Almost a Bride by Sarah Mayberry – spotlight and giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sarah will be awarding a digital copy of Almost a Bride to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances to win.

Tara Buck has always been the good sister, level-headed by comparison to Scarlett, her flaky, impulsive twin. But when Tara learns her fiancé has been cheating on her with one of his school students, the orderly world she’s created for herself suddenly feels as if it’s falling apart. For years she chose the safe option, but from now on she’s going to live a little, stretch her wings…be a little daring. And if that means acting on the long-suppressed feelings she’s always had for Reid Dalton, then so be it!

Reid has wanted Tara from the moment he met her, but she’s always been out of bounds. Not only is she his patrol partner at the Bozeman PD, she’s also engaged. But then her relationship blows up, and Reid finds himself battling his own instinct to stake his claim with the finest, hottest woman he’s ever known.

Even if anything did happen between them, it would only ever be temporary – Reid’s a born wanderer, while Tara’s roots run deep in Marietta. So even if things are good between them, it seems their romance is destined to be short and sweet…

Tara’s twin sister, Scarlett, also has a Spring Brides story: look out for Second Chance Bride by Trish Morey. Details from montanabornbooks.com

Now enjoy an excerpt:

She pulled away, instinctively licking her lips to soothe them. Reid’s gaze followed the movement, and she was close enough to see his pupils dilate and his nostrils flare.

She went very still. And then she did something she’d been wanting to do for a very long time: she leaned close and kissed him, properly this time.

His mouth was warm, and she could taste the sweetness of the lemon meringue pie he’d had for dessert. She waited for him to respond, to do something, but he seemed to be waiting for something else. Something more.

Feeling bolder than bold, she ran her tongue along the closed seam of his lips, asking for entry. There was the smallest of pauses, then some of the tension went out of him as he opened to her, his tongue stroking hers, his mouth starting to move at last. His hands found her waist, his fingers gripping her warmly as his kiss became more demanding, more urgent.

 

Sarah Mayberry is the award-winning, best selling author of more than 30 novels. She was born in Melbourne, Australia, and is the middle of three children. Sarah picked up a love of romance novels from both her grandmothers and has always wanted to be a writer. In line with this ambition, she completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Writing and Literature. It took her ten years and multiple attempts before her first book was accepted. During that time, Sarah worked in magazine publishing and the television industry, contributing to the internationally known Australian serial drama “Neighbours” and co-creating teen drama series “Karaoke High”. Sarah currently splits her time between writing for television and writing novels.

She lives in Melbourne by the bay with her husband and a small, furry Cavoodle called Max. When she isn’t writing, she loves reading, cooking, going to the movies and buying shoes.

www.sarahmayberry.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahMayberryAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MayberrySarah

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Mayberry/e/B001HMOSEY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1397177563&sr=1-2-ent

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/sarah-mayberry

Tule Publishing: http://tulepublishing.com/product-category/sarah-mayberry

 

INTERVIEW: Amber Leigh Williams

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Amber Leigh Williams whose newest release A Place With Briar is now available.

A Place With Briar is the first in a series about Amber’s hometown, Fairhope, Alabama–a beautiful small town on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay. Ever since she was bitten by the writing bug when she was small, she knew that one day she would write a story about Fairhope.

“Finally, one day, I found the perfect characters and that all-important ‘what-if’ scenario that clicked nicely with the setting,” she told me. “In the book, there are real life places – parks, restaurants, scenic highways…. I even throw in a beach scene. (Fairhope is only a hop, skip, and a jump from Alabama’s gorgeous, white-sand beaches.) I threw a few deeper, more personal connections into the book as well. The fact that the hero rides in on a Harley is reminiscent of my own, real-life, motorcycle-riding hero. Though Cole and Briar’s characters are not based on my husband and me, the route Cole takes when he gives Briar her first motorcycle ride is nearly identical to the one my husband took me on a few days after we met. It’s a very special scene because of that significance, for me.”

Amber is pretty sure that the series will consist of four books. She’s recently signed a two-book contract with Harlequin Superromance to write the second and third books of the series–that will keep her busy for the better part of the year. The second book is centered around Briar’s cousin Olivia, who is another small business owner. She has a tavern on the bay.

“I recently finished revising it for my editor. It should launch in October of this year,” she said.

In her writing, she usually starts out with a “what if” scenario, which amounts to the original plot concept.

“For example, in the case of my latest book, A Place With Briar, I thought, ‘What if this innkeeper whose mother has just died is losing her family’s inn and she falls in love with her latest guest, a man who rides in on a Harley Davidson and carries secrets behind his dark, haunted eyes?’ Falling in love with this man she knows little about and who is so obviously troubled is the last thing she needs, but it’s inevitable. In turn, what if this man is staying at the inn under false pretenses and he’s in league – against his better judgment and perhaps his own will – with the person who wants to take the inn away from the heroine? And yet he can’t stop himself from falling in love with his target? It was an irresistible concept and character-driven, which makes it even more compelling to me,” she explained. “If my characters don’t develop before the plot does, the ‘what-if’ scenario will usually give me all I need to know to figure out who the hero and heroine are and what their conflict is.”

Amber has swapped romance sub-genres quite a bit looking for the right it. The first romance novel she read was romantic suspense and, for years, it was all she read, so it felt natural when she started writing romance to write romantic suspense. Some of her work might include elements of suspense, but she’s found that she’s not quite able to make the genre work for her voice as a whole. She’s tried writing historicals (Regencies and Highland romances are her guilty pleasures to read) and, while she’s proud of those books, it doesn’t come as naturally to her as contemporary romance.

“Neither does paranormal romance, which I’ve also tried,” she explained. “It was fun, though, and quite the challenge. Many lessons learned there. I thoroughly enjoyed writing western contemporary romance. I love me some hot cowboys! When I finish writing my hometown series, I plan to approach this sub-genre again and write another cowboy trilogy. This one will be set in the Black Hills of South Dakota, whereas my previous western titles were set in West Texas.”

“What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?” I asked.

“Reading is so personal; it’s meant to be so many people will differ in their preferred elements to a story. However, good fiction needs plot. If there’s no plot, the story backpedals. I think it was J.R. Ward who said, ‘Plots are like sharks. They keep moving or they die.’ This leads to conflict. Great conflict is the most essential element of any story. A relatable protagonist is the second most important element of good storytelling. For me, though, I simply cannot finish a book without at least a dash of romance and some kick-ass dialogue! I’m a fan of both writing and reading dialogue, particularly the tension-fueled sort between a hero and heroine in a romance novel,” she said with a smile.

Amber is trying to find time between her deadline and being a mommy to a beautiful, rambunctious toddler to read the Outlander series in its entirety.

“I read the first book for the first time last year and was blown away. The problem is that the books are SO absorbing. I get lost in them. So I definitely can’t be either writing or mommying when I pick one up. And these days if the little one is down for a nap or goes to bed early, I’m jamming as much writing as I can in or taking advantage of the down time with my husband. Very little time to get thoroughly lost in the reading world,” she told me.

Amber has been writing since she was in the third grade–starting out with very short plays based on whatever she was reading at the time. Then she started writing short YA novels about witches in everyday life before crossing over into some mystery. Slowly, the mysteries were taken over by the dating lives of her characters. It was around this time that Amber read her first romance novel.

“I knew instantly that that was my calling,” she said. “Once you’re bitten by the writing bug, I don’t think you ever can stop being a writer. You just have to find your writing niche and your voice.”

“Can you tell us about your writing space?”

“It’s a small sitting room off the master bedroom. This room was why my husband and I chose to live here originally because it was the perfect writing cave. It has big windows on one wall that face east so there’s plenty of sunlight in the morning when I need it for motivation. There’s a birdhouse just outside it so in the spring I get to see birds nesting. My husband put his excellent carpentry skills to use shortly after we moved in and built me some impressive book shelves that take up another wall. The desk is wide, which is good because I thrive in clutter and there’s plenty of space to put it. There’s also a smaller bookcase my grandfather built and a painting he bought when he attended the International Educational Film Festival during the bicentennial. I thought seriously about becoming an educator myself before I decided to become a full-time writer. It’s a nice link to have with me every day while I’m writing, especially since he passed away before I was born. And, of course, there are the pictures of my husband and my son, which make up the rest of the space. They’re my favorite part of the room.”

“What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?”

“When I had a better metabolism, it was snacking. Constant snacking and refueling because writing for me is adrenaline-based. Particularly when I’m free-writing, which I did a lot of when I first started writing romance. When I was up against a deadline, I would spend huge blocks of time at the computer. Seriously, I wouldn’t look in a mirror until I was done. Which is really bad when you have a habit of dragging your hands through your hair when you’re stressed…like I do. When my husband came home on these days, he would be greeted by a frenzied woman in rumpled pajamas with a hairstyle not unlike Tawny Scrawny Lion’s. Chapstick is still another writing quirk of mine. I bite my lip a lot when I’m trying to work out plot kinks so chapstick is a necessity.”

Amber told me that she’s written more books than she can count, but she’s published a romantic adventure, a romantic suspense, one historical romance based in World War II–which was nominated for our Best Book of 2009 contest–three western contemporary romance novellas (one of which placed first in the novella category of the More Than Magic Contest), and her new Superromance series.

“I can honestly tell you that I do not have a favorite book…though A Place With Briar comes very, very close because of its connections with my personal life.”

About the Author:4_18 biopic1Amber Leigh Williams lives on the Gulf Coast. A southern girl at heart, she loves beach days, the smell of real books, relaxing at her family’s lakehouse, and spending time with her husband, Jacob, and their sweet, blue-eyed boy. When she’s not running after her young son and three, large dogs, she can usually be found reading a good romance or cooking up a new dish in her kitchen. She is represented by Joyce Holland of the D4EO Literary Agency.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Blog

4_18 APlacewithBriar He’s in some serious trouble….

Cole Savitt does not want to deceive Briar Browning. But if he hopes to see his son again, he has to find the weaknesses in her charming bed-and-breakfast, then get out of town fast! But the quaint inn isn’t the only thing charming him….

Cole’s straightforward plan becomes anything but when he begins to fall for the beautiful innkeeper. Suddenly everything’s on the line—his future with his son, a chance at happiness and the love of a good woman. Cole must rethink his priorities…and the stakes have never been higher.

Buy the book at Amazon, Harlequin, or Barnes and Noble

Hamlet’s Slippery World by P.M. Carlson – guest blog and giveaway

VBT-Maggie-Ryan-Banner
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will receive a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

HAMLET’S SLIPPERY WORLD

It was a small off-off-Broadway theatre, with a dedicated company of actors, a tiny budget, an audience of less than a hundred people. Yet when the lights went down and the palace guard cried “Who’s there?” I was plunged not only into the show in front of me, but also back in time as this new presentation raised echoes of the many previous HAMLETs I’ve seen.

Most especially, this show awakened memories of a long-ago production in my student days at Cornell University.

I was finishing a degree in experimental psychology, and raising two little boys, but I was married to an actor/director/professor so I remained close to the theatre where I’d worked for years. That Cornell production was the keystone of a festival devoted to HAMLET. Most of the shows I’d worked on had all-student casts, but for this special production, Cornell had hired professional actors for the major roles in the great tragedy.

So the rehearsals felt different. Student actors were a little jealous that they weren’t even considered for the best roles, yet awed to be working next to professionals, people who actually earned money acting. And the professionals were intrigued by the often talented but green students rehearsing beside them, like younger versions of themselves. Younger versions who didn’t yet know how much hard work and sacrifice would be required, who didn’t yet know how little money would actually be earned, who didn’t yet know that actors–– except for the tiny percentage who are stars–– often live in squalid conditions of near-poverty as they trudge to audition after audition. These backstage dynamics fascinated me as a psychology student too.

A few years later, living in Indiana far from Cornell, I decided to write a mystery. I already knew I wanted my detective, Maggie Ryan, to be a working mother of small children, like me. But unlike me, she was going to solve crimes. I soon realized I’d better figure out how she became a woman who would take precious time and energy from her family and her job to chase murderers.

So the series began in Maggie’s college years in the late ‘60’s. Maybe a bit homesick, I put her into a familiar situation: a tech crew at an upstate New York university theatre production. A production of–– why not HAMLET?

It was a casual decision, I thought. I knew and loved the play, I was sure many readers would too, and I’d been close to the Cornell production with its interesting psychological dynamics backstage.

But looking back, I think my subconscious had a few other reasons for choosing HAMLET, reasons that resonate through the whole series.

Shakespeare’s play is set at a time of war and threatened invasion. Whether Danish, Elizabethan, or Vietnam-era American, this background affects people. Claudius, suddenly and insecurely the king, struggles to make his government look stable, to block possible invasions of his realm. Prince Hamlet measures himself against the warrior ideal of masculinity, Fortinbras embodies it.

The play is also set in a family in crisis. Hamlet’s beloved father has just died, his beloved mother has, in his eyes, betrayed his father by her quick remarriage. Claudius attempts to win over the grieving, hostile prince. Gertrude is torn between the needs of her son and her husband. Family attachments, love, memories, betrayals, and.even the supernatural world get involved. The ghost of Hamlet’s father claims he was murdered by Claudius and demands that Hamlet live up to his moral duty, revenge.

The plot unrolls as Hamlet tries to discover what’s true in his slippery world. Did the ghost speak truth? Will Claudius reveal his guilt if he sees the murder reenacted? Will Hamlet’s feigned madness fool Claudius? If his father’s death was murder, can he avenge it? Can he, like Fortinbras, live up to society’s warrior ideal?

It’s true that HAMLET is so rich and complex that it can be interpreted and played in many different valid, truthful ways. It’s also true that many good stories share a number of themes with Shakespeare’s great play–– including most mysteries. We mystery writers chronicle slippery worlds like Hamlet’s, where little is known and our detectives, spurred on by a sense of justice as strong as Hamlet’s ghost, seek to discover if murders have been committed, and who did them, and who’s hiding crimes, and why.

So it’s not surprising that, as the actors in my novel focused on bringing the characters in Shakespeare’s play to life, similar concerns crept into the mystery I was writing, Its world became slippery too. One of my heroes was enacting the play’s villain–– was something similar happening in the cast or crew? Were there secret love affairs?. Was the death a murder, or not? If so, could the players help solve it? The story in AUDITION FOR MURDER reflected more themes in HAMLET than I’d consciously realized when I chose it.

In fact, as I continued writing the Vietnam-era Maggie Ryan mysteries, I felt the spirit of HAMLET hovering over the whole series. Actor Nick O’Connor is a major character in most of the books, and like many actors, lines from plays–– especially Shakespeare’s–– run through his head as he observes the world. On a deeper level, the series is concerned with similar themes: the effects of war on combatants and non-combatants both, family dynamics, the importance and stresses of being good parents, the difficulty of finding the truth, the necessity of play and laughter and friends, the restrictions of society’s idealized roles, and a major question in all the novels: how should good people respond to evil?

Hamlet’s slippery world is a lot like ours.

Enjoy the author talking about the book:

9781932325218-Perfect AUDITION FOR MURDER (Maggie Ryan 1967) Actors Nick and Lisette O’Connor need a change. They leave New York City for a semester as artists-in-residence at a college upstate, where they take on the roles of Claudius and Ophelia, two of the professional leads in a campus production of Hamlet. Threats and accidents begin to follow Lisette, and Nick worries it might be more than just petty jealousy. Maggie Ryan, a student running lights for the show, helps investigate a mystery steeped in the turmoil of 1967 America.

About the AuthorMEDIA KIT  PM Carlson PhotoP.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.

Author Website ~ Publisher Website
Buy the book at the publisher (all formats. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Forgetting Fallenwood by Leslie D. Soule – guest post and giveaway

NBtMR_ForgettingFallenwood_Banner

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Leslie will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to TWO randomly drawn commenters during the tour, so make sure you visit with her today. Click the banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Beating The “I Don’t Want To Write” Syndrome

Do you ever have those days when you really want to write, but for whatever reason, you can’t bring yourself to do it? The culprit could be increased stress due to job factors, a sudden loss of interest, or maybe a bad review of something you’ve previously written. Sometimes, it’s just plain burnout. As a college graduate, I’m rather familiar with the symptoms of burnout – it happens when you really want to do something, like write a paper or complete a project, but for whatever reason, you just can’t bring yourself to do it. Eventually, there will be a crash if you persist. The I-Don’t-Want-To-Write bug is similar, and you can’t beat it just by forcing yourself to write, like some kind of novel-machine.

As with burnout, the answer just may be to do something else entirely, to take your mind off of the task at hand. Once you’re refreshed, you can then return to your work with renewed vigor and (hopefully) a renewed sense of purpose and confidence. I find that because writing is such an intensely mental exercise, it helps to do something physical if you’re feeling like you don’t want to write, or nearing burnout. You don’t necessarily have to join a gym or pay money in order to get some exercise in, either. Even stepping away from your work desk for a few minutes may have a positive effect. Running is a good option, and there are many websites where you can print out a Couch To 5k schedule, and start with small workouts that build into the ability to run a full 5k eventually.
In conclusion, when facing the “I Don’t Want To Write” bug, I find that it’s often helpful to do something enjoyable, other than writing. Your writing will always be there, and it should be something you want to do, instead of feeling like a chore.

What do YOU do when you don’t feel like writing? I’d love to hear your thoughts!!!

Cover_Forgetting FallenwoodWhat happens when Ash accidentally makes her way through another portal, this time into the Other Realm, and forgets she ever went to Fallenwood? More importantly, how much of one’s identity is made up of memories? Fallenwood 2 is the continuing journey of heroine Ash Kensington. Struggling with a deep sense of grief, sorrow, and overall confusion, Ash tries to work her way through to a deeper, underlying meaning. This search leads her back to Fallenwood, where the mystery unravels itself as she realizes that a very sinister force may be underlying everything…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Ashley woke in a cold sweat. She remembered nothing of her time spent in the magical realm known as Fallenwood. Without the remembrance of her journey in Fallenwood, Ashley awoke as her former self, without the benefit of the lessons learned during her journey. That journey never existed, and her memory bank filled itself with everything she’d known before she left. Ashley began living a normal life, as though Fallenwood didn’t exist at all. Now, visions slipped away into nothingness and she believed she’d only had a series of incredibly vivid dreams and nothing more.

Yet the heart keeps a remembrance of its own, and without Prince Edward, a cold loneliness sank to the core of Ashley’s heart. Her mind couldn’t define the source of her heartache, so she blindly sought its cure.

AuthorPicLeslie D. Soule is an author who loves to try new genres and Sacramento, California is her hometown. She has an M.A. in English from National University and is a member of the English Chapter of the Sac State Almuni Association. She is currently working on her fantasy quadrilogy, The Fallenwood Chronicles.

Website link: www.lesliesoule.com

Twitter: @Falcondraco

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fallenwood-Chronicles-by-Leslie-D-Soule/177827352253328

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Forgetting-Fallenwood-Leslie-D-Soule/dp/1612356842/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392247354&sr=8-1&keywords=Forgetting+Fallenwood

Melange Books: http://www.melange-books.com/authors/lesliedsoule/ForgettingFallenwood.html

The Making of a Romance Writer by Maria Alexander

NBtM Untangle My Heart Banner copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card via the Rafflecopter below. Click the banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Making of a Romance Writer
by Maria K. Alexander, Author of Untangle My Heart
How many of us have imagined what it would be like to be famous? If you did, maybe you dreamed of wearing glamorous clothes, fabulous shoes and sparkling jewelry. Don’t forget limos and champagne along with a sexy man escorting you across a red carpet.

When I think of my early impressions of a romance writer, I think of Danielle Steel. She was one of my favorite authors who got me enthralled with reading romance as a young girl. I remember looking at her author photo at the end of her book, where she’d always be wearing something sophisticated and gorgeous, and I’d say to myself, “I want to be like her.”

Well, here’s a reality check…

This writer’s everyday life is not glamorous.

I get too little sleep, don’t keep the house as neat as I’d like, I miss out on the occasional softball game all in the name of writing. Like many, I juggle a day job, family, fitness, friends and writing. It’s a journey I started over five years ago and despite the missed sleep, I wouldn’t change it.

I’ve always been a goal-oriented person. And any goal worth striding toward is worth some self-sacrifice. I thought long and hard before embarking on this journey. I armed myself with data on the craft of writing, attended a countless number of workshops, and have worked hard to strengthen my skills. It’s not an easy journey and has the potential for failure. Even knowing this, I was still intent on pursuing my dream.

“Failure is not your final destination.” Vernice Armour
I heard these words from a motivational speaker at my day job. This phrase, along with her workshop (and book) really resonated with me. The journey through life can be challenging. For some, more so than others. The same applies to writers. Some people write one book, get and agent, and get published. Others have written ten or more before they’re picked up. Many more are still struggling.

I’ve been blessed that it only took five years and two manuscripts before I got published. It wasn’t easy and I had a lot of challenges to work through. And I still do. Because there are so many opportunities for publication, writers have to work harder to write the best story possible. We have to keep our material fresh and engaging to our readers.

And now that I’ve reached one goal—publication—it’s not over. The journey doesn’t stop with the publication of a book. Rather, it’s a start of a whole new phase. Now that I’ve reached that bar, I raise it up and try for the next goal. In my way of thinking, the bar never stops moving. You’re in charge of where you set it and how quickly you choose to move to get there. Sometimes life gets in the way and you sit idle for a while. And that’s okay. But keep moving, even if it’s moving in place.

The making of a romance writer isn’t always glamorous, and it certainly has its ups and downs, but I’ve met a lot of fabulous authors and made new friends. This July, I’ll head down to San Antonio, Texas for Romance Writers of America’s annual conference. I’ll be in the presence of awe-inspiring authors like Nora Roberts, Kristin Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and many others. For the first time, I’ll get to sign at the “Readers for Life” Literacy book signing. And while I won’t attract the masses like the wonderful ladies I just mentioned, I hope to connect with a few readers who will be attracted by my cover and stop by my table. I’ll get to dress up and attend an award ceremony to recognize achievement in writing. For those few days, I will feel…not exactly famous…but part of greatness. And it will bring a smile to my lips and help me remember all that I’ve accomplished and what’s more to come.

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhen her marriage ended in tragedy, Kate DiFrancesco rebuilt her life, but has never gotten over the pain of what she lost. Seeking the help of an ex-lover ignites feelings she’s promised never to have again. She’ll need to untangle herself from dangers in her past in order to break the hard shell around her heart.

Edward Weston has a lot to prove, both to his stuffy upper-crust British family, and to himself. Working alongside Kate, a woman he had a casual relationship with, stirs unexpected feelings. Helping her family makes him realize what he’s missing. For the first time, he wants more than a one-night stand.

When Kate is threatened, Edward must overcome feeling unworthy to protect the woman he loves and fight for the family he never thought he’d have.

About the Author: MEDIA KIT Headshot - Maria K. Alexander (2)

A romantic at heart, Maria K. Alexander spent hours as a young girl getting lost in and wishing to be one of the heroines in the stories she read. Books gave her the ability to go to another world where she loved meeting new characters, learning about their problems, and watching them fall in love.

 

Maria blogs about her writing journey with The Violet Femmes at http://thevioletfemmes.com. When not writing, Maria loves to read, bake, downhill ski, visit the beach, and watch romantic comedies. Maria lives in New Jersey with her husband and children, and writes in her “spare” time between juggling a full-time job and her kids’ busy schedules.

 

You can keep in touch with Maria at:

 

Website: http://mariakalexander.com

The Violet Femmes Blog: http://thevioletfemmes.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MKAlexander1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maria-K-Alexander-Author/201236689917319

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/mariakalexander

You can buy Untangle My Heart at:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00GVKRLOG

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1or9aAY

The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/1gWifgp

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1cU0Ub8

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1gMBszO

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Four Novellas by Lashell Collins


This post is part of the Cover Reveal Blog Tour for the first four books in Lashell Collin’s Kelly Family Series. These four novellas will all be released on April 30, followed exactly one month later on May 30 by a full length novel in the series. Lashell will be awarding a $15 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The other stops on the tour can be seen by clicking the tour banner.

Ethan: A Kelly Family Novella

Officer Ethan Kelly is a nice guy. That’s what all the girls say, right before they toss him aside for one of those bad boys. But when he meets rookie officer, Heather Moss, Ethan is determined to show her that a nice guy knows how to treat a real woman.

But Heather isn’t interested. Or at least, she doesn’t want to be. She swore off men a long time ago, and focusing on her career leaves zero room for romance. Even with someone as sweet and sexy as Ethan. But when she saves his life on a robbery call, Heather realizes that he might just be the man to save her from herself.

Storm: A Kelly Family Novella

Bad boy cop Storm Kelly is on the prowl for some action. And the way he’s feeling, he doesn’t much care if it comes in the form of a bar fight or a smart, sassy woman. So when he gets off his Harley and walks into a biker bar, he’s in his element when he finds both … barroom brawl, check. Rescue the damsel in distress, check. And with any luck, that sexy damsel might just turn out to be the perfect sub he’s been searching for.

Nina Fitz is in a world of trouble when the sexy stranger comes to her rescue. Never one to resist a hot guy on a motorcycle, she quickly decides to invite this one home. And when the jerk from the bar decides he’s not through with her, Officer Storm Kelly becomes her protector. But after one night of passion with Storm, Nina is left wondering if she can handle his dark dominant side.

Frankie: A Kelly Family Novella

Frankie Kelly has fought her whole life to prove that she is just as capable as all the men in her testosterone-driven family. And now her hard work and dedication to the police K-9 program is finally beginning to pay off. But when her secret, sexy romance with her sergeant culminates in a marriage proposal, Frankie is thrown for a loop wondering if she’s ready to go public with their clandestine relationship.

John Myles is sure of two things in life – one, that he is dedicated to the K-9 program he leads at the police department. And two, that he loves Frankie Kelly more than life itself. But when she hesitates to accept his proposal, John is rattled. Especially when the job gets in the way, forcing him to send her and her K-9 partner out into the dark night in search of a dangerous murder suspect.

Marina: A Kelly Family Novella

Marina Kelly is sick to death of cops! That’s all she’s known her entire life – her father is a cop, her uncle was a cop. All of her cousins are cops. Even her two brothers and her big sister … all cops. So Marina decided early on that her life would take a much different path, getting as far away from that lifestyle as she could get. And dating a cop is totally out of the question!

Levi Hawks is well aware of Marina’s ‘no cops’ dating rule, so when a supposed chance meeting brings him face-to-face with the sexy shop owner, Levi is determined to hide the fact that he’s a police detective from her for as long as he possibly can. Or at least until he can get her to agree to go out with him!

About the Author:

Lashell Collins spent the last twenty years of her life working in Veterinary Hospitals and Garden Centers. But whether she was surrounded by the adorable puppies and kittens she helped care for, or by the beautiful flowers, trees and shrubs, she constantly pursued her favorite pastime – reading romance novels and imagining herself as the heroine in each and every one of them. She began writing as a way to work through her grief after the loss of a few people who were special to her, and she found it to be cathartic, so she kept at it. She self-published her first novel in 2013. Since then, Lashell has self-published ten titles across two series – the Pierced Trilogy (romantic suspense), and the Jagged Ivory Series (contemporary romance) – and is hard at work on another seven titles for this year. All of Lashell’s stories are full of heart and romance, with smart dialogue and spicy sex scenes.

When she’s not writing, Lashell enjoys reading, shopping, eating Chinese food, and riding on the back of her husband’s Harley-Davidson. She loves watching General Hospital and Grimm. She is a huge music fan and is completely obsessed with Slash. Lashell is a member of the Romance Writers of America. Drop her a line; she loves to hear from readers.

Website: http://lashellcollins.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LashellCollins
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LashellCollinsAuthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lashellcollins1/

All of the books are available for prepurchase at Barnes and Noble:
Ethanhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ethan-lashell-collins/1119059178?ean=2940045799034
Stormhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/storm-lashell-collins/1119059179?ean=2940045799041
Frankiehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/frankie-lashell-collins/1119059181?ean=2940045799065
Marinahttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marina-lashell-collins/1119059183?ean=2940045799096

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Kingdoms of War by Lisa Beth Darling

4_16 finalcovermedium
KINGDOMS OF WAR
BOOK #5 OF WAR SERIES
LISA BETH DARLING

With nearly four billion souls lost to the ravages of anarchy and the dreaded disease Major Falls, Ares and Raven journey the Mortal World vainly reaching for a sliver of what was only to discover what will be. Unleashed by Apollo, Major Falls—a weaponized version of the flu and rabies– has wiped out every person of watery Mortal Blood.

From the fiery wreckage a new world is slowly arising one where the descendants of Olympians, Celts, Dark Fae, and all manner of Magickal Being will rule. For the last millennium the Dark Kingdom has sent small legions of its Daughters in search of its Lost Queen. Among their number is Lenora, a sharp tongued Dark Fae who joins up with ARES hoping to get close to its leader, Raven. And she does.
The Wolf inside the God of War contracts Major Falls. As Ares and Athena wander the world hoping to curtail further damage by obliterating weapons of mass destruction he slowly succumbs to the sickness taking over his fevered rabid mind. Ares may not live to see the glory of Olympus restored nor fight to keep his Wife. If he does, how high will be the price for Ares’ life? How long will Alena have to keep paying Apollo?

Enjoy the following excerpt:
From this vantage point, safe at the bottom of the hill, the crowd watched the battle play out, they watched the fort explode and held their breath hoping a savior had finally arrived to lift them out of this hell and break the hold of Snake’s tyranny.

Athena laid her hand gently on Raven’s shoulder as she looked up to the burning fort on top of the hill with the joyful sounds of the people behind her. “Better than causing Anarchy, isn’t it?”

“It was supposed to be a controlled anarchy,” Raven mused as he mind wandered back to those almost altruistic plans that had gone up in smoke and died in the streets of Major Falls. Up there on the hill, inside the burning courtyard, the flag pole still stood over the flames. In their orange glow the ARES flag waved high with the American Flag right above it. “Oh say, can you see?” Raven whispered.

“Can you?”

With eyes heavy with tears, Raven glanced down at his Aunt and then back to the rejoicing crowd. “Yeah, I can.” The swelling feeling inside of him began to abate. “There’s more of ‘em, you know? More like us. More like him,” he pointed up to the fort where Snake’s reign began and ended. “Major Falls did it, Apollo did it. He had to know. He had to. It can’t be a coincidence.”

Athena nodded as she eased her hand along his bare shoulder. She knew it was no coincidence that in the short time they’d been apart, Raven managed to find his Sister, Dionysus’ Son and the Fae. Even she sensed the abnormally strong presence of weak Olympian Ichor flowing through the veins of the excited crowd behind them. “Yes, I believe your eyes have been opened, Nephew.”

Enjoy the book video:

About the Author: 4_16 lbdarling_authorpicIn the 4th grade I discovered that I was a writer when we were given our first creative writing assignment. We were to write stories about a baby bird’s flight and read them to the class. I put pencil to paper and was instantly whisked away by a force I couldn’t explain. I knew that I had found my calling. Everyone read their happy stories to the class. I got up and told of how the baby bird flew too high, hit a plane, crashed to the ground and died. I told of how the mama bird and daddy bird cried of how even God was upset sending the rains pouring from the sky. The class was speechless when I finished they were all just staring at me. The teacher kept me after class told me my story was very good but it was different from the others. She asked me if I’d ever heard of Icarus and did I base my story on him. But I had yet to encounter Greek Mythology or hear a whisper of Icarus. As she let me leave class she again told me how good the story was but suggested I might want to write something happier next time. I asked her why and she had no answer. 40+ years, 16 novels, and some 30 short stories later and I still haven’t taken her advice.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Blog

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iBooks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Looking Back by Anne Clinard Barnhill

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Philippi, West Virginia, gazing at a truck-filled parking lot and watching the way the hill across the highway curves against the pale, spring sky. I grew up in this town; it’s where I went to high school and college, where I got my first kiss, where I smoked my first cigarette and where I fell in love with the rugged life in the mountains. I carry it with me always and am very excited about writing my next novel with this place in mind.

Though much is the same as when I left thirty-five years ago, much has changed. The junior high I attended is long longer in existence; in its place is a pharmacy. My old high school has doubled, maybe even tripled in size and the college is larger, too. Now it has a football stadium. Back when I was a student, the sport was soccer.

The old covered bridge is still there, having made it through floods and fires. Dating back to the Civil War, this bridge crosses the Tygart River. I used to love to walk across on the covered walkway for pedestrians and look down stream to where the water curved in a backwards “C” and wonder where the water travelled, where it would take me if I could follow it.

I’m here to give a reading and teach a couple of classes for creative writing students. And I’m here for research for yet another novel I have in mind set in West Virginia. But I’m also here to recapture the way I felt as a young girl—like the world was mine for the taking, like everything was possible and life beckoned to me with the seductive call of a siren. And I believed in all the hopeful things I suppose lots of young girls believe in—love, adventure, the chance to make the world more just, more fair, more like a place we’d all like to live.

But I fear those feelings are gone forever. I’ve seen too much, know too much to be that happy, young girl hiking in the hills. My old heart has many wounds, like most adults, I imagine. But on days like today, I long for the young girl I was, that cock-eyed optimist who believed, who cared about everything, who used to sing and dance in the yard when she thought no one was looking, the one who knew somehow everything was going to be all right. I do miss that girl but she’s not here in Philippi and she’d not at the beach where I live permanently. Maybe she’ll peek through in my writing one of these days.

About the Author:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been writing or dreaming of writing for most of my life. When I was a kid, I’d gather all the younger cousins around when we were visiting our grandparents and tell them scary stories. While in college, I discovered again my love of stories and began to write them myself. Flash forward 15 years, one divorce, one remarriage and three kids later and you’ll find me quitting my teaching job to write full-time. It was that or go crazy. That was in 1990. I started writing articles, book and theater reviews for money and slowly learned how to write a short story. A few were published in literary magazines. I kept going. In 2007, seventeen years after I started writing seriously, my first book was published, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ: Autism, My Sister and Me. Then, my short story collection was published, WHAT YOU LONG FOR. Finally, in 2012, my first novel came out, AT THE MERCY OF THE QUEEN. And now, my second novel, QUEEN ELIZABETH’S DAUGHTER, has just been released. It’s been a long, hard journey but I’m glad I took it.

Website ~ Facebook

>4_15 Queen Elizabeth's DaughterFrom Anne Barnhill, the author of At the Mercy of the Queen, comes the gripping tale of Mary Shelton, Elizabeth I’s young cousin and ward, set against the glittering backdrop of the Elizabethan court.

Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.

Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Stepping Up to Love by Katie O’Boyle

Cover_SteppingUpToLove

Stepping Up to Love by Katie O’Boyle
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational
Length: Full (243 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Rose

When her boss Joel Cushman catches her using the spa shower at The Manse, junior accountant and graduating college senior Manda Doughty comes clean about the alcoholic drinking that has led her into a disastrous relationship with a predatory professor. Joel, who is also a trustee of the college, is faced with more problems than a beautiful, naked woman in his shower. While he’d rather make love all night with funny, brainy Manda, Joel knows his desire for her has no future if Manda cannot stay sober, grow up, and face her problems. While Manda immerses herself in AA, Joel uncovers harassment and embezzlement that threaten the existence of the college his ancestors founded. Can he fix the problems at the college without exposing Manda to public humiliation? Can Manda clean up her mess and trust the love she feels for Joel? The odds may not be in their favor, but miracles happen for those who are willing to change their lives and open their hearts.

This book deals openly, honestly, and with no holds barred about a couple of tough subjects: alcoholism and abuse.

The reader is pulled right in at the very first with a terrified Manda trying to sleep in her car at work. The story is less about Manda getting away from her abuser, though, and more about both Manda and Joel dealing with their own internal demons. With the help of AA and the 12 step program, they realize they have to take the time to heal so they can be the people they are supposed to be for each other.

Inspirational without being preachy, Stepping Up to Love shows just how relationships are supposed to work.

This is the first book of the series and that makes me happy. I’m looking forward to reading the next which I hope will revisit not only the area but the characters as well (a Justin/Gwen pairing, maybe?). Recommended.

Baby for Easter by Noelle Adams – Book Blast and Giveaway

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

Noelle will be awarding the following prizes via the Rafflecopter at the end of this post:

* One winner will receive a $25 GC to Amazon or BN

* Two winners will receive signed paperbacks of Married for Christmas and A Baby for Easter

* Ten winners will receive their choice of ebook of any title from Noelle’s backlist.

Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Alice Grantham lost her fiancé and her job, so she’s had to come home to Willow Park to live with her parents. To recover some sense of independence and security, she’s cobbled together different part-time jobs, including one as assistant to the pastor of her hometown church. Nothing seems to be going right for her. Even Micah, the pastor’s brother and the first boy she ever loved, is standoffish with her now.

Micah has always been a prodigal son, but now he’s trying to put that lifestyle behind him. Then a five-month-old daughter he never knew existed is dropped on his doorstep, the result of one of his many one-night stands. He needs help from Alice to care for his daughter, but he can’t let himself hope for anything more from her than that. He can’t help but want it, though…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Now, however, Alice was regretting her random impulse to put on a skirt that morning, since she was on her knees in front of the bookshelves, putting the last of the commentaries back in place.

At least no one was around to see her undignified position, with her skirt pushed up to her thighs to give herself freedom to move.

“Daniel,” a voice came from outside the office. “Daniel!”

She recognized the voice, but he was in the office before she could move or pull down her skirt. She froze as she looked over her shoulder, befuddled by Micah’s sudden appearance.

He seemed equally startled to discover her on the floor, after his eyes scanned the room for his absent brother. “Oh,” he said, standing in the doorway.

It took her a minute to pull herself together, but when she did she managed to smile. “He went to the hospital to see Mrs. Cooper.”

“Oh.” Micah was such a self-assured man that it was strange to see him so stumped.

Then there was a different sound in the office. It took Alice a few seconds to even identify it. It was so unexpected that she was sure it wasn’t right.

It sounded like a baby whimpering.

Finally, her eyes drifted down to something Micah was holding. A baby carrier. A baby carrier.

“Is that a baby?” she asked, her voice hoarse with surprise.

He looked down at the carrier as if he’d forgotten he held it. “Yeah.”

She scrambled to her feet, rather clumsily, and hurried over to look at the baby as he set the carrier on Daniel’s desk, right on top of the printed copy of sermon notes for Sunday.

She peered into the carrier and saw the baby—maybe four or five months old—wearing a pink sleeper. Her eyes were blue and grumpy, and her whimpers were quickly turning louder.

Instinctively, Alice reached out for the girl and pulled her up to rest against her shoulder, patting her back in a comforting manner.

Alice had always liked kids. She’d never had baby-fever, but she certainly knew what to do when one was starting to cry.

“What are you doing with her?” she asked Micah, who’d been staring at the baby with that same glazed look of bewilderment.

“I…I don’t know.”

“Well, whose is she?” Surely this baby hadn’t dropped from the sky into the back of Micah’s truck.

His features twisted slightly—maybe anxiety, maybe disbelief. “That’s the thing. I think…I think she’s mine.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she teaches English, reads any book she can get her hands on, and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.

She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.

Social Media:

Website: http://noelle-adams.com/Home_Page.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NoelleAdamsAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NoelleAdams3

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6572847.Noelle_Adams

Book Trailer for A Baby for Easter:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

All Romance Ebooks

A Baby for Easter will be offered at a special release price of $.99 through Easter day! Regularly priced at $2.99.

a Rafflecopter giveaway