What is Your Dream Job? by Kim Fielding – Guest Blog


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kim Fielding who is celebrating the release of her newest book A Full Plate.

Hi! I’m Kim Fielding, and I’m very excited to announce the arrival of my new Dreamspun Desires book, A Full Plate! If you’re in the mood for a sweet little opposites-attract romance with a hint of spice, this may fit your tastes exactly.

What is your dream job?

In a way, that’s a difficult question, because our answers are often subject to limitations. Some of those limitations lie in our own abilities. For instance, maybe it would be fun to be a rock star, but that’s highly unlikely for someone like me—I can’t carry a tune and have never succeeded at learning to play an instrument. And as an ER doctor once pointed out to me while stitching up a long slice atop my right index finger, I will never become a professional hand model either.

Other limitations lie in practicalities, like what’s going to pay the bills. I think it would be pretty cool to be an artist—specifically, a photographer—but the chances are slight that I’d make enough to cover the mortgage and my kids’ college funds. I’ve recently been telling my 15-year-old that while pro video game player sounds interesting, she might want to consider a Plan B.

Other people’s expectations can also limit us, along with our access to education and training and mentors.

But once we settle on a dream job, and maybe even decide to pursue it, we have to decide what success means to us. Fame? Fortune? Fun? A sense of accomplishment at the end of the day? Making a difference in people’s lives?

In A Full Plate, both main characters are struggling with these issues. Tully makes a lot of money as a corporate attorney, and he’s earned respect from his colleagues. But he works such long hours that he has virtually no personal life, and he’s not sure he feels fulfilled. On the other hand, Sage wants nothing more than to cook at the small-town restaurant his family has run for several generations. But money woes and family obligations have sent him down a different path.

I think it would be wonderful if more of us were free to pursue our dream jobs. I did. I dreamed of being an author.

Here’s something else to dream about: homemade chocolate ice cream. I have this recipe in my collection, but I don’t remember where it first came from.

Double Chocolate Ice Cream

2 ½ oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
¼ to ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Chopped nuts or mini marshmallows (optional)

In 2-quart saucepan, heat chocolate, sugar, milk, cream, and vanilla until chocolate is melted. Cool. Pour mixture into a blender and process until smooth. Add chocolate chips and blend until chips are broken up. Pour into prepared ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Just before done, add chopped nuts and/or marshmallows, if desired.

Makes 1 quart.

Opposites come together for a spicy surprise.

Bradford “Tully” Tolliver has everything—money, a great car, a beautiful condo, and a promising career as one of Portland’s hottest young lawyers. Sure, he puts in long hours and has no social life to speak of, but who needs romance when corporations pay top dollar for his expertise? He hesitates when a colleague asks if her cousin can live with him, but the arrangement will last less than a year, and then the cousin—Sage Filling—will return to his tiny hometown.

But Sage is handsome and intriguing, and his cooking makes Tully swoon. Sage has obligations back home, though, and Tully has offers he might not refuse from a persistent—and very wealthy—ex. Since Tully and Sage each have a full plate, can they make room for a side of love?

About the Author: Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

You can find a complete list of Kim’s books here.

Buy the book at Dreamspinner or Amazon.

Come Back to Me by Trilina Pucci – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will receive an author selected package which includes a signed copy of the book, mug, water bottle, and other essentials for the avid reader. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Mia West is drawn to Cole Parker and she doesn’t know why but each time he is around, she can’t stop the pull, drawing her into dark secrets and closer to her past. Will she put the pieces of her life back together or just end up in his bed?

When she meets Jack, it’s clear he wants Mia as his own but knows that to keep her means he has to keep her away from Cole. She wants to feel the spark with Jack but something keeps holding her back. Is it Cole or is there more to Jack than meets the eye?

When her past and present intersect, both men will give her reasons to run, the question is…whose arms will she run into.

Come Back to Me is the first book in the Forever series duet. The finale, Forever with Me, releases in June.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Step three, take care of Carter Williams, once and for all. Enough is enough. If I believe what my therapist says, I am not his victim. I am my own heroine and the time has come to rid myself of Carter the demon. It isn’t up to Jack to hold my hand, or Richard to keep me protected in some princess tower. I need to somehow free myself from Carter Williams so he can’t hurt or scare me again. This part of the plan is the least thought out… spontaneity is essential. Premeditation is always key when sentencing happens in a murder trial.

About the Author:

Trilina is an author, wife, and mama to three rowdy kiddos. When she isn’t making grilled cheese sandwiches, she can be found writing saucy novels that titillate and excite her readers.


Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy the book at Kobo, iBooks, or Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday Seven: Gardening

To all the folks joining us for Saturday Seven, please don’t forget to leave your link in the linky list at the end of this post.

For the Judy half of us, spring has definitely sprung. I’ve been working in the yard, trying to fix all the winter issues, and embarking on a new project – building a butterfly/hummingbird/bee garden. I’m so excited.

I’m not one to sit down and read a non-fiction book for the fun of it. However, I have several books that I like to dip into and consult from time to time– especially this time of year. In no particular order, here are some of the gardening books on my bookshelf:

This is a Reader’s Digest book and has some wonderful pictures. My husband and I love a lot of color around our house, and this book has given us some great ideas. The sections are divided into color zones, which I really appreciate…especially when I’m looking for a certain color to add more curb appeal to our front yard.

 

Some wonderful themes for gardens, if you are looking for ideas. I enjoy just thumbing through this book to get ideas, even if some of them are a little more ambitious that we want to bite off.

 

This book has been an invaluable help. My husband named our house “Rose Cottage” and, at last count, we have 30+ rose plants. Pruning is always nerve-racking for me…some roses grow on new growth and some on old growth…what to do, what to do? This book tells you!

 

This book isn’t exactly about gardening, but we love birds and this book has some really neat things you can put in your yard and garden to help encourage birds to hang out with you.

 

My mama gave this book to me one year for Christmas. Some of the ideas are pretty ingenious, others… I’m not so sure about. But, I’m all for going all natural in my yard (you know, because of birds, bees, butterflies, hummingbirds–not to mention I have a cat who likes to go out).

 

Not only do I like doing all natural outside, I think we can use a lot of nature’s remedies as well for us instead of picking up a pill bottle. And I love container gardening, so this is a book I use a lot.

 

I like this one especially because it talks directly to my area. We have a water garden and I’ve gotten a lot of ideas from this book on how to make it prettier.

 

Daemon Reckoning by Mariah Ankenman – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mariah Ankenman will be awarding a $10 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.

Hidden in the shadows of our world, supernatural creatures wage war for the fate of humanity.

Euadaemons protect the innocent, Kakodaemons desire absolute power. Both have altered Krista Culver’s life. After spending the past ten years as a Drone for evil, she’s finally awake and doesn’t want to waste another moment. No one will stand in the way of her kicking Kako butt. Not her sister, not her father, not even her incredibly tempting boss.

Racine is about to go mad trying to find his evil twin brother responsible for the Kako uprising, but Rysis is in the wind. Adding to his problems, Krista returned from Enforcer training. Gone is the sweet girl. In her place is a fierce woman who stirs something deep inside. Something he thought long dead and buried.

As their desires grow so does the danger surrounding them. The Kako threat is mounting and the time for a reckoning has come.

Read an Excerpt:

“Well done, Krista.”

She turned at the deep timbre, body still quaking with excitement. Racine stood at the edge of the mat. When had he come down from the track? The man was huge, but sneaky. How could a man that big move through such a dense crowd without her noticing? He towered above everyone here by a good three inches. Of course, she had been a little distracted kicking butt and taking names.

“You did well, but don’t get over confident.” The corner of his lips turned up in a wry grin. “Let’s see how you do against someone with over four hundred years of fighting experience.”

No way, Racine wanted to fight her? Forget alternate dimension, she’d fallen into a whole other universe.

The crowd backed away, but no one left the room. Apparently, they all wanted to see this. She didn’t blame them. She wanted to see this. Racine never fought new recruits. Everyone said so. Made her wonder why he wanted to fight her.

Pushing her curiosity aside, she took a deep breath, centering herself, readying for the fight. She trusted her skill and strength, but Racine had centuries of experience. Also, she wasn’t too proud to admit the thought of getting to touch him—even in a sparring capacity—sent a thrill of excitement through her. Inappropriate? Sure. Unavoidable? Not a chance.

About the Author:

RWA® Golden Heart® Nominated author Mariah Ankenman lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her two rambunctious daughters and loving husband who provides ample inspiration for her heart-stopping heroes.

Whether she’s writing hometown heroes or sexy supernaturals, Mariah loves to lose herself in a world of words. Her favorite thing about writing is when she can make someone’s day a little brighter with one of her books.

Website | Twitter
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mariahankenmanauthor | Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon, The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, or Kobo.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lost Souls Found by Kris T. Bethke – Exclusive Excerpt

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kris T. Bethke who is celebrating the recent release of Lost Souls Found.

Hi there! I’m Kris T. Bethke, and I’m here today to bring you an exclusive excerpt from my newest release, Lost Souls Found. Though it’s the second one in the series, it can definitely be read as a standalone. I hope you get a chance to check it out!

Excerpt:

The moment stretched between them. And then suddenly the energy changed, became electric instead of tense. Michael listed forward. Sam did too. And then they both froze. Sam blinked. Michael dropped his gaze to Sam’s mouth, and Sam’s tongue snaked out to wet his lower lip.

Michael broke and surged forward to chase that tongue. He pressed his mouth against Sam’s, and the instant their lips touched, Sam became pliant. Scorching heat raced between them. Michael changed his grip to hold instead of restrain, and Sam pushed closer. Michael wanted that too. He hauled Sam in until they held each other as tightly as humanly possible.

With a groan Michael tested the seam of Sam’s lips with his tongue. Sam immediately opened and let Michael in. So he explored, changed the angle, and dove in again. He couldn’t get enough of Sam’s taste. Lips, teeth, and tongue clashed over and over as they both fought for control.

And then Sam gave up, melted against Michael, and let him take over. Michael slowed the kiss, though it was just as intense. He took his time to learn Sam’s mouth and which angles worked best. And he breathed hard through his nose and took in Sam’s scent—something citrusy, fresh, and clean. Michael pushed harder and turned so he could press Sam against the desk and get better leverage.

Sam skated his hands up Michael’s shoulders and neck and into his hair. He gripped tightly and held on to the short strands. Michael gave a low, desperate moan, fitted himself between Sam’s parted thighs, pressed his hard dick against Sam’s, and made sure Sam could feel it all—that he could feel all of Sam.

Wrenching his mouth away, Sam sucked in a harsh breath. But Michael continued his exploration of Sam’s skin. He nosed across his jaw, latched on to the corded muscles of his neck so he could kiss and bite gently. He laved the spot he’d bitten, and smiled at Sam’s shiver.

“Michael,” Sam moaned.

Michael froze with his lips pressed against Sam’s Adam’s apple.

What the hell was he doing? He shouldn’t be kissing Sam—not now, not ever. He had to keep distance between them, keep things professional. They couldn’t get involved with one another.

He’d been fighting it for ten years.

Slowly and with the utmost care, Michael pulled back. He made sure Sam was steady and then took a giant step back and put more than a foot between them. Sam gave a tiny whine, and Michael wanted to pull him back into his arms to soothe him.

But he couldn’t.

“Michael?” Sam’s voice was filled with concern, and a little bit of hurt. Michael shook his head.

“We can’t do this.”

Sam’s expression crumbled, and the hurt was right there for Michael to see. The despair poured off him in waves, and Michael couldn’t help but feel it. That kiss had torn down his walls, and all he could feel was Sam’s confusion—his hurt. It almost made his knees buckle.

“You kissed me.”

“I know.” Michael tried to get himself under control. “I know. But we can’t. You know we can’t.”

For a minute Sam didn’t move. But that ache in Michael’s chest got stronger, more painful. It was Sam’s emotions, and it literally felt like his heart was breaking and a black hole was replacing it. Michael found it hard to breathe… and he felt it all secondhand. It had to be a thousand times worse for Sam. Michael lifted a hand before he could stop himself, but Sam skirted to the side and evaded his touch.

“You… I… I can’t even believe you right now.” Sam dropped his head and just breathed for a moment. Then he walked toward the door and spoke in a voice so low Michael almost didn’t hear it.

“It hurts less when you shove a sword through my chest.”

Dying is all in a day’s work. Love is more dangerous.

Ghostwalker Sam Jones has been half in love with Michael King since he started working at Requiem Inc. But Michael is his boss and a Guardian, to boot. Sam thinks they could make it work anyway, but Michael uses his position and his age to keep Sam at arm’s length.

When Sam continues to volunteer for the most dangerous cases, Michael has to intervene. He tells himself he’s just doing his job, but he’s always seen Sam as more than another operative, and he can’t bear the thought of not taking his chance. The connection between them has been strong from the beginning, and Michael’s telepathy adds unexpected depth and an edge to their new romance, but working together while they try to build their relationship might be the hardest part of their job if they don’t make some sacrifices.

About the Author: Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time. A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Willow’s Way by Sharon Struth

Willow’s Way by Sharon Struth
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: Full (228 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Willow Armstrong, the once-famous “Queen of Weight Loss” and president of Pound Busters, succumbed to stress eating after her divorce. Now the scandal of getting caught on camera binging on pizza, and the internet-wide mocking of her new curves, may destroy her career. Add in a business advisor who drained her finances, and Willow is out of options—until she learns she’s inherited a house in England’s most picturesque locale, The Cotswolds.

Willow’s trip across the pond to sell the property and salvage her company soon becomes its own adventure: the house, once owned by grandparents she never met, needs major work. Plus, single dad Owen Hughes, the estate’s resident groundskeeper and owner of a local tour outfit, isn’t thrilled about the idea of leaving . . . Yet as Willow proceeds with her plans, she’s sidetracked by surprising discoveries about her family’s history–and with Owen’s help, the area’s distinctive attractions. Soon, she’s even retracing her roots—and testing her endurance—amid the region’s natural beauty. And the more she delves into the past, the more clearly she sees herself, her future, and the way home . . .

Willow’s Way is an apt title for this book – because Willow has definitely lost her way and this novel describes how she finds it again. The book opens with the fact that Willow, creator of a very successful and popular diet program, has been caught on film sneaking pizza. It sounds like a set up for a joke, but her life has become no laughing matter. She’s divorced, a trusted advisor has taken off with her company’s (and her own) money, and she’s a stress eater. Her board of directors are not happy that the face of their weight loss company has gone from a size 6 to a size 12, so the release of the video was not a good thing. As she’s weighing her options, she quite unexpectedly learns she has inherited a house in England – and makes a decision that quite literally changes her life.

I absolutely loved Willow… I can identify with her on so many levels. I love the way she took control of things. She was a fighter, it stood her in good stead. There were a lot of issues for her to deal with over the course of the book and dealt with them she did. In doing so, she learned a lot about herself and her past she never knew. She was the type of character I felt like I could sit down and have tea with.

The rest of the characters were just as richly drawn. Owen is just scrumptious and could quite easily become one of my favorite male characters. His daughter Jilly (and Henry, her dog) are just fall-in-lovable!

The setting is almost like another character in the book. I’m a not-so-hidden Anglophile anyway, and I felt like I had stepped into the pages of a Maeve Binchy book had she written English settings instead of Irish. I would have loved to live here.

There are no great conflicts in this book, but they aren’t needed. It’s a sweet look at one woman and her life and I stayed up way too late reading it! I was right there rooting for Willow all the time she was trying to find her way, and I was very sorry when the book ended.

I highly recommend this book!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Nevada Escapists’ Club by Jane Lark


The Nevada Escapists’ Club by Jane Lark
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Suspense
Length: Full Length (339 pgs)
Rated: 3.5 stars
Review by Rose

Zac senses the connection he has with the single stranger within minutes of their meeting. She, like him, sought a place to escape. But she isn’t running anymore. He is. Ali falls into a holiday affair with a troubled young man. She would never choose a man like him if she was at home. So what will happen when the Las Vegas fantasy is over and her sunglasses tinted view of the world returns to reality? She is supposed to forget everything. It was meant to stop there…

This story revolves around Zac and Ali, two wounded souls who find themselves members of a sort-of club, The Nevada Escapists’ Club – those people who find themselves in Las Vegas trying to escape from the reality that is their life. Some people go to Las Vegas for fun, but others because they can’t face what is going on in the real world. But can two such wounded souls help each other or will they bring each other down?

Ali is a successful barrister who discovers that her perfect life is not what she thought it was and leaves England for Las Vegas to put some distance between her and her cheating husband. She’s lived through a lot before this marriage and so her reactions to discovering his unfaithfulness is certainly colored by that.

Zac has his own set of issues he’s trying to escape and, from the first time he and Ali meet, senses they have a lot in common and wants to find out more about Ali.

The Nevada Escapists’ Club starts out like a holiday romance…. boy and girl meet while on vacation…they discover a connection that takes them beyond the holiday. Yet, there are darker undercurrents that the reader discovers and twists that take it out of the romance element. Yes, there is romance, but there is so much more. Jane Lark looks into how our past influences in so many ways our present. Can we really escape being the people that our past has formed us to be.

There were some niggling editing issues that keep this book from being a full four, but that’s the editor in me. The main characters are well-drawn and their story is definitely a page turner. I was able to read the book in just a couple of nights because I was so drawn into their story and wanted to discover how they were going to overcome the issues they were facing.

Good job, Ms. Lark, on facing some tough issues face on and showing that there is hope for the abused to rise above it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Duke du Jour by Petie McCarty

Duke du Jour by Petie McCarty
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Time Travel
Length: Full (337 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Snapdragon

..a reverse Kate and Leopold…a light-hearted time travel romance where a bewildered modern-day duke ends up in Regency England and meets the girl of his dreams…

Jared Langley, present-day Duke of Reston, tumbles into an abandoned fountain on his ducal estate and travels back in time to the year 1816. There, Reston servants and local villagers think him a dead ringer for his namesake and rakehell ancestor–the seventh Duke of Reston, gone missing at the Battle of Waterloo. Unfortunately, Seven got mixed up with French spies out to assassinate the Duke of Wellington, and an unwary Jared ends up in their crosshairs.

Lady Ariana Hart has loved Jared Langley, the seventh Duke of Reston, since she was twelve years old, until the night the rogue broke her heart. Given up for dead, her rakish neighbor makes a miraculous return from Waterloo–only Jared shows up a changed man and reignites all the feelings Ariana had long ago buried.

Jared is in a race against time. He must waylay the suspicions of his quirky servants and neighbors, get to Wellington before the French spies do, fix his fountain–before Seven shows up–so Jared has a way home, and definitely not fall in love with the irresistible Lady Ariana.

Duke Du Jour kicks off with a surprising scandal – one that we readers could scarcely expect…and this story is intriguing immediately. Kudos to the author for plunging in so creatively. I must confess; given the time period, the titled character, the very word ‘romance’ – I expected my initial thought to be ‘entirely predictable.’ Happily, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Jared, third duke, is not getting his own way – right from the start. People and events transpire to affect him in ways he can scarcely imagine, but somehow, we believe. His meeting with Lady Ariana is both wonderful and awful, because we cannot see how this romance could ever actually work out. No spoilers here – McCarty enthralls us with this intriguing story line.

I’d call this a ‘mostly’ historical romance and suspect historical romance fans will find it enjoyable – don’t be put off by the time travel aspect. Definitely worth the read.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Authors, Apply the 80/20 Rule by James M. Jackson – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. James M. Jackson will be awarding the chance to name a character who will appear in FALSE BOTTOM (Seamus McCree #6) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Authors, Apply the 80/20 Rule

In 1906 an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto analyzed the distribution of wealth in Italy and discovered 20% of the people owned 80% of the wealth. Fast forward to the 1930s and 40s. Dr. Joseph Juran, an early quality management guru, discovered the broad principle of “the vital few and trivial many.” In the magic of naming conventions, this broad observation, combined with Pareto’s economics work led to this phenomenon being labeled as “Pareto’s Principle.”

Pareto’s work was a single statistic. Juran’s a broad principle. Combined they became the ubiquitous 80/20 rule, which in one general form states that 80% of the results are due to 20% of the actions.

For example, many corporations discover that 80% of their profits are derived from 20% of their customers.

One result of this kind of analysis is frequent buyer programs. Airlines, for example, want to capture business flyers who regularly travel and often pay more for a ticket because they don’t qualify for advanced purchase pricing or multiple day stays. These fliers provide a disproportionate share of airline profits for the same or less cost than the typical family traveler. That’s why airlines heavily promote their frequent flyer programs to retain these profitable customers. The program costs provide relatively large benefits.

How can this concept apply to an independent author?

Let’s look at some statistics from Cabin Fever, the middle of my five books in the Seamus McCree series. It was traditionally published by a small publisher. During the three years of that contract, 85% of the ebooks sold through Amazon (Kindle). Only 15% sold through the combination of Google, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others. The publisher did not promote the title on any of the platforms, so the sales were essentially organic.

When I took back the rights from the publisher, I decided my main task was to grow readership of the series. Given limited time and budget, I doubled down and concentrated my online sales on Amazon. That’s where my buyers were. Selling the electronic version of Cabin Fever exclusively on Amazon meant they would include it in the Kindle Unlimited program (Amazon’s subscription-reading service). My bet was that I would earn more income through Kindle Unlimited than I gave up by eliminating the other venues. As a bonus, it meant I would only have to manage one vendor, one form of the ebook, etc.

After going exclusively with Amazon, I invested in some promotions. In the year and a half since I took over the publishing rights, I have earned as much net after expenses from Amazon sales as I had the first three years with the publisher.

But did Kindle Unlimited replace the 15% of revenue I gave away? Yes, and then some. For every $1.00 I gave up in nonAmazon sales, I made $3.50 from Kindle Unlimited! After seeing the initial results of that experiment, I made all my novels exclusive to Amazon and ratios for the other novels ranged from $2.50 to $4.00.

Here’s another example of applying the 80/20 rule that I learned the hard way: Bookstore signings are generally a waste of time. I read a blog by Joe Konrath that said he no longer went on book tours. And at a local Sisters in Crime meeting, CJ Lyons told me she only does one or two book signings, and those in her home town. I thought to myself – yeah, but they’re already best sellers.

I should have done some analysis instead of going with my gut instinct. Taking Cabin Fever again, I paid a publicist a lot of money to schedule an extensive bookstore tour. Final tally, less than 20% of the paperback books I sold resulted from that tour. The other 80% came from local events I scheduled myself, contingent sales at area bookstores and online. Lesson learned: the extra effort to get those 20% of sales was a poor application of my time (not to mention my money).

The thing most likely to increase overall sales—especially for those who write a series—is a new book. Time spent marketing current books takes away from time writing new books. As an exercise, every author should consider what would happen if she eliminated the least productive 20% of her marketing time and applied that time to writing or editing new material.

Continue to experiment to see what works for you. Remember, fun and enjoyment have intangible benefits. If you really love doing something and would miss it if you didn’t, then keep doing it—but don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s a good business decision; it’s a life decision, and that’s okay.

If you love the suspense and plot twists of domestic thrillers, this page-turner will be for you. Seamus McCree’s first solo bodyguard assignment goes from bad to worse. His client disappears. His granddog finds a buried human bone. Police find a fresh human body.

His client is to testify in a Chicago money laundering trial. He’s paranoid that with a price on his head, if the police know where he’s staying, the information will leak. Seamus promised his business partner and lover, Abigail Hancock, that he’d keep the witness safe at the McCree family camp located deep in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s woods.

Abigail is furious at his incompetence and their relationship flounders. Even his often-helpful son, Paddy, must put family safety ahead of helping his father. Seamus risks his own safety and freedom to turn amateur sleuth in hopes he can solve the crimes, fulfill his promise of protection, and win back Abigail. Wit and grit are on his side, but the clock is ticking . . . and the hit man is on his way.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Dread joined us in the car. Even normally bubbly Megan grew silent.

Loggers had cut a narrow lane through the sixty-foot spruce I had watched come down at the beginning of the Grade, leaving most of the tree in place and towing the cut section to the side. They’d wasted no time on smaller branches littering the road and were opening up a one-lane path. I tiptoed the Outback over the debris and moved through the gap.

At first the downed trees were scattered, although limbs and branches dotted the entire road. But the further north we drove, the worse the damage became until the downed trees were a nearly continuous hazard. Paddy frequently left the car to remove branches with sharp breaks that might puncture a tire. I was regretting we hadn’t taken my old beater truck into town with its multi-ply tires. The Outback carried a donut spare, which wouldn’t last thirty seconds on the gravel roads. We had yet to see any other cars or people.

By the time we passed the five- and six-mile markers without any letup in the damage, tightened metal bands had taken up permanent residence around my chest. I feared for Elliot. I feared for my property. I worried whether I’d get a flat. Whether there would still be a hotel room if I had to send Paddy and Megan to Tall Pines. Megan, on the other hand, had given up her concerns and was in the back seat, singing along with a CD, a cheerful canary amidst the devastation.

About the Author: James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree series consisting of five novels and one novella. Jim splits his time between the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Georgia’s Lowcountry. He claims the moves between locations are weather-related, but others suggest they may have more to do with not overstaying his welcome. He is the past president of the 700+ member Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

His Valentine by Megan Slayer – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtul book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan will be awarding a bracelet made by the author and a signed swag pack to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Brandon Kidd thought he overcame his demons. He thought he’d conquered his addiction to booze and his need to be promiscuous. He thought he’d left his depression behind. Why? He met and is dating Aydin, the man who stokes his muse. But the depression and his insecurity have come back, and he’s also got to pass his annual review for his fine arts program. He’s got to get through the grueling review, open up to Aydin and have the Valentine’s Day he deserves?

Aydin loves Brandon. He sees the changes in his boyfriend and wants to help, but how do you help when you don’t know the problem exactly? To compound the problem, Brandon’s brother, Benson, has started causing trouble. Benson doesn’t want his brother to be gay, let alone in a relationship. Aydin found the strength to admit he wanted to be with Brandon. Aydin’s come into his own. Will he be enough for Brandon or will the crushing outside influence be too much to overcome?

They’ve come together for Valentine’s Day, but can the romance last?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

©2018 Megan Slayer, All Rights Reserved

“It’s Valentine’s Day. What’s on your docket?”

“I’m not sure. Aydin said something about a plan and celebration. I’m the lousy boyfriend this time. I hadn’t gotten him anything and was going to on the way home.” The tips of his ears burned. “I was so worried about the review, I kind of forgot it was Valentine’s Day.”

“You forgot?” she blurted.

“I did.” He walked beside her. “I was going to get him flowers.”

“Flowers?” She stopped in her tracks. “Are you serious?”

“He likes them.”

“Not chocolates?”

“He doesn’t like them. I thought he did, but he just ate the ones I got him for Christmas because he didn’t want them to go to waste.” When she started walking again, he fell into step beside her. “I know what he likes—now.”

“Flowers, eh?” She laughed. “And what else? Some hey-hey?” She elbowed him. “Right?”

He wasn’t about to tell her the other gift would be a blow job.

“Well, good.” She stopped at the classroom door. “I hope you have a good night.” She poked her head into the classroom. “Bye, Aydin. Have a wicked hot night.”

“That’s the plan.” Aydin left his spot on the desk and picked up the portfolio. “Ready?”

Heat slid through Brandon’s body. He couldn’t wait to get home. He’d strip Aydin down and taste every inch of him. “Yeah.”

“Good. Let’s go. I drove, so we can blow this popsicle stand.” Aydin carried the case out of the room. “Goodnight, Georgie. Do you need us to walk you out?”

“Nah, I’m meeting my friend Durand upstairs.” She waved. “Night! Do all the things I can’t do but want to watch.”

“We will,” Aydin called.

Brandon stood rooted to the spot for a second. Do all the things I can’t do but want to watch…holy shit. And Aydin hadn’t batted an eye. Damn. Excitement radiated through Brandon. He had the guy, the grade, and good friends. Now, he’d have a hot Valentine’s Day. Sweet, indeed.

About the Author:

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice.

Website | Blog |
Facebook | Amazon Author Page | BookBub | All Author | Instagram | Goodreads | Twitter |
Newsletter
Buy the book at MLR Press or Amazon
.

a Rafflecopter giveaway