Mud on the Cow by BA Tortuga – Guest Blog

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

Mud on the Cow
Hey y’all. I’m BA Tortuga – writer of rednecks and cowboys and down home folks that manage to fall in love, even when they’re getting dirty.

When my wife was living in Colorado, this old cowboy she knew was spinning yarns about his days on a ranch down near the New Mexico border. She bought him a few beers, and by the end of the evening, she had so many good stories she wrote the tab off as a business expense.

The best one was the story about monsoon season and the cow who got stuck in the mud.

See, in New Mexico, we have what we call monsoon season. Usually starts in late July, where a storm will move in every day and send a shit ton of rain down on us, real gullywhompers that can create some serious mud in the desert, especially in the Four Corners area down around the Navajo reservation. The old cowboy said he was heading into town from the ranch, driving along the barely there road, thanks to the mud, and he saw a cow struggling about ten, fifteen feet from the road. He stopped the truck and opened the door so he could stand on the running board and see over the slight rise.

The cow was sunk deep in a mudslide, caught and unable to get free, and he said she would probably die there if she couldn’t get out.

Now, his first thought was to grab a rope and go help her. Then he remembered he was on his way to church, wearing his Sunday best.

There was only one thing for it. Yep. He had to take it all off…

The story inspired me to write “Mud on the Tires”, which is the lead-off story in my four-story anthology, Mud, Movies, Bullets and Bulls, and I’ll let y’all read it to find out how I decided to write the end. You can’t save a muddy cow without getting a little dirty, now can you?

Much love, y’all. Seriously. Much love.

BA Tortuga

MudMoviesBulletsandBullsFSFour men in need of a helping hand….

When a cowboy finds he has grit in all the wrong places, what is he to do? Meet the man of his dreams, of course. But what will save two cowboys from getting bogged down in the mire?

An ex-rodeo cowboy who hates working with Hollywood actors meets a movie star who is looking for something real. Will they get a happy ending, just like in the movies?

A redneck ends up injured and stranded, and his old friend comes to the rescue. It’s the old story of the one that got away. What will they do to keep each other in their lives—and will it be too late?

A professional bull rider is starting to feel his age. When he’s injured far from home and his career is threatened, it’s up to his best friend to step in and point out the other options. Both men have plans—but will they include each other?

About the Author:Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

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Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press or Amazon.

A Bodyguard of Lies by Donna Del Oro – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Donna Del Oro will be awarding a copy of A Bodyguard of Lies (a print copy for a US winner or an ebook for an international winner) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_ABodyguardOfLiesThe past and present collide as FBI analyst Jake Bernstein is recruited to go undercover and investigate an elderly American grandmother, currently on a tour of England and Ireland with her granddaughter, who is suspected of WWII war crimes. Jake joins them and runs into complications when his growing attraction to the granddaughter challenges his obligation to remain emotionally detached. As the investigation intensifies, a neo-Nazi group tries to prevent him from learning the truth and achieve justice for all concerned. Danger mounts, and Jake struggles to stay alive long enough to either prove the old woman’s guilt or exonerate her.

Despite Meg Larsen’s mounting passion for the stranger who has joined their tour, she suspects he’s not who he claims to be. When she realizes her grandmother is the target of the man’s investigation, her first instinct is to protect the woman who raised her. Eventually, however, Meg must face the possibility of her grandmother’s lifetime of lies while forced to trust a man who has become both their nemesis and bodyguard.

Note from the Author

My new FBI series, INTERNATIONAL RELEASE-JUNE 8th, is the Jake Bernstein FBI series–A BODYGUARD OF LIES, Book One. If you love a genre that’s chock full of danger, suspense, crime drama and a heavy dose of sizzling romance, you’ll LOVE THIS SERIES! FBI agent Jake Bernstein is my epitome of a hardy, justice-seeking federal officer who combines good looks, a sense of humor and unyielding courage. He knows how to investigate as one of the Bureau’s best undercover agents, but he also knows how and when to bend the rules for the sake of true human justice.

The idea for this book, A BODYGUARD OF LIES, struck me when I was tipping a pint with fellow tourists at an Irish pub. There on the wall was an old, WW II photo of Irish dockworkers sharing their pub with German U-boat sailors. That started me wondering about the role that Ireland played during the war, its uneasy relationship with Nazi Germany and the German spies who infiltrated Ireland and England. Lots of research followed, which led me to a contemporary story about an FBI undercover agent who investigates an elderly, naturalized American grandmother, wanted by MI6 for war crimes. Little ol’ Mary McCoy Snider, a dangerous WW II Nazi spy who caused the deaths of thousands? Even Agent Jake Bernstein finds that an unbelievable stretch. The granddaughter whom Jake finds himself falling in love with also disbelieves MI6’s allegations.

Until his investigation draws him into the middle of a dangerous, secret neo-Nazi group that’ll stop at nothing to protect one of their own. And then Jake must choose, the old woman and her lovely granddaughter. Or justice!

Enjoy an excerpt:

Twenty minutes to go and they’d be boarding the motor coach. The fog was even soupier now it had been an hour ago. The coach passengers were finishing lunch and some were already stirring in their seats. God help him, he’d never sat in one place so long in his life as during this tour. Even at his desk at work, he was up and about once every hour. This sedentary coach tour was making his butt itch.

Of course, having Meg close by and unable to touch her made another part of him itch. His previous undercover assignments, when one of his duties was to schmooze a woman in order to get intel, were a kind of playacting. Playing the role of womanizing seducer. A ladies’ man, or player.

It was a job. If you had a certain look and background that fit the job, you were expected to do your duty. Typecasting, maybe, but he’d been rewarded with promotions as a result. Grandpa Nate had said once, right after Jake had joined the FBI, “You haf gifts, Yakov, you use dem. Yust like anybody else.”

This time, however, he wasn’t acting. His mind was crowded with thoughts of her, yearnings to hold her, talk to her, even just to sit next to her and feel her thigh rubbing against his. Thoughts of her crowded his mind, filled his every waking moment. Juggling his emotions and loyalty to Meg with his duty and loyalty to the FBI was—well, he hated to admit it but it was driving him to distraction.

The FBI might fire him for insubordination if MI5 got wind he’d alerted Meg to MI5’s arrest warrant. Major Temple and his team would throw him to the dogs.

And rightly so.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ABodyguardOfLiesDonna is a retired high school English teacher and is finally able to fulfill her dream of writing fiction. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats. When she’s not writing novels, she’s singing with the Sacramento Valley Chorus or traveling with her husband. Life is good and she feels very blessed.

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Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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LGBT Pride Month by Jake C. Wallace – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Hi, everyone! I want to thank Long and Short Reviews for having me on the blog. Soul Seekers is my fifth novel release. Being LGBT Pride month, I found some historical facts to share, and then read the story excerpt. Lastly, sign up for the giveaway!

I hope you enjoy this peek at Soul Seekers. Check in at www.jcwallacebooks.com for links to all of the blogs in the tour and you can enter as much as you like!

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 All About Pride Month

While celebrating Pride month, I thought I’d find out more about the history and how the commemorative month came to be. The following information comes from the Library of Congress. On their website, you can find information and history, presidential proclamations and collections detailing the history of gay rights.

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is celebrated in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan.
  • The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the gay liberation movement in the United States. In the US, the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as “Gay Pride Day,” but the actual day was flexible.
  • The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • First recognized in 2000 as Gay and Lesbian Pride month by President Clinton with Presidential Proclamation 7316. Acknowledged the prejudice and discrimination faced by gays and lesbians who “have had to hide or deny their sexual orientation in order to keep their jobs or to live safely in their communities” and the “prejudice against gays and lesbians can still erupt into acts of hatred and violence.”
  • In June 2009, President Obama issued Presidential Proclamation 8387 designated June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. The proclamation calls upon us to “commit to achieving equal justice under the law for LGBT Americans” and “to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.”
  • President Obama has issued annual proclamations for the celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. On May 30, 2014 Presidential Proclamation 9136, the President called upon us to “…celebrate victories that have affirmed freedom and fairness, and we recommit ourselves to completing the work that remains.” This proclamation references the 2013 case heard by the United States Supreme Court, Windsor v. United States which struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage law (DOMA) as unconstitutional. The proclamation ends with a call for greater tolerance: “Following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity—because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too.”

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6_22 Soul Seekers_finalNineteen-year-old college student Levi Reed has spent his life with hollow emotions and a darkness so deep that he’s convinced he’s losing his mind. He’d give anything to feel something, anything, real.

When a mysterious stranger appears, Levi is convinced the man is trying to kill him. When he’s near, Levi experiences head-crushing pain and something surprising—real emotions for the first time. Jeb Monroe is arrogant, self-assured, closed-off, and handsome, but his isn’t the harbinger of doom Levi assumed. Jeb’s mission: help Levi find his missing soul.

Levi is pulled into the secret world of Seers and Keepers, those born with the innate abilities to manipulate souls and tasked with balancing the negative energy they can produce. Levi learns he possesses a rare gift, and he’s in danger. As Jeb and Levi grow closer, they discover a group of zealots who want to harness Levi’s power to cleanse the world of damaged souls. Everyone Levi cares for is threatened unless he agrees to become their tool of death. But agreeing could spell the destruction of humankind. With no one to trust and nothing as it appears, it’s up to Levi to save them all.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Levi could scarcely appreciate the magnitude of the force growing from some primitive pit deep within his mind. It—whatever it was—was surfacing, ready or not.

He had to get out. Running was his only solution, the only thing that made sense. A break with one’s psyche had to be messy and definitely nothing a room full of his fellow students deserved to witness. It sounded like nasty business.

“Hey,” Gia whispered, setting her hand on Levi’s shoulder. “You okay?”

Gia’s touch shot pain into his bones and was more than he could stand. He jerked away.

“Levi?” Concern colored Gia’s voice.

Unprecedented pressure crowded Levi’s mind, and, like a balloon filled past capacity, something eventually had to give. Terrifying visions of his gray and white brain matter splattering across student’s faces, on pages of open textbooks, on Mr. Cobbert and that hideous tie covered with statistical equations, invaded his mind. Levi wondered how long he had before his head exploded.

Fumbling to gather what remained on his desk, he picked up his messenger bag and bolted for the door. What was happening to him? God, anywhere but here. The heat rushing through him spiked. A large black blur startled him as it passed by the window of the door. Taken back, Levi hesitated and then grabbed for the metal door handle. When he tried to pull the door open, a painful spark of static electricity crackled at his fingertips. Instinctively, Levi pulled his hand back as the shock snapped against his skin.

Don’t let the door close!

Levi caught the metal monstrosity with his knee and squeezed through, allowing it to slam behind him.

Which way?

His car. In the back parking lot. To the right. The hallway was empty. As he ran, the unrelenting cranial pressure doubled him over in agony and pain exploded in his chest. Stumbling to remain upright, Levi steadied himself with his hand on the wall and then pushed off, propelling himself forward. His thoughts were vacant. He was in pure survival mode, true fight-or-flight, however something was wrong. No. Something was missing.

The fear.

Out the front doors. Blinding sunlight. Colored figures rushed past him, pushing and knocking into him.

So much pressure!

“Hey, watch it!” a male voice yelled as Levi bounced off a body.

When his vision came into focus, Levi was well into the parking lot, dodging moving and parked cars. Another blur of black passed nearby, but he ignored it, not giving a shit. His only objective: find his car and fast.

Again, he doubled over as the pain escalated, this time accompanied by roiling nausea. Where was his damned car?

Digging deep into his front pocket, Levi fought to free his keys. Just as he reasoned the piece of shit must have been stolen, there it was. He’d never been so relieved to find the old, rusting heap of steel. Juggling the keys, Levi managed to hit the button on the key fob, grateful for access to the locked car.

As he dropped into the driver seat, another wave of mind-numbing pain knocked into him, immense in his head and blossoming in his chest as well. Not again. His hands pressed against the sides of his skull. Maybe if he squeezed hard enough the counter-pressure would relieve the pain, or maybe it would simply crush his skull. When there was a reprieve from the pain, Levi revved the four-cylinder to life. Without hesitation, he backed out of the space, then slammed the gearshift to D, fleeing, as if he were being chased by every scary monster in the history of scary monsters.

##

 

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About the author:  Formerly, I wrote under JC Wallace, but recently decided to use my full name. I have been writing all of my life but didn’t start publishing until 2014. In my day job, I am a behavior analyst. At night and on the weekends, I write about all things men. I believe there is nothing hotter than two men finding and loving one another, whether for a night or forever. An avid reader of M/M romance, I love a good twist of a plot, HEA, HFN, or tragic ending. I am owned by one beautiful partner, three kids and two grandchildren. I live in Northern Vermont.

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Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press, All Romance byeBooks,
Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

 

 

Could This Be Love? by Lee Kilraine – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding digital copies of all books on the tour to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Today, we are featuring one of the four contemporary from Lyrical Press, Could This Be Love?.

MediaKit_BookCover_CouldThisBeLoveEveryone in Climax, North Carolina, knows the Cates brothers. But Sijan Cates is famous far beyond his quaint hometown–and when he comes back, he brings trouble with him. . .

Avery Danford urgently needs to get back in touch with her estranged family. If only she could get her picture in the papers, maybe they’d track her down. . .and what better way to accomplish that than to squeeze into the world’s tightest dress and cozy up to the world’s hottest actor, Sijan Cates? It’s a crazy idea, but it just might work. And though the former actress has sworn off Hollywood hunks, she’s got to admit this desperate measure might be a pleasure. . .

Scandal-plagued Sijan has come home for some peace and quiet–and to stay out of the tabloids. Then a woman claiming to be his number-one fan plants a hot kiss on him–in front of a pack of paparazzi. There’s only one way to protect his reputation: tell the world they’re engaged. It’s all just a show, as they use each other to get what they need. But in this sleepy Southern town, love stories have a way of coming true. . .

Enjoy an excerpt:

“All right, let me see if I have the latest scandal straight.” Sijan Cates sat with his older brother in Dave’s Diner, a former passenger train car turned restaurant. There were two main entrances, one at each end of the car. Booths snaked around the front of the diner next to the front windows while a sit-down counter sat in front of a cramped but ruthlessly clean kitchen. Dave, the owner and cook, was known for his biscuits and homemade blackberry jam, and his burgers. That’s it. Ordering anything else on the menu was like playing Russian roulette with your stomach. But if you wanted biscuits and jam, a burger, or all the most up-to-date gossip, the diner was the place to eat.

“Hell, Ty, I came home to get a break from it.” He frowned across at his brother, but of course, it had no effect.

“It says here in The Tattler you got a sweet young thing pregnant and then dumped her.”

“I did not get a sweet young thing pregnant. I’ve never even met that sweet young thing. Hell, if I slept with even half the women the tabloids claim I do, I wouldn’t have time to get out of bed, let alone make movies.”

“According to them you’ve got a revolving door on your bedroom with a ‘Now Serving’ ticket machine attached to the wall next to it.”

Sijan leaned back as their waitress, Renee, slid steaming mugs of coffee in front of them both. “Renee, run away with me and save me from all this.”

“Sijan, if I weren’t having hot flashes, I’d be just another crazy woman trying to get a piece of you.” Renee tucked her serving tray under her arm and wagged a finger at him. “Now, your latest scandal’s got the Grapevine stirred up. I don’t think the Simon sisters can take the excitement.”

“Those ladies can handle anything. Besides, they’ve seen this before. Remember four years ago when an ex-girlfriend tried the same thing?”

“Thank goodness for DNA tests and poor math skills.” Tynan grinned. “She sure didn’t account for your six months of filming in Prague. You do attract the crazy.”

“It’s Hollywood.” Sijan’s muscles tensed at the memory. “Too many people can make money off you. I’m just an ‘opportunity.’ An opportunity to get a script read, a part in a movie, or free publicity.” “Or generous child support payments for the next twenty years.”

“Hey, I’ve dated some nice, normal women. Once I learned to steer clear of actresses.”

Tynan nodded. “That would explain all those models, politician’s daughters, and savvy career women.”

He’d be the first to admit he’d enjoyed the benefits of his moviestar status over the years, but he’d always shied away from serious commitment like it was a box of rattlesnakes. Lately though, the serial dating felt . . . empty. Especially after coming home and seeing how happy his brother Quinn and his fiancée Delaney were. “I need a hiatus from women.”

“Bite your tongue. Life is a smorgasbord and you are too young to go on a diet. Seriously, Si, I joke, but this”—he rattled the tabloid before tossing it down in disgust—“just pisses me off.”

“Every job has its downside, right?” Sijan shrugged tense shoulders. He leaned back against the booth, consciously willing his muscles to relax. “I’ve decided I’m just going to lay low and focus on my work while the studio’s lawyers deal with that.”

“You decided?”

“Yup. About five seconds after the president of Majestic Studios called me into his office three days ago and explained loudly and in a few choice phrases that my next two films need to exceed box office predictions.” Or else.

“One year ago, this same man couldn’t wine and dine you fast enough after your Oscar nomination.” Tynan sat back, muttering a graphic although physically impossible suggestion for the president of Majestic Studios. “Fame sure is fickle.”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_CouldThisBeLove

A former Air Force spouse, Lee Kilraine moved seven times over eighteen years before finally settling with her husband in the pine woods of North Carolina. She has worked as a physical therapy aide, a cashier, a waitress, an English tutor, a ballet teacher and a stay-at-home mom. Holding tight to her mother’s motto, “There’s nothing you can’t do if you try hard enough,” Lee returned to college as an adult and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Writing thirty-one papers in two years (she counted) rekindled her love of writing, and she set her sights on her other dream—writing romance. When she isn’t swinging on her front porch swing or watching another of their four young adult children leave the nest (she swears she isn’t pushing them out!) you can find her typing away on her computer with her golden retriever, Harley, destroying something at her feet. Lee is a 2014 Golden Heart® Finalist.

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

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

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

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

How bad do you want it?

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

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

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

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

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

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Cover Reveal: The Deep End by Kristen Ashley

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

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

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

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

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

Falling for Sarah by Cate Beauman – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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

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

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

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s One Person’s Opinion, But…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1_Cover_CrossKeys_Elvenrude TrilogyCross Keys (Elvenrude Book 1)

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

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

2_Cover_Revelation_Elvenrude TrilogyCross Keys: Revelation (Elvenrude Book 2)

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

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

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

3_Cover_Unity_Elvenrude TrilogyCross Keys: Unity (Elvenrude Book 3)

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

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

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

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

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

“You know that isn’t what I meant.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View the book video for Cross Keys: Revelation:

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

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From Fake to Forever by Jennifer Shirk – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

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

Enjoy an excerpt:

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

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

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

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

Actors. Did their profession ever mesh with reality?

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

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

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

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

She’d kill for that kind of stress again.

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

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

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

Oh. My. Goodness.

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

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

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

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

One deadbeat per lifetime was enough.

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

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

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

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The Sheik’s Desires by Elizabeth Lennox and Leslie North – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $10 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. The book is currently only $0.99!

MediaKit_BookCover_TheSheiksDesiresGet four breath-taking sheik romances from two of your favorite authors – all in the same boxset!

The Sheik’s Challenge by Elizabeth Lennox

When she sings, she sounds like a cat in heat…but Ana, a brilliant mathematician, stuns and surprises Najid del Sabur, Sheik of Safir. Her bright eyes defy him and her smiles sooth him, while her body makes him lust for her. But can he catch her? Can he convince her that her past won’t hurt their future?

The Prince’s Challenge by Elizabeth Lennox

She can’t sit still. She’s beaten every nurse and doctor on her floor at cards. And she’s achingly beautiful. But is she friend or foe? Having been caught in the line of fire by a bullet meant for his brother, Prince Jual del Sabur, Minister of Defense for Safir can’t decide if the lovely Sonya was part of the assassination attempt or innocent and just caught by bad timing. All he knows is that he is definitely caught by her startling eyes and her soft sighs as he explores that question.

The Sheikh’s Untraditional Lover by Leslie North

Ultra-traditional and devastatingly handsome Prince Zafar Tadros thinks a business/sports complex is not what is needed for his country—but he believes in helping his family. With the region increasingly doing more business with Western companies, his father Sheikh Ahmadi has ordered this new business/sports complex to be a mix between West and East cultures.

Zafar has decided he will work to integrate as much traditional elements as possible, but Belle Mooney, an innovative American architect has taken her direction from Zafar’s father and is going for innovations. The two clash over designs—and only one can win.

The Sheikh’s Stubborn Partner by Leslie North

With the deadline fast approaching, playboy Prince Adyan Tadros must supervise the only construction company that will take on the job of building the business/sports center in less than six months. The meticulous Edna Abbey has taken over her father’s construction company while he recovers from a stroke, and the last thing she wants to do is rush the project. But with attraction between her and the Prince growing everyday, she may be glad for the distraction…

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from The Sheik’s Untraditional Lover by Leslie North:

Belle Reynolds could feel her cheeks warming. How did she get herself into these things?

It was obvious that Sheik Zafar hadn’t been told that she was to be the lead architect. It was equally obvious Zafar wasn’t happy about it, but his dad seemed more than pleased.

Sheik Ahmadi looked a lot like his son—both tall men, lean and handsome. Zafar was a touch taller than his father with dark hair that curled slightly on the ends and golden eyes that reminded her of a lion. A little too much like a lion since he left her feeling like a fat zebra he was watching with a mixture of animosity and calculation. He was watching her with a mixture of animosity and calculation. Well, if he thought she could be intimidated, he was wrong. She wasn’t going to be a zebra, she’d turn herself into one of those ugly wildebeests who could best a lion. She had to stifle a snort at the idea.

Zafar shot her a narrow-eyed glance, as if he disapproved of levity, but he turned to the sheik. “Father, it is good to see you so early in the day. You don’t often take breakfast.”

“We don’t often have such a charming guest in residence.” The sheik seated himself. Zafar filled a glass with coffee from a carafe, and Belle sat down again, too. She was still trying to figure out the dynamic here.

Zafar Tadros was one of the most gorgeous men she’d ever met. He had a classic profile—straight nose, strong jaw and high cheekbones. Hollywood would love him and those dark, brooding good looks. One glance at him and her heart had started pounding like she was a high school girl gazing at her first crush. She’d told herself to get it together, get over it and get to work. Work was what mattered—she had a chance to prove herself here and she wasn’t going to blow it.

She took a short breath now, smiled, and ate another date even thought she didn’t really like them—too sweet and sticky. She also gave Sheik Ahmadi a long, assessing glance—he was going to be her supporter, even if Zafar looked like he wanted to pack her bags and ship her home on the next flight out. “I’m ready to get to work right after breakfast,” she offered, hoping that would get her mind back where it was supposed to be. On work. Not on Zafar and the muscles she could see under that tight T-shirt of his.

Sheik Ahmadi rubbed his hands together. “Excellent. We should talk about some preliminary ideas and schedules. I think a week is good for you two to come up with initial sketches. Old and new. That is what I want to see. We want a complex that is so compelling even movie firms want to film there—it must become an icon of all that is good in Scaran. Our traditions and our future!”

Belle watched Zafar’s face go from suppressed anger to calculating. When she met his gaze again, she saw a look in his eyes that sent a shiver down her spine. He was plotting something—and he’d just dismissed her as any kind of problem.

Well, this problem would not be easy to solve.

About the Authors:

Leslie North
Read FIVE full-length, highly rated Leslie North novellas for FREE! Sign up for free books here.

Leslie North is the pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women’s contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.

The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren’t afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.

Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.

She LOVES reader feedback, and if you have any comments, don’t hesitate to contact her via email.

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Elizabeth Lennox
USA Today (c) bestselling author Elizabeth Lennox writes contemporary romance novels featuring sheiks, business tycoons, royalty, and other sexy rich men. Her male lead characters are smart, driven and determined, but can still be sensitive and vulnerable. Elizabeth’s female lead characters come from a variety of backgrounds. They are strong, intelligent and independent, while still feminine and caring.

Although Elizabeth wanted to be a romance novelist since the eighth grade, that dream only became a (paid) reality for her in 2009 and a full time job in 2012. Along the way, she received a BS in History and held different jobs in the real estate, government consulting, and financial industries. All during that time, though, she was always writing, using her personal experiences, dreams, and travels throughout the United States, Europe and the Caribbean as backdrops for her stories. To date, she has written over 80 books and sold over 1.7 million copies. Her free novellas have been downloaded over 2.9 million times since 2013.

Elizabeth lives in Virginia with her husband and two children. Their home is just outside of Washington, D.C., and many of her novels are set in this area.

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