Pre-Order at Discount Price: Hard Rules by Lisa Renee Jones

For a limited time, MacMillan Publishers is offering the eBook of HARD RULES for the discounted price of $4.99! If you pre-order any time before the publication date of August 9, you will get this scorching hot novel for an even hotter price—what you do with the rest of your Dirty Money is up to you…

See below for more information about the book—you can find links to preorder here.

6_15 Hard RulesWall Street meets the Sons of Anarchy in Hard Rules, the smoldering, scorching first novel in the explosively sexy new Dirty Money series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones.

How bad do you want it?

The only man within the Brandon empire with a moral compass, Shane Brandon is ready to take his family’s business dealings legitimate. His reckless and ruthless brother, Derek wants to keep Brandon Enterprises cemented in lies, deceit, and corruption. But the harder Shane fights to pull the company back into the light, the darker he has to become. Then he meets Emily Stevens, a woman who not only stirs a voracious sexual need in him, but becomes the only thing anchoring him between good and evil.

Emily is consumed by Shane, pushed sexually in ways she never dreamed of, falling deeper into the all-encompassing passion that is this man. She trusts him. He trusts her, but therein lies the danger. Emily has a secret, the very thing that brought her to him in the first place, and that secret that could that destroy them both.

About the Author: 6_15 Lisa-Renee-Jones-Headshot-275New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series, which is now in development for a television show to be produced by Suzanne Todd of Team Todd (Alice in Wonderland). Suzanne Todd on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with. I’m thrilled to develop a television show that will tell Sara’s whole story – her life, her work, her friends, and her sexuality.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, she has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is presently working on a dark, edgy new series, Dirty Money, for St. Martin’s Press.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

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Cover Reveal: The Deep End by Kristen Ashley

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THE DEEP END by Kristen Ashley (March 7, 2017); The Honey Series #1
Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are pleasure slaves committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire. At the elite Honey club, no boundary will be left untested, and one’s darkest desires will become a sensual reality.

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him craves the lifestyle offered by this secret, exclusive club.

When Amèlie invites Olivier to surrender, she pushes him to explore his deepest desires as a submissive. As they grow closer and find themselves falling harder than either of them anticipated, the truth about Olivier’s past could threaten the budding relationship they both long for.

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.

 
Pre-Order The Deep End!
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About the author:
KristenAshleyKristen Ashley is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty novels. She grew up in Indiana, but has lived in Colorado and the West Country of England. Visit her online at www.KristenAshley.net.
 
Connect with Kristen Ashley!

How to Draw Cool Stuff by Catherine V. Holmes – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Catherine will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner, and another winner will receive a print copy of How to Draw Cool Stuff (international) both via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_HowToDrawCoolStuffHow to Draw Cool Stuff: Holidays, Seasons and Events is a step-by-step drawing guide that illustrates popular celebrations, holidays and events for your drawing pleasure. From the Chinese New Year to April Fools’ Day, Father’s Day to Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s Eve – this book covers over 100 fun days, holidays, seasons and events, and offers simple lessons that will teach you how to draw like a pro and get you in the spirit of whichever season it may be!

Enjoy an excerpt:

This book evolved out of necessity. After exploring art catalogs and libraries and wading through the “how to draw” section of book stores, I found a few good resources but none that had all the qualities I was looking for in a drawing book. Some ideas were too basic and often insulting to my older, more artistic students. Other material seemed to serve as a showcase for beautiful artwork but lacked any concrete instruction.

As a “travelling” art teacher with a limited budget and limited preparation time, I need a single resource that is easy to transport and can be used to teach all levels of students from middle school to high school and beyond. This book was created to fill that need and I want to share it with teachers and artists in similar situations. These projects will allow you to bring interesting and informative lessons that offer clear objectives and foster achievement without the need for expensive/multi-dimensional supplies: a regular pencil and eraser is all that is needed (sometimes a ruler or fine pen). Fancy art pencils, costly paper or kneaded erasers are not required for success. All pages have been student tested and approved.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HowToDrawCoolStuffCatherine V. Holmes is an art/ELA teacher and visual artist from historical Plymouth, Massachusetts. She studied at Boston University and at Bridgewater State College where she earned her BFA and MA in ED. She is currently working towards her second Master’s from the University of Scranton. Catherine Holmes specializes in portraits, architecture and illustrations. Her art is inspired by her feelings, ideas, and experiences, whether they are found in nature, the media or in man-made structures. Catherine is also heavily influenced by the interests and suggestions of her students. “To see success through their eyes inspires me to be a better teacher and creator of art.”

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Ten Things People Don’t Know About Stephen Leather – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Stephen Leather will be awarding a $50 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.

Ten Things People Don’t Know About Stephen Leather

1) I can fly a plane. I got my pilot’s licence while I was living in Baltimore, Maryland.

2) I have parachuted four times. The first three times were with the RAF freefall team. I jumped from a Rapide biplane which meant climbing out onto the wing before jumping.

3) I have a brown belt in Shotokan karate. My kicks aren’t very good, though.

4) I have a cat called Peanut Butter who sits next to me while I am writing.

5) I do almost all my writing while sitting in front of the TV. I was a journalist working in noisy newsrooms for ten years or so and I still need noise around me while I write.

6) I am one on Amazon’s Top 10 UK independent publishers and my book The Basement is one of the Top 10 bestselling self-published UK eBooks of all time.

7) My self-published book The Basement has topped the Kindle charts in the US and the UK.

8) I tried my hand at writing erotica because I figured that eReaders would see more people buying sexy stories (because no one can see what you’re reading on an eReader). The stories are available but they don’t sell very well.

9) I was once the Business Editor of the South China Morning Post

10) Martin Campbell (who directed Bond movies Goldeneye and Casino Royale) is making a film of my book The Chinaman starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan. It’ll hopefully be in cinemas by the end of the year.

MediaKit_BookCover_NewYorkNightTeenagers are being possessed and turning into sadistic murderers. Priests can’t help, nor can psychiatrists. So who is behind the demonic possessions? Jack Nightingale is called in to investigate, and finds his own soul is on the line. New York Night is the seventh novel in the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Cheryl Perez pulled the cork from the bottle of Chianti and sloshed it into a glass. She drank some and went through to her sitting room. She pulled open the drawer of a side table and took out the framed photograph of herself and Eric. It had been in the drawer for over a month – a new record. The photograph had been taken on New Year’s Eve three years earlier. They’d flown to Vegas for the weekend and seen in the New Year at a show in the MGM Grand. The casino’s logo was in the bottom right hand corner of the photograph. They were both a little drunk and they were holding hands either side of a champagne bucket that Perez was fairly sure contained their second bottle. Maybe their third. They had got so drunk that they had collapsed on the bed in their clothes and woken up the following morning still clothed and wrapped in each other’s arms. ‘You bastard, Eric,’ she whispered. ‘How could you leave me?’

She took the photograph over to the dining table and stood it in the middle. She sat down, drank some wine and then picked up one of the two pencils there. She drew a cross on the page, dividing it into quarters. She wrote YES in the top right and bottom left quarters, then wrote NO in the top left and bottom right. She took another drink of wine, then smiled lopsidedly at the photograph. ‘I know, I know, it’s stupid and my soul will burn in Hell, but I have to try, don’t I?’

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_NewYorkNightStephen Leather is one of the UK’s most successful thriller writers, an eBook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan “Spider’ Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels.

Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country’s most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world.

Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London’s Burning, The Knock and the BBC’s Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV.
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Jack Nightingale, the main character in New York Night has his own website. (NOTE: It’s addictive!)

You can buy New York Night at Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, or Smashwords.

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Falling for Sarah by Cate Beauman – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_FallingForSarahWidow Sarah Johnson struggled to pick up the pieces after her life was ripped apart. After two years of grieving, she’s found contentment in her thriving business as photographer to Hollywood’s A-list and in raising her angel-faced daughter, Kylee… until bodyguard and long-time friend Ethan Cooke changes everything with a searing moonlight kiss.

Sarah’s world turns upside down as she struggles with her unexpected attraction to Ethan and the guilt of betraying her husband’s memory. But when blue roses and disturbing notes start appearing on her doorstep, she has no choice but to lean on Ethan as he fights to save her from a stalker that won’t stop until he has what he prizes most.

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

Sarah ran toward the enormous gazebo with Kylee in her arms—a tricky feat in heels. “We’re here. We’re here. I’m so sorry we’re late,” she said to no one in particular as she climbed the steps to the center. A boisterous crowd of fifty milled about, and she relaxed. It was clear there was no hurry here. Hunter, clad in a white button-down and black slacks, spoke to the officiant while Morgan, stunning in her simple, sleeveless cocktail dress—the same bold green as her eyes—chatted with her parents and Hunter’s mother.

“I guess we’re not so late after all.” Sarah settled Kylee on her hip and smoothed her pink thigh-length dress. “Let’s go tell Uncle Hunter we’re ready whenever he is.” She took a step forward and stopped, captivated by the spectacular view. The full moon rising high cast a glow upon thousands of flowers surrounding the gazebo. She walked to the edge, caught up in the beauty as the distant thunder of the Pacific hundreds of feet below added to the magic. “Oh, sweetheart, it’s amazing.”

Kylee’s blue eyes brightened. “I want to pick the fwowers.”

“We can’t, honey.” She watched her daughter’s smile dim. “They don’t belong to us. We can pick flowers at home.”

“O-tay.” Kylee gasped and let out a sudden squeal of delight as she held out her arms.

Sarah jumped and turned as Ethan, handsome in charcoal gray slacks and a white polo, swooped forward and grabbed Kylee, settling her on his hip.

“Hey there, kiddo.” He kissed her chubby cheek. “Don’t you look pretty tonight.”

“Dis is my new dress,” Kylee preened, tugging none too gently on the delicate, pale blue silk.

“You look like a princess. A pretty princess should have a flower.” He walked with her to the side of the gazebo and leaned over, picking a creamy white carnation.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FallingForSarahInternational bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards.

Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on Deceiving Bella, the eleventh novel in her popular Bodyguards series.

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Beast Untamed by Faye Avalon – Spotlight

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Faye Avalon who is promoting the release of her newest book, the 3rd book in her Beasts of Bodmin Moor series, Beast Untamed, an erotic paranormal romance. (@faye_avalon) #erotica #romance #pnr

FRIDAY beastuntamedTo guard his woman, he must claim his mate.

Ex-special forces operative Nathan Quinn enjoys women, but he just doesn’t trust them. Thanks to a mother who abandoned him, he prefers no-strings relationships, and has no intention of ever marrying or mating with a fellow shifter.

He focuses his energy on building his security business until a human woman catches his eye—and firmly rejects his charm. Which only challenges him to work harder to break down her barriers.

Born of ambitious, emotionally cold parents, Erin Howard’s craving for attention led her down a slippery slope to an abusive relationship. Now on the run from her ex, she plans to lay low and stay away from possessive, dominating males. But who says she can’t enjoy a little hot sex without a shred of commitment?

Soon their attraction explodes into something so fierce, that Nathan feels the primal need to mark Erin as his. But his fallback plan—distance himself—creates the space for Erin’s past to drive the final, possibly fatal, wedge between them.

Product Warnings: Contains a sexy panther shifter with an attitude problem, a human female intent on playing things safe, and an anxious dog learning to co-exist with the local cats.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Nerves fluttered in her belly, but Erin breathed them away. She was going to enjoy herself tonight. She was going to be normal, make conversation, have fun.

But when the door swung open in response to her knock, those nerves came flooding back with a vengeance. The man towered in the doorway, his dark and brooding good looks like something in a magazine devoted to warrior gods of times long ago.

“You must be Erin,” he said, the hint of a smile softening almost harsh features. “Come on in.”

He stepped back, and Erin was about to enter when Talia came down the hallway. “Great. You’re early. We can have a drink before we get going. You’ve met Caleb?”

Erin looked up at the man. Handsome, and built. No wonder Talia always had a satisfied smile on her face.

No sooner had she accepted Caleb’s outstretched hand than Talia reached out and all but pulled Erin into the house. “Come and meet everyone.”

Everyone?

Erin’s knees went wobbly, her stomach pitching in a way that had her evening snack threatening to revolt. Maybe she wasn’t ready for this after all. It was too soon. She needed time to adjust, to work out exactly who she was going to be, before she thrust herself into life again.

Talia had other ideas and guided her into a room off the hall. Stepping across the threshold, she heard Naomi’s laughter. Her new friend had her arms wrapped around the neck of a formidable-looking man who in turn had his arms wrapped around her.

“Break that up, you two,” Talia instructed. “Save it for your wedding night.”

“That’s days away yet,” Naomi complained, smiling up at the man who was obviously Tynan. “He can’t keep his hands off me for that long.”

“My female speaks the truth,” Tynan said. “Anyway the mating has already—”

“Ahem…” Talia loudly cleared her throat, and the couple looked over. “We have company.”

Erin had the distinct impression she’d interrupted something, and not just a heated embrace between an engaged couple. But the smiles that headed her way, and the companionable way Talia slid an arm around her waist, made her think she’d imagined it. She must be so on edge lately that she was seeing spooks where none existed.

“Come and meet Tynan,” Naomi said, grabbing her away from Talia. “Ty, this is Erin. She hasn’t been in Bodmin very long, and she works at the tea shop, remember?”

A look passed between the couple, and again Erin felt as if she was missing something.

But then Tynan smiled and held out his hand. “Good to meet you, Erin. Hope you’re ready for a raucous evening.” He slipped an arm around Naomi’s shoulder, and the simple gesture was filled with possessive intent. “According to my woman, you’re all going to party enough to set the moor alight.”

“Well, I…”

“Don’t listen to him,” Naomi said. “Tynan, take her coat. We’re having a drink here while we wait for a couple of the other girls to arrive. What’s your pleasure?”

“Lime and soda if you have it.” She smiled when Tynan helped her out of her coat.

“Forget that.” Talia ushered her onto the sofa. “No soft drinks allowed tonight. Unless you’re allergic or sworn off alcohol on religious grounds. No? So, what’ll it be?”

“White wine would be good.”

While Caleb went across to the drinks cabinet, Talia sat next to her on the sofa. “Love your dress.”

“Thanks.” Erin tugged the skirt of the simple navy shift down to her knees. “Naomi said I had to wear something good.”

“I said something sexy.” Naomi plunked herself on Erin’s other side and eyed Erin’s dress. “I would have preferred more of a cleavage,” she said in a hushed tone that only the girls could hear. “But I’m not complaining.”

Grateful, Erin took the drink Caleb handed her and took a healthy swig. Conversation turned to logistics regarding transport for the evening, with Tynan and Caleb sitting side by side on the opposite sofa. Good Lord, Erin thought, taking several surreptitious sips of her wine. The room positively hummed with masculine appeal. She couldn’t remember ever seeing two more intimidating men in her life, or two more attractive and virile, but while they seemed tough and formidable, she didn’t feel especially uneasy in their company.

It was apparent from the looks and smiles the men each shared with Talia and Naomi that there was a whole bucketload of love in the room. In their men’s presence, the women seemed relaxed and completely at ease with themselves. Erin wondered how that must feel, considering her own experience had only ever been one of fear and intimidation.

The sound of the front door closing and heavy footsteps pounding down the hallway brought Erin from her reverie before she could take a painful trip down memory lane.

If she’d thought the testosterone levels couldn’t rise any higher, she hadn’t been prepared for the man who stepped into the room. Built like a tank, his shoulders filled the doorway, while the heavy scowl pushed the first real fluttering of fear into her since she’d arrived.

“If you expect me to drive that piece of garbage, you could have at least washed it first.”

The deep timbre of his voice and the edge of vitriol in his tone caused Erin to slink down a little in the seat, but since his attack was aimed at Tynan, she tried to steady her breathing. Her heart hammered anyway, her mind scanning back to a time when a similar attack was aimed at her.

“You want me to fill that junk trap with gas for you? Then you’d better make it worth my while by getting on that bed and spreading your legs for me. Now.”

Oh God. Oh God.

“Are you okay?”

Erin glanced up into Talia’s concerned gaze. “Yes, fine. Sorry.”

“Don’t apologize. I’ll get a cloth.”

Erin looked down, surprised when she saw the damp patch on her dress. Bloody hell, her hand had shaken so much that she’d spilled her drink.

She looked up into the dark, steady gaze of the man who had just arrived. He eyed her with little interest, but her stomach jumped like a train.

“Here.” Talia mopped at Erin’s dress, then turned her glare on the man. “Why did you want to come in here and scare my guest, Nathan Quinn?”

“Didn’t know anyone else was here. Thought you females had left for the evening.”

“This is Erin,” Naomi said. “She’s just moved to the area.”

Another pointed exchange of looks, but Erin knew she was reading too much into everything right then. They must all think she was a bloody loony.

The man called Nathan turned his gaze to her and inclined his head.

She tried for a smile but wasn’t sure she made it. Her whole body was reacting as if to a threat, and she feared she was about to go into full panic mode.

“Well, let’s get this show on the road,” Naomi declared and stood. “I can hear the others arriving, which means we’ve got that serious partying to do. And you guys have some serious poker to play.”

She took Erin’s glass and handed it to Tynan, then kissed him full on the mouth. “That should keep you for a while. Enjoy your game.”

In response, Tynan put the glass down and hauled Naomi up against him. “That won’t keep me for five damn minutes. Come here.”

Erin felt she should turn away when the kiss morphed into the kind that required locked doors and darkened rooms.

“Don’t mind them,” Talia said drawing her into the hall where Caleb held out their coats. She turned to her husband. “You’re really sure you don’t mind driving us? We can get a cab if it’s easier, then you can drive to Truro with Ty and Nathan. That way you’ll get to enjoy a drink.”

“I said I’d take you. I don’t want you out of my sight any longer than necessary.”

The big man smiled down at her, his eyes gleaming. Talia rewarded him with a soft kiss, her palm resting lightly against his cheek.

While Caleb didn’t haul Talia against him to give her the same treatment Tynan was currently giving Naomi, Erin felt equally uncomfortable. The possessive look Caleb gave his wife made her feel like she should turn away from something intensely private and intimate.

Naomi came into the hall, flushed and pleased with herself. “Ready?”

Moments later, after brief introductions to the two women who had arrived, they were piling into Caleb’s SUV. From the backseat, Erin found herself glancing back to the house, hoping against hope she didn’t catch sight of Nathan again.

The man made her feel uneasy and anxious. They’d barely shared a glance, but he’d looked at her like he knew something nobody else did. She shuddered at the thought, remembering Naomi had told her that Tynan was his business partner, and they were security consultants. That meant he would know how to access official files, documents, people’s history.

At Naomi’s instruction beside her, Erin clipped on her seat belt and vowed to keep a very low profile where Nathan Quinn was concerned.

Copyright © 2016 Faye Avalon
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

About the Author: Faye Avalon enjoys writing sexy stories about strong men and the savvy women who rock their world. She has taken a roundabout journey toward her writing career, working as cabin crew, detouring into property development, public relations and education, before finally finding her passion: writing spicy romantic fiction.

Faye lives with her super-ace husband and one beloved, ridiculously spoiled dog. They regularly expand their family by boarding puppies destined to become guide dogs. Between writing, reading, running around after manic puppies and grabbing some quality time with her husband, Faye enjoys a challenging yoga session or a night at the movies.

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Friend of the Devil by Mark Spivak – Q&A and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the rest of the stops on the tour.

What are your favorite TV shows?

I normally don’t watch a great deal of TV, except during an election season—I’m a political junkie. On a regular basis I do follow a few of the reality shows, particularly Survivor. I think it’s very well done and psychologically balanced in the casting. They always seem to include just enough dysfunctional players to make it interesting.

What is your favorite meal?

I eat a lot of sushi, and enjoy checking out new sushi bars when traveling. For a special occasion, it has to be Osetra Caviar.

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

I’ve written a draft of a political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq, which is designed to be the first of a series. I’m still not totally convinced that the material is appropriate, though: it’s very tricky to deal with plots that deal in politics and refer to very recent history, because personal feelings tend to take over.

Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?

I wouldn’t say I idolize Hemingway, at least not anymore, but he’s been a huge influence. The clarity and sharp focus of his prose guided me in the right direction when I was starting out.

How did you come up for the title of this book?

Children of the Sixties will recognize the reference to the Grateful Dead Song of the same name. As they said: “A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine.”

MediaKit_BookCover_FriendOfTheDevilIn 1990 some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the 25th anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.

Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee. He quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, unwittingly transforming himself into a romantic rival of Avenzano. The chef invites Fox to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography. David gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex: shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As his lover plots the demise of the chef, Fox tries to sort out hallucination and reality while Avenzano treats him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.

Enjoy a mouth-watering excerpt:

He perused Chateau de la Mer’s large and mostly incomprehensible menu. Changed every few weeks, handwritten in Avenzano’s elaborate cursive before being photocopied, it closely resembled an annotated Medieval manuscript. Finally, he acceded to the staff’s offer to prepare a tasting menu for him, accompanied by the appropriate wines.

He was presented with a sculpture of dried vegetables in the shape of a bird’s nest, filled with a combination of wild mushrooms and chopped truffles, bathed in an intensely reduced demi-glaze. The carrots, zucchini and peppers had been cut into paper-thin strips, intertwined and allowed to dry, yet retained a surprising intensity of flavor.

He consumed a dish of tomato, basil and egg noodles, bathed in a light cream sauce, perfumed with fresh sage and studded with veal sweetbreads.

He ate an astonishing dish of butter-poached lobster, remarkably sweet and perfectly underdone, flavored with sweet English peas and garnished with a ring of authentic Genoese pesto.

He was served a slice of Avenzano’s signature Bedouin-stuffed poussin—a turkey stuffed with a goose, in turn stuffed with a duckling, in turn stuffed with a poussin, or baby chicken, with a core of truffled foie gras at its center, covered with an Etruscan sauce of chopped capers, raisins and pine nuts. This dish had been the source of much controversy over the years, since it bore a close resemblance to a Louisiana terducken. It predated the terducken, however, and was supposedly inspired by a creation first served to the French royal court. For good measure, Avenzano had added influences from the cuisine of the Middle East.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FriendOfTheDevilMark Spivak is an award-winning writer specializing in wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. He was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post from 1994-1999, and was honored by the Academy of Wine Communications for excellence in wine coverage “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 has been the Wine and Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group; his running commentary on the world of food, wine and spirits is available at the Global Gourmet blog on www.palmbeachillustrated.com. He is the holder of the Certificate and Advanced diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Mark’s work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Men’s Journal, Art & Antiques, the Continental and Ritz-Carlton magazines, Arizona Highways and Newsmax. He is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History (Lyons Press, 2012) and Moonshine Nation: The Art of Creating Cornbread in a Bottle (Lyons Press, 2014). His first novel, Friend of the Devil, is published by Black Opal Books.

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It’s One Person’s Opinion, But… by Ally Shields – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

It’s One Person’s Opinion, But…

Negative criticism bites. If you’re a published author you’ve put your work out there—hoping and expecting others to like it. When they don’t, it’s difficult not to take it personally. None of the well-meaning clichés help: “It’s only one person’s opinion,” “You can’t please everyone;” nor does your best friend’s heartfelt denunciation of the critic. By the simple law of averages, some readers just won’t like your books.

So shrug it off. Right? Great, if you can do it. No matter what you say, down deep there’s a tiny fear the critic might be right. That’s what authors do, doubt themselves. So once you’ve eaten ice cream, or chocolate or had a glass of wine or two, what else can or should you do?

Honestly? It depends. If you know and trust the critic/reviewer as qualified, step back and take a look at your work. Is there a grain of truth, something to be learned? If so, follow through with necessary changes in this work or the next. If you still don’t see it, set it aside. Maybe the person had a bad day or simply doesn’t like the type of story you wrote. In any case, unless he’s a troll (see below) the reader is always right—the story didn’t work for him (or her).

But you don’t agree, so shouldn’t you tell him? Absolutely not. Never. No how. You’d only be asking for more trouble. Here’s a partial list of Don’ts I put together for a previous article:

• Don’t respond to trolls (defined as people who wander around places like Amazon and Goodreads passing out one star and two star reviews and generally raining on an author’s parade for no apparent reason or bizarre reasons, i.e. “I can’t find the book for free” or “I haven’t read it yet, but I heard…”). By responding you may invite their friends to swarm on you. It’s happened.
• Don’t argue with reviewers. If they’ve read your book and have an opinion, it’s their opinion, valid for them, regardless of how wrong it seems to you. An honest review is not an invitation to debate.
• Don’t go around denouncing the negative reviewer, especially on social media like Twitter and Facebook. It will only gain the author a poor reputation and more attacks.

But you still want to do something. So pay more attention to the good. Some readers, bless their hearts, love everything they read and are lavish in telling you so. Every email saying I “love, love, loved” your book is thrilling. The pure satisfaction of having connected and produced a story that someone felt was worthy is what keeps us writing. So focus on the positive things you can and should do:

• DO ‘like’ reviews you think reflect your book. Amazon and Goodreads both provide ‘like’ buttons.
• DO respond if a reader/reviewer contacts you directly to praise your book.
• DO share quotes from reviews you like by linking back to them.
• DO savor the wonderful good reviews as the gifts they are.

The hardest negative comments will always be those with no redeeming qualities, that are mean-spirited and personal. I know one writer who quit publishing after an especially vicious review and personal attack. While I sympathize, I can’t agree with the decision. An author shouldn’t give a stranger that kind of power. It really was only one opinion.

Charlaine Harris, author of the very popular Sookie Stackhouse series, received very mixed and sometimes threatening reactions to the final book in her series (and later wrote a followup), but it’s obvious in this 2013 quote that she never lost her sense of humor:

“After Dead Ever After I feel I’m something of an expert on bad reviews. I have a new standard. If the review doesn’t contain a death threat, a claim that I hate my readers, or the charge that I’ve sold my soul…it’s not such a bad review.”

Have you received meaningless bad or “mean” reviews? How did you handled them? If you’ve given a negative review, did you cite your reasons? I’d love to hear both readers and writers weight in on the subject.

1_Cover_CrossKeys_Elvenrude TrilogyCross Keys (Elvenrude Book 1)

When a common elf—forbidden portal travel to the human world—is spotted in New Orleans, Kameo Ryndel is ordered by the king to bring him home. Before she can intervene, he’s shot and his body inexplicably stolen. Even more puzzling is Seth Lormarc’s appearance at the scene. Although he’s an Elite elf from a rival guild and the sexy, arrogant heir to the centuries-old feud between their families, she’d reluctant to believe he’s a murderer.

As their paths continue to cross and a deadly plot unfolds, they struggle to set aside the past, deny the growing attraction between them, and root out a conspiracy hidden deep inside Elvenrude…a conspiracy threatening their entire way of life.

2_Cover_Revelation_Elvenrude TrilogyCross Keys: Revelation (Elvenrude Book 2)

Kam and Seth’s romance hasn’t been smooth over the past six months. She’s been on too many CIA missions; he’s had to shoulder more of his clan’s duties. Then invisible assailants attack an elven guild worker, and Kam and Seth pull together to track down the intruders. The CIA interrupts again, and she and Seth part on angry words.

Returning from the short CIA mission, Kam is kidnapped by the mysterious intruders and taken to a place she never knew existed—beyond the Louisiana bayou. When she learns a terrible secret and the intruders’ deadly plans, she’s desperate to get home and warn Seth.

He’s searching day and night, not sure whether she’s dead or alive…but knowing he has to have her back.

3_Cover_Unity_Elvenrude TrilogyCross Keys: Unity (Elvenrude Book 3)

Despite unrest in their Elven homeland, Kam and Seth have scheduled their long-awaited promise ceremony for the night of the Winter Solstice. But once again fate intervenes in the form of an elf captured by human authorities, an escalation of the local rebellion, and a widespread theft of ancient human artifacts that forces the Elven king to break an oath thousands of years old.

When a spirit woman predicts a world-ending catastrophe, Kam and Seth set out on a worldwide hunt to stop an old enemy, while back in Elvenrude, Rhyden (Seth’s cousin) and Esty (Kam’s sister) have issues of their own. If any of them fail, there may be nothing left…and tomorrow might not come.

Enjoy an excerpt from Cross Keys (Elvenrude Book 1):

Caleb nodded absently at the departing couple, then returned his gaze to Kam. “I’m serious. It’s time you became more involved with trade matters. In fact,” he paused, “you have several decisions you should be making. When are you coming home?”

“I’m here now.” She clamped down on a spark of anger. Why did every conversation with him lead into demands about the future?

“You know that isn’t what I meant.”

She stiffened. “It’s too soon for any long-term decisions. I like where we are now.” A storm was gathering in his eyes, and she took steps to head off a fight. The King’s Harvest Ball was hardly the time or place. She tilted her head and looked at him. “Are you about ready to leave?” A diversion was in order before she lost her temper and said something she’d regret. “I have to be back in the city by early morning, and I can think of better things we could be doing.”

“More than ready.” His smile held a provocative edge. “Shall we start our round of goodbyes?”

“I’m going to visit the ladies’ room, then I’ll catch up with you.” She ducked her head and hurried away, anxious to get out of sight before he realized just how annoyed she was. She shoved the door open into the hallway a little harder than was necessary and ran into a solid body. She stumbled, throwing out her arms for balance.

“Oh, I’m so sor—” Strong hands caught her, and she looked up into Seth Lormarc’s glittering green eyes. “You!”

His eyes widened in surprise. “Do I know you?”

A spark of unexpected awareness ran up her arms, and she tried to shake off his grasp. He held tight until she was steady. “No, but I know who you are.” She looked pointedly at his hands. “Take your hands off me.”

“No problem.” He released her and stepped back, a smile parting his lips. “Are you always so charming?”

About the Author: Ally Shields grew up in the Midwest along the Mississippi River, still considers herself “a river rat,” and currently resides near Des Moines. After a career in law and juvenile justice, she turned to full-time fiction writing in 2009. Her first urban fantasy, Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1) was published in 2012, and she currently has ten published novels. She loves to travel in the US and abroad and incorporates many of those settings into her books. Ms. Shields welcomes reader contact through her website and can frequently be found on Twitter.

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Buy Elvenrude Book 1, Cross Keys at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Etopia Press, All Romance eBooks, or iBooks.

View the book video for Cross Keys: Revelation:

Buy Elvenrude Book 2 Cross Keys: Revelation at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks, Google Play, Etopia Press, or iBooks.

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Buy Elvenrude 3 Cross Keys: Unity at Amazon, Google Play, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks, or Etopia Press.

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Fueled by Lust: Geleon by Celeste Prater – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Celeste will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_FueledByLustGeleonHey! Yeah, you! Want in on a juicy secret? Geleon Thaice sure does. Why is the mysterious female of his dreams, wet or otherwise, constantly slipping through his hands? All he craves is to shower her with love and make her his own. Is that so bad? Is it just the fingers of fate doling out yet another allotment of misery upon his head? Or has destiny slyly laid a precise path that’s been waiting patiently for centuries?

Jaelyn Areeda just wants to peacefully survive another day, but the cosmos have her violently colliding with forces out of her control, falling into the capable, muscle-packed arms of a sinfully sexy alpha alien hell bent on inserting himself into her life… as well as her heart, mind, and soul. Will she run—or stay?

Book 9 in the Fueled By Lust Series doesn’t fail in delivering up another scrumptiously hunky male to whet your appetite, make you drool, and dare to love.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Reaching out, Jaelyn grabbed his wrist before he could turn around. Chills washed across every inch of her flesh, and she said exactly what was on her mind.

“Geleon. I’m going to kiss you. A real one this time, so get ready.” Tingles zipped up her spine as his piercing green eyes narrowed and he leaned forward, a growl rumbling through his chest.

“Baby, I’ve been ready from the moment I spotted those beautiful lips.” He caught her chin. “Bring them to me.”

There was no gentle meeting of moist flesh this time, no tentative touching, or shy exploration. No. It was a cataclysmic joining of two entities craving the taste of one another. A raw, steaming, and decadent battle to consume began the moment she clasped his gorgeous face, smashed her lips against his, and sucked a warm tongue into her mouth. Strong arms caught under her ass cheeks, lifted her up, and smashed her against the door. Jaelyn moaned in delight as her breasts pressed against his sculpted chest, instantly tightening her nipples. She shoved her fingers into his hair, gripped the silky strands, and drank him down.

Chest rumbling, Geleon’s broad hands palmed the back of her thighs, pulling her legs up to wrap his narrow waist. Hooking her ankles against his glorious ass, she yanked him closer. The seam on her jeans pressed hard against her clit, sending her body into a shivering fountain of wanton need. Grasping the base of his long braid, Jaelyn broke from the kiss and panted heavily against his chin.

“Forget the key … stay in my room. I want you, Geleon.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FueledByLustGeleonI was born and raised in a small town between Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin. Wanting to see more than her small Texas town, I joined the Marines, which satisfied my craving to see more of the U.S. and my drive to see if I could be one of the few and the proud.

A firm believer in educating the mind, I’ve achieved several advanced degrees, the latest being a master’s of science.

My true love is writing erotic romance, especially about alien hunks that know how to treat their females. Drusus, Severus, Cato, Lucien, Caelius, Maxim and many more have swirled in my dreams until I had to bring them to life and allow them to find love within the pages of the Fueled by Lust book series.

Book 1 DRUSUS was nominated as Top 5 Finalist and placed 3rd in the 2014 RWA Passionate Ink’s 9th Annual Passionate Plume Book Contest in Erotic SciFi/Fantasy Category, Book 2 SEVERUS achieved BEST BOOK review rating and won April 2014 BOOK OF THE MONTH Reader Poll at LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS, Book 3 CATO won the May/June 2014 BOOK OF THE MONTH, LUCIEN won the September 2014 BOOK OF THE MONTH, and MAKAR AND BARUCH the SEPTEMBER 2015 BOOK OF THE MONTH Reader Poll at LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS. All currently released books in the series have made it into the Top 5 Bestseller Lists at Bookstrand.com within days of release as well as making it into the Top 10 Hottest New Releases in Erotic Science Fiction on Amazon.

I would like to give a big shout out to my gorgeous model, Anthony Zuniga, and the awesome cover photographer, David Erickson. You can catch Anthony on Instagram @anthonyzuniga1_ and David at @david_erickson8.

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From Fake to Forever by Jennifer Shirk – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_FromFakeToForeverSandra Moyer’s preschool is struggling, so she reluctantly agrees to let super-famous actor Ben Capshaw research a role there. Ben’s always joking around, never serious, but there’s something about the buttoned-up, beautiful Sandra and her young daughter that makes him want to take life more seriously. But Sandra won’t trust him—what if it’s all an act, research for the role? As the lines between make-believe and reality blur, Ben will have to decide if love is worth casting aside the role of his life for a new role…that could last a lifetime.

Enjoy an excerpt:

From the corner of her eye, Sandra Moyer noticed a tall, bearded man leaning against the playground fence and automatically tensed. Because she was a single mom and alone, her paranoid nature already labeled him a felon, although technically he was doing nothing wrong. In fact, come to think of it, he had a pretty nice body with those real-life Hulk arms and broad chest. She didn’t know what that made her for noticing something like that about a man she assumed was on some Family Watchdog list, but the phrase “cheap and desperate” came to mind.

Since when did I start ogling the physiques of strange men?

Her shoulders wilted as she brooded over that question. She obviously needed to get out more. She needed to just get out. The problem was she didn’t see herself doing that any time soon. Her self-esteem had hit rock bottom and hadn’t been able to locate its way back up since the day she’d found Steve cheating on her with one of his costars.

An unpleasant picture of her ex-husband lip-locked with a Julianne Moore–type redhead popped into her mind, and she shuddered.

Actors. Did their profession ever mesh with reality?

The answer to that was a resounding no. Unfortunately, she’d learned that one the hard way. Steve had even thought she’d understand the main reason he had the affair was for the publicity and what it could do for his career and income. Like that was supposed to make her feel so much better about it.

“Mommy, I want to play in the sandbox.”

Her daughter’s voice pulled her from those depressing thoughts, and she gratefully looked down. “Okay, honey. Just five more minutes, though.”

Hannah squealed and dashed through the playground as fast as her little legs could run. Sandra couldn’t help but smile. Life was so simple when you were four. The little things kept you happy. And why not? Four-year-olds didn’t think about paying the rent or overdue bills. Things that were constantly on her mind ever since she’d opened the preschool with her sister. No, the only thing you worried about at that age was whether Mommy would give you ice cream if you didn’t eat your string beans.

She’d kill for that kind of stress again.

Unfortunately, the thought of homicide had her eyes traveling back to the well-built man she’d been ogling earlier. He was tossing around a football with a young boy now. Nothing illegal, but something was off. She had a sixth sense when it came to protecting her daughter, and right now it was telling her something big. Like he’d just gotten out of prison. It must have been a whopper of a sentence, too, judging from the long, scraggly hair and the kind of beard and mustache Santa Claus would envy. She never made a habit of associating with men who looked liked convicts, but there was something familiar about him…

She doubted he had a child enrolled in her preschool. Story time at the public library? She highly doubted that, too. He didn’t exactly look like the loving Father Knows Best type, considering that fire-breathing skull on his calf wasn’t designed to instill tenderness. At least he was out spending time with his son, which was a lot more than what her daughter was getting from her own father.

As if her thoughts had been telepathically sent out, the man in question cast a lingering gaze over in her direction. And he smiled.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Oh, no, don’t even think about it. Don’t you dare come over here. She fumbled to put her sunglasses back on and almost punched out a lens. Please stay where you are. He’d better be a jolly person being his usual overly friendly self and not just leering at her. But she laid odds on the latter.

What was it with her? She could attract a creep from the next state over without even trying. A talent she’d gladly relinquish.

She flopped down on a bench. Opening her purse, she yanked out a book and hid her face behind it. If she pretended to be engrossed in reading, maybe the man would reconsider trying to strike up a conversation. Yeah, that’s all she needed—some ex-con cozying up to her.

Confident her glasses hid her eyes, she lowered the book a half inch and sneaked another peek. Tall, Dark, and Scraggly had his back to her now. Relief enveloped her. Thank goodness, she thought, slowly letting out a breath.

One deadbeat per lifetime was enough.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FromFakeToForeverJennifer Shirk has a bachelor degree in pharmacy-which has in NO WAY at all helped her with her writing career. But she likes to point it out, since it shows romantic-at-hearts come in all shapes, sizes, and mind-numbing educations.

She writes sweet (and sometimes even funny) romances for Samhain Publishing, Avalon Books/Montlake Romance and now Entangled Publishing. She won third place in the RWA 2006 NYC’s Kathryn Hayes Love and Laughter Contest with her first book, THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME. Recently, her novel SUNNY DAYS FOR SAM won the 2013 Golden Quill Published Authors Contest for Best Traditional Romance.

Lately she’s been on a serious exercise kick. But don’t hold that against her.

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