The Man from Rome by Dylan James Quarles – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Rome is a city like no other, protected by a man like no other.
He is the unnamed Immortal, the Man from Rome, and he is under attack.

An agent of his secret order has been murdered, her tongue ripped out, her throat coated in molten silver. The killing is meant to be a message, a warning that old enemies have resurfaced to punish the Man for the sins of his past.

Forced to retaliate, the Man sets in motion a sequence of events which pit an American thief, a Roman policewoman, and a fallen Olympian against one another in all-out war. The streets of Rome become a battleground where the supernatural clash with the mortal, and the Eternal City bears witness to yet another chapter in its storied history of violence.

Vengeance reigns supreme in this, the newest Novel from Dylan James Quarles.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Light filtered in through the painters cloth, becoming diffused and shallow. As if in preparation for a slaughter, the floor was covered in newspaper, and the tables were draped with black plastic. Overhead, the light fixtures had been removed so that their wires dangled in stringy noose-like clumps.

Taking all of this in, Cato let the door swing shut behind him. The latch gave an audible click, and was instantly echoed by the snap of a Zippo lighter. Cato started with surprise and turned. In the far corner of the room, a candle had been lit, casting illumination upon a table laden with food. Already seated and waiting for him, a man in a three-piece chestnut suit smiled through the blue haze of his cigarette.

Cato blinked, and a pair of golden-eyes blinked back at him. Like memory made manifest, the Benefactor’s unmistakable face came into view. Cato gaped.

“But—but—you look—”

Tapping his cigarette into an ashtray, the Benefactor held up a hand for silence. Cato faltered and the words died in his throat.

“Before you finish that sentence,” spoke the Benefactor. “May I interject a simple request?”

Physically shaken by the timbre of the Man’s voice, Cato did all that he could just to nod.

“I can see that you are…disturbed by me, Cato—disturbed by what you see. Yet I beg of you, please refrain from uttering that which I have heard more times than I care to remember. Spare history the doom of repetition.”

About the Author:

Arriving on the scene in 2012 with the publication of The Ruins Of Mars, Dylan James Quarles is one of Amazon’s brightest Kindle Authors.

Using a his signature ability to make scenes come alive in your mind, Quarles immerses the reader in the world of his creation, adding layer upon layer until the narrative plays like a film. Further enriched by unique characters and breath-taking action sequences, his fiction is an ideal blend of entertainment and substance.

Quarles travels often, drawing inspiration for his work from Europe and South East Asia. His newest novel, The Man From Rome, is a direct product of his numerous visits to the Eternal City. Full of on-the-street detail, the novel packs an extra helping of Roman flare for the reader to enjoy!


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Drama Luau by Joe Cosentino – Character Interview

Long and Short Reviews welcomes back Joe Cosentino with an interview with Noah Oliver from the fourth Nicky and Noah mystery/comedy/romance series, Drama Luau. 

Welcome, Noah Oliver. Thank you for chatting with us today about the fourth novel in your popular Nicky and Noah mystery series.

Thank you for letting me out of the books for a while. It feels good to stretch out. 

Does Joe Cosentino tell you and Nicky everything to say.

We tell Joe everything to write. He has a soft spot in his head for us.

Before Joe became a college professor/department head and novelist, he was an actor working in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Bruce Willis, Charles Keating, Jason Robards, and Holland Taylor. If there is a TV series version of the Nicky and Noah novels someday, who do you see playing you?

Liam Hemsworth. He fits my description perfectly. Though Nicky says I’m cuter.

Who would play Nicky?

Joe Manganiello. Though Nicky is cuter.

Is he as well-endowed as Nicky?

You’ll have to ask Sophia Vergara.

How about your parents, Bonnie and Scott Oliver?

Rosie O’Donnell and Nathan Lane. Joe worked with them, so hopefully he has an in.

Do you think the novels would make a good TV series?

The best! Rather than Logo showing reruns of Golden Girls around the clock, and Bravo airing so called reality shows, I would love to see them do the Nicky and Noah mysteries. Come on, TV producers, make your offers to Joe (who by the way never stops telling Nicky and me how much he wants to play Martin Anderson our department head)!

Why did Joe write a gay cozy mystery/comedy/romance series?

The Nicky and Noah mysteries are the kind of books he likes reading: funny, theatrical, sexy, wild, and wacky with a solid mystery full of plot twists and turns at its center—and a surprise ending! There aren’t a whole lot of books like that out there if I do say so myself. The ending in book four is especially shocking! 

For anyone who hasn’t read them (and they should!), tell us about the Nicky and Noah mysteries.

Our mysteries are set in an Edwardian style university founded originally by a gay couple (Tree and Meadow) whose name the university bears: Treemeadow College. The clues and murders (and laughs) come fast and furious, there are enough plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning, and at the center is a touching gay romance between Nicky (Associate Professor of Directing Nicky Abbondanza) and me (Assistant Professor of Acting). In the first novel, Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015), college theatre professors are falling like stage curtains (while Nicky directs the college play production), and Nicky and I must figure out whodunit and why. In the second book, Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Nicky is directing the college’s bodybuilding competition, and bodybuilding students and professors are dropping like barbells. In Drama Cruise it is summer on a ten-day cruise from San Francisco to Alaska and back (which Joe and his spouse also did). Nicky and I must figure out why college theatre professors are dropping like life rafts as Nicky directs a murder mystery dinner theatre show onboard ship starring other college theatre professors including me. Complicating matters are our both sets of parents who want to embark on all the activities on and off the boat with us. In each book Nicky and I eavesdrop, seduce, role play, and finally trap the murderer, as pandemonium, hilarity, and true love ensue for a happily ever after ending—until the next book. 

Have your mysteries been well received so far?

They like us! They really like us! Reviewers called the books hysterically funny farce, Murder She Wrote meets Hart to Hart meets The Hardy Boys, and a captivating whodunit with a surprise ending. One reviewer wrote it was the funniest book she had ever read. Who am I to argue?

Since Joe is a college theatre professor/department head, is Martin Anderson in the series based on Joe’s life?

Joe’s faculty colleagues kid him that if anybody at the college ticks him off, he’ll kill him/her in the series? Hah. Don’t believe it. Joe likes his colleagues and students too much to murder them in his books. Almost as much as he likes Nicky and me. Martin Anderson, our department head, is based on Joe though. He’s a loyal, hardworking department head and professor who fully supports his faculty colleagues, office assistant, and the students in his department. Like Joe, Martin is also a little bit, well quite a bit, of a gossip. His spouse, Ruben, is based Joe’s spouse. Joe’s knowledge of theatre is also very evident in the series. The other characters came from Joe’s head. That’s probably why we’re so entertaining.

Why did you like being in Hawaii for the fourth novel?

They call it paradise for a reason. Maui is the most beautiful place on Earth. The white sandy beaches, tall and majestic waterfalls, multicolored craters on mosaic mountaintops, palm trees waving in the soft breeze, and laid back and friendly Hawaiians were amazing. Nicky and I marveled at the hidden beaches, took the white-knuckle drive to the gorgeous Seven Sacred Pools, gasped at the sunrise at Haleakala, swam in the clear turquoise water, and flew through the crystal blue sky while parasailing. Of course we also went to the luau complete with the boat procession, pig roast, huge and sumptuous buffet of Hawaiian foods, and the hula dancer show. The dancers were amazing! Incredibly muscular Hawaiian men wearing grass skirts, leis (no pun intended), flower headdresses, anklets, and bracelets, gestured with their arms, waved their knees, stomped, and grunted on an outdoor stage masked by a dormant volcano. It was a blast working with them on the show and getting to know them. That is until they were murdered one by one. 

Tell us about the storyline in Drama Luau. But no spoilers please!

In Drama Luau Nicky is directing the luau show at the Maui Mist Resort. He and I need to figure out why muscular Hawaiian hula dancers are dropping like grass skirts. Our department head and his husband, Martin and Ruben, are along for the bumpy tropical ride. In addition to the sexy hula dancers, we meet a handsome Hawaiian detective, a Bloody Mary type housekeeper, a cigar chomping hotel manager, the hotel owner and his senator wife who give new meaning to the term family values, and a cute young waiter who wants to be a hula dancer more than an anti-gay politician wants a dark backroom in a gay bar. Nicky and I have the time of our lives solving this one, and also find our relationship in for quite a change.

And your and Nicky’s parents make a brief appearance in book four.

They’re absolutely hilarious. Nicky’s mama and papa are pretty outspoken on just about everything. I love my mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and my father’s fascination with seeing movies. I also love how my dad is an amateur sleuth like Nicky. As they say, men marry their fathers. Also, both sets of our parents accept their son’s spouse as part of their family. Kudos to them. 

Who is your favorite character in Drama Luau?

Nicky of course! He’s smart, handsome, strong, affection, and my partner for life. I love how he cares so much about everyone, and tries so hard to solve the mysteries. Our favorite new character in book four is Mark Iona, the Maui Mist Resort waiter who desperately wants to become a hula dancer in the luau show. I also like his secret crush on hunky island detective John Nohea. 

Martin and Ruben are an older couple in love. You don’t see that very often in modern literature.

I love Martin’s paternal instincts toward Nicky and me, sense of theatricality, and his inquiring mind. I also like how Ruben keeps Martin in line. Finally, it’s wonderful to see how Martin and Ruben can read each other like a book—no pun intended. I hope Nicky and I grow up to be just like them. 

Which character do you like the least in book four?

The hotel owner and his state senator wife are quite vocal about their religious freedom, in their case meaning their right to discriminate against gay people. Religious freedom means you are free to practice whatever religion you like, not take away someone else’s civil rights. But as is always the case in the Nicky and Noah series, everything is not always what it seems, and Mano and Joanna Kapena offer lots of humor and surprises. 

Tell us about Joe’s Jana Lane mysteries published by The Wild Rose Press.

Nicky and I aren’t in them, but they’re still really good. Joe created a heroine who was the biggest child star ever until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. In Paper Doll Jana at thirty-eight lives with her family in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York. Her flashbacks from the past become murder attempts in her future. Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana ventures back to Hollywood, which helps her uncover a web of secrets about everyone she loves. She also embarks on a romance with the devilishly handsome son of her old producer, Rocco Cavoto. In Porcelain Doll Jana makes a comeback film and uncovers who is being murdered on the set and why. Her heart is set aflutter by her incredibly gorgeous co-star, Jason Apollo. In Satin Doll Jana and family head to Washington, DC, where Jana plays a US senator in a new film, and becomes embroiled in a murder and corruption at the senate chamber. She also embarks on a flirtation with Chris Bruno, the muscular detective. In China Doll Jana heads to New York City to star in a Broadway play, enchanted by her gorgeous co-star Peter Stevens, and faced with murder on stage and off. In Rag Doll Jana stars in a television mystery series and life imitates art. Since the novels take place in the 1980’s, Jana’s agent and best friend are gay, and Jana is somewhat of a gay activist, the AIDS epidemic is a large part of the novels.

Joe’s Dreamspinner Press novellas (An Infatuation—Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award 2nd Place for Best MM Romance, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, and The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland) were so well received, the first two winning a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. What do you say to people who loved them and might be surprised that the Nicky and Noah mysteries are quite different?

I’d ask them to give Nicky and me a chance. As my mother said to me as a kid about asparagus omelets (now one of my favorite foods), “Just try it, you may like it.” 

And how about Joe’s New Jersey beach series?

Nicky and I aren’t in that series either! NineStar Press published Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings about handsome Cal Cozzi’s gay beach resort on a gorgeous cove. Joe spent his summers as a kid on the Jersey Shore, so it’s a special place for him. The first novel was a Favorite Book of the Month on The TBR Pile site and won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. I love the intertwining stories so full of surprises. Some reviewers have called it a gay Fantasy Island. Maybe Nicky and I will check in there one day. 

How can your readers get their hands on Drama Luau, and how can they contact you?

The purchase links for Drama Luau are below, as are Joe’s contact links, including his web site. Joe loves to hear from readers. You can get to Nicky and me through him! 

Thank you, Noah, for sharing with us today.

It is our joy and pleasure to share my stories with you. So grab your plate at the buffet table, and take your front row seat for the luau show. The grass curtain is going up on Drama Luau!

DRAMA LUAU (a Nicky and Noah mystery)

a comedy/mystery/romance novel by JOE COSENTINO

Theater professors and spouses, Nicky Abbondanza and Noah Oliver, are on their honeymoon at a Hawaiian resort, where musclemen in grass skirts are keeling over like waterfalls. Things erupt faster than a volcano when Nicky and Noah, along with their best friends Martin and Ruben, try to stage a luau show. Nicky and Noah will need to use their drama skills to figure out who is bringing the grass curtain down on male hula dancers—before things go coconuts for the handsome couple. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fourth novel in this delightful series. Curtain up and aloha!

Praise for DRAMA QUEEN, the first Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, Contemporary Novel of 2015):

“This fast-paced, hilariously funny, entertaining novel will have you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out who-dun-it!” Joyfully Jay

Praise for DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention):

“reading these books is like watching a fabulous comedic, murder mystery, action, adventure, romantic film.” “I was giggle snorting and laughing so much I had to stop reading. Joe Cosentino’s writing is absolutely flawless. He’s a master storyteller and will keep you guessing and utterly riveted until Drama Muscle’s highly satisfying ending. This is an absolute gem of a book, and series.” Divine Magazine

Praise for DRAMA CRUISE, the third Nicky and Noah mystery by Joe Cosentino from Lethe Press:

Joe Cosentino does it again with Drama Cruise, the third Nicky and Noah mystery. I loved the humor, drama, and theater work inside. Plus, the romance and murder investigation keep readers turning the pages. Absolutely, must read this latest book in the series.” Urban Book Reviews

Enjoy an Excerpt

Excerpt of Drama Luau, Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino

The olive-skinned, barefooted muscular men wore loincloths (malo), coconut necklaces, shell bracelets and anklets, and flower (lei) head garlands. With the powerful emerald mountain behind them, the dancers (‘olapa) aerobically executed hand signs, knee sways, and foot stomps toward the turquoise sea (makai), as their deep, full voices chanted to the goddess of the ocean (Namakaokahai). The lead dancer (alakai) and the dance captain (kumu) moved front and center executing their tree in the breeze hand gestures. The dancer helper (kokua) made gestures to the ocean waves behind them.

“Stop!”

The ‘ukulele, steel guitar, and bass accompaniment ended. The dancers slouched and looked toward the rows of tables and chairs facing them.

“Kimu, stand further upstage.”

“Nicky, they don’t know what upstage and downstage mean.”

“Thanks, Noah. Kimu, stand behind the other dancers, so Kal and Ak are the focus of the dance.”

That was me, Nicky Abbondanza, Associate Professor of Directing at Treemeadow College, an Edwardian style private college in the quaint state of Vermont. My husband and the love of my life, Assistant Professor of Acting at Treemeadow, Noah Oliver, is by my side, right where I like him. Why am I directing a luau show at the Maui Mist Resort in Hawaii? Our honeymoon in Maui was a gift from our parents. But when the customers of my parents’ bakery in Kansas became glucose intolerant, and the clientele of Noah’s parents’ dairy farm in Wisconsin found themselves lactose intolerant, Noah and I were left tolerating the bill. So my department head and his husband hit the internet and found this luau show directing job, which came with free airfare, hotel, and food for two. Enticed by the gorgeous tropical location and the gorgeous luau dancers, Martin Anderson, Professor of Theatre Management at Treemeadow College, and Ruben Markinson, director of one of the top gay rights organizations in the country, decided to tag along and keep us out of trouble. Since Martin and Ruben are our best friends, that was more than fine with Noah and me.

Since you can’t see us, I am thirty-six, tall, with dark hair, green eyes, a Roman nose, cleft chin and long sideburns. Thanks to the gym at Treemeadow College (named after Tree and Meadow, the gay couple who founded it), I am pretty muscular. One minor thing. Actually, it’s pretty major. I have a nine and-a-quarter by two-inch penis, which causes Noah to tell everyone we are “going clubbing” when we have sex.

Noah is handsome with wavy blond hair, crystal-blue eyes, porcelain skin, and hotter and sweeter buns than any found in my dad’s bakery. Martin is short, thin, and bald. As an incredible gossip, he resembles an alien looking for a good piece of news to bring back to his home planet. Ruben is tall, thin, distinguished-looking, with salt and pepper hair and two large eyes watching over Martin. Though Ruben would never admit it, like his husband, Ruben revels in the dish too.

I said to the dancers, “The opening (ho’i) number will be fine. Let’s move on.”

Whereas the first dance was an introduction to the dancers, the second number, in honor of the creation gods (Kane and Lono), is a sensual dance, where the muscular dancers get to flex, grunt, and gyrate.

Sitting next to me at the front table opposite the stage, Noah rested a hand on my knee. “Did my character work with the dancers pay off?”

I nodded. “They all seem like characters to me.”

Noah squeezed my hand as the five dancers came on stage, now wearing grass skirts. Kal (short for Kalani), at twenty-five, is tall, strikingly handsome, muscular, the leader of the pack, and he knows it. Ak (Akamu), at thirty-five, was once the stallion of the troupe, but a receded hairline and wrinkles had transformed Ak to dance captain. As leaders, Kal and Ak take focus in the dance numbers, either dancing downstage center or up center on the platform in the shape of a volcano. Pretty ironic since Kal and Ak are ex-lovers and ex-friends.

Current lovers Keanu (dancer helper), at medium height with a growing paunch, and Ahe, young, small, and cute as a button, took their places midstage and looked at each other adoringly.

Finally, Kimu, at medium height with a bull dog face and protruding belly, stood farthest upstage. The only straight member of the troupe, Kimu, said, “Are you girls ready to dance?”

Keanu left his lover, Ahe, and approached Kimu. “What a surprise, Kimu. Liquor on your breath.”

Leader Kal added, “Yeah, Kimu, during the last number you were wavering more than the palm trees near the stage fan.”

Kimu answered, “Hey Kal, is it true that you gave Keanu a pity lei?”

These guys are worse than the divas I work with in the theatre. “Can we please start the number?”

About the Author: Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) and Drama Cruise (Lethe Press), Drama Luau; In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), A Home for the Holidays, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (TBR Pile Book of the Month/Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings Cozzi Cove series (NineStar Press); Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press) Jana Lane mysteries; and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Eldridge Plays and Musicals). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. His one-act plays, Infatuation and Neighbor, were performed in New York City. He wrote The Perils of Pauline educational film (Prentice Hall Publishers). Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best MM Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015! Coming next: Drama Detective, the fifth Nicky and Noah mystery.

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Where Ideas Come From by Lisa Diane Kastner – Guest Blog and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lisa Diane Kastner will be awarding a $50, a $25 and a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winners (three winners) via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Where do ideas come from?
Now that’s a great question. Every writer I talk to has a different answer. Mine? Sometimes they come from dreams. For a novel I wrote a few years ago, I had this recurring dream of a 12 year old on her father’s shoulder as she pushed up on a ceiling tile to see what was underneath. She was curious and mischievous. She bounced on his shoulders and he told her to stop which made her want to bounce more. I wanted to see what would happen so I wrote 50 pages and discovered her world.

For JERSEY DINER, I was curious about the impetus for someone to have a crush on a celebrity and what that person would do. I had been on a syndicated show, Dance Party USA when I was a teenager and I had a few fans who found out my phone number and address and visited me. At the time I was too naïve to understand that this was odd behavior. And of course I had my own crushes. I wanted to write from a point of view I hadn’t seen before so I decided to write from the perspective of someone (Lauren) who has a pretty significant celebrity crush and have her face-to-face with the object of her desires.

For a novella series I’m currently writing NEWLY MINTED WINGS AND SALTY FRENCH FRIES, I was at Yale Writer’s Conference and was given a prompt. I free-wrote the initial eight pages and decided what I wrote was really interesting. So I kept writing. After about 25 pages, I mapped out the characters and their storylines.

Other times my own life experiences are the prompt. I have a memoir short story about when I was in the hospital as a child. Based on that, I wrote the short story THE GIFT, which was subsequently published.

I have friends who write based on world events or family fables. In the end, we write what inspires us. The prompt could be a flower, a tree, being stuck in traffic, a bad day, a sunset, a toaster, or if you’re Rick Springfield your inspired by your best friend’s girlfriend and the feelings you have for her (Jessie’s Girl).

No matter the inspiration for our ideas, it’s the wonder of the story and where it will go that keeps us pursuing them.

Lauren has a dead end job as a waitress at the Oaklyn Diner. She becomes ecstatic when the diner is chosen to be the focal point of an upcoming movie, *Jersey Diner,* starring Jonathan
Pearce. When filming ends she moves to California to start a new life with him. Lauren quickly discovers that all that she thought was real and true are in question.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Here’s a copy of the script, read through it and then go over the scenes with the girl.”

“I can try. I never acted so I don’t know how much of a help I’ll be.”

He plopped it into my arms. The script weighed more than a stacked tray.

“This isn’t about acting. It’s about realism. That’s why we need your help. You’re a real waitress and this one just doesn’t get it.” He smirked. “If I could get ten cents for every time one of these actresses thought they could feel their way through a part. I’d be a zillionaire. Then give me a dime for every time they were wrong. Oh. I’d be …” He stopped. “Start reading.”

I had opened the cover and started flipping through the pages.

“Good. I knew you’d be the right person for the job. We’ll pay you for your time. You can be our ‘Resident Expert on Serving.’ Ya know, like a martial arts expert.”

“Fun.”

About the Author:

Lisa is a former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, her short stories have appeared in magazines and journals such as StraightJackets Magazine and HESA Inprint. In 2007 Kastner was featured in the Fresh Lines @ Fresh Nine, a public reading hosted by Gross McCleaf Art Gallery.

She founded Running Wild Writers and is the former president of Pennwriters, Inc. (www.pennwriters.com). She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University, her MBA from Pennsylvania State and her BS from Drexel University (She’s definitely full of it). Her novel THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS was shortlisted in the fiction category of the William Faulkner Words and Wisdom Award and her memoir BREATHE was a semi-finalist in the nonfiction category of the same award.

Lisa presented at a TEDx in Seattle on The Power of Connecting. And presented at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) on the “You Sent Us What?” panel.

Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey The Redness migrated to Philadelphia in her twenties and eventually transported to Los Angeles, California with her partner-in-crime and ever-talented husband. They nurture two felonious felines who anxiously encourage and engage in little sparks of anarchy.

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Bottoms Up by Kate Deveaux – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kate Deveaux will be awarding a $10, $25 or $50 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.

Thank you so much for having me as your guest today. It’s so fun to stop by and chat about my latest release BOTTOMS UP. It’s a Naughty Cock Tale book. In the spirit of the book, which is flirty and playful and downright sinfully sexy, I thought I’d share with you a few things I learned from the sexiest bartender I’ve ever known. Justin of course in Bottoms Up. Pull up a bar stool and stay a while…he’s got some toe curling indulgent bartending skills.

Kate Deveaux stops by Bottoms Up to learn a thing or two from her hunky hero:

I’m not much of a cocktail connoisseur I confess, but I sure found my attention to detail and appreciation of a good cocktail (or cock tale) as Justin might call it with usual devastatingly alluring provocation.

One hot Tuscon night, I sidled up to Bottoms Up, taking my cues from the drop dead sexy bartender hovering behind that slick shiny counter flanked with glistening bottles of temptation. My eyes ran the length of the bar and then of course they rested on Justin.

“What’ll you have?” he asked, reaching to grasp a martini glass.

“You” I murmured under my breath. Apparently loud enough to catch a smile forming in the crook of his lips. “I mean, a dirty martini please,” I said with more confidence than I felt. This guy was seriously hot. I knew exactly how Lexi had felt perched on that same barstool being treated to a view of Justin and his legendary drink making skills. Searching for something to say to break the awkwardness I felt at the thoughts that were racing through my mind that really shouldn’t be, I blurted out, “How about you give me some bartending tips while you mix that drink…”

‘Sure thing.” He agreed and began pouring vodka into a frosty shaker. Suddenly it was very hot in that bar as my cheeks flushed warm.

Five things Justin told me:

1 No point crying over spilled Vodka. Or Amaretto or Gin or Tequila.

2 Never judge a book by it’s cover. Justin handed me his bartending guide and I found the dirtiest drink recipes tucked inside the plain black leather bartender’s guide.

3 There’s more uses for a pool table then playing pool. Just ask Lexi.

4 Sizzling Tucson July nights are perfect for cooling off in Bottoms Up. Or heating up as Lexi found out behind the bar.

5 The best way to shake a martini is to wrap your hand around the barrel of the shaker firmly and gyrate your wrist with a rhythmic shake like you really want to bruise the vodka (or the gin depending on what liquor you’re using). No wimpy grasp, firm and in control. To illustrate Justin wrapped his hand over mine. I don’t remember much of what happened after that….


A bartender with a penchant for naughty drink recipes is well known for crafting the perfect concoction for his clientele. Justin meets his match when down on her luck Lexi walks into his bar and he whips up a cocktail especially for her.

It’s not just the booze talking when Justin and Lexi explore his list of naughty drink recipes in more detail — after hours. Night after night, Lexi is drawn back to Justin’s bar for another deliciously dirty creation and another night of extreme fantasy when he shows her how to let go of her inhibitions — One tantalizing drink recipe at a time— Seems it’s definitely Bottoms Up for these two!

Enjoy an Excerpt

Standing in the doorway streaks of the fiery Tucson sun blazed into her back. Lexi propped the heavy door open with her hip. Something Arizonians did in July. They knew better than to grab a metal door handle in the heat of summer. Squinting, she poked her head inside. The air conditioning was a welcome blast. And way too tempting to refuse.

Stepping inside, the thin scent of sweat and alcohol singed her nose. The door closed behind her. Lexi’s eyes adjusted in the dim light.

The bar slowly came into focus.

Taking a few steps further she was relieved the place was not as seedy as she’d expected. The bar’s décor surprised her. Not that she frequented bars in the middle of the day. Ever.

Lexi surveyed the handful of customers. A few were couples with their heads bowed together. The rest were singles. Drinking and then looking at their phones for entertainment. Loners. The kind of people who went into a darkened bar in the middle of the afternoon. Their loneliness echoed hers. She fought the urge to turn on her heels and bolt. But then what? Back into the baking heat and back to real life?

Several unoccupied tables dotted her pathway when she ventured forth. Her focus narrowing, she took in the deep blue color scheme, from the tufted leather curved booths and club chairs to the intricate Moroccan style light fixtures that hung from the low coved ceiling. Something she’d come accustomed to in her travels overseas but unusual in the southwest.

Passing by the clusters of patrons gathered closer to the bar, Lexi passed a waitress serving drinks to a couple.

Lexis’s attention quickly turned to the good-looking bartender. Soft lighting and sheers engulfed the impressively lit bar area in a wash of amber and midnight blue almost framing him. He stood behind the shiny blue countertop with his hands braced on the bar. Looking at Lexi as if she were the only person in the room.

She eyed the tattoo on his forearm. Letting her gaze linger a little too long before meeting his. Quickly, she glanced back towards the door, as if still debating if she was going to be staying or not.

“Hi, can I get you something?” the bartender called out to her.

Lexi forced a nod of acknowledgment in his direction, then moved closer. With every step she took, the myriad of liquor bottles labels came into view. That and the bartender’s blue eyes, the same stunning shade of deep midnight blue as the décor. She focused on the scar just above his jaw. An imperfection on his otherwise perfect five o’clock shadow.

His lips turned upward when he grinned. Caught red handed staring at him, she blushed self-consciously at his encouraging glance. Damn. Good-looking bartenders, that was the last thing she needed after the day she’d had. After the year she’d had.

“Have a seat…” He patted the counter hard enough that it made her jump. “Whoa. Didn’t mean to startle you,” he apologized, reaching behind the bar and plunking a frosted martini glass on the counter.

Lexi’s cheeks flushed. She was embarrassed by her skittishness, but also sobered by the fact that a simple action like the stranger plunking the glass on the counter made that her jump. A dead end relationship with Deakin had not only proved to her that rebound lovers were a bad idea, but also the bruises he’d given her. Once. And only once. Before she’d told him they were done. And then she was left to head back to her empty apartment. To ache for the love she really longed for. Scott.

Overcome with a sinking feeling, she felt more alone than ever and reached for the bar stool to steady her. Her lip trembled, tears stinging her eyes.

The pain was fresh once again. Shit. Why had Scott had gone and died on her?

“So what’ll it be?” the bartender asked.

Lexi was instantly dragged back to the present.

“Uh…I don’t know,” she offered, wondering how a drink could possibly dull the emptiness inside her.

He gave a smile and a confident shrug. “Well then, you’re in luck.”

“How’s that?” she asked half-heartedly, not really in the mood for banter
but realizing she was in need of a drink but with no clue what drink she wanted. Just something to make her forget the shitty day she’d had. And the even shittier year. 

The bartender with the soul-searching eyes and the cute little smile that even Lexi had to admit was a bit of a mood lifter, leaned on the bar so his eyes were level with hers.

“You’re in luck because it so happens my drink picking skills are legendary.”

“Legendary?” She repeated his claim, aware some would consider her response a flirt, but she felt it was more of a challenge. A challenge to see if he could pick something for her that would make her feel…feel…What the hell did she want to feel anyway?

“Legendary,” he repeated.

Okay, he was definitely flirting. Lexi couldn’t help but crack a smile.

About the Author:Kate Deveaux is a contemporary erotic romance writer and die-hard romantic. A former wedding planner, she has always been “in love” with love! Kate is currently working on several fictional stories – each filled with sexy romance, heroines who are no shrinking violets and heroes who make your heart skip a beat. She currently resides with her husband in the U.S. When Kate is not busy writing, she can be found on the tennis court –yes, there’s even ‘love’ in that game too.

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Broken Spire by Sue Perkins – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

Ash’s silvery purple hair sets her apart from her peers and at the magic college of Spires a few senior maeven consider her magic to be alien and unsuccessfully try to expel her. Ash feels a compulsive attraction tempting her to enter the broken North Spire. She believes this off limits ruin holds the answer to her origins, but is not willing to take the chance of expulsion from Spires.

Orm, Ash’s equally talented classmate, is determined to support the girl he considers his soulmate, and promises to help her find out the secrets of the North Spire when they reach the end of their third year.

At the end of the first year, Ash nervously waits to see if she will be allowed to continue at Spires, or will she be sent home in disgrace.

Enjoy an Excerpt

This opportunity would shape her future, become a Spires maeven or always remain the outsider. Rupe saw the others looking at her and gave everyone a furious glare. The students quickly looked away and the whispering stopped.

Their journey took several days. Few villages lay on this route, and they did not collect any more students. Instead they made straight for Laktu. As they neared the town the roads became smoother. Paved instead of compressed earth, with gullies at the side to drain away surface water from the heavy rains. Their final day took them through a dense forest and out the other side.

“Rupe, look. I can see the spires of the college.”

On the horizon they saw rolling hills and stretching far above them the four spires which gave the college its name.

“See there’s the broken one Tuvor told me about. Nobody’s allowed in there because it’s dangerous.”

The procession followed the Searcher up over the hills. He stopped at the top to allow them their first sight of the town of Laktu.

“As you can see, Spires dominates the town. The East Spire houses the dormitories, the West Spire the rooms of the maeven and the South Spire the classrooms.” The guide carried on before anyone could ask about the broken spire. “The North Spire is broken. You are not permitted to enter there under pain of dismissal. If you disobey you will go home in disgrace.”

About the Author: Sue Perkins grew up in Devon, England and emigrated to New Zealand with her family. Sue and her husband now live at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. Her interests include writing, reading, genealogy and aqua jogging.

Sue’s book genres include romance, fantasy romance, young adult fantasy and middle grade fantasy. Her first romance book was released in May 2007, quickly followed by a fantasy trilogy. She now has many books published in all the genres. Her aim for the future is to write a full-length epic fantasy novel. The outline is complete, and Sue is hoping to find time to finish the first draft by the end of 2017. Meanwhile she carries on with her current fantasy series – Rak Shoma, a blend of magic and fantasy.

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Beyond Reason by Kat Martin – Spotlight

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kat Martin who is celebrating the release of her newest book Beyond Reason. To celebrate the release of BEYOND REASON, enter Kat’s new contest for a chance to win a KINDLE FIRE 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB and a Kindle copy of AGAINST THE WILD, AGAINST THE SKY and AGAINST THE TIDE. Contest runs from May 1, 2017 through June 30, 2017. Also, enter her May contest for a chance to be one of FIVE winners who will win an audio edition of one of her AGAINST series books, plus a copy of INTO THE FIRESTORM.

She’s determined to be successful–no matter who tries to stop her

Someone is willing to kill for control of Drake Trucking, a well-respected firm now run by a woman named Carly Drake. Big money is involved. And very big danger.

Multi-millionaire Lincoln Cain is determined to keep the promise he made her grandfather, the man who helped him change his life after he got out of prison. Cain has vowed to protect Carly, no matter what it takes.

Unfortunately, the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close–and fight like crazy.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Carly pulled the pickup into her garage, saw the single headlight of Linc’s impressive black Harley coming down the street behind her. He’d insisted on following her home. She waved as she got out of the truck, hoping he would take the hint and leave, but instead he pulled his motorcycle into the driveway behind the truck and turned off the engine.

As she took the pistol out from under the seat, Linc walked up beside her.

He eased the gun out of her hand. “Stay here till I make sure it’s safe.”

She didn’t argue. Now that she was home, the whole terrifying chain of events came rushing back with stark clarity. She followed Cain into the kitchen, thought of the Glock, and wished she’d had it in her hand when those men had attacked her.
She sank down in a kitchen chair to wait while Cain walked through the rest of the house. Tears welled. Dammit, she didn’t want to cry. Joe had taught her to be tough. He’d known he wouldn’t always be there for her.

But deep down inside, she was still the frightened ten-year old who had walked into the bathroom and found her mother on the floor, dead of a drug overdose.

She closed her eyes, bit back a sob. She didn’t realize she was crying till she felt Cain drawing her out of the chair and into his arms.

For several seconds she let him hold her, let the tears come, just wrapped her arms around his thick neck and hung on. Then she realized what she was doing and felt like a fool, eased back and turned away.

“I’m sorry, I’m not…not a cryer. Not usually. I’m sorry.” She wiped her eyes, mortified that he had seen this side of her.

“Hey. It’s been a helluva day.” His mouth edged into a smile. “Maybe I’m the one who needed a hug, okay?”

She managed a smile in return. She wouldn’t have thought he could be sweet. “Thanks for checking the house.”

“No problem. You sure you’ll be okay?”

Her smile returned, more real this time. “You’re bigger than I am, but I’ve got the gun.” Now resting on the kitchen table.

He chuckled. “All right, if you’re sure, I’ll see you in the morning.”

He’d see her in the morning? Dammit, she’d forgotten he was coming to the office tomorrow for the call to his private investigator. “Good night.”

Cain left the house through the garage, swung a long leg over the seat of his Harley and fired up the engine. The biceps in his huge arms bulged as he grabbed the handlebars. Carly pushed the button on the garage door as he started backing away, turned the bike and roared off down the block.

Exhaustion swamped her. Dragging herself into the bedroom, she stripped off her clothes, pulled on an XXL navy blue Drake Trucking T-shirt she liked to sleep in and crawled beneath the covers. The pistol rested on the nightstand. She should have been able to sleep.

But she couldn’t.

Linc got up Sunday morning at the crack of dawn, loaded his fishing gear onto the back of an ATV and took off to one of the two lakes on Blackland Ranch. He’d called Townsend way too late last night and told him what had happened at the roadhouse. He’d instructed the investigator to set up security on Carly Drake twenty-four/seven and find out everything he could about a guy who called himself El Jefe.

Linc had slept a little after that, not much. He’d awoken early and decided he needed to clear his head. Tossing a line in the water, kicking back and waiting to get a bite, worked almost as well as morning sex.

Well, almost. Hell, he hadn’t been with a women in nearly a month, too damned long as far as he was concerned. He needed to make a phone call, talk to Renee or maybe Melissa, see if one of his friends with benefits was up for a good time when he got back to Dallas.

Something stirred deep and hot inside him. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an image of Renee or Melissa. It was Carly Drake who fired his blood.

As he leaned back against the trunk of a tree, the end of his line jerked. He waited for another tug, set the hook, and started reeling. Dammit to hell, whenever he thought of Carly, he felt like the fish on the end of that line. How had the little blonde managed to sink her hooks into him? How had she managed to snag his interest so quickly?

In fairness, she wasn’t even trying. He knew women, knew she was attracted to him. He also knew she wasn’t interested in climbing into bed for a couple of nights of fun.

About the Author: Bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, in Missoula, Montana, Kat has written sixty eight Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Her last novel, INTO THE FIRESTORM, took the #7 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list. This will be the 15th novel in a row to be included on that prestigious list. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

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My Take on Critique Groups by Judi Lynn – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Judi Lynn will be awarding $20 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.

My Take on Critique Groups

I’ve belonged to a local writers’ group for over twenty years. We don’t have any dues or many rules—only that we have three people volunteer to read for each meeting, each reader gets fifteen minutes to read before we go around the table to comment, and the reader can’t respond until everyone’s finished their feedback. The last rule became a necessity when readers replied to every comment, and we could only manage one reader in two hours with a lot of repetition. Our group critiques, but we also encourage. We state what we consider the work’s strengths, what we liked, and what we think the author could make better. Too many passive verbs? Someone catches it. Word choice? Think of a better one. Plotting. Pacing. All the basics are scrutinized. If we know of any markets for someone’s work, we recommend those. It’s a good base for a critique group, but our real strength is that we’ve known and cared about each other for so long. If someone’s hit a snag, she can use her fifteen minutes to brainstorm instead of read. If marketing is beyond someone, we talk about that. We concentrate on how to make each writer better—including the actual story and the follow-through.

I’ve attended a few other groups. Some have speakers who talk about specific topics. POV, conflict, how to develop characters—all of those are good. I always learn something, even if it’s something I knew once and forgot. Some groups just share what they’ve written with no feedback. One group was so brutal, I’d burn my manuscripts and walk away if I attended it often. Everybody needs different things at different times. But my group works for me. They don’t let me slack off. If I’ve come up with a weak idea to hang a novel on, I hear about it. If there’s not enough emotion, enough angst, it’s brought to my attention. And if I have a case of the Why Am I Doing This?, they tell me to pull up my girl panties and write better. Our group might not work for you, but it keeps us motivated and honest. It makes us try harder.

Tyne Newsome promised to help Daphne Ferris pick up the pieces if her professor boyfriend dumped her. Tyne is a hottie chef with no intentions of committing to anyone. He has big plans for his future. Daphne owns a stained glass shop and spends most evenings eating dinner with her parents. She prefers safety and solitude, but Tyne keeps bumping her out of her usual routines. He’s not someone she can ignore. And soon, they find that they complement each other so well, they’re both pushed to places they’ve never been before.

Enjoy an excerpt

Tyne zipped down the inside staircase and stopped to glance at Daphne’s shop in the dim light. Most people didn’t move at four-thirty in the morning, for good reason. When he returned later this afternoon, would the shop be decorated with dangling crepe paper and balloons? The professor she’d been seeing was supposed to be a free man today. All he had to do was sign his divorce papers. Patrick could finally ask Daphne to marry him. Nothing Tyne would celebrate. The man was as exciting as porridge, but Daphne thought she’d be happy with him.

On his way out the door to his Jeep, he inhaled the crisp, clean Fall air. It perked him up, cleared his head. Driving down Main Street with its brick buildings, striped awnings, and old-fashioned street lamps, he saw Maxwell step out of his bakery to snag the morning paper by his door. Another early riser. When Maxwell saw Tyne’s orange Jeep, he raised a middle finger and grinned. Tyne laughed and returned the gesture.

About the Author: Judi Lynn lives in Indiana with her husband, a bossy gray cat, a noisy Chihuahua, and a parakeet. She loves to cook and owns more cookbooks than any mortal woman would ever need. That’s why so much food sneaks into her stories. She also loves her flower beds, but is a haphazard gardener, at best.

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Favorite Summer Recipes by Heidi McLaughlin – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release tomorrow of Heidi McLaughlin’s Grand Slam, the third book in her The Boys of Summer series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a digital copy of the book.

Favorite Summer Recipes
Oh boy. I don’t have any recipes. When I cook, it’s all from memory with what my great grandmother or mother taught me.

I love making a pistachio pie – from my great grandma’s recipe

My husband makes balsamic chicken and garlic salted green beans
*Marinate chicken breasts in maple balsamic dressing for the day
*Marinate fresh green beans in garlic salt for the day.
Cook on barbeque!

Another fave is fried chicken. Very bad for you because it’s fried, but nonetheless the best, especially after you’ve let it sit and cool down for a bit.

Win the game. Lose your heart.

Everyone knows who I am and that I could have any female fan I want. That’s supposed to be the “perk” of playing left field for the Boston Renegades. But I don’t want just any woman; I want her.

She should be just another face in the crowd, but I can’t stop thinking about the one night we spent together-and her look of regret the morning after.

Because Saylor Blackwell is the kind of woman who haunts a man. Smart, sexy as hell, and one of the best managers in the business. She’s every ballplayer’s dream woman. And I’d do anything to make things right with her.

I’m done sitting on the bench when it comes to Saylor Blackwell. Time to swing for the fences.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Whenever I wake up with a hangover, I often ask myself why I drank so much and promise that I’ll never do it again. That promise is something I’ve been breaking for the past few days, and up until now, I didn’t care.

I had hoped the booze would muddy my memory of last night, but it hasn’t. Every word she said, every expression she had, every punch to my chest to get me out of her apartment is crystal clear. I fucked up, and I don’t even know how. All I know is that the sobs I heard on the other side of Saylor’s door last night were enough to sober my stupid ass up.

For hours, I sat against her door, until a resident suggested I leave or they were going to call the police. If I hadn’t been arrested ear- lier, I probably would have encouraged them to dial Boston’s Finest. Another man might understand my plight. The woman that I want to be with kicked me out of her house, and while I probably deserved it, I didn’t want to leave until she stopped crying. I didn’t want to be the one to walk away in her time of need.

But as egos go—and believe me, mine is huge—I couldn’t let it get in the way any longer, so I walked my drunk ass back home with my tail between my legs, only to stay up all night while the booze wore off, knowing that I had to live with whatever I’d done to Saylor.

She’s the last person in the world who I want to hurt, and she’s the one person who can save me. Not only from a life behind bars, but from myself. When I’m with her, I’m a different person. The cocky son of a bitch whom everyone is used to doesn’t exist when she’s near me, and frankly, that is the man I like, or at least I used to. It’s easier being a fucking douche. It’s second nature to me and comes with the territory of being named one of the city’s most eligible bachelors.

Except when I’m with Saylor, I can be the man who hides in the shadow of that Travis Kidd. I can be the kind of man who doesn’t have to have a one-liner available or wink in order to get a phone number. When I’m with her, life outside of baseball starts to have a meaning, a fucking purpose.

About the Author: Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup and a Highland West/Mini Schnauzer, Jill.

When she isn’t writing one of the many stories planned for release, you’ll find her sitting courtside during either daughter’s basketball games.

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Spotlight and Giveaway for Debra Holt’s Books


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

Fighting for his life after an ambush, Sheriff Josh Wellman awakes to find himself looking into the eyes of a real-life angel of mercy. Despite his groggy condition, he knows his life has changed the instant their hands touch. Devastating heartbreak has left Mercy Smith’s faith in tatters, her heart guarded against more loss. Her dedication to the air evac trauma team she leads has insulated her from the realities of the earth below, so now Josh faces the biggest challenge of his life. Can he find a way around the walls that fortify her heart and convince this angel to stay on the ground with him? Can Mercy open herself to life again and find a way to restore her faith in God … as well as love?

*****
J.D. Sterling shook the dirt of the small Texas town from his boot heels a dozen years before. Now, he’s returned… not as the poor country boy who left to follow his dream, but as country music’s sexy superstar. He has everything he always wanted except for the girl who holds his heart. Mandy.

Years come and go and people change. Amanda Lawson has grown up. From heartbreak and struggling to survive to becoming a successful businesswoman, she has taught herself to never look back. Once before, she had survived the wild, green-eyed cowboy with only a guitar to his name and a pocketful of dreams. Then he left her behind with nothing but his hollow vows and a shattered heart.

Mandy was his muse. J.D. was her dream. But tragedy and broken vows can be insurmountable obstacles. Can they find their way home to each other again… or is it too late?

*****
“Sheriff’s Department! Raise your hands above your head and don’t move.”

She’s a runaway bride who left her two-timing fiance at the altar. He’s a county sheriff determined to keep the peace in his country and leave city girls alone after his own fiance left him for the bright lights of the city. Neither of them planned on running straight into each other…over a burning wedding dress.

Ellie and Lucas planned on never trusting their hearts to love again. When danger follows her from the city, the sheriff must do his duty to protect her. However, it isn’t long before he discovers the real danger may be to his heart. Ellie just might teach him that even a city girl can be a country girl at heart.

Enjoy an Excerpt from Mercy’s Rescue

She ventured a quick look but didn’t see a wedding ring. That meant nothing—many men didn’t wear rings. Her David would not have worn one either. He’d often said a ring would only get lost when he removed it to do surgery. The dark cloud of remembrance jolted her back to reality. Her job was done; she passed her patient over to the trauma team. There was no need for her to stay. With a last look at the man currently the focus of everyone’s attention, Mercy stepped outside the room. Her steps faltered as she realized that she’d automatically send a brief request on his behalf to whatever power the man might believe in; a request that the trauma specialists behind her would be able to use their combined expertise to keep him in this world for those who loved and needed him.

“Three minutes out. Descent begins in one.” The pilot’s voice crackled through the headset as he tossed a look over his shoulder to Mercy, strapped into the jump sear. She responded with a quick thumbs-up. “They’ve secured the scene,” he added. “We’re in and out fast. There’s only one to transport.” A dull, leaden weight sank to the pit of her stomach. Mercy Smith knew his words meant the other injured person had died before their arrival. “We can’t save them all, Mercy.” Paul Robards, the second medic onboard and seated across from her, responded to the shadowed look that crossed her face. “Some things are out of our control.”

About the Author: Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!).

When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs…to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

Debra invites you to visit her website. She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at debraholtbooks@gmail.com.

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The Scariest Part About Being an Author by Scarlett Scott – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Scarlett Scott will be awarding a Kindle or paperback copy of Books 1 & 2 in this series to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the rest of the stops.

The scariest part of being an author
After months researching, plotting, writing, re-writing, editing, revising, reading, re-reading, and performing every other (seemingly endless) task related to publishing a book, the scariest moment for me is a book’s release. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a control freak and this is the stage of being an author where I finally have to step back and let go. Releasing a book is a little bit like putting your child on the bus for her first day of kindergarten in that way. So much possibility, so much trepidation.

Maybe it’s because of all the unknowns. When an author releases a book, she has no way of knowing for certain that readers will connect to the story and characters enough to pick it off the shelf or sync it onto their e-reader. After all, each book is one among an ever-expanding pool of options. We have no way of knowing if readers will like our books, if they’ll read them or only skim them, if our books will make them happy sigh or shake their fists, if we’ll get emails from readers telling us they can’t wait for the next book or if readers will email us to tell us we’ve let them down this time around.

Waiting and wondering is scary, my friends, especially for me.

Of course, releasing a book isn’t just scary. It’s also exciting. Toiling away on a computer, tucked off in a corner of my house, gets lonely. The moment where I get to share a book with readers fills me with as much happiness as nervousness. It’s the payoff for the long, arduous months of hard work, determination, and staying up way too late.

For me, releasing a book is a rollercoaster—scary as all get out, but worth the ride!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave me comments or questions, or visit my blog.

A staid duke

Heath, the Duke of Devonshire, has been living a passionless life of penance after losing the woman he loved. Determined to do his duty, he’s in search of an innocent bride with a sterling reputation. A bride who’s nothing at all like Tia, Lady Stokey.

A bold lady

The Duke of Devonshire may be handsome, but he’s as boring as a bowl of porridge. Or so Tia thinks until he carries her to her chamber and undoes half her buttons while kissing her senseless.

A decadent desire

The moment he scoops the delectable Tia into his arms, Heath wants her in his bed, and he’ll stop at nothing to have her there. When they unleash the scandal of the century, they must face consequences that are deeper and far more dangerous to their hearts than either of them imagined. Will they find love, or was the reckless need between them doomed from the start?

Enjoy an Excerpt

If there was one thing in the world that Tia, Lady Stokey, adored, it was parties. Give her a good fête, an army of new dresses, an entertaining assortment of guests and she was a happy woman.

Under ordinary circumstances, that was.

Grumbling to herself, she trekked through the maze at the Marquis of Thornton’s hunting estate, Penworth, in search of her wayward charge. A mere hour after their arrival for a country house party, Tia had discovered Miss Whitney missing from her bedchamber.

“In need of a nap, my bottom,” Tia grumbled, stalking around a corner. If only the hedges weren’t so frightfully high and she so irritatingly diminutive in height. But of course, that would have rather nullified the purpose of a maze, she supposed.

The young Miss Whitney had declared the need for a respite after their travel through the countryside, and Tia had acquiesced. But suspicion had brought her round to collect the girl early, where she’d discovered only a note telling her that her charge had decided to take a restoring turn about the gardens instead.

“Restoring indeed,” Tia scoffed, her ire growing with each step. She had a dreadful feeling that her charge was going to prove much more than a handful. After all, she recognized herself in the girl, and it was one of the reasons why she’d agreed to help introduce her to society.

The sound of gravel shifting interrupted her cantankerous musings. She stopped, holding her breath to listen. It sounded as if Miss Whitney was perhaps just around the next bend, behind the thick hedges obscuring Tia’s vision. Smiling in triumph, she grabbed her skirts and hurried around the turn in the maze.

“Ah ha,” she called out in delight. “I’ve found you now, you little minx.”

But her moment of triumph was terribly abridged, for the noise-making culprit, seated on a bench before her, was not Miss Whitney. Nor, in fact, was it even a female. Quite the opposite.

Dear heavens. Eyes the same wistful color as a summer sky met hers, stealing her breath. She stopped, her heart thumping as madly as a runaway stallion’s hooves. The man staring back at her, an open book in his large hands, a golden brow raised, was decidedly as far as one could get from the petite, Virginia-born Miss Whitney.

“I daresay I’ve been called a great number of things in my life, but never yet a little minx,” drawled the Duke of Devonshire as he stood and bowed to her.

“I must apologize,” she hastened to say, embarrassment making her cheeks go hot. “I mistook you for someone else.”

A small smile curved his lips, drawing her attention to just how finely formed his mouth was. He had changed since she’d seen him last. He’d grown a beard. She swallowed, her heart continuing its mad pace. The duke had always been a handsome man, possessed of a rare masculine beauty that almost made him seem too perfect to be real. But the neatly trimmed beard took the purity of his features and rendered them somehow sinful. Seductive. Her cheeks burned as she realized she was staring and, to her greatest dismay, he’d said something to her.

She had no earthly idea what.

About the Author: Award-winning author Scarlett Scott writes historical and contemporary romance with heat, heart, and happily ever afters. Since publishing her first book in 2010, she has become a wife, mother to adorable identical twins and one TV-loving dog, and a killer karaoke singer. Well, maybe not the last part, but that’s what she’d like to think.

A self-professed literary junkie and nerd, she loves reading anything but especially romance novels, poetry, and Middle English verse. When she’s not reading, writing, wrangling toddlers, or camping, you can catch up with her on her website www.scarsco.com. Hearing from readers never fails to make her day.

Scarlett’s complete book list and information about upcoming releases can be found on her website.

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