Forbidden Heat by J.L. White – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J.L. White will be awarding a $40 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.

MediaKit_BookCover_ForbiddenHeatThey call us the Firework Girls.

I’m Isabella. My comfort zone consists of a bank of test tubes and a Bunsen burner. But having to take a philosophy class to graduate from college—well, that’s causing a different kind of burn altogether. I mean, the hottest professor at Hartman is looking right at me.

Can you blame me for looking back?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Feeling dizzy, I back away from the table with heavy limbs. The girls I met don’t notice my departure but Justin Kirby does.

He’s right next to me with his hand on my lower back.

“I need to sit down,” I say.

“Okay sweetheart,” he says.

He steers me away, past an empty chair.

“Wait,” I say, but he leads me to the basement stairs and we start to go up. I’m having trouble managing them.

I mumble something as we wind through the crowd on the main floor, bumping against a shoulder here and an elbow there. The music is pounding. I feel it in my body, but it sounds muffled, along with all the other sounds in the room. He steers me up another flight of stairs. He has to put his arm around me to keep me from tripping on the steps.

What’s the matter with me?

There’s a long, dark hallway at the top, with several rooms breaking off on either side. Justin Kirby is practically dragging me along.

When he opens a door, I see a bed in the room and know I’m in trouble. I’m almost too out of it to panic properly.

All of a sudden, he half lets go of me, half shoves me into the doorjamb.

I hit my forehead on the wood, trying to hang on to something. There’s screaming and yelling—I’m hearing his voice, I think, and someone else’s, a woman’s voice—but it’s all confusion to me and now all I can do is think about the fact that I’m falling and can’t stop.

About the Author: J.L. White writes steamy romances featuring smart, sexy women and the swoon-worthy men who adore them. Her sexy love stories are full of passion but don’t skimp on the tenderness. She’s addicted to trendy coffee houses, poolside lounging, and HEAs. When not tapping blissfully away on her laptop, she takes time to enjoy life with her husband and their children.

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Forbidden Heat will be $0.99 during the tour. Buy Forbidden Heat (Firework Girls, Book 1) and Midnight Heat (Firework Girls, Book 2) at Amazon.

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The Intergalactic Custody Battle by Lee J. Mavin – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lee J. Mavin will be awarding a $30 Amazon/BN GC, 5 print copies of The Intergalactic Custody Battle (International Giveaway), and 10 print copies of The Diary of a 7th Grade Hybrid (International Giveaway) to randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookBanner_TheIntergalacticCustodyBattleZiggy has been taken from away from Earth, stolen away so it seems to complete his training on another planet. Little does he know that his Alien father has grand plans for him, plans for him to take the royal throne and lead the Empire! Ziggy’s mother (a mere human) wants him back so she is going to fight for her Son’s custody, even if his father is the Emperor of an Alien race! An Alien race that has plans to expand its Intergalactic Empire. Ziggy’s best friend Hiroki, the tiny super genius, plans on finding Ziggy too, even if he does miss his year twelve math exams. The Intergalactic Custody Battle is the first of a trilogy that crosses the universe. Get ready for a wild ride across the galaxy!

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sigmund Zhao didn’t have a good memory. He was always forgetting things. He had barely scraped through Year Seven alive, trying to remember all those equations and diagrams in Science and Math. They kind of went in one ear and then out the other. It wasn’t just school either. Sigmund couldn’t remember a lot of things, like the different apartments and primary schools he had moved to all over Shanghai. He couldn’t even remember his mother’s birthday or even his own.

However he could remember one thing very well, the time his mother and father gave him the talk, the talk that no child wants to hear. It was the Divorce talk.

Sigmund remembered every word his mother had said.

‘I’m really sorry to tell you this, but your father and I are getting a divorce. Your father is going to move away for a while but this doesn’t mean he loves you any less. We are just not meant to be together.’

He remembered feeling alone and confused. He remembered crying for hours and hours. He even remembered shrinking down into the corner of the room, crawling like some sort of cockroach. Wait, that couldn’t be right. How could he have shrunk? That isn’t possible, is it?

But he did. He’d tried to hide away from it all, from the confusion and the pain. He’d felt himself shrinking smaller and smaller, then his arms had turned green and he felt things stretching out of his back. Yes, that happened but everything else was still cloudy.

Sigmund could hardly remember his father. There was just a hint of his voice echoing in the corner of his mind and a smell. He couldn’t quite remember what kind of smell, maybe a hint of pepper and something else. Something he had never smelt before. It was too weird a smell to be anything familiar. It was some sort of smell that didn’t belong in Shanghai, in fact it didn’t belong in China or the even the entire planet! It was a smell from out of this world!

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheIntergalacticCustodyBattleAfter six years in Shanghai, I am finally back in Sydney (brand new home). Here I will teach and focus on my writing! I will be starting my Phd in Arts at the University of Sydney in March 2015!

I have already polished off a children’s novel, a collection of poetry and am about to publish a series of stories titled “The Students Sold Us Secrets Volume One” with ASJ Publishers. http://www.asjpublishing.com/

I’m also kept on my toes by my feisty wife and three year old daughter both of whom are Chinese. They like to let me know how bad my Chinese is on a daily basis.Oh yeah, I used to be an MC, I mean I was potentially the next Aussie Eminem,(just kidding) but there is an EP by yours trully somewhere out there in the world wide web….

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Take Me to the Willow by Shelly Brimley – Q&A and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks for stopping by Long and Short Reviews. What group did you hang out with in high school?

– I didn’t hang out with any particular social group in high school. I got along well with most people and had a handful of close friends that I spent most of my time with.

What are you passionate about these days?

– Parenting and writing. I feel very driven to be a good mom, but it’s a challenge. I find that trying to know the needs of your children and then being able to meet them is a daunting responsibility and one that consumes the majority of my energy. I want my children to grow up feeling ready to meet the demands of life, and I want to make sure that we are providing them with all that they’ll need to be happy, responsible, successful, contributing people. I also feel passionately about writing. I look forward to the few quite moments I can find when I can put everything else aside and just write. As silly as it might sound, I am very connected to my characters and to what is happening in their world, and I feel a bit unsettled if I’m unable to resolve a conflict for them or complete a thought before being interrupted.

If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?

– Part of me says I would submit to agents a hundred times until the right fit was found, but that is so exhausting and requires incredibly thick skin. The other part of me says I’d do it just the same. I guess I’m undecided… we’ll find out when I publish the sequel!

Ebook or print? And why?

– For me, print. I LOVE the feeling of holding a hard copy book in my hand while reading. There is no comparison. If I have to read electronically, I will, but I don’t enjoy the read as much.

What is your favorite scene in this book?

– This is really difficult to answer. It’s a toss-up between a few of them. But, I’ve read the book several times, and for some reason, I always seem to pause after the scene where Lawrence just can’t go on and they find him with Adelaide and Charlie. I like different scenes for different reasons, but this one captures a very raw and cruel reality that feels meaningful to me.

In defending his life-long friendship with Charlie, Will may have inadvertently had a hand in the growing chaos that leads to the horrifying night when his familiar world is shattered.

When Will Wright, the eighteen year old son of a small-town Arkansas sheep herder in 1905, begins reading his mother’s journal, he is inspired by its startling content to start putting his own experiences to paper for posterity. An unsophisticated but principled young man, Will is becoming increasingly aware of the hatred that exists in the world. When he begins his own journal, Will can’t know what events are to take place in the next five years – from his mother’s battle with a life threatening illness, to his embarrassments of learning how to be in love for the first time, to witnessing Charlie’s fate at the hands of the bigoted townspeople. While part of him wishes the pain in those pages didn’t exist, he knows that the original purpose for keeping the journal has been realized – to show his kin how he became the man he is. He will probably never go back through and read again the pages he’s written, but someday, someone will, and they will see that along with the hurt, Will’s life had been one that knew true joy, absolute love, and undying friendship.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I’ve only been in this cell for three days, but it feels like a might lot longer than that. I know what I did wasn’t considered proper by most folks down here in the South, but I don’t regret doin’ it. And I’d do it again, if I had the chance. Charlie never did anything wrong. He’s just colored. Not much he can do about that, and even if he could, I suppose he wouldn’t want to anyhow. I didn’t feel it right that Charlie be ignored when all he came to do was buy feed and tools like the rest of us. So when Eli Carver said he don’t take no “colored” money, I thought it best to point out that he must be blind as a bat since Charlie’s dollar and my dollar are both the same shade of green. And when I held the two right in front of Mr. Carver’s face and politely asked him to show me the difference, he later told Sheriff Coleman I was threatenin’ and causin’ a disturbance. When I heard that, it just made my blood boil, and I decided Eli Carver needed to be taught a lesson. I went back to that store, although Charlie tried to get me to leave it be, but the next thing I knew, I was holdin’ Eli a foot off the ground against the door to his very own supply store. If Sheriff Coleman hadn’t been right there, I might have been able to argue my side, but there’s no point arguin’ against proof and common sense. Besides that, Sherriff Coleman is known for his feelin’s about colored people, so I knew I was beat before I started. I suppose I just didn’t care.

About the Author:

Shelly Brimley was born in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived most of her life until moving to Mexico to study abroad. After graduation, Shelly did some volunteer work in Africa and completed her graduate degree while working in an adolescent drug treatment center. After acquiring her Master’s degree, she worked as a counselor at a residential shelter for children who had been smuggled and trafficked into the USA from different countries around the world. She also taught English to adult refugees before resigning to raise her children. Shelly wanted to use her experience working with others as a source of inspiration in her writing, offering a voice for those who are not typically heard or considered.

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Amazon – On sale for only $0.99 until May 22.

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The Trouble with Misbehaving by Victoria Hanlen – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Victoria will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheTroubleWithMisbehavingLove, Betrayal and Redemption

Calista ‘CC’ Collins is used to being the talk of the town. With her scandalous past she’s learnt the hard way that a woman needs to be strong to get what she wants in a man’s world. And what she wants is the infamous Captain Beauford Tollier—roguish son of an earl, notorious blockade-runner and all-round knave of the seas.

However, Captain Beau is not one to be cajoled—he is done with the dangerous sea life and ready to follow the life of the straight and narrow. But with many powerful forces circling around him, Beau doesn’t stand a chance…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Clutching her elbow, he led her across the manicured lawn into a copse of trees.

What are you do—”

He swung them behind a tree and peered out. Whatever she wanted to talk about suddenly lost importance. The villains following him were the more immediate problem.

“Tell me—”

“Shhhh.” He pressed a finger to her lips.

Two men in top hats stepped off the gravel path and picked their way across the lawn.

Beau marched C.C. deeper into the grove around trees and shrubs. Then through an archway of fragrant vines to a fountain struggling to reflect hazy moonlight. They needed to stay quiet and hidden.

“Before you drag me any further into the bushes—”

Didn’t the woman know the meaning of shhhh? She would give away their hiding place if he didn’t do something quick. He pulled her to him and covered her mouth with his. Mint and vanilla filled his senses.

Her sweet, almost maidenly response surprised him. No, she probably wasn’t a tart. Just a hasty stolen kiss, yet he couldn’t help appreciate the tantalizing fit of her supple lips under his and how her body softened against him. His heart stammered and launched into a faster beat. Lifting his head, he gazed about her bewildered, upturned countenance, breathlessly poised for a man’s kisses. Hmm, not entirely a maiden either.

Perhaps another quick kiss would clarify matters?

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheTroubleWithMisbehavingAward winning, historical romance author, VICTORIA HANLEN, has worked at a wide range of jobs, from fashion, to corporate business, to treading the boards of stage and professional opera. A lifelong writer, she once put her skills to use in PR and advertising. But her favorite form of writing is happily-ever-afters spiced with a dash of wit and a page-turning mystery. Victoria and her husband live in rural New England surrounded by a host of wildlife.

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What Happens in Texas by Carolyn Brown – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Carolyn Brown, whose latest book What Happens in Texas releases on June 6. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of the book.

5_25 Carolyn Brown book coverCarolyn Brown brings her unique voice to this tale of twin sisters finding love in a small Texas town

Cathy Andrews’s biological clock has passed the ticking stage and is dangerously close to “blown plumb up”. While her twin sister Marty thinks settling down with one man is just a waste of good cowboys, Cathy wants it all: the perfect husband, the baby, and a little house right there in Cadillac. But even as the town is laying bets on whose wedding will be next, Cathy doesn’t see happily-ever-after happening anytime soon.

Fortunately, Cathy and Marty have best friends who aren’t afraid to stir up a ruckus—and if it means Cathy’s got to bust out and set the town on its ear they’ll back her up—no matter how hot things get.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author and RITA Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than seventy books. These days she is concentrating on her two loves: women’s fiction and contemporary cowboy romance. She and her husband, a retired English teacher, make their home in southern Oklahoma.

Enjoy an excerpt:

If Prissy Parnell hadn’t married Buster Jones and left Cadillac, Texas, for Pasadena, California, Marty wouldn’t have gotten the speeding ticket. It was all Prissy’s damn fault that Marty was in such a hurry to get to the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society monthly meeting that night, so Prissy ought to have to shell out the almost two hundred dollars for that ticket.

They were already passing around the crystal bowl to take up the voting ballots when Marty slung open the door to Violet Prescott’s sunroom and yelled, “Don’t count ’em without my vote.”

Twenty faces turned to look at her and not a one of them, not even her twin sister, Cathy, was smiling. Hell’s bells, who had done pissed on their cucumber sandwiches before she got there, anyway? A person didn’t drop dead from lack of punctuality, did they?

One wall of the sunroom was glass and looked out over lush green lawns and flower gardens. The other three were covered with shadow boxes housing the blue ribbons that the members had won at the Texas State Fair for their jalapeño pepper entries. More than forty shadow boxes all reminding the members of their history and their responsibility for the upcoming year. Bless Cathy’s heart for doing her part. She had a little garden of jalapeños on the east side of the lawn and nurtured them like children. The newest shadow box held ribbons that she’d earned for the club with her pepper jelly and picante. It was the soil, or maybe she told them bedtime stories, but she, like her mamma and grandma, grew the hottest jalapeños in the state.

“It appears that Martha has decided to grace us with her presence once again when it is time to vote for someone to take our dear Prissy’s place in the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society. We really should amend our charter to state that a member has to attend more than one meeting every two years. You could appreciate the fact that we did amend it once to include you in the membership with your sister, who, by the way, has a spotless attendance record,” Violet said.

Violet, the queen of the club, as most of the members called it, was up near eighty years old, built like SpongeBob SquarePants, and had stovepipe jet-black hair right out of the bottle. Few people had the balls or the nerve to cross her, and those who did were put on her shit list right under Martha, aka Marty, Andrews’ name, which was always on the top.

Back in the beginning of the club days, before Marty was even born, the mayor’s wife held the top position on the shit list. When they’d formed the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society, Loretta Massey and Violet almost went to war over the name of the new club. Loretta insisted that it be called a society, and Violet wanted it to be called a club. Belonging to a club just sounded so much fancier than saying that one belonged to a society. Loretta won when the vote came in, but Violet called it a club anyway and that’s what stuck. Rumor had it that Violet was instrumental in getting the mayor ousted just so they’d have to leave Grayson County and Loretta would have to quit the club.

Marty hated it when people called her Martha. It sounded like an old woman’s name. What was her mother thinking anyway when she looked down at two little identical twin baby daughters and named them after her mother and aunt—Martha and Catherine? Thank God she’d at least shortened their names to Marty and Cathy.

Marty shrugged, and Violet snorted. Granted, it was a ladylike snort, but it still went right along with her round face and three-layered neck. Hell, if they wanted to write forty amendments to the charter, Marty would still do only the bare necessities to keep her in voting standing. She hadn’t even wanted to be in the damned club and had only done it because if she didn’t, then Cathy couldn’t.

Marty slid into a seat beside her sister and held up her ballot.

Beulah had the bowl in hand and was ready to hand it off to Violet to read off the votes. But she passed it to the lady on the other side of her and it went back around the circle to Marty, who tossed in her folded piece of paper. If she’d done her homework and gotten the numbers right, that one vote should swing the favor for Anna Ruth to be the new member of the club. She didn’t like Anna Ruth, especially since she’d broken up her best friend’s marriage. But hey, Marty had made a deathbed promise to her mamma, and that carried more weight than the name of a hussy on a piece of paper.

The bowl went back to Violet and she put it in her lap like the coveted jeweled crown of a reigning queen. “Our amended charter states that only twenty-one women can belong to the Blue-Ribbon Jalapeño Society at any one time, and the only time we vote a new member in is when someone moves or dies. Since Prissy Parnell got married this past week and moved away from Grayson County, we are open for one new member. The four names on the ballet are: Agnes Flynn, Trixie Matthews, Anna Ruth Williams, and Gloria Rawlings.”

Even though it wasn’t in the fine print, everyone knew that when attending a meeting, the members should dress for the occasion, which meant panty hose and heels. Marty could feel nineteen pairs of eyes on her. It would have been twenty, but Violet was busy fishing the first ballot from the fancy bowl.

Marty threw one long leg over the other and let the bright red, three-inch-heeled shoe dangle on her toe. They could frown all they wanted. She was wearing a dress, even if it only reached midthigh, and had black spandex leggings under it. If they wanted her to wear panty hose, they’d better put a second amendment on that charter and make it in big print.

God Almighty, but she’d be glad when her great-aunt died and she could quit the club. But it looked like Agnes was going to last forever, which was no surprise. God sure didn’t want her in heaven, and the devil wouldn’t have her in hell.

“One vote for Agnes,” Violet said aloud.

Beulah marked that down on the minutes and waited.

Violet enjoyed her role as president of the club and took her own sweet time with each ballot. Too bad she hadn’t dropped dead or at least moved to California so Cathy could be president. Marty would bet her sister would get those votes counted a hell of a lot faster.

There was one piece of paper in the candy dish when Beulah held up a hand. “We’ve got six each for Agnes, Trixie, Anna Ruth, and two for Gloria. Unless this last vote is for Agnes, Trixie, or Anna Ruth, we have a tie, and we’ll have to have a runoff election.”

“Shit!” Marty mumbled.

Cathy shot her a dirty look.

“Anna Ruth,” Violet said and let out a whoosh of air.

A smile tickled the corner of Marty’s mouth.

Saved, by damn!

Agnes was saved from prison.

Violet was saved from attending her own funeral.

The speeding ticket was worth every penny.

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Characters: Tight and Personal by Thianna Durston – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes Thianna Durston who is visiting with us to celebrate the release of Becoming Rafe. Answer the author’s question below for a chance to win a copy of the first book in the Men of Falcon Pointe series: 959 Brenton Street.

Thanks for hosting Becoming Rafe today.

As an author, I get pretty tight and personal with my characters. Some of those characters stick with me for years, some I forget practically the moment I pen them. Thankfully those are usually very minor characters. But trying to figure out why a character sticks with me, whether I write them or someone else does, is not as easy.

For instance, Walter Lucas from Heidi Cullinan’s Love Lessons series sticks with me. He’s strong and has some major hangups, but will go out of his way to help others. He’s one of those characters that just stays with me.

Or Logan from Ella Frank’s Temptation series. That man leaps off the page from the very beginning and just doesn’t let go.

In my books, some of the characters that have leapt out are Blake & Dusty from the Blake/Dusty Chronicles, Logan & Christian from the All They Ever Needed trilogy, and while all the Men of Falcon Pointe bounce around in my head, one of the ones that leapt out the second I began to write him is Santi, a secondary character I introduce in Becoming Rafe. He is larger than life and let me know it before he even came ‘on stage’.

So what makes a character memorable? It isn’t their looks because those can be forgotten the moment you pick up another book. It’s something within their personality that makes them human. And that can mean they have issues they have to deal with like Walter, or that they take the world by storm like Logan. Or in Santi’s case, it’s the way he just is passionate about everything and doesn’t let anything get him down.

These are people who I would love to know in real life, people I could see myself becoming friends with easily. And yes, I’ll admit if Falcon Pointe was real, I would want to move there. I would love to count all those men as my friends.

5_25 959BrentonStreet_200x300Today I’m giving away an ecopy of the first book in the Men of Falcon Pointe series: 959 Brenton Street to one lucky commenter. So tell me: Who are your favorite characters of all time? What characters would you like to have as a next door neighbor(s)? And yes, what characters are you ga-ga over?

5_25 thianna BecomingRafe_400x600Eighteen-year-old Nephi Norton goes to Falcon Pointe University to find himself. Away from his conservative family, he hopes to discover if his attraction to men is the real deal. Encouraged to be someone a little different, he starts using his middle name. “Rafe” quickly makes friends, some of whom use a paddle to dispense caring discipline, and he lives it up—until midterms hit and he realizes he’s flunking statistics class.When Scotland native Éigneachán Jackson Levlin offers to help, Rafe is eager to accept—not only because Levlin is a psychologist, but also because he’s out and proud and hot as hell.

As their relationship heats up, Rafe decides to spend one last Christmas with his family before he tells them. When his little sister outs him to his siblings, they turn out to be fully supportive, and he takes heart—until he introduces Levlin to his father, who brutally dismisses both of them. Now Rafe must come to peace with his father’s rejection or risk losing Levlin—and all he has become at Falcon Pointe—forever.

About the Author: Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?

She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.

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Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting – Guest Post and Giveaway

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

What kind of writer am I?
By Sandra Bretting

In the fable of the tortoise and the hare, I definitely identify with the tortoise when it comes to writing.

I’d love to be able to sit down at my computer and whip out a few thousand words every day. Charles Dickens did it in his time. Stephen King still does it.

My reality is far different. My reality involves logging six or seven hundred words on a good day. Here’s why: I can’t move on to creating new passages until I’m happy with the old.

Blame it on my birth sign…I’m a Virgo. Virgos strive for perfection. While it may not be possible, or even practical, we’ll torture ourselves until we can come reasonably close before calling it a day.

Which means I’ll spend two or three hours every morning rewriting passages from the day before. Only then can I move on to the next scene.

All is not lost, however. I recently found out I’m in good company. No less than Ernest Hemingway once said he was happy to complete five hundred words a day and would walk away from his typewriter after that.

Whew! If Papa Hemingway could write The Old Man and the Sea a few pages at a time, I should be able to complete a two-hundred-and-fifty-page cozy mystery using the same schedule. It may not be as good as his book, but it will be the best I can make it.

(Besides…Stephen King probably writes most of his words at night, when he can’t sleep since he’s already scared himself silly.)

The trick is to make the words sound effortless, as if they really did just roll off the computer screen fully formed and ready to go to press. It’s definitely a high-wire act, when you know a performer has spent hours practicing a routine, but makes it look impromptu.

I guess the moral of my story is I’ve decided to embrace my writing style. I may write slowly, but it will come surely. By the time one of my books goes to press, I know I’ve not only turned over every stone as far as word choices, phrasing and sentence structure, but I’ve pretty much upended every pebble and flipped over every boulder, too.

If that makes me a tortoise, so be it. I seem to recall it was the tortoise who won the race.

MediaKit_BookCover_MurderAtMorningside Hat designer Missy DuBois opened her shop, Crowning Glory, along Louisiana’s Great River Road to cater to the sophisticated Southern bride. But bless her heart, who knew creating stylish wedding veils would lead to murder?

Hired to craft a veil for a socialite getting married at Morningside Plantation means Missy can bask in the height of antebellum atmosphere. But when the bride is found dead in a women’s bathroom, Missy the milliner finds herself entangled in one unfashionable murder. With the list of suspects thicker than the sweltering Louisiana heat, including a gaggle of bridesmaids shedding nary a tear and a family with no shortage of enemies, it seems anyone at the mansion may have done away with the bride-to-be. While Missy has Southern charm to spare, she’s going to need more than manners and a manicure to put a hat pin on this murderous affair . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

Time rewound with each footfall as I began to climb the grand outer staircase at Morningside Plantation. The limestone steps, burdened with the history of five generations, heaved their way toward heaven.

At the top lay a wide-plank verandah supported by columns painted pure white, like the clouds. By the time I took a third step, the digital camera in my right hand began to dissolve into the sterling silver handle of a ladies parasol. The visitors’ guide in my left hand magically transformed into a ballroom dance card bound by a satin cord.

Another step and the Mississippi River came into view as it flowed to the Gulf, languid as a waltz and the color of sweet tea. Could that be a whistle from a steamboat ferrying passengers past the plantation? If so, a turn and a wave wouldn’t be out of the question once I reached the top of the stairs, and good manners would dictate it.

I was about to do that when I realized the whistle was only my friend’s cell and not a Mississippi riverboat. “Ambrose! Turn that thing off. Honestly.”

“Sorry.” He shrugged. “I always forget you were Scarlett O’Hara in a past life.”

The mood was broken, though, and the sterling silver in my hand returned to plastic while the linen dance card hardened to a glossy brochure.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_MurderAtMorningsideSandra Bretting works as a freelance feature writer under contract to the Houston Chronicle. She received a journalism degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and wrote for other publications (including the Los Angeles Times and Orange Coast Magazine) before moving to Texas.

Her Missy DuBois Mysteries series debuts from Kensington/Lyrical Underground in May 2016. Bretting’s previous mysteries include Unholy Lies (2012) and Bless the Dying (2014).

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Falling for Heroes Boxed Set by Eryn LaPlant – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_FallingForShockBk1Oliver Hannel, England’s sexiest new star, has finally moved from the television screen to the silver screen, playing comic book hero The Shock in Hollywood’s upcoming blockbuster. While filming one summer night in the midwestern town of Greenfield, Indiana, Oliver finds himself witnessing a crime in progress. Will he embrace his inner superhero and save the day? Or will he remember he isn’t invincible and call for help?

Layla Brooks is a small town girl with a big spirited heart, especially when it comes to her twin sister, Lucy. She’ll rest at nothing to protect her from a casino mogul’s henchman bent on collecting a debt… even if that includes taking her sister’s punishment. But a strange suited man out from the shadows isn’t about to let that happen.

Oliver and Layla’s opposite worlds collide with a Bam! But are either of them ready for the lies, truth and lust that comes along with a relationship born of shock? Or will their love come and go as fast as a bolt of lightning?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00023]FBI Special Agent Cara Giosino is ballsy and relentless when it comes to justice. When she finds herself in London in furious pursuit of the notorious casino mogul and crime lord Feng Khai, she must give up her solo act and rely upon the fearless Interpol agent who caught Khai the first time.

Edward Hannel is not the man he once was. Tragedy has struck him down, leaving him a shell of his former self. He wants nothing to do with Interpol or the sexy Agent Giosino and her plan to take down the criminal who extorted his brother two years prior. That is until he discovers the madman’s vengeance is still focused on his family.

As they race to capture Khai and protect Edward’s family, neither Cara nor Edward realizes the depth to which this case will take them or how fast their partnership will bloom. And they certainly don’t expect to find such bliss in each other’s arms when they finally give in to letting go and being free.

Enjoy an excerpt from Falling for Shock:

“CUT!” the director called.

Oliver breathed a sigh of relief. He was in dire need of finding a bathroom; the straps of his flying harness were cutting into his full bladder. On the street below, the crew wasted no time disassembling set dressings and props. The cameramen turned off their equipment and congratulated themselves on a good day, while the dolly grips trudged the cameras down aluminum tracks. A twinge tightened in his groin and Oliver shifted, trying to redistribute the pressure. It was no use.

“Come on guys,” he grumbled, but he was thirty-feet in the air, who could hear him?

The more hustle and bustle beneath his booted feet, the more he was convinced they’d forgotten their superhero…again. With his thumb and forefinger in his mouth, he blew a shrill whistle. “Hey! Will someone get me down?”

Dean Clemens, the movie director, lifted his head to the sky. “Sorry, pal! Mike, let Ollie down.”

“Thank you!” Oliver called out and the rigging creaked and groaned as he slowly descended.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FallingForHeroesEryn LaPlant grew up wishing she could have lived in the books she read, living through characters and their romantic adventures. Now she writes romances of her own to share with readers like you.

When not writing, she spends her time with her loving husband, their handsome son and fluffy new Pomeranian puppy, Marley, in the Land of Lincoln.

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Other works by Eryn include:

Beneath the Wall
The Blue Lute

Falling for Heroes series:
Falling for Shock
Falling for Freedom
and
upcoming Falling for Phoenix (2016)

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Old West Trivia with Victoria Vane – Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour featuring Victoria Vane’s newest book Saddle Up, the 4th book in the Hot Cowboy Nights series, which releases June 7. Enter the Rafflecopter to win a Texas West handbag and wallet set.

Old West Trivia with Victoria Vane

On November 24, 1835, the Republic of Texas established a force of frontiersmen called the “Texas Rangers”. The rangers were paid $1.25 per day for their services. The members of The Texas Rangers were said to be able to “ride like a Mexican, shoot like a Kentuckian, and fight like the devil.”

5_24 victoria vaneAward-winning author Victoria Vane lets loose the fourth in the Hot Cowboy Nights series

WILD HORSES COULDN’T BRING THEM TOGETHER…

With exceptional talent and looks, cowboy “horse whisperer” Keith Russo once had the world at his feet — until his career was unwittingly destroyed by an aspiring filmmaker. After being rejected by his family for exploiting his Native American heritage, Keith has no choice but to turn back to his humble beginnings as a wild horse wrangler.

BUT MAYBE THEIR PASSION CAN…

Miranda Sutton always dreamed of making films, until wild mustangs captured her heart. But turning her grandmother’s Montana ranch into a wild horse sanctuary proves harder than she thought. She needs someone who knows wild horses. Keith and the mustangs need each other. And while working together to save the herd, Keith and Miranda discover a passion as wild as the mustangs they love.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I can’t believe this whole experience,” she said. “It’s like a weird dream. Do people really live like this? With poisonous snakes and horse-eating lions?”

“Where I come from they do. We coexist with many predators, including wolves and grizzlies. I thought you said your grandparents have a ranch. Didn’t you ever encounter any wildlife there?”

“It’s actually just my grandma’s now. We rode horses and played around with the cattle, but I never experienced anything like this before.”

He chuckled. “You aren’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.”

“Funny you said that. The Wizard of Oz is my favorite film. I’ve watched it thirteen times, part of which was a twenty-four hour marathon.”

“I don’t understand you.” He shook his head with a wry smile. “How can you watch the same film over and over when you already know what’s going to happen?”

“Because every time I watch it I focus on a different character and try to experience the events through his or her eyes. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.”

“Which character do you best identify with?” he asked.

“Well, usually it’s usually Dorothy, given that we’re both country girls and my experience in L.A. was all too much like hers in Oz, but I have to admit that tonight I’m identifying a lot more with the cowardly lion.”

“If that’s so, I have something that might help.” He reached beneath his shirt for a leather cord that he pulled over his head.

“What is it?” she asked, fingering the object that hung from the necklace.

“A grizzly tooth. It was my boo-ha-gant.” He slipped it over her head. “Now it’s yours.” He smiled into her eyes. “It will give you courage, but you must keep it secret, or it’ll lose its powers.”

“Courage? So this is really how you killed that snake? Won’t you lose your superpowers without it?”

“No.” He stroked a finger along her collarbone above where the tooth lay nestled between her breasts. “For the record, you have yet to know my true superpowers. We were interrupted before I could demonstrate them to you.”

Her face flushed. “You do think a lot of yourself, don’t you?”

He brought his finger back up to her mouth to trace her lips. “Let’s just say I wouldn’t have disappointed you.”

But disappointment reflected in her eyes. “Well, I guess we’ll never know now, will we?”

“No,” he replied, regretfully. “We never will.” He wasn’t likely ever to see her again, but in their short time together he’d opened up more with her than he had with anyone else in years. “Are you sorry you came?” he asked.

She exhaled a soft sigh. “No. Even with all that happened, I’m still glad I came.”

Maybe her answer shouldn’t have surprised him, but it did. This day had put her mettle to the test, revealing a strength she probably didn’t even know she possessed. She still had so much to learn about herself. He would have enjoyed the chance to watch her journey, but it wasn’t meant to be. There was no point in dwelling on it. The opportunity was lost. Tomorrow they’d find the missing horses and part ways.

He pulled her head onto his chest and stroked her hair. “Sleep now, Aiwattsi. I’ll keep you safe.”

About the Author:Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of the Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers Goodreads group and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog. She lives on the east coast of Florida.

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Wild Man’s Curse by Susannah Sandlin – Excerpt

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Susannah Sandlin with a special excerpt from her release Wild Man’s Curse. You can read our review here.

WILD
The bones said death was comin’, and the bones never lied.While on an early morning patrol in the swamps of Whiskey Bayou, Louisiana wildlife agent Gentry Broussard spots a man leaving the home of voodoo priestess Eva Savoie—a man who bears a startling resemblance to his brother, whom Gentry thought he had killed during a drug raid three years earlier. Shaken, the agent enters Eva’s cabin and makes a bloody discovery: the old woman has been brutally murdered.

With no jurisdiction over the case, he’s forced to leave the investigation to the local sheriff, until Eva’s beautiful heir, Celestine, receives a series of gruesome threats. As Gentry’s involvement deepens and more victims turn up, can he untangle the secrets behind Eva’s murder and protect Celestine from the same fate? Or will an old family curse finally have its way?

 

Enjoy an excerpt:

The twenty-mile drive south from Houma led Ceelie toward a blackening sky, with cloud-to-ground lightning already streaking in the distance.

A prickly sensation crossed her shoulder blades when she finally pulled into the long drive leading to the cabin. Nothing appeared out of place at the back of the house, so her unsettled feeling could probably be blamed on the weather. The sky had turned an ugly charcoal gray; even ordinary thunderstorms could be fierce here at the bottom of the world.

She gathered her bags and papers, pushed the truck door shut with her hip and made it to the protective overhang of the wraparound porch in time to escape the first raindrops. They fell in big, fat plops, slowly at first and, within seconds, so hard that visibility dropped to two feet, max.

A faint odor of cigarette smoke hung in the thick, humid air. Intent on looking for any signs of movement in the swamp or the sign of a smoker in a boat, Ceelie rounded the corner of the porch to the front of the house and didn’t stop until something wispy brushed past her nose and cheek.

She froze a breathless second before backing up. A human skull hung from a frayed rope tied onto a hook in the porch ceiling, the dirty, worn strands of fiber woven through the eye sockets. It hung low enough for her to look the thing right in the eyes, if it had eyes. About half of its yellow teeth had been broken off. It swung toward her, propelled by the wind from the storm.

A tingle of adrenaline raced up her back and across her scalp. She did a slow one-eighty, looking for anything else out of place, and dropped her bags with a clatter when her gaze came to rest on the front door.

GO HOME, BITCH.

The words had been scrawled in red. Paint or blood, Ceelie wasn’t sure. Through the heavy curtain of rain, she scanned the bayou again. Her breath hitched at…something. A dark shadow moved through the water close to the opposite bank.

Ceelie had no intention of hanging around to see if it was an alligator or a murderer. She kicked the probate papers and groceries out of the way, grabbed her purse and the plastic bag containing the knife, and raced back to the truck, digging the keys out of her pocket along the way. Once inside, she jammed down the door locks and backed out into the highway, barely missing a tanker truck racing northbound from one of the refineries.

She had to squint to see through the rain that blew in heavy sheets against the windows. People. She needed to find people, which meant going north toward Montegut. She stopped at the first public place she reached—a convenience store and gas station.

Through the Jiffy Stop’s front windows, she could see people moving around the aisles, doing business as usual, talking, laughing. A couple of kids chased each other back and forth under the awning that stretched across the front of the store, holding their arms out into the rain and squealing when they got splashed. Around her, a few other folks sat in their cars, probably waiting for the rain to slacken.

Ceelie’s heart rate slowed, although it was still far beyond normal, a trot instead of a full-on gallop. When she pulled her phone from her purse, her hands shook so badly that she dropped it on the floorboard. A card from her wallet landed beside it: Gentry Broussard’s business card.

“Call me anytime,” the wildlife agent had said.

She didn’t give herself a chance to rationalize her fear or talk herself out of asking for help.

“Broussard.” Gentry’s deep voice stroked her panic like a reassuring hand, calming her with his casual greeting. When she didn’t answer immediately, his tone grew more clipped. “Is someone there?”

“Yes. I mean, no. Yes. It’s Ceelie Savoie.” God, her voice sounded like that of a frog and now that she had him on the line, she didn’t know where to start. “Somebody was at the cabin.”

Lame. So lame.

“First, are you in immediate danger?”

Ceelie looked around her. “No, I don’t think so.”

His voice was solid, warm, and dead calm. Her trembling slowed and the tension in her shoulders eased. “Okay, tell me what happened, Ceelie. Someone showed up at the cabin? You’re not there now, are you?”

“No, not there now.” She took a deep breath. “Somebody was at the cabin. He hung a skull, wrote on the door in blood. Maybe paint. There was cigarette smoke.” God, she was making no sense. She took another deep breath. For a woman who prided herself on her independence, she was coming across like a helpless victim. That thought was enough to help center her.

“Where are you now?” Over the phone, she heard a crunch of gravel, then the slam of a heavy door and an engine roaring to life. “I’ll come to you.”

She looked up at the sign on the front of the convenience store. “I’m at the Jiffy Stop on Highway 55 about a mile north of the cabin.”

“I’m on my way from Montegut. Sit tight.” He paused and it sounded like he took a curve fast. “Don’t go back to that cabin until I get there.”

It didn’t occur to her until she’d ended the call that she probably should’ve called the sheriff’s office rather than a game warden. But her heart knew what it knew, and it instinctively trusted Gentry Broussard. She’d have a long talk with her heart later, because those kinds of instincts could easily get her in a different kind of trouble.

Unfortunately, her heart now also admitted that whoever had tried to scare her away from the cabin would try again. Whatever had happened that led to her Tante Eva’s murder, it wasn’t over.

About the Author:susanah Chapter One: I am born. Oh, wait, I’m not Dickens, am I? The “boring official bio” is below. In the unofficial bio, I am ridiculously nearsighted, have a weakness for reality shows (anyone for a marathon of “Cutthroat Kitchen?”) and am somewhat obsessive-compulsive. Well, okay, my critique partner calls me “Rain Man.” Whether writing as Suzanne Johnson or Susannah Sandlin, you can count on quirky characters and a lot of action.

Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series for Tor Books. Click on the links to find ROYAL STREET (Book 1), RIVER ROAD (Book 2), ELYSIAN FIELDS (Book 3), PIRATE’S ALLEY (book 4) and a novella/story collection, PIRATESHIP DOWN. Book 5, BELLE CHASSE, will be out in November 2016. Suzanne is also the author of a paranormal holiday short, CHRISTMAS IN DOGTOWN.

Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the multiple award-winning Penton Vampire Legacy paranormal romance series (REDEMPTION, ABSOLUTION, OMEGA and ALLEGIANCE), the standalone paranormal romance STORM FORCE, and The Collectors romantic thriller duology, LOVELY, DARK, AND DEEP and DEADLY, CALM, AND COLD. She also is the author of a short paranormal story, CHENOIRE.

Susannah’s new suspense series, Wilds of the Bayou, begins with the April 5 release of WILD MAN’S CURSE, available in print, digital and audio.

A longtime New Orleans resident, Suzanne is a veteran journalist with more than fifty national awards in writing and editing nonfiction for higher education. She is currently the editor of the quarterly magazine for Auburn University in Alabama.

Suzanne is an active member of Romance Writers of America, Novelists Inc., and is a member of the Southern Magic, Kiss of Death, and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapters of RWA.

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