laughed. “Is that for real? The real name of your magazine?”

“Well, yes. Seems it caused a bit of confusion with my Botswanan guide, as well. He saw me faxing some notes back to my editor and asked if I was really writing about time travel.”

“So you told him yes, naturally.”

“I actually did.” Ian looked only mildly sheepish when he said this.

“Anyway, that Botswanan guide invited me to drinks the next day. They make a drink down there from the fruit of the marula tree. It’s known to cure disease and do all sorts of things. So, over this decadent marula tree booze, my guide told me a story of a mystic in the delta who swears that through some combination of the fermented marula tree fruit and Botswanan agate, he can make things happen.”

“What things?”

“Well, time travel, of course.”

For a moment, Kate thought Ian was mocking her, or perhaps was a complete lunatic, but then he burst out laughing. “I know, crazy right? That’s what marula drink will do to you. At any rate, I have spent the last six months trying to convince my editor that there is another story down there in the delta – something about the mystic and the agate and the marula. And I’ve finally succeeded. If nothing else, I’m going to treat myself to one helluva marula drunk.”

Kate stopped eating and blinked hard at her plate of curry. She could not help but wonder what it would be like to drink marula booze in the Botswanan delta with this handsome man who seemed like he just might believe in time travel.

And who was making her want to believe as well.

Watch the book video:

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_LemongrassHopeAmy Impellizzeri is a reformed corporate litigator, former start-up executive, and best-selling author. In 2009, she left her 13-year litigation career to write and advocate for working women, later joining the executive team of the award-winning website, Hybrid Her (named by ForbesWoman as a “Top Website for Women” in 2010 and 2011). Through her work at Hybrid Her, and as Vice President, Community & Content, for its later re-brand, ShopFunder, Amy worked closely with hundreds of creative and inspiring entrepreneurs and fundraisers, writing and marketing their stories to new audiences.

In October 2014, Amy transitioned to full-time writer, with the publication of her first novel, Lemongrass Hope (Wyatt-MacKenzie 2014), which debuted as an Amazon best-seller (Romance/Fantasy and Romance/Time Travel). Oprah’s very first Book Club Selection author and New York Times #1 Best-Selling Author, Jacquelyn Mitchard, has called Lemongrass Hope a “fine and fresh thing – a truly new story.” Lemongrass Hope was featured by Library Journal and Foreword Reviews Magazine, and has been a favorite with Book Clubs and numerous Book Bloggers (including as the #1 favorite reviewed selection in 2014 by The Literary Connoisseur). Lemongrass Hope was recently selected as an INDIEFAB 2014 Book of the Year Finalist (Romance) by Foreword Reviews Magazine.

Amy’s first non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing 2015), is due out Summer 2015. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, ABA Law Practice Today, The Glass Hammer, Divine Caroline, Skirt! Magazine, among more.

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Killing Time by Ingrid Nickelsen – Spotlight and Giveaway

BBT_TourBanner_KillingTime copy

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

MediaKit_BookCover_KillingTimeDeath is the ultimate heartbreak. Evangeline never expected it to break hers after she died. No one should have to choose between their husband and their first love, but it is that choice that shatters her spirit.

She makes her choice, choosing not to transition, and finds that death can be vengeful too.

The world of the dead is far more complex that she ever knew, and facing the consequences of her actions might be the hardest obstacle yet, Fighting to survive in a world she doesn’t understand, she seeks the help of the wanderers. Time is running out as winter grips the land and her companions help her search for Will. Perhaps, if she keeps her eyes open and believes in her love enough, she will make her way back to him before the Hunters find her first.

Unexpected reunions, impossible choices, and long-hidden secrets will fill her journey with joy and sadness. It is Hunting season and Evangeline will have to fight for those she loves while remembering that cheating death always has a price.

Told from a dual perspective, Killing Time brings the For Better or for Worse series to a heart-stopping continuation in every sense of the word

Enjoy an excerpt:

The snow is burning my skin. I know it. But I can’t feel it, not really. It doesn’t hurt that much, I guess.

I don’t know how to move anymore, lying here on the cold white ground like a dead body. I feel dead.

Guilt weighs on me, and now it’s simply too hard to fight it. I can’t fight it. I stare numbly at the empty sky above me, utterly disoriented. I hear his voice calling me over and over again, desperately willing it to stop. That’s what hurts most. The pain in his voice, piercing the darkness. Piercing me. I close my eyes to silence my tears.

Please, stop. I’m so sorry.

About the Author: Ingrid is a 23-year-old French girl, college student, and dreamer. She currently resides in Paris, where she spends most of her time going to museums and the movies. Despite the romantic atmosphere in Montmartre, or even the fancy cafés in the Champs Elysées, she would easily trade it all for a nice walk in the woods with her schnauzer, Golden. She is always craving adventures, and finds that books are the cheapest way to travel to far-away lands. She is inwardly convinced that words have the power to heal the worst blisters on our hearts, or at least can make us forget about them for a little while. And sometimes, it is just enough to face another crazy day.

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anniversary header 2015 copy

Long and Short Reviews is having a huge 8th Anniversary Bash!!

This celebration is for all fiction genres we feature and review (romance, erotic romance, YA/Middle Grade, Mystery/Suspense, SFF and mainstream fiction) and will run August 17 – 28, 2015. We expect a huge turnout, with thousands of visitors, just like we’ve had every year on our anniversary! It’s a chance for some significant exposure. We’ll also be heavily promoting on all our social media accounts.

In addition to several other prizes (including books and author swag), we plan on giving away at least two $100 Amazon/BN GCs, and several smaller Amazon/BN GCs, all of which are sure to be a draw. If we get enough author participation, we’ll have even more GC prizes!

Author participation will cost $10 per book, but you will receive a $5 credit toward any ad or service offered by Long and Short Reviews or by our sister site, Goddess Fish Promotions. So, it’s practically free!

This year, we’ll be doing a scavenger hunt. We’ll create a blog post with your book information, cover, links and your author bio. The readers will need to read your blurb (and so get to learn about your book) and answer a question about it in order to enter via rafflecopter which will also have your cover and a link to your post. Here is an example of what the rafflecopter entry will look like:

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To participate, please fill out this form: http://www.jotform.us/form/41804468836160 – you’ll be asked for your book and author information so we can promote you!

Deadline to apply is August 1, 2015

If you have any questions, please email us at lasreviews@gmail.com

Thank you,

Marianne and Judy