Daemon Reckoning by Mariah Ankenman – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Mariah Ankenman will be awarding a $10 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.

Hidden in the shadows of our world, supernatural creatures wage war for the fate of humanity.

Euadaemons protect the innocent, Kakodaemons desire absolute power. Both have altered Krista Culver’s life. After spending the past ten years as a Drone for evil, she’s finally awake and doesn’t want to waste another moment. No one will stand in the way of her kicking Kako butt. Not her sister, not her father, not even her incredibly tempting boss.

Racine is about to go mad trying to find his evil twin brother responsible for the Kako uprising, but Rysis is in the wind. Adding to his problems, Krista returned from Enforcer training. Gone is the sweet girl. In her place is a fierce woman who stirs something deep inside. Something he thought long dead and buried.

As their desires grow so does the danger surrounding them. The Kako threat is mounting and the time for a reckoning has come.

Read an Excerpt:

“Well done, Krista.”

She turned at the deep timbre, body still quaking with excitement. Racine stood at the edge of the mat. When had he come down from the track? The man was huge, but sneaky. How could a man that big move through such a dense crowd without her noticing? He towered above everyone here by a good three inches. Of course, she had been a little distracted kicking butt and taking names.

“You did well, but don’t get over confident.” The corner of his lips turned up in a wry grin. “Let’s see how you do against someone with over four hundred years of fighting experience.”

No way, Racine wanted to fight her? Forget alternate dimension, she’d fallen into a whole other universe.

The crowd backed away, but no one left the room. Apparently, they all wanted to see this. She didn’t blame them. She wanted to see this. Racine never fought new recruits. Everyone said so. Made her wonder why he wanted to fight her.

Pushing her curiosity aside, she took a deep breath, centering herself, readying for the fight. She trusted her skill and strength, but Racine had centuries of experience. Also, she wasn’t too proud to admit the thought of getting to touch him—even in a sparring capacity—sent a thrill of excitement through her. Inappropriate? Sure. Unavoidable? Not a chance.

About the Author:

RWA® Golden Heart® Nominated author Mariah Ankenman lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her two rambunctious daughters and loving husband who provides ample inspiration for her heart-stopping heroes.

Whether she’s writing hometown heroes or sexy supernaturals, Mariah loves to lose herself in a world of words. Her favorite thing about writing is when she can make someone’s day a little brighter with one of her books.

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Buy the book at Amazon, The Wild Rose Press, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, or Kobo.

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His Valentine by Megan Slayer – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtul book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan will be awarding a bracelet made by the author and a signed swag pack to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Brandon Kidd thought he overcame his demons. He thought he’d conquered his addiction to booze and his need to be promiscuous. He thought he’d left his depression behind. Why? He met and is dating Aydin, the man who stokes his muse. But the depression and his insecurity have come back, and he’s also got to pass his annual review for his fine arts program. He’s got to get through the grueling review, open up to Aydin and have the Valentine’s Day he deserves?

Aydin loves Brandon. He sees the changes in his boyfriend and wants to help, but how do you help when you don’t know the problem exactly? To compound the problem, Brandon’s brother, Benson, has started causing trouble. Benson doesn’t want his brother to be gay, let alone in a relationship. Aydin found the strength to admit he wanted to be with Brandon. Aydin’s come into his own. Will he be enough for Brandon or will the crushing outside influence be too much to overcome?

They’ve come together for Valentine’s Day, but can the romance last?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

©2018 Megan Slayer, All Rights Reserved

“It’s Valentine’s Day. What’s on your docket?”

“I’m not sure. Aydin said something about a plan and celebration. I’m the lousy boyfriend this time. I hadn’t gotten him anything and was going to on the way home.” The tips of his ears burned. “I was so worried about the review, I kind of forgot it was Valentine’s Day.”

“You forgot?” she blurted.

“I did.” He walked beside her. “I was going to get him flowers.”

“Flowers?” She stopped in her tracks. “Are you serious?”

“He likes them.”

“Not chocolates?”

“He doesn’t like them. I thought he did, but he just ate the ones I got him for Christmas because he didn’t want them to go to waste.” When she started walking again, he fell into step beside her. “I know what he likes—now.”

“Flowers, eh?” She laughed. “And what else? Some hey-hey?” She elbowed him. “Right?”

He wasn’t about to tell her the other gift would be a blow job.

“Well, good.” She stopped at the classroom door. “I hope you have a good night.” She poked her head into the classroom. “Bye, Aydin. Have a wicked hot night.”

“That’s the plan.” Aydin left his spot on the desk and picked up the portfolio. “Ready?”

Heat slid through Brandon’s body. He couldn’t wait to get home. He’d strip Aydin down and taste every inch of him. “Yeah.”

“Good. Let’s go. I drove, so we can blow this popsicle stand.” Aydin carried the case out of the room. “Goodnight, Georgie. Do you need us to walk you out?”

“Nah, I’m meeting my friend Durand upstairs.” She waved. “Night! Do all the things I can’t do but want to watch.”

“We will,” Aydin called.

Brandon stood rooted to the spot for a second. Do all the things I can’t do but want to watch…holy shit. And Aydin hadn’t batted an eye. Damn. Excitement radiated through Brandon. He had the guy, the grade, and good friends. Now, he’d have a hot Valentine’s Day. Sweet, indeed.

About the Author:

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice.

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Can’t Stand the Heat by Peggy Jaeger – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

With three successful TV series under her belt, including her cousin Kandy’s, executive producer Stacy Peters is ready to helm her own show. But to make that happen, she has to do her network boss one favor first—spend two months on a ranch in Montana wrangling the notoriously difficult director of Beef Battles. Apparently, he eats producers for breakfast. Yet all Stacy can think when she meets the lean, rugged man is how hungry he makes her . . .

Dominic Stamp—Nikko to his very few friends—has had enough interference from TV newbies. And when Stacy climbs out of the car in Montana, he’s not convinced she’s even old enough to drive, much less produce his show. But he can’t deny that the long-legged blonde with the stubborn will and the dazzling smile whets his appetite. And as Stacy proves her talent with the crew and the budget alike, Nikko vows to prove to her that love is on the menu for both of them . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt

This couldn’t be the new executive producer.

She looked like an intern, barely out of college, not the seasoned television producer Teddy Davis had emailed him about.

The one he’d emailed back saying he neither wanted nor needed.

Hair the color of champagne fell just below her shoulders in a soft cascade of waves and ripples. Even in the heat and humidity engulfing them it looked fresh. Her face was a perfect heart, a tiny dip in the center of the hairline bifurcating her brow into two perfectly aligned sections, her flawless chin falling into a delicate point. She had one hand out to shake his, the other shading her eyes from the strong and harsh afternoon sun, but underneath her fingers he was able to make out a pair of sloe-shaped eyes in a deep, forest green.

Taller than average but small boned, her legs took up most of the lissome body. With her lips held together in a tight line, she reached him.

“I’m Stacy Peters, Mr. Stamp.”

He stopped and planted his feet, his gaze shifting to her outstretched hand and then back up to her face without taking it. Her eyes narrowed into a determined glare and it looked as if she wasn’t going to back down until he shook it. With reluctance, he did.

Like the rest of her, her fingers were narrow and thin as they coiled around his.

A blast of heat instantly warmed and calmed his entire body like a few shots of his favorite Irish whiskey did after a rough and painful day. The subtle aroma of vanilla floated to him, filling his senses with the sweet fragrance. The persistent, throbbing ache in his left leg the liquor helped chase away was momentarily forgotten with his hand rooted in hers.

About the Author: Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and was a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

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Dearest David by Glen Ebisch – Q&A

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Glen Ebisch who is celebrating the recent release of his newest book Dearest David, a romantic historical novel. He has joined us today to answer a few questions.

Do you play music while writing? If so, what?

No, I don’t play music. I find it too distracting. What I do have is a small cylindrical tank with plastic jellyfish. A fan moves them around in an amazingly life-like way, and lights turn them different colors. I find the changing hues and the white noise of the fan to be very relaxing.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

I spent most of my professional life teaching philosophy, and I always found it scary to walk into a classroom and try to convince a room full of freshmen that philosophy was valuable to their lives. Many times I think I succeeded.

What books have most influenced your life?

The early short stories and novels of Hemingway influenced me. And, since I am a mystery writer, I’ve found the novels of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett very formative, although I don’t write in their style.

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

If I were writing a mystery series, it would be about a young woman who is a minister and solves crimes. If it were an historical series, it would be about a strong woman in the nineteenth century who experiences the major events of her time.

What are your favorite TV shows?

I like Suits for its acting.
I like The Artful Detective for its plots and humor.
And I enjoy Timeless because I have an interest in history.

What is your favorite meal?

Most meals are my favorite. If I have to pick one, however, it would probably be chicken parmigiana. I could happily eat Italian food most days of the week.

When seventeen-year-old Abigail Taylor turns down the proposal of her suitor, Tom Dawkins, her family feels that she must go out and make her own way in the world. So a position as a servant is secured for her in the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Dearest David is the story of the few months in the year 1841 during which Abigail experiences life in the Emerson household at the peak of both its intellectual and emotional intensity. She falls in love with the free spirited but emotionally cool Henry David Thoreau. She discovers the power of the prophetic and frightening Lidian Emerson. She meets the charismatic and radical Margaret Fuller. And she learns to respect but also to recognize the limitations of Emerson himself. Abigail is eventually forced to leave her employment in the Emerson household under circumstances that are both surprising and disturbing.

About the Author: I have been a professor of philosophy for over thirty years. Most recently I retired from teaching at a small university in western Massachusetts. For much of that time I have also written mystery and suspense fiction, starting with books for young adults and moving on to writing for adults. I have had twenty-eight books published, fifteen of them in the last fifteen years as time has allowed me to write more. All are cozy in nature and suitable for any reader.

I live in western Massachusetts with my wife. My hobbies include reading (of course) and going to the gym. We also look forward to traveling to Maine and Cape May, New Jersey for our needed dose of the beach.

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Totally Devoted by E.M. Bannock – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. E.M. Bannock will be awarding a $10 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.

I’m E.M. Bannock. My book, Totally Devoted, has just been released by 5 Prince Publishing. I’d like to thank my hosts at Long and Short Review for having me here today. I welcome you out there and hope that by the end of this blog you’ll be enticed and intrigued enough to buy a copy for your entertainment pleasure.

I’ve chosen to tell you a little about the background of this book. It’s a meshing of real life and imagination. In the early 1990’s I found out, with the rest of my family, that one of my younger sisters had Breast Cancer. The news was devastating. My sister was in her mid 30’s and had two beautiful daughters; her oldest was just getting ready to start Kindergarten. She fought a hard battle; surgery, chemo, everything. Within two years she was gone.

Just before she was diagnosed she found out her husband had been cheating on her. When she confronted him he promised he would break it off but he never did. This should sound familiar with anyone who has already read Totally Devoted, since this story line is threaded throughout the book.

I’ve mentioned in previous stops that the idea for the book came to me in a dream and I thought of the storyline details on a jet circling the city of Detroit. I had always intended for my sister to be a mention in the book, it wasn’t until I actually started writing that I thought I would extend the mention and develop it into a sub-plot with a situation and solution at the end.

Without going into specific details let me just say that the majority of the storyline regarding “Shelly” is absolutely pulled from memory. The rest is what I call Therapeutic Sweet Revenge.

As for the main storyline, except for the two main characters sharing some characteristics of me and my husband, it’s pure fiction. We did in live beautiful southern Oregon for a time. We rode horses through the mountains. The descriptions of the town of Grants Pass and the mountain trails are drawn from memory. I hope I’m able to convey their unique quaintness and beauty.

One other interesting fact about Totally Devoted is that the short stories that Marie wrote in high school that she eventually turns into the book called Dirty Stories of a Rich Girl, do exist. I’ve just never turned them into a book, and I wrote them later in life, not high school.

I believe that the best writing comes from things you know. I would never write about a place I hadn’t been to myself. I’m planning on a trip to Nevada in the coming year to research my new book, Zoey’s Place which is about a woman who opens a spa/brothel for women. Prostitution is only legal in certain counties in Nevada and I’ll have to scout locations. I love to travel so chances are, no two books will ever take place in the same location.

I try to write in plain but descriptive language. I use everyday talk and words that normal people use. My book is strictly for entertainment but at the same time it is an example of the struggles and cruelty of life. How everyone deals with what they’ve been handed. And how, against all odds, two people, different as day and night, can find each other and, overcoming their differences, fall in love. The trials they face demonstrate the strength of their love and prove that love conquers all.
I hope I’ve given you just enough to make you hungry for more of Marie and Wil, and curious enough to find out how I take Therapeutic Sweet Revenge on the cheating brother-in-law.

This has been lovely and I want to thanks again my hosts at Long and Short Reviews for the opportunity to introduce everyone to Totally Devoted. Happy Reading and never stop believing in love.

Ten years after the death of her husband and young son, Marie Trousdale decides to move from Los Angeles, California to a small rural Oregon town and hires Wil Townsend, a local contractor, to build her dream home on property she inherited from her deceased husband.

Although they couldn’t be more different in every way possible the two fall in love. Things get complicated when Marie changes occupations. When she is put in danger, Wil must decide if his love is stronger than the differences that separate him from Marie.

Enjoy an Excerpt

From the description she was given by the hotel desk clerk, she figured she wouldn’t have much trouble finding the guy—grungy black cowboy hat, well-worn cowboy boots, scruffy beard, jean jacket, and Levi’s, sitting at the corner table. She was right. He wasn’t hard to spot. It was Monday night, and there were only a handful of people in the place. There he was, sitting at his regular corner table, with his back to the wall, his chair up on two legs, and his feet propped up and crossed on the chair next to him. There was a glass of beer and a half-empty pitcher in front of him. She wondered how many pitchers he had drained before this one. The desk clerk said he had a lot of funny habits. The clerk said the guy always sat with his back to the wall, so no one could get the jump on him. He probably watched too many John Wayne movies.

About the Author: E.M. Bannock was born in 1950 and grew up in the Detroit suburbs. Her love for writing began during high school where she excelled in writing short stories and poetry. Born with the wanderlust, she found herself in Los Angeles, an exciting place to be in the early 70’s, and E.M. experienced all that it had to offer. It was here she met her husband. She has lived in California, Oregon, Alaska, Florida, and Wyoming, where she now lives with her husband, son, daughter-in-law, grandson and a menagerie of cats, dogs, chickens, and horses.

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Finding Michael by Megan Slayer – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan will be awarding a bracelet made by the author and signed swag. (International) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Going home could be just the thing his muse needs and his heart desires.

Tristan Paulson needs the words to return. He loves his career penning novels of small-town love, but his muse has gone missing. If he can’t write, he can go back to his roots and sort through the items his newly deceased uncle left behind. Once in Sullavan, Ohio, he realizes just how much he loved the place. Then he sees the handsome librarian—Michael is just the kind of guy he’s always wanted. How can he go back to the big city when Sullavan calls to him?

Michael Kane wants nothing more than to be surrounded by his books and the written word. He knows heartbreak and isn’t in the mood to put himself out into the dating pool again…until he sees Tristan. He wants to be with Tristan, but he’s too shy. A handsome man like Tristan wouldn’t be interested in a quiet man like Michael…would he?

Enjoy an Excerpt

©MeganSlayer 2018, All Rights Reserved

“There’s a bookstore and it has a coffee shop. I go there. I spend a lot of time with Molly because she’s alone at the B&B. Her last boyfriend was a real peach and when he left, he screwed her over. Stole her money, wrecked her car…so she’s kind of touchy.” He stretched his legs. “Otherwise I do my own thing. I spend a lot of time at the library and working with the ladies group who helps the library.”

“No boyfriend?”

Isn’t he full of questions again? “No.”

“Me either.” Tristan blew out a long breath. “Why don’t we go down to the diner? I’m starving and…why not?”

“Sure.” He eyeballed Tristan. The guy wasn’t asking him to come home with him. Just a meal together. Why did this feel like more? Because he wanted more? Christ, he hadn’t gone out with anyone since Barry and even then, the connection wasn’t strong. He stood and stretched, then settled next to Tristan. He could be crazy, but he’d like to find out more about Tristan.

Tristan remained beside Michael as they walked to the diner. He could get used to being with Michael. He’d only been in town for twenty-four hours and he couldn’t fathom not having Michael in his life. As friends? Absolutely. As lovers? If he had his way, then yes.

About the Author:

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and BDSM themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been the runner up in the Kink Category at Love Romances Café as well as nominated at the LRC for best author, best contemporary, best ménage and best anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice.

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Sweet Nothings by T Nielson – Spotlight

Long and Short Reviews welcomes T Nielson who is visiting with us today to celebrate the recent release of her newest book Sweet Nothings.

Will a bitter bite from the past spoil a sweet romance?

Tristan Love, the youngest of seven brothers, is back in his hometown. He’s left the New York food scene and an abusive relationship behind him, but he holds his love of French pastries close to his heart and is determined to put his skills to use in a bakery of his own.

Returning to his childhood home means his meddlesome brother Simon will butt into his business, but before the bakery even opens its doors, Tristan’s delectable creations have the town’s mouths watering, and Jake, a cute mechanic, asks Tristan out. It all seems worthwhile….

That is, until the bakery burns down, Jake’s criminal past comes to light, and Tristan’s nasty ex rears his head where he is decidedly not wanted.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Okay,” Jake said. “Look. Not my business but—” He swallowed. “—your ex sounds kind of like a huge bag of dicks.”

“Not nearly that much fun,” Tristan answered, and then he slapped a hand over his mouth. “Oh my God, I didn’t mean…. I don’t want you to think I talk about my exes like that. I’m not a jerk. I mean, not normally. It’s just all new and…. I guess I’m still mad about stuff.”

Jake gave him a sidelong glance. He broke off a piece of the blueberry tart with his fork and ate it. “Sounds to me like you have reason to be.”

Tristan frowned and shrugged. The thing was, Christopher wasn’t wrong. Tristan loved his baking, and he had a belief that if everyone could just taste a perfect piece of bread, a slice of cake just like grandma used to make, the right cookie or tart, all the bad things in their life would melt away for that moment. It was what had made him want to become a baker. A profession that harmed no one and brought joy to everyone was the pinnacle of existence, as far as he was concerned. And if you put on a few extra pounds, well, so be it. Small price to pay for making the world a better place.

But to Christopher bread was just a thing people needed to work off at the gym. Or, as he never tired of telling Tristan, something he needed to work off at the gym.

Jake chewed and then looked at Tristan again. “Man, I’m hungry. If you don’t want me to eat all four of these, you should tell me now.”

Tristan smiled. Even if Jake was just humoring him, that was fine. “Go for it,” he said. “You’re actually doing me a big favor. I need somebody to taste them before I put them on the menu.”

“Oh, yeah?” Jake speared the tart with his fork and dragged it onto his plate like a cat dragging a prize toy. “Whyzzat?”

Tristan shrugged. “Nothing like word-of-mouth for spreading the news.”

Jake made a noise somewhere between a choke and a laugh. “Don’t I know it,” he said.

It was the perfect segue. Now Tristan could actually say “Speaking of which, I’ve had a couple people tell me you have a past” and make it sound totally natural and normal. Tristan grabbed a chocolate tart and leaned on the work table. “So, I, um…. Look, this is awkward—”

“Are you fucking kidding me?” someone said from the front.

Tristan started, and Jake jolted upright. His fork clattered onto the plate, and they both turned toward the door. A middle-aged man in a salmon-pink dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, black tailored pants, and really shiny shoes stood beside the till. He was blond, the blond softened by the addition of a little gray, and his naturally pale complexion was offset by two splotches of red on his cheeks.

“Two days,” he said as he glared right past Jake at Tristan. Tristan felt as if someone had opened a trap door under his feet. Surprise! He was suddenly falling, stomach where his heart should be, heart in his mouth. “Two days you’ve been in town. You bought a fucking bakery, and you haven’t called Mom? What the hell, Twist? What’s wrong with you?”

“Oh God,” Tristan whispered. He looked helplessly at Jake. “This is Simon,” he said weakly.

“Brother numero uno.” Jake nodded, looking wary.

About the Author: T Neilson writes flirty, silly, contemporary m/m romance featuring recovering addicts, mental health problems, and abuse survivors. Honestly, honestly, the books are silly. I swear.

Okay, maybe they’re also a little angsty in parts. After all, T grew up in the middle of nowhere rural British Columbia, in a family where everything was totally fine and nobody was an alcoholic, so she’s used to living the angsty life. And, yeah, sometimes her books get a little heavy. But her books are also full of good things like mugs of coffee, and hamburgers on the grill, and nights at the beach, and cozy sweaters, and getting mush-mouth in front of a cutie, and his brain betraying him with a freudian slip, and that gorgeous guy he never thought he had a chance with suddenly, whoa, in his arms.

Because, I mean come on. Just because we have heavy stuff to deal with doesn’t mean we can’t get a happy ending too.


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Interview and Giveaway: Kristy McCaffrey

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kristy McCaffrey who is visiting with us today. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a digital copy of her latest book Deep Blue, the first book in a sexy and suspenseful new series.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
I love it when everything comes together—plot, characterization, pacing. It’s difficult to juggle all of this and blending it together is a heck of a lot of work, but that’s the job of a fiction writer.

What is the hardest part about writing for you?
Often it’s figuring out what comes next, and when I can’t my writing comes to a screeching halt. There’s always so many potential avenues for a story to go, and sometimes I become so overwhelmed by them that I freeze. I guess this is writer’s block. What usually helps is to read other books, both fiction and non-fiction, and watch movies and television. Immersing myself in ideas other than my own usually helps me break through this.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
I spent a great deal of time studying accounts by researchers of their interactions with sharks, especially great whites. I learned that white sharks are cautious, inquisitive, and intelligent, and I tried to convey those qualities in my story. While they’re predators and deserve our respect, they aren’t the monsters we believe them to be.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?
I grew up reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy because that was on my mom’s nightstand, so I devoured Marion Zimmer Bradley and her epic Darkover books, as well as Anne McCaffrey’s (no relation) Dragonriders of Pern series. I was also obsessed with all things King Arthur. But when I was in high school, I read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and that book really showed me the dynamic that can occur in a great romance. So, while I certainly love to write love stories, I also need a big story behind it, and by that I mean a highly thematic element. I’m also fond of including a bit of the ‘other’—a blend of paranormal and mysticism—so that often slips into my books.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I was always writing, but it never occurred to me to be a writer until after I was married with young children. Instead, I dreamed of being a meteorologist, then a marine biologist, then a theoretical physicist. I also had a brief longing to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. In college, however, I studied engineering. And now, finally, I’m doing what I love, which is to write.

How do you do research for your books?
I read a lot, and I’ve found memoirs to be gems. They offer personal insights and generally touch on everything going on in a time period, such as fashion, politics, and the like.

How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?
I follow what I’m interested in. Some of my stuff has pushed the boundaries of the genres I write in and that has sometimes left readers unhappy (my paranormal western romance THE SPARROW has readers who either love it or hate it). So sometimes, I suppose I go too far outside the genre. But I was following my curiosity on the subject matter.

What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
The best piece of advice has been to write for myself. And it’s also the worst. It’s important to work on projects of which you’re passionate because it will be reflected in the work, but if you want to be published you must pay attention to the market as well as the genre you write in if you hope to sell that work. I especially found this to be true with my paranormal western romance THE SPARROW. Readers either embrace the out-of-the-box storyline of a woman undergoing a shamanic journey through the Grand Canyon in 1877, or else they dislike it immensely. It doesn’t quite fit the genre, so I respect the divided response.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
I have a very old iPod on which I make playlists for each book. The music is anchored predominately in the 70s era, with Fleetwood Mac, Chicago, Boston, Styx, Billy Joel, and Elton John some of my favorites. I just made a new list which includes The Carpenters and John Denver. But when I need music without words, I listen to movie soundtracks such as ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.

What are your favorite TV shows?
My husband and I watch a lot of sitcoms: The Goldbergs, Modern Family, and The Good Place. We also love any Star Trek series and have been hooked on the newest one, Discovery. I’m also a fan of Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, The 100, and Dancing With The Stars.

Favorite place to read?
I do most of my fun reading at night in bed. I love that I can read on my Kindle and not disturb my husband while he sleeps. I know the prevailing theory is that all that bright light keeps you awake, but it usually puts me right to sleep after about 45 minutes.

What inspired you to start writing?
I started writing when I was seven years old. It has always been the way I express myself. I wrote stories throughout grade school and high school, but it wasn’t until I was a young mother that I decided to tackle a novel. It was so much harder than I thought it would be, but I really loved it.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
When I get stuck it’s because my brain has hit a roadblock in the plot. I usually step away from the story and try to tackle it from a different angle. Sometimes I brainstorm with my husband and he usually offers all sorts of interesting ideas to choose from.

How do you develop your plot and characters?
I do it at the same time. It’s a back and forth process. I also usually am actively researching too (whether it be the old west for my westerns or, as in the case of my new contemporary novel, great white sharks). Often something I read will then trigger a plot idea, and frequently I’ll need to tweak the characters to get the most out of the scene.

What are you reading now?
I just finished an epic adventure novel called THE EIGHT by Katherine Neville. It was published in the 1970s but is still worth reading today. It’s about an ancient chess set imbued with properties that may or may not prove to be magical. I especially liked all the science that was included since I studied engineering in college.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?
I do like to keep titles short and sweet, which most of mine are. My Wings of the West series uses a bird theme, so it was just a matter of deciding which bird I wanted to use for each book. For my new contemporary series, I tried to pick short, punchy titles that conveyed the tone and setting of the story: DEEP BLUE (about great white sharks), COLD HORIZON (mountain climbing), and ANCIENT WINDS (archaeology).

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve published 8 books and 6 short novellas. My first book, THE WREN, is a favorite because Molly Hart is a character that’s very dear to me. And that book is what started my writing career.

When writing descriptions of your hero/ine, what feature do you start with? Eyes, hair
Sometimes I start with eyes and hair, but usually I begin with mannerisms. Those will often change as the story progresses, but it usually gives me a way into the character. The other part that really solidifies it for me is to write some of his/her childhood. It’s usually then that I discover the most important parts of them and what drives them. Some of this won’t end up in the book, but it’s part of my getting-acquainted process.

Tell us about your family.
My husband and I both work from home. We still have one child in residence, although she’ll be heading off to college soon. Our three older kids are all in college already. We dote on our dogs—Lily, a chocolate lab, and Marley, an older English lab we rescued earlier this year—almost hourly. Our days are quite mundane, which is exactly how we like it.

In the deep blue ocean lives an ancient predator…

When a photo of Dr. Grace Mann freediving with a great white shark goes viral, the institute where she works seeks to capitalize on her new-found fame by producing a documentary about her work. Underwater filmmaker Alec Galloway admires Dr. Mann and jumps at the opportunity to create a film showcasing the pretty biologist. But can he keep her safe when her passionate focus on the sharks repeatedly leads her into danger?

About the Author:Kristy McCaffrey has been writing since she was very young, but it wasn’t until she was a stay-at-home mom that she considered becoming published. A fascination with science led her to earn two mechanical engineering degrees—she did her undergraduate work at Arizona State University and her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh—but storytelling has always been her passion. She writes both contemporary tales and award-winning historical western romances.

An Arizona native, Kristy and her husband reside in the desert where they frequently remove (rescue) rattlesnakes from their property, go for runs among the cactus, and plan trips to far-off places like the Orkney Islands or Machu Picchu. But mostly, she works 12-hour days and enjoys at-home date nights with her sweetheart, which usually include Will Ferrell movies and sci-fi flicks. Her four children have nearly all flown the nest, and the family recently lost their cherished chocolate Labrador, Ranger, so these days a great deal of attention is lavished on Ranger’s sister, Lily, and the newest addition to the household—Marley, an older yellow Labrador they rescued in early 2018. Both dogs are frequently featured on Kristy’s Instagram account, so pop over to meet her canine family.

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For This Moment by Holly Bush – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Holly Bush will be awarding a $25 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.

1871 – Born to privilege and duty in Virginia, Olivia Gentry comes of age as women begin to find their social and political independence. She has been raised and educated to carry on the Gentry family’s successful horse breeding stables with her brothers at Paradise, their family home. Having been deceived in love as a young woman and unsure of her instincts, she is wary to commit to a marriage, but she cannot deny her long-buried feelings for a family friend.

Jim Somerset has been in love with Olivia Gentry from the moment she gazed up at him as a young girl. A farrier by trade like his father before him, he and his business’s future are inexorably entwined with the Gentry family. He has watched her be courted by statesmen, and considers her and her goals out of the reach of a common workman, like himself. But he is fearful that he will never rid Olivia from his mind and from his heart. Has the moment come for him to reveal his passions for her? Find out in the third installment of the Gentrys of Paradise.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Twilight had descended, though, and she wasn’t walking into the woods, where tree cover had already made it dark. But Olivia was heading toward the woods, where she could skirt the cool edges, away from the crowds until her breathing and sense were restored. She noticed two things as she walked. The sound of human voices had dimmed, and Jim Somerset was standing directly ahead of her.

“Of all people,” she said softly.

He pushed off the tree he was leaning against and walked toward her. He didn’t stop until he was standing close to her.

“Are you engaged to him?”

She shook her head. “No.”

“What did that kiss mean?” he blurted out.

“I didn’t kiss him,” she said and looked so forlorn, so lost, that he wanted to gather her in his arms like he would a sister or brother who’d skinned a knee. But that wasn’t quite true, or even true a small amount, because he wanted to ease her to the ground and cover her body with his. He wanted to touch her face and hair. He wanted to put his lips on hers.

“At the creek when you kissed me,” he clarified.

She was silent for so long he wondered if she’d heard him or was ever going to answer if she had heard him. He was staring at her, waiting, when the tears began to roll down her cheeks and drop off her chin. The muscles in his chest contorted and twisted as he watched each tear fall. He had to force himself to breathe. Her hurt, her pain, was constricting his heart’s ability to beat and his lungs’ capacity to draw air and he understood at that moment with some clarity what poets meant by heartbreak.

About the Author:

Holly Bush writes historical romance set in the U.S.in the late 1800’s, in Victorian England, and and occasional Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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Road Trip Frights by Vicki Reese – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Vicki Reese who is celebrating today’s release of No Tears for Darcy.

Hi! My name is Vicki Reese and I would love to extend my thanks to Marianne and Judy of Long and Short Reviews for hosting me today.

Have you ever been on a road trip and ended up on a road that scared the crap out of you? Or lost your brakes on a steep hill? I’ve been on both – and used these instances in several scenes in my book No Tears for Darcy.

The most scared I’ve ever been in a non-accident situation was on a dirt/stone road (hah!) going up a canyon outside of Wenatchee in Washington. Hubby and I were driving across country from Pennsylvania to meet our newest grandson. When my son said he lived in a canyon, that didn’t mean much of anything to me. Until I got there. The road was one car wide with steep cliff on both sides – one up, one down. And no guardrail. I have to tell you, I was not made for that kind of road trip. When I asked son what they did if one of the other residents was coming the opposite direction, he shrugged and said, “someone backs up”. I couldn’t imagine driving frontward on that road let alone backward!

The other time was as a young teen on a road trip with my parents. I was in the front seat with my dad while Mom and little brother slept in the back. We were coming down out of the mountains of North Carolina into a little town, towing a camper. I noticed my dad pumping the brakes – a lot. But we didn’t seem to be slowing down. In fact, we went faster. He downshifted to the lowest gear, which helped, and did a bunch of other stuff I didn’t understand then (but do now!). We finally drifted into town and Dad pulled into a small shopping mall and got out, leaning down with his hands on his knees. It was only much later (years) that I found out what had happened. Thank goodness my dad was a cop and knew what to do in emergencies. But it was a little touch and go there.

One other scene was loosely based on a combination of Duluth, Minnesota and a small town here in Pennsylvania. In both cases, there is a straight road on a steep hill leading to water. In icy conditions (normal in Duluth!) or without brakes, you have no choice but to end up in the water. Which I’ve seen happen in the small town in Pennsylvania (not naming names).

And people wonder why I don’t like road trips! LOL

Letting love pass them by would be a crime.
Former forensic accountant Cameron’s lost nearly everyone he’s ever loved, and now his vintage clothing shop has been broken into and trashed. When town police chief Will Carson asks an out-of-town cop friend of his for help, Cam takes one look at the dark-haired, blue-eyed detective and knows he’s in real trouble—and it has nothing to do with vandalism or murder.

Pete Minchelli is on leave from his job in Philadelphia due to a gunshot wound, but he figures he can help an academy buddy with some light police work. Plus, he’ll have a chance to experience small-town life. He’s tired of the big city and all its corruption. But he quickly discovers that not all the bad stuff happens in cities. What he doesn’t expect to find is death, treachery—or love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Although it was barely past eleven, the streets were almost deserted in the small town. He had to smile at the difference. Back in the city, things were just getting started around ten or eleven. Here, even the two bars in town were close to closing for the night.

He slowed to a stop at a red light and noticed that his brakes seemed a bit soft. “Have to get Zeb to check them.”

He chuckled. The lights were another difference between a small town and the city. At midnight, all the traffic lights here went on flash so those few individuals on the main drag didn’t have to stop the entire length of town. The cross streets flashed red, turning them to virtual stop signs instead of full red lights.

It was an interesting contrast between the two places. Here, on nice weekends, families and groups picnicked and played at the municipal park. A wide river formed one boundary of the park and gave access to swimming or fishing in the summer and skating in the winter. It was all very idyllic, like something out of a fairy tale. Oh, he knew the small town had its problems—all towns did—but between the two, he thought he preferred the peace and quiet to the noise and bustle of the city.

He got to the intersection where he needed to turn to go to the club and lightly hit his brakes.

There was no responding slowing down. Pete pumped the brakes with the same result. Nothing. The car continued to pick up speed as it traveled down the steep incline that led to the river. Pete downshifted and kept working the brakes. It slowed the car some, but not enough. He turned off the ignition and pulled the emergency brake on. He was still moving in a relentless line for the river and the small fishing dock.

Pete looked around for something cheap to run into that wouldn’t cause too much damage. Buildings and parked cars bounded him on both sides. The park ahead was clear. The tree-shaded picnic areas were too far to the left. He judged his speed and distance. When the car hit the flat grassy area of the park, it slowed more, but again, not enough. He watched as the river grew inexorably closer. With the recent rains, the water was almost as high as the dock.

He judged the speed. With the grass to land on, he could make probably handle a jump. He yanked at the door handle, but nothing happened. The door was stuck. Nor would the window go down. The car reached the edge of the dock and splashed into the muddy water. He dug under his seat for the nightstick he kept there and swung it at the windshield. Water seeped into the car. He kept smashing at the front window as the water crept upward. Outside, it was midway up the windows. Finally the glass shattered and water rushed in. He climbed out over the dash. His shin caught the edge of the window, and he swallowed more than a mouthful of dirty water when he gasped. He was already several dozen yards downstream from the dock in the fast-flowing current. He climbed onto the roof and propelled himself toward the bank.

About the Author:Vicki Reese has been married forever to the one person who accepts that she lives in a fantasy world most of the time. She’s even been seen at the beach building worlds for her stories. In addition to creating suspenseful situations or fantasy worlds, she is very good at boring things like writing procedures manuals and continuity spreadsheets, both of which she actually earned money doing. With a master’s in library science, she likes things organized. Okay, so her family thinks having the spice rack alphabetized is a bit much, but she has no problem finding what she needs when she needs it. And just because her extensive library is catalogued and organized by the Dewey Decimal system doesn’t mean she’s obsessive. Honest!

When not writing, Vicki can be found in the kitchen cooking up gluten free/lactose free/allergy free goodies for her family, or just watching the world go by from her front porch swing.

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