Interview and Giveaway: J.D. Brown

A special welcome to J.D. Brown who is visiting with us today as part of her virtual book tour celebrating the release of Dark Becoming, the latest book in her Ema Marx. For more prizes and ways to win, join the DARK BECOMING RELEASE PARTY on Facebook! On her virtual book tour, one lucky winner will receive a free thumb drive with over 100 free ebooks from over 100 different author downloaded inside. Enter via the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.

The books in the Ema Marx series are Athena’s Oracle (the prequel to the series), Dark Heirloom, Dark Liaison, and Dark Becoming. I asked her which was her favorite.

“That’s a tough choice. Probably, as of right now, Athena’s Oracle, just because it’s different from the rest of the series. Don’t get me wrong, though. I love Ema and the gang!”

The author read a lot growing up–everything from Homer’s Odyssey to the back of the shampoo bottle in the shower. She didn’t get the courage to try to write fiction until a few years after she graduated from college.

“There was a story I wanted to read; what the heck happened to all these heroines in paranormal books after they got bitten and married the vampire? But no one had written that story yet, so I took the challenge upon myself and created Ema Marx, the heroine of my entirely paranormal no-humans-allowed series,” she said with a wink.”

She feels that the fantasy genre is at an all-time high right now, thanks to Hollywood, and she doesn’t think that it will slow down any time soon.

“Whether we’re talking about High Fantasy like Game of Thrones, Historical Fantasy like Outlander, or Contemporary Paranormal Fantasy like Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries – people love magic, epic quests, and larger than life characters, especially during an economic low,” she said. “Fantasy provides everyone with a temporary safe escape from the stress and droll of real life. It has since the dawn of time. Different sub-genres will rise and fall, but Fantasy will always remain a fixed part of human culture.”

She did a lot of research for the Ema Marx series, starting out with the cast of characters and their back stories. Once she had the characters’ personalities and history worked out, she was able to build the world around them by placing the setting in cities that made sense with their history.

“In my mind, my vampires live on modern-day Earth, but they are thousands of years old. I had to dig deep into our real-life history, their fictional history, and connect the dots so that both sides of the coin fit together,” she explained. “Where my vampires live, how their territories are drawn, areas they avoid, etc. Sure, my vampires avoid tropical beaches and sunshine, but I wanted it to be more than that. When you’re working with ancient characters, you have to think in terms of wars fought, alliances drawn, nations defeated… and see how all of it might have shaped where they are now, in the present. I keep a binder with detailed notes that is equal parts fact and fiction, because the best fiction is rooted in fact.”

I asked her to describe her writing space.

“Right now it’s cramped. I had a nice home office, but some relatives came to stay for the holidays, so we moved my desk and computer into the bedroom and turned my office into a guest room. Afterword, I was too lazy to switch everything back again, so here I sit, in my bedroom,” she said with a laugh.

“What is the hardest part about writing for you?” I wondered.

“I bet most writers don’t say this, but I feel like being honest today; it’s all the decision making. Everyone dreams of being their own boss, but the downside is not having anyone to lean on for those difficult career decisions that could make or break you. Sure, I have a wonderful support group that I talk to daily about the harder parts of the publishing biz, but in the end, I’m the one who has to make the final choice. It can be very stressful.”

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

“Just get it done. New writers (myself included, once upon a time) tend to think that the first draft should be perfect. They waste months, even years, constantly going back to correct old chapters instead pressing forth and finishing the manuscript. Trust me, that is a recipe for disaster. Professional authors write on average ten or more drafts before selecting the best version to send to their editor. And they write those ten drafts in six months or less, because they have deadlines to keep. You can always edit a finished draft. You can’t edit a partial. And on that note – don’t ask for feedback for a partial draft either. Unless you enjoy having your ego stomped on.”

About the Author: 3_4 Author picJ.D. Brown knows that vampires exist because she’s dating one and no, he doesn’t sparkle. Unfortunately, he’s not immortal either (or maybe her standards are too low). A magnet for subcultures and weirdness, J.D. was that socially awkward girl with more fictional friends than real ones. As a child battling a hearing loss and Muckle-Wells Syndrome, J.D. found comfort in books where strong women always saved the day and got the guy. An obsession with Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Buffy the Vampire Slayer led J.D. to believe that her mutated chromosome made her something more, not something less. Thus her stubborn flare to persevere was born. A lover of fine cuisine, coffee, and shoes, J.D. never understood why shoe stores don’t serve Starbucks and soufflé. She resides in Wisconsin were she writes urban fantasy—aka vampires for adults—and has political debates with her dogs. She loves to hear from fans and is active on Facebook.

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Buy the book at Amazon.

3_4 Dark Becoming 333x500Ema Marx is in a race against time. Or rather, a race against Apollyon. A powerful weapon—the legendary philosopher’s stone—could tip the scale in favor of whoever gets their fangs on it first. For Ema, obtaining the stone is an uphill battle through love, alliance, heartbreak, and loyalty. Winning should mean the beginning of beautiful things, but the closer Ema gets to her destiny, the more uncertain her future becomes. Could it be this war was never meant for her? And why the heck doesn’t morning sickness adhere to rules of its own name? Dark Becoming is the third book the award-winning Ema Marx Series by J.D. Brown

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Love Reality by Nana Malone – Excerpt and Giveaway

Nana will be giving away 15 digital copies of Come Home Again, the first book in her Donavans Series. Just fill out the Rafflecopter Giveaway to enter! This post is part of a blog tour celebrating the release of the second book in the series: Love Reality.

3_4 Love Reality CoverA romantic who believes in love…

Walking love disaster, Mia Donovan, is a reality television production assistant by day, secret dating blogger, Lonely Girl, by night. All she has to do to get the job of a lifetime is face her fears and step in front of the camera. Unfortunately that also means dating her nemesis, Single Guy, for the entire world to see.

A cynic giving love advice…

Reluctant, dating columnists, Ryan Matthews, otherwise known as Single Guy, thinks reality-dating shows are soul-sucking endeavors that have more to do with selling unrealistic expectations than love. But for a shot at writing serious stories, he’s willing to go undercover on Love Reality to do an exposé on the dating competition. What he doesn’t count on, is falling in love.

Enjoy an excerpt:

When all was said and done, there was the usual assortment of good-looking surfer boy CEOs and investment banker types, business men, pilots, a couple in the military. Not a single one of them would be considered average in the looks department, but then, this was television. And the producers had even provided a smattering of color with Tyrell, Marcus, Miguel, who was Hispanic, and finally Channing, who appeared to be Asian.

She shifted uncomfortably. The damn shoes pinched. Note to self. Last time she gave Jamie Lee final say on her wardrobe.

The last limo rolled up, and by now Mia was relaxed enough to smile genuinely. This part hadn’t been nearly as scary as she’d thought it would be. Even if the guys were surprised to see her, they mostly recovered quickly.

The hairs on her arms stood at attention when the limousine door opened. From her position, she couldn’t clearly see the guy’s face, but he was one of the tallest. The smooth way he exited the limo told her he moved like an athlete. It wasn’t until she turned around fully that her stomach lurched. Oh, God. No no no.

He stopped in his tracks the moment he caught sight of her. Before he continued forward up the stairs, he dragged in deep breath. In his hands, he held an orchid.

His gaze met hers, and Mia completely forgot about the cameras. All she could do was stare. He brushed a kiss on her cheek, near her ear.

“It seems I am at a complete loss for words, you’re so beautiful.” Carefully, he fixed the flower to her hair and stood back. “It’s a pleasure to meet you. My name is Ryan.”

Mia blinked. Then again. He had no right to smell so good and look so good. This was not according to plan. Not at all. As her body struggled for equilibrium, her brain remained rock steady. He was here.

But he wouldn’t be staying. Mia would make sure of it.

About the Author:3_4 NanaMaloneUSA Today Bestselling Author Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin on a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana at a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since.

With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters. Waiting for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, Nana meantime works out her drama, passion, and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.

Nana is the author of twenty novels. And the books in her series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble bestseller lists as well as the iTunes Breakout Books list and most notably the USA Today Bestseller list.

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Each day a new excerpt will be featured on the blog tour, so you can follow along!

Monday, March 2, 2015 (Excerpt 1)

Ariesgrl Book Reviews
HEA Romances With A Little Kick
Peaces of Me

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 (Excerpt 2)

Becky on Books
Short and Sassy Book Blurbs
StoreyBook Reviews

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 (Excerpt 3)

Adventures in Writing
Cricket’s Chirps
Long and Short Reviews

Thursday, March 5, 2015 (Excerpt 4)

So Many Reads
The Book Review

Friday, March 6, 2015 (Excerpt 5)

ByoBook Club
Cafinated Reads
Em & M Books
Harlie’s Books

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Character Interview with Keshlik from STORM BRIDE by JS Bangs

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter to win your choice of a RAP swag item or a $5 Amazon gift card.

3_4 js bangs Storm-Bride-800 Cover reveal and Promotional
When Saotse rode across the treacherous ocean on an orca at the bidding of Oarsa, Power of the Sea, the blind maiden believed she had been chosen for a great destiny. But she hasn’t heard Oarsa’s voice in decades. Aged now, she has found her place among a peaceful, long-lived people, though her adoptive sister, Uya, still blossoms with youth. Then, pregnant Uya is kidnapped, and the rest of her family is slaughtered when an army of mounted warriors strikes the defenseless capital, leaving Saotse grief stricken and alone.

After Saotse finds refuge with strangers in a distant village, a new Power makes contact. Saotse embraces the opportunity to bury her bloodthirsty enemies in vengeance, but wielding the Power’s bitter magic could cost her everything she is.

As war escalates and allies flock to her side, Saotse believes she finally understands Oarsa’s purpose for her. But the Powers may have set events in motion that even they cannot control, and the fates of gods and men alike hang in the balance.

Reporter: Hello, I’m reporting for Prasa Evening News, here talking with Keshlik, war leader of the Yakhat. Please don’t kill me.

Keshlik: Oh, I never kill reporters. Some of my best friends are journalists.

Reporter: That’s reassuring. So, Keshlik, will you introduce yourself to our readers?

Keshlik: Hello, everyone! I’m Keshlik son of Keishul, leader of the war bands of the Yakhat, and I’m really excited to be here today. This is going to be a big year for me and the Yakhat warriors, and I think that things are looking up for us.

Reporter: As I understand, you’ve had a tough winter but have big plans for this spring.

Keshlik: Oh, yeah, BIG plans. Lots of pillaging—but I’m getting ahead of myself. This winter was a little difficult for us here in the Yakhat tribes: we have to slaughter all of the people living in the mountain passes in order to have room for our herds, and we weren’t sure where we were going when the snows melted. Most of the people living on the east side of the mountains were prepared to fight us off, and weren’t happy to have us as neighbors—

Reporter: Is that a problem you face a lot?

Keshlik: Call it an occupational hazard of the nomad warrior lifestyle. It was gonna be tough for us to go back east, but the west side of the mountains was virgin territory for us, so we’re moving that way. It’s a special opportunity for us.

Reporter: Do you have specific plans now that you’re coming down the west slope of the mountains?

Keshlik: In the short term we’re going to do the usual, plundering the small villages and farms that we find, and trying to get a feel for the geography. Supposedly there’s a big city further on south. It’s been a while since we’ve done urban warfare, and I think our younger warriors will find it a nice change of pace.

Reporter: I’m from Prasa, you know.

Keshlik: Is it nice there? I hear you have good beaches.

Reporter: If I tell you, will you refrain from plundering us?

Keshlik: Probably not. I guess I’ll have to find out about your beaches when I get there.

Reporter: Right… maybe I should take this information back to Prasa.

Keshlik: Don’t make me take back what I said about not killing reporters.

Reporter: So, enough about Keshlik the warlord. What can you tell us about Keshlik the man?

Keshlik: . Well, I got married a few years ago, which was a big change for me. My wife, Tuulo, is just fantastic. I don’t know what I would do without her. And I’m happy to announce that she’s pregnant.

Reporter: Congratulations! When is the baby due?

Keshlik: In about three months. Ironically, the baby will be born right in the middle of fighting season. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to take some time off for the birth.

Reporter: Has the new baby been a big change for you?

Keshlik: There’s all the taboos for pregnant women, the isolation, the sacred salt, the blessed circles of the goddess Khou, etc. And our midwife is a terrible ball-breaker. But Tuulo has done pretty good so far. As for me… becoming a father has changed my perspectives a little bit.

Reporter: How so?

Keshlik: A lifetime of slaughter and pillaging is nice and all, but eventually a man does want to settle down. I’ve been thinking about retiring after this next campaign, maybe spending some more time with my wife and kids. My brother should be ready to lead the Yakhat soon…

Reporter: Are you worried about what this means for the future of your people?

Keshlik: My brother is a little green, but hopefully that won’t be a problem. And as for me, with a baby and a retirement on the way, what could possibly go wrong? Wrong for me, I mean. Obviously things will go wrong for our enemies.

Indeed, what could possibly go wrong? In “Storm Bride”, two womens’ lives are changed by Keshlik’s invasion, and all three of their fates become entangled in strange and dangerous ways.

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How to Handle Negative Criticism by Tamara Hoffa – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tamara Hoffa will be awarding a $50 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.

How to Handle Negative Criticism

We’ve all heard the adage “Any publicity is good publicity” right? But to us writers our books are like our children and when you say my baby is ugly… well I want to smack you in the face. However, as a professional I can’t do that.
How do I handle negative criticism? I ignore it. That’s not to say I don’t read it. I do. I read ever review and comment I find about my work, and if it’s true criticism I am happy to listen and think about it when I write my next book. Unfortunately, a lot of the time what we writers find in negative reviews isn’t constructive criticism, but author bashing, personal attacks or people being just plain mean.

That can be really hard to handle. Sometimes you want to lash out and answer back, but I NEVER do that. To do so would only make me look bad. Opinions are like fannies, everyone has one and they can set them on whatever chair they want.

I look at it this way, having a few “bad” reviews lets people know that reviews on my book are honest and keep me honest. Some people like chocolate and some people like vanilla. You can’t please all the people all the time. (Is that enough clichés for you?)

I will say, some negative reviews can be very creative. A friend of mine recently had a terrible review, with video inserts and all. She was devastated! The review however garnered a lot of attention and she ended up selling a lot of books because of it. I guess people wanted to read the book to see if the reviewer was right and the book really was “that bad.” Who knows how some people think?

I will say, the only negative reviews that really frost my a$$ are the ones that come out on Goodreads before my book releases. I can’t understand how someone can rate a book a 1 that they haven’t read? Really? At least give me chance before you tell me I suck! Lol.

So, as an author I love to get reviews! Each one is like a present to me, and I do want your honest opinion, but please criticize my book, and my writing, not me as a person. Thanks!

Thanks for spotting by today! Happy Reading!

Twenty-five and never been kissed, Jenna Raynes is a beautiful woman with a rubenesque figure often overlooked by men. In the mood for a little honey, the sassy new schoolteacher is stopped in her tracks by one growled word from an alpha bear…“Mine.”

Bern Helms’ inner bear catches the scent of his destined mate. His animal’s desire is drawn to her curves, but Jenna is human, and not lured to him by instinct. Convincing her begins as a sizzling, sweet affair that is soon spoiled by danger. In their small backwater town, nerves are strung taut. Someone is abducting shifter children.

When confronted, Jenna is as protective of her students as a mamma bear. For Bern, all bets are off when the kidnappers take Jenna too. Nothing will keep a bear from his mate. The hunters will become the hunted…

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I’ve never had a boyfriend before.”

“I think perhaps then all the men you have met before have been blind and stupid, but I am glad they were because it saves me from having to hunt them down and kill them.” Bern growled.

Jenna stopped dead in her tracks and gazed up at him in stunned silence. He was serious. Bern shrugged his shoulders and planted a kiss on the end of her nose. “I cannot help it. I am a jealous man.”

They continued walking in companionable silence and reached Jenna’s house in a few minutes. She unlocked the front door and Bern held her back from entering. “Let me check the house first please.”

He left her standing on the front porch while he took the bags into the house. She saw the lights flip on methodically throughout the rooms and then Bern returned to the porch. “All clear,” he said and pulled her into the house. He attempted to pin her against the wall and kiss her senseless, but Jenna put her hands on his chest and pushed. It was like pushing against a brick wall!

“Oh no you don’t, Mr. Bear. This honeycomb is closed until I get some answers. Get your furry butt to the kitchen and you can talk while I make dinner. I want to know what the hell is going on around here.”

Bern had the good grace to look sheepish. “Yes, ma’am,” he said and strode toward the kitchen, leaving Jenna to follow that delectable and at the moment, not in the least bit furry backside. Oh yum.

Jenna pointed to a kitchen chair. “Sit. Talk.”

About the Author:

Tamara Hoffa lives in central Tennessee, with her husband of 30 years, her parents, 2 dogs and 2 cats. She started reading at four years old and has rarely been seen without a book since. At home you will usually find her in “nana’s chair” with her kindle, her laptop or one of her precious, precocious grandsons in her lap. Tamara is an author, an editor, and reviews/promotions coordinator for Secret Cravings Publishing. Tamara is proof positive that it’s never too late to reach for your dreams.

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The Zen Lounge by A.C. Melody – Guest Blog and Giveaway

3_3 wc NBTM_TourBanner_TheZenLounge

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding $10 Amazon or B/N GC to one randomly drawn winner and a digital copy of THE ZEN LOUNGE to another randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

5 Tips for Researching That I Always Use

1. Cross-Reference

I never trust the first result to pop up online when I’m researching something. If I can find the same answer on multiple sites, than I’ll use it. If I can’t, than I sick my sister after it, because she can find anything online! I’ve run into the problem of having the wrong result too many times to trust researching any other way, especially with foreign words, but I’ll cover that part in a little bit.

2. Do the Research Yourself

I know… it’s tedious, it’s time-consuming, you want to poke your eye out with a pencil, but it really is imperative. Not only are you getting every detail another might miss, but as an added bonus, researching can become your treasured muse – or, your security plan. Every time I research, I either find more about my subject that helps expand my storyline, giving me ideas I never would have thought of myself – or, has saved me from using the wrong subject by discovering it was not at all what I thought it was.

3. Dig Deeper

Okay, if you’re anything like me, you were raised speaking one language: improper English. So, when it comes to incorporating foreign words or names into our books, we don’t always think about things like masculine and feminine rules. We just expect there to be one word exchanged for our English word and that’s typically not the case. Here’s an example of one everyone might be familiar with:

“My Dear” translated into French is Mon Cher (masculine) or Ma Chère (feminine). It is not Mon Cher vs. Ma Chérie, because the latter is actually the feminine translation of “My Darling.” Mon Chéri would be the proper usage for that masculine variation.

Names can also be tricky, depending on which foreign heritage your character has. If your main protagonist is the son of a Russian immigrant and named Aleksandr, you might want to consider that culturally, his family is going to call him Sasha, instead. Yet, he will never be addressed as Sasha by a stranger, that would actually be off-putting.

A neat little feature that Wikipedia has on some of their foreign words is a table that shows the differences between genitive, nominative, plural, singular, etc. This is very handy, if you’re thinking about using foreign nouns as a thing, rather than a person. For example:

Wolf, translated into Old Norse is úlfr (singular): “That úlfr/wolf/ is hungry.” úlfar (plural): “Those úlfar/wolves/ over there.” úlfrinn (nominative singular): “They are úlfrinn/of the wolf species/.” úlfarnir (nominative plural): “The úlfarnir/wolf species as a whole/ have gone extinct.”

This is very important to know if you’re planning on using your foreign word in different contexts throughout your story.

4. Everything Goes

Research everything you’re not 100% sure of. Research everything you think you made up, too, because it probably already exists and could possibly be copyrighted or trademarked. Here’s the cool thing, though. It used to be that the number one rule was “write what you know,” but that was before the world wide web. I spent an entire day walking around Downtown Minneapolis, yet I’ve never been to Minnesota. Thanks to Google Earth, I can describe everything I saw in explicit detail. Right now, you have every shred of information you could ever need at your fingertips. All you have to do is find it, and then you will be writing what you know.

5. Take Advantage

Wikipedia has another feature that I absolutely love. At the bottom of their pages are lists of their resources, as well as any time that subject has ever been used in literature, movies, etc. So, let’s say you want one of your characters to be a fallen angel that was actually mentioned in biblical scripture, but not necessarily one of the angels that people have already over-used. That little list on Wikipedia will show you every reference of when, where and how often your angel’s name has ever been mentioned, with a link you can follow to get even more information.

In short (Ha! Just kidding), readers might not know why your story is so great or even think about how many hours you put into researching, but they do notice when it’s missing. They do appreciate the fullness, the depth and believe it or not, the learning they get by reading a well-researched book. Or, I’m really just a nerd. That’s always a possibility, too! Thanks for reading!

3_3 wc Cover_TheZenLoungeWelcome to the Zen Lounge, twenty-one floors of customizable carnal pleasures to fulfill your wildest fantasies. Even in the year 2192, it shouldn’t exist but Voryk Kade simply couldn’t ignore the urge to take a closer look. What he finds is a woman bent on ruining everything he’d ever believed to be true. She holds the key to all of Voryk’s darkest, neediest desires and despite her silence, provides the proof behind his belief that there is something far seedier going on under the high-end gloss of professional eroticism.

Enlisting the help of his closest friends, Voryk’s only goal is to keep Nexlana safe, naked and his. Unfortunately, she was already someone’s favorite pet and when Master comes calling, it’s with a vengeance and the intent of never letting her slip away again. Haunted pasts continue to resurface, only Nexlana’s might be far deadlier than any of them could have guessed—connections between her, arson, an assassination and a cold case no one ever wanted to delve into again. To stop the worst case scenario from taking place, they must finally figure out just who in the hell the Master really is.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Closing her eyes for a moment, she shuddered, and then grabbed Voryk’s hand and placed it on her throat, running it down toward her chest.

“Yes, it’s warm,” he said aloud what she could not.

When her eyes opened on his, Voryk noted that his blood was also very warm. Under the palm of his hand, her heart beat a little faster. In her ethereal eyes, a familiar beckoning called out to him, igniting his own need. Taking the wine from her, Voryk leaned forward and returned it to the table. This time, he didn’t sit back. Her pulse throbbed beneath his fingertips, as he turned his head just so and buried his face in the silky texture of her hair, in the scent of it. Slowly, he ran just the tip of his nose over the soft flesh of her throat, his fingers curling around the nape of her neck before he grazed the same line of flesh with his lips.

Her pulse skittered and raced, stirring his blood even more, kicking his desire into a sizzling temperature. He loitered at her jaw, using lips, tongue and teeth. Though she was silent, her breath was warm and choppy in his ear. Leaving a trail of kisses across the hollow of her cheek, Voryk found her mouth. That mouth, he thought again. God, that mouth.

About the Author: A.C. Melody lives in Washington State, is the proud mom of two amazing sons – okay, so they’re typical boys and always keep her on her toes! Stemming from a family of artists and musicians, she thrives in all things creative and would call a day without her MP3 player and coffee a day of reckoning. When she’s not writing, reading, drawing or cheering on the sidelines at football games, A.C. Also enjoys gardening, which has honed her ability to dodge raindrops into an enviable skill.

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Buy the book at Red Sage Publishing, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.

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Five Reasons I Write Historical Romance by Jessica Jefferson – Guest Blog and Giveaway

3_3 NBTM_TourBanner_ChasingTheOtherTisdale

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jessica will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five Reasons I Write Historical Romance
by Jessica Jefferson

I love reading. Westerns, contemporary, historical fiction, biographies – I’ll read anything. But, historical romance is my favorite. Since the first time I stole a Kathleen Woodiwiss novel off my mother’s bookshelf, I’ve been a fan of the genre. I can’t get enough. From Medieval to Edwardian-era romance, I just love being whisked back in time to experience love.

In college, I originally majored in English, with hopes of one day becoming a writer. At the time, I always pictured myself writing serious commentary on the human condition…or becoming the next Erma Bombeck. But then, life got in the way and derailed my literary aspirations for a few years. When I picked up the proverbial pen again, my interests had changed dramatically. I wanted to write for entertainment, and I wanted to write what I loved to read—historical romance.

Historical romance provides me the opportunity to explore different historical periods. In contemporary romance, I’m locked into twenty-first century conventions. But with historical romance, I can explore love through the eyes of nineteenth century heroines. There is no Facebook and Twitter, no instant messaging of any sort. Instead there are real letters. It takes me back to a time when expressing one’s love was a bit different than it is today.

Historical romance is an escape from reality. It allows me to live out my historical fantasies. My heroines can wear beautiful gowns and my heroes can ride up on horses. I can also take certain liberties that I may not be able to while writing contemporary romance. I do try and stick to the confines of the time period when possible, but the beauty of writing in a different era is that I get to use more of my imagination than I otherwise would.

I also love writing historical romance because of the heroes! There are still gentlemen out there today, but how many of them wear breeches? I’m in love with the idea of my Prince Charming riding up on a white horse, not in a white Porsche.

Love is love – no matter when it happens. At the bare minimum, it involves two people who feel a deep emotional connection. That’s been the same since the dawn of time. That’s what I love about historical romance. No matter what the time period, the basic fundamentals of love are still the same.

3_3 BookCover_ChasingTheOtherTisdaleShe’s the other sister…

Overshadowed by the beauty of her older sister, Lillian is better known as the other Tisdale; unremarkable and unsure how she will ever deliver on the promise of her family’s name.

He’s a rake in need of reforming…

Will Colton leads a frivolous existence, embracing notoriety instead of managing his family’s fortune. Determined to forget his financial burden and his father’s growing resentment, he maintains a lifestyle dedicated to pleasure and self-indulgence. When Will is invited to the Tisdale estate for an extended holiday, he never expects to become friends with the forgettable Lillian. But when a family secret comes to light, he must choose between leaving London and protecting the honor of one woman or staying and risking the reputation of another.

Upon his return, Will finds the girl he left behind has come out of the shadows and into her own. Lillian’s finally the center of attention, and not all of it good. With his own reputation in tatters, can a reformed rake lure her out of the hands of London’s bachelors and back into his own arms? Can he escape his past and reclaim her heart, or has he lost her forever?

Enjoy an excerpt:

When Lillian Tisdale dreamt of that magical moment when she would fall in love, she never imagined that it would be so sudden, so complete, or so…

Literal.

Lilly, as she was more commonly known, sat cradled in between a large branch and the massive trunk of the hundred year old willow tree near the pond at Brightly, her family’s ancestral estate. She set her sketch book and charcoal pencil down on the branch and took a moment to appreciate the scenery before her. Brightly was noted for its lush gardens and rolling green hills, and she found it impossible to imagine any other property in England being as lovely.

This was her favorite tree, had been for years, and one of the only places she could disappear to when she felt the need for a respite from her three sisters and older brother. She relished the quiet of her hiding place, the silence disturbed only by the soft wind skimming the pond, the rustling of the leaves in the oak groves, and the occasional coo of a nesting bird.

“You naughty minx!”

Lilly startled, the unexpected sound of a man’s voice coming from out of nowhere. She steadied herself against the branch in front of her, knocking her sketchbook onto the ground in the process. She sighed, doubting the book would survive the fall intact. She’d spent the last of her pin money on that sketchbook and wouldn’t be able to afford a new one for at least a month. Her parents, for all their wealth, were sticklers when it came to their children’s allowances.

“You’re a wicked, wicked man, Mr. Colton!”

This time, the voice was distinctly female and the name she mentioned sounded familiar…

About the Author:3_3 AuthorPhoto_ChasingTheOtherTisdaleJessica Jefferson makes her home in northern Indiana, or as she likes to think of it—almost Chicago. She is heavily inspired by classic sweeping, historical romance novels, but aims to take those key emotional elements and inject a fresh blend of quick dialogue and comedy. She invites you to visit her at jessicajefferson.com and read more of her random romance musings.

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Chasing the Other Tisdale, Compromising Miss Tisdale and Taming Miss Tisdale from Soul Mate Publishing, available now on Amazon!

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Passing the Torch by L.L. Sanders – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will win a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card, while three winners will receive a digital copy of Passing the Torch. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Deep in the Arizona desert live a girl and her dad, burying secrets–and bodies.

Mesa Kingston’s first memory of burying a corpse was at eight years old. Back then it had been the carcass of a large lizard her dad found that they buried in the backyard of their isolated cottage. At age fourteen, the body of a young lady accompanied the reptile’s remains, and ever since, an accumulation of female bodies began to grow. Now, the only way Mesa can stop the haunting screams of the dead is by drowning them out with flames. Or is there more to the blaze than even she can perceive?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Good girls do anything for their fathers, including rob, cheat, and kill, and I always considered myself a good girl. The time I first came to that conclusion will stay with me forever. Years later, here I am, still fulfilling my daughterly duty.

After wiping the sweat from my palm onto my jeans, I press the bulbous tip of the match against the strike strip on the side of the small carton. My hands shake worse than Grandma’s had when trying to slice her ninety-first birthday cake just a few hours ago, but I manage to run the match across it anyway. The flame comes alive at my fingertips, dancing merrily at the prospect of latching on to something and disintegrating it into smoldering embers. Although the light breeze causes the flame to flicker at the end of the matchstick, I’m aware of the control I have over it. I watch the glow change shape through a veil of tears and with that the decision was absolute.

The flame will get to perform its destructive duty.

I flick the match toward the pile of wooden planks that used to be the porch. Instantly the fire catches the fumes of the pooled liquid and expands so quickly a wall of gasoline-scented hot air rushes me before the blaze travels deeper into the house. I back away to a safe distance as the straw-like grass crunches beneath my feet. Nearing the homemade fence, which is nothing more than a double row of chicken wire, I hear the screams from the distance, cries of agony that meld with my memory like two spreading pools of melted wax. I can’t stop the waterworks. I don’t even make an attempt.

About the Author:

The L.L. stands for Leslie Lee. I write erotic romance and post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction under Leslie Lee Sanders.

But horror and thriller fiction is what I grew up on, what inspires me, and what began my pursuit to authorship. I’ve written many short scary stories since the 6th grade. Now they’re much more mature in general, thanks to the wide range of emotion and experience I’ve encountered over the years.

I’m a huge fan of horror and psychological thrillers in every fashion, including movies, books, art, campfire tales, etc. Some of my favorite stories are those that twist at the end or are ambiguous with deep societal or morality themes. This includes dystopias like Hugh Howey’s Wool, psychological thrillers like Shutter Island, and popular and classic horror/romances like V.C. Andrews’s Flowers in the Attic, my favorite.

All my ideas start with a twist, which is exactly how most of my stories end.

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Right Kind of Wrong by Chelsea Fine – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter to win a signed copy of Right Kind of Wrong.

Top 5 Most Embarrassing Moments
Chelsea Fine

1) The classic running-into-the-screen-door-and-falling-flat-on-your-back bit. Oh yes. I barreled full-speed into a nearly-invisible screen door at a friend’s pool party in the seventh grade. You know, the year where doing something embarrassing ruins your life. #Ididthat

2) There was the time I got locked in an airplane bathroom and started pounding on the door with panicked screams… until the attendant opened the door and calmly stated, “You need to pull the door to open it. Not push.” All the people seated by the bathroom stared at me like I was a crazy person. Which I was. This was last year. #forreal

3) And let’s not forget three years ago, when I wore a strapless maxi dress to the airport… and while the TSA agent was patting me down she accidentally yanked my dress down, and I flashed everyone standing in line behind me. #ohyeah Airports and airplanes are not places I’m cool.

4) Last month at a book signing, I was talking with my hands (like I do) and the pen I was holding… went flying out of my hand and smacked some poor girl in the face. It left a red mark. I profusely apologized and tried to explain that, yes, I’m just that klutzy and, no, she wasn’t the first person to suffer the wrath of my reckless hand-talking. #someoneshouldfireme

5) And lastly, two years ago I was seated on a panel at UtopYA and, when I opened my mouth to respond to a question…the gum I was chewing took flight and landed on a girl in the front row. #ick #Iknow Clearly, I need supervision when I’m in public.

If you’ve learned anything from this list it’s that… hanging around me is dangerous and could potentially get you stabbed with a pen or thwacked with chewed gum. It’s not safe, people. Not for me, not for airline attendants, not for TSA agents, and certainly not for innocent bystanders. Good grief. I should come with a warning label.

3_3 chelsea Fine_Right Kind of Wrong_TPSometimes wrong can feel oh so right . . .

Jenna Lacombe needs complete control, whether it’s in the streets . . . or between the sheets. So when she sets out on a solo road trip to visit her family in New Orleans, she’s beyond annoyed that the infuriatingly sexy Jack Oliver wants to hitch a ride with her. Ever since they shared a wild night together last year, he’s been trying to strip away her defenses one by one. He claims he’s just coming along to keep her safe-but what’s not safe for her is prolonged exposure to the tattooed hottie.

Jack can’t get Jenna out from under his skin. She makes him feel alive again after his old life nearly destroyed him-and losing her is not an option. Now Jack’s troubles are catching up to him, and he’s forced to return to his hometown in Louisiana. But when his secrets put them both in harm’s way, Jenna will have to figure out how far she’s willing to let love in . . . and how much she already has.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The way I felt about Jenna used to piss me off. I’ve never been one to need or even want a girl messing up my life. Just the opposite, in fact. The Lone Wolf role suited me well and I was perfectly content with my world of solitude. But Jenna came along and twisted everything up. She turned me inside out and made me feel complete in a way that made no sense. I fought the sentiment, of course. There’s no room for anyone in my messed up life—especially not a wild, stubborn, reckless girl like Jenna.

But fighting proved futile, and somewhat self-destructive, so I did what all good leaders do when they realize losing a battle could mean winning the war: I surrendered. Not to Jenna, exactly, but to the way she made me feel. It’s not a pretty or romantic thing. It’s a truth with scars and holes—and it commands me completely.

Does that make me weak? I used to think so. But then I see Jenna, still in the throes of a battle I’ve long since succumbed to, and I wonder which of us is stronger. Which of us sleeps well at night and which of us tosses in the moonlight.

Strength isn’t about what you can and cannot achieve. It’s about what you will and will not do in order to achieve. And on that, I know exactly where I stand.

Watching Jenna across the inn’s lobby, I take a deep breath and prepare for round two of what is sure to be a memorable—if not fatal—road trip back home.

“I’m ready when you are, diva!” I call out.

Complete agitation covers her face as she whips around with narrowed eyes and yells, “Don’t. Call. Me. DIVA!”

I grin. “It never gets old.”

“God!” she exclaims, thrusting her arms up again.

The look on her face is priceless. I could do this all day. I might, actually.

Wagging my eyebrows in an inappropriate manner, I slip back outside and let the door fall shut.

A moment later, the inn door flies open and Jenna stomps down the porch steps to meet me by the car. I quickly shove my phone in my pocket, wanting to put as much distance as possible between my present circumstances and the mess waiting for me back home, and climb into the car at the same time she does.

She’s huffing and puffing and cursing under her breath like a spoiled teenager, but when her eyes finally flick to mine there’s no hostility there, just impatience.

“You’re paying for all the gas,” she says, sliding a pair of dark sunglasses over her golden eyes. “And I mean every single drop.”

I lean back in the passenger seat, repressing the joyous satisfaction I feel at the haughtiness on her face. “Yes, ma’am.”

If buying Jenna’s gas keeps her safe by my side then I’ll purchase every last drop in the country. And then some.

About the Author: 3_3 Chelsea Fine Headshot 2Chelsea lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends most of her time writing stories, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. She’s ridiculously bad at doing dishes and claims to be allergic to laundry. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping-in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.

 
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The Moment of Realization by M.L. Buchman – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a Sourcebooks romantic suspense prize pack including M.L. Buchman’s BRING ON THE DUSK.

3_2 BuchmanTeaserHeroine

The Moment of Realization by M.L. Buchman

One of the great challenges as a writer of romantic suspense is how to escalate a relationship relatively quickly without making it unbelievable. However, in my upcoming release Bring on the Dusk, I have two characters who are very used to keeping their thoughts to themselves. That was part of the real joy of writing this book, discovering along with the characters, their own emotions and reactions—whether getting ready for a dangerous mission, or stripped bare by exhaustion.

In the following scene, Michael and Claudia have known each other less than a day and already she’s considering the unique nature of the first meeting story.

*****

“No mission tonight.” Michael had taken her statement at face value. “But I think you might wish to attend the briefing.”

Not her first choice at all. She’d be asleep within thirty seconds of hitting the chair and end up slumped on the floor of the meeting room on her first day with the company. Hell of a first impression.

“I’ll try not to be boring.”

She laughed. It just burst out of her.

No one had ever been able read her like that.

Claudia had been accused of being an Ice Queen any number of times in her career, just because she liked keeping herself to herself. Of course, the guys said it because she wouldn’t sleep with them, which also had made the nickname useful. She’d learned early on the advantages of nurturing the image. She would occasionally let carefully selected men through her barriers, discreet ones who had no association with the Corps, though none of them had stuck for more than a few months.

But some of the women called her that too, which made her wonder. It was exactly the sort of thing Trisha would have said, if she’d thought to.

Claudia was far too tired to try to make sense of Trisha at the moment.

She was about to decline when Michael tipped his head in a gentle “C’mon.”

It was charming and she was tired enough to be charmed a little. She hadn’t missed his compliment or how much it had surprised his tablemates. And she’d never met someone who might understand the attraction of her desert. But maybe, just maybe, he did.

Share her desert with Colonel Michael.

She noted that in her head, it wasn’t an interrogative but rather a flat statement. Too young to be going senile, perhaps going psychotic? She’d known him for…an embrace, a meal, and a firefight.

Well, that only verified that they were both soldiers to the core. The average couple couldn’t point to the obliteration of an al-Qaeda cell as their meet-cute.

Couple? She really was losing it. It was a good thing she wasn’t one of those people whose brains connected directly to their mouths with no filter.

With a shrug of acceptance—which she deemed safe enough—she followed him up the steel ladders, through the ringing hangar deck where dozens of SOAR and Navy people were now scattered along a makeshift track, and on up to the flight deck.

3_2 BringontheDuskFive nations surround the Caspian Sea, five nations desperate for the vast resources there, and willing to go to war. It will take all of Claudia and Michael’s ingenuity to avert disaster. As they discover how right they are for each other, it will take even more to breach the walls they’ve so carefully built around their hearts…

Find the book at Goodreads and buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iTunes.

About the Author: 3_2 ML BuchmanM. L. Buchman has over 25 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and Booklist “Top 10 of the Year.” In addition to romance, he also writes contemporaries, thrillers, and fantasy and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.

He is now a full-time writer, living on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing at www.MLBuchman.com.

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Texting All Hearts by Various Authors – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter will receive a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_TextingAllHeartsTexting All Hearts—Boxed Set
Seven Multi-Published Authors

What do rodeos, otherworldly encounters, exotic dancers, bondage, hot sex, refound love, and time travel have in common? Besides romantic, edge of your seat fun and intrigue, they all evolve from a single text. Seven multi-genre novellas that promise to heat your nights and warm your hearts.

Her Cowboy Dom
Bliss

Tate Hardy’s best friend leaves him all his cattle if he spends thirty days on a ranch with a woman he wants but can’t have. Jess is a nice girl, and Tate doesn’t do nice. Jessica Campbell needs her brother’s cattle as collateral for a loan. To get rid of the sexy bull rider, she suggests he teach her about D/s. When he agrees, Jess gets more than she bargained for from her cowboy Dom.

Midnight Road
Lorelei Buckley

Drew Mathews cherishes her deceased husband’s lingering spirit. When his best friend, Dominic, reveals her late spouse’s dark secrets, Drew’s crushed. She turns to Dominic and neighbors for support and stumbles into a passionate love affair and a slew of bizarre commonalities restricted to the residents of Midnight Road. As mysteries unfold, inalterable conditions threaten her romantic relationship, her life, and possibly, the world.

A Lethal Affair
Debra Jupe

With a rumored serial killer targeting exotic dancers, Daisy Piper is more than a little worried when her co-worker goes missing. Her concern escalates when a guy she’s never met shows up claiming her friend stole his laptop. A mild-mannered computer whiz on the surface, Miles Garton is a total contrast from the streetwise Daisy. But he’s on a mission of his own, making the jaded stripper suspicious. Fighting each other, a mutual attraction, and the truth, they team up to find the missing woman.

Sexting Texas
Darah Lace

Texas Tallulah Taylor never thought she’d be turned on by a dirty text from a stranger, one that leads to a delicious sexting session with her best friend. Will Sanderson never thought the love of his life would see him as anything but a friend. Maybe sexting Texas will show her this cowboy aims to give her the ride of her life…for the rest of her life.

The Dom Delivers
Nese Lane

He’s a Dominant, and she’s as vanilla as they come…
Designer Jenna Jaynes enjoys the safe bubble of her creative world, until her delivery guy bursts through and steals her heart. CFO Aden Kelley’s regimented world is thrown into chaos when a spitfire dressmaker captures his soul. Will the Dom convince vanilla to swirl?

Wounded Hearts
Linda LaRoque

Sarah Lawson’s fiancé Logan Miller died in Afghanistan. She receives a text from Brandon Perdue, one of his war buddies, who wants to meet and deliver a message from Logan. Physically and emotionally scarred, Brandon values Sarah’s friendship. Sarah wants their relationship to deepen, but he fears she’s projecting her feelings for Logan on to him.

Pale With Color
Susan JP Owens

Cheyenne Clark doubts Captain Joseph Westerly’s beliefs about reincarnation, but a twenty-first century gal stuck in1862, during the Battle of Gettysburg, creates a new perception about philosophies and physics. After Joseph’s death, Cheyenne returns to her time period and anticipates his rebirth. Will Joseph find her?

Enjoy an excerpt from Midnight Road

Drew fixed the buckle of her overalls. “Roland’s disorderly. I think as far as spirits go he’s in ghost preschool. Maybe dumping food on the floor is equivalent to finger painting.”

Dominic’s rich brown skin paled. “This is a joke, right?”

Above the window seat, a curtain rod yanked off the hooks and struck Dominic on the head. Astonished, he tumbled backward and collapsed on the seat’s cushion.

“Plants, food, window treatments, he’s done in here. I’ll be back. I’m going to the study. He likes to fling books.” She rushed onward, thrilled Dominic witnessed the phenomenon. Now they could have a real heart-to-heart. Well, eventually, when the color returned to his face.

About the Authors: ProfilePic_TextingAllHeartsLinda LaRoque is a Texas girl, but the first time she got on a horse, it tossed her in the road dislocating her right shoulder. Forty years passed before she got on another, but it was older, slower, and she was wiser. Plus, her students looked on and it was important to save face.

A retired teacher who loves West Texas, its flora and fauna, and its people, Linda’s stories paint pictures of life, love, and learning set against the raw landscape of ranches and rural communities in Texas and the Midwest. She is a member of RWA, her local chapter of HOTRWA, NTRWA and Texas Mountain Trail Writers.

Linda writes contemporary western romances, time travel romances and futuristic romances.

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Bliss

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Lorelei Buckley

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Debra Jupe

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Darah Lace

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Nese Lane

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Susan JP Owens

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