Magnolia Drive by Rochelle Alers -Spotlight

7_30 Magnolia-Drive-Blog-Tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher.

Rochelle has shared with us five questions she wishes she had been asked in interviews:

1. How did you come up with the plot for the first novel you attempted to write? How long did it take for you to complete it? If or when was it published?

2. You wrote a prequel for one family series and it was very well received. Will you ever write another prequel?

3. Why do you think it took so long for romance novels featuring African-Americans as lead characters to be accepted by publishers?

4. You’ve published many more romance titles than women’s fiction. Which do you prefer? And where do you see your writing career five years from now?

5. Of all of your published titles, which rank as your Top 5 favorite? Why?

7_30 Alers_MagnoliaDrive_MMAfter a painful divorce and failed acting career, Francine Tanner packs her things and moves back to her hometown of Sanctuary Cove. There, she will join her mother in the family business as a hairstylist at the Beauty Box. Putting her LA dreams behind her, all Francine wants is to focus on rebuilding her life.

Keaton Grace is an independent film writer and director looking for a great place to open his own studio. After happening upon the small-town, he buys an abandoned building and surrounding lands to start his company. But he doesn’t expect to bump into the beautiful Francine Tanner when he walks into the Beauty Box for a haircut and shave. Remembering her from a performance years ago in an off-Broadway show, he knows exactly what role she will play in his life.

Sparks fly between the two until Keaton reveals his plan-he wants Francine to star in his upcoming film. Tortured by her Hollywood past, she refuses to have anything to do with the film, even if it means letting go of their budding romance.

 

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About Rochelle Alers

Bestselling author, Rochelle Alers has nearly two million copies of her novels in print. She is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gold Pen Award, the Emma Award, Vivian Stephens Award for Excellence in Romance Writing, the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Award.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

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Today, our reviewer, Thornapple, has offered up her “Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From”. Welcome, Thornapple!

Thanks for having me! When I signed on to do this post, I thought I had a pretty good idea of who would make my top ten list. One thing I should explain is that I collect vintage paperbacks. So, I have some large collections of some of my all time favorite authors. I couldn’t decide if I should leave those out or include them. I decided to add a few of the collections but mostly these are authors I have on my kindle or have saved my favorite books by them. Some the authors that made the list was surprising to me. I had no idea I had that many books by some of these authors.

So, without further ado: Starting at number ten…

10) Martha Grimes. I have the entire Richard Jury Series!

09) Barbara Michaels. ( aka Elizabeth Peters) I have a huge Gothic collection and Barbara was one of the best, I also have a large collection of her Amelia Peabody novels written under the Elizabeth Peters name

08) Dick Francis. One of my favorite British Mystery Series. I don’t have all of his work, but I have most of them.

07) Christina Dodd. Now this was a surprise. Christiana has written quite a few historical romances, as well as paranormal and romantic suspense. I have saved quite a few of her historical novels. I do not have the infamous 3 armed cover–check that out-it’s legendary.

06) Stephen King. Okay, no surprises there except that I guess I haven’t actually saved many of his books.

05) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This is a collection and I’m still working on it, but I have quite a number of Sherlock Holmes books, some are in a very nice collectors volume my son got me for Christmas one year.

04) Julia Quinn. Another head scratcher. I didn’t know I had kept so many of these. Julia is, along with Eloisa James one of my favorite regency period authors.

03) Sherrilyn Kenyon. If you have not read Sherrilyn Kenyon you might not get it. But, trust me when I say this is one popular author. If you manage to keep all the books she has written and try really hard to keep them in mint condition, you might have a small fortune on your hands. One of the best in Paranormal Romance.

02) Rex Stout. Sort of a surprise to me. I have collected Nero Wolfe novels for awhile, but I has no idea my collection was so large. I am really pleased to see I had so many because unless you want to pay a fortune for them on Ebay, they are really hard to find.

And the winner is…Drumroll please… A tie!! I know, what a rip off. However I have to be honest and this may be a little anti climatic, and no surprise to most…

01) Nora Roberts/ J.D. Robb. I have nearly all of the Eve Dallas “In Death” series and many, many, many Nora Roberts novels. I have collected the older Nora Roberts and still have quite a few of her paperbacks but I mostly have these in digital because I love her stories but simply do not have room for a collection of her books. Nora is the queen of romance–she can write anything: contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal, and even science fiction.

So, there you have it folks- the strangest top ten list in history!! What’s on your bookshelf?

The Marquesa’s Necklace by P. J. MacLayne – Spotlight and giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding free ecopy of The Marquesa’s Necklace and a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via the rafflecopter at the end of this post during the tour. Please click on the banner to see the other stops on this tour.

Harmony Duprie enjoyed her well-ordered life in the quiet little town of Oak Grove—until her arrest for drug trafficking. Cleared of all charges, she wants nothing more than to return to the uneventful lifestyle of a historical researcher she once savored.

But when her beloved old car “George” is stolen and explodes into a ball of flames, it sets off a series of events that throws her plans into turmoil. Toss in a police detective that may or may not be interested in her, an attractive but mysterious stranger on her trail, and an ex-boyfriend doing time, and Harmony’s life freefalls into a downward spiral of chaos.

Now she has to use her research skills to figure out who is behind the sinister incidents plaguing her, and why. And she better take it seriously, like her life depends upon finding the right answers.

Because it might.

Now enjoy an excerpt:

I remembered that night. Jake had taken me to the fanciest restaurant in town, The Grove. Hardly original, but I’m not the one who named it. I wore a long-sleeved, low-cut, silky red dress that clung in all the right places and ended just above my knees. I felt gorgeous in that dress, and from the look in his eyes all night long, he thought so too. The dress hasn’t been worn since. I should donate it to a charity.

I’ll never wear it again.

That was the night he gave me the necklace. It seemed as if he’d bought it to match the dress. An arrangement of rubies and diamonds mounted in white gold, it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. When he fastened it around my neck, I felt as if I’d transformed into Old World royalty.

I really hated giving the necklace back to him, but it was far too expensive for me to accept. He got his reward anyway. When we undressed each other before tumbling into bed, he asked me to leave it on, and I did, but took it off before I fell asleep. I suppose he returned the necklace, but I never asked him and he never mentioned it again.

With cell phones everywhere these days, it would have been easy for someone to have snapped a shot of us unnoticed. I don’t remember anyone taking pictures that night, but from the looks on our faces, Jake and I were oblivious to anyone but each other. Jake told me he loved me for the first time during supper. A few weeks later, the cops busted us for suspected drug trafficking.

 

P.J. MacLayne is a computer geek by day and a writer by night. She grew up among the rolling hills of Pennsylvania and uses that as the setting for many of her stories. She currently makes her home in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.

Facebook: https://facebook.com/pjmaclayne

Twitter https://twitter.com/pjmaclayne

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Ravenous by Annie Nicholas – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Annie will be awarding a $25 GC for either Kindle or Nook to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

7_29 Cover_RavenousSuffer the hunger.

Pia Blyton wants it all. A steady boyfriend, love and her independence. But to ignore her succubus nature is to welcome chaos. Every three days she must orgasm to feed. Bad sex isn’t an option. Stave off the hunger for too long and her demon side peeks out, and its tastes are much less discerning than hers.

One bad day, one wrong decision, and her demon takes control of her libido and kisses all her best intentions goodbye.

Brokenhearted and ashamed, Pia is dragged home to Lake City by Zur-Sin, a vampire her father paid to find her. Caught in a world where mortal desires are seen as a weakness, Pia needs to figure out how to protect her heart from her deepest longings.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Dialing my boyfriend’s number on my cell phone, I paced our small apartment, chewing my thumbnail ragged.

“Hey, babe.” His voice caressed me. I loved it when he called me babe.

“Can you come home?” The receiver trembled in my hand.

“Uh, now?”

“Yes, I’ll make it worth your while.” I hated the pleading quality to my voice. Begging a human to feed from him. What would my parents think? That I deserved to be starving for not listening to their warnings? For thinking I could live off sex with one man—one human man?

I shouldn’t feed from Pierre twice in one day. I’d taken more from him this morning than I normally did. If I wasn’t careful, I’d kill him. Humans were so fragile. “Pick up some chocolate frosting on your way here.” What other option did I have but to use him again? I’d committed myself to Pierre heart and soul.

He moaned but it sounded more like regret than passion. “I can’t leave work right now, but I’ll skip lunch so I can duck out early, ok?”

My stomach sank. “Sure.” It took all my acting skills to make that single word sound happy and content. How was I going to live through the next few hours? I couldn’t even masturbate. Wiping the sweat from my brow, I stared at my reflection in the window.

The succubus who stared back was too skinny. Her cheeks hollow and the tendons in her neck stood out. A predatory lurked within her gaze, something demonic that didn’t care about hurting people.
About the Author:7_29 AuthorPicAnnie Nicholas hibernates in the rural, green mountains of Vermont where she dreams of different worlds, heroes, and heroines. When spring arrives the stories pour from her, in hopes to share them with the masses one day. Mother, daughter, wife are some of the hats she happily wears while trudging after her cubs through the hills and dales. The four seasons an inspiration and muse.

Annie Nicholas writes paranormal romance with a twist. She has courted vampires, hunted with shifters, and slain a dragon’s ego all with the might of her pen. Riding the wind of her imagination, she travels beyond the restraints of reality and shares them with anyone wanting to read her stories. Mother, daughter, and wife are some of the other hats she wears while hiking through the hills and dales of her adopted state of Vermont.

Annie writes for Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, and Lyrical Press.

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Launch Day: Unstoppable by Shannon Richard – excerpt

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Oh God, who was she kidding? She’d never felt this way about any man before. Bennett was…well, infuriating to start with, but he was brave, smart, kind, funny, intense. There was nothing like having his full attention focused on her. He gave her way more than butterflies. It was like eagles were flapping around in her stomach whenever he was around. There were no flutters. They were freaking tidal waves.

Yeah, getting over Bennett was going to be way easier said than done.

Mel headed toward the supply closet at the back of her classroom where she locked up her purse in a filing cabinet. She grabbed the key and unlocked the top drawer, pulled out her purse, and slammed the drawer shut. When she turned around Bennett was standing in the doorway. Filling it completely. Mel stopped short and stared at him. His eyes were focused on her, the determination in them making all of the thoughts vacate her brain.

“I can’t leave you alone.” He came into the room and shut the door behind him. “And I’m not playing games.” He crossed the small space. “Or at least I’m not trying to.” He shook his head. “I think about you all the time.” He stopped in front of her, took the purse out of her hands, and put it on top of the filing cabinet. Then he reached up and touched her cheek. His fingers fanned out as he pushed his hand to the back of her head and tilted her face up.

Holy hell, what is happening?

She looked into his eyes, and her knees went just a little bit weak. She reached back and planted her hands against the wall, trying to find some balance, something to keep her upright, because she really didn’t want to miss this.

“Because I am interested in you, Mel.” He cupped her face with his other hand and ran his thumb across her lower lip. “Very interested.” He leaned forward and pressed his mouth to hers.

The kiss was soft and gentle at first, just his lips against hers. He took another step into her, pushing her back. When she hit the wall she gasped, and Bennett took advantage of her open mouth. He sucked her bottom lip into his mouth, and she couldn’t stop the moan that escaped her throat.

She plastered herself up against him, against every inch of his hard body. Her arms wound around his shoulders; her hands skittered up the back of his head. She opened her mouth further and his tongue touched hers. Bennett groaned as their tongues began a thorough exploration of each other’s mouths.

His hands were at the back of her head, his fingers deftly pulling out the pins that held up her bun. And then he was unwinding her hair, his hands plunging deep into her unruly curls.

“I’ve wanted to do this for so long,” he said against her mouth. “These curls of yours drive me out of my mind.”

“What stopped you?” She nipped at his lower lip.

“Pure stupidity,” he said, as he claimed her mouth again.

Holy cow, can this man kiss. I feel it everywhere, and do I mean everywhere! He had her toes curling in her shoes, all manner of body parts tingling where they were pushed up against his, and his hands were magic in her hair. One of his hands drifted down to her side. He touched her hip for a second before his hand slid to the small of her back. He held her to him, but really, she wasn’t going anywhere.

“Mel,” a voice called out from her classroom. “Are you here?”

There were only a few things that could bring Mel back to reality with the snap of a finger. The sound of her little brother’s voice was definitely one of them.

“Oh crap, it’s Hamilton,” Mel gasped, pulling back. Bennett’s hand was behind her head, and it prevented her from hitting the wall. “I’ll be right out!” she answered Hamilton, unable to completely cover up the breathy edge to her voice.

Bennett nodded. He let go of her reluctantly, and took a step back. “You’re going to have to give me a minute before I can go out there,” he said, clearing his throat uncomfortably.

“Oh,” she said, nodding. “Um, okay.”

Actually, she was going to need a minute, too. She knew her hair was everywhere, and she had a feeling Bennett’s scruffy jaw had left its fair share of marks on her face. Not to mention her thoroughly swollen lips.

Soooo worth it.

7_29 unstoppable Richard_Unstoppable_MMSome things you don’t dare let go . . .
Melanie O’Bryan knows life is too short to be afraid of taking chances. And former Air Force sergeant Bennett Hart is certainly worth taking a chance on. He’s agreed to help her students with a school project, but she’s hoping the handsome handyman will offer her a whole lot more. Yet despite his heated glances and teasing touches, Mel senses there’s something holding him back . . . Bennett Hart is grateful to be alive and back home in Mirabelle, Florida. Peaceful and uncomplicated-that’s all he’s looking for. Until a spunky, sexy-as-hell teacher turns his life upside down. After one smoldering kiss, Bennett feels like he’s falling without a parachute. But with memories of his past threatening to resurface, he’ll have to decide whether to keep playing it safe, or take the biggest risk of all.

 

About the Author:  7_29 unstoppable Richard_author photoShannon Richard grew up in the Florida Panhandle as the baby sister of two overly protective but loving brothers. She was raised by a more than somewhat eccentric mother, a self-proclaimed vocabularist who showed her how to get lost in a book and a father who passed on his love for coffee and really loud music. She graduated from Florida State University with a BA in English Literature and still lives in Tallahassee where she battles everyday life with writing, reading, and a rant every once in a while. Okay, so the rants might happen on a regular basis. She’s still waiting for her Southern, scruffy, Mr. Darcy, and in the meantime writes love stories to indulge her overactive imagination. Oh, and she’s a pretty big fan of the whimsy.

 

Shannon’s social media

http://shannonrichard.net/

http://facebook.com/ShannonNRichard

@shan_richard

 

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Five Things We’d Never Guess about Lauren Layne – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter to win a copy of ONLY WITH YOU by Lauren Layne.

Five Things We’d never guess about you (fun, weird, interesting)
(1) I’m a total sci-fi geek. Star Wars is my favorite, but I’m also pretty into Star Trek. I have a total crush on Spock.

(2) I hate getting my hair done. For years. I cut it myself. I’d take kitchen sheers and cut off the end of my ponytail when the ends got scraggly.

(3) My favorite vacation spot is Las Vegas … except I don’t gamble!

(4) Winter is my favorite season; summer is my least!

(5) Since graduating from college, I’ve never lived in the same place for more than 2 years, and I love it that way! I’m ready to move after the 18 month mark …

7_29 Layne_Only With You_MMGetting mistaken for a prostitute is not part of Sophie Dalton’s life plan. Not that Sophie even has a life plan. She’s perfectly happy being everyone’s favorite party girl. But then a Las Vegas bachelorette party goes awry, and an uptight businessman gives Sophie a new label: hooker.

Unfortunately, what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there. When the same jerk who mistook her for a prostitute shows up as Sophie’s new boss and her perfect sister’s new boyfriend, Sophie’s carefree existence is turned upside down. Grayson Wyatt may have infiltrated family dinners and her professional world, but Sophie’s not about to let a judgmental prude anywhere near her personal life.

As Gray’s icy stares give way to quiet smiles, Sophie realizes that the one man she’s been so desperate to get away from just might be the one she wants to keep around forever.

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About Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne writes contemporary romance for Grand Central Publishing (Forever) and Random House(Loveswept).

After dabbling in an e-commerce career in Seattle and Southern California, Lauren moved to New York City where she now writes full time.

Lauren graduated from Santa Clara University with B.S. in Political Science that she has yet to put to good use. She lives with her husband and plus-sized pomeranian in a tiny Manhattan studio.

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Guiding the Blue Flame by J.W. Baccaro – Spotlight and Giveaway

BBT Guiding the Blue Flame  Tour Banner copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away a $15 Amazon GC to one randomly chosen commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stop on the tour.

MEDIA KIT Book CoverThe Elemental Crystals were originally created to protect the earth. However, Abaddon the Demon Lord plans to use them to transform the earth into a realm of haunting darkness and witchery, forever. In Guiding The Blue Flame, a young but powerful Nasharin Warrior, Darshun Luthais is drawn to one of these magical crystals of immense power. He learns he‟s the fulfillment of the two thousand year old Prophecy of the Guardian. The Wizard Olchemy informs him that he is the protector and guardian the earth has been waiting for. With Darshun‟s ability to sense the Elemental Crystals, Olchemy devises a plan to obtain them.

Accompanied by a small group of companions the hunt is on, in hopes to retrieve the long lost crystals before the Demon Lord claims them. During the journey, Darshun encounters Aurora, the sole survivor of a now extinct people. He falls in love for the first time, and now resents the so-called Guardian of the Prophecy role. Due to Darshun‟s naïve spirit he‟s caught off guard by Nayland, a mysterious dark warrior who confronts him about his abandonment of the quest. He reveals that he too, is a Nasharin warrior, though far exceeding Darshun in skill and power. Darshun‟s father, Mirabel saves him from death at the hands of Nayland.

Outmatched and in bewilderment from the attack, a fire awakens in Darshun. He plans on reaching his father’s level of power with a journey to Shajin Island, where Nasharin Warriors train. He‟ll be gone for only one day in Earth realm time, but due to the magic of the rigorous island, it will be seven long years for him. Entering the mystical realm of Shajin, he eagerly awaits its life threatening challenges.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The last Draconian slid from its horse, drew his weapon and charged.

They met with a hard clash of steel and began exchanging blows. With every offense Darshun led, the Draconian countered. He was good, far better than Darshun expected. In fact, seeing a lizard-like creature, with such massive bodily structures move so fast was impressive, to say the least.

Backing Darshun up with a series of heavy blows, he brought down his sword one final time against Darshun’s, knocked the blade from his hands, and kicked him under the chin.

Darshun’s mouth slammed shut, his head jolted up, and he fell upon his back, a bit dazed, with a slight headache.

The creature, grinning and snarling, withdrew his weapon and extended his long venomous claws. “Give me the crystal you’ve stolen and I’ll sheer your intestines quickly.”

Darshun smirked, reached for his weapon and stood.

The lizard creature stilled and seemed to be wondering about the sudden confidence his opponent showed. Unexpectedly, a flash of red light shone, blinding the Draconian for a moment. When his sight returned, he saw his opponent engulfed in red flames and holding a burning red sword. His hair glowed, his eyes were shining; even his skin glistened like a finely polished fire-opal gem—glorious. His mouth dropped open. “…a Nasharin? It’s not possible. Your kind—are extinct!”

Grinning, Darshun taunted, “Are we?”

Enjoy the book video:

About the Author: MEDIA KIT Author_picJ.W.Baccaro is the author of the Guardian Series. In his free time he enjoys literature—fiction and non-fiction, playing electric guitar in the heavy metal band Rigor Hill, Consciousness and NDE studies, and thinking how to intertwine his thoughts about the world’s myths, legends and distinct truths into his novels. He lives in upstate NY with his wife Melissa, his son Alexander, his two German Shepherds and his three cats.

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Snake Charmer by Carol Lynne – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Join Carol Lynne on her blog tour to celebrate the release of Snake Charmer. Find out more about her and her writing as each day she reveals answers to more questions.

 

Snake Charmer is book 31 in the Cattle Valley series, how do you continue to come up with inspiration for new titles in this series?

I’ve been writing Cattle Valley for so many years that it truly is a real town in my head. I try to imagine all the people coming in and out, and I believe everyone has a story that needs to be told. The man at the grocery store, the local bartender and the mailman, all have a story. No matter what occupation people have, what they’re background is, everyone has a unique life, which ultimately is going to be an intriguing base for a new story. The inspiration comes from the fact that that I have built this town and the men of Cattle Valley are mine and it’s up to me to give them the happily-ever-after they deserve.

When the concept for Cattle Valley came to me, I decided I needed a website for the town. I’d hoped it would give the stories an added dimension, and it was so much fun to create. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that the website would convince some people that Cattle Valley was literally a real town. For the first several years, I received emails asking for directions because people couldn’t find it on the map. They would email the mayor via the website asking political questions. While it made me feel good that people loved the town, it also made me feel bad. I suddenly felt like I was tricking them, something I never set out to do. I still have the website and it gets updated with my new releases. You can check it out at http://www.CattleValley.net.

Snake Charmer is the newest release from the Cattle Valley series and this story explores the relationship between Snake and Riley.

7_28 snakecharmer_800Sometimes it takes finding an opposite to show us the beauty within ourselves.

When security consultant and ex-mercenary, Gabrielo ‘Snake’ Barbas, thwarts an attack of one of his co-workers, Riley Banks, he takes it upon himself to keep the smaller man safe. His job is made harder when he discovers the attacker is actually Riley’s ex-boyfriend, a ruthless man from a very wealthy and powerful family.

After a night of passion, Snake decides to take Riley far away from Richmond, Virginia to a town in Wyoming for the annual Cattle Valley Days celebration. He should have known that sex with Riley wouldn’t be enough, but he feels he has nothing else to give such a nice guy. Riley is the sexiest man Snake’s ever taken to his bed despite Riley’s claim otherwise.

Riley knows he’s average-looking at best, so why does Snake continue to flatter him? It’s obvious he’s not going to kick Snake out of bed, even after Snake informs him that sex is all he has to give. Why does Snake see him so differently than the rest of the world?

While Riley is busy trying to figure out the man who touches him like no other has before, Snake is busy trying to protect him from a monster in a business suit.

 

Like the sound of Snake Charmer? You can purchase from Totally Bound today: https://www.totallybound.com/snake-charmer?utm_source=longandshortreviews&utm_medium=blogtour&utm_campaign=snakecharmerblogtour

About the Author:  An avid reader for years, one day Carol Lynne decided to write her own brand of erotic romance. Carol juggles between being a full-time mother and a full-time writer. These days, you can usually find Carol either cleaning jelly out of the carpet or nestled in her favourite chair writing steamy love scenes.

Author Link: https://www.totallybound.com/author/carol-lynne?utm_source=longandshortreviews&utm_medium=blogtour&utm_campaign=carollynneblogtour

Where SFF May Go by S.L. Dunn – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. You can see the other stops on the tour by clicking on the tour banner.

Long and Short Reviews asked S.L. Dunn, “What directions/topics/issues would you like to see SFF authors take on?”

Science fiction is often used as a mechanism to reflect a given time’s anxieties toward social movements and technology. In the wake of WWII, books like 1984 and Farenheit 451 gave life to the fears people had toward a potential future where creativity and individuality were snubbed out in the name of order. In the 1960s, science fiction began to elevate in thematic imagination, with novels like Dune, A Wrinkle In Time, and 2001 A Space Odyssey. This doesn’t come as a surprise when one considers that the 1960’s were a decade of applicable scientific imagination, (the space race comes to mind).

As I write this blog post, I’m sitting in the shadow of the Seattle Space Needle, an art piece erected for the 1962 World’s Fair—its skyward pointing apex making not so subtle an implication of where the people of 1962 saw humanity headed.

But over the course of the second half of the 20th century, I think technology turned in a direction that people had not anticipated. In 1962 people saw a glimmering future of the Jetsons, monorails and space ships. But in reality, the forthcoming technology instead took the form of computers, the Internet, cyberspace and automation. I think the second half of the 20th century’s innovation wasn’t quite as tangible as people would have envisioned beforehand.

And just as before, this movement toward a digital-abstract-future also had an effect on science fiction. From space and aliens, the genre moved to digital horizons, the idea of simulacra, and the birth of cyberpunk. Neuromancer, Snowcrash and The Matrix come to mind.

Arriving at today: a modern world of tenuous resources, rising temperatures, and growing fears of our global actions as a species, we are greeted by mostly post-apocalyptic science fiction. In today’s science fiction, a common theme is a setting that takes place over or within the ashes of our fallen world.

2014’s fears gravitate around climate change and the loss of individual privacy. Particular to these fears is the awareness that the furtherance of technology might just act to exacerbate these problems instead of alleviating them. There’s a certain bleakness that permeates the modern age when it comes to the future of technology. In today’s science fiction, that bleakness takes the form of dystopia and post-apocalypse narratives—of a future where our immediate destruction is a foregone conclusion.

I think it’s very difficult to predict where the future of science fiction is headed, but I suspect it might move (paradoxically) away from science and toward the humanities. I think we’re living in an age where science is no longer perceived of as a form of salvation, and instead is seen more of an inconvenient truth (at best) or something to be feared (at worst). In that sense, I think we’re going to see an evolution of science fiction into narratives that address social issues that have been historically relegated to sociology and anthropology classrooms.

MEDIA KIT AnthemsFall_ebookAbove a horrified New York City, genetics and ethics collide as the fallen emperor and a banished exile of the same herculean race ignite into battle over the city’s rooftops. In the streets below, a brilliant young scientist has discovered a technology that can defeat them both, yet might be more terrible than either.

Set both in modern New York City and in the technologically sophisticated yet politically savage world of Anthem, Anthem’s Fall unfurls into a plot where larger than life characters born with the prowess of gods are pitted against the shrewd brilliance of a familiar and unlikely heroine.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Yes, Lord Vengelis!” the boy called, but suddenly froze with fear. The boy began trembling, his chest convulsing in terror. Vengelis slowly turned and looked in all directions. Hysteria was rampant; men, women, and children were running every direction, many horribly wounded. None of them were soldiers. The fire was blazing out of control, and the entire block was immersed in raging flames.

A woman standing nearby, just below a broad tilted awning, remained unscathed. Her appearance contrasted strangely with the mayhem around them. She was thin and average sized, of Royal appearance, with blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Tattered ribbons of the awning and bits of orange cinders and ash blew all about her. She was smiling at Vengelis, her teeth white and perfect. Vengelis was taken aback.

Her eyes.

Vengelis squinted through the billowing ash and felt an eerie sense of disquiet surface within him. Her eyes were not quite right. There was a glowing property to her stare, as though her eyes were emitting a strange blue radiance. She was beautiful, but the serene way she was smiling in the midst of the madness was peculiarly horrifying.

“State your name and rank!” Vengelis called out.

The boy stifled a small cry as the woman’s smile broadened. Vengelis glared and turned his attention from her to the boy. In a corner of his mind he already knew he was speaking to one of the Felixes. She moved her unsettling gaze from Vengelis to the boy. The boy let out a terrible sob and released the soldier he had been dragging. The woman took a step closer to the child.

There was no longer any doubt in Vengelis’s mind.

The woman whirled into motion, dashing toward the boy and reaching for his throat. The boy flinched and locked his eyes shut, expecting instant death. But it did not come. He peered through his trembling eyelids after a moment passed. The woman was still reaching for his throat, though now just in front of him. Vengelis had closed the distance and grabbed her wrist with his left hand, stopping the strike in its tracks. Her fingernails were reaching out longingly, inches from the boy’s neck. The woman turned to Vengelis, her expression vacant.

“Huge . . . mistake,” Vengelis growled through gritted teeth, his knuckles white from the vice grip on her wrist. “Get out of here, kid.”

About the Author:S.L. Dunn is the debut author of Anthem’s Fall, a novel he wrote amid the wanderings of his mid twenties. He has written while living intermittently in St. John USVI, Boston, Maine and Seattle. Raised on big screen superheroes and pop science fiction, he sought to create a novel that bridged a near-sci-fi thriller with a grand new fantasy. He currently resides in Seattle with his girlfriend Liz and their dog Lucy, and is hard at work completing the next book of the Anthem’s Fall series. Get in touch at www.sldunn.com.

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The Longest Night by Kara Braden – a guest blog and giveaway

Welcome Kara Braden to Long and Short Reviews. The publisher is giving one randomly drawn commenter a print copy of The Longest Night (US/Canada only).

A Guest Blog by Kara Braden

The Longest Night is a story of love in isolation. It’s a pretty simple premise: Take two single people, add the rustic romance of a snowy cabin in the woods, stir in a little bit of a mystery behind in heroine’s past, and you’ve got a recipe for romance. Right?

Not so fast! This isn’t the story of love at first sight. The hero and heroine, Ian and Cecily, start out as polite strangers.

As far as Ian is concerned, there’s no rustic romance in his isolated cabin. Instead, it’s a prison, a way to keep him away from the temptation to abuse painkillers so he can get back to his high-stress, adrenaline-charged job as a Manhattan criminal attorney.

The heroine, Cecily has zero interest in any romance, even one with a handsome, intelligent, successful man like Ian. And if Ian’s substance abuse problems aren’t enough, Cecily has her own demons, driving her to live in isolation for the last seven years.

So how did I, as the writer, get them to their happily ever after? What’s the secret to their success?

I let them find their own way.

Some people think there are two types of writers: plotters, who create detailed outlines before setting down even one word of the actual plot, and pantsers, who write by the seat of their pants, making up the story as they go.

I’m a pantser. I create deeply detailed characters with rich personalities and backstories. Then I set up a scenario — in this case, isolation in Cecily’s cabin — and let them tell me how their relationship comes about.

Each step the characters take is logical, realistic, and entirely appropriate. Every emotion, every misunderstanding, every moment of passion is organic, not scripted. The story builds, step-by-step, sometimes one step forward and two steps back. At no point did I twist the story to match an outline or force the characters to act in a way that contradicts what they’d be feeling or thinking at that moment. I didn’t have a formula with milestones for each chapter.

Instead, I listened to the characters and let them fall in love the way they wanted. And in the end, I believe I’ve created a love story that I hope you’ll find rich and rewarding to read.

About the Author:

 photo credit Stephanie Cole

photo credit Stephanie Cole

Kara Braden makes her debut in modern romance with a story of love in isolation. She believes that engaging, romantic fantasy can be found everywhere in the world, even in the most unlikely places. With the support of her wonderful husband, cats, and dogs, she writes from her home office outside Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends her time hiding from the sunlight and heat.

Author Website: http://karabraden.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karabradenauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraBraden @KaraBraden

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