Ocean of Secrets by Jerry Sacher – Guest Blog

4_26 jerry sacher OceanOfSecrets_FBbanner_DSPHello everyone, my name is Jerry Sacher and I’m here to introduce my newest novel, historic fiction set on board the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic.

Andrew Elliot, the son of a Scottish Nobleman, is sent to America accompanied by his fiancé and her brother. But theirs is no love match. Andrew’s family insists that he marries to ‘cure’ him of his feelings for someone else–the son of the caretaker on his father’s estate.

Matthew Ahearn, newly orphaned, dreams of Texas and cowboys. He lands a job as a third class steward on a ship bound for America, and it is there that his and Andrew’s worlds collide. The two men–and their secrets–are brought together, lost in the magic of an ocean voyage, one that will always be remembered.

The year is 1912, and they’re about to board R.M.S Titanic…

The book will be available both on Dreamspinnerpress.com and Amazon.com. You can also purchase Ocean of Secrets from Barnes and Noble for your NOOK…

There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages about writing historic fiction. The biggest advantage for me is the research. Since I enjoy history I get to read about a lot of time periods that I had previously known nothing about. Being interested in the Titanic I discovered a couple of things I didn’t really know before. Only the more expensive cabins in first class had a private bathroom/water closet. The rest were shared facilities. There was no fresh water to bathe in, only hot and cold salt water.

In 1912, even though there were telephones, phonographs, and motion pictures, slang phrases or common expressions varied from place to place. Much like today, a word that means one thing in America could have a different meaning in England. So it was difficult not to let modern words or phrases slip in to the dialogue while I was writing Ocean of Secrets.

In writing a story I’m more of a planner. I will first complete a biography of all the main antagonists and protagonists, and then once I’ve given them a back story, than I’ll set up an outline, although the charters will tell their own story once you type in the first sentence.

My favorite characters are Andrew Elliot and Matthew, plus Jeremy Haniver from my first novel: The Saint of San Francisco. I love them and I think I identify with them because all three of them are trying to find their way through life, and they emerged through conflict with confidence that none of them knew they possessed…

A little about me: I currently live in Chicago with my husband, Dean, and our two rambunctious cats, Monty and Nicky. I’ve been actively writing full time for the past six years. I’m interested in Titanic and all periods of history, and I have also published a novel set during the Russian Revolution.

My other works include The Saint of San Francisco, The Rosary and the Badge, Noble’s Savior, and Fair In Love.

You can follow me on Twitter at @jerrysacher1 and on Facebook on my The Saint of San Francisco page. Keep up with me on my website, for more news about Ocean of Secrets and my other projects.

Her Kind of Man by Elle Wright – Spotlight and Giveaway

4_26 elle wright Her Kind of Man Launch Day Blitz

This post is part of a virtual tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of Elle Wright’s newest book Her Kind of Man. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win the Edge of Scandal series by Elle Wright.

4_26 elle wright book coverWhen Mr. Right is oh so wrong

I’ll never let you go . . . Allina had always dreamed of hearing those words. But when her fiancé, Isaac, utters them, it isn’t a promise-it’s a threat. Scared and confused, with only moments before the wedding, Allina knows what she must do. Forget walking down the aisle; it’s time to run. Back to Michigan. Back to Kent.

Kent has loved Allina for longer than he can remember. Out of respect for their friendship, he’s never crossed the line, but when she turns up on his doorstep wearing her torn, tearstained wedding gown, the fire inside him ignites. He’ll do whatever it takes to make Allina feel safe-like the beautiful, desirable woman she is. But as Kent and Allina grow closer, and their passion pushes deeper, it’s clear that something bigger than a botched wedding still lingers between them . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

Allina got up and carried her dishes over to the sink. She turned on the faucet and filled up the basin with water. “I’m going to clean up and get ready to go to the store.”

He finished up his plate and joined her at the sink. Not thinking, he dropped his mug into the dishwater, splashing the soapy water on Allina. She screeched and stumbled back. He reached for her, sensing she was getting ready to fall. Instead of preventing her fall, she ended up pulling him with her and they both landed on the floor, her on her back and him on his side.

“Ouch,” she groaned from her where she lay on the tile. “That hurt.” She wiped her face and pushed her hair back, leaving a few suds on her face.

He chuckled. “That was . . . clumsy.”

She laughed then. “It was crazy. How did I fall? There was no water on the floor.” She pointed at him. “It was your fault.”

He grabbed her finger. “It was not my fault you can’t stay on your feet.”

She flicked some remaining soap on him. It was a running joke with their crew. Syd was dramatic, Cali had no filter, and Allina was clumsy as hell. It didn’t matter where they were or what they were doing, Allina always seemed to get hurt.

Before he knew it, they were both laughing in earnest. She turned to him. “I needed this.”

He tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. “Glad I could help. I’ve never met anyone who is more accident-prone than you.”

She grinned, her eyes gleaming. “Hey. Don’t say that.”

He stood up and held out a hand to her. When she placed her tiny palm in his, he pulled her to her feet.

Brushing off her clothes, she murmured, “My body is already sore from that run. Now my back is throbbing.”

“Maybe you should go lie down for a little bit before we go to the store,” he suggested. “I have a heating pad somewhere if you need it.”

She waved him off. “I’m good.” Peering up at him, she smiled again. A wide grin. “I need to keep moving.”

Kent observed her. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes dancing and he found himself inching closer to her. A piece of her hair was stuck to her forehead and he pushed it to the back.

“I must look crazy,” she said, smoothing a hand over her hair.

One of the things Kent found so attractive about Allina was her sultry, deep voice. She talked like she was singing a lullaby. It was low, even, and sexy as hell. And what made it even better was she had no idea it could have an effect on a man.

As if he had no power or control to stop himself, he leaned closer. She peered up at him and froze. Instead of retreating, she stayed where she was, her eyes on his.

The air changed in that instant. He brushed her cheek with his thumb and she gasped. Their noses were almost touching. He knew he should step back, walk away, but he couldn’t. His body had a mind of its own.

His nose bumped into hers. Her breath still smelled like the honey from her tea. It was warm against his skin. He wanted to kiss her, more in that moment than ever before. Then her lips brushed against his. It wasn’t a full-on kiss, but enough to make him want more. He framed her face with his hands and kissed the corner of her mouth, enjoying her sharp intake of breath. She squeezed his biceps, her nails digging into the sensitive skin.

“Kent,” she whispered. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“Do you want me to?” he asked, unable to keep his eyes off her mouth. It was amazing how one simple touch had opened up the box that labeled them “very close friends.” He imagined how it would feel to really taste her, to feel her tongue against his, to touch her the way he wanted.

But then where would that leave them? Confused and awkward around each other? Allina wasn’t just any woman. He couldn’t do her first and ask the hard questions later, because she deserved better than that. They had never really talked about sex with each other before, but knowing her the way he did, he figured she was careful about who and what she did. Being with her, or even kissing her, was a game changer. But, damn it, I want to.

Sighing, he stepped back. He scratched his head. “I’m sorry. This isn’t right. We better get going.”

Then he left her standing there in the kitchen.

About the Author:Born and raised in Southeast Michigan near Ann Arbor, Elle learned the importance of reading from her mother. It was also her mother who, later on in her life, gave Elle her first romance novel: Indigo by Beverly Jenkins. From that moment on, Elle became a fan of Ms. Jenkins for life and a lover of all things romance. An old journal she wrote back in college became her first book (which she still wants to publish one day).

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For the Love of Writing by Kim Loraine – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kim Loraine will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
For the Love of Writing
“How do you find time to write books?” This is a question I am asked ALL the time. I usually shrug it off with a simple smile and say, “I just do it when I can.” In truth, I fight for every moment, every word, even when they aren’t my best. Sometimes it’s just a bunch of subpar dialog or cliché filled paragraphs, and other times, it’s exactly what the story needs.

I’ve got three kids; the youngest is barely two weeks old. As she’s napping and I’m yawning my way through a second cup of coffee after last night’s marathon feeding/crying/changing session, I’m finding time to write this post. I never think of writing as a chore. It’s my ME time. I’ve never come up for air after writing feeling worse than I did before I started. That being said, balancing my home life and my writing life is not without its challenges. Yes, there are dishes in my sink, clean laundry decorating my couch, and fingerprints on my mirrors. But I also have released two full-length novels and a novella in the last twelve months. I just approved the cover art for my third novel which is set for release in May.

The question isn’t how I find time, because I simply can’t go without writing. My characters start yelling to have their stories told. I get grumpy, antsy even. For the last few months of my pregnancy I wasn’t able to sit at my computer for longer than ten minutes without getting distracted, not to mention uncomfortable. I wrote so little it is shameful. But, I was always thinking about my characters. I came up with dialog, played scenes out in my head, thought of what they might be doing at that particular moment. Even when I wasn’t putting my fingers to the keyboard, I was writing.

I’m fortunate to have a great support system. My husband makes me leave the house on weekends so I can go write. Honestly, I think he’s holding out hope that I’ll write a massive bestseller so he can retire early. So, even with the dishes, dust, fingerprints, and endless piles of laundry, even when my mom-guilt rears its ugly head, I write. I write because my eight-year-old likes to write his own books right next to me. I write because of the pride I hear in my kids’ voices when they talk about how I am an author. I write because I love it.

MediaKit_BookCover_RenovationValerie Peters is done with bad boys and ready to start living for herself. She’s determined to settle for nothing less than a romantic, sweeps-you-off-your-feet, nice-guy. So when a sexy firefighter with the hottest reputation in town saves her from near-drowning, there’s no doubt he’s everything she shouldn’t want.

Donovan’s looks and image have kept his nights entertaining and his ring finger empty. One-night stands serve as a short-term distraction to the flashbacks of his past he increasingly struggles to ignore. But a chance encounter with his best friend’s sister makes him realize that one night is no longer enough.

Together they discover that bad can actually be the best and forever is worth everything.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Donovan Miller braced his arms on the side of the pool as he pushed himself out of the water. His limbs trembled slightly from exertion. He reached for his towel and caught sight of the swimmer a few lanes away. She was tiny. Her body moved smoothly through the water, mesmerizing him as she rotated back and forth. He could tell she was an experienced swimmer by the consistency in her strokes. As he toweled off, he admired the curves of her body. Alarm bells rang in his head when he realized she was rapidly approaching the wall and showed no sign of slowing.

“Hey! Hey! Watch out!” he shouted as he ran toward her lane, hoping desperately to intercept her.

With a dim thud, her head hit the side of the pool. He watched as her eyes rolled back and she sank under the water.

“Shit! Shit!”

Jumping into the swimmer’s lane, he pulled her to the surface, attempting to immobilize her neck as much as possible. He assessed her pulse and checked to make sure her airway wasn’t compromised.

“Call an ambulance,” he barked at the dumbstruck lifeguards headed in their direction.

She floated in his arms, eyes closed, bleeding. He took a moment to feel thankful he’d seen the effects of blood mixed with water before. Even a small amount of blood can look like a murder scene when water is added. He held her while they waited for the ambulance. He stroked her hair and checked her pulse again, disconcerted by the feeling of her soft skin under his fingers. Her eyes fluttered open, affording him a concerned glance before she winced in pain.

“What happened?” Her voice was thin and raspy.

“Shh, don’t try to move, sweetheart. You slammed into that wall pretty hard.”

“I . . . mmm . . . lost my count.”

“It’s gonna be okay.”

She frowned, eyebrows pulling together. “Can I get up now?”

“There’s an ambulance on the way. They’ll be here in a minute. We need to wait to move you. I want to get you on a spine board and in a neck brace.” He smiled and locked eyes with her. “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

“Valerie. Valerie Peters.” Her face pulled into an adorable frown again. “Don’t call me sweetheart. I don’t even know you.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_RenovationKim Loraine is the author of the “Golden Beach” series, including “Restoration” (2015) and “Renovation” (2015). She started writing at a young age, scribbling down song lyrics, short stories, and poems she was too afraid to share with anyone. Busy working as a music teacher in her Pacific Northwest hometown, it wasn’t until her family of four picked up everything and moved to beautiful Japan that she decided to finally take the plunge and send her characters out into the world.

The central theme in Kim’s books is self-discovery, whether that is found through taking risks, breaking down walls, or admitting mistakes. Kim likes to write characters that seem like someone you actually know, who find that life is a journey not without its challenges.

When not writing Kim spends her time with her husband, chasing around their crazy kids, exploring Japan, and binge-watching Doctor Who on Netflix.

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How I Married a Marquess by Anna Harrington – Spotlight and Giveaway

4_26 anna harrington How-I-Married-a-Marquess-Launch-Day-Blitz
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher for the release of Anna Harrington’s newest book How I Married a Marquess. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a print copy of the book.

4_26 Harrington_HowIMarriedAMarquess_MMA SHOCKING DECEPTION . . .
Josephine Carlisle, adopted daughter of a baron, is officially on the shelf. But the silly, marriage-minded misses in the ton can have their frilly dresses and their seasons in London, for all she cares. Josie has her freedom and her family . . . until an encounter with a dark, devilishly handsome stranger leaves her utterly breathless at a house party. His wicked charm intrigues her, but that’s where it ends. For Josie has a little secret . . .

. . . LEADS TO AN EXQUISITE SEDUCTION
Espionage was Thomas Matteson, Marquess of Chesney’s game-until a tragic accident cost him his career. Now to salvage his reputation and return to the life he loves, the marquess must find the criminal who’s been robbing London’s rich and powerful. He’s no fool-he knows Josie, with her wild chestnut hair and rapier-sharp wit, is hiding something and he won’t rest until he unravels her mysteries, one by one. But he never expected to be the one under arrest-body and soul . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt:

With determination, she snatched a glass of punch from a passing footman and weaved her way across the room, unable to tamp down her growing curiosity about him and the inexplicable yearning to meet him. Would those midnight blue eyes be just as intriguing up close? Would that mouth would be just as sensuous?

Sighing at her own foolishness, she slipped through the crowd like a moth drawn toward a flame. She should have been watching over her brothers. At the very least, she should have been watching for Miranda Hodgkins. Instead, she was stalking a handsome stranger, lifting her glass ever so slightly as she glided toward him, bumping her arm against his—

And spilled punch across his jacket sleeve.

Bull’s-eye!

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” She gasped as his hand immediately took her elbow to steady her…or to keep her from spilling the rest of the punch, she wasn’t certain which. But when she glanced up at those sapphire eyes and a warmth stirred low in her belly, she didn’t care.

Oh yes. Those eyes were just as intriguing up close.

With a shake, she collected herself. “How awful of me!” she exclaimed and brushed her fingertips at the few droplets of punch still clinging to his sleeve.

The two Sinclair ladies excused themselves with a touch of embarrassment for her, which Josie didn’t give one whit about. Especially when the corners of his mouth curled sensuously at her in amusement.

“No harm, I assure you.” His voice came as a deep purr.

She cleared her throat at the responding shiver that scattered through her like warm rain. “I’m so terribly clumsy.” She continued to brush at his sleeve long after the punch had been cleared away, inexplicably unable to stop herself from touching him. “Everyone’s always saying, ‘Josephine Carlisle, how absolutely clumsy you are!’”

She thought she saw knowing laughter sparkle in his eyes before he sketched her a shallow bow. “Miss Carlisle, something tells me you’re not truly as clumsy as you protest.”

His words were just cryptic enough to give her pause and make her wonder again who this man was and why he was at the earl’s party when men of his caliber never came to Blackwood Hall. But at least they were now engaged in conversation, and she had managed to accomplish the meeting—albeit by the most wretched self-introduction in history—without having to seek out someone to do the honors for her. And she didn’t feel the least bit guilty at her subterfuge. Just hearing that voice had been worth it, no matter how briefly the meeting might last.

Deep in her heart, she wished it would last a good long while.

She smiled apologetically. “I do hope I haven’t ruined your jacket.”

“It’s fine.” His eyes swept deliberately over her as he murmured, “Very fine.”

Her heart skittered. Good Lord, was he flirting? With her? Despite her uncertainty, she blushed like a debutante at her first ball. Goodness.

“You’re not dancing.”

“Pardon?” she breathed, her foolish heart daring to hope that he might be asking…But no. His words were only an observation, not a request, and her stomach plummeted with disappointment.

Of course, he wasn’t asking her to dance. Why on earth would he make such a request of the clumsy woman who’d just doused him with punch? As if this man ever had to request a dance in the first place. Most likely, the London ladies would have all sought out his dance card if men possessed such things. And then her pride sank even lower as she realized she’d done exactly that herself by approaching him in such a pathetic ruse.

He nodded past her toward the dance floor where couples twirled in the roiling knots of a quadrille. “You’re not dancing,” he repeated.

“I’m saving my toes for the waltzes,” she offered, curious to see how he would respond to that.

“Ah, toe preservation,” he replied with mock gravity, his eyes gleaming. “A noble cause.”

She smiled, strangely satisfied at his answer. Truly, she would have been incredibly disappointed had his response been anything less entertaining. “Indeed, sir, but perhaps I’m biased since I have a personal interest in the matter.” She gave a small laugh. “Ten, to be exact.”

When he followed the dart of her eyes to her slippers, which she wiggled beneath the hem of her gown, he slid her a charming grin that trickled its way down her spine with a languid warmth. The laughter caught in her throat.

Entertaining? Well, that was the understatement of the year. This man was utterly captivating. And for one shameless moment, bewildered at how he could draw such an inexplicable reaction from her so immediately, she wanted very much to become his captive.

“And you?” She cleared her suddenly tight throat and hoped her voice sounded much steadier than she felt. “Why are you not dancing?”

“I prefer the side of the room.” Then he leaned in slightly as he admitted in a low voice, a faint smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, “So much easier that way for beautiful ladies to purposefully spill punch on my sleeve to gain my attention.”

Her mouth fell open, and she gaped at him. Speechless. Both at his audacity at calling her out for her ruse and for claiming she was beautiful. And at her reckless desire to hear him say it again.

About the Author: Anna is an English professor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and a lover of all things chocolate and coffee. She’s a member of RWA and when she’s not hard at work writing her next book or planning her next series, she’s watching BBC and piloting her own aircrafts.

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On the Ironies of the Universe by Johnny Newport – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

On the Ironies of the Universe
What is the most amazing thing to me about our material universe is not that only a relative handful of people can make heads or tails from the hodgepodge of astrophysical knowledge we’ve managed to cobble together, but that nobody in existence—right now in this moment, in this space and time—understands it fully.

At the risk of digressing into a blog of cosmos mania (the gravitational waves news of a month ago has really thrown me for a loop and I’ve yet to fully recover), allow me to jump straight to the point:

My book, In Defense of the Moth or A Meaningless Dance in Blinding Heat and Light is (or was, I should say) for me a treatise on the nobility and honor of being an alcoholic, a drug addict, or someone otherwise afflicted with acute insanity. It was written by me as a grand justification to a code of ethics and behavior and is a Platonic (from the school of Plato, I should make clear) apology, or apologia, for my own particular flavor of hedonism (though I left the allegory vague for each individual to make their sense of their own flaws).

The great irony in all of this is not that though this book was written in the throes of my insanity and darkness, if not a critical darling, is being at least acknowledged for strong writing harkening the insanity of others predisposed with afflictions (e.g. Kafka, Camus, Hunter S. Thompson, DeLillo), for I think that is probably more luck than irony, but, that this book got its legs and publication post rehab and therapy, at fourteen (14) months sober.

True, even in sobriety, I must admit I posit a serious and sound philosophy worthy of consideration and discussion. But does that mean I advocate for a man to die in his cups? Good Question; I’ll let you decide.

What does that mean for the book and for me, its author, and its purpose? Good Question; I’ll let you decide.

Is my book, then, dangerous and something which vulnerable man should avoid? Good Question; I’ll let you decide.

Does the Universe, the indomitable and unrelenting power all around us, allow us from time to time some really humbling ironies? Hell yea!

The Moon…

It is said the moon’s spell can move us and nobody understands her pull like Johnny Gomez.

Johnny, a devil-may-care and fatalistic salesman, remains tethered to his privileged life by a love for his children, his career and the moon—and not necessarily in that order. In fact, it’s Johnny’s lifelong passion for the moon, through both obsessive, independent study and a communal involvement in an astronomy society, that serves as the only outward distraction as a life of standard struggles waxes into a burgeoning crisis.

Until one night Johnny finds that the moon—his preferred method of self-medication– no longer exists…but for him only and not anyone else.

Or so it seems, leaving Johnny’s continued marriage with reality to hinge on his rediscovery of the moon!

If you like allegories and/or philosophical apologies for acute insanity, grab “In Defense of the Moth or A Meaningless Dance in the Blinding Heat and Light” and join the eclipse.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I walked past a block of shuttered buildings. Most I noticed had been shuttered for a long time, but the last office was a more recent failure. It was a beauty salon last I remembered. I reached the street corner where the tall street lamp was planted in the sidewalk and I gazed upward. A flutter of moths danced to the low hum of energy the light created. It wasn’t much and it wasn’t for long as they would be dead soon, but at least without the light of the moon they had the luck of having a substitute for their meaning, even if artificial, through man’s production.

They owe us one, I thought.”

About the Author:

Johnny Newport (The Moth) is carrying the consciousness of the oft-failed man native to 2016. Strictly from a visual standpoint he looks like he may be kept in a nice package, but this is not so. Johnny Newport has two feet on the warpath and probably smells like last night’s street tacos.

Johnny knows that his devil-may-care attitude is unfair—to himself and to others—but this is precisely the origin for the voice of an unbridled generation of privilege; the 21st-century-livers that intimately know they have squandered (squandered what? How can we say definitively and with any assurance despite knowing that a squandering has, indeed, befallen?), and will continue to do so, happily.

Otherwise about me, I studied at the University of Texas at Austin, have spent the last two years in The Writer’s Path program at SMU (Southern Methodist University, Dallas) and have applied to a handful of low-res MFA programs for fall of ’16.

Short story publications in 2015 were:

* Mr. Franklin’s Heartbreaking Sympathy (The Speculative Book, anthology)
* La Tortuga, (Limestone, University of Kentucky MFA journal)
* He, Who Controls the Spices (Euphemism, Illinois State University graduate journal)
* I Blame Lolita (Moth magazine, Ireland’s premiere literary review)
* Letter to the Jew’s Mom (The Vehicle, Eastern Illinois University online journal)

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The Trouble with Seduction by Victoria Hanlen – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Victoria will be awarding a $25 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.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheTroubleWithSeductionRebellious, Scandalous and Irredeemable

Sarah, Lady Strathford is ready for a little harmless frivolity with a man of her own age and her own appetites…surely that’s not too much to ask! After the death of her beloved husband years before Sarah is ready for an adventure… Enter the dashing, roguish – and baffling – Mr Cornelius Ravenhill.

Ravenhill, however, is not the gentleman he seems, and soon Sarah finds herself battling against the corrupt and harsh world around her as it threatens to destroy all she holds dear. The question is, will her seduction at the hands of Mr Ravenhill prove to be her saviour or her downfall?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“This excerpt is from an unedited ARC and there may be small changes in the final book.”

“I have a favor to ask, Amelia.” Sarah rolled her cigar between her fingers. “It has come to my attention that perhaps someone connected to Edward’s accident was at your party a few weeks ago. Would it be possible for you to make a list of all present? And could you please include the servants and anyone else who might have arrived late, guest or not.”

“Oh, my, Sarah! Whom do you suspect?”

“I’m not sure. It’s for an acquaintance who thought they briefly saw someone there.”

Amelia’s face lit up. “This is all so mysterious. Who is this acquaintance?”

Sarah bit her lower lip and tasted rich Cuban tobacco. Yesterday’s image of Mr. Ravenhill in his revealing work smock appeared in her mind. She probably should have nothing more to do with him. Handsome males had always brought trouble. The very first boy she’d admired had teased her into breaking her leg. Its weakness would probably forever plague her.

She shouldn’t reveal he was the one who wanted the list, but she hated lying, and especially to her friends. “This acquaintance believes they have found a connection between the fire that killed Edward and the men who attacked…him.”

“It’s Mr. Ravenhill!” Amelia clapped excitedly.

Calista’s dimple twitched, and she shoved her cigar into her mouth.

Sarah wanted to make herself very small and slink away. This was exactly what she’d been afraid of, and these were her friends. She and Ravenhill were such a chestnut – a wealthy widow befriending a handsome rake, the younger son of a peer. “You purposely misunderstand the situation. There is nothing between us and that is the way it will stay.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheTroubleWithSeductionAward winning, historical romance author, VICTORIA HANLEN, has worked at a wide range of jobs, from fashion, to corporate business, to treading the boards of stage and professional opera. A lifelong writer, she once put her skills to use in PR and advertising. But her favorite form of writing is stories with happily ever afters. Her first book, The Trouble With Misbehaving, was published in February 2016. Victoria and her husband live in rural New England surrounded by a host of wildlife.

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Background of Night at the Ariston Baths by Michael Murphy – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Michael Murphy whose latest book A Night at the Ariston Baths releases today.

Background of Night at the Ariston Baths

This book has been a tough one for me for one simple reason: the events depicted in the story actually happened. In 1903 in New York City there was a raid on the Ariston Bathhouse that swept up 78 men in the first known raid on men for having sex with men. There are no records of anything like this happening anywhere else before that night in 1903. This was a massive raid in terms of people detained and police involved.

Persecuted for simply being who we were born to be, gay men (whether or not they could use that word to describe themselves) have always tried to carve out some space where they could meet one another — safe space. The Ariston Baths, a fine, upscale Turkish and Russian Bathhouse located in one of the most fashionable apartment houses in the city, was one such space at around the turn of the century. There was rumored to be a gay manager who looked out for his men and tried to keep the bathhouse on Saturday nights safe for his kind to gather and mingle.

To tell this story I talked with Elizabeth North and we came up with a fictional character, a young man from rural Pennsylvania, who follows his best friend to New York City. In addition to the difficulties of being a country boy in the big city, Theodore McCall discovers that in the few years he and his best friend have been separated, Martin Fuller, has started to change into someone he does not know. Martin is more free, uninhibited and takes chances Theodore finds appalling. One of those chances was on February 21, 1903, when a number of undercover New York City detectives were watching his every move.

That night, there were somewhere from two to six undercover detectives who spent numerous hours in the Ariston Baths, watching, noting every move, every glance, every interchange between the customers. And then at 1:45 AM, a number of uniformed police swept into the place and turmoil erupted. They were not polite or gentle in their efforts to round up all of the customers and staff into one room. When they had everyone they had six police, 78 customers, and 3 staff. Everyone was detained for behavior that everyone found indecent and appalling.

Worse yet, the names of some of the men were printed in the morning newspapers along with their home addresses. So much for a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The lives of dozens of men were irrevocably changed that night. I have researched as many of the men as I can trace and I’ve tried to weave their stories into the character of Martin Fuller. His best friend, Theodore does as much as he can to help Martin, but when he runs out of money and legal options, he has nothing left. With his tail between his legs he returns home to rural Pennsylvania, terrified about ever venturing out of his little valley ever again. Convinced he’s going to spend his entire life alone, out of the blue, he finds someone he can’t take his eyes off. It turns out that this man, Jasper Webb, can’t take his eyes off Theodore, either. When Jasper grows bold one night and kisses Theodore, everything changes in Theodore’s life.

4_25 NightattheAristonBaths[A]LGIn rural Pennsylvania, Theodore McCall lives on his family’s farm and works as a clerk at the local general store. While his best friend, Martin Fuller, thrives in New York City, Theodore trudges through life. But on New Year’s Eve, 1902, Theodore’s world is turned upside down, and big changes call for bold action.

Theodore, who has never ventured more than eight miles from home, undertakes the daunting journey to New York City to join Martin. But the Martin he finds in New York is a stranger, a different man, doing things Theodore finds shocking. After just two months in the City, Theodore’s world is upended again as he and Martin are swept up in the events at the Ariston Baths.

Haunted by his experiences in New York, Theodore returns home, wondering whether he’ll ever find happiness in life. When he meets Jasper Webb, Theodore must boldly risk everything for the love he so longs for.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The evening news usually didn’t make Theodore jump up and try to dance and do a cheer, but it did on Saturday evening, June 28, 1969.

“Theodore, stop!” Jasper warned. “You’re going to fall and break a hip.”

But Theodore didn’t care. “They did it. By God, they did it!” he said as he thrust the fist at the end of his skinny arm into the air.

“Who did what?” Jasper asked, confused.

“Our people,” Theodore gasped out, as he fell back into his chair. “Our… people.”

“Mr. McCall, you having trouble breathing, baby?” a health aide asked anxiously when she saw Theodore panting for breath.

“The old fool was just trying to dance a jig or cheer or something ridiculous,” Jasper said critically but with a hint of concern. “What were you thinking? You’re nearly ninety years old. You can’t do things like that anymore. Especially after being in the hospital just two weeks ago.”

“Oh, hush,” Theodore said. “This is a day… that will go down in the history books. And I lived to see it. I’ve dreamed of this, but I was afraid I wouldn’t live long enough. But I did. What a glorious day.”

“What are you talking about?” Jasper asked, looking more concerned about Theodore than he was about having an answer to the question he’d just asked.

“That last news story. Didn’t you hear it?”

“I must have, but I couldn’t tell you what it was about.”

“There was a riot last night—this morning, I suppose.”

“Who rioted about what?” Jasper asked.

“Our people. The homosexual youngsters.”

“Where?”

“Right here in New York. Some place called the Stonewall Inn.”

“Have you been there?”

“No. And you know that, because you haven’t been there, and you and I go everywhere together. We have for more than sixty years now.”

The health aide had been taking Theodore’s pulse while they talked. “You’ve known each other how long?” she asked.

“More than sixty years now,” Theodore said.

“Sixty-five years,” Jasper corrected.

“Good Lord,” she said admiringly. “My mama wasn’t even born yet when you two met. I’m not even sure if my grandma was alive yet.”

“That’s because we’re older than dirt,” Theodore said.

“Hey,” Jasper said, “speak for yourself, old man. I’m younger than you are.”

“Only by a couple of months,” Theodore said. “It’s not like I robbed the cradle.”

“Whatever you say, oldster.”

The health aide laughed. “You two are too much. My job wouldn’t be half as much fun if I didn’t have you guys here.”

“Thank you,” Jasper said.

“How did you meet?” she asked.

“I hired him to work in my store in 1904,” Theodore said. “Best decision I ever made too.”

Looking at Jasper, she asked, “Now don’t you know you’re not supposed to have workplace romances?”

“I was the only employee. It was him and me. We didn’t have any rules like that back in our day. And let me tell you,” Jasper said, leaning forward as if to share confidential information, “if you could have seen him… oh, my goodness. Just the sight of him made my heart race. The man was quite a looker.”

“You weren’t so bad yourself,” Theodore added.

“We were much more focused on living without attracting a lot of attention. It was hard to be homosexual back then,” Jasper said.

“Hell, it’s never been easy to be gay in this country. Doesn’t matter that we’ve been here right from the start, a part of every single generation that made this country what it is today.”

“We had to conduct business, live our lives, and help everyone believe they couldn’t see and didn’t know what was going on between us. Everybody knew, but God forbid their safe little worlds be disrupted by something that didn’t fit their concept of what was what.”

“Everybody had their heads buried deep in the sand. Sometimes I wondered how they managed to breathe,” Theodore said.

“You spoke about something going down in history. Gentlemen, you are history.”

“You trying to say we’re old?” Theodore asked with a smile.

“I didn’t say anything about you being old,” she said. “I said you two are history, not historic.”

“This day, today, what just happened last night, is finally our people not quietly letting the cops beat us down and abuse us and treat us like less than dirt. This is for Martin.”

“Well, one of you better start and tell me that story.”

“Well, you see, it started on the last day of 1902, New Year’s Eve. But let me back up a little. It was Christmas Eve, 1902….”

About the Author: Anytime I’m asked the question of who I am I have to stop and try to decide how in the world to answer. I might biologically be middle age, but inside I feel like a randy teenager anxious to explore the world. Dreams of writing have been a part of my life since I was five years old.

Two of the greatest influences on me as I was growing up were my two grandmothers. Both were strong women who had unbelievable burdens thrust upon them when they were widowed very early in life. Both of these incredible women loved stories. They loved reading stories and telling stories, and the stories they had to tell were incredible.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been writing stories. What has been different over the last five years is that I’ve finally been brave enough to allow someone else to read what I’d written. When that happened I found that others liked what I’d written which made me beyond happy.

In addition to writing, my other love is photography. Taking photos of some of the beautiful men of the world is my current focus. With any luck, one of those photos will grace the cover of a Dreamspinner novel in the near future.

My partner and I have traveled the world, trying to see as much as possible. When not traveling, we live in Washington, DC with our best friend, a throw-away dog we adopted twelve years ago. To pay the bills, I am Director of Information Technology for a national organization based in Washington, DC. While I’d rather be writing full-time, I haven’t figured out how to make that a viable option – yet.

Please stop by www.gayromancewriter.com to learn more.

Buy the ebook or paperback at Dreamspinner Press.

Fatal Honor by Misty Evans – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Misty Evans, who is visiting with us as part of her virtual book tour for newest romantic suspense Fatal Honor. Enter the Rafflecopter for a tour-wide giveaway includes a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card and a Rock Star Bracelet.

4_25 misty evansFatalHonor1600x2400-2The second thrilling novel in the bodyguard romantic suspense series, Shadow Force International.

Miles is Charlotte’s one and only weakness. He’s also her only hope…

To stop a Romanian crime lord and clear her name, British Intelligence officer Charlotte Carstons has no choice. She must track down former Navy SEAL Miles Duncan and ask for his help. Miles holds the key to completing her undercover assignment and proving she’s no traitor…but he also holds a grudge. Getting him to forgive her may be the most challenging mission of her life.

Charlotte is his fantasy woman. She’s also the biggest mistake of his career…

He was supposed to hunt her down. Instead Miles ended up at the mercy of the sexy, mysterious MI6 agent who left him without so much as a goodbye after their six-week love affair in the Carpathian Mountains. Back in the States and working as an operative for Shadow Force International, Miles has been searching for Charlotte ever since—and so has everyone else. She’s a traitor to her country and she may be responsible for the deaths of his SEAL teammates a year ago.

Together, they can save the world. Or destroy each other…

When Charlotte shows up on his doorstep asking for help, Miles knows better than to get involved. She’s determined to go back to Romania with or without him, however, and he knows she’s walking into a deadly trap. Can he keep her safe as they travel across continents and explore the depth of their feelings for each other? Or will misplaced honor and treasonous loyalties prove fatal for them both?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“You going to come out of the bathroom on your own, darlin’,” a lightly accented Southern voice said from the doorway, “or am I going to have to come in there and carry y’all out?”

That voice. A tiny thrill went through her, every cell in her body rejoicing at the sound of that deep, husky voice.

Charlotte remembered the first time she’d heard him speak. He’d been unconscious for days, barely clinging to life, in and out of consciousness. Exhausted from caring for him and keeping her location a secret, she’d fallen asleep next to him in bed, her head lying near his. He’d touched her face with the tips of his fingers, waking her, and said, “You must be my guardian angel.”

He’d fallen right back to sleep, but it had made her giddy that he’d woken up and spoken to her. Twenty-four hours later, he was fully awake and wanting to know what had happened.

She was no guardian angel. Angel of death was more like it. It was her fault the scientist’s plane had been shot down in those mountains. Her fault he’d needed rescuing by Miles and his Navy SEAL team.

If Miles had found out she was the cause of all of that—the trouble that killed his teammates—no wonder he hadn’t knocked on her motel room door and kissed her silly when she opened it.

Tucking herself closer to the wall, she tried to see through the slit in the doorframe. Her eyes had adjusted to the darkness but she couldn’t make out his whereabouts.

She could feel him, though. Every place that he had touched, every spot he had kissed in her cabin in the mountains, was suddenly alive again. Not scarred and bruised and broken, but tingling with anticipation.

Laying her brow against the cold metal of the gun barrel, she closed her eyes for a second. She’d been waiting for this moment, looking forward to a reunion with him. Never in all those fantasies had she envisioned herself sitting on a dirty bathroom floor, wrapped in nothing but a towel with no way out.

In her version of the reunion, she’d planned on retrieving the video from her hidden safe first, putting Nicolae behind bars where he could never hurt anyone again, and then showing up on Miles’ door with a clean slate and the tiniest hope for the future.

Best laid plans…

Without warning, the door banged fully open, smacking her body and nearly knocking the gun from her hands. A shadow moved, hands grabbing her and slamming the wrist of her gun hand into the edge of the sink. She grunted, trying to hold onto the Beretta as she kicked out at the same time with her right foot.

She landed a solid hit to her attacker’s shin. He grunted and knocked her wrist against the sink once more, the impact sending a shockwave up her arm and forcing her to let go.

No stranger to pain, she suppressed the cry that exploded in her throat, kicking out again with both legs and nailing him in the knees this round. The towel covering her backside slid on the tile floor from the effort, causing her to go down on her back as he released his grip on her wrist.

Damn. Now he had her gun.

A large hand wrapped around her ankle. One jerk and she was flipped over onto her belly, the towel coming completely undone, her chin bouncing on the floor.

Ow.

The tiles chafed against her naked skin. She fought, reaching for anything that would give her purchase, anything that could be used as a weapon.

Her fingernails scratched against something hard. The tiny garbage can under the sink. It was only plastic, but it would work if…she could…reach…it…

Miles plopped down on her butt, his heavy weight pining her to the floor. She heard him eject the Beretta’s magazine, clear the chamber of the round. He reached down and knocked her outstretched hand away from the direction of the garbage can; one of his did the job of restraining both of hers above her head.

“Don’t fight me, Veronica,” he said, his lips close to her ear as he held her immobile. His breath was warm, sending a fresh wave of goose bumps over her skin. “Or should I call you Charlotte? Or my favorite, Sarah?”

Grinding her teeth, she ignored the pain in her wrist, the chafing of the tile against her breasts and hips bones, the weight of him. “Get off of me, you lughead.”

He chuckled. “That’s not what you said the last time I was on top of you.”

Even with the cold tiles under her, a hot flush wormed its way under her skin. The memory of him on top of her, of his body working its magic on her, was enough to make her stop fighting.

He’s not the enemy, she reminded herself.

If only she could breathe. “My first name is Charlotte. My friends call me Charlie.”

“Ah, but we’re not friends, are we? Fuck buddies, lovers maybe. Not friends. Friends call one another, they don’t leave in the middle of the night with no goodbye and disappear for nine months.” He still pinned her down, his nose brushing against her head as he spoke in her hear. “What are you doing here?”

He’d kept track of their time apart. Charlotte took hope in that. “Let me up and I’ll explain.”

The light drawl evaporated. “You must think I’m naive or incredibly stupid.”

“I don’t believe either. Why?”

“You slipped away me from once before, Agent Charlotte Carstons. I’m not turning you loose so easily again. Start talking.”

So he did know her true identity. She closed her eyes for a moment, breathing in his familiar Miles scent of citrus and warm male skin, wishing she could tell him the one simple truth burning in her throat. I love you.

He wouldn’t believe her after all the lies she’d told, and saying the words out loud wouldn’t change the fact she would have to lie to him again. Leave him again. For his safety and for hers.

Struggling to breathe under his weight, she shoved thoughts of confessing her love aside and opened her eyes. “Nicolae Bourean, head of the Corsicani clan in Romania. I’m on the run from him. The reason I left you was to save your life. You and I survived that brutal winter in the mountains, and it’s one of my fondest memories, but when spring came, I had to ensure no one knew you and I had been together. It was too dangerous for you. I made contact with Emit Petit, told him where to find you and I left. I had work to do on my case, information I still needed before I could close it out, and I had to go to Nico to get it. Unbeknownst to me, he’d figured out I was MI6. He took me prisoner. I escaped a few weeks ago, but he’s after me. He wants me back. Badly.”

She forced herself not to shiver at the thought of what Nico would do to her if he ever did get hold of her again. Death would be a blessing. “You, Miles Duncan, literally hold the key to my survival.”

About the Author:4_25 Misty Evans PhotoUSA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011.

Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Newsletter / Pinterest

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6 Must Haves of a Fantasy by Sally Mitchell – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

6 Must haves of every fantasy story

1. A crazy world

A fantasy just wouldn’t be a fantasy without the world to set the scene. I’ve often read about authors struggling with this aspect of fantasy writing but the way I see it, if you have the imagination to create a complex fantasy novel, you have the imagination to create the world too.

I think the easiest way to do this is just let your mind run free. The fantasy genre is limitless and so applies to the world your characters live in. No matter how crazy an idea seems at any given time, just go with it, the chances are it will work.
There were moments when I was creating the world for ‘Eden’, particularly when deciding to light the sky on fire, when I thought can I really get away with that? But people liked that it was so different. I suppose by making the world outlandish, it also makes it stand out from the crowd, which, when selling books is what you want.

2. Diverse characters

The old saying ‘no two people are the same’ also applies to book characters. Nobody enjoys reading a book when each character has the same personality traits or are as boring as watching paint dry. Keep some variety. Try thinking of your nearest and dearest. What unique traits do they have? Multiply their weirdness and attach it to a character.

3. Super natural abilities

Somewhere along the way, every good fantasy needs some super powers thrown into the mix. What’s the point of creating a superb world and character set if they don’t have a stick that turns into a snake or hands that can shoot out scorpions? Every good fantasy I ever remember has some form of abilities in them, be it wizardry or flying, fantasy is the ultimate form of escape and super natural abilities enhance that.

4. An evil overlord

There has to be a strong force of evil in a fantasy novel, somebody who can create a strong emotional response within the reader. This gives them more reason to support the hero and wills them to keep on reading.

5. A turbulent romance

This is just my opinion but a ‘will they/won’t they’ romance always adds some spice to a story in any genre. Sometimes, and again only my opinion, a steady old relationship can grow monotonous after a few chapters. I love it when an author keeps you guessing as it keeps you on your toes.

6. A religious underpinning

I love things that come from a religious background. There’s something so dark and mysterious about religion, especially knowing the lengths people have gone over the centuries in the name of serving some divine entity, that it really grabs my attention and keeps me hooked.

MediaKit_BookCover_EdenWelcome to Mendacia; The city of lies. Saved from a divine apocalypse, its citizens now starve. They are trapped beneath a fire-lit sky and surrounded by a molten river, all to pay for the sins of their ancestors.

The gods cursed the original generation with eternal life so that their skin would rot and their pain would always remind them of their own horrific crimes.

These demons now serve the tyrant emperor, Malum Dolus who uses them to terrorise the citizens, all in the name of maintaining order.

One woman, Vita Dulcas has had enough of his evil ways, but what could she possibly do to help the citizens? They love Malum and hate her, suspecting her of witchcraft after her survival of deadly snake bites. All she can do is stay invisible.
That is until she finds herself backed into a corner and all she can do is fight. Suddenly, she has more power than she could have ever imagined and it becomes clear she is Mendacia’s last hope.

If only she could make the citizens see the truth.

Enjoy an excerpt:

‘But then he turned. Vita jumped with the motion, praying she didn’t look as hopeless as she felt, but as his head turned, his eyed skimmed past the lamb and landed on her own, searing into them as if nothing had ever changed. The darkness behind those beautiful eyes was a harsh reminder now though. A reminder of the awful secret they shared. She remembered looking up lovingly into those eyes – how wrong she had been. How dangerous he truly was. The ignorance of vanity, she thought.’

‘One by one, more of the citizens scaled the walls, marching a slow and silent trail through the remains of the battle, each to pay their own respects to the man who had taken on the demons and given them the hope of freedom.
With a cough, Empress Vesta began to speak from the balcony. ‘This has been a truly terrible day,’ she said. ‘One which will, I’m sure, weigh on our minds and hearts for some time to come. But, I decree that this man deserves a respectable death. Who will carry his body to the palace?’

Nico’s hand shot in the air, his other clasped on his chest. ‘I will.’

‘And me,’ said Kayin, pulling himself to his feet.

‘Me too,’ said the Survivor.

‘Yes,’ said another citizen.

‘Aye,’ said Domine Agil from behind Vesta.

She gazed down to see the sea of her citizens nodding and raising their hands, all eager to pay the man his final respects. She watched her son, the Survivor and Nico haul Theo’s body into the air. Another citizen helped to support his leg and the four of them began a slow exit from the arena, the brave sinner above their shoulders.’

‘Vita let the curtain drop behind her and walked confidently onto the balcony. She held her hands behind her back and stopped in the centre, standing silently for a moment to survey the faces below her. Some, she had seen before, others were strangers. Family men, drunkards, men of high and low standing, young boys and even arthritic old men, all here in an attempt to buy her and take her freedom.

She could feel her heart quickening and for a moment wondered what she was doing. She couldn’t see the Bilo brothers, which gave her cause for relief. A whistle echoed around the yard, followed by an eruption of laughter from the group of her potential husbands. She remained still, letting the sounds wash over her.

‘Just come to give us a taster ‘av yer love?’ She gazed down at the toothless source of torment and waited patiently for the ensuing laughter to die down.

‘Gentlemen,’ she began to speak slowly. ‘I stand before you today with faith. Faith in the goodness in each of you. I see many different faces below me. I see men I have known and respected, hardworking men, family men and loyal men. I see long standing friends of my father, people who I used to feel protected by. I see people who, like me, have suffered in this land. And I wonder if it is fear that makes such good men gather here today? You label me a witch, but you can see my flesh is just as vulnerable as yours. If I am cut I will bleed. I am not the one to fear.’

‘The sound of her mother’s dying scream echoed through Vita’s mind and everything stopped. Time seemed not to exist and with pure clarity only one thought surfaced: they must die. She barely felt the tension of the rusted chain as her wrists snapped the metal, with enough force to send her body backwards.

She watched as the pole splintered clean in two with the impact of the flail, right where her head would have been. The demon panicked and pulled the flail free, bringing it down again towards her. She couldn’t move fast enough this time and her hands came up, palms forward to protect her skull. She waited for the impact.

A few seconds passed and she heard a confused grunt. She dared to open an eye and stared, stunned. Her hands were emitting a sort of white/blue light, bright enough to light up the entire room. She gazed in wonder at the flail which had stopped mere millimetres from her palms and was floating calmly in circles. The demon pulled the weapon, but somehow his efforts were hopeless. The flail was stuck fast. She reached out with lightning reactions, grabbing it from the demon’s rotten hands and she could feel the centuries of cruelty the instrument had yielded. The light vanished, leaving only the darkness once more.’

About the Author:

I was brought up in a small country village in North Yorkshire, UK. I had always been brought up to work hard and to push myself, skills which came in useful for writing the Eighth Day. I suppose it also helped that I’ve always been a huge bookworm with a love of all things fantasy and all things romance. Pride and Prejudice is my all-time favourite.

Granted those genres are miles apart but I find something incredibly romantic about escaping to a world that has been lovingly created by an author. I enjoy trying to connect with them through their imagination, wondering where they were and what they were doing when they developed such magical worlds.

Writing my own novel was the best experience I’ve ever had career wise, and it makes the struggles I have faced in my past careers all worth the while.

After losing my career as a nurse following a car accident, I began a promising psychology career, even winning an award for my undergraduate degree. However, I became a single parent three years ago and sacrificed another dream to set up a laundry and ironing business, which enabled me to be at home with my son.

Despite many commitments, a further relationship breakdown and 3 family bereavements, I was determined to develop a rewarding career and make my little man proud.

That’s when I decided to begin a writing career and I developed the Eden Saga. Such a path enabled me to stay at home and give him all the extra support he needed whilst also having something for myself.

I’m now the happiest I’ve ever been, I’m closer to my son than ever and I’ve finally released my novel as an e-book which is available on all major platforms.

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Useful Tips on Formatting eBooks by Liz Gavin – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $50 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Useful tips on Formatting eBooks
By Liz Gavin

First of all, I’d like to thank the awesome team at Goddess Fish Promotions for putting together this blog tour. YOU ROCK!!
Second of all – and equally important – thanks to the host for having me and Luck of the Irish on your blog today. You’re much appreciated.

Now let’s move on to the actual post. LOL

FORMATTING EBOOKS

So you spend countless hours researching for your book. After all, it doesn’t matter if you write fiction or non-fiction – you research information before putting pen to paper. Or cursor to screen, nowadays. You pour your heart and soul into the story. You upload it to the online stores and cross your fingers. Readers like it and post positive reviews. One day, somebody points out the story is great but they were giving your ebook three starts because there are too many blank spaces. The next reviewer states he wasn’t going to mention the formatting issues but since another customer did, he agrees on that. You start getting one-star reviews based solely on the formatting issues. Before you know it, the online store freezes sales of your book and sends you a friendly email asking you to fix said issues before they put your book back on sale at their store. *PANIC*.

Do you think I exaggerate? I can’t say how frequently such cases happen but I know at least one did. Not to me though. A dear friend and fellow author went through this ordeal over Christmas and New Year. He ended up missing on a good period of sales for his brilliant, non-fiction book because the major online store froze the book’s sales until he fixed the formatting issues. Namely – a few words that got jammed together and extra spaces between some paragraphs. Bottom line is we never know when a small issue will amount to a huge one. Besides, I believe delivering the best quality product possible is the least a supplier can do. In the business of publishing indie books, writers are the suppliers. We must do our best to offer our readers a good-looking, easy-to-navigate eBook for their enjoyment.

So the key question is – is formatting eBooks a difficult task? Well… yes and no.

It took me a while to figure out how to do it. I wasted a lot of time downloading apps, reading instructions, and proceeding to create eBooks that looked awful. You see, I would set up the fonts, margins, and headings on the Word® documents as I pleased before uploading them. I didn’t know I needed to set the files in a specific way before writing. Almost by accident I stumbled on a comprehensive guide on formatting ebooks called ‘Building Your Book for Kindle’. I downloaded it free of charge at the ‘Help’ section on my KDP Account Dashboard. It is a step-by-step text with screenshots to guide you through the whole process – from setting up your .doc file to uploading it to the automated converter on Amazon KDP. Once I created a compatible file, I used it as template for the following ones.

Although most of my titles are published exclusively on Amazon, I have a handful of books published elsewhere. Smashwords also offer good guides to formatting and publishing with them. If you want to sell your books on Barnes & Noble and Apple, I recommend Draft2Digital. They offer excellent service for free plus attractive royalty payment plans.

Hope I’ve helped you guys!! Thanks for stopping by today! Enjoy the tour and remember to check out the other blog stops for more chances at winning the giveaway!!

MediaKit_BookCover_LuckOfTheIrishKeira Ashe’s parents are great but her mother has overprotected her for years. Now, this twenty-two-year-old Bostonian has graduated from college and can go on a trip she has been planning for years. She fears her shyness may get in the way of her enjoying what could be a life-altering adventure. However, Keira feels her luck is about to change when she meets gorgeous bartender Declan Slane.

Declan Slane is twenty-six and works at a hotel bar in Dublin. He hasn’t been very lucky in his love life so far. Also, he has got a troubled past he has chosen not to revisit in order to keep his sanity. Because he isn’t looking for a girlfriend, Declan isn’t very pleased to meet a certain breathtaking American who walks into his bar one afternoon.

Get a taste of adventure and heartache as Keira spreads her wings and matures while she gets to know her great-grandparents’ home country – Ireland. Hold your breath when she faces tough decisions and dangers. Root for Keira while she weighs up the consequences of making love for the first time. Bite your nails when she comes across unforeseen threats.

Liz Gavin’s second full-length novel is hard to put down just as it is hard to pinpoint its genre. She has woven an intricate web around her characters that will leave readers breathless. In the sizzling concoction, this talented new author poured heart-warming romance, heart-stopping suspense, and a dash of heart-searching paranormal. Take your pick. Regardless of the literary genre you might favor, Liz Gavin’s writing will take you to a whole different side of it.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

He was responsible for her withdrawal, which made him feel like an asshole. He shouldn’t have gone bi-polar on her. He should have managed his emotions better. It wasn’t her fault he’d had a shitty love life. And it was not her fault if he couldn’t keep his damn lustful body in check.

Those thoughts didn’t help Declan, but caused new graphic scenes to invade his mind. For a while, he let himself indulge in them. If Keira were to stay, he would find a way to know her better.

I’d love to spend hours getting to know her—every little inch of her.

He closed his eyes imagining her perfect body under his—felt her silken skin under his fingertips. He wanted to kiss her until they were both breathless, discover her secret spots: what made her tick, moan, and shout his name.

“Declan!” her clear voice yanked him from the daydream. He looked at Keira, still in a daze, and she smiled. “The check please.”

He was mortified at the bulge in his pants, which prevented him from going to the table without making a bigger fool of himself than he had already made. So he pretended to study some papers instead.

“What’s your room number? I’ll add the check to your room bill.”

“Don’t I have to sign it?”

“Not necessary,” he lied, I’ll have to sign it myself because there’s no way in hell I can stand up right now, you little bewitching thing.

About the Author:MedaiKit_AuthorPhoto_LuckOfTheIrishWhen Liz Gavin was in Second Grade – just a couple of years ago, really – her teacher told her mother the little girl should start a diary because she needed an outlet for her active and vivid imagination. She was a talkative child who would disrupt the class by engaging her colleagues in endless conversations. She loved telling them the stories her grandfather used to tell her.
Apparently, the teacher wasn’t a big fan of those stories, and Liz’s mother bought her a diary. She happily wrote on it for a couple of months. Unable to see the appeal of writing for her own enjoyment only, she gave up on it. She missed the audience her friends provided her in class. She went back to disturbing her dear teacher’s class.

Since then, she has become a hungry reader. She will read anything and everything she can get her hands on – from the classics to erotica. That’s how she has become a writer of erotica and romance, as well.

As a young adult, she participated in a student exchange program and lived in New Orleans for six months. She fell in love with the city and its wonderful inhabitants. NOLA will always hold a special spot in Liz Gavin’s heart. Nowadays, living in Brazil, Liz’s creativity has improved many times because it’s such a vibrant, gorgeous and sexy country.

Welcome to her world of hot Alpha males and naughty, independent women. Add a touch of the paranormal in the presence of some wicked souls and you’ll get the picture.

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