Most Embarrassing Situation by Kim Amos – Guest Blog and Giveaway

7_28 And-Then-He-Kissed-Me-Release-Week-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter to win a copy of And Then He Kissed Me.

Most Embarrassing Situation

I think embarrassing situations are the great equalizer because we’ve all had them. For that reason, I love to write them! I mean, everyone can relate to saying something dumb to the guy they like, or walking around with their skirt tucked into their underwear, or forgetting the name of someone they’ve met and standing there going “Uh, hello there…you.”

One of my most embarrassing moments of all time was when I biked to the tennis courts to meet a guy I liked. Right as I was climbing off my bike, my foot got caught on the pedal. I did this sort of hop-fall thing, which landed me on the ground, splayed out in the most unattractive way possible. My water bottle spilled everywhere, soaking my outfit. The guy was super nice about it, but oh man, I was red-faced for the rest of the day.

7_28 Amos_And Then He Kissed Me_MM Five years ago, Audrey Tanner flung caution to the wind and herself into the arms of an emerald-eyed bad boy biker she met at the White Pine Asparagus Festival. Two blissful weeks together convinced her that Kieran Callaghan was The One-until The One blew town without a word, leaving her brokenhearted. Now, starting a new job at the new Harley Davidson showroom, Audrey is floored to meet her new boss: Kieran. He’s still hot as hell, but she won’t fall for his sexy smile again. This time, she’s calling the shots.

Kieran never thought he’d return to White Pine, Minnesota, much less see Audrey again. Gorgeous and smart as ever, she’s just as irresistible as he remembered. She still doesn’t know why he had to leave-or that he’s missed her every day since. But he can’t deny he wants more than the no-strings fling Audrey proposes. As things between them heat up, Kieran must choose between the secret he’s sworn to keep and the woman he never stopped loving.

About the Author: A Midwesterner whose roots run deep, Kim Amos is a writer living in Michigan with her husband and three furry animals.

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Character Creation by Cassandra Dean – Guest Blog and Giveaway

VBT_TourBanner_SilkAndScars copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Cassandra Dean will be awarding an ebook copy of either Silk & Scandal or Silk & Scorn, a signed Silk & Scars postcard and Silk & Scars magnet (International giveaway) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Character creation

It’s always a bit strange when you sit down to write the first draft of a story. You’re not quite sure what direction it’s going to take, or even who you’re writing about. You can have a plan in your head, relatively clear, but end up with something so far from it, you’d never know you started with something different. This happened with SILK & SCARS.

I struggled with the characters in SILK & SCARS. I knew I wanted it to be loosely based on Beauty and the Beast, my FAVOURITE fairy tale, and that I wanted the hero to be a growly man full of bluster and arrogance. I wasn’t too sure who I wanted the heroine to be, but I figured it would come to me.

Yeah. Big mistake.

I really struggled with the characters of SILK & SCARS. For the longest time, I had no clue what motivated Gwen. I knew she wanted to be a lawyer, but the strictures of the time wouldn’t allow for someone of her gender to practice. I knew she worked in a law chambers as a scribe, employment that hung by the barest sliver of a thread. Beyond that, though…I was pretty sure her hair was brown.

As for Edward…Oh, Edward. You were supposed to be growly. Arrogant. Someone who bludgeoned through life with little thought for consequence. You were supposed to wear your scars with a ‘frak you’ attitude, and basically demand Gwen fall in love with you. Man. What happened?

Gwen, I eventually discovered, was a sweet person who was quietly bull-headed, effecting change with a quiet, sure manner. She loved her parents and her friends, especially her dearest friend Etta, and took immense joy in her accidental correspondence with her beloved new friend, Edward.

Edward…well, he became a sensitive, shy, introverted man who loved Gothic novels and wandering the moors. He treasured his correspondence with Gwen, and wished he could converse in person as he did on the page.

As you can see, the characters were vastly different from what I initially envisioned! However, I’m really pleased with how they turned out and now can’t imagine SILK & SCARS any other way.

I hope you enjoy!

Cassandra

MediaKit_BookCover_SilkAndScarsFor over a year, Miss Gwendolyn Parkes and the Duke of Sowrith have corresponded. At first an error, the letters quickly became something much more, a friendship forged on like minds and perhaps the hope of something more…

When Gwen is compelled by her employer to attend the duke at his Dartmoor estate, she is devastated to find her beloved friend cold and imperious, even if he is the most handsome man she’s ever seen – despite his scars.

Edward, Duke of Sowrith, has longed to meet Gwen. Arranging her passage to his estate, he is tongue-tied when confronted with her quiet beauty. All too aware of the twisted ruin of his face, he allows fear to hold him silent…until Gwen’s safety is threatened.

Finally together, they grow closer until it seems they can never again be apart – but can a commoner and a duke find a happily ever after?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Edward.” Her hand slid up his lapel. Turning, he found her gray gaze upon him, a faint crease between her brows. “What is different?”

He stared into her eyes. She met his monocular gaze, no part of her expression revolted by the eye patch, the scars. He glanced at her hand, stroking his chest almost absently, her attention fully and totally on him. “When I received your letter, the one meant for Etta, it was like a ray of light, a beacon through relentless gray. So I responded and you sent your next letter and they….You were so full of joy, it bubbled out from the page and made me think perhaps I could experience it, if only a little. You had Etta, and your parents, and your employment, and though all three annoyed you on occasion, you had such…illumination.” His finger began a mad rhythm against his leg. “I’ve never had any of that. I’ve been here alone since the accident. I didn’t go to Eton. I was too ill. By the time I was old enough to attend university, I was so far behind there was no point. I went to London for the Season, but…. That did not turn out well.” Memories of horrified stares assaulted him, the whispers and notoriety that had come with his foray into society. Forcing the memories away, he said, “So I came home, and stayed.

“Then you sent me a letter. A bright, shining thing, and we corresponded and I…I wanted to meet you. So I arranged it that Beecham brought you to Sowrith, but I never thought he would not tell you, that I—” He grimaced. “You know what happened.

“Then you arrived, you were here, and I couldn’t…. There were no words. So I stood like a fool and watched you, and I wished I had the words that came so easily by pen. You were just like your letters—bright and gold and glittering, with your smile and your lightness, even when you frowned. And that was amazing to me. You are amazing to me. I wish I could…I wish I could tell you…” Finally, he looked at her.

Eyes wide, she regarded him, her chest rising and falling rapidly.

Shifting his weight, he averted his gaze. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said those things. I—”

A gentle finger against his lips stilled his words, and he remained silent as her hand slipped to cup his cheek. The ruined one. Emotion shuddered through him as he absorbed her touch.

“See? You say such things and I can’t…” Her thumb tracing his cheekbone, her other hand slid up his chest to crumple his lapel as she pulled. Following her direction, he leaned down.

Tentatively, her lips brushed his.

Hardly daring to breath, he stood stock still as she hesitantly explored the shape of his mouth, her lips molding to his with small stops and starts. Her tongue darted against his lips and he shuddered, the sensation exquisite and overwhelming.

Wrapping his good arm around her, he urged her close. She came, her arms slipping about his neck as her lips opened under his. The wind tore at his hair and howled in his ears, his heart thundering in his chest. Her mouth was warm and eager, tasting of honey and gold. Of Gwen.

About the Author: Cassandra Dean is a best-selling, multi-published author of historical and fantasy romance. Her latest novel, SLUMBER, is part of Decadent Publishing’s Beyond Fairytales and features Cassandra’s take on Sleeping Beauty. Her next novel, SILK & SCARS, is part of her popular Silk Series, featuring Victorian Era lawyers and their happily ever after.

Cassandra is proud to call South Australia her home, where she regularly cheers on her AFL football team and creates her next tale.

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Frisk Me by Lauren Layne – Spotlight and Giveaway

7_27 lauren Frisk-Me-Release-Week-Blitz
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of Frisk Me.

Favorite vacation destination
This is going to be more of a theme than an actual place, but I love mountain/forest getaways. Bonus if there’s a lake nearby. When I hear “vacation,” I don’t see palm trees or beach. I don’t think site-seeing or swanky hotels. It’s all about the “escape.” I suspect it’s because I’m so thoroughly a city-girl. I’ve lived in downtown Seattle. Midtown Manhattan. I’m currently in the heart of Chicago with a stunning view of the Hancock tower. But as much as I love this, sometimes my mind craves a retreat, where I want nothing but nature and quiet, coffee in the morning, wine in the evening. I crave a place where I can hear myself think. And now I’m annoyed with myself for picking this particular question to answer, because all I want to do is go plan a vacation :)

7_27 Layne_Frisk Me_MMAfter a photograph of Luc Moretti saving a tourist hits social media, he instantly becomes New York’s most famous and beloved cop. When a major network decides to run a special on the “American Hero,” Luc’s boss gives him no choice but to cooperate in the name of good exposure for the department. Luc doesn’t mind the celebrity status-what he does mind is the gorgeous brunette journalist who’s been assigned to follow his every move. Especially since she also happens to be the same knockout that rejected him rather publicly the week before.

Ava Sims is a woman who gets what she wants. And what she wants is to be CBC’s lead anchor-but to get there, she’ll need to nail the fluff piece on the playboy cop. Luc Moretti is everything Ava knows to stay away from: a stubborn charmer with a hero-complex. But the more Ava gets to know Luc and his oddball family, the more she realizes that beneath the swagger and the blue uniform is a complex man who makes her heart beat too fast. Soon, Ava’s doing the unthinkable, and falling for the best of New York’s finest …

About the Author: A long-time romance reader, Lauren Layne thinks the only thing better than reading about happy endings is writing them. She now pursues a full-time career in Happily Ever After, a job she’s naturally suited for after marrying her high school sweetheart. A bit of a nomad, Lauren’s lived everywhere from Orange County to Manhattan, and currently lives in the Seattle-area. Her hobbies include coffee by day, wine by night, and lots of writing in between. She’s also a total website nerd and insists you check out her website!

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Create a Book Trailer for Free by C.C. Koen – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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

Create a Book Trailer for Free by C.C. Koen

Don’t think you can handle creating your own trailer? Wrong! There are many user-friendly, video generators available that make the task easy to accomplish. If you add images to your FB or Twitter page, then you can handle these web-based programs.

Stupeflix

If you haven’t created a video before, Stupeflix would be a good introduction. The interface is quite simple and you won’t be bogged down with a lot of extra features. The free account is sufficient for authors.

• Themes: sixteen themes are available to provide uniformity. There are two free themes, others cost $5.00, and a few are available only for PRO accounts. Stupeflix forces you to choose a theme for each video.

• Soundtracks: over 100 songs are provided, covering a variety of genres to suit any story. One-click is all it takes to add it to your video. If you want more than one soundtrack, it is possible, but capabilities are limited. Either choose a single song to play for the entire video or select music to play per slide.

• Sharing: many options available, including: email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and posting to a blog or website.

• Format: the ease of use is attributed to the slide format. Once you select a theme, you click a plus sign to add a title, image, or a video slide. To edit, select the pull down arrow that is provided when you hover over the slide (top right corner). Select from: edit, duplicate, delete, add text overlay, add audio overlay, add text to speech (Pro), or insert custom transition. The features are as simple as 1, 2, 3.

If you use Stupeflix for your book trailer, consider using my referral code.

Kizoa

If you want to add creative transitions, animations, and effects to your trailer, then Kizoa is the way to go. The interface is simple to use as well, but provides numerous options that go above and beyond any other free program.

Themes: there is a vast collection of templates available or you can create your video from scratch. If you choose to work from a template, music selections are also recommended. You can scroll through the songs in their library to select one that fits your theme.
Soundtracks: their library contains approximately 500 titles, including a wide range of options: holidays, ambient, soundscapes, classical, hop-hop, love, pop, rock, metal, folk, country, R&B, jazz, etc. A vast collection that will suit most authors. If you want to download your own music from another source, that option is available as well. Just make sure you are aware of the copyrights for any songs you use. If you decide not to use the Kizoa library, then search for Creative Common songs, and check the FAQs or terms and conditions so you are aware of how to cite the music, and who to give credit to in your video.

Sharing: a variety of options are included based on the type of account you have (i.e., free vs. premium): e-mail, Facebook, YouTube, burn a DVD, download, and embed in a blog. If you have a free (basic) membership, you are permitted to share via email, Facebook, Twitter, or a blog. With premium memberships you can burn to a DVD or download.

Format: Kizoa formatting is better than any other program. The features include: my images, slideshow maker (video maker), collage maker, my slideshows, and order prints. Videos can be created from a template or scratch. Either option you select, the development is simple drag and drop. Once you upload images, you drag them to the slide strip located at the bottom of the screen. If you want to add transitions, there are approximately 40 to choose from. Again, drag and drop into the “T” for transitions box. If you want to add effects like snow flurries, fireworks, glitter, sprouting flowers, etc. you drag and drop it onto the image and it is automatically applied. There is a sample screen that allows users to test any effect before making a selection. You can also add text, animations, and music to the slides.

Other Book Trailer and Video Generator Options

Fiverr

Still not convinced you can create your own trailer? Fiverr has designers that can help you. Fees range but most have reasonable pricing under twenty dollars.

Animoto

Animoto has varying membership and feature options.

Free: permits a 30 minute video, provides web quality, the styles are limited, and the music selections include over 300 options.

Plus: five dollars a month permits a ten minute video, provides web quality, 64 video styles to choose from, and the music selection includes the same number as the free account.

Pro: thirty-nine dollars a month permits a twenty minute video, HD quality, 87 pro styles to choose from, and the music selection includes over 2,000 options.

WeVideo

I’m a somewhat savvy computer user, but even I found this program to be a challenge. Perhaps it’s my learning style or my preference for a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWIG) platform, but after ten minutes of confusion, I gave up on WeVideo. If you are up for a challenge, then give it a try. You may have more success.

The membership options and features include:

Free: 10GB cloud storage, 7.5 minutes/month export time, video resolution of 720p, a music selection that includes 50 titles, publish to YouTube, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, Daily Motion, WeVideo, and free downloads.

Premium: four dollars per month includes the same as the free membership, plus: 30GB storage, email support, free WeVideo branding, and premium editing features.

Pro: fifteen dollars per month includes the same as the premium membership, plus: 100 GB storage and a reseller license.

Whichever direction you take, book trailers can be made on a low budget depending on how savvy you are. Even if you don’t use it for your novel, at least you’ll develop a new skill that can provide hours of entertainment.

What happens when a single mom’s four-year-old daughter falls in love with Mr. Right and she doesn’t?

Maggie Tyson’s rule: no bad boys. Her incarcerated ex-husband broke her of that attraction. Needing to escape his threats and the scrutiny of the people in her hometown, Maggie relocates to New York City. Determined to not make the same mistakes, she has a mile-long list of dos and don’ts. Unfortunately, her daughter, Cecily, doesn’t like to follow them. When Cecily wanders away from her and right into Rick Stone’s office, Maggie knows he’s the exact type she’s been trying to avoid. Can she resist him or will she succumb to his willful charm?

Rick Stone’s rule: bed them don’t wed them. Running a multi-billion dollar business doesn’t leave him with much time to do anything else, particularly with an overbearing grandfather breathing down his neck. But when a man works hard, he needs to play even harder. Voted America’s most eligible bachelor, Rick doesn’t have any problems getting women into his bed—except one.

Two auburn beauties stumble into his life.
One will break his heart.
The other—heal it.
Will he love or leave them?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“This place is packed. Why’d you pick it?”

Lodged in her brain for several weeks now, Mr. Stone’s guttural tenor replayed in her daydreams and in her sleep. She inched around performing a mental countdown from ten to zero, which helped cool her off when Cece pushed her buttons, and by some miracle she hoped would work in this instance too.

A steel gray oxford, no tie, and slim-fit pants with the same sheen as his button-down vest produced an unnatural reaction. Her tongue rolled to the roof of her mouth and withheld the groan his arousing professional attire and fresh-air scent planted in her head.

“Uh…” Mr. Stone narrowed his eyes at Matt and clamped a hand on his shoulder. His flushed face resembled the cherry red that often tinted joggers’ cheeks. “Buddy, you didn’t tell me Maggie would be here. Thought you said this was a business lunch.” He waved a folder and tossed it on the table.

Matt’s grin flashed toward her and then to his friend. “You do realize she’s cooking, right?”

Just then Mr. Stone’s gaze drifted across her chest, becoming transfixed for a while on the crisscrossed fork, spoon, and knife emblem at her left breast and then darted up to her face. If possible, his skin reddened even more as he dropped onto the wooden stool, an impact that scraped the chair back a few inches, rocking him into Matt’s shoulder.

“Let’s order. I’m starved.” An elbow shot given to his buddy, Matt knocked Mr. Stone’s bent arm off the edge of the table and pointed to the menu. “Pick something, fast. I need to get to dessert before it’s all gone.”

Using a similar mocking tone like Matt had earlier, Mr. Stone scanned the room while he spoke. “You realize we’re in a restaurant that has loads of food.”

She got a chuckle out of the amusing banter. Normally, she and Kat rubbed each other the wrong way. It was good to see the ribbing happening to someone else for a change.

“No, smart ass. Maggie’s extra special, sweet treat. There’s a limited amount.”

The menu forgotten and dropped onto the table, Mr. Stone set his chin in his hand and repositioned his arm where it had been before Matt knocked it down. In a seductive murmur he asked, “What sinful goodies do you have for me, Maggie?” Extended across the counter, his hand cupped hers from underneath and gripped it like a beggar pleading for anything and everything she could give.

About the Author: C.C. Koen writes contemporary romance with a twist. An avid reader who enjoys mystery and suspense, her stories will never be what you expect. Determined to find adventure in her dreams and life, she enjoys skydiving, sailing and any activity that challenges her. Teacher by day, romance writer at night produce an active imagination that comes to life in her writing.

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Hungry as a Wolf by Elizabeth Einspanier – Spotlight and Giveaway

MBB_TourBanner_HungryAsAWolf copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Elizabeth will award a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_HungryAsAWolfWolf Cowrie is back in his second adventure! In the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory in 1865, tensions run high between white settlers looking for gold and the Sioux people who consider this region their holy ground. When Wolf is hired to find out what happened to the workers of a mining outpost in the area, the general theory in Goldwater is that they were slaughtered by the Sioux. Wolf discovers something far more sinister lurking in the Black Hills, an ancient evil whose unending hunger drives sane men to ghoulish extremes.

Enjoy an excerpt:

It was a young woman of perhaps nineteen years of age, with auburn hair and brown eyes. She was well-dressed in a white blouse with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a narrow column of ruffles down the front. A dark blue skirt respectably covered her ankles and black boots, and her hair was pulled back in a style he could not readily see from this angle, with wisps curling delicately around her face. She was a pretty little thing as well, and Wolf wished he could have made her acquaintance under better circumstances—like, say, fully-clothed, rather than stark naked with only his hat to conceal his shame.

The two of them stared at each other for maybe half a minute—him in a state of poker-faced, heart-pounding embarrassment, her in open-mouthed shock. Wolf’s heart and his stomach had lurched in opposite directions when he saw her—his heart upwards to lodge in his throat, his stomach downwards to gurgle in low panic somewhere around his knees. He swallowed hard to try to clear the lump of nerves behind his larynx. Somehow, Wolf was the first to find his voice.

“Ordinarily, miss, I’d be the first to tip my hat to a lovely young lady like yourself,” he said as politely as he could manage, with a glance down at the hat in question. “But I don’t think either of us wants that right now.”

She blushed bright scarlet and whirled out of the bathroom without a word, revealing the bun that secured her hair and slamming the door behind her. Wolf put his free hand over his face.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HungryAsAWolfElizabeth Einspanier is the self-published author of the Weird Western novella Sheep’s Clothing and the upcoming sci-fi romance novel Heart of Steel. Her short stories have been published in Down in the Dirt and Dark Fire Fiction. She is a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild and an associate member of the Horror Writers of America. She lives in St. Louis, but frequently spends extended periods in worlds of her own creation.

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Balancing Life and Writing by Lori Handeland – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Lori Handeland, author of the Sisters of the Craft series. The second book of the series, Heat of the Moment, released June 30.

Balancing Life and Writing

Balancing life and writing is always a challenge, and one I’ve never been very good at. The only way I’ve been able to manage it the slightest bit is to treat writing like a job. I write for certain hours every day, and I don’t change that unless there’s an emergency.

When my kids were small, I wrote from when the bus picked them up until it dropped them off. If volunteers were needed, I volunteered in the evening or after school.

My family learned not to call during my work hours. I wasn’t going to answer. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you.

The problem I’ve always had is taking a break. Since a book is in my head, it’s always there. Since my office is in my home, same thing. I can’t remember the last vacation I took where I didn’t bring along a computer or a print out of a manuscript. I’m not sure there’s been one in the twenty plus years I’ve been writing.

I try to take weekends off from the actual creative writing. I still take care of social media and email, as well as packaging contest prizes, updating mailing lists, re-issuing backlist and the like.

In the same vein of working during certain hours, I also play when those hours are done. Evenings I read, crochet, watch TV shows, movies or sporting events. I go out with writing friends–drinks, meals, writing retreats. Which may sound like more work, but it’s so much fun I can’t really classify it in that column. I spend time with my family and their dogs. Dogs are great for balance. You have to walk them, and then, hey, it’s sunny out! Woo, hoo.

heat of the momentA spell that tore three sisters apart is broken four hundred years later, when the magic in their blood reunites them. Now, one of them will discover her gift-and reignite a love long thought lost…

Flame-haired Becca Carstairs was born to be a veterinarian. Since childhood, her affinity for animals has been special, and her healing touch nothing short of magic. But only Becca knows the truth-that she alone can hear the creatures’ voices. She’s always trusted her sixth sense…until a string of missing pets, an attempted murder, and a face from her past converge into one explosive mystery, with her at its center. Is haunted Owen McAllister, the boy who broke her heart ten years ago, related to the sinister crimes that have peaceful Three Harbors, Wisconsin, on its guard? Or is his reappearance part of the answer to questions that have troubled her all her life? As Becca delves into her strange heritage, she’ll have to fight for her life…and the man she will always love.

b>About the Author: loir handlandLori Handeland is a New York Times, USA Today, Waldenbooks and Bookscan Bestselling Author and the recipient of many industry awards, including two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America for Best Paranormal (BLUE MOON) and Best Long Contemporary Romance (THE MOMMY QUEST), a Romantic Times Award for Best Harlequin Superromance (A SOLDIER’S QUEST), the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, the Write Touch Readers Award, the National Readers Choice Award and the Prism Award.

Lori is published world wide in several genres–historical, contemporary, series and paranormal romance, as well as urban fantasy and historical fantasy–by such publishers as: Dorchester, Kensington, Harlequin, St. Martin’s Press, Harper-Collins, Simon and Schuster and Penguin/Putnam.

She also publishes gritty, sexy western historical romance under the name Lori Austin.

Lori lives in Wisconsin with her husband, enjoying occasional visits from her grown sons. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached at LHANDEL120@aol.com.

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Ten Things About Maggie Adams – Guest Post and Giveaway

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

 10 things most people don’t know about me……

1)           I could knock out three individually right now, but I’ll lump them together here…my age, my weight, my true hair color.

2)           I am the eldest of three children. My younger brother was killed in an auto accident in 1984, when he was 16. My youngest brother survived with minor scratches. I miss him every day.

3)           I wish Santa and Mrs. Claus were real. Just the thought of spreading goodwill, giving children a gift to make them smile, working really, really hard only one day a year, yep, that would be awesome. My husband and I would definitely sign up.

4)            My favorite dessert is cheesecake. My favorite drink is American Honey. My favorite chocolate is Dove’s milk chocolate and caramel. My favorite snack is buttered popcorn. My favorite meal is steak, medium well, wild rice and broccoli. My favorite flower is the pink peony. My favorite color is red. My favorite sexual position is none of your business.

5)           My bucket list consists of learning to belly dance, visiting the Vatican, meeting a friendly ghost, buying a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, being a featured author at a major book event, visiting every state in the US, and tracing my ancestry from Scotland.

6)            This is who I’ve pictured so far as the characters of my books:

Mac Coalson – Joe Maganiello

Dixie Coalson – Hayden Panitierre

Hank Coalson – Tom Selleck

Ginny Coalson – Goldie Hawn

Sam – Charlie Hunnan

Angel – Blake Lively

Chance – Henry Cavill

Georgia – Kate Upton

7)           If I was stranded on a desert island, (no people), I would bring these books:

The Joy of Cooking – because I’m going to need to know how to cook all sorts of fish.

The complete works of Alexander Dumas – because, well, it’s Alexander Dumas.

A comprehensive first aid reference – because I’m a klutz.

A book by Lexi Blake, Shayla Black & Cali Mackay – because I’m a horny klutz who likes to laugh.

The Boy/Girl Scout Guide – I’ve seen what these kids can do. It’s impressive.

The Bible – because there is something new to discover in it every day.

8)           I don’t read my reviews (good or bad), look at my rankings, or check my sales figures. Authors make themselves crazy doing that stuff. I make my husband do it. He’s already crazy.

9)           I thought I had a horrible childhood, and to many, I guess I did, but what I hear on the news today, see in the schools and on playgrounds…it makes me so sad. Children should be cherished for the beautiful, brilliant gifts they are.

10)          I am grateful, everyday, to be able to do what I love to do. So, I ask God to bless each and every one of my fans for allowing me to make you smile, or laugh, or give you hope for a happily ever after.

Sam Coalson, ex-Navy SEAL, has returned to Grafton for the wedding of his brother. After being run out of town fifteen years ago for a crime he didn’t commit, he’s determined to claim what is rightfully his and take on anyone crazy enough to try and stop him.

Angel Devereaux is smart, sexy and definitely on Sam’s blacklist. After siding with Sam’s enemy fifteen years ago, Angel can’t help but wonder what if….what if Sam had never left? What if he could forgive her now? She had her reasons, but he won’t listen. So enough with words, sometimes action is exactly what’s called for.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Sam continued to advance on her. “And you don’t even want to know what he was gonna do to you if he could’ve gotten a chance.” Sam’s good eye began to twitch at the thought of the danger she had been in. She had no sense, but by God before the night was over, she would know to never put herself in danger again. He’d see to that. Apparently, she’d been flying wild these past fifteen years. Well, that was ending now.

Angel threw her arms up in exasperation. “Oh that’s just great. Just swell, dandy, fine. I try to save your miserable ass and you’re accusing me of being unfaithful. Well, of course you would. You can’t trust me, remember? I turned against you once, right? So therefore, I’ll do it again, right?” she screamed at him as tears ran down her face. It was just too much! She couldn’t stand his mistrust anymore.

“I had everything under control. There was no need for your ‘help’ as you call it,” he growled at her. He kept seeing the lecherous looks of those men and the hands reaching out to touch those perfect breasts. She was his, dammit! No one touched his Angel.

“Oh yeah, right. I can tell you had everything well in hand. You were locked up, beaten up, and completely outnumbered. Oh, and the FBI was considering you an accomplice in the whole mess. They didn’t care if you were dead or alive. Yeah, you had them shakin’ in their shoes, all right.” She’s wiped her tears. “I was sick and scared for you, yet you’re so stupid you have the audacity to question my loyalty to you.”

Hi! I’m Maggie Adams. I live near St. Louis, MO with my high school sweetheart, Ned, and my wonderful kids, Katie (Kyle) and Ross (Valerie). My life is like a walking, talking sitcom from I Love Lucy, but I love it, although people do tend to keep their distance from me! Writing has always been my dream, with reading my favorite hobby. I try to include a little bit of my life in everything I write, so when you read my books, keep your eyes wide open – I’m in there somewhere! Happy reading!

You can reach me at http://www.maggieadamsbooks.com

Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/maggieadamsbooks

Twitter -@authrmaggieadms

Good Reads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9867300.Maggie_Adams

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A Time for Everything by Mysti Parker – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn commenter via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_ATimeForEverythingAfter losing her husband and only child to the ravages of the Civil War, twenty-five-year-old Portia McAllister is drowning in grief. When she sees an ad for a live-in tutor in another town, she leaves everything behind in hopes of making a fresh start. But as a Confederate widow in a Union household, she is met with resentment from her new charge and her employer, war veteran Beau Stanford.

Despite their differences, she and Beau find common ground and the stirrings of a second chance at love—until his late wife’s cousin, Lydia, arrives with her sights set on him. Burdened with a farm on the brink of bankruptcy, Beau is tempted by Lydia’s hefty dowry, though Portia has captured his heart.

In another time and another place, his choice would be easy. But love seems impossible amid the simmering chaos of Reconstruction that could boil over at any moment into an all-out battle for survival. Will Beau and Portia find their way into each other’s arms, or will they be swept away by raging forces beyond their control?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Now don’t give me that look, son. It’s been two years. You need to find somebody. Give Jonathan a mama.”

“He had a mama. And we’re fine.” Beau hated the way his voice broke every time someone forced him to talk about Claire, so he made his retreat into Scout’s stall. The sixteen-year-old stallion was the most level-headed Morgan he’d ever owned. He nuzzled his master as soon as he saw the brush in Beau’s hand.

Ezra followed, thumbs tucked behind his overall straps. “You’re not fine, Beauregard. You need a lady to run things around here. Harry and Isaac are back with the new teacher, right?”

“I reckon so.” He brushed Scout’s neck with soft, gentle strokes.

“Portia, wasn’t it? Portia McAllister?”

“You’d know better than me. I didn’t want to hire her in the first place. It’s bad enough she’s a Rebel’s widow, but Harry says she’s not what we expected. Is she blind or deaf or missing a leg or what?”

“Heck if I know, son. I ain’t met her yet, either. All I’ve seen is her letter.”

“And according to that letter, her husband worked as an overseer.”

“Part-time assistant to an overseer.”

“Same difference.”

“Don’t matter what he was. She’s a former schoolteacher. And you know Claire wanted this for Jonny until he’s old enough for the university. I ain’t gonna be responsible for her coming back to haunt us for not abiding by her wishes.”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ATimeForEverythingMysti Parker is a wife, mom, author, and shameless chocoholic. She is the author of the Tallenmere standalone fantasy romance series and The Roche Hotel romantic comedy series. Her short writings have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. Her award-winning historical romance, A Time for Everything, will be published this summer by EsKape Press.

Other writing pursuits include serving as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s seven week online course, F2K. She has published two children’s books (Quentin’s Problem & Fuzzy Buzzy’s Treasure) as Misty Baker.

When she’s not writing fiction,Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

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Meet Patti Boeckman – Guest Blog

Meet Patti Beckham

In my head, I have been writing since I was a child. I’d read a story and mentally concoct a different version. To this day, I construct stories, scenes, characters, conflicts, resolutions, all the time. In school, I loved to write. An essay was a joy for me. Give me a sheet of paper, instructions for the assignment, and I couldn’t wait to get started. In high school, I participated in UIL Ready Writing. UIL (University Interscholastic League) was an interschool competition in various subject areas. I won the writing contest at my local school, and the area and regional levels and went to state. There, in competition with the winning student writers from all over Texas, I placed third. The judge said I would have placed first if the second half of my essay had been as good as the first half. One of my teachers kept telling me that she thought I should write a book. Little did she know that, years later, I would write many books.

I worked on the school year book all four years in high school. The last two years I was the editor. I looked at the bland name and title used to identify the staff and decided that those people deserved something better. After all, we interacted with them every day. At my small school, we were like family. So I livened up the attributions with little blurbs about each staff member to capture the essence of their personality so that years later, they would come alive for us when we reminisced by looking through those year books. Today, I know which secretary’s pet peeve was people who didn’t talk loud enough on the phone, which one made her own clothes, which one liked to fish, and which one was irritated by rude people. No one before me at our school had ever personalized the staff photos with such commentary.

In college, my English 101 teacher asked me if I had read a lot. She loved my essays and said that only someone who read a lot could write as well as I did. Actually, although I read an average number of books, I was not a voracious reader. I think my inclination for writing came naturally from my gene pool. Three of my four cousins on one side of the family have all written extensively in various fields. And their mother, my aunt, kept a daily journal from the eighth grade until just before her death at 94. Writing may be a compulsion as much as it is a talent.

Patti and Charles BoeckmanAs for commercial writing, meaning I put something on paper and received either publicity or money for it, my first foray into that level of writing began with a short children’s magazine story. It didn’t pay much, just $5, but I could boast that I had sold something. You see, it wasn’t until I met my husband, Charles, who became a professional writer at the age of 25, that I grasped the concept of selling my writing. Somehow, in spite of all the stories and books I had read, it never really jelled that contemporary authors were out there pounding out stories for money in almost unlimited genres. Wow! You mean I might do that, too?

I had gone to college to be a teacher, a teacher who happened to love to write. But I never conceptualized myself writing fiction. Weren’t all fiction writers old dead guys, with a few women thrown just to keep things a little equal? Hmmm. So after the children’s story smash success, I decided to try my hand at writing a woman’s confession story. With help from Charles, I whipped it into shape and sent it in. When I got back a check for $125, I was astounded. That was around 1966. That seemed like good money for one submission. However, I was a teacher, and the professional writing bug just didn’t bite me very hard, so I didn’t write anything else for years.

Then, after my daughter was born in the mid-1970’s, we broke into the article market and both of us sold regularly. In the mid-1980’s, before one of the many writer’s conferences we attended where Charles spoke at workshops about his writing career, he was looking for a new market. Markets come and markets go, and his bread-and-butter market was on the skids. When his sister handed him a couple of Harlequin romances and told him how popular they were, and suggested he write one, he just tossed them aside and said he wasn’t interested. He thought they paid a one-time, low, flat fee for each book. However, a female writer he had mentored to write confession stories had earlier switched to romances and called to tell us about her royalty check from Harlequin. When she said she got several thousand dollars, he dropped the phone, grabbed up the romance books given to him by his sister, hurriedly scanned them, and said, “I can write this.” Two books read, and he had the formula.

At the writer’s conference, we went to romance workshops and found out that Simon and Schuster, who had been distributing Harlequins in the U.S., were no longer going to distribute someone else’s books. They had smelled the money of the burgeoning romance market from up close and were going to develop their own line of romance books under the Silhouette imprint. Charles sniffed the scent of money, too. So we made it a point to meet the Silhouette editor attending the conference, who asked us to send in a proposal.

All the way home from the conference, we discussed a romance plot. At home, we threw ourselves into hammering out that plot on our portable typewriters. This was before computers. We tinkered with it for a couple of days until Charles declared it ready to go. We sent it in, and a week later we got “the call.” Kate Duffy, the main editor of the line, said they had been seeking manuscripts for a while and were beginning to think that they weren’t going to get anything suitable, when our plot dropped in their lap. They were delighted. It was exactly what they were looking for. She said that if we had another proposal and could get it to them within the next week, they would send us a two-book contract and shoot us an advance as soon as we signed and got the contract back to them. I literally danced around the house and whooped for joy! It was a dream come true. Although that first romance didn’t bear the number 1 on its cover, it was the first proposal accepted and the book that launched the Silhouette romance line.

Later, when I spoke at writers’ conferences, and the Patti Beckman name (that was my pseudonym) meant something, the audience of aspiring writers, made up of all women, would crowd around me after I spoke and ask me lots of questions. When I tried to tell them that my books were a collaboration between my husband and me, that he taught me to write them and that he wrote some and I wrote some but they were all under my byline, the ladies gave Charles a dismissive glance and huddled closer around me. One of their prime questions was how I learned to write romances. I always said, “Oh, I did it the easy way. I married a writer. He taught me. Maybe you can marry a writer, too. But this one is taken. You’ll have to find your own.” Of course, I then gave them my best advice and said to read widely, focus a large percent of reading on the field for which they wanted to write, analyze plot, structure, characterization, read books and articles on writing fiction, and, if possible, find a qualified mentor to help guide them. And be sure to know the requirements of the market if you are writing category novels. For example, one requirement for category romances is no head hopping with point of view. Recently I read an agent’s website that confirmed that this guideline is still in effect for category romances. And I said to aspiring writers, “Never give up.” To anyone reading this interview, I would recommend this website: http://daringtolivefully.com/tips-for-writers-from-writers.

As for my byline, I dropped the “o” from the last name to make it easy to pronounce. Back then, romances filled bookstore shelves, and if a reader asked for one of my books, I wanted her to get my name right. As a matter of fact, unlike today where you have to seek out category romances, back then they were like tissue paper popping up out of gift bags. You didn’t look for them; they looked for you. You walked into any variety store, grocery store, drug store, convenience store, department store, and there were shelves filled with Silhouette romances. From the original one imprint to an imprint for every reader’s preference, they proliferated like wild fire. I think that, in addition to their natural popularity, they were scarfed up by readers who aspired to be writers. And Silhouette fed off of that aspiration. They held seminars around the country, inviting would-be romance writers to attend and learn to churn out the books of their dreams. Read, read, read the romances, soak up the concept, get at that typewriter, and become a Silhouette author! No telling how many book sales were based on that sales pitch. And it worked. Soon there were writers for every new imprint that Silhouette even whispered about. In fact, to the detriment of the writers, Silhouette came up with so many different lines, that any one book finally had a limited audience.

However, before that happened, Charles and I took to the road with our young daughter and traveled the country, soaking up backgrounds for our books. We spent five years writing for Silhouette. By the time we stopped, we had produced 25 romances that sold over 2,000,000 copies world wide. And I had made the B Dalton Book Store Best Seller list with a teenage romance. I had knocked the teenage book out in three week of marathon writing It was at that point that I felt I had “arrived” as a novelist. It was totally my idea, and except for a few editorial changes common to all submitted books, it was all my writing.

After our books were no longer in print, I got our rights back, and about three years ago, a Japanese company that, years ago, had bought rights from Silhouette for nine of our books, decided that they wanted to reprint those as graphic novels. So there was still life in those books from the 1980’s. Who knew? Since we owned the rights, we made the deal ourselves and are still getting small royalty checks. Now if they can just find life on Mars, maybe we can sell our novels intergalactically.

I have been both a plotter and a panster. At first, I was too intimidated by the blank page to start a story without knowing where I was going. But after many books, I learned to like the challenge of starting with a premise and just letting the story and characters grow as I write. However, I do begin with an understanding of the characters’ attitude and basic background and their main goal, etc. But I have never written dossiers on my characters. My mind can’t wrap itself around that. I don’t know all the details of their background until they begin interacting with other characters in the story and they reveal those details to me. I like to describe the physical features of my characters early on so that the readers can also visualize them as if watching a movie

As I write, I flit around in the story and imagine myself being each character. I picture the story in my mind as if it’s a movie, and I play all the parts. If I have a little child in the story, I become the little child. If it’s a villain, imaginary horns pop out on my head as I assume the personality of someone filled with rage or evil. In other words, I get to be a writer and actor at the same time. I like performing before an audience and love pretending to be someone else. That is a real plus when I’m playing with my young grandchildren and when I’m writing.

While I swam in and out of writing interspersed with teaching school, Charles kept knocking out a variety of books and articles. I did a freebie stint from 1992 through 1996. I wrote a guest column for the local newspaper every two months or so and got to see my name in a 10 point slab serif font and read occasional Letters to the Editor about my column. I loved the opportunity to write any crazy or serious column I wanted. I won a journalism award for my columns, which boosted my ego, of course. I learned a lot from that experience about the importance of nuanced writing as I spent time tinkering with sentences to convey particular shades of meaning. For instance, word order can alter the impact of a given sentence. Punctuation and brevity can speed up the pace of the story. Here’s an example of using punctuation for impact.

This is an example for a suspense story:

He walked around the corner and stared into the business end of a pistol aimed right between his eyes and wondered if he would die right there.

He walked around a corner. He stared into the business end of a pistol. It was aimed right between his eyes. Would he die? Right there?

Breaking one long sentence into several short, choppy statements conveys a heightened sense of urgency.

When anyone asks who my favorite author is, I honestly tell them it is Charles Boeckman. He has been an extremely versatile author. Markets change, and when the markets changed, he changed markets. Not all authors can do that. He planned his life as a kid and taught himself his craft. He has won two life time achievement awards, one for music and the other for writing. He knows his craft well, is still producing at age 94, and has a rich legacy to leave to our daughter and our grandchildren. And he taught me the intricacies of writing fiction. How could he not be my favorite? His biography is under production and will be available soon.

Check out my latest release:

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

Who Is Elizabeth?

Pit a feisty, she-cat against a reluctant interloper and watch the sparks fly.

When Elizabeth McDaniel’s reclusive, sheltered existence on her grandfather’s farm is invaded by Derek Huston, she cannot possibly imagine the stunning result of his intrusion into her life. And he has no idea how enchanted he will become with the lovely, spit-fire redhead who demonstrates her dead-eye, rifle aim on their first encounter.

Their first clash of wills precedes a budding romance, the flowering of Elizabeth’s musical talents with a guitar provided by Derek, and Derek’s acceptance into the family. No one suspects that Derek has a hidden agenda so explosive that, when revealed, it turns Elizabeth’s world upside down and her image of herself inside out.

No longer able to trust Derek on any level, she erases him from her life and from her heart.

Is there any hope that Derek can regain her confidence and her love? Find out in this delightful, warm account of two people whose lives are dramatically changed by each other and who have to sort through the rubble of their existence before they can know if they have a future together.

I actually wrote this novel after I retired from teaching a number of years ago. The markets were different then, and my manuscript ran into some bad luck. My agent sent it to Silhouette, where it languished on an editor’s desk for months. Then, the editor quit and left a pile of unread manuscripts on her desk, and, for some reason, they were not assigned to someone else, and all were returned to the writers. Mine was in that pile. That was pretty discouraging. However, I wouldn’t have given up, but life took a sudden back road and I found myself with unexpected responsibilities that left no time for writing. I put Elizabeth in a drawer and told her I would make sure she saw the light of day eventually. Although she was patient, she would call to me from time to time to let me know she really wanted to get out into the world and smell the fresh air and move around in her story. Finally, life found a feeder road parallel to the freeway, so I have some time now to get back to writing. Marketing has changed while Elizabeth awaited her debut, so I took her out, cleaned her up, and found a small publisher to present her to the world. I hope, if you read this book, that you will find her as delightful and interesting as she is to me. I created her, but just as I had a daughter who became her own person, Elizabeth has become her own person. She lives in my imagination. Now she lives in her own novel, as real in your mind as the person next door, your cousin, your best girl friend, your brother’s fiancé, or you. That is, she will be if you choose to meet her.

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Stealing Second by Alison Packard – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

Katherine Whitton doesn’t purposely avoid men and relationships, but she doesn’t mind that side effect of immersing herself in her job with the San Francisco Blaze. Years ago she was betrayed by her one true love, and she’s never fully recovered, though she’s tried by building a new life in a city she loves.

It’s taken seventeen years for Tom Morgan to get over Katie—Katherine now. Sober now and faced with the incredible opportunity to manage the Blaze, he thinks he’ll finally be able to handle working with this beautiful woman without falling to pieces…as long as she doesn’t get too close.

A crisis with the team’s star pitcher forces Tom and Katherine to put in long hours together. Years of animosity melt away as the sexual tension between them ignites. But it’ll take more than scorching kisses to avoid the wreckage of the past. And neither Tom nor Katie are sure they’re ready to trust each other or risk their hearts for a second chance at happiness.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Striding through the locker room portion of the clubhouse, Katherine ignored the players in various stages of undress and made her way down the long hallway that led to the staff offices. When she reached the last office on the right, she crossed the threshold, found the edge of the door with her palm and with the force of her ire, slammed it shut.

A perverse sense of satisfaction filled her as Tom Morgan visibly flinched and jerked his head up from the open laptop sitting on his scarred oak desk. In the space of a few seconds, his blue-green eyes went from startled to annoyed. No surprise there; it wasn’t like she hadn’t been on the receiving end of that particular reaction before.

“You always did know how to make an entrance.” His lazy drawl still held a hint of Texas and never failed to heighten her pulse. A fact that irritated her beyond measure. “What’s got your thong in a twist this time?”

“Rick Taylor.” Katherine moved forward but didn’t sit down in the chair opposite his desk. She didn’t plan on staying long. And how did he know she wore a thong anyway? “Why am I the last one to know he’s thinking about resuming his baseball career?”

Tom leaned back in his leather chair, a ghost of a smile hovering on his lips. “I doubt you’re the last person to know, and I only found out two days ago.”

“Why didn’t you call me immediately? If Rick is trying to make a comeback, my department needs to be involved.”

“It isn’t my place to call you. It’s Doug’s.” His enigmatic eyes briefly skimmed over her body, then lifted. There was no indication whether he liked what he saw. Not that it mattered. Not anymore. “Besides, aren’t you the one who said you preferred I didn’t contact you after hours?”

“When it comes to anything media-related, I’m on call 24/7. You know that.”

Tom shrugged, drawing her attention to his broad shoulders. The Blaze T-shirt he wore didn’t do much to disguise his muscular upper body. Although he didn’t play anymore, he was still in excellent shape. Of course, he wouldn’t be one of those ex-athletes who let themselves go after their playing days were over. He was still a perfect specimen. Not that she spent a lot of time thinking about him or his body.

Liar.

Okay, fine. Maybe she thought about his body once in a while. But only because it was an involuntary response.

“I assumed Doug would call you as soon as he got off the phone with me. Rick hasn’t made it official. There’s not much we can do until he does.”

Katherine gave him a grudging nod. He was right, but she didn’t have to like it. By all accounts, patience had never been one of her virtues. Starting from the moment she’d arrived into the world—three weeks premature. “I understand that. But I need to be kept abreast of the situation. I assume if he does intend to come back, he’s going to one of our minor league affiliates?”

“At the moment, that’s hard to predict,” Tom said. “We have no idea what his fitness level is. He’s basically missed two full seasons. If he’s in top shape and his skills haven’t diminished, he could be considered for one of the non-roster invitee slots at spring training with the Blaze. If not, he’ll start out in the minors. At what level would depend on him.”

“I’d appreciate it if you’d keep me in the loop. Due to the circumstances, this is going to be a big story. I’d like some advance warning so I can prep my staff and make sure we keep the media circus as far away from him as possible.”

“Anything for you…Katie.”

“Don’t call me that,” she snapped, annoyed that he seemed incapable of using her given name whenever they were alone together.

“Sorry.” The grin that played at the corners of his mouth indicated he wasn’t sorry at all. “Force of habit.”

She narrowed her eyes and gave him her best glacial stare. Not that it would do any good. As always, Tom would do as he damn well pleased. “Break the habit.”

About the Author:

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Alison now lives in Southern Nevada where she’s still getting used to the blistering summers and the slot machines in every grocery store.

When not working at the day job that pays the bills, keeps a roof over her head, and supports her book and chocolate habits, Alison spends most of her free time writing. But when she takes a break, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

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