Hamlet’s Slippery World by P.M. Carlson – guest blog and giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn commenter will receive a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card (winner’s choice). Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

HAMLET’S SLIPPERY WORLD

It was a small off-off-Broadway theatre, with a dedicated company of actors, a tiny budget, an audience of less than a hundred people. Yet when the lights went down and the palace guard cried “Who’s there?” I was plunged not only into the show in front of me, but also back in time as this new presentation raised echoes of the many previous HAMLETs I’ve seen.

Most especially, this show awakened memories of a long-ago production in my student days at Cornell University.

I was finishing a degree in experimental psychology, and raising two little boys, but I was married to an actor/director/professor so I remained close to the theatre where I’d worked for years. That Cornell production was the keystone of a festival devoted to HAMLET. Most of the shows I’d worked on had all-student casts, but for this special production, Cornell had hired professional actors for the major roles in the great tragedy.

So the rehearsals felt different. Student actors were a little jealous that they weren’t even considered for the best roles, yet awed to be working next to professionals, people who actually earned money acting. And the professionals were intrigued by the often talented but green students rehearsing beside them, like younger versions of themselves. Younger versions who didn’t yet know how much hard work and sacrifice would be required, who didn’t yet know how little money would actually be earned, who didn’t yet know that actors–– except for the tiny percentage who are stars–– often live in squalid conditions of near-poverty as they trudge to audition after audition. These backstage dynamics fascinated me as a psychology student too.

A few years later, living in Indiana far from Cornell, I decided to write a mystery. I already knew I wanted my detective, Maggie Ryan, to be a working mother of small children, like me. But unlike me, she was going to solve crimes. I soon realized I’d better figure out how she became a woman who would take precious time and energy from her family and her job to chase murderers.

So the series began in Maggie’s college years in the late ‘60’s. Maybe a bit homesick, I put her into a familiar situation: a tech crew at an upstate New York university theatre production. A production of–– why not HAMLET?

It was a casual decision, I thought. I knew and loved the play, I was sure many readers would too, and I’d been close to the Cornell production with its interesting psychological dynamics backstage.

But looking back, I think my subconscious had a few other reasons for choosing HAMLET, reasons that resonate through the whole series.

Shakespeare’s play is set at a time of war and threatened invasion. Whether Danish, Elizabethan, or Vietnam-era American, this background affects people. Claudius, suddenly and insecurely the king, struggles to make his government look stable, to block possible invasions of his realm. Prince Hamlet measures himself against the warrior ideal of masculinity, Fortinbras embodies it.

The play is also set in a family in crisis. Hamlet’s beloved father has just died, his beloved mother has, in his eyes, betrayed his father by her quick remarriage. Claudius attempts to win over the grieving, hostile prince. Gertrude is torn between the needs of her son and her husband. Family attachments, love, memories, betrayals, and.even the supernatural world get involved. The ghost of Hamlet’s father claims he was murdered by Claudius and demands that Hamlet live up to his moral duty, revenge.

The plot unrolls as Hamlet tries to discover what’s true in his slippery world. Did the ghost speak truth? Will Claudius reveal his guilt if he sees the murder reenacted? Will Hamlet’s feigned madness fool Claudius? If his father’s death was murder, can he avenge it? Can he, like Fortinbras, live up to society’s warrior ideal?

It’s true that HAMLET is so rich and complex that it can be interpreted and played in many different valid, truthful ways. It’s also true that many good stories share a number of themes with Shakespeare’s great play–– including most mysteries. We mystery writers chronicle slippery worlds like Hamlet’s, where little is known and our detectives, spurred on by a sense of justice as strong as Hamlet’s ghost, seek to discover if murders have been committed, and who did them, and who’s hiding crimes, and why.

So it’s not surprising that, as the actors in my novel focused on bringing the characters in Shakespeare’s play to life, similar concerns crept into the mystery I was writing, Its world became slippery too. One of my heroes was enacting the play’s villain–– was something similar happening in the cast or crew? Were there secret love affairs?. Was the death a murder, or not? If so, could the players help solve it? The story in AUDITION FOR MURDER reflected more themes in HAMLET than I’d consciously realized when I chose it.

In fact, as I continued writing the Vietnam-era Maggie Ryan mysteries, I felt the spirit of HAMLET hovering over the whole series. Actor Nick O’Connor is a major character in most of the books, and like many actors, lines from plays–– especially Shakespeare’s–– run through his head as he observes the world. On a deeper level, the series is concerned with similar themes: the effects of war on combatants and non-combatants both, family dynamics, the importance and stresses of being good parents, the difficulty of finding the truth, the necessity of play and laughter and friends, the restrictions of society’s idealized roles, and a major question in all the novels: how should good people respond to evil?

Hamlet’s slippery world is a lot like ours.

Enjoy the author talking about the book:

9781932325218-Perfect AUDITION FOR MURDER (Maggie Ryan 1967) Actors Nick and Lisette O’Connor need a change. They leave New York City for a semester as artists-in-residence at a college upstate, where they take on the roles of Claudius and Ophelia, two of the professional leads in a campus production of Hamlet. Threats and accidents begin to follow Lisette, and Nick worries it might be more than just petty jealousy. Maggie Ryan, a student running lights for the show, helps investigate a mystery steeped in the turmoil of 1967 America.

About the AuthorMEDIA KIT  PM Carlson PhotoP.M. Carlson taught psychology and statistics at Cornell University before deciding that mystery writing was more fun. She has published twelve mystery novels and over a dozen short stories. Her novels have been nominated for an Edgar Award, a Macavity Award, and twice for Anthony Awards. Two short stories were finalists for Agatha Awards. She edited the Mystery Writers Annual for Mystery Writers of America for several years, and served as president of Sisters in Crime.

Author Website ~ Publisher Website
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The Making of a Romance Writer by Maria Alexander

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card via the Rafflecopter below. Click the banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Making of a Romance Writer
by Maria K. Alexander, Author of Untangle My Heart
How many of us have imagined what it would be like to be famous? If you did, maybe you dreamed of wearing glamorous clothes, fabulous shoes and sparkling jewelry. Don’t forget limos and champagne along with a sexy man escorting you across a red carpet.

When I think of my early impressions of a romance writer, I think of Danielle Steel. She was one of my favorite authors who got me enthralled with reading romance as a young girl. I remember looking at her author photo at the end of her book, where she’d always be wearing something sophisticated and gorgeous, and I’d say to myself, “I want to be like her.”

Well, here’s a reality check…

This writer’s everyday life is not glamorous.

I get too little sleep, don’t keep the house as neat as I’d like, I miss out on the occasional softball game all in the name of writing. Like many, I juggle a day job, family, fitness, friends and writing. It’s a journey I started over five years ago and despite the missed sleep, I wouldn’t change it.

I’ve always been a goal-oriented person. And any goal worth striding toward is worth some self-sacrifice. I thought long and hard before embarking on this journey. I armed myself with data on the craft of writing, attended a countless number of workshops, and have worked hard to strengthen my skills. It’s not an easy journey and has the potential for failure. Even knowing this, I was still intent on pursuing my dream.

“Failure is not your final destination.” Vernice Armour
I heard these words from a motivational speaker at my day job. This phrase, along with her workshop (and book) really resonated with me. The journey through life can be challenging. For some, more so than others. The same applies to writers. Some people write one book, get and agent, and get published. Others have written ten or more before they’re picked up. Many more are still struggling.

I’ve been blessed that it only took five years and two manuscripts before I got published. It wasn’t easy and I had a lot of challenges to work through. And I still do. Because there are so many opportunities for publication, writers have to work harder to write the best story possible. We have to keep our material fresh and engaging to our readers.

And now that I’ve reached one goal—publication—it’s not over. The journey doesn’t stop with the publication of a book. Rather, it’s a start of a whole new phase. Now that I’ve reached that bar, I raise it up and try for the next goal. In my way of thinking, the bar never stops moving. You’re in charge of where you set it and how quickly you choose to move to get there. Sometimes life gets in the way and you sit idle for a while. And that’s okay. But keep moving, even if it’s moving in place.

The making of a romance writer isn’t always glamorous, and it certainly has its ups and downs, but I’ve met a lot of fabulous authors and made new friends. This July, I’ll head down to San Antonio, Texas for Romance Writers of America’s annual conference. I’ll be in the presence of awe-inspiring authors like Nora Roberts, Kristin Higgins, Jill Shalvis, and many others. For the first time, I’ll get to sign at the “Readers for Life” Literacy book signing. And while I won’t attract the masses like the wonderful ladies I just mentioned, I hope to connect with a few readers who will be attracted by my cover and stop by my table. I’ll get to dress up and attend an award ceremony to recognize achievement in writing. For those few days, I will feel…not exactly famous…but part of greatness. And it will bring a smile to my lips and help me remember all that I’ve accomplished and what’s more to come.

perf5.000x8.000.inddWhen her marriage ended in tragedy, Kate DiFrancesco rebuilt her life, but has never gotten over the pain of what she lost. Seeking the help of an ex-lover ignites feelings she’s promised never to have again. She’ll need to untangle herself from dangers in her past in order to break the hard shell around her heart.

Edward Weston has a lot to prove, both to his stuffy upper-crust British family, and to himself. Working alongside Kate, a woman he had a casual relationship with, stirs unexpected feelings. Helping her family makes him realize what he’s missing. For the first time, he wants more than a one-night stand.

When Kate is threatened, Edward must overcome feeling unworthy to protect the woman he loves and fight for the family he never thought he’d have.

About the Author: MEDIA KIT Headshot - Maria K. Alexander (2)

A romantic at heart, Maria K. Alexander spent hours as a young girl getting lost in and wishing to be one of the heroines in the stories she read. Books gave her the ability to go to another world where she loved meeting new characters, learning about their problems, and watching them fall in love.

 

Maria blogs about her writing journey with The Violet Femmes at http://thevioletfemmes.com. When not writing, Maria loves to read, bake, downhill ski, visit the beach, and watch romantic comedies. Maria lives in New Jersey with her husband and children, and writes in her “spare” time between juggling a full-time job and her kids’ busy schedules.

 

You can keep in touch with Maria at:

 

Website: http://mariakalexander.com

The Violet Femmes Blog: http://thevioletfemmes.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MKAlexander1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maria-K-Alexander-Author/201236689917319

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/mariakalexander

You can buy Untangle My Heart at:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00GVKRLOG

Barnes & Noble:  http://bit.ly/1or9aAY

The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/1gWifgp

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1cU0Ub8

iBooks: http://bit.ly/1gMBszO

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Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Four Novellas by Lashell Collins


This post is part of the Cover Reveal Blog Tour for the first four books in Lashell Collin’s Kelly Family Series. These four novellas will all be released on April 30, followed exactly one month later on May 30 by a full length novel in the series. Lashell will be awarding a $15 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The other stops on the tour can be seen by clicking the tour banner.

Ethan: A Kelly Family Novella

Officer Ethan Kelly is a nice guy. That’s what all the girls say, right before they toss him aside for one of those bad boys. But when he meets rookie officer, Heather Moss, Ethan is determined to show her that a nice guy knows how to treat a real woman.

But Heather isn’t interested. Or at least, she doesn’t want to be. She swore off men a long time ago, and focusing on her career leaves zero room for romance. Even with someone as sweet and sexy as Ethan. But when she saves his life on a robbery call, Heather realizes that he might just be the man to save her from herself.

Storm: A Kelly Family Novella

Bad boy cop Storm Kelly is on the prowl for some action. And the way he’s feeling, he doesn’t much care if it comes in the form of a bar fight or a smart, sassy woman. So when he gets off his Harley and walks into a biker bar, he’s in his element when he finds both … barroom brawl, check. Rescue the damsel in distress, check. And with any luck, that sexy damsel might just turn out to be the perfect sub he’s been searching for.

Nina Fitz is in a world of trouble when the sexy stranger comes to her rescue. Never one to resist a hot guy on a motorcycle, she quickly decides to invite this one home. And when the jerk from the bar decides he’s not through with her, Officer Storm Kelly becomes her protector. But after one night of passion with Storm, Nina is left wondering if she can handle his dark dominant side.

Frankie: A Kelly Family Novella

Frankie Kelly has fought her whole life to prove that she is just as capable as all the men in her testosterone-driven family. And now her hard work and dedication to the police K-9 program is finally beginning to pay off. But when her secret, sexy romance with her sergeant culminates in a marriage proposal, Frankie is thrown for a loop wondering if she’s ready to go public with their clandestine relationship.

John Myles is sure of two things in life – one, that he is dedicated to the K-9 program he leads at the police department. And two, that he loves Frankie Kelly more than life itself. But when she hesitates to accept his proposal, John is rattled. Especially when the job gets in the way, forcing him to send her and her K-9 partner out into the dark night in search of a dangerous murder suspect.

Marina: A Kelly Family Novella

Marina Kelly is sick to death of cops! That’s all she’s known her entire life – her father is a cop, her uncle was a cop. All of her cousins are cops. Even her two brothers and her big sister … all cops. So Marina decided early on that her life would take a much different path, getting as far away from that lifestyle as she could get. And dating a cop is totally out of the question!

Levi Hawks is well aware of Marina’s ‘no cops’ dating rule, so when a supposed chance meeting brings him face-to-face with the sexy shop owner, Levi is determined to hide the fact that he’s a police detective from her for as long as he possibly can. Or at least until he can get her to agree to go out with him!

About the Author:

Lashell Collins spent the last twenty years of her life working in Veterinary Hospitals and Garden Centers. But whether she was surrounded by the adorable puppies and kittens she helped care for, or by the beautiful flowers, trees and shrubs, she constantly pursued her favorite pastime – reading romance novels and imagining herself as the heroine in each and every one of them. She began writing as a way to work through her grief after the loss of a few people who were special to her, and she found it to be cathartic, so she kept at it. She self-published her first novel in 2013. Since then, Lashell has self-published ten titles across two series – the Pierced Trilogy (romantic suspense), and the Jagged Ivory Series (contemporary romance) – and is hard at work on another seven titles for this year. All of Lashell’s stories are full of heart and romance, with smart dialogue and spicy sex scenes.

When she’s not writing, Lashell enjoys reading, shopping, eating Chinese food, and riding on the back of her husband’s Harley-Davidson. She loves watching General Hospital and Grimm. She is a huge music fan and is completely obsessed with Slash. Lashell is a member of the Romance Writers of America. Drop her a line; she loves to hear from readers.

Website: http://lashellcollins.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LashellCollins
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LashellCollinsAuthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lashellcollins1/

All of the books are available for prepurchase at Barnes and Noble:
Ethanhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ethan-lashell-collins/1119059178?ean=2940045799034
Stormhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/storm-lashell-collins/1119059179?ean=2940045799041
Frankiehttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/frankie-lashell-collins/1119059181?ean=2940045799065
Marinahttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/marina-lashell-collins/1119059183?ean=2940045799096

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Kingdoms of War by Lisa Beth Darling

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KINGDOMS OF WAR
BOOK #5 OF WAR SERIES
LISA BETH DARLING

With nearly four billion souls lost to the ravages of anarchy and the dreaded disease Major Falls, Ares and Raven journey the Mortal World vainly reaching for a sliver of what was only to discover what will be. Unleashed by Apollo, Major Falls—a weaponized version of the flu and rabies– has wiped out every person of watery Mortal Blood.

From the fiery wreckage a new world is slowly arising one where the descendants of Olympians, Celts, Dark Fae, and all manner of Magickal Being will rule. For the last millennium the Dark Kingdom has sent small legions of its Daughters in search of its Lost Queen. Among their number is Lenora, a sharp tongued Dark Fae who joins up with ARES hoping to get close to its leader, Raven. And she does.
The Wolf inside the God of War contracts Major Falls. As Ares and Athena wander the world hoping to curtail further damage by obliterating weapons of mass destruction he slowly succumbs to the sickness taking over his fevered rabid mind. Ares may not live to see the glory of Olympus restored nor fight to keep his Wife. If he does, how high will be the price for Ares’ life? How long will Alena have to keep paying Apollo?

Enjoy the following excerpt:
From this vantage point, safe at the bottom of the hill, the crowd watched the battle play out, they watched the fort explode and held their breath hoping a savior had finally arrived to lift them out of this hell and break the hold of Snake’s tyranny.

Athena laid her hand gently on Raven’s shoulder as she looked up to the burning fort on top of the hill with the joyful sounds of the people behind her. “Better than causing Anarchy, isn’t it?”

“It was supposed to be a controlled anarchy,” Raven mused as he mind wandered back to those almost altruistic plans that had gone up in smoke and died in the streets of Major Falls. Up there on the hill, inside the burning courtyard, the flag pole still stood over the flames. In their orange glow the ARES flag waved high with the American Flag right above it. “Oh say, can you see?” Raven whispered.

“Can you?”

With eyes heavy with tears, Raven glanced down at his Aunt and then back to the rejoicing crowd. “Yeah, I can.” The swelling feeling inside of him began to abate. “There’s more of ‘em, you know? More like us. More like him,” he pointed up to the fort where Snake’s reign began and ended. “Major Falls did it, Apollo did it. He had to know. He had to. It can’t be a coincidence.”

Athena nodded as she eased her hand along his bare shoulder. She knew it was no coincidence that in the short time they’d been apart, Raven managed to find his Sister, Dionysus’ Son and the Fae. Even she sensed the abnormally strong presence of weak Olympian Ichor flowing through the veins of the excited crowd behind them. “Yes, I believe your eyes have been opened, Nephew.”

Enjoy the book video:

About the Author: 4_16 lbdarling_authorpicIn the 4th grade I discovered that I was a writer when we were given our first creative writing assignment. We were to write stories about a baby bird’s flight and read them to the class. I put pencil to paper and was instantly whisked away by a force I couldn’t explain. I knew that I had found my calling. Everyone read their happy stories to the class. I got up and told of how the baby bird flew too high, hit a plane, crashed to the ground and died. I told of how the mama bird and daddy bird cried of how even God was upset sending the rains pouring from the sky. The class was speechless when I finished they were all just staring at me. The teacher kept me after class told me my story was very good but it was different from the others. She asked me if I’d ever heard of Icarus and did I base my story on him. But I had yet to encounter Greek Mythology or hear a whisper of Icarus. As she let me leave class she again told me how good the story was but suggested I might want to write something happier next time. I asked her why and she had no answer. 40+ years, 16 novels, and some 30 short stories later and I still haven’t taken her advice.

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Baby for Easter by Noelle Adams – Book Blast and Giveaway

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

Noelle will be awarding the following prizes via the Rafflecopter at the end of this post:

* One winner will receive a $25 GC to Amazon or BN

* Two winners will receive signed paperbacks of Married for Christmas and A Baby for Easter

* Ten winners will receive their choice of ebook of any title from Noelle’s backlist.

Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Alice Grantham lost her fiancé and her job, so she’s had to come home to Willow Park to live with her parents. To recover some sense of independence and security, she’s cobbled together different part-time jobs, including one as assistant to the pastor of her hometown church. Nothing seems to be going right for her. Even Micah, the pastor’s brother and the first boy she ever loved, is standoffish with her now.

Micah has always been a prodigal son, but now he’s trying to put that lifestyle behind him. Then a five-month-old daughter he never knew existed is dropped on his doorstep, the result of one of his many one-night stands. He needs help from Alice to care for his daughter, but he can’t let himself hope for anything more from her than that. He can’t help but want it, though…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Now, however, Alice was regretting her random impulse to put on a skirt that morning, since she was on her knees in front of the bookshelves, putting the last of the commentaries back in place.

At least no one was around to see her undignified position, with her skirt pushed up to her thighs to give herself freedom to move.

“Daniel,” a voice came from outside the office. “Daniel!”

She recognized the voice, but he was in the office before she could move or pull down her skirt. She froze as she looked over her shoulder, befuddled by Micah’s sudden appearance.

He seemed equally startled to discover her on the floor, after his eyes scanned the room for his absent brother. “Oh,” he said, standing in the doorway.

It took her a minute to pull herself together, but when she did she managed to smile. “He went to the hospital to see Mrs. Cooper.”

“Oh.” Micah was such a self-assured man that it was strange to see him so stumped.

Then there was a different sound in the office. It took Alice a few seconds to even identify it. It was so unexpected that she was sure it wasn’t right.

It sounded like a baby whimpering.

Finally, her eyes drifted down to something Micah was holding. A baby carrier. A baby carrier.

“Is that a baby?” she asked, her voice hoarse with surprise.

He looked down at the carrier as if he’d forgotten he held it. “Yeah.”

She scrambled to her feet, rather clumsily, and hurried over to look at the baby as he set the carrier on Daniel’s desk, right on top of the printed copy of sermon notes for Sunday.

She peered into the carrier and saw the baby—maybe four or five months old—wearing a pink sleeper. Her eyes were blue and grumpy, and her whimpers were quickly turning louder.

Instinctively, Alice reached out for the girl and pulled her up to rest against her shoulder, patting her back in a comforting manner.

Alice had always liked kids. She’d never had baby-fever, but she certainly knew what to do when one was starting to cry.

“What are you doing with her?” she asked Micah, who’d been staring at the baby with that same glazed look of bewilderment.

“I…I don’t know.”

“Well, whose is she?” Surely this baby hadn’t dropped from the sky into the back of Micah’s truck.

His features twisted slightly—maybe anxiety, maybe disbelief. “That’s the thing. I think…I think she’s mine.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she teaches English, reads any book she can get her hands on, and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.

She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.

Social Media:

Website: http://noelle-adams.com/Home_Page.html

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NoelleAdams3

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6572847.Noelle_Adams

Book Trailer for A Baby for Easter:

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A Day in the Life of Jen Lohr – Guest Blog 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 $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A Day in the Life of Jen Lohr
Hello! My name is Jen Lohr, and today I am being featured as a guest on this blog. I would like to invite you to experience a day in the life of ‘me.’ You might be thinking, “Well, just because she’s a writer doesn’t make her all that different,” and I couldn’t agree with you more! In fact, my being a wife and a mother of four children (all under the age of ten) doesn’t make my situation ‘unusual,’ either… but I can tell you what does: I am the mom of four special needs kids – two of which have high-functioning autism, amongst the alphabet soup of ADD / ADHD, with a side of apraxia and a few other developmental delays. My children & their ages are as follows: Scott is 9, Jessica is 7, Alexandra is 5, and Brian is 3. So without any further adieux – here is what an average day in the life of Jennifer Lohr, aka “MOMMMM!” is like:

My day typically begins at about 5:30 am, when my youngest (Brian) wakes up. He has something called ‘Apraxia of speech,’ which according the NIDCD (the National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders) means: “A speech disorder in which a person has trouble saying what he or she wants to say correctly and consistently. It is not due to weakness or paralysis of the speech muscles (the muscles of the face, tongue, and lips). The severity of apraxia of speech can range from mild to severe,” and Brian has moderate speech apraxia. Therefore what I may understand, others usually do not.

Brian attends a therapeutic pre-school, which has all the delights of a regular pre-school but also has the many therapists any given ‘special need’ child would need. These men and woman are as much a part of Brian’s growth and development as I am, so pre-school is pretty serious business to my little guy!

After Brian wakes up, my other three children begin awaking to the day, too. First is always breakfast, followed by getting dressed, then brushing teeth and hair. Brian’s bus comes first, at about 8:15, so he’s the first one out the door (and I can expect the bus to bring him home around noon.) My other three attend the local elementary school (which is thankfully within walking distance). Once Brian is on his way, my other three have about 15 minutes to complete their ‘back-pack checkers’ (making sure their completed homework, due library books, and snacks are in order to return to school) and maybe even a little TV time. Their bus rolls to a stop at the end of the driveway no later than 8:40am. Then….SILENCE. It never ceases to amaze me the extremes in noise level from the hustle and bustle of getting their shoes and jackets on (and snowsuits, when snow is on the ground – after all, they still have recess if it’s not below 20 degrees Fahrenheit – or blizzard-like conditions, of course), to after the bus pulls away from our home.

My Alexandra attends Kindergarten (which in our school district, is half-day), but because of Alexandra’s ‘mild ADHD,’ she qualifies to attend extended (full) days two days per week. On Mondays and Thursdays I volunteer in her classroom (would you be surprised to know I help with ‘Writers Workshop?’) …And what a joy it is to be surrounded by those adorable little faces! Those little giggles and squeaky voices are just intoxicating, and I have the honor and pleasure to hang around – I love it!

Every other week I have ‘Parent Training,’ and a social worker works with me to help us overcome the many obstacles parents of special needs children may have. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to attend / visit with the Neurologists, developmental pediatricians, Autism seminars / classes, school district committee meetings, social and emotional development tutorials, and every other challenge I’m faced with – so this ‘parent training’ really helps!

So, if it’s a day without volunteering at the school or parent training (or the usual grocery shopping) I have a couple hours in the morning to catch up on e-mails and other various “business-related” tasks. Promoting my book series requires a lot of time, too – it really is ‘my second job,’ coming second to ‘mom’ & ‘house-wife.’

I try to get through whatever I can, as quickly as I can – after all: things like laundry, the dishwasher, snow-shoveling / gardening (depending upon the season), un-made beds, teacher / therapist e-mails will not get done by themselves. I have a lot that I am responsible for, and I take great pride in doing the best I can very seriously.

Around 1pm, I prepare and serve lunch for Brian and Alexandra (if it’s her half-day at school). Then we have a little ‘free-time,’ which we can easily spend playing, reading, or cuddling on the couch while we watch a carton. When 3:15 rolls around, we can expect the herd of trampling feet to burst through the front door, accompanied by, “MOM! You’ll NEVER GUESS WHAT….” Or “He was mean to me on the bus when…” and “I CANNOT understand my math today…” as they unpack their back-packs and wash their hands. Homework with a small snack follows.

I’ll start making dinner around 4:30 (we have a tight meal schedule: Monday is Pasta, Tuesday- I decide, Wednesday is left-overs, Thursday is ‘Mystery Meal,’ Friday is pizza & a movie, Saturday is family game night, & Sunday is ‘finger’ food) so I have a lot to rely on that makes it ‘easy.’ Between 5:30 and 6pm dinner is served. At this time, we have entered our family’s ‘sacred time,’ and phones are not answered, electronics are away, TV is off (except for pizza & movie night) & we enjoy each other’s stories of their favorite parts of their day, along with the ‘usual’ conversation.

Bath time commences around 6:30, and after all four little heads are shiny, it’s about 7:15pm. Now we spend time unwinding, with bed-time stories & ‘down-time.’ I prefer NO TV, but that’s not always the case…hey, I can compromise. No later than 8pm, all of my little treasures are piled in their designated bunk, and I begin my kissing and singing – it’s the end of another day for my little dears.

Aside from the occasional, “I’m thirsty” or “I forgot to go pee…!” this is when my ‘down-time’ begins. After cleaning up the kitchen / dishes from dinner, I try to spend a little time with my hard-working husband, who works ten hour days. As soon as he’s in the shower, at about 8:30, I go to the computer to check those twitter feeds and Facebook posts – again: promote, promote, PROMOTE – I’m determined to make my book series a success, and self-promoting is key.

—YAWN—

From about 9pm to (some nights) 1am, I am faithfully writing. Like I said – I am one determined individual! …And that’s about it. Thanks for walking a day in my moccasins!

Organization helps – each kiddo has their own hook for jacket / backpack, plus I write what each day / meal it is, along with if it’s a gym day or library or mystery, etc.

Cubbies, cubbies, cubbies…did I mention I like to stay organized?

This is where I write – my creative space.

4_14 baltic Cover_BalticMistBaltic Mist – A Timeless Saga is Jen Lohr’s next big creation. It all began when she came across Egil’s Saga, written in the mid11th century, chronicling the life of Egil Skallagrimsson. The history surrounding the Viking awakened within Jen an unquenchable thirst for knowledge of the Norse culture. A story was soon born, seen through the eyes of a young woman named Helga, originating from a character in Egil’s Saga.

Baltic Mist begins on a farm Norway, and takes the reader through the epic adventures of Helga’s enchanting life. Beginning in Book One, her tale falls against the backdrop of Scandinavia’s conversion to Christianity. The saga continues in Books two and three to a finale that no one, even Helga herself, could have ever imagined!

A must read!

About the Author: 4_14 baltic AuthorPic1Jen was first published when she was a sophomore in High School, and has been writing short stories ever since. The Baltic Mist series is her novel debut. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and their four children.

Website ~ Blog ~ Facebook
Buy the book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Second Chance Bride by Trish Morey – spotlight and giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Trish will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances to win.

Scarlett Buck has always been flaky in comparison to her sensible twin sister Tara, so nobody is really surprised when Scarlett spends all her money on a one way ticket to Australia to be with the man she’s met on the Net. But she hasn’t reckoned on the guy already being married, or her mom getting sick, and now she needs money for a flight home to Marietta, MT—quick. Signing on with Bella’s Belles in Kalgoorlie isn’t be the proudest moment in her life but it will get her home fast. After all, it’s just sex.

Or is it?

Mitch Bannister’s ex is about to marry his best friend, and he could really do with a cold beer and a hot woman. But the cowgirl he takes a shine to at Bella’s is surprisingly skittish, and in the end he leaves without hooking up.

Later, when Mitch spies the cowgirl in the local pub begging for a job, he shrinks into the shadows–he’s not looking for complications, and something tells him that Scarlett Buck is a whole handful of them. But soon it’s clear she’s not just trouble, she’s in trouble, and like it or not, he’s not about to turn his back on this stray from the States. Especially if she can do him a favor in return. After all, it’s just a helping hand.

Or is it?

Now enjoy an excerpt:

“You look amazing,” he said, and it wasn’t his words that warmed her through and through, it was the husky quality to his Aussie drawl and the raw heat in his eyes. If she’d had any qualms that he was dressing her to make his ex feel bad, they were banished before they could take root. He was dressing her for him.

She’d never thought blue was a warm color, not until now, not until she’d felt this slow, warm glide of his eyes over her form leaving a smoking trail of heat.

So sex wasn’t part of this deal?

Didn’t mean it wasn’t going to happen.

Shoes and accessories were next. He took his time, not rushing and not checking out the sale items like she was, but going for top shelf every time.

She wondered whether he was as attentive a lover as he was a shopper.

And then she remembered that first encounter in Bella’s, and the hot stroke of his tongue against her breast.

Oh yeah!

USA Today Bestselling Author, Trish Morey has written thirty romances for the internationally bestselling Harlequin Presents line and her stories have been published in more than 25 languages in 40 countries worldwide, including being published in Manga comic book form in Japan, and as Trish Moreyova in the Czech Republic. Trish was awarded Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year Award (the Ruby) for short, sexy romance In 2006 and again in 2009, as well as being a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Awards in 2012.

A qualified Chartered Accountant by trade, Trish was employed as financial manager at a major business school prior to her first sale.

Trish lives with her husband, 4 daughters and assorted menagerie in the beautiful Adelaide Hills.

Author links:

Website: http://www.trishmorey.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trish.morey

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoreyTrish

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Trish-Morey/e/B001H6WU8G/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1396183952&sr=8-2-ent

BN Author Page: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/trish-morey

Tule Publishing page: http://tulepublishing.com/product/second-chance-bride/

 

The House of Chalice by T.T. Escurel – Book Blast and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen commenter will receive a $20 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of AURONIA, and an autographed copy of THE HOUSE OF CHALICE. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Vartan is lost. His fiancé has just run off with his mortal enemy and now his mother, the Queen of the House of Rose, has disappeared. Venturing into a land with no magic, no army and no fiancé, will he be able to survive?

Lia is in trouble. Clashpeak has a new king who requires a bride, one who has eyes for the young baker’s daughter. During a violent coup, Lia seizes her chance to escape. With every soldier in the kingdom looking for her, nowhere is safe.

An ancient curse lingers in the air, still working its magic. Madness has seized the blood of the royals of the House of Chalice. A battle for power, the likes of nothing Auronia has ever seen, is about to begin…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Cries of alarm race through the camp as the order to fight goes out. Serena approaches, leading her snow-white mare. She is decked out in leather battle gear with a white fur mantle. A silver dagger hangs from one hip with a swirling purple jewel in the hilt. On the other hip, a rapier.

“You aren’t seriously considering riding to war, Serena,” I growl.

“You couldn’t stop me if you wanted to, Vartan,” she counters, mounting up. “This is my army. I will ride with my men.”

“This is no army, as you stated earlier. These are simple farmers going up against trained soldiers. Without magic, there is little chance we will survive this,” I say, stepping up on my horse.

“My love,” she says, moving her mare to stand beside me, “That is precisely why I must ride with you.” She runs her hand down the fur at her shoulders. “When you ride with me, magic rides with you.”

I frown. “I don’t understand.”

“Feel,” she says, grabbing my hand and running it down the soft fur. I feel a buzz, but I am not really sure if it is from the fur or from the girl. “It is the pelt of an ancient fox, laced with magic older and more powerful than even that of the fairies.”

“Where did you find it?” I ask.

“I killed the fox,” she says, urging her horse forward.

About the Author:

Science Fiction/Fantasy writer in Southern California where the sun shines, the waves roll in and the roads become a backdrop for an apocalypse movie every time the word “precipitation” is mentioned.

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up on a sailboat. That did something odd to my imagination, I think. There is a certain type of surreal serenity that comes with living aboard a boat. That undercurrent seems to run through all my books, even though most of my characters have far more conventional backgrounds. Growing up on a boat helped teach me a stable world evolves not from your environment as much as from your perspective. My books are full of strange worlds and even stranger people, but all my main characters seem to have that grip on reality despite being dropped in the heart of chaos.

Website ~ Amazon ~ iTunes ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Smashwords

Buy the book at Amazon.

Dash of Peril by Lori Foster – Spotlight and Giveaway

Leave a comment for a chance to win a print copy of Dash of Peril (US only).
Praise for New York Times Bestselling Author Lori Foster

 “Foster delivers yet again. Her fourth Love Undercover novel is a tightly plotted, cunning, clever and overwhelmingly sensual tale that will hook from the first action-paced scene. Foster’s ability to break out from character stereotypes and go inside their complicated psyches makes the relationships in this story that much more intense, as every encounter turns into something unforgettable…” 4½ Stars, HOT

Bridget Keown, RT Magazine

 

 “Lori upends her tried-and-true romantic suspense thriller format for the satisfying fourth Love Undercover novel [and]…skillfully balances steamy seduction and police work as Margo and Dash learn to be a team in and out of the bedroom.”

Publishers Weekly

 

“Intense, edgy and hot. Lori Foster delivers everything you’re looking for in a romance.”

   New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz  on Hard to Handle

 

DASH OF PERIL

by Lori Foster
New York Times Bestseller

 4_10 Lori Foster book coverNew York Times bestselling author Lori Foster is well known for her hot and sexy romance novels. Her latest release DASH OF PERIL (HQN Books; $7.99) is a deliciously sensual novel that will leave you breathless.

Foster’s fourth book in the Love Undercover Series is searing with sexual tension—it’s an intensely hot joy ride and a fast-paced thriller…the best of both worlds packaged into one steamy novel.

To bring down a sleazy abduction ring, Lieutenant Margaret “Margo” Peterson has set herself up as bait. But recruiting Dashiel Riske as her unofficial partner is a whole other kind of danger. Dash is six feet four inches of laid-back masculine charm, a man who loves life—and women—to the limit. Until Margo is threatened, and he reveals a dark side that may just match her own. Beneath Margo’s tough façade is a slow-burning sexiness that drives Dash crazy. The only way to finish this case is to work together side by side…skin to skin. And as their mission takes a lethal turn, he’ll have to prove he’s all the man she needs—in all the ways that matter….

Enjoy this excerpt:

Dash studied how Margo held her left arm slightly out from her body. His brows flattened. “Why didn’t you say something about your elbow?”

She closed her eyes, almost like she couldn’t help herself. “What could you have done about it?”

No idea, but she still should have told him. “When I took you from your car—” God, he’d thrown her half over his shoulder then literally jogged with her in that position.

“It hurt like hell, but being shot would have been worse.” Pale with pain, Margo added, “You did great, Dash. Better than I’d expected.”

What had she thought? That he’d fall apart? Maybe hide behind her—the big, bad lieutenant?

More anger simmered to the surface, and that really pissed him off. He never got angry. Why should he? He’d been blessed in too many ways to count.

He had parents who adored him and a brother that would make anyone proud.

Most would call him wealthy, but because the money didn’t mean that much to him, he preferred the term financially secure.

Inherited genes gave him height and strength, a fit body that he’d honed in his construction company—a body that appealed to women.

That brought him back around to his disgruntlement toward Margo…the one woman who rebuffed him at every opportunity. Now he knew she considered him a wimp.

In the face of more pressing problems, he decided to work that out with her later. He could hear her teeth chattering, so he settled back against the wall beside her and carefully drew her to his side to both support her and share heat.

“If you weren’t here…” she whispered, then swallowed. “If you weren’t here, I would be dead.”

“No.” He wouldn’t even consider that possibility. He kissed her head, tucked her face against his throat.

She gave in, closing her eyes. “It’s not easy for me to admit, but I’m so glad I’m not alone.”

“Yeah, me, too.” He had no problem admitting it. He was here with Margo, holding her, protecting her, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

 About the Author: 4_10 Lori foster author photo Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a Waldenbooks, Borders, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. She also received the Romantic Times “Career Achievement Award” for Series Romantic Fantasy and Contemporary Romance.

Lori believes it is important to give back to the community as much as possible, so she routinely arranges events among authors and readers to gather donations for various organizations.

http://lorifoster.com/

Dash of Peril
by Lori Foster

Harlequin HQN; March 25, 2014
475 pages; $7.99 U.S. / $8.99 CAN.
ISBN-978-0-373-77857-1

Never Marry a Warlock by Marilyn Vix – Spotlight and Giveaway

BBT Never Marry a Warlock Banner copy

This post is part of a virtual book organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Marilyn will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MEDIA KIT Warlocks 1 EBOOK UPLOADCatherine walks in on her husband in bed with her best friend. What is a woman to do? It helps that she is a witch. Unfortunately, so is her husband. Before you can say spell battle, Catherine hightails it up the coast of California to clear her head. Lucky for her, she finds an Aussie hitchhiker. She’s going to have to face her husband in the awaiting spell battle. Can she have a little fun with her new found boy toy, or will he get scorched in the foreplay?

Enjoy an excerpt:

My husband’s arms were wrapped around her naked body. The blankets were strewn and interwoven between their legs. He was spooning her with his biceps draped over her. I stood in the doorway taking in the scene of my husband and my best friend. It was the end of the world, at least for me. But I wasn’t going to take it lying down. I should have known better than to have married a warlock.

I hit him with a force spell that knocked him up against the headboard. He fell back down and braced his hands out to catch his fall. Cassandra scrambled out of the bed, dragging the silk comforter with her. Bitch. She better get out of my way. She was next.

Rich was naked as he sat up to look at me. Normally, the abs-flash trick would work. But not now. I was too pissed off. I knew what spells he used to look like that. It was easy to fool a mortal and ex-best friend on the floor. But not me. Thing is, we were too evenly matched. I think that was the problem.

Be one of the first to enjoy this video:

About the Author:MEDIA KIT Marilynvixpic avatarMarilyn is a debut paranormal romance novelist. She enjoys the characters that just don’t fit in. From witches to time traveling researchers, she is letting her imagination soar to explore new worlds. Marilyn has traveled to Paris, London, Sydney, and Munich. She loves to include these in her settings. Best of all is letting her readers enjoy her adventures through the perspective of a character. She currently lives in Northern California with her husband and cat. The cat, of course, is the center of attention.

Official Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook
Buy the book at Amazon or Smashwords.

Never Marry A Warlock Spring Book Blast Giveaway