June Non-Erotic Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Tenth Suitor by Laura Strickland

TENTH
The Tenth Suitor by Laura Strickland
(Twelve Brides of Christmas Series)
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Holiday
Length: Short Story (82 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

When Edwina’s father invites ten titled lords to spend Christmas at his medieval estate so Edwina may choose one for a husband, she finds the idea romantic. She dreams of gazing into the eyes of one of her suitors and falling deeply in love. But it soon becomes apparent the lords in question are far more interested in gaining her father’s estate than Edwina’s hand.

Thorstan’s in attendance, but he hasn’t been invited, and he’s no lord. A former mercenary, he’s come disguised as a jester to get near Edwina, long adored from afar. Edwina quickly falls for his charm and quirky humor even though she fears her father will never approve of a commoner for her husband. But when Edwina is abducted, only Thorstan—a skilled swordsman—has hope of rescuing her in time for the promised Christmas wedding.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley – Spotlight and Giveaway

6_30 ashley Ride-Steady-Blog-Tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher as Ride Steady is released today. Enter to win one set of the Chaos series: FIRE INSIDE, OWN THE WIND, and RIDE STEADY via the Rafflecopter below.

6_30 Ashley_Ride Steady_MMThe ride of her life . . .
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy—until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa’s pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he’s the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa’s acting, it’s clear she’s falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker’s secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa—or ride away forever . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Yo!” I heard Snapper call and I looked to him to see he was looking beyond me. I turned around and saw Tabby was heading toward me and Snapper. “I’m takin’ Carissa out on my bike. You wanna look after her purse or put it in Shy’s room or somethin’?”
At his request, Tabby’s gaze immediately cut to the pool tables. When she took them in, for some reason, her face got hard before she softened it and looked back toward us.
“Not a problem,” she said, stopping at us. “Go. Ride.”
“Never been on a bike,” I told her and her face split in a big smile.
“Then go. Ride.” She leaned in to me. “Beware, wind in your hair, moon on your skin, you’ll fall in love.”

I wasn’t sure that was a good thing. I’d fallen in love with something I couldn’t have, and if I fell in love with the wind in my hair and the moon on my skin, without someone to give that to me, I couldn’t have that either.

But to heck with it.

Maybe this would be the only bike ride I’d I’d have in my life.

And maybe the kiss Joker gave me was the only fabulous kiss I’d ever get.

And maybe my dream of having a family or the other dream of getting behind the steel guarding Joker’s eyes was lost to me.

But I was still breathing.

So I’d take what I could get.

Tabby put her hand on my purse, which was lying on the bar. “Got this. Have fun.”

“Thanks,” I whispered.

She winked at me.

I looked to Snapper. “Let’s go.”

“Meet you at the end of the bar, babe.”

“Right!” I chirped, jumped off my stool, threw Tabby a smile, nabbed my jacket that I was sitting on and bounced to the end of the bar.

When I got there, Snapper had pulled on his leather jacket. He grabbed my hand and guided me out the door and to his bike. Then he got on his bike before instructing me on how to do the same.

The bike roared, he backed out on an angle, and we glided over the tarmac of Ride.

He pulled out onto Broadway and I got it.

The wind in my hair.

The moon on my skin.

The leather of his jacket in my nostrils.

The solidness of him under my hands at his waist.

We got close to the onramp of I‑25 and he shouted, “Hold on!”

“Sorry?” I shouted back.

“Hold on!” he yelled, taking one hand off the grip and using it to pull my hand from his waist and around to his stomach.

He put his hand back on the grip and we turned up the ramp, going faster, faster, faster, the wind whipping my hair and biting into my skin. I curved my other arm around him, put my chin to his shoulder, drew in air and leather, and I got it.

Instantly.

That it being why this was the life for a biker.

No encumbrances. You wanted to smoke pot, you smoked it. You wanted to wear a tube top, you wore it. You wanted to drink shots, you drank them. You wanted to make out hot and heavy on a couch in a room filled with people, you did it.

You wanted to live, you lived.

You wanted to be free, you got on your bike and rode in the moonlight.

You did not drink martinis you didn’t like. You did not take a job your mother‑in‑law thought you should have. You did not take guff from your ex, not ever.

You did what you wanted.

You were free.

In all that was happening to me, all that I was feeling, all the disappointment of that night and the bizarre devastation I felt that the first time this happened, me on the back of a bike, I would have preferred it be with Joker . . . right then, for that moment, I let it all go.

I let it go, held on to Snapper and I let myself feel it.

Feel something rare and beautiful and overwhelming.

Feel something I knew for certain I hadn’t felt in my whole life.

Free.

About the Author:6_30 AshleyKristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

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Side Swiped by Lia Riley – Spotlight and Giveaway

6_30 lia Sideswiped-Print-Release-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a copy of Sideswiped by Lia Riley. She stopped by today to answer a few questions:

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

At this point I’ve written ten, nine which you’ll be able to read by end of 2015. The first shall never leave my computer. Choosing a favorite is like picking a child–can’t do it. They each have a special place in my heart in their own way. Some were easier. Some hard. Some made me laugh. Some made me cry in bed out of frustration. But they each have been a part of my writing journey.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I have two Facebook reader groups and interact a lot on social media. I love hearing from readers and we can talk about everything from Australia, to future releases, to how hot Michael Fassbender looks in the new Macbeth trailer.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Truth? A writer. Or a professional book reader :-)

How do you do research for your books?

I buy research books on Amazon, visit places if it allows (I was lucky enough to be back in Australia while drafting Sideswiped and made the most of it), and my old friend…Google!

What is your most embarrassing moment?

You want me to pick one…because that would be impossible. How about the time in a state of newborn exhaustion I drove to the grocery store with my shirt open and nursing bra unclasped and didn’t realize until (wait for it) the dairy section. Oops.

Thanks so much for having me on your lovely blog!

6_30 lia Riley_Sideswiped_TPIt was only meant to last the summer . . .
Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless SoCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight-because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

An hour later I’m zipping the back of Talia’s wet suit at the edge of the tide line. Moonlight glimmers on the black water. The waves line up perfectly, peeling clean. I breathe deep, savoring the air’s briny tang and the musty smell of decomposing kelp. My awareness is sharpened by anticipation, the five senses amplified by the dark.

Talia shuffles at my side, getting antsy.

“You sure about this?”

“Yes. Well, sure enough.”

Another set breaks. The conditions are choice. If she changes her mind, I might need to have a ride—a quick one.

Maybe two, tops.

“What’s that noise?” She stills. “There it is again. Can you hear it?”

I concentrate and smile when a sound like a wheezing donkey drifts from beyond the breakers. “Fairy penguin.”

“Shut up! There are penguins around here?”

“Sure. In the summer they build burrows in the scrub along the coast. If you stand outside a colony right after sunset, things get pretty noisy.”

“Penguins.” She almost whispers the word. “That’s so cool.”

The wash races over the sand and breaks across our toes. I figure out a plan of attack. “We’ll paddle to the left shoulder where the wave’s less steep. Stick with me, okay?” No one else is out and my voice feels extra loud even though I’m speaking quiet.

“Have you ever been to Rome?” She takes my hand.

“No, not yet.”

“Me neither. But I can’t imagine the Sistine Chapel being more amazing than this.”

Besides the moon, there’s zero light pollution. The Milky Way arches in a dazzling band across the sky’s apex. Individual stars are indistinguishable in the brilliant haze.

“You ready?”

She squeezes my hand in reply.

We paddle out.

“Whoa!” She pushes her chest up to better peer over her board’s tip. Around us the water casts a luminous green-blue light.

“Phosphorescence. Cool, eh? It’s blooming phytoplankton, caused by this marine species of dinoflagellates releasing enzymes that—”

“That’s enough, Sid the Science Kid. Let me retain this fairy kingdom illusion a little while longer.”

“Science is cool, Captain.”

“I never said— Oh, crap!”

Instead of duck-diving under the incoming wave, the water wall pounds her in the face. She breaks through the other side, coughing out a lung.

“We can head back to shore, don’t have to—”

“I’m fine. Please. There’s a wave coming. I can feel the pull. Can you?”

“You want it?”

“It’s all yours.”

I take off on a left break and fly down the smooth face. For a few perfect seconds, I’m right here in the moment. Rational thought is eclipsed and with it the aggravating confusion of having everything: Talia, Tasmania, honors, and still hungering for more like a greedy bastard. I paddle back to her.

“You looked great.”

“That was good.”

She sits, bobbing lightly. “It’s not as freaky out here as I imagined.”

“Fucking hell, Captain. You said you weren’t scared.”

“No, I never did. I’m scared by everything. But I want to do this.”

We’re quiet. A few more waves come but I let them go, happy to be with my girl, the stars, and the radiant water.

Hard not to believe in magic on such a night.

She clears her throat. “About what happened back at the house…if this is going to work, you can’t shut me out. You’re not just a you anymore; we’re an us. We have to be there for each other.”

I bob on my board and drag my fingers through the water. The phosphorescence lights from my touch. Finally I speak. “Karma’s got this mate; he’s on the crew of a Sea Alliance vessel. There’s an opening for a gig, with voyages to Japan and Antarctica.”

“You want to go for it?” I can’t decipher her expression.

I almost say no, but honesty’s easier in the anonymous dark. “Yeah, kinda. But I want to be with you more.”

“Oh, Bran, that’s way too much pressure.”

“What do you mean?”

“Imagine coming home in a few months and I’m all vegged on the couch, watching awful reality television. Will you think to yourself, ‘I could be gallantly defending the high seas but instead I’m attached to this boring anchor’?”

“Life with you is bound to be a lot of things, but boring isn’t the first depiction that springs to mind.”

“But life isn’t always night surfing. I…I can’t compete against a fantasy.”

“I never said you had to.”

“Isn’t supporting the other’s goals a fundamental part of the good girlfriend/boyfriend job description? I mean, say I always wanted to volunteer in Africa? Join the Peace Corps.”

“Do you?”

“I used to toy around with the idea. Now? I’m not sure but I don’t want to close myself off to opportunities.”

“We can travel through Africa someday.”

“Peace Corps is one of my dreams, not yours. I want you to have the freedom to pursue your own happiness.”

“You make me happy.” I strike my words like flint before sucking in a rough breath. “Look, I’m not a guy cut out for the long-distance thing. I hated every second we were apart the last two months.”

“Bran…” She reaches out her hand and I take hold. “I won’t let go.”

“Me neither.” I scrutinize the sky, heart clanging. Everything appears so deceptively still. In reality, the Earth careens through space. Talia and I, we’re little specks of cosmic dust in the grand scheme. It wouldn’t take much to blow away from each other.

“But in the future—”

“I hear what you’re saying and I appreciate the support. But the only future I’m willing to discuss is the one where it’s me and you—together.”

Better to orbit far away from black holes.

About the Author:6_30 Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme2After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

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Favorite Writing Snacks by Tiffany Snow – Guest Blog and Giveaway

6_29 tiffany Power-Play-Tiffany-Snow-Release-Week-Blitz
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. One randomly drawn reader will receive a copy of Power Play. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.

Favorite writing snacks
My favorite writing snacks really varies depending on how close my deadline is. A typical day with a deadline approximately two weeks away will look like this:

Morning:

7:30 am – Brew a pot of coffee, sit down to have a cup while taking care of email and social media.

8 am – Pour another cup of coffee and open my manuscript. Reread what I wrote yesterday to be inspired for today.

8:22 am – My coffee needs heating up. Quick break to do that and top off with more coffee.

9 am – I’ve written twenty-five words and I’m a little hungry. Some breakfast will help get the creative juices flowing.

9:37 am – An egg, piece of bacon and another cup of coffee. Okay, now I’m ready to write. Bacon fixes everything.

10:43 am – More coffee. Is there something sweet around here? *rummages through week-old muffin tin*

11:35 am – It’s lunchtime! A legitimate time for a break. There must be cold-cuts in the fridge…with a side of Cool Ranch Doritos and Pepsi.

12:02 pm – NOW it’s technically lunchtime, but I’ve already eaten. Time to get back to work.

1:15 pm – Vaguely hungry again and don’t know what happens next in my manuscript. Think I’ll have a snack and brainstorm.

1:35 pm – Snack pack of Cool Ranch Doritos chased with snack pack of Cheetos later and still don’t know what happens next. Pour a glass of white wine and decide to change location to the porch. A fresh view will help.

1: 58 pm – It’s hotter out here than I thought and the sun is bright. Back inside.

2:46 pm – Wine is gone but feels a little naughty to pour another glass. Let’s have something sweet instead. I think there are some Oreos in the pantry…

3:24 pm – It’s almost “happy hour,” so another glass of wine is totally fine. But it should be civilized, with food, so time to dig out the water crackers and cheese. Now it’s not wine-in-the-middle-of-the-day but a very French snack.

4:40 pm – They have tea time in Britain so I can do that here. I may even have some Earl Grey. How very Continental of me. And they have biscuits, too, which means cookies and hey, I still have Oreos. This works…

5:28 pm – Look at me, working late! That deserves a cocktail! After all, it was Hemingway who said “Write drunk, edit sober.” Granted, I’m no Hemingway, but still. Time for that margarita. And you can’t have a margarita without chips and salsa so let’s dig those out, too. I can totally get some more word count in with this.

6:12 pm – Quitting time! And time to make dinner for the family. Weird that I’m not even hungry. I’ll just have a glass of wine while I cook.

6_29 tiffany book coverTHIS KIND OF BUSINESS CAN ONLY BE PERSONAL

Sage Reese lives for her job. More precisely, she lives for her debonair boss, Parker Andersen. Sage handles everything for Parker, even as she fantasizes about the one thing that isn’t in her job description: him. But when a high-stakes account crosses the line from shady to deadly, a tough cop starts giving Sage the attention she wishes Parker would . . .

Detective Dean Ryker couldn’t be more different from Parker. While Parker wears expensive suits like a second skin and drives a BMW, Ryker’s uniform is leather jackets and jeans . . . and his ride of choice is a Harley. While Parker’s sexiness is a reserved, slow burn, Ryker is completely upfront about what-and who-he’s after. And Sage tops his list.

Now, as Ryker digs deeper into the dark side of Parker’s business, Sage finds herself caught between two men: the one she’s always wanted-and the one who makes her feel wanted like never before . . .

About the Author: A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Tiffany Snow earned degrees in Education and History from the University of Missouri-Columbia, before launching a career in Information Technology. After over a decade in IT, she switched careers to what she always dreamed of doing – writing. Tiffany is the author of romantic suspense novels such as the Kathleen Turner Series, which includes No Turning Back, Turn to Me and Turning Point. Since she’s drawn to character-driven books herself, that’s what she loves to write, and the guy always gets his girl. She feeds her love of books with avid reading, yet she manages to spare time and considerable affection for trivia, eighties hair bands, the St. Louis Cardinals, and Elvis. She and her husband have two daughters and one dog.

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Interview with Laura Nicole Diamond

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Laura Nicole Diamond, whose latest book Shelter Us was recently released. You can read our review here. I asked her to share something about the book that wasn’t in her blurb.

“Sarah’s maternal grandmother Bibi is an incredibly important person in her life. Bibi came to the U.S. from Guatemala alone, 17-years-old, pregnant with Sarah’s mother, and determined to make a better life for both of them. She’s strong, vibrant, and independent. Some of those personality traits are based on my own grandmother, who is positive, full of energy, and was a huge force for fun in my childhood. Her immigrant background is based on my living in southern California, where so many people come from Central America looking for a better life.

Another important element of Shelter Us that is not in the book jacket is the influential role of Judaism on Sarah. Her late mother was a convert to Judaism. One of the foremost memories Sarah has of her mother is her commitment to ‘welcome the stranger,’ a fundamental tenet of Judaism. The title Shelter Us comes from a lullaby Sarah’s mother used to sing to her, and which Sarah sings to her children, a song adapted from a Jewish prayer.”

The characters came first for Shelter Us. Laura started writing scenes from Sarah’s perspective.

“She was almost fully developed, although I knew next to nothing about what would happen to her. I say ‘almost fully’ developed because she evolved and deepened as I got to know her better,” Laura explained. “In fact, when I started writing, I did not know that she had had an infant die. I knew only that she was a mother of two young boys who was in a deep funk, that she was searching for elusive happiness. As I wrote, I discovered what had happened to create that depression.”

Shelter Us is Laura’s first foray into fiction. She’s always kept a journal and published personal stories on her blog, but she never had an inclination to write fiction.

“I was not a child who made up stories. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up (because adults have a strange need to press children into a corner on this subject), I answered: ballerina, actress, lawyer, teacher – even President of the United States – but never writer,” she told me.

Once she became a mother, writing became even more important to her as a way of preserving memories as well as puzzling through decisions.

“When I decided to take a break from practicing law and have more time for my then-toddler son and myself, I realized with a thrill that I could spend more time writing. It had always been a pleasure for me, because it was only for me,” she said. “Gradually I realized that I wanted to publish and share my work. I was writing about was parenthood, my daily struggles and joys. After I published a non-fiction collection of essays called Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood, I was writing one afternoon about a mother (guess who?) but felt compelled to start making things up. I wanted her to do things that I hadn’t done, or wouldn’t do, and that is how my fiction career began.”

“What is your writing space like?” I asked.

“Describing my writing space is a tour of my home and neighborhood. At the moment, I am in my backyard at our large blue-tiled table, straining against the glare of my laptop screen because it is such a gorgeous day that I couldn’t stay inside any longer. Frequently I am in the dining room, facing toward the casement windows and the trees outside. Hummingbirds love the one closest to the house, and I love the light and views in this room. When I get stuck, I’ll sometimes just describe what I see, or sit for a minute in silence and wait for words to strike me. Other times, the house is filled with noise – my two boys, their friends, the Xbox games, shouting, music – and I’ll retreat into my bedroom, sit on my bed, and try to get something done.

I wrote the scenes that would make up the first draft of Shelter Us in the writing studio of Elana Golden, in the Rockenwagner café on Arizona street in Santa Monica (which is now closed), in the Village Pantry in Pacific Palisades (also closed), and the public library in Pacific Palisades (blissfully still open).”

“What was the scariest moment of your life?” I wondered.

“I have had several scariest moments, but they all have the same reason: I thought I’d lost my son. Once, at eighteen months, I was with my two boys at home and suddenly he was gone. I looked all over my house and couldn’t find him. That story, ‘Finding Emmett,’ is in Deliver Me, so I won’t tell you where I finally found him. Later, at two years old, he wandered off while we were on a pier. We found him entering the teacup ride, tagging along with another family. The worst was when he was nine years old and I watched helplessly as he fell out of a tree and came within inches of smashing his head at high speed on a driveway. It’s a wonder I don’t make him go through life wearing a helmet.”

She loves hearing from readers, and it always surprises her with someone she doesn’t know tells her they’ve read her books or blog, because she still feels like it’s only friends and family who read them.

“Most often people reach out to tell me that they’ve connected with something I’ve written, that they’ve felt the same way and I’ve expressed it for them. It feels like a privilege to be trusted with that intimacy, and an honor to have gotten it right,” she said. “I had one snarky comment on a blog about a field trip my 10-year-old son was taking to Sacramento, flying on an airplane without parents. I confessed that I hugged him so hard that he said, ‘Too much love, Mom.’ The commenter flew off the handle about what a controlling, smotherer I was, and that he hoped my child would get away from my apron strings soon. I laughed.”

usSince the death of her newborn baby, lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Sarah Shaw has been struggling to keep it together for her law professor husband and two young sons. With her husband burying himself in his career and her friendships all having withered, she is lost in a private world of grief. Then one day, walking in LA, Sarah s heart catches at the sight of a young homeless woman pushing a baby in a stroller and saving them becomes her mission. An unlikely bond grows between Sarah and the mother, Josie, whose pride and strained relationship with her own mother prevent her from going home to Oakland. Through her friendship with Josie, Sarah slowly learns that those we love are never far, even in death and that sometimes it is the people we set out to save who save us.

About the Author:6_26 laura-nicole-diamond-headshot-2015-4-251Laura Nicole Diamond is the author of Shelter Us and the editor of Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood, a collection of true stories by 20 writers. She is a civil rights lawyer and former Editor-In-Chief of L.A. Family Magazine. Laura also writes about family, parenting, and social justice for several publications, and on her blog, Confessions of Motherhood. She sits on the Board of Trustees of PATH (People Assisting the Homeless). Laura is a native of Los Angeles, where she resides with her family.

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A Day in the Life of Dane Cobain – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Dane Cobain, whose No Rest for the Wicked was recently released.

A Day in the Life of Dane Cobain, Author of No Rest for the Wicked

Hi, folks! My name’s Dane Cobain, and I’m a writer, poet, musician and social media marketer from the UK. My debut novella, a supernatural thriller called No Rest for the Wicked, was released by Booktrope’s Forsaken imprint on June 11th, and so when I was asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest post for Long and Short Reviews, I jumped at the chance!

I loved what Pearl R. Meaker did in her guest post, and so I thought that, as I’ve never done a post like that about my writing, I’d give it a go! What follows is my secret to cramming in 16-18 hours of work every day, so listen closely…

07:45 AM: My first alarm goes off. I grunt, turn the alarm off, roll over and go back to sleep.

08:10 AM: My second alarm goes off. At this point, I know that if I don’t get out of bed, I’m going to be late for work. I pull on some clothes, pick up my rucksack, put my book and my lunchbox inside of it and walk to the bus station.

08:35 AM: I jump on the bus to work.

09:00 AM: I arrive at work, log on to my computer and get to it. Even when I’m at work, I pick up all of my writer e-mails, and I tend to work pretty fluidly. It’s not unusual for me to be pushing my books on work time, but then it’s not unusual for me to be doing unpaid overtime at home, either.

13:00: Lunchtime. I use this opportunity to catch up with all of my personal e-mails and to do a few bits and bobs on my website. A lot of my writing buddies are from America, and so I tend to get loads of e-mails and notifications from them when I’m asleep, due to the time difference. My lunch break is my opportunity to catch up with them all. If I have any time left after that, I read my book for a while.

14:00: Back to work!

17:30: I finish work and leave at 5:30 on the dot.

17:37: My bus arrives and I head home.

18:15: I get home and hop pretty much straight on my computer – sometimes, I leave it turned on, so I don’t even need to wait for it to boot up. I have a unique method of working which I call ‘the schedule’ – basically, I listen to music while working, and I change activity at the end of each song, alternating between doing stuff on my computer, tidying my house and writing. I’m pretty obsessive about it, because it’s the only way to get things done! At some point, I cook dinner and make my lunch for the following day, I go for a jog (whilst memorising poetry) and a shower, and I spent half an hour listening to an audiobook.

23:00: This used to be my cut-off point – I didn’t do anything productive after 11, because I wanted to be able to sleep. Then, I realised that sleep is overrated, anyway! Now, between 11 PM and midnight, I work on the RPG game that I’m creating!

00:00: At this point, I do some work for Forsaken, the horror imprint that publishes my work. As well as being on the roster as an author, I also help to market the imprint and to guide our authors through the publishing process. There’s usually quite a lot for me to do!

01:00: 1 AM is the new 11 PM – it’s my cut-off point for productivity. At this point, I usually do some colouring in to help me to relax a bit, and then I go to bed.

So there you have it – that’s what I get up to on a typical weekday! As you can see, there’s always something going on. I have a lie in on the weekends (because Charles Bukowski said that you should never get out of bed before noon), but then I usually work until later into the night, too. Plus, I don’t have to go to work on weekends, so I get loads done – I wrote this article on a Sunday evening.

Thanks again to Long and Short Reviews for having me, and please do check out No Rest for the Wicked and let me know what you think! You can find me on Facebook and Twitter if you’d like to keep up with me – at least, you can try!

Dane Cobain - No Rest for the Wicked CoverWhen the Angels attack, there’s NO REST FOR THE WICKED.
Father Montgomery, an elderly priest with a secret past, begins to investigate after his parishioners come under attack, and with the help of Jones, a young businessman with an estranged child, Montgomery begins to track down the origin of the Angels.

The Angels are naked and androgynous. They speak in a dreadful harmony with no clear leader. These aren’t biblical cherubs tasked with the protection of the righteous – these are deadly creatures of light that have the power to completely eradicate.

When Jones himself is attacked, Father Montgomery knows he has to act fast. He speaks to the Angels and organises a final showdown where he’s asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.

About the Author: Dane CobainDane Cobain is a writer, poet and musician from a place you’ve probably never heard of, somewhere in England. When he’s not writing books, he’s reading and reviewing them on his book blog – SocialBookshelves.com – or working at his day job in social media marketing. Find him at Facebook or follow him on Twitter @DaneCobain.

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Ten Things You Don’t Know About Writers by Amy Impellizzeri – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Amy Impellizzeri will be awarding a signed copy of the book (US Only) and a $15 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.

10 Things You Don’t Know About Writers

1) They read reviews.
Even if they say they don’t. They do.

2) They LOVE to read. The best writers read a lot. All genres. Every genre. In fact, they have to actually – and reluctantly! – take a hiatus from reading when they are in the throes of a writing project.

3) They need thesauruses.
In an early version of Lemongrass Hope, my editor found 147 instances of people
“whispering.” PLEASE NO MORE WHISPERING she wrote in exasperation. I’ve heard
similar stories from writers whose characters can’t stop sighing, glancing, gasping, and more!

4) They would still write whether or not anyone actually reads their work.
(But they like it better when you do!)

5) They don’t do it for the money.
Very few authors get crazy rich writing books. (This does not apply to E. L. James or J. K. Rowling.)

6) They do often work in their pajamas.
Or in my case, in my never-actually-been-to yoga pants.

7) They have day jobs.
Emerging and new authors often have to supplement income with freelance writing, copy-editing, or day jobs that have nothing to do with writing at all. The day I stepped down from my VP position at the start-up company I loved, to write full-time, was bittersweet, but also a HUGE gratitude moment for me.

8) They eavesdrop.
Fiction writers – especially when in the middle of a work-in-progress – are almost always living with characters in their head. When they overhear some funny or juicy piece of conversation in the coffee shop, you can be sure I (ahem, they!) are jotting down notes to incorporate into their work at some point.

9) They change (and sometimes forget!) character names.
In Lemongrass Hope, Celeste had about three different names in the initial manuscript before I settled on Celeste. I was constantly “finding and replacing.”

I’ve heard many stories of writers forgetting the names of the characters and switching them inadvertently halfway through the initial manuscript before the editors get hold of it.

10) They grow sour cherries, pears, and grapes on the side.
(Ok, that one might just be me.)

Layout 1 (Page 1)Set in the past, and present, LEMONGRASS HOPE is a captivating and unpredictable love story, with a dose of magical realism and time travel. LEMONGRASS HOPE weaves together ordinary lives and events to tell an extraordinary tale of connection, loss, renewal, and of course, hope. As Kate Sutton’s decade-long marriage to Rob erodes and unravels, Kate fears that the secrets she guards from the world, including Rob’s emergency room proposal, and a whirlwind love affair from her past, have always doomed her fate. When Kate unwittingly receives a glimpse at what her life could have been had she made different choices all those years ago, it is indeed all she could have ever wanted. A confirmation of her greatest hope … and her greatest fears. Read the book hailed by New York Times Best-selling authors and reviewers, including Jacquelyn Mitchard, Oprah’s very first book club selection author.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“It seems you did not actually read my amazing piece on all of this in Time Travel, Inc.”

Kate laughed. “Is that for real? The real name of your magazine?”

“Well, yes. Seems it caused a bit of confusion with my Botswanan guide, as well. He saw me faxing some notes back to my editor and asked if I was really writing about time travel.”

“So you told him yes, naturally.”

“I actually did.” Ian looked only mildly sheepish when he said this.

“Anyway, that Botswanan guide invited me to drinks the next day. They make a drink down there from the fruit of the marula tree. It’s known to cure disease and do all sorts of things. So, over this decadent marula tree booze, my guide told me a story of a mystic in the delta who swears that through some combination of the fermented marula tree fruit and Botswanan agate, he can make things happen.”

“What things?”

“Well, time travel, of course.”

For a moment, Kate thought Ian was mocking her, or perhaps was a complete lunatic, but then he burst out laughing. “I know, crazy right? That’s what marula drink will do to you. At any rate, I have spent the last six months trying to convince my editor that there is another story down there in the delta – something about the mystic and the agate and the marula. And I’ve finally succeeded. If nothing else, I’m going to treat myself to one helluva marula drunk.”

Kate stopped eating and blinked hard at her plate of curry. She could not help but wonder what it would be like to drink marula booze in the Botswanan delta with this handsome man who seemed like he just might believe in time travel.

And who was making her want to believe as well.

Watch the book video:

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_LemongrassHopeAmy Impellizzeri is a reformed corporate litigator, former start-up executive, and best-selling author. In 2009, she left her 13-year litigation career to write and advocate for working women, later joining the executive team of the award-winning website, Hybrid Her (named by ForbesWoman as a “Top Website for Women” in 2010 and 2011). Through her work at Hybrid Her, and as Vice President, Community & Content, for its later re-brand, ShopFunder, Amy worked closely with hundreds of creative and inspiring entrepreneurs and fundraisers, writing and marketing their stories to new audiences.

In October 2014, Amy transitioned to full-time writer, with the publication of her first novel, Lemongrass Hope (Wyatt-MacKenzie 2014), which debuted as an Amazon best-seller (Romance/Fantasy and Romance/Time Travel). Oprah’s very first Book Club Selection author and New York Times #1 Best-Selling Author, Jacquelyn Mitchard, has called Lemongrass Hope a “fine and fresh thing – a truly new story.” Lemongrass Hope was featured by Library Journal and Foreword Reviews Magazine, and has been a favorite with Book Clubs and numerous Book Bloggers (including as the #1 favorite reviewed selection in 2014 by The Literary Connoisseur). Lemongrass Hope was recently selected as an INDIEFAB 2014 Book of the Year Finalist (Romance) by Foreword Reviews Magazine.

Amy’s first non-fiction book, Lawyer Interrupted (ABA Publishing 2015), is due out Summer 2015. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Huffington Post, ABA Law Practice Today, The Glass Hammer, Divine Caroline, Skirt! Magazine, among more.

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Killing Time by Ingrid Nickelsen – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ingrid Nickelsen 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_KillingTimeDeath is the ultimate heartbreak. Evangeline never expected it to break hers after she died. No one should have to choose between their husband and their first love, but it is that choice that shatters her spirit.

She makes her choice, choosing not to transition, and finds that death can be vengeful too.

The world of the dead is far more complex that she ever knew, and facing the consequences of her actions might be the hardest obstacle yet, Fighting to survive in a world she doesn’t understand, she seeks the help of the wanderers. Time is running out as winter grips the land and her companions help her search for Will. Perhaps, if she keeps her eyes open and believes in her love enough, she will make her way back to him before the Hunters find her first.

Unexpected reunions, impossible choices, and long-hidden secrets will fill her journey with joy and sadness. It is Hunting season and Evangeline will have to fight for those she loves while remembering that cheating death always has a price.

Told from a dual perspective, Killing Time brings the For Better or for Worse series to a heart-stopping continuation in every sense of the word

Enjoy an excerpt:

The snow is burning my skin. I know it. But I can’t feel it, not really. It doesn’t hurt that much, I guess.

I don’t know how to move anymore, lying here on the cold white ground like a dead body. I feel dead.

Guilt weighs on me, and now it’s simply too hard to fight it. I can’t fight it. I stare numbly at the empty sky above me, utterly disoriented. I hear his voice calling me over and over again, desperately willing it to stop. That’s what hurts most. The pain in his voice, piercing the darkness. Piercing me. I close my eyes to silence my tears.

Please, stop. I’m so sorry.

About the Author: Ingrid is a 23-year-old French girl, college student, and dreamer. She currently resides in Paris, where she spends most of her time going to museums and the movies. Despite the romantic atmosphere in Montmartre, or even the fancy cafés in the Champs Elysées, she would easily trade it all for a nice walk in the woods with her schnauzer, Golden. She is always craving adventures, and finds that books are the cheapest way to travel to far-away lands. She is inwardly convinced that words have the power to heal the worst blisters on our hearts, or at least can make us forget about them for a little while. And sometimes, it is just enough to face another crazy day.

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Why I Write Paranormal/Fantasy Romance by Debbie Peterson – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Debbie will be awarding $15 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.

*****

“So,” many people have asked, “why did you choose to write paranormal/fantasy romance? Why not just write mainstream contemporary or historical romance and leave the otherworldly out if?”

Since the question is asked so often, I have spent a lot of time thinking about that answer. First and foremost, I have to tell you that I love making an impossible love quite possible after all. However, some of my strangest experiences are very likely, a major factor as well. Whether consciously or sub-consciously, they’d have to be. Right?

I think at one time or another, we’ve all been creeped out. You know what I mean… that feeling that you’re being watched or something isn’t quite right about a specific place and you just want to leave. Most of us have experienced hair standing up on the back of our neck or arms…

I’ve had that…but I’ve also seen a few ghosts as well. Laugh if you will, but I have seen them. My first experience happened in the old house my grandparents bought and were moving into. My family drove down to help them move and as might be customary in a small town, several of the neighbors showed up to help as well. Keep in mind this happened in the middle of a pleasant, warm summer day. The sun was shining. The only thing on my mind as a young teenage girl was getting the trucks unloaded so I could go and do something fun.

About halfway through the load, I picked up a box labeled “upstairs.” Cool. I wanted to see what the second floor looked like anyway. So, up the stairs I went. When I arrived at the top, I could see three rooms. One to my left, one to my right and one straight in front of me. In that center room stood a man. He looked about fiftyish, and wore a plaid shirt underneath his denim overalls. He also wore an old hat and a pair of glasses. I thought he was one of the neighbors who had come to help and direct traffic, so I said, “Where do you want me to put this box?”

He said NOTHING in response. He simply stared at me for several very uncomfortable seconds. I didn’t quite know what to do. Should I put the box down where I stood? Ask again or… While I was trying to decide, the man simply disappeared. Yes he did… Right in front of my face. Without taking my eyes off of the spot he had occupied, I put the box down and kind of kicked it in the direction of the bedroom. I turned around and rushed down the stairs as fast as I could. From that point on, I avoided all boxes that were supposed to go upstairs.

I never saw him again, though we visited the house many times. Nevertheless, we could hear him. And when I say we I mean my entire family. During our visits we all slept downstairs in the living room, on floors, couches, chairs or wherever. The minute we were all settled, the ghost would begin to pace. He would begin at one end of the second floor, walk all the way to the opposite side and then retrace his steps–over and over again. Even my very skeptical father admitted that nothing but someone walking in a pair of heavy boots could make that sound.

He’s not the only ghost I’ve seen. I have seen others, but we’ll save those experiences for another way. I will tell you this: the ghosts I’ve seen were not in any way transparent. I couldn’t see through them and that’s why I assumed that each of them were real people until they disappeared before my very eyes. Very disturbing to say the least…

How about you? Have you ever seen a ghost?

MediaKit_BookCover_CourtoftheHawkEpigraphist Dr. Essie DeSpencer travels to an ancient Welsh castle in order to decipher an Ogham inscription discovered by the handsome and enigmatic, Garreth ap Daffyd. But the journey is not what she expects. She doesn’t plan to fall for the Lord of the castle, or to find herself deeply entrenched in legends, myths, and magic. Real legends, and real magic, that have devastating consequences.

Garreth didn’t plan for Essie to stay any longer than it took her to decipher the pictograph. Instead, he finds himself falling in love for the first time in his very long life. Now the Lord of
Llys y Gwalch must find a way to attain the heart of his soul mate and keep her safe from the dangers that threaten them both.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“How old are you?” She held her breath and waited. In fact, she waited so long she wondered if he’d answer the question at all.

Finally, he dropped his gaze and returned a slow nod. He made the gesture more in response to an inner resignation than directing it toward her. “First, if I might ask, what gave rise to your curiosity?”

She combed the windblown hair away from her face and shrugged. “Does it make any difference as to how you’ll respond?”

He considered that for a time before he spoke. “No, I suppose it doesn’t. Still, I’d like to know.”

“All right, I don’t have a problem giving you the answer.” She cleared her throat. “The quake disturbed several portraits hanging along the hallways. I found one of them on the floor after leaving my room. So, I picked the antiquated thing up with every intention of replacing it, but the subject stole my attention. You see, if asked under oath in a court of law, I would swear you posed for the portrait at least two, maybe even three centuries ago.”

“And you didn’t stop to consider whether or not the man in the painting might be a distant ancestor to whom I bear a great resemblance?” he asked.

She extended a finger to his face, gently traced the scar that did naught but enhance his looks, and shook her head. “Not when the artist painted him with this.”

About the Author Debbie is an author of paranormal and fantasy romance because she has a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, making an impossible love possible, and happily ever after endings. She loves music, art, beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and thunder storms.

When she is not busy conjuring her latest novel, Debbie spends time with the members of her very large family within the lovely, arid deserts of southern Nevada. She also pursues her interests in family history, which she also teaches, mythology, and history.

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Interview and Giveaway: Tessa McFionn

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Tessa McFionn. The first book of her Guardians series, Spirit Fall, was released the end of last year. Leave a comment for a chance to win one copy of the ebook, plus promos (collectible cards, bookmark and a Spirit Fall bracelet).

The second book of the series is with Tessa’s editor and she’s well on her way writing the third book. She also has a sci-fi trilogy she’s been working on as well as a fantasy/shifter tale.

“I need to find a way to write in my sleep since my days are just too crazy!” she told me. “I’m actually excited about the sci-fi story. It jumped into my brain and demanded to be written.”

Tessa McFionn is a pseudonym, but in a very real way it still represents who she is. “Tessa” comes from her actual middle name, Teresa, and McFionn is the ancient version of her husband’s last name.

“I wanted to keep my writing separate from my teaching career for right now,” she explained.

I asked Tessa if she ever suffered from writer’s block.

“Ugh. I would be lying if I said my muse talked to me all the time. To be honest, the jerk picks the most inopportune times to take a break, like when I have a solid week off from my dayjob. Then, he decides to make an appearance at three o’clock in the morning on a random Tuesday. But I find that if I put on my headphones and reread the last scene that really flowed, that helps to get me back into the grove. Sprints also help be get refoucsed. Somehow seeing those numbers counting down kicks my muse back into gear. And yes, my muse is male. Why else would his timing be so bad?,” she said with a laugh.

Reading has been a huge part of Tessa’s life. Her mother would read to her and her brother when they were kids, and that sparked her love for reading. The author, though, that influenced her own writing was Sherrilyn Kenyon.

“I feel fortunate to call her friend and her stories helped to spark the voices in my head,” Tessa said. “In fact, after reading one of her League books, I found the hero of my sci-fi saga tapping me on the shoulder, ready for his big debut.”

She was told that the most important part of any good writing is to tell a good story.

“I have to be able to see the words,” she told me, explaining, “I consider myself to be a very visual reader. If I can’t fall into the entire world, then it’s missing something. So, I try to make sure I include all those little visceral details to help make the reader feel as if they are standing in the middle of the action. I believe we read to escape the everyday world, so we, as writers, have to ensure that the worlds we create between the pages is real enough to keep the daily grind at bay for a few hours.”

The hardest part about writing for Tessa is actually finding the time.

“As a teacher, I don’t have a huge amount of available time from September until June,” she told me. “So I squeeze in this necessary therapy whenever I can. I cherish the moments when my muse strikes, even if the jerk decides to tap on the inside of my skull at 2am on a random Tuesday.”

“How do you do research for your books?” I asked.

“Google and I are very good friends. Laughs I enjoy making sure the little details are as accurate as they can be, so I do spend a bit of time looking up things like engine specs, ancient battles and weaponry. You know, the usual things a girl would want to know. All of my heroes drive cars that I’ve only dreamt of, those great muscle cars of the late 60’s and early 70’s. The only trouble is I tend to have ‘magpie disease’ as my hubby calls it. I am easily distracted by shiny objects, so if I’m doing research, I have to limit my time ogling the cars and weapons. Also, since I want to have some level of realism in my settings, I find myself with city maps at my virtual fingertips so I make sure not to completely screw things up.”

Music is in every part of her life- she’s been a dancer most of her life, then shifted to teaching and choreographing. Dance is still a huge part of her life, and she surrounds herself with music all the time. One of her current projects has a character who’s a torch singer, so she has a playlist of Julie London, Frank Sinatra, and Rosemary Clooney. During fight scenes, she blares Disturbed and Five Fingered.

“I’m so bad, I even have an “I’m editing” playlist,” she admitted.

I asked her to describe her writing space.

“I wish I could say it’s a lovely little office with no distractions, but sadly, I would be lying. Until we get the house reorganized, my writing space is the corner of the couch in the living room. Out in the public eye with my five-year-old MacBook on one of those padded mats on my lap. Within arms reach are my Emotional Thesaurus and my very well-loved Flip Dictionary. Aah, such a life of luxury,” she said laughing. “But I’m hoping that we can get things situated soon.”

She shared with me that she’s very much a pantser, even though she wishes she was a plotter.

“For a couple of my stories, I’ve had a general idea of where I wanted the story to end up, so I tried to guide my characters to meet that end,” she told me. “But sometimes, they decide that they would rather take the long way there and get into lots of trouble on the way to the finish. Even in my day job, I tend to be more of an on-the-spot thinker.”

Finally, I asked, “What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?”

“I am looking forward to getting my second and even third books in my current series out into the world. I just did my very first signing (of virtual books, but you have to start somewhere, right?) so I would love to have a real book signing. I am just enjoying finding out the ins and outs of this new world, so my accomplishments might seem tame. I just want to keep writing stories that people enjoy reading.”

6_20 SpiritFall-ByTessaMcFionn-50pctAfter a year-long depression following the murder of her fiancé, Siobhan Whelan stands on a bridge, tormented by unending nightmares, one step away from jumping. Only the kindness of a seductive stranger brings her back down to earth. But the handsome stranger is more than meets the eye, and soon Voni finds herself thrust into a strange new world.

For seven hundred years, Malakai Vadim has shouldered the mantle of Guardian Warrior. But a chance encounter with the tormented beauty brings him face to face with his destiny. His nemesis, Dmitrius Konstantin, has been feeding Voni’s grief through nightmares, wanting her and her untapped powers for his own. As Kai learns of his foe’s deadly interest, he must solve the riddle of Voni’s tortured dreams while holding his growing desire for her at bay.

Too bad the enemy Rogue Warriors have other plans. Now, along with fellow Guardian Eamon McClearon, Kai must venture into the In-Between, the enemy’s powerbase, to save her soul as well as his own. But can his love be strong enough to save them both?

About the Author:6_20 18Tessa McFionn started writing at a young age, writing for her school newspaper and inventing worlds of make believe and has called Southern California home for most of her life, growing up in San Diego and attending college in Orange County, only to return to San Diego to work as a teacher.

When not writing, she can be found at the movies or at Disneyland with her husband, as well as family, friends or anyone who wants to play at the Happiest Place on Earth.

A proud parent of far too many high school seniors and two still living house plants, she also enjoys hockey, reading and playing Words With Friends to keep her vocabulary sharp.

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