How to Handle Negative Criticism by Christine Rains – Guest Blog and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Christine will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly selected winner during the tour via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

HOW TO HANDLE NEGATIVE CRITICISM
By Christine Rains

It’s going to happen sooner or later. One of your critique partners is going to say something is wrong about your manuscript or you get your first bad review. Negative criticism can make your whole world crumble around you.

So what do you do?

Cry, scream, eat a pint of ice cream, drown yourself in a Star Wars marathon, vow never to write again, and cry some more.

And while those are perfectly normal responses, they aren’t going to help you when you receive your next bad review. Here are five tips on how to handle negative criticism and not let it devour your soul.

1. Remember that not everyone is going to like what you write. People’s tastes are different. It’s just a fact of life. Move on and find someone who does share your vision.

2. Learn to tell constructive criticism from negative criticism. Take a step back and try to see what the person is saying. It might be something that needs improvement. Or it could just be that random jerk that left the bad review to be mean. If you can tell the difference and filter out the jerks, you’ll be much happier for it.

3. Develop a thick skin. Yes, I know you hear this a lot, but it’s a vital survival skill for writers. If you can remember the first two tips, you’re already on the right path. No matter how much it feels that way, criticism of your work isn’t personal.

4. Improve your own critiquing skills. Wait, you say? How does that help? Critiquing is a skill. The more you learn about how to be objective and constructive, the better you can handle being critiqued yourself.

5. If you do receive negative criticism, don’t engage the critic. A lot of writers don’t read reviews at all. That’s how they survive this rough journey. Delete those awful emails, ignore the one star reviews, and get rid of that discouraging critique partner.

Unfortunately negative criticism is part of a writer’s life, but you can overcome it. Don’t let it stop you.

Dice and Debauchery, Book 1

A weekend away at a convention is exactly what overworked student Morgan needs. Dressed as her character from her favorite online game, Morgan is braced—seriously, could her corset be tighter?—to meet the other players. As Lady Gyrfalcon, she’s ready for everything—except her intense attraction to Dean. A clandestine meeting in the hallway of the hotel and Morgan’s corset is looser but now she can’t breathe for entirely different reasons.

Utterly charmed, Morgan decides to roll the dice and indulge in a fantasy-worthy weekend of sexy roleplaying, scorching sex and life-altering orgasms. Still, through it all Morgan is too smart to believe the chemistry constantly stripping her of costumes and control can last more than the length of the convention. But if she wants to keep a relationship so intense she thought it only existed in fiction, she’s going to have to let go of her cool-headed logic and allow herself to fall far and fast for the perfect guy.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Stomping out of the bathroom, I froze upon seeing Russell standing in the alcove between the drinking fountains across from me. Dressed as Snidely Whiplash, he had the perfect sneer for the character.

“Come to kidnap me and tie me to the train tracks?” I folded my arms and stepped out of the way of a group of girls going into the bathroom.

“Don’t tempt me. It would save us all a lot of trouble.” Russell’s sharp and bitter tone carried a phantom slap.

I hesitated, weighing the situation. He obviously didn’t like me, but why? I hadn’t felt such hate when we first met, no matter that we were playing enemies. Did something so horrible happen between him and Emily, he was taking it out on me? But why did it feel more personal than that?

“Okay.” I took in a deep, slow breath and let it out. “Clearly you wanted to talk to me since you’re waiting here. What did you want to say?”

“End this thing between you and Dean now. Today at least. Don’t drag it out. You’ll only cause more damage if you do.”

Not what I expected in the least. What did he have against me and Dean? Did he not think I was good enough for his cousin?

“What’s between Dean and I is our own business.” There. A mature and reasonable reply. I wasn’t going to resort to growling back at him.

“And what is between you, hm?” Russell raised his comical eyebrows. It looked silly and somehow foreboding. “Girlfriend and boyfriend? Or just a con fling?”

About the Author:

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood but make her a great Jeopardy player. As an avid gamer, she’s either going on adventures with her son or rolling dice with friends. Christine is a proud member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. She has several short stories and novellas published. Loose Corset is the first book of her geeky and hilarious Dice & Debauchery series.

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Great & Unfortunate Desires by Gina Danna – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

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

Victorian England c. 1870

Operating as a British spy, Tristan St.James, the new Marquis of Wrenworth, barely escapes Afghanistan with his life in the spring of 1869. He plans to seek vengeance against the traitor who exposed him and for the agent he’s forced to kill. Returning to England, as a lord, he must marry. Haunted by guilt from the horrors of war, he avoids love at all costs, but finds himself drawn to the only woman who is disinterested in him.

Lady Evelyn Hurstine has waited over two years for the return of her love, a man who left for war in the East. But during that time, she suffered a brutal assault, resulting in a child and fear of any man touching her except for the man she once knew. The pursuit by the marquis scares her but her excuses against his proposal dwindle.

Their marriage strengthens into love until she discovers her husband isn’t the safety she believed but the one who killed the man she once loved. Caught in a world of intrigue and mayhem, Tristan must prove his love to her before the traitor destroys them both.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I shall talk to him shortly.”

Evelyn raised her brows, eyeing over his shoulder. “Shortly may be now, my lord.”

Tristan turned. Barreling down the lawn, creating a wake in in his path, Evelyn’s father stormed toward them. Not far behind him was Huntington and his son. Tristan gauged their pace and the distance. He had a few seconds and could hear Evelyn’s foot tapping against the grass. Frankly, he was surprised she hadn’t crossed her arms in anger or left him. With every second, her behavior and decision to stay put only made him more interested in her. Damn! Her dowry and position made her exactly what he needed his English bride to be like, with a ramrod backbone and a defiance of societal rules. As Evelyn’s father got closer, there was only one thing Tristan could think of to ensure she become his. In one swift move, he turned, pulled her close, bent her backward, and pressed his cheek to hers. She gasped.

“Considering the situation, you need me as much as I need you. We are the perfect match,” he whispered, smiling and gesturing as if to kiss her.

They both knew in that moment she became his forever. The compromising position between two single people in a public setting was shocking to the ton.

Tristan heard the grass crunching under the footsteps of the Baron and his party. He didn’t look in their direction but eased back from Evelyn, watching her reaction. Suppressed fury blazed in her eyes, and her body was rigid.

“Naught, naught, naught,” he murmured. “To slap me would be appropriate but would serve you no purpose.”

Despite the fire in her gaze, she relaxed a little within his arms. “But it would give me satisfaction nevertheless,” she whispered defiantly, although she didn’t move.

About the Author:

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gina Danna has spent the better part of her life reading. History has been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, dreaming of writing one of her own. Years later, after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, writing academic research papers and writing for museum programs and events, she finally found the time to write her own stories of historical romantic fiction.

Now, under the supervision of her three dogs and three cats, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream – her Arabian horse – with him, her muse can play.


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Load the Dice by Moriah Gemel – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Moriah will be awarding a $25 Interlude Press GC to a randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. This book was first available online as an episodic, serialized novel—it is now available in its entirety!

MediaKit_BookCover_LoadTheDiceEric left the BDSM scene years ago because he couldn’t find the right partner, opting instead to meet men in quiet coffee shops and piano bars. But when his friend invites him to a posh hook-up party, he meets first time sub Jamie, who he convinces to detail his sexual fantasies during a passionate night together.

The pair soon embark on a relationship that introduces Jamie to the BDSM scene, and plays out his fantasies one by one. But as they approach the final fantasy, will Eric be able to walk away?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Are you willing to submit to me, Jamie?”

Jamie visibly shivers, his mouth dropping open a little bit at Eric’s tone. He’s shifting into Dominant mode now, drawing his body up taller, wider, lifting his chin and letting the power he keeps in reserve flow through him. He’s not holding back now—he’s completely in charge, and he wants to make sure Jamie can feel it, even if he can’t see a thing.

“Yes,” Jamie whispers, with barely a breath.

“And do you understand that if at any time you don’t feel safe, if you feel we’re not acting sanely, or if you stop consenting, that you have every right to stop play?” It’s the core tenant of BDSM. SSC: Safe, Sane, and Consensual. If play isn’t all of those things, it’s not okay unless expressly agreed upon ahead of time—and that’s crossing into hardcore territory that isn’t for beginners. It’s best if they stick to the basics for now.

Jamie nods his head and agrees again, faintly and barely coherent. But it’s enough.

“Good.” Eric leans down and kisses him, light and teasing, barely brushing their lips. Jamie whimpers and opens his mouth in invitation, but Eric doesn’t take it.

“You have to earn that, Jamie,” he says, pulling back. Jamie breathes in shakily, and Eric hums, pleased. “Don’t worry, it’s your first time. We’ll go easy.” Eric steps back, pushing the box out of the way with his foot. “I want you on your knees.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_LoadTheDice
Moriah Gemel has developed a dedicated following for her realistic, sexually-charged stories over twelve years in online fan communities. Passionate about a realistic depiction of BDSM, her goal is to both entertain and educate readers about the BDSM community.

She is married and has a young son.

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The Marine’s E-Mail Order Bride by Cora Seton – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Cora will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

If Gunnery Sergeant Zane Hall wants to save his family’s ranch, he’ll need to fix up the buildings, stock the spread with cattle—and find a wife. The first two are easy with the help of his brothers, but getting hitched is proving more difficult. When he meets mountaineer Kenna North through an online ad, she seems like the perfect fit—at least in her e-mails. She wants the same thing he does: a temporary marriage to secure an inheritance. But when Zane meets Kenna, she’s nothing like he expects, and Zane finds himself changing his priorities, fast.

If Storm Willow wants to save her family’s seaside cottage, she’ll have to keep her boss happy—which means taking Kenna’s place and marrying Zane when Kenna is detained out of the country. As long as Storm acts her part, no one will know that she’s an imposter. But when she falls for the handsome Marine, Storm begins to wonder if holding onto the cottage is worth giving up on love.

Can a fake marriage lead to real happiness? Or is disaster just a heartbeat away?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Kenna, can I ask you a question?” Zane stopped outside the door to her room.

“Of course.” No matter where Storm’s gaze rested, the Marine was fascinating, from his direct gaze, to the curve of his smile to the hollow at the base of his throat.

“When you realized what you had to do to get your inheritance, what did you feel?”

Storm searched for an answer. Kenna had been furious, of course, but she couldn’t say that to Zane, not when the way he was looking at her told her he too was struggling against a current of desire.

“You know what I felt?” he went on when she didn’t reply, and his deep, warm voice touched off a new wave of want within her. “Relief. I wanted to marry anyway, but I was beginning to think I was the only one in the world who felt that way. The guys in my unit acted like marriage was a death sentence. Even the women I met seemed to think that.” He shrugged. “You’d think no one believed in marriage anymore. I do, though. I’ve always known exactly what I want. To get my family’s ranch back, to fall in love with a beautiful woman, and to start a family with her. When I heard Heloise’s conditions for inheriting the ranch, I thought, ‘Well, now I’ve got an excuse for going out and getting a wife.’” He laughed, but it was a bitter sound. “I’ve never told anyone that.” He looked away and the brim of his hat hid his face from view for a moment. When he turned back toward her his gaze was direct and searching. “What about you? Have you ever wanted something like that?”

Storm barely trusted herself to answer. Kenna would say no—she’d never wanted a husband or a family.

But Storm wasn’t Kenna.

“Yes. I’ve always wanted to marry, too. My parents were so happy together and it’s been so hard on my mom since…” She caught herself just in time, realizing she was getting her story crossed with Kenna’s. “I’ve always wanted to marry. I want…” What did she want? “I want a partner in life. Someone I can depend on. Someone I can celebrate with when things go well. I want us each to have our separate passions, but I want us to have plenty that we do together, too. Does that make sense?”

“That makes perfect sense. Kenna, I—”

“Call me Storm,” she said on impulse. “All my friends do.” Each time he said Kenna’s name it felt like a slap to the face. She didn’t want to remember Zane was her boss’s pretend fiancé, not hers. She didn’t want to think about Kenna at all.

“Storm,” he said slowly. “I like that. It suits you better than Kenna. Storm, I feel like you and I—” He broke off, turned away, and surveyed the parking lot beneath them. “Never mind.”

About the Author:

Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.

Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a neglected one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel. Visit www.coraseton.com to read about new releases, contests and other cool events!

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The Rebel of Copper Creek by R.C. Ryan – Giveaway

1_21 Rebel-Blog-Tour

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Ten ramdonly drawn winners tour-wide via Rafflecopter will receive a print copy of The Rebel of Copper Creek.

We asked Ms. Ryan to share with us the top 5 places she liked to write. Here’s what she told us:

Sorry. I write in only one place. My office. On my computer.

But if I could write while traveling, I’d love to write:

On a beach in the South Seas

On a mountain resort in a ski chalet

In a café in Paris

On a catamaran on the waters off Australia

In an apartment in Rome

1_21 Ryan_The Rebel of Copper Creek_mm
A love worth fighting for . . .

The last thing widow Juliet Grayson needs is a man in her life. Between caring for her two young sons and maintaining her husband’s ranch, her hands are more than full. Then she meets Griff Warren. With his quiet strength and his easy way with her boys, she’s tempted to trust him. But if there’s anything she’s learned, it’s that love only leads to heartbreak. Former Marine Griff Warren never thought he’d settle down. Rebellious and proud, he’s always been on his own . . . until the father he never knew he had died, leaving him with land that is his legacy and brothers to share the load. He doesn’t need more than that. But Juliet touches something deep inside him-and he wants nothing more than to protect her and her sons. Now if only he can convince her to take a second chance at true love.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She opened a second door to reveal a bathroom fit for a queen, with a tub and shower big enough for an army, a lovely oval sink and mirror, and all of it done in shades of white marble.

She turned to him with a look of alarm. “Oh, Griff. I don’t belong here.”

He merely smiled. “Neither do I. But I won’t tell if you don’t.” His smile grew. “I say we just kick back and enjoy all this until they discover we’re frauds.”

She tried to laugh, but it came out in a sigh.

Before she could say more he touched a finger to her lips. Just a touch, but they both looked stunned at his boldness.

He lowered his hand and took a step back. “I’d better say goodnight and get out of here.”

“Wait.” She caught his hand and held it tightly. “Just stay a minute more. I’m feeling overwhelmed.”

His smile was quick and charming. “I’m feeling overwhelmed myself. But it’s not the room, it’s the woman in it.”

“Don’t joke, Griff.”

His smile disappeared. “It’s no joke. And if I don’t leave you right now, I just might not make it out of here.”

He got as far as the door before turning to look at her. That was his downfall. In quick strides he crossed the room and grabbed her in a fierce embrace.

“I almost made it.” The words were whispered against her temple as he began brushing hot, wet kisses down the side of her face until she turned her head slightly and his lips found hers. “I know you told me you don’t like this.” His voice was a rough growl of desperation.

“That’s what I said. But right this minute I can’t tell you that, Griff.” She clung to him. “I need you hold me, just for a minute.”

“If I stay for a minute, it could turn into hours. I may not be able to leave at all. In fact, it’s already too late. I know what touching you does to me.”

And then he took the kiss deep, nearly devouring her.

Her body was crushed against him, her heartbeat wildly matching his. The feel of her ragged breath, her pounding pulse, added more fuel to the fire that raged through him.

“Wait, Griff. I need a minute…”

Her words barely penetrated the fog that seemed to have taken over his control.

Instead of doing as she asked, he backed her across the room until they were stopped by the press of the wall against her back. They barely noticed the bump of their bodies as they continued the kiss until they were nearly crawling inside each other’s skin.

He was so hot he could barely catch a breath. Lifting his head, he breathed deeply before lowering his face to hers. “I could stay the night. I could…”

She lifted a hand to his mouth. “Wait. Stop. I need to think.”

“I can’t think. My brain…” He sucked in air, hoping to clear his mind.

“We can’t do this.” She put a hand to his chest.

“I know. I know.” He caught her hand in his. “I’ll go.”

As he started to turn away she lifted herself on tip toe to brush his mouth with hers. “I don’t want you to, but I know I need to send you away.”

He half-turned back to her. “I don’t have to…”

“Yes. No.” She breathed deeply. “Yes. Go.”

His hands closed around her shoulders. “Was that no? Or go?”

She looked up at the same moment he looked down. They bumped noses, then both burst into laughter.

They laughed so hard they clung together, shaking and laughing.

He pressed his forehead to hers and managed another shaky breath. “Okay. At least I know we’re both crazy.” He held her a little away and stared deeply into her eyes before giving a groan. “I’m going now. Just…” He backed away. “…don’t touch me or I won’t make it.”

She stayed where she was, watching as he backed across the room. Straightening his shoulders he turned and opened the door. He stepped out and pulled it firmly shut behind him.

About the Author: 1_21 R.C. Ryan
New York Times bestselling author R.C. Ryan has written more than ninety novels, both contemporary and historical. Quite an accomplishment for someone who, after her fifth child started school, gave herself the gift of an hour a day to follow her dream to become a writer. In a career spanning more than twenty years, Ms. Ryan has given dozens of radio, television, and print interviews across the country and Canada, and has been quoted in such diverse publications as the Wall Street Journal and Cosmopolitan. She has also appeared on CNN News, and Good Morning America. R.C. Ryan is a pseudonym of New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ryan Langan.

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Legacy of Fear by Ryshia Kennie – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ryshia will be awarding a $30 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.

1_21 legacy Cover_LegacyOfFear Andra Vandersan is an expert code breaker, as fiercely independent and beautiful as she is brilliant. Working at the highest levels of deciphering, she’s always remained at a safe distance from the seamy underworld of Hong Kong’s criminal elite—but that’s about to change. When her next-door neighbor is brutally murdered in a way that suggests the work of the Chinese triads, two things become clear: Andra was the intended target of the hit, and the assassin is going to return.

Max True is a world-class linguist, a colleague of Andra’s who once helped her break a code that would destroy a terrorist cell. When he shows up at Andra’s door with a mysterious message, they realize they may have stumbled on a long-lost women’s language that holds the secret to incredible power—and one that the most vicious men in Hong Kong will stop at nothing to get their hands on.

As Andra and Max work to solve the puzzle of the language, they find themselves in a desperate race against time to escape the mysterious forces who all want the secret of the message—even as they surrender to the forces of an undeniable passion that brings them inexorably and irrevocably together.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I heard the rumor of a village of women in my early college days. That was a good fifteen years ago.” Jeff strode away from the window. His dark hair gleamed as the early afternoon sun spun bright shards through the copper-gilded blinds. “Until I began my research I thought it was only rumor. Turns out it exists in a remote area in south central China, impossible to get to by commercial means. It isn’t an old village. Throwbacks, I like to call them, the occupants, that is. It consists of women who have no family or who escaped abuse of all sorts. More like a women- run shelter turned village.” His smile was lopsided. “I visited once. I wanted it to be the subject of my thesis.” He sighed. “Unfortunately, it was not to be.”

“Why not?” Max leaned forward.

“In a way they are almost like a triad. Self-contained, in charge of their own future, and willing to go after anyone who stands in their way. The only difference is that unlike a triad they have a leader, Fu.”

“Fu?” Max and Andra exchanged a look.

“No last name. Just that. Rather like Bono or Madonna, and I suppose that maybe she’s a rock star in her own right. But yes, it would have been an incredible thesis, but she was adamant that it not be written.” He turned to the window. He stood silently for a minute with his legs spread and his hands behind his back before turning to face them. “She told me that if I persisted, things would happen in my life that would make me regret ever putting the words to paper.”

About the Author:1_21 legacy AuthorPhoto_LegacyOfFearThe Canadian prairies are where Ryshia Kennie makes her home with her husband and one opinionated and slightly geriatric, Irish Terrier. The winner of her city’s Writing Award in 2011 and a semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards, her novels have taken her characters from the depression era prairies in her first book “From the Dust” to the ancient stones of Angkor Wat and to lost languages in her latest book, “Legacy of Fear”. There’s never a lack of places to set a story as the too long prairie winters occasionally find her with travel journal in hand dreaming of adventure on foreign shores. While facing off a monitor lizard before breakfast or running through the Kasbah chased by an enraged Water Carrier aren’t normal travel experiences and might never find a place in one of her stories, they do make great travel stories. Sometimes it’s just the memories of other worlds close or far away: the words of a stranger, the furtive look one man gives another, that often become the catalyst for a suspenseful story with a deadly villain and an intrepid hero and heroine who must battle for their right to love or even their right to live, in a place that neither – or both, may call home.

When not dreaming of other stories, Ryshia can be found baking a new batch of dog cookies, reading pretty much anything – although romance is a favourite, and, depending on the season; biking, scouting garage sales, golfing and the occasional beach run before the algae rolls in, and winter is for long walks, and taking those long-thought-about trips. For more, visit her website at www.ryshiakennie.com. Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Just a Theory by Annie Wood – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Annie will be awarding $40 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.

1_20 theory Cover_JustATheoryJust when Martin thinks his life will never go anywhere remotely interesting, he meets an eccentric quantum physicist who gives him the ability to travel to his parallel lives where, in one of them, he runs a successful bed and breakfast with his beautiful wife in Italy.

Only problem is, Martin has no control over any of this.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Have you ever experienced déjà vu?”

“You just asked me that.”

“It’s a little metaphysical comedy.” The professor laughs.

Martin can’t find the funny right now. He just glares at the professor.

How about the feeling that you know someone from before, even though you’ve just met?” the professor asks.

“Sure, I’ve felt that before.”

“All of that is because you have met them and you have been there before. Maybe even simultaneously.”

Martin puts his head in his hands again as the professor goes on to explain Einstein’s theory of everything.

“We all know Einstein’s most popular theory, the theory of relativity and his second great theory which brought us general relativity, space warps, the Big Bang, and black holes. But, it’s his third one, the theory of everything, that was his greatest theory. What he had hoped for was that his crowning achievement would be the discovery of the unified field theory. An attempt to read the mind of God.”

“What did God say?”

“Nobody knows. Einstein died before he finished it.”

“And this helps me how?” Martin asks.

“It doesn’t. I’m sure this is just a temporary opening and will close soon enough. In the end, you might have fleeting memories, but that’s all. In the meantime, enjoy this peek into the mysterious.” The professor giggles a little as he leans back in his chair and pretend puffs on his prop pipe.

Martin considers beating him over the head with the Einstein bust.

About the Author: 1_20 theory AuthorPic_Just a TheoryAnnie Wood is a Hollywood native, lifelong actress and writer. She was the host and co-producer of the nationally syndicated dating game show, BZZZ! She has appeared in many films and television shows and is an award winning playwright. The digital-series she created, wrote and stars in, Karma’s a B*tch was Best of the Web on Virgin America. Annie is committed to telling stories that have plenty of her two favorite things – humor and heart.

Also, she can juggle oranges for about three seconds and spider monkeys creep her out.

Now you know everything.

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Tessa by Ali Baran – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

1_20 Cover_TessaYears of wisdom have taught Randal that it’s not the destination but the journey that makes everything worthwhile. When the tentative friendship between silver fox Randal and young Tessa bursts into lust, it ignites a passionate affair that leaves them both trembling. There’s nothing more fulfilling than a beautiful woman in the arms of a man who can appreciate everything she has to offer.

As Randal embarks on a second career and Tessa is preparing for her chosen field, Randal’s daughter flounders in a sea of depression. When Randal’s love for his daughter is pitted against his love for Tessa, can there be a winner?

Enjoy an excerpt:

In the water, Randal didn’t act like an invalid. Those piercing blue eyes sparkled and his body was ripped, better any guy Tessa had dated. The man was damn sexy, and in the week she’d known him, she’d grown to like him—maybe too much. Way too
much. Aside from a few thin, pink scar lines over his knees, no one would have believed he was living in a wheel chair.

He trapped her against the side of the pool and held her prisoner between his arms.

She turned and faced him. Now she stared into those beautiful blue orbs and caught the grin that crinkled the skin at the outer edges of his eyes. “You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.”

“And you have a beautiful body.”

She inhaled as he drew himself nearer. His breath flowed over her face. She closed her eyes and she prayed he’d kiss her.

A finger touched her jaw, and she opened her eyes. He was inches from her with a warm smile on his face. Heaving in a deep breath, she hoped to cool the sensation building in her, but she couldn’t stop it. She tried to imagine his lips on hers. His finger traced her entire face, including her lips. She parted her mouth and touched her tongue to his roaming finger.

“Damn woman. You’re giving me an erection.”

She cast her gaze toward his trunks but she couldn’t stop the grin that was pulling on the edges of her lips.

His finger went down her neck and followed the edge of her bikini top. Her chest rose with his touch. Heat flowed through her, settling between her legs. She had never been one to have casual sex, but she was not a virgin. Right now, she wanted fulfillment. She tried to tell herself that older men weren’t usually capable of sexual intercourse, but somehow she figured this man was quite capable. His fingers splayed over her breast. And a moan escaped from someplace deep in her throat. She wanted to wrap her legs around his waist and pull him closer to her.

She pushed past him and headed for the stairs. She had to get a grip on her feelings because inside she felt as though she was about to shatter into a million pieces.

He followed her. “Tessa, I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. I meant no harm.”

She turned and touched her fingers to his lips. “We’re adults.”

“Don’t leave. I won’t do it again. But seeing you has awakened something inside of me.”

“Yeah. I know that feeling.” She walked up the stairs and found a towel before turning back to him. “Do you need help getting out?”

“No, not yet. I need to swim some more. I try to swim every morning that I don’t have therapy. You just aren’t here. So to answer your question, yes, I can get in and out by myself.”

She settled onto a chase lounge and watched him in the water. He was as graceful as a dolphin as he swam lap after lap. She couldn’t help but admire his body. Even his legs had beautiful muscle definition. Inside, she still quaked. There was something about him—something dangerously sexy, and she felt it to her toes.

After another twenty minutes or so, he pulled himself out of the water and onto his wheelchair. Silver hair was plastered to his chest, legs, and arms. The navy blue trunks left little to the imagination.

“You can stand?”

“Of course. But I’m not supposed to be on my feet. Actually, it hurts like hell, which is why my daughter hired you. I tried to do too much too soon, then wound up falling and doing more damage. That set me back a few months, as I had to have another round of surgery. His hands gripped the outer wheels of his chair, and he headed toward the house.

“Need help?”

He shot her a wicked grin. “Not unless you want to help me get naked.”

She cocked her head as what he said sank in. “Oh. I’m a broke student, but I’m not a whore.”

He rolled to where she was sitting and grabbed her foot. “I didn’t think you were.”

His fingers caressed the bottom of her feet, and she attempted to stifle another moan. “I’m not a toy.”

“As I said, I didn’t think you were.”

His hands made their way further up her legs, massaging each little inch of flesh. Slow and gentle, it felt wonderful. He inched higher, and she put her hand down to stop him. He captured her hand in his and began to tenderly knead each finger, then her palm.

“You’re tense. You need to relax.”

She swallowed and closed her eyes. Her very fiber was being torn apart. Part of her told her to stop him, and the other part greedily wallowed in his sexual attention. The self-indulgent part was winning. Heat swirled through her system and caused her nipples to bead. Then she felt his lips on her palm. She squirmed when her labia twitched. His lips made their way up her arm to her neck. Tiny kisses, little nips, and an occasional swirl of his tongue graced her skin.

Never before had she had a man touch her in such a way. She moaned as he nibbled on her earlobe. She knew she was horny, and he was pushing all the right buttons to ramp her desire.

About the Author: Ali Baran is a vacation addict and a collector of bathing suits. She’s an end-user software programmer by day and on the prowl for Mr. Wonderful after hours. Since she hasn’t found him, she decided to create him.

https://alibaranauthor.wordpress.com

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Interview and Giveaway: Kat Martin

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Kat Martin, whose newest book Against the Sky is being released on January 26. To celebrate the release, Kat will be giving away a copy of Against the Wild to two lucky winners– please leave your email address.

Kat started writing because of her husband. He had written a novel he couldn’t sell, so she started helping him.

“I got hooked!” she told me. “Basically it’s as simple as that. Once I got going, I felt I had discovered my true calling.”

She began writing in 1985, had her first book published in 1988, and has written 65+ books (she’s lost count of how many she actually has written. She doesn’t have a favorite book, but she does love all the AGAINST books.

Against the Sky is a fish out of water story. Nick Brodie, an ex-Anchorage cop, is tough as nails, a true man’s man, comfortable in the hard life in Alaska. But Samantha Hollis, the owner of the Perfect Pup pet grooming parlor in San Francisco likes shopping at Sak’s and a day at the spa.

“It was fun finding ways to make their relationship work when they seem so very far apart,” Kat said.

She’s currently working on the final edits and marketing for the next book in the series, Against the Tide, which is being released on May 27. It’s the story of Nick’s brother, Rafe Brodie. I asked her to tell us a little about it.

“It starts with a murder and expands into high action suspense. Lots of secrets in Against the Tide,” she shared.

“Do you ever suffer from writers’ block?” I wondered.

“I never used to get writers’ block. Even now I don’t call it that–too terrifying a word. I do get stuck on the story line, trying to make the clues fits, to solve the murder or whatever, to figure out a way to tell the story that makes sense. I stop writing, read, take a trip, a day off. I don’t stay off the computer very long.”

Kat just works through her characters and the plot a little at a time. She’ll get an idea for a story, then she tries to solve the mystery as she writes it. If she gets off-track, she’ll stop. She also looks for the right guy to tackle that mystery and creates a woman strong enough to handle him.

“I’m not much on re-writing,” she confessed. “Rather not make the mistake in the first place.”

Kat has a great office in their home in Montana, with wonderful views out over the mountains. During the winner in California, she can look out at the channel where the boats go in and out of the harbor.

“The view helps me stay focused yet relaxed,” she said.

“Do you hear from your readers much?” I asked.

“My Facebook page is very active. Readers seem to like both my old historicals and my contemporary romantic suspense novels. The AGAINST books have been especially popular. One thing readers say that I love hearing is that they read them over and over. What a terrific compliment. Makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

“What did you want to be when you grew up?”

“I had no idea. I loved learning, but couldn’t really figure out what I wanted to do. After I got out of college, I went into real estate. I enjoyed it and was pretty successful, but it wasn’t until I started writing that I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up!”

Since Kat writes a lot of crime, she does most of her research on the internet.

“Things change very fast,” she told me. “I like to be accurate. The web is the only way to do that.”

Finally, I asked, “What advice do you have for a new writer?”

“Tough to give advice these days since I can’t figure out what to do to advance my own career. Get the book written would be my first advice. Then try for an agent and go the traditional print book route if possible. If that doesn’t work, you can always self publish. But the money is better with both print and digital and a good publisher behind you. Traditional publishing has huge advantages. Like getting your books in front of people who don’t read digital.–which is nearly 60% of the market.”

About the Author: 1_20 Kat---Ventura-Star(250by175New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. She is married to L.J. Martin, author of western, non-fiction, and suspense novels.

Kat has written more than sixty-five novels. Sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries, including Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Greece, China, Russia, and Spain.

Born in Bakersfield, California, Kat currently resides in Missoula, Montana, on a small ranch in the beautiful Sapphire mountains. Her last nine books have hit the prestigious New York Times bestseller list.

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1_20 AgainsttheSky(300x500)In America’s last wilderness there are no limits to what a man can do.

For detective Nick Brodie, that means keeping the perps off the streets of Anchorage 24/7. Nick has never backed down from danger, but after the horrors he’s seen, he’s definitely in need of a break.

Samantha Hollis never thought she’d meet anyone like Nick, especially in a place like Las Vegas. But after one reckless, passionate night, she discovers the charismatic stranger is everything she wants in a man. But can he ever be anything more than a one-night stand?

When Nick invites her to Alaska, Samantha decides to find out, never guessing the depths she’ll discover in him or the tangle of murder, kidnapping, and danger about to engulf them both…

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Indiebound.com.

I Think I’ll Read My Book by Jan Scarbrough – Guest Blog and Giveaway

A special welcome to Jan Scarbrough, who is giving one lucky commenter a print copy of one of her most popular books – Kentucky Cowboy.

I think I’ll read my book
I found myself saying that the other day, but I wasn’t going to read one of “my” books—the books I’ve actually written and are available on Amazon and other ebook and paperback outlets.

No, I was going to read one of the books I’d downloaded on my Kindle app on my iPad. I have a ton of these “to-be-read” ebooks. Sometimes I read them on my iPhone at lunch, but mostly I use my iPad. I also have shelves of paperbacks at home, books I’ve collected over the years.

But this time, as I said it, I heard my mom saying the same thing. When she was alive, she’d tell me “I’m going to bed to read my book.” Now, she’d never written a book, but she was never without a paperback. When she died, I found several spiral-bound notebooks filled with lists of books (novels) she’d read.

So, why do we think of the novels we read as “our” books? What is it about a novel that draws us to it? Why do we make it our own?

It’s the characters, stupid! If we can relate to the heroine and if the hero is sympathetic, we can cheer for them as they go through the conflicts those mean writers put them through. There’s nothing like a great book that draws us to the characters and makes us care about them.

Look at the recent popularity of Outlander, a STARZ Original Series. I believe it caught most of the media folks by surprise. Media types didn’t know the Diana Gabaldon series and its made-to-order fan base. So of course, when we saw darling Jamie come to life on the screen, we couldn’t get enough of the TV series. Jamie and Claire are “ours,” aren’t they?

Every time I open a blank Word document to start writing a new novel, I hope I can create memorable characters—ones readers will cheer for.

How about you? How do you think about the novels you read—ones that hook you from the start with memorable, honest characters? Do you think of them as “my” books?

About the Author 1_19 JanHorseJan Scarbrough is the author of the popular Bluegrass Reunion series, writing heartwarming contemporary romances about family and second chances, and if the plot allows—horses. Living in the horse country of Kentucky makes it easy for Jan to add small town, Southern charm to her books, and the excitement of a horse race or a competitive horse show. A member of Novelist, Inc., Jan has published with Kensington, Five Star, ImaJinn Books, Resplendence Publishing and Turquoise Morning Press.

 

Visit Jan at http://www.janscarbrough.com.
Sign up for Jan’s newsletter http://www.janscarbrough.com/contact/
You can also follow Jan on Twitter @romancerider

Check out Jan’s most recent release:

1_19 Kentucky Blue Bloods 200-300No one crosses Parker Stuart, caretaker to his family’s thoroughbred racing empire. Parker retaliates against anyone who dares slight him or his blue-blooded British family, especially Regina Ward and her poker-playing father. The previous spring, Reggie had had the nerve to walk out on him after a torrid, three-week affair. Now, when Parker arrives in Kentucky to collect his family’s winnings, he’s determined to settle the score with the lovely Ms. Ward.

Regina Ward doesn’t consider herself a damsel in distress. After all, this is America, and she’s accustomed to depending upon herself. However, when her father loses four of the yearlings from their central Kentucky horse farm in a poker game, Reggie knows it’s up to her to save what’s left of her family’s homestead and her proud Kentucky heritage. Can she do it when Parker Stuart, the most arrogant and infuriating Brit she’s ever met, shows up in the Bluegrass?

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