Sins that Haunt by Lucy Farago – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lucy will be awarding a digital copy of Sins that Haunt to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

sins-that-hauntThe glitz and glamour of Las Vegas hide a multitude of sins. And in Lucy Farago’s show-stopping series, a lawyer and an FBI agent take a walk on the seedy side, where greed breeds a deadly desperation…

Civil attorney Shannon Joyce walks the line of law and order, but she learned from day one how to put up a good front—thanks to her con man father. Thirteen years ago, she left the east coast and her life of crime behind. Her high school sweetheart, Noah, was collateral damage, but some things can’t be helped. But now there’s no escape when her past comes roaring down the Strip—in the oh-so-tempting form of the man she left behind…

Special Agent Noah Monroe has Shannon exactly where he wants her—in the back of his car in handcuffs. Her grifter father has been murdered, and the FBI needs Shannon to keep one of his scams in play to bag the big bad guy who was financing him. Once again a pawn in someone’s else game, Shannon will have to trust her instincts to survive both the peril threatening her—and the passion Noah reignites…

Enjoy an Excerpt:

They eventually stopped at the last place she’d expected. The airport. Noah got out of the car and got in the backseat with her.

“What’s going on?” She should be sitting in an interrogation room, not visitors’ parking at the airport. “Is my father really dead?”

May God have mercy on her soul, but she hoped so.

Noah nodded once.

“How did he die?”

He lifted a dark eyebrow.

“Cut it out. You know damn well I didn’t kill him.” She didn’t lie, not anymore. “Am I glad he’s gone to a far worse place?” She shrugged. He’d not only screwed up her life but countless others’. His victims were in the thousands, if not more. “But when I left him, he was alive.” Not very happy but alive.

“When would that be?” he asked.

She considered telling him to go take a swim in shark-infested waters, then thought better of it. She had nothing to hide. “Two days ago.”

“What did the two of you discuss?”

“The weather,” she said. Jerk. No way would she admit to her father extorting money from her. Thirteen years ago she’d have told Noah everything. Thirteen years ago he hadn’t been a special agent assigned to a task force that could put her behind bars.

“Shannon, even if you and I didn’t know you hated the guy, the only time he ever talked to you was to coerce you into one of his schemes. So what was it this time?”

About the Author:lucy-faragoLucy Farago knows there is nothing like a happy sigh at the end of a good book. With the encouragement of her loving husband, she wrote her first manuscript. An unpublished historical, it sits in a file on her computer, there to remind her how much fun she had learning the craft and becoming part of an industry whose books make you believe anything is possible. A big fan of Agatha Christie, she set out to write her first romantic suspense novel. Thrilled to be a published author, Lucy also teaches yoga, enjoys cooking, and saying what other people are thinking. In her fantasy world, her beautiful Siberian husky, Loki, doesn’t shed and her three kids clean up after themselves. Alas, that fantasy will never see fruition.

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Buy the book at Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, or Nook.

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The Joined Realm by Robert Vane – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Robert Vane will be awarding a $75 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.

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“Control the water, control the world”

From inside the lush expanse of the Inner Realm, the Ghosbane family and their fellow waterlords rule the Joined Realm through their mastery of the ancient aqueducts that feed the vast Drylands beyond their domain. After being accused of a terrible crime, Arlon Ghosbane, the inheritor of a secret legacy of the vanquished overlords of the Joined Realm, is forced to flee from his family and the only life he has ever known. Guided by a renegade howler intent on freeing his race, Arlon discovers that a world far different than one he had been taught about lies beyond his water-rich homeland. The fate of humanity will be determined by the decisions of a young fugitive and a former slave as they fight for the future of the Joined Realm.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Tattered banners displaying the sunflower sigil of this dusty frontier holding hung behind the lord and his men, all of them pressed together like a clutch of hens. The chamber’s walls looked like they could crumble at any moment, but at least they kept Raz’s pounding light at bay. Sand infested the rough-cut limestone of the floor, but Bellamy supposed that was inevitable in such a water-starved place. He busied himself trying to dislodge the bits of filth ensconced beneath his fingernails as Lord Lowen droned on. When Bellamy finished his manicure and looked up, he noted with annoyance that Lowen and his meager retainers did not have sand strewn in their hair or stuck in the crevasses of their fingernails.

“That’s quite enough, Lowen,” Bellamy declared, his tone as dismissive as that of a disappointed tutor. “Scribble your excuses on some parchment to send to our Lord Idris. I’ve heard enough of them. You are responsible for every drop of water that flows out from this portion of the aqueduct. That is your oath. You retain your holdings, and your life, only so long as you uphold that oath. You have failed.”

About the Author: Robert Vane has been writing stories since he was eight. It’s been his full time job for two decades – but not the stories he wanted to write.

Inspired by a lifetime of reading, beginning with “classics” like Privateers, the Amtrak Wars, Darkover, and the Belgariad to name a few (yeah, he’s old), Rob has been pecking away in his spare time. The Joined Realm isn’t the first full length novel Rob has written, but it’s the first that he felt ready to share. Big thanks to Amazon!

Keep reading and writing.

The Joined Realm is available on Amazon.com and will be $0.99 during the tour.

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The Truth She Knew by J. A. Owenby – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. J.A. Owenby 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.

mediakit_bookcover_thetruthsheknew Mama didn’t want me. In fact, she would’ve traded my soul back for someone different if God would’ve let her, but he didn’t, so she was stuck with me.

For eighteen-year-old Lacey, life at home is a rollercoaster. She doesn’t think she’ll ever be good enough to truly deserve Mama’s love.

But when Lacey enters college and meets Walker, everything starts to change. Suddenly, Lacey is face to face with the realization that maybe what she’s always seen as normal really isn’t. Her entire life—and everything she’s ever believed about herself and her family—is abruptly hanging in midair.

Lacey is left facing two paths, and she has to make a choice. The first means walking away from everything she’s ever known. The other means never really knowing the truth.

The Truth She Knew offers an honest and powerful glimpse into mental illness, the meaning of true love, and the psychological waltz that a daughter dances as she endures her mother’s unpredictable emotions, manipulation, and abuse.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Mama didn’t want me. In fact, she would’ve traded my soul back for someone different if God would’ve let her, but he didn’t, so she was stuck with me. She reminded me of this on a consistent basis, and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t change her mind. Finally, I had to make a choice: her or me.

My heels clicked against the cold tile floor of the hospital and my heart fluttered as I searched the room numbers.

I rubbed my clammy hands against my jeans as I saw the ladies’ restroom and hurried toward it. I needed a minute before I reached her room. I pushed the door open and scanned the bathroom for anyone else. It was empty.

My purse landed with a thud on the bathroom counter. I turned the cold water on, splashed it on my cheeks, and wiped my face with a paper towel.

“Breathe,” I muttered. “She can’t hurt you anymore. You’re grown.”

My pep talk wasn’t working. Fear was gnawing at my stomach.

I reached into my bag, grabbed my powder compact, and touched up my makeup. My green eyes shone brighter against the redness left from my tears. I ran a brush through my long, blond hair and dabbed a hint of gloss on my lips, more out of habit than need.

“Let’s do this, Lacey. Suck it up,” I said to my reflection. I released a slow, deep breath and headed out of the restroom and down the hall toward the ICU.

About the Author: J.A. Owenby lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and two cats.

She’s a published author of six short stories, and she is currently working on her second full-length novel. She also runs her own business as a professional resume writer and interview coach—she helps people find jobs they love.

J.A. is an avid reader of thrillers, romance, new adult, and young adult novels. She loves music, movies, and good wine. And call her crazy, but she loves the rainy Pacific Northwest; she gets her best story ideas while listening to the rain pattering against the windows in front of the fireplace.

You can follow the progress of her upcoming novel on Facebook and on Twitter.

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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My Take on Critique Groups by Siri Paulson – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $50 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
Siri here on behalf of Kit Campbell and myself. Thanks so much for having us!

I’m a big believer in critique groups, as long as they’re helpful and not toxic. Learning how to critique someone else’s story will teach you a whole lot about analysing what works and what doesn’t, about separating your personal reading preferences from objective quality, and about your own writing.

It’s much easier to see problems in other people’s writing than your own. Conversely, it’s much harder to see what needs fixing in your own story. Having other people you trust to tell it like it is? Invaluable.

I’m lucky enough to be part of an in-person critique group that works really well. Here are some reasons why…

We’ve learned to check our egos at the door. Separating your writing from your heart is a hard thing to do. It’s tough to take critique – to sit there and listen while people tell you what’s wrong with your story. But it’s a really important thing to learn, because sooner or later it’s going to happen to you (editor? agent? review?), and you’d better know how to handle it with grace. On the flip side, it’s also important to learn how to give criticism without making it personal.

We’ve learned how to deal with the feedback. I’ve learned that there are some times when I just should not submit a story. It’s still too close to my heart, or too early in the process. For example, when I’m in the middle of a novel draft, I should not submit early chapters – I’ll get defensive (not out loud) and also start second-guessing everything I’m doing. But other people find it so helpful to get feedback with plot problems along the way. Figure out what works for you! I’ve also had to learn how to filter the critiques, to pick and choose what’s helpful for the direction I want for the story.

We trust each other. Part of this is because we all write in the same genres, and most of us are at a similar stage in our careers (published a few books or just on the cusp of publishing). Part of it is because we’ve learned how to give a balance of positive and negative feedback, with specific issues identified and specific solutions suggested. Part of it is just familiarity – we’re not friends, exactly, but we’ve been meeting a long time. And we tease each other and just generally keep a sense of humour about the whole thing.

We have an established process. Here’s how we do it: Meetings are once every two weeks and usually run about two hours. We have two victims, er, critiquees per meeting, submitting up to 10,000 words each – either a short story or some novel chapters. Submissions are emailed around the previous week so everyone can read them twice and make notes (ranging from broad strokes to line edits, depending). Sometimes the author includes specific questions about how certain aspects are coming across, or a synopsis of earlier chapters if relevant.

During the meeting, the critiquee takes notes and doesn’t talk much, although they’re allowed to ask questions or clarify their intentions. We go around the room, more or less, taking turns giving a verbal critique – it might cover plot, character, pacing, worldbuilding, logic gaps, stuff that doesn’t ring true, whatever’s relevant. Sometimes a meeting turns into a free-for-all where everyone’s contributing to the discussion at the same time, other times we stick to talking in sequence. We don’t dwell on the more nitty-gritty line edits during the meeting – the critiquee can go over those on their own time. At the end of the session, the critiquee can ask further questions. Finally, we give the author our copies of the submission with our edits marked (either by hand or with the comment function in MS Word).

This method is really helpful because it’s detailed but not too detailed. We get feedback from multiple people on every scene and every plot/character development, which usually doesn’t happen if you email your entire novel to beta readers. Not to say betas aren’t useful! Getting a reader’s broader impressions is important too. On the flip side, there’s no point in getting hung up on the sentence-level writing if the scene isn’t working…plus if you get too much feedback on that level, you run the risk of losing your unique voice. But personally, I find it much easier to write pretty prose than to write effective scenes, so that’s where I need the help.

So there you have it – everything I know about critique groups! Over to you. Love ’em, hate ’em, wish you could find one?

mediakit_bookcover_cityofhopeandruinEvery night the monsters hunt.

A city that is the whole world: Theosophy and her companions in the City militia do their best to protect the civilians from the monsters, but they keep crawling from the Rift and there’s nowhere to run. Theosophy knows she’ll die fighting. It’s the best kind of death she’s seen, and at least she can save lives in the meantime.

They say the Scarred carve you up while you’re still alive.

A village in the shadow of a forest: Refugees from the border whisper about the oncoming Scarred, but Briony can’t convince her brother to relocate his children to safety. Briony will do anything to protect them. She owes them that much, even if it means turning to forbidden magic.

When Theosophy and Briony accidentally make contact across the boundaries of their worlds, they realize that solutions might finally be within reach. A world beyond the City would give Theosophy’s people an escape, and the City’s warriors could help Briony protect her family from the Scarred. Each woman sees in the other a strength she lacks—and maybe something more.

All they need to do is find a way across the dimensions to each other before their enemies close in.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Dean Prosody was pacing in her cramped office when Theosophy arrived. Her bayonet and whetstone lay forgotten on her desk.

Theosophy stopped just inside the door. “Sir?”

“He’s not in his quarters, and he took his spear,” said the dean, not looking at her.

Theosophy reached into her belt pouch and pulled out her double crystal, tuned to her partners. One side had gone dark, of course, but the other pulsed weakly. She could feel the direction of the pull—toward the ruins—but that meant nothing, surely he wouldn’t be such a complete…

“What did you say to him?” Dean Prosody demanded.

Theosophy shrugged.

“Nothing about avenging Rhetoric?”

“I should hope not,” she said. “I was a little busy fighting for my life. With one partner gone and the other just standing there…”

The dean gave her a look, blue eyes snapping.

“What? I let him mourn after. But he still let the third one get away, and almost got me killed. I had to say something.”

The dean sighed.

“There’s a reason I’m the longest-serving fighter. And it’s not because I’m nice.”

“About that, Theosophy…maybe you should consider stepping down.”

She opened her mouth, but nothing came out.

“I know you’re the reason a lot of these kids are still alive. But you’re turning sour. It’s not healthy.”

Theosophy grimaced. The thing was, staying alive the longest wasn’t any kind of mercy. It just meant everyone you used to know was dead.

About the Authors:

It is a little known fact that Kit was raised in the wild by a marauding gang of octopuses. It wasn’t until she was 25 that she was discovered by a traveling National Geographic scientist and brought back to civilization. This is sometimes apparent in the way that she attempts to escape through tubes when startled.

Her transition to normalcy has been slow, but scientists predict that she will have mastered basics such as fork use sometime in the next year. More complex skills, such as proper grocery store etiquette, may be forever outside her reach.

Kit can be found cavorting about the web at her blog  or website, on Pinterest , and even occasionally on Twitter.

Siri Paulson writes all over the fantasy and science fiction spectrum, including (so far) secondary-world fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, Gothic, historical paranormal, and YA with spaceships. She is also the chief editor at Turtleduck Press. Siri grew up in Alberta, Canada, but now lives in an old house in Toronto. By day, she edits non-fiction for the government. Her other current passion is contra dance, a social/folk dance done to live Celtic and roots music. Her favourite places in the world are the Canadian Rocky Mountains and a little valley in Norway.

Siri’s short fiction and the anthologies she has edited can be found on Turtleduck Press. She blogs at https://siripaulson.wordpress.com/ and tweets at http://twitter.com/Siri_Paulson.

Multi-region buy link for ebook: http://authl.it/B01DYSR7QE

 

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The Sweetheart Racket by Cheryl Ann Smith & One Week in Your Arms by Patricia Preston – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour and is organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Cheryl and Patricia will be awarding digital copies of both books on tour to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

the-sweetheart-racketThey used to be on the sidelines. Now they’re out in the field…

Two years ago, Taryn Hall was a pro football cheerleader—until she left her lecherous boss with a bloody nose and a faceful of Mace. Now she’s part of a different kind of squad. An elderly billionaire named Irving has hired and trained Taryn and her two best friends to work as private investigators…

Taryn loves the job, though it sometimes involves boring stakeouts, dog bites—and listening to Irving talk about his golf shoes. Then tattooed, steely-eyed, straight-up gorgeous undercover DEA agent Rick Silva walks into the office and shakes things up…

Rick needs help finding the con artist who’s taken his lonely mother for all she was worth. With multiple aliases and multiple victims, it will be a challenge to track down the coldhearted gigolo. And Rick insists on accompanying Taryn on the hunt, working closely, day and night.

This could be dangerous. And the case might be kind of risky, too…

*****
one-week-in-your-arms_blueIT STARTED WITH A FLING…

Six years ago, ambitious med student Marla Grant gave into temptation with a gorgeous man. Now a busy doctor and a loving single mom, the only thing that matters to Marla more than her adorable daughter is the Lafayette Falls Community Clinic. When its funding is threatened, Marla is determined to find out why—until she learns the person responsible is none other than the powerful, persuasive man of her long-ago fling and the unsuspecting father of her child…

Carson Blackwell has never forgotten bright, beautiful Marla. When he discovers that she runs the clinic his grandmother’s foundation funds, it’s the perfect chance to put an end to his ongoing infatuation—and use his leverage to cement a new business deal. He needs a fake girlfriend for one week in Hawaii, and Marla is just the woman for the job. It’s a win-win situation, until they realize the attraction between them isn’t feigned, and the heat has never died down. Only the secrets they’re both keeping stand in the way of a future together—and a love that could last a lifetime.

Enjoy an Excerpt from The Sweetheart Racket:

“I need a PI.”

She was just tired enough to make a sassy comment about his good fortune of stumbling into a PI firm, but profit margins danced fresh in her mind. Why chase off a perfectly good client with a smart comment?

“Come to my office.” The stranger followed her. She was convinced he was checking out her butt. Or maybe it was just wishful thinking. She hadn’t had a date in ages, and was beginning to feel a bit withered. Either way, she needed to keep her mind on business and not how good he looked in his jeans.

He settled into a chair before her desk and looked around the space. He had a strong jaw, a semi-straight nose, and a small scar that dissected his right brow.

“What can I do for you, Mr.—?”

“Silva. Rick Silva.”

“Yes, ah, Mr. Silva. What brings you to Brash ?” Despite a professional outward demeanor, it proved difficult to concentrate on anything but his gorgeous gray eyes. They were a stark contrast to his dark brown hair and tanned face.

The man was all alpha male. She’d be shocked if he’d ever eaten a bean sprout on purpose or ordered a vanilla mocha latte with lite whip and cinnamon sprinkles.

Add the tattoos peeking out from beneath his t-shirt sleeves and she wondered if he’d done time.

“I’m searching for someone. His name is Teddy Brinkman.”

His voice had gone hard. There was danger in his expression. A chill trilled through her. She leaned forward and knitted her fingers, forcing herself not to show fear. “Are you going to kill him?”

Silva’s eyes widened at her bluntness. “And if I did?”

Damn. She’d hoped for a new client, not a murderer looking for an accomplice. “Then I can’t help you.” She stood. “We are not in the business of playing intermediaries to murder. You’ll have to find him on your own.”

And she’d have to call the cops ASAP.

About the Authors:

cheryl-ann-smithCheryl Ann Smith became hooked on romance at age fourteen when she stayed up all night to read The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Her own writing journey happened much later, when one afternoon she ran out of books and decided to write her own. Previously, she has published five sexy Regency novels and one novella with Berkley in her School for Brides series.

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Buy The Sweetheart Racket from Amazon, iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

patricia-prestonPatricia Preston is a Southern author whose dream come true would be living in the French Quarter. Besides writing, she loves music, history, taking road trips, and anything containing chocolate. Having fun is her objective when it comes to storytelling and she hopes her readers will find her amusing, feel-good romances entertaining.

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Writing Ideas – Where do they come from? by M. Kate Quinn – Guest Blog 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.

Writing Ideas – Where do they come from?

I’m often asked where I get ideas for my stories. The answer is both simple and complicated – life. The ideas come from life.

I’d venture to say that writers tend to be people watchers. We can’t help it. We look for the story in everything and in every place. The beach, the grocery store, the park, the mall, when visiting someone in the hospital, even at a funeral. Story ideas abound in these places.

For me, it starts something like this: In an elevator going up to the top floor in a medical building a woman is riding along with me in the cab. Her arms are folded and her mouth is pulled into a straight line. I ask myself why. Is she late? Is she angry? Nervous? The door opens and a man in a lab coat steps in and pushes the button for the top floor. I think his stab of the button was a bit heavy handed. Is he cranky? Why? Is it just that everybody’s in such a frenzied rush these days? The man and woman exchange a glance at each other and she quickly turns away. Ah, I think. And the magic two words float into my head: What if?

What if they know each other? What if they’re lovers? Why the standoffishness? Maybe he cheated on her, or she him. Or, what if they had gone out on a date and he was supposed to call her the next day and didn’t? And, if that was the case, why didn’t he call?

And so it goes. While I sit on a leather arm chair in my doctor’s office waiting for my annual exam my mind is building a story about a couple in an elevator, bit by bit, idea by idea.

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Why has no place in what the heart knows for sure.

On the eve of their wedding Victoria Gliden and fiancé Owen Walker call it quits. He accuses her of not being able to get over her deadbeat father’s vanishing act when she was a child and she and her cold feet run and don’t look back.

An interior designer, Victoria, has an important meeting on Cancun that could garner her a promotion and the plan was to incorporate her presentation with the honeymoon cruise that’s journeying to the island. Since she’s sure Owen is on his way to Portland to escape the aftermath of their ruined wedding, Victoria takes the honeymoon cruise anyway. Only Owen has the same idea and they’re stuck with each other for six days, five nights.

Tony Gliden, Victoria’s father, dies in a freak accident and is sent back to earth disguised as a crotchety old man with the mission to convince his daughter to believe in love. So, he, too boards the ship.

At sea, destiny takes a detour when Victoria befriends the quirky old man with kind eyes and together they join forces with a quartet of unabashed women in their fifties who drink pink martinis and flirt with the wait staff but are wiser than they look. While trying to dodge Owen, Victoria’s new acquaintances help her face old wounds and confront new fears.

Most of all, Victoria and Owen both realize it all boils down to one word—why?

By journey’s end will two broken hearts get their answer?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Words spilled from Owen’s lips before he had the chance to think. “I don’t know, Vic, maybe on some level I was meant to be here on this ship.”

She didn’t respond, kept her tooth locked down on that lip. But, her eyes were windows to some distant place he longed for. So, he and his glass of vodka let more words tumble free. “Sometimes I still can’t believe you really did this.” He gulped his drink in an effort to shut himself up, but it was fuel to his fire. “That you did this to us.”

“Don’t.” Victoria grabbed the fancy clutch that she’d squeezed into a misshapen blob of sparkly fabric.

“You know what?” He couldn’t stop and suddenly he didn’t want to. “It’s just too bad you’re so ridiculously afraid of veering off that rigid path you’ve carved out for yourself. That’s got to be a tough trek, Victoria. You must be exhausted.”

She stood up from the bar stool, chin held high, eyes swimming.

“You’re leaving.” It wasn’t a question. Owen knew the answer too well.

“Um, yes, I uh, promised my friends that I’d meet them.”

“Well, I guess I’ll see you back at the suite then, huh?” Pent-up energy raced around in him banishing every urge he had to stroke her hair, pull her to him, make them right again. His tone was caustic and it felt good and lousy both.

For each millisecond that he held her gaze, Victoria squirmed, her hands wringing that now pretty ugly evening bag, that tooth all but drawing blood as it pressed the pink flesh of her lower lip. She broke the stare and darted away as though she were being chased.

Owen’s heart squeezed like a fist had wrapped itself around the muscle. A tear pricked his eye. Victoria could run all she wanted, but for the first time in almost two days something finally made sense. She loves me.

About the Author:mediakit_authorphoto_victoriaatseaBorn to a feisty Italian mother and a gentle blue-eyed Irishman, I was given the name “Marykate,” inspired by Maureen O’Hara’s character in the movie, The Quiet Man, an old-time favorite love story that co-starred John Wayne. With a grandmother Catherine and an Aunt Mary the name was an obvious choice.

I’ve been writing stories all my life. There’s an old Macy’s box in my attic filled with my writings from childhood, now smudgy-looking pages produced on my portable Olivetti Underwood typewriter, an eighth-grade gift from my Grandmother Catherine.

I am a recent First Place winner of a short story contest sponsored by Reader’s Digest Magazine and write a column entitled “Boomer Humor” that appears monthly in my neighborhood newspaper.

My husband and I are our own love story. We have a slap-happy middle-aged second marriage with a combined total of six grown children, one delightful granddaughter, another precious little baby on the way and one ridiculously spoiled, amazingly handsome cat named Sammy.

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Ever Tempted by Odessa Gillespie Black – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Odessa will be awarding a digital copy of Ever Tempted to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

evertemptedAn infinity of lives, only one eternal love . . . .

When Cole Kinsley asked Allie Knowles for her hand in marriage, he meant it. Death be damned. Nothing could keep them apart, not even a hundred years or more. Not even the vindictive spirit of Allie’s dead sister Grace. Released from her watery grave, she offers Cole a devil’s bargain. But to Cole, no price is too high when it comes to his beloved.

Allie thinks it’s almost too good to be true. A week of bliss alone with Cole. His promise kept, after all they’ve suffered at the hands of her sister. To feel the strength of his arms around her again. But when she learns of the sacrifice he made to be with her, she plunges into despair. Forever has slipped from their grasp—unless forever apart is their true destiny . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

Wet, frustrated, and needing the love of my life with me, I searched for the television remote. It was under my bag on the bed earlier. In minutes, the room looked as though I’d lived in it for a week, but I had the remote in hand.

Through the static of the outdated television, I received a few channels clear enough to watch. I landed on a cosmetics commercial much like Rollins Cosmetics would have boasted.

In a restaurant surrounded by a group of her girlfriends, a dark-haired girl resembling Allie winked at the screen. “No, I’m not wearing makeup.”

The announcer added that with the product the model wore, she could lie and no one would know the difference.

It would have taken globs of makeup to look as naturally stunning as Allie Knowles. Her beauty was unsurpassed by anyone I’d seen in the endless years I’d lived. No matter what appearance she took in each life, she was always stunning.

This time around, long brown tresses framed her high cheekbones and caramel brown eyes. Her skin was a creamy sun-kissed caramel superstars of this day paid professional skin care companies millions to achieve. And it was all natural.

Every inch of her was all natural. Her long, toned legs.

Her dark, mocha tanned shoulders and smooth arms. The swell of her chest and the curves of her hips.

Every single aspect of her was so tempting that I couldn’t be close and know for certain I could keep my hands off.

About the Author:odessa-gillesspie-blackOdessa Gillespie Black lives in the beautiful North Carolina foothills with her husband, four children, Chihuahuas Little Bit and Rico, and rescued Lab and Pit mix, Mo. When not chasing dogs around the backyard and tackling the daily duties of mother-and-wife-hood, she enjoys watching horror movies and reading and writing paranormal romance.

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Bygones by Lisa K. Nielsen – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

mediakit_bookcover_bygonesDr. Alexandra Hadley would prefer to leave small town life behind forever, but her father’s death forces her hand. In his will, he has left her his medical practice and Georgian-style mansion, and it is up to her to hire a new doctor and settle his estate. Fresh out of medical school, Lexi is happily settled in Chicago, doing research in tandem with her boyfriend. Brian, fifteen years older with impressive credentials and sophisticated tastes, has no interest in visiting her birthplace of Glenmore, Illinois. Lexi soon discovers that home has its attractions, the first being the handsome contractor Joe Manning, her secret crush in high school. Seeing patients is also surprisingly satisfying. When Joe offers to remodel her father’s den, Lexi jumps at the chance to erase sad memories and become better acquainted with her gorgeous handyman. Even as the charms of Glenmore draw her in, a series of break-ins at her father’s house make her fear for her safety. Is the intruder searching for something other than valuables? And how determined is the culprit? Lexi finds her fragile happiness at risk, including her newfound love for Joe Manning.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Lexi yanked her suitcase zipper closed and set the bag on the floor. She’d spent the day in the city—brunch with Brian, a little shopping and back to her place to pack up some clothes to take back to Glenmore.

“What’s the matter, honey?”

She’d been tense all day. It seemed she’d finally gotten through to Brian, her angst now so acute it had poked a hole in his force field of calm. “You mean other than the fact my father’s funeral was yesterday? And now I’m stepping into his practice and I’m reasonably certain I’ll hate it? And some asshole broke into the house? Besides those things, what’s the matter? Is that what you’re asking?”

Hurt shone in his brown eyes until his features relaxed into an expression of appeasement. She’d recently come to resent his way of making her feel like a crazy person in need of placating. Why couldn’t he acknowledge her right to be angry and anxious about taking over her father’s practice?

“Lexi, calm down.” He laid a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t you think you’re overreacting a little bit?”

“No, I don’t.” She pulled away from him and stomped to the window. Despite her pique, she tried to take a mental picture of the city view that would tide her over in suburbia. She felt Brian lurking behind her all the while, judging. She whirled around. “Why didn’t you come to the funeral?”

He did a double take. “Excuse me?”

She spoke slowly and evenly.

“Why … didn’t … you—”

He held up a hand. “You told me not to come.”

She groaned, crossing her arms, frustrated. “You told me you had work to catch up on.”

“I did. But all you had to do was ask. Of course I would have come.”

“When you said you had to work, I didn’t feel I could ask. I know your work is important to you, but it was my father’s funeral.” Her voice caught. When she was angry, she had a tendency to get teary. She considered it a personal weakness. And that made her angrier.

About the Author:Lisa K. Nielsen was born and raised in West Dundee, Illinois. Her love of books started early on, with a particular interest in mysteries.

Lisa received a B.S. degree in zoology from Iowa State University. She then attended the Physician Assistant program at the University of Iowa.

After graduation, she moved to Peoria, Illinois where her first position as a physician assistant was in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. She then moved on to the specialty of urology.

Her work was busy and time consuming, but she always made time to read. After years of dreaming about it, she finally put a pen to paper and wrote down some stories of her own.

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The Fiduciary Delusion by John Molik – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. John 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.

mediakit_bookcover_the-fiduciary-delusion An unambitious young man finally finds himself, only to nearly lose everything in an apparent web of international economic terrorism and intrigue. But, as his world begins to unravel, has he become genuinely delusional? Or is he really on to one of the most dangerous global conspiracies of all time? Against all odds, only love and a true friend’s faith can save both him and the world as we know it from the abusive power of evil.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

There was that strange odor again of sweet burnt beans and paint thinner. Jeremy Hughes had started noticing this strange aroma about a week ago. The location of his lecture hall at UC Davis was just a stone’s throw from the Coffee House, the local student dining hall and entertainment venue, so he was not immune to the unexpected food smells fit for starving students. But this odor was different. Hopefully, it wasn’t wafting down from the Chem lab. There were rumors going around that with the UC budget cuts, some of the filters at the lab were not being replaced regularly. Surely, these aren’t some sort of carcinogens, for heaven’s sake. Nevertheless, he made a mental note to ask around.

As Jeremy had only been a lecturer at UC Davis for just over a year, this placed him near the bottom of the academic employment hierarchy. He had little hope of surviving the next round of budget cuts. Last year had been a real drag too. The Department Chair had left after the second term to work in the private sector and Brigitte Sheen, his interim replacement, was a haughty cold bitch who had no qualms about showing who’s boss by playing mind games with her faculty. Brigitte Sheen was an imposing, solid, nearly six foot tall Korean American woman who, at first glance, looked like a cross between the gorgeous Moon Bloodgood and the Chinese Hercules. When Jeremy first met her, he looked carefully into her eyes. Someone had told him that if you could hold eye contact with her long enough, you could verify that she did in fact have horizontal pupils. Brigitte’s straw-thick, tea-colored bangs appeared to be cut with a 4 stroke line trimmer. Her solid, thick, musculature was formidable, and was built from 15 years of Olympic style weightlifting at the University of Washington, where she routinely lifted the equivalent of a completely loaded fridge/freezer over her head dozens of times per day.

Last year, on Jeremy’s first day, he received his first taste of venom.

‘You make a problem for me, I will make your life a living hell. If you are not prepared or call in sick to take day off to go Tahoe or something, it’s over. Just get in your car and drive away. Fast. I’ll do the paperwork,’ she had snarled. Brigitte was definitely a woman to avoid by strategically flying under her radar.

About the Author:mediakit_authorphoto_thefiduciarydelusionJohn grew up in Rancho Palos Verdes, California and graduated from UC Davis with a B.A. Degree in Economics and has worked in numerous corporate finance and project management jobs in the consumer electronics and IT industries. In 1990, after taking an extended backpacking trip of the South Pacific before attending graduate school, he met his would be wife and in 1991 was married. They settled back in Irvine and South Orange County area of California. In 2003, he and his family (now with two kids in tow) relocated to Christchurch, New Zealand.

John’s interest in writing began when he was a student at UC Davis, having worked as a Feature Writer for the California Aggie Newspaper. Possessing the desire to write again, and with a bucket list goal of eventually trying his hand at thriller novels, he took the plunge, and in 2014, began writing his first novel, The Fiduciary Delusion. John’s interests also include: science, existential philosophy, health, and both western and eastern holistic medicine. John also plays guitar, piano, sings and writes music. In addition, John is an admitted “gym rat” and can be regularly found lifting weights, trudging up hills, sea kayaking, and getting out and about enjoying the beautiful wild outdoors.

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So You Want to Be a Writer? by Sara R. Turnquist – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sara R. Turnquist will be awarding a $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.

SO YOU WANT TO BE AN AUTHOR?

As you know, I’m on tour for my second novel, The General’s Wife. I remember the day it went up for sale in the wee hours of the morning…I know, I was up at 2 a.m. checking on Amazon. It was there. And the next 36 hours, I had so many texts and e-mails from friends and family members congratulating me and wondering what it must be like for an author on book premier day. Or what it is like to be a writer in general. It’s never too late to find out.

Make the time for it. This is the most crucial thing about writing. You must carve out and protect the time. And you must practice writing. Work on short stories. Share them with your significant other and close loved ones who won’t judge you but who will give you some good feedback. If you don’t have a clue what to write about, google “writing prompt” and get some ideas that way.

Join a Writing Group. Find a critique group that meets regularly. Preferably one that is led by a published author. And gather up enough courage to participate by bringing in scenes or short stories to share with the group and open yourself for helpful critique. That is the only way to improve…by allowing iron to sharpen iron.

Go to a conference…or several. Conferences are like crash courses for writers and then some. You sit in on session about the craft of writing and you have the opportunity (in most cases) to pitch to an agent or editor or mentor. This is a rather unique experience and one I would encourage you to take every advantage of. Even if you don’t feel ready. Make it a Q&A session or a practice session to ease yourself into the idea of pitching.

Take an online class. I made the decision to join a national writing organization. I joined the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and they host a monthly online class that I participate in. It is PERFECT for me. They focus on a different topic each month and there is one to two lessons a week (not overwhelming, but just enough to keep the juices flowing). It helps keep me on my toes and keep me learning.

Look for other opportunities to learn/network/connect. My critique group hosts workshops every few months that I participate in. I also joined a local chapter of the ACFW, which meets monthly. Additionally, I do what I can to interact with other authors via social media whether they are other authors that work with my publisher or other authors in the ACFW (they even have a Facebook group for several different genres, so I can connect with ACFW authors in my genre).

I believe that there are people born with certain talents and aptitudes. So, some people have more of a bend toward writing than others, and even some have more passion for it than others (and passion counts for a lot). But no matter your aptitude, natural talent, or passion, there is always room for growth and learning when it comes to the craft of writing.

mediakit_bookcover_thegeneralswife“Go home!” Ismene is speechless as she reads those words written in blood on the walls of her new home. The young, raven-haired Grecian beauty had traveled all the way from her homeland to marry the Pharaoh’s top general. But she never expected this. The hatred of the Alexandrian mob for their Greek rulers is right in front of her. It is the first of many threats she will receive.

Things are escalating out of control. Damaged crops and horses turned loose at night are one thing. But when Ismene receives a death threat, it becomes clear that there is a spy within her own household. She would turn to her husband to deal with this issue, except he left for battle by order of the Pharaoh. Not knowing whom to trust, she fears for her safety as well as the entire ruling class of Egypt.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Once they were alone, he gathered Ismene into his arms. “Love, are you truly all right?”

“I am.” She sighed, closing her eyes and just breathing in the scent of him. “Now.”

He kissed the top of her head and rubbed her back. When he closed his eyes he could still see the scene that he had come upon when he had found her on the balcony, and his blood ran hot. He forced his mind back to the present.

“I have a surprise for you.”

“Truly?”

“I thought I might read to you.”

“Oh?” She pulled back to look into his face. “That is a pleasant surprise. I think, sir, that you have found my weakness.”

“I think you know mine too, milady.” He said, drawing her in for an intimate kiss.

About the Author: mediakit_authorphoto_thegeneralswifeSara is originally from middle TN. After a short stint in Memphis, where she earned a degree in Biology and began a career as both a Zoo Educator and a Sleep Technician, she then followed a dream to work for a large zoo in Orlando, FL as an Educator. Once she and her husband started their family, they moved back to Tennessee. Sara and her husband now enjoy a full life with their three beautiful and very active children. Sara enjoys many creative outlets – singing, piano, drawing, drama, and organizing anything. And even though she has enjoyed her career as a Zoo Educator, Sara’s great love of the written word continued to draw her to write. She has always been an avid reader and, for many years, has been what she terms a “closet writer”. Her travels and love of history have served to inspire her to write Historical Fiction. Sara has made several trips overseas to the Czech Republic. Her time among the Czech people and the landscapes of the country inspired her and greatly influenced her work on her debut novel, The Lady Bornekova, set in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. Sara is also a member of the ACFW.

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