In Her Blood by Janice Jones – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

Alex Stone, an ex vampire hunting assassin, is the owner of a hot new clothing company. The only thing she’s killing is her competition – until she gets a phone call from her past.



Enjoy an excerpt:

She enjoyed seeing those chains of pure silver wrapped around the vampire’s scrawny arms like tattoos. He barely resembled the picture of the old parish priest the Cardinal sent them two weeks ago. His brown skin hung from his bones like an ill-fitting suit. His paunch bounced up and down as he struggled to get loose. It took longer to catch him, much longer than it should have, but all’s well that ends well.

Alex Stone, call-sign Dagger, ran her fingers through her dark hair. Flakes of dried blood and sand fell as she pulled the dirty mess into a ponytail. Benjamin Palmer, Team Commander, snatched her wounded hand back down and tightened the field dressing as he griped at her about how dumb it was to try to catch the sharp end of a knife with her hand. She knew that . . . now.

“Who do you think you are,” he said as he gave the knot one last yank, “Superman?” Ben checked her busted lip with a shake of his head. “That’s gonna hurt like hell till morning.”

Alex just nodded, taking the pills in her good hand and swallowing them with a quick sip of warm water from his canteen.

Under normal circumstances, Alex would be pulled from the field, evaluated and possibly scrubbed from the next assignment for that stunt. But time was running out and this wasn’t normal, not even for the top vampire hunting team in the country.

About the Author:

Being an introvert doesn’t mean you have no voice. It just means you have the ability to communicate in different ways. For new author and champion introvert, Janice Jones, that way is writing. She began by reading anything she could get her hands on, but after college, she found herself in roles that required more business-focused writing than fiction. This didn’t stop her – she continued to create her own stories to feed her passion for the written word.

Honing her skills as a paralegal for several years, Janice continued to feed the beast by spending every spare minute she could creating the world of her first fictional character Alexa Stone. In Her Blood, the first book in the Dagger Chronicles series, will introduce New Adult Fiction readers to the adventures of an ex-assassin and vampire hunter as she returns to the fight after many years of hiding in plain sight.

The idea for In Her Blood came during a rough time in Janice’s life. Overcoming loss can be tough for anyone. For Janice, writing helped her focus and heal. As a tribute to her late sister, she had the opportunity to release a short story entitled “Dancing on a Sunday Afternoon” in 2009. Receiving positive feedback, she continued to write and focus on improving every way she could. Earning a Master’s in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University, Janice was encouraged to finish the Dagger Chronicles series and pursue publication. Rejections came, but she never quit. Now, her debut novel will soon have a place next to some of her favorite fiction.

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A Billinaire Between the Sheets by Katie Lane – Spotlight and Giveaway

11_27 Billionaire-Between-the-Sheets-Release-Week-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual book tour celebrating the release of Katie Lane’s newest release A Billionaire Between the Sheets. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a copy of the book.

11_27 Lane_A Billionaire Between the Sheets_MMA commanding presence in the boardroom and the bedroom, Deacon Beaumont has come to save the failing company French Kiss. He was born to be boss in this glamorous new world of lacy lingerie and stunning supermodels. But one bold and beautiful woman dares to question his authority.

Olivia Harrington has dedicated her life to the company’s success. Just because Deacon is sexy as hell doesn’t mean he’ll make a better CEO. With a limitless supply of push-up bras and garter belts, Olivia turns her considerable feminine charms on Deacon to discover what makes him tick . . . and reveals instead the billion reasons why she wants him to stay.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The words were out of Deacon’s mouth before he could stop them. Not that he didn’t know where they came from. The moment Olivia had started clicking through Grayson’s drawings, Deacon’s mind had stripped off Olivia’s gray power suit and dressed her in each article of lingerie. From the sheer, sexy nightgowns to the hot, leather corsets. And it didn’t help that Grayson had put Olivia’s features on the model in each drawing. It didn’t help at all.

Olivia blinked. “Excuse me?”

He could’ve teased his way out of it, but he discovered he didn’t want to. “Your panties,” he repeated. “I want to see them.” He watched a blush stain her cheeks, and her breasts lift in a quick inhalation of breath.

“B-but why?”

“Let’s just say that your designs intrigued me, and I’ve been wondering what style you chose as your own.”

Her breath released, and the moist heat brushed over his face and relocated beneath the fly of his jeans. She glanced at the door, and then whispered. “Someone could walk in.”

The fact that she was even considering it excited him even more. He smoothed back the wisp of hair that had come loose from the clip at the back of her head. “Don’t tell me you’re too bashful. Not when you’ve showed me your panties before.”

“I was fourteen.”

“It was still hot.”

Her eyes widened. “You thought I was hot?”

“Yes. So are you going to show them to me or make me guess?” When she only stared back at him with those pretty green eyes, he continued. “Let’s see. You have on a gray suit so I’m going to go with the purple satin panties with the little ribbon bows.”

She shook her head.

“The white see-through thong with the lace?”

Another shake, and her hair came unclipped, falling around her face in golden waves.

He lifted a strand and held it to his nose. It smelled like he thought sunshine would. Clean, fresh, and hot. “Please don’t disappoint me and tell me you’ve got on a pair of panties that are big enough to dry my two-ton truck after the carwash,” he teased.

There was a moment’s hesitation before she spoke so softly that he had to tip his head closer just to hear. “What with everything, I haven’t had a chance to do laundry.” She swallowed and blushed even brighter. “So . . .”

Her words trailed off taking all the oxygen in the air with them. He felt lightheaded and woozy. Or maybe his condition had more to do with all the blood rushing to his dick. Whatever the cause, he couldn’t think past one thing . . . Olivia wasn’t wearing any panties. And hadn’t been wearing panties the entire time she’d been doing the Power Point presentation.

About the Author: Katie Lane is the USA Today bestselling author of the Deep in the Heart of Texas and Hunk for the Holiday series. Katie lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and when she isn’t writing, enjoys reading, going to the gym, golfing, traveling, or just snuggling next to her high school sweetheart and cairn terrier Roo.

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Books are timeless. Music & Moves: maybe not so much…? by Brian Paone – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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

Books are timeless. Music & Moves: maybe not so much…?

Books—unlike music or movies—never seem to be dated. My wife made a good point a few days ago when she said that books are truly timeless. Think about it. I grew up listening to a heavy dose of 70s prog rock bands (I still, to this day, will tell you that prog-rock is probably my favorite genre of music, followed closely behind industrial-rock). The soundtrack to my childhood, pre-teen, and high-school years was pretty much exclusively Pink Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra, Genesis, The Who, Rush, Yes, Jethro Tull, Queen, and few others. It wasn’t until recently, and I’m talking within the last few years, that those albums that I loved so much sounded … old. The production, the mastering … the style. It just felt old. This was hard for me to swallow at first. I can’t remember a time in my life where Pink Floyd’s The Wall or Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway or The Who’s Quadrophenia or Electric Light Orchestra’s Face The Music weren’t as much a part of me as wearing pants was. But for the first time, I could see the stains and the fabric being thinner at the knees. These albums might be classic, but I’m not sure anymore that they are timeless.

Film. I watched the movies Soylent Green and And Justice For All for the very first time last month. I know, I’m late to the party. And for the first time, a movie from the 70s felt … old. Maybe it’s because I didn’t see it decades ago, or grew up with it. Some other films from that era like Star Wars, Rocky, Jaws, A Clockwork Orange, and The Godfather don’t feel that old. Maybe it’s because I grew up on a steady diet of these films, so it’s hard to see them as an adult. But I can’t imagine Solyent Green is the only film to look like that. I wonder how Papillon would look if I watched it for the first time now. Again, they might classic movies … but they don’t feel timeless anymore.

Books, on the other hand, don’t ever get old. Someone could pick up Stephen King’s Carrie and read it today for the very first time, and it won’t feel like it’s from the mid-70s. Someone who watches Carrie for the first time, will have a hard time getting past the hairdos and quality of the film stock. The book is timeless. It seems that writing a book might be one of the only ways to be immortalized, never aging a single day from its release.

New bands are constantly covering older songs … we live in an age when there is a reboot or remake on almost every movie that was made between 1975 – 1995. But yet, new movies are still being made based on books that were written over a hundred years ago. Timeless. It would be interesting to see someone 200 years from now listen to Yes’ Fragile album for the first time, then watch Blade Runner for the first time, and then read Ken Follet’s Pillars of the Earth for the first time, and have them try to date which era each came from. I can guarantee that the book will be furthest from the correct release era.

MediaKit_BookCover_YoursTrulyJeff Blue-the victim of a time-travel conspiracy-wakes up trapped in the year 2095. The only familiar face is J0; a robotic copy of the wife he left behind in 1981. But can she be trusted?

J0 could be the only key to unlock Jeff’s journey home, but it will require her to do something against her programming-something human.

During Jeff’s perilous journey through the future, he will have to discover the truth about J0’s origins, and solve the mystery behind how he wound up in 2095, in order to uncover the reality of his own destiny.

Armed with a one-way ticket to the moon, Jeff must race against the clock to seize what might be his last chance to return home to his time. A time without hover cars, Justice Computers, or TeleSkins-a time over one hundred years ago.

Enjoy an excerpt:

J0 stepped aside and finally let me approach the table.

“Oh, no. Not Susan. Oh, God.”

Her face was turned away from the door. She was completely finished from her waist to her head, but there was nothing below her hips. It was as if someone had started building her and just stopped. There were loose wires and metal sticking out of her pelvis, giving the impression that she had been ripped in half and not in the process of being constructed.

My eyes kept returning to the dangling red and blue wires. I thought that they looked like severed veins.

“What is this place?” I screamed.

“Looks like the Man-Delay project was thriving well beyond my knowledge,” J0 said.

“It’s sick, and it’s evil. Who was trying to duplicate her?”

“Probably Junior.”

“Why isn’t she finished? All of the other Man-Delays are just hanging on the walls like marionettes. My poor little Bluebird is unfinished with only half a body. Cruel mother—”

“It’s not really her,” J0 said, grabbing my shoulder for comfort.

I collapsed into J1’s synthetic body.

“But it is. Look at her. She’s perfect from the top of her head to her waist. That’s my little girl!” I yelled, sobbing.

“No, it’s not. That is a copy. Like I am a copy of Julie. It isn’t your little girl. Your little girl is safe in heaven. This is just a pile of wires and metal. She’ll never know what it feels like to cry at the lions at the zoo or to cry when it’s time to take a nap, because she’s not your Bluebird.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_YoursTrulyBrian Paone was born and raised in the Salem, Massachusetts area. An award winning author, his love of writing began through the medium of short stories at the young age of twelve. After almost 20 years of consistently writing short stories for only his friends and family to read, Brian’s first full-length novel, a personal memoir about his friendship with a rock-star drug addict entitled, “Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts,” was published in 2007. Brian’s second novel, “Welcome to Parkview,” was published in 2010 and is a macabre journey through a cerebral-horror landscape. Brian’s latest novel, “Yours Truly, 2095,” was published in 2015 and follows a man who wakes up one morning, trapped in the future, to discover he’s been the victim of a time-travel conspiracy. Brian is married and has 3 children. Brian’s wife is an Officer in the US Navy. He is also a self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie, and his favorite color is burnt-orange.

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Dragon Storm by Katie MacAlister – Spotlight and Giveaway

11_25 Katie Dragon-Storm-Release-Week-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual book tour orgainized by the publisher for the release of Katie MacAlister’s latest release, Dragon Storm. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of the book.

11_25 Katie MacAlister_Dragon Storm_MMTURN ON THE CHARM

According to some (including himself), Constantine is one of the greatest heroes of dragonkin who ever lived. Too bad he’s now lonelier than ever and his biggest adventure involves a blow-up sheep-until he has an opportunity to save his kind once again. All Constantine has to do is break into a demon’s dungeon, steal an ancient artifact, and reverse a deadly curse. The plan certainly does not involve rescuing a woman . . .


Bee isn’t sure whether to be infuriated or relieved when Constantine pops up in her prison. The broody, brawny shifter lights her fire in a way no one ever has before, yet how far can she really trust him? Their chemistry may be off the charts, but when push comes to shove, Constantine will have to make a crucial choice: to save the dragons or the woman he’s grown to love with fierce intensity.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Well, I don’t like to be touched,” Bee said, walking forward purposely until she reached the limit of the chain. “Not by women, disembodied Knockers, or even dragons with dreamy knuckles.”

“My knuckles are not dreamy,” Constantine said quickly, and waited for her to turn back to him before he moved forward, once again taking her hand. “They are simply hands, nothing more. Functional in a manly sort of way, but just hands. They are certainly not worth commenting about.”

“For pity’s sake, will you stop trying to paw me!” Bee stopped and whirled around to face Constantine, banging the birdcage against his hand in an attempt to loosen the grip. “I’m not interested in you, OK? Talk about arrogance—will you get it through your thick head that just because you’re handsome, and have eyes that are the color of an old piece of amber, and hair that you think at first glance is just brown, but then you realize is shot through with dark honey, doesn’t mean that I’m going to swoon at your feet just because you keep touching me.”

“Do you dislike men?” Constantine asked.

“No! At least, not in the sense you mean.” She tugged down her shirt in an irritated manner. “I just don’t like being manhandled, OK? Not even by handsome dragons. Especially by handsome dragons.”

“You say the word dragon like we are some sort of beast. We are not human, but we are an ancient race, and have adopted human mores. We are polite, we are considerate—when it behooves us to be—and we have very nice manners.”

“Ha! I knew a dragon once, and he was anything but nice. He was always grabbing me, and teasing me with his fire, which hurt like the dickens if you want to know the truth.”

“You don’t like dragons?” Constantine couldn’t believe his ears. He’d met women who hadn’t desired him personally, but never one who was prepared to damn all of the dragonkin.

“Let’s just say that given past experience, I don’t seek out your company.”

Constantine stared at her in confusion, then did the only thing he could think of. He kissed her.

She started when his mouth claimed hers, but despite his guess that she’d push him away, or slap him for such a brash move, her mouth opened under his and welcomed him into her sweetness.

About the Author: For as long as she can remember Katie MacAlister has loved reading, and grew up with her nose buried in a book. It wasn’t until many years later that she thought about writing her own books, but once she had a taste of the fun to be had building worlds, tormenting characters, and falling madly in love with all her heroes, she was hooked.

With more than fifty books under her belt, Katie’s novels have been translated into numerous languages, been recorded as audiobooks, received several awards, and are regulars on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. A self-proclaimed gamer girl, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her dogs, and frequently can be found hanging around online.

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Steal Me by Lauren Layne – Spotlight and Giveaway

11_25 Steal-Me-Release-Week-Blitz

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win Steal Me.

11_25 Layne_Steal Me_MMBeing a cop might be in Anthony Moretti’s blood, but protecting and serving the city of New York has always been more than just the family business. If that means his love life stays locked up, well then that’s just another sacrifice made in the line of duty. That is, until he sets eyes on the gorgeous new waitress at The Darby Diner and suddenly Anthony’s morning coffee is leaving him a whole lot more hot and bothered than usual.

Though waitressing at The Darby isn’t exactly Maggie Walker’s dream job, it pays the bills and gives her time to work on her novel. Now if only she could stop fantasizing about gorgeous Anthony Moretti every time he sits down at her table, she’d really be in great shape. But when he needs her help identifying a criminal threatening The Darby-and Maggie recognizes her ex-husband-she fears her fresh start might be a pipe dream. Faster than a New York minute, Maggie and Anthony find themselves in one perilous pursuit that only gets hotter with each and every rule-breaking kiss.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Men,” Elena muttered. “Communicating in food.”
“So?” Vincent said. “You women communicate in shoes and chocolate and—“
“And wine,” came a soft female voice from the edge of the table. “Don’t forget wine.”
He knew his brothers would never let him forget it if he said it aloud, he very nearly did, just to hear her name on his lips. But somehow he knew this woman, not by her voice, or her look, or even her smell, but just by her presence.
He felt her. Felt when she was near. Felt when she was afraid. And felt when her eyes were on him.

Like now.

“You’re a wine-o, Mags?” Luc said, forcing her to shift her gaze from Anth to his brother, and causing Anth to want to relieve Luca of all of his teeth.

Maggie gave a small smile. “Let’s just say that sometimes a glass of wine is just exactly the thing.”

“Or a bottle,” Ava chimed in. “Sometimes a bottle is just the thing.”

Maggie grinned down Luc’s girlfriend. “Or a bottle,” she agreed. “Although the hangover is rarely worth it.”

She flicked a gaze at Anthony, and he gave her the smallest of winks, reassuring her that he did in fact remember that her last hangover involved him and a series of texts …

Too late, he realized that his siblings would be watching him like a hawk, and no way were the Morettis the type to let one of their own off the hook.

“Did you just wink?” Elena asked.

Anth gave her his best scowl, but his sister merely shrugged. “Glare all you want. I know what I saw.”

“Then why did you ask?”

“What Sister Dearest meant to ask,” Luc chimed in, “was not did you wink, because obviously you did, but why did you wink, Anth?”

“I didn’t wink.”

“You totally winked,” Ava chimed in. He transferred his glare to the pretty brunette who merely beamed and stole a piece of never-ending supply bacon.

“You did wink,” Maggie said, a smile lighting up her face as she looked at him.

And though Anthony knew it was insane … knew that his family would see right through him, he couldn’t stop himself from smiling back.

Vincent cleared his throat. “Hey, Mags, baby … I think there was maybe some mistake, but um, Anthony seemed to get all the bacon in the restaurant.”

“Seriously, there are like, twenty pieces,” Elena chimed in.

Anth leaned back in his chair and watched as Maggie’s pretty features formed the picture of confusion. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

Nonna pointed a long spindling finger at Anthony’s plate. “Sure you do. You made sure he got half of a hog all because you two had relations.”

Maggie gave one of those slow, secret smiles that only women seemed familiar with and leaned down so her lips were close to his grandmother’s ear. “Mrs. Moretti, with all due respect … if I were to have relations with a man, he’d have all the reward he needs. You get me?”

Maggie stood up slowly, grinning a little when Nonna let out a delighted whoop and smacked her palm against Maggie’s backside as Ava and Elena gave Maggie high fives. Even his mother looked strangely approving.

Anthony, meanwhile, was torn between grinning with the rest of his family and wanting to drag Maggie out of the back door of the diner, press her up against the brick wall and show her that when it came to relations, he was no slouch either.

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

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Future Winds by Kevin Laymon – Spotlight and Giveaway

MBB_FutureWinds_Banner copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kevin will be awarding a $20 gift card to (international) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_FutureWindsSet in a science fiction setting with elements of twisted horror, Future Winds is a strange yet wondrous tale of species self preservation and the all out moral cost of survival. Forced to leave earth, humanity discovers a planet capable of supporting life and hatches an audacious plan that will warp them across the universe to settle and begin anew. There is a darkness that resides below the planet’s surface, but with no option to turn back, humanity must find a way forward.

Enjoy an excerpt:
Here we have two brothers who are being transported to their new home. They are nervous and afraid.

Ness wasn’t sure of the correct answer, so he lied. Way he saw it, he had a fifty/fifty shot of getting it right anyway. “Na, we aren’t slaves Lucas. You think Ma would have let us get on this ship if that were the case?”

The younger boy began to quietly weep. “I miss Mom,” he reminded his older brother, just as he had the day before and the day before that.

“Yea me too buddy, but we will see her soon.” Ness lied once more.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FutureWindsMy name is Kevin Laymon. My passions are space exploration, music, sailing, snowboarding, wildlife, and of course writing. I have been writing for some time but the focus has been primarily on short stories and dark poems strictly for personal use. Future Winds is the first of a handful of novels I am working on for publication. I grew up in upstate New York and have lived up and down the east coast. New York is a location that holds a very special place in my heart. After working a wide range of jobs that I hated for far too long, Sara my significant other, and I decided earlier in 2015 to make some dramatic changes and travel. We scraped together some cash, I quit my job, and we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where we live a libertarian life as vegetarians. We share our desertscape living quarters with an aquatic turtle named Taz and a rabbit named BunBear. On October 9th 2015 Sara & I got married in Las Vegas, Nevada. The sunshine in New Mexico has helped immensely in illuminating a greater perspective as to who I am and what I was placed on this planet to do; that is to teach and inspire. I have a hunger to awaken humanity so that we may break away from our programed way of thinking. Our minds are powerful and I encourage everyone to open them up, exercise them, and tap into the potential I know every living man woman and child has. Though my stories at times can be very dark there is a reason for everything I do. Perspective, perception, and relativity are everything in the world of literature.

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Hidden by Amy McKinley – Q&A and Giveaway

FS_TourBanner_Hidden copy

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

Welcome Amy McKinley to Long and Short Reviews as she stops by to answer a few random questions. Amy, what would we find under your bed?

Dust? (hopefully not) :-)

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Yes, I definitely listen to music while I write. It fades into the background and aids in creativity. I can write without it but prefer to have it playing.

I have several playlists and I change them depending on what scene I’m writing. If it’s an action scene with lots of fighting then I may have something heavy with a lot of angst. For some of the love scenes, I was listening to “Where Have You Been” by Rhianna, or “Dance Again” by Jennifer Lopez. I feel like Rhianna’s song really encompasses Jade and Roen.

It truly varies: Fall Out Boy, Bastille, Imagine Dragons, Meghan Trainor, Maroon 5, Muse, Eminem, among others.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I’d definitely like to finish another book or two in the Five Fates Series. I have a few more that have been percolating that are not in the series. That’s tough because I want to dive into them all, but I find it hard to pull myself away from the next books in the Fates series.

How long did it take you to write this book?

I feel like I’ve been writing this book for years! But really, I think I’ve been revising it for a very long time. It probably took me close to a year to write it as it’s my first novel, but I’m not entirely sure. Now revisions…that’s another story!

MediaKit_BookCover_HiddenCursed since birth, hunted by gods, and desperate for love—Jade never stood a chance.

Half-demon, half-goddess, Jade’s fate makes her a pawn in an epic battle among the gods. Hidden on Earth with her sisters, she successfully avoids the Oneiroi—the dream gods—bent on her destruction until the prophecy, long dormant, awakens a dark shadow within her.

Roen, a reclusive Worr demon known for his battles against the Oneiroi, is called to protect Jade. Together they must unlock their mysterious connection and find a way to beat back destiny. Can she outsmart the prophecy, change her fate, and find love—even when she learns who is connected to her destruction?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Jade froze, her paintbrush hanging mid-air above her palette. An eerie, surreal frame was cast as light streamed diagonally through the bay window.

Whispers seduced and coerced.

She scanned the entire painting. The buildings cast long, ominous shadows, stalking the pedestrians as they made their way to and fro, huddled against the misery of the evening. A man lay sprawled, his lifeblood staining the sidewalk crimson. Half in a deserted alley, he was yet to be discovered. This was the detail Jade concentrated on. She blended a burnt red and used careful brush strokes to complete the scene as the portrait fell prey to the darkness that burned inside her.

Without meaning to, her gaze was once again drawn to the slain man. She reached up and touched the blood seeping from his body, coming away wet. Bringing her hand to her nose she closed her eyes and inhaled.

Instead of the cloying scent of her oils, she inhaled the coppery smell of blood.

Stunned, her mouth parted on a silent scream. No! Darkness bubbled to the surface, invading her senses with a roar. Unable to fight the invasion, her heart beat an increasing crescendo. Part of her didn’t want to struggle, not with the temptation of death on her hand.

Deep inside, a macabre shadow stretched. Hungry for more, its long arms clawed for purchase with each breath. Changing her, as part of her argued for the better. The other part—the one that gloried in her fire-kissed hair and shimmering eyes—cried against this crime and screamed for redemption.

She crouched to welcome the demonic strength as the parasitic monster grew inside her. Evolving into a fierce predator, she was able to taste, weigh, and measure the souls who sifted through her fingers.

Still, she fought for space in her own body. For control.

But with the scent of blood, of death, of prey—she was losing fast. It’s happening. Unshed tears burned her eyes. Finally. The curse of the three Fates had begun. With her.

Slowly Jade stood and bit down on her lip and welcomed the pain. The distraction would help fight the transformation. Dipping the brush into the Caribbean blue, she swirled then began to paint a shimmering cove. The vision soothed the beast that lurked just beneath, but it was temporary, and Jade knew its evil would soon rebel. The Fates’ curse would change her over time, unleashing an unstoppable power within her, annihilating the gods who created her and anyone who got in her path.

Including her family.

Dropping the blue-tipped brush, Jade’s back snapped straight and her mouth opened on silent scream. Succumbing to a surge of menace, she lost control. Every cell stretched to accommodate the new presence. Shivering from the effects of her altered state, she briefly shut her eyes, adjusting. When she opened them, her painting was before her, and she viewed the scene anew. Cocking her head, she closely observed a woman who tightly clutched her rain slicker about her body.

This one will not make it home tonight.

About the Author: Amy McKinley is a freelance writer and author. She lives in Illinois with her husband, their four talented teenagers, and three mischievous cats. Her debut novel, Hidden is the first in the Five Fates Series.

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The Santa Claus Man by Alex Palmer – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Alex will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

palmer3.inddBefore the charismatic John Duval Gluck, Jr. came along, letters from New York City children to Santa Claus were destroyed, unopened, by the U.S. Post Office. Gluck saw an opportunity, and created the Santa Claus Association. The effort delighted the public, and for 15 years money and gifts flowed to the only group authorized to answer Santa’s mail. Gluck became a Jazz Age celebrity, rubbing shoulders with the era’s movie stars and politicians, and even planned to erect a vast Santa Claus monument in the center of Manhattan — until Gotham’s crusading charity commissioner discovered some dark secrets in Santa’s workshop.

The rise and fall of the Santa Claus Association is a caper both heartwarming and hardboiled, involving stolen art, phony Boy Scouts, a kidnapping, pursuit by the FBI, a Coney Island bullfight, and above all, the thrills and dangers of a wild imagination. It’s also the larger story of how Christmas became the extravagant holiday we celebrate today, from Santa’s early beginnings in New York to the country’s first citywide Christmas tree and Macy’s first grand holiday parade. The Santa Claus Man is a holiday tale with a dark underbelly, and an essential read for lovers of Christmas stories, true crime, and New York City history.

Enjoy an excerpt:

It’s impossible to say who wrote the first Santa letter, but it was almost certainly from the mythical saint, not to him.

From the earliest conception of Santa Claus in the United States, parents used the voice of St. Nicholas as a means of providing advice and encouraging good behavior in their children. The earliest reference to a Santa letter in America that I could find came from Theodore Ledyard Cuyler, recalling his childhood in 1820s Western New York when he “once received an autograph letter from Santa Claus, full of good counsels.”

Fanny Longfellow (wife of poet Henry Wadsworth) regularly wrote her children Santa letters, commenting on their behavior over the preceding year. “I am sorry I sometimes hear you are not so kind to your little brother as I wish you were,” she wrote to her son Charley on Christmas Eve 1851.

Soon enough, children started writing back, generally placing their letters on the fireplace, where they believed smoke would transport the message to St. Nick.

By the 1870s, scattered reports appeared of the receipt of Santa letters by local post offices. But with no actual fur-coated toymaker to receive his mail, each January, the department destroyed them.

It was a depressing business. But, officials asked, if mailmen began delivering Santa’s letters, to which other fictional characters would mail be shuttled?

In the face of negative publicity, however, New York City’s postmaster finally relented. Every year, for the entire month of December, any approved organization could answer Santa’s mail. No one volunteered. Then, in 1913, just as the Post Office was about to give up, a man named John Duval Gluck stepped forward. He’d be Santa Claus.

He was also a con artist.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheSantaClausManAlex Palmer is the author of The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York, called “required reading” by the New York Post and “highly readable” by Publishers Weekly.

It tells the history of Christmas in America through the true-crime tale of a Jazz Age hustler who founded an organization to answer children’s Santa letters — and fuel his own dark dreams. Palmer curated an exhibit about this Santa Claus Association for Brooklyn’s City Reliquary Museum, earning attention from the Village Voice, Time Out New York, and inspiring a memorable segment on WNYC.

The son of two teachers, Palmer’s love of learning and sharing surprising stories behind familiar subjects has led him to become a secret-history sleuth. In addition to The Santa Claus Man, he is the author of Weird-o-pedia: The Ultimate Collection of Surprising, Strange, and Incredibly Bizarre Facts About (Supposedly) Ordinary Things, published in 2012 by Skyhorse Publishing. it offers up a wealth of unexpected facts of familiar things. His first book, Literary Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Literature, takes a look at some of the more colorful aspects of great writers and their works, and was published in 2010 by Skyhorse.

He is a full-time freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Slate, Rhapsody, Smithsonian, Vulture, the New York Daily News, Publishers Weekly, and The Rumpus, among others.

See more at and follow him @theAlexPalmer.

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or IndieBound.

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Dukes Are Forever by Anna Harrington – Q&A and Giveaway

11_24 anna Dukes-are-Forever-Launch-Day-Blitz
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of the book.

What would readers be surprised to find out about you?

I have a pilot’s license. I took flying lessons at Chicago Midway and eventually earned both my private license and instrument rating in Chicago Center and my complex/high-performance sign-off at Gary Regional Airport. (And I deeply apologize to Southwest Airlines and to the tower controllers for any problems I might have caused.)

Tell us about your writing process. Do you start with an idea or a character? Do you know what’s going to happen from the beginning or do you figure it out as you write?

I usually start with a problem and work out from there, creating the characters, places, and conflicts that radiate from that central problem. For DUKES ARE FOREVER, the problem was simple: what if a new duke was forced to take a ward who wasn’t a child but a full-grown woman? Then, the ideas just ripple out from that like circles in a pond. The first thing I do is sketch out the external and internal conflicts, then I write out the basic plot and backgrounds for the two main characters, which is usually about 2 – 3 pages long. I then start filling in details. When I’m finished, I’ll have what I consider the “outline draft”—about 20 single-spaced pages. Then, I start writing. And 95K words later, I’m finished and dive into a big bowl of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!

Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?

Dr. John Stratton, my college writing instructor, who told us repeatedly, “Writing isn’t about you. You’re just the author. What matters is the reader. If you’re not giving the reader what he or she wants, then you’re not writing.”

Is there one thing you have to have when writing?

COFFEE!!! And during the season, I keep a vase of cut flowers from my garden on the table where I write. It’s in my sunroom, so I have wonderful views of the yard, the wooded hill behind the house, and the creek.

How did you choose the names of your characters?

For DUKES ARE FOREVER, I picked Katherine because I’ve always loved that name. It’s feminine and classic but also strong, and the nicknames for it are perfect for reflecting different parts of her personality: the nickname Kate sounds so fiery and no-nonsense, but when the servants call her Katie, there’s affection and love in it. As for Edward…well, when I pictured him in my mind, he just LOOKED like an Edward. Aunt Augusta because she could ONLY be an Augusta. Edward’s brother Stephen was named after King Stephen.

How has music played a role in your life and in your writing?

I love all kinds of jazz and symphonic music, and I always have music playing in the background while I’m writing. What I listen when I write, however, depends on the type of writing task I’m working on that day…music to set the mood.

When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?

I was in third grade, and we were supposed to write a paragraph about an everyday item. I don’t know why, but I wrote about a hammer owned by President Jimmy Carter and the story of that hammer’s life…from the hammer’s first-person POV! My teacher read it to the entire class and gave it a place of honor on the board for the upcoming parent-teacher conferences. At that point, I was hooked. I had a talent for writing, and the praise was addictive. I started writing then, filling spiral Mead notebooks by the dozen, and in my early teens I had my first publications, contest wins, and two one-act plays staged by a local drama club. I was hooked. I haven’t stopped writing since, although the genres have certainly changed over the years.

Do you have any favorite book boyfriends of your own?

Well, of course Mr. Knightly from Emma! But other favorites include Sullivan Waring from Suzanne Enoch’s After the Kiss and Sebastian Carlisle from the book I’m currently writing (and brother of Josie Carlisle in HOW I MARRIED A MARQUESS). And although he’s a based-on-a-book-TV boyfriend, I’m desperately in love with Ross Poldark from Masterpiece’s Poldark series.

What are five books on your night stand/bookshelf?

Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester, The Groucho Letters by Groucho Marx, Cottage Living, Catch-22, and a book by whatever Regency romance writer I’m currently reading.

What’s your favorite quote or scene from your book?

My favorite bit occurs when Kate tries to explain to Edward why he’s the type of man not used to being told No, only to dig herself deeper into embarrassment. The attraction between them sizzles, so do the back-and-forth barbs and Edward’s cool as he rakishly lets out just enough rope for to hang herself. (But I also like the running joke about the boy’s breeches she wears.)

If your couple’s relationship had a theme song, what would it be?

“Good Things” by the Bodeans

Tell us about the cover process. Is this what you had in mind?

I love that she’s holding a rose in her hand! I have a rose bush in my garden that exact same shade. It’s a David Austin rose called Grace, and it’s the pride of my garden.

If your book was being made into a movie, who would you include in your dream cast?

For Kate, I’d pick Amy Adams—she has the red hair and the feistiness but can still portray a feminine vulnerability that Kate has. For Edward, Aidan Turner. For Aunt Augusta I always picture the stepmother from Walt Disney’s Cinderella—Augusta isn’t evil, of course, but she had that same regal, imperial bearing as the stepmother…but I’d settle for Dame Judi Dench. :-)

Where do you find inspiration for you writing? Do you use real people/places as a foundation?

Creating atmosphere is important, so I try to I use real places where I’ve been for the settings. Because my novels are set in Regency England, and I lived in London during college, I’m fortunate to have first-hand experience with the atmosphere of the city, the look of the countryside, and the wonderful people who live there. I’ll often find a house or building which strikes me, and then the story might take off from there. I don’t use real people as models for the characters, but the characters seen to evolve organically from the places.

Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy outside of writing?

During the past two years, since I’ve moved into my new house, I’ve taken up gardening, and I love working outside in the beds, especially with the roses. I’ve planted all kinds of trees, azaleas, hydrangeas, roses, and even blueberries and strawberries. I also love to travel and visit every museum and tourist trap I can, and I like dreaming that someday I might also take a photography class or two so I can take better pictures. I also love to hike and go trekking by all kinds of means—I’ve been pony trekking in Wales and elephant trekking in Thailand, and I’ve love to go camel trekking in Morocco. I love history and archeology, and I love visiting ancient ruins and new cultures all over the world.

Would the 10 year-old version of yourself kick your butt or praise you for what you’ve accomplished in life?

The 10 year-old version of me would say, “Well, this life is exactly what we planned, teaching and writing and experiencing adventures all over the world…minus the pony.”

11_24 anna Harrington_Dukes are Forever_MMALL’S FAIR IN LOVE
Battlefields and barrooms hold much more interest for Edward Westover, Duke of Strathmore, than a little girl’s fondness for dolls and lace. When he takes possession of his enemy’s estate, everything that villain held dear-including his daughter-belongs to Edward. Hire a governess, arrange a dowry, give a few reassurances, and be off on his way-that’s Edward’s plan. But he’s in for the shock of his life. For his new ward is a beautiful, impetuous, and utterly irresistible woman . . .

. . . AND WAR
Kate Benton is stunned. Who is this arrogant, infuriating man who’s invited himself into her home and taken over her life? Her vow: to do everything in her power to convince him to leave her-and Brambly House-alone. Yet as chilly days melt into sultry nights, Kate sees glimpses of kindness underneath Edward’s cool façade . . . and a passionate nature that takes her breath away. There’s so much she doesn’t know about this man. But does she dare trust this devilish duke with her heart?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“If she isn’t downstairs in five minutes,” Edward warned Mrs. Elston through gritted teeth, “I will go up to her room and drag her down myself!”

The old governess bristled. “As I told you, Miss Kate is feeling unwell—”

A sharp curse exploded from him, telling her exactly what he thought of Miss Kate’s sudden illness.

“Your Grace,” her brows shot up, offended, “with all due respect—”

He rolled his eyes, knowing that whatever she was about to say would lack all respect.

“—you have swept into our home without warning, upset both my little Katie and the entire household, and are now making demands as if you own the place.”

“I do own it,” he drawled.

“Brambly House is entailed,” she informed him pointedly. “It is owned solely by Miss Kate to be relinquished only to the gentleman she marries.” Her emphasis clearly implied that despite his title, she found him to be no gentleman. “If she wishes to forgo your company, you should have the decency to give her peace!”

She stood squarely in front of him and blocked the stairs like a bulldog guarding its dinner. While ordinarily he would have found that loyalty admirable, tonight he was ready to throttle her for it.

“Mrs. Elston,” he growled, tired from a long day of traveling and now hungry since dinner was an hour late, “if Miss Benton doesn’t come downstairs, I swear I’ll—”

“You will do what, your Grace?” a soft voice challenged from the landing.

He glanced up, and when he saw her, the rest of the threat vanished from his lips. Sweet Lucifer, she was a vision. Although a decade out of fashion, the ice-blue silk gown she wore was cut just carefully enough to tantalize without being improper, with its fitted bodice accentuating her slender waist and its neckline revealing a hint of firm breasts beneath. As she descended toward him, her upswept red hair shining like fire, the dress shimmered enticingly over her curves with each move.

She stopped two steps from the bottom, her eyes level with his and just the hint of a self-assured smile at her lips. The sweet scent of honeysuckle wafted down to him like a cloud, and his gut clenched with unbidden arousal.

The disheveled woman who greeted him earlier had transformed into a beautiful woman, like a caterpillar into a butterfly. She left him speechless.

“You’ll do what?” she pressed.

His lips twisted impishly at his now-empty threat. “Throw you over my knee and spank you.”

“Your Grace!” Mrs. Elston swung her gaze at him, appalled that he would even suggest such a thing.

Kate raised her head defiantly, her green eyes blazing. “I’d like to see you try.”

Good God. His cock twitched at the temptation.

“Miss Kate!” Mrs. Elston blurted out, aghast at her charge’s scandalous behavior.

Ignoring the old governess and fighting back an amused chuckle, Edward held out his hand. “Truce?”

She hesitated.

“Until dessert at least?”

She placed her gloved hand into his and allowed him to help her down the last two steps and toward the dining room as she conceded, “Until dessert, your Grace.”

“Edward, please,” he corrected.

“Then you must call me Kate,” she insisted, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “All my guardians do.”

“You have a lot of guardians, do you?” he asked dryly.

“Oh, yes.” She gave a flippant wave of her hand, the mocking gesture indicating how ludicrous she found their situation and her desire to be free of it. “Lately, it seems there’s a new one dropping by every day.”

He paused in mid-step, then slid her an irritated sideways glance as she continued walking, slipping her hand away from his arm to proceed him into the room. As his gaze roamed down her backside, the curves beneath the gown and the soft sashay of her hips once again reminded him that this was no child in need of a guardian. This was a woman.

Worse, he thought grimly as the man now responsible for guarding her reputation, she was beautiful. The moment she debuted, every man would set his sights on her. And it wouldn’t be with the intention of marrying her.

Heaven help him, he was in serious trouble.

About the Author: Anna is an English professor in Chattanooga Tennessee and a lover of all things chocolate and coffee. She’s a member of RWA and when she’s not hard at work writing her next book or planning her next series, she’s watching BBC and piloting her own aircrafts.

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One of Paige Tyler’s Favorite Heroes – Guest Post and Giveaway

11_24 paige tyler banner Company-of-Wolves---Release-Graphic

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the upcoming release of the newest book in Paige Tyler’s SWAT series, In the Company of Wolves, out December 1. Enter the Rafflecopter to win a set of Paige Tyler’s SWAT Series + SWAT Wolf Plushie.


Next month, Paige Tyler releases the third in her action-packed SWAT series, IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES. To celebrate the release of IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES, Paige Tyler stopped by to tell us about one of her favorite fun loving heroes in pop culture and to share an excerpt showcasing her own hero’s fun loving side!

Paige Tyler: Everyone loves reading about alpha males, right? But of course, you can’t have a single dimensional character that’s just hardcore alpha all the time. It comes off as flat or just plain irritating. Most of the time you want to let your alpha have a lighter side, just to keep things interesting. One of my favorite fun loving heroes from popular culture is Dean Winchester! 

Jensen Ackles plays a monster-hunting bad boy along with his brother Sam (Jared Padalecki) on my favorite long-running television series Supernatural. Both brothers are incredibly hot, but Dean is the one more likely to crack jokes and live in the moment in contrast to Sam, who can be a little moody sometimes. He’s lived through so much violence and pain—every friend and family member has been killed during the eleven season run of this series—but he can still appreciate an attractive woman or a big cheeseburger. I mean, the first thing he went for after spending a year in hell was a burger. One really funny tidbit about Dean is that the original developer of the story (Eric Kripke) based the character of Dean on—you guessed it—Han Solo, because he wanted him to have that swagger that Solo was able to pull off with ease. One of the things I love about Dean is the bond he has with Sam. It’s what gets them both through the day even when facing monsters, angels, and demons that are way out of their league.


11_24 paige tyler book coverHe opened his mouth to order her to drop the MP5 she had aimed at him, but nothing would come out. It was like she’d robbed him of the ability to speak. Shooting her wasn’t an option, though. And the idea of arresting her didn’t make him feel any better.

There’s a new gang of criminals in town who are organized and ruthless in the extreme. When Eric Becker, along with the rest of the Dallas SWAT team, ends up in the middle of a shootout, he immediately senses werewolves-a lot of them. Turns out, the new bad guys are a pack of wolf shifters.

In a spray of gunfire, Becker comes face-to-face with the most gorgeous woman he’s ever seen. Becker does the logical thing. He hides her and leaves the scene with the rest of his team.

Jayna Winston has no idea why that SWAT guy helped her, but she’s glad he did. Ever since she and her pack mates got mixed up with those Eastern European mobsters, everything had pretty much fallen apart.

So what’s a street-savvy thief like Jayna going to do with a hot alpha-male wolf who’s a police officer?

Enjoy an excerpt:

One of the Albanians shouted something from the front of the store in his own language, following it up with an order to the omegas to stop wasting time and get the damn safe open. Becker ground his teeth. He should have simply kidnapped Jayna and her entire pack. Then he could have just walked into the loft and shot every one of these idiots—twice.

“Watch them,” he told Jayna, motioning to the security guard and two women. Turning, he left the break room and jogged down the hallway toward the back of the building.

“Get them back on the safe!” the Albanian driver shouted at him from the front room.

Oh yeah, sure. Stop two morons from raping a woman and get them back on task. What the hell was he—a daycare worker for omega werewolves?

Shit. If this was how criminals behaved, it was no wonder he and his SWAT teammates took so many of them down. They were too stupid to live. Then again, maybe this was how Gage felt some days. The SWAT pack could occasionally be a little stupid too. Becker’s current predicament was a shining example of that.

The omega standing guard in the hallway outside the manager’s office glared at him. “We got this. Go back and babysit the old folks.”

What a complete ass, Becker thought as he walked up and punched the guy in the face. The werewolf flew backward and bounced off the wall, bleeding like crazy from a broken nose as he fell to the floor in a dazed heap. He was still moving around though, reminding Becker that it was as hard to knock out an omega as it was to knock out an alpha. He’d have to remember that.

Becker strode into the office to find the store manager on the floor beside her desk, the other omega—the one who liked to play with his platinum medallion—leaning over her menacingly. He’d torn her blouse and was telling her all the horrible things he planned to do to her if she didn’t open the safe. The idiot was so intent on threatening her that he didn’t realize Becker was there until he yanked the guy to his feet and spun him around, then smashed the back of his head into the nearest hard object he could find—the safe panel. Becker pounded his head into the safe a few times before letting him fall to the floor. The asshole was definitely out cold.

Becker turned and looked at the shop manager. She cringed away from him, terror in her eyes as she tried to hold the tatters of her blouse together. He really wished he could pull up his ski mask. Seeing him like this definitely wasn’t helping.

“Do you have an alarm button in this room?” he asked in his softest, least intimidating voice.

The woman stared at him for a moment like he was insane, then motioned under the desk with a shaking hand.

“Would you mind pushing it for me?” he asked.

Now she looked really confused. But she slowly reached under the desk and poked around until a loud alarm started ringing.

“Thanks.” Becker bent down to take the platinum medallion out of the omega’s vest and slip it into his pocket. “By the way, that diamond merchant you bought from in New York sold you out to a really bad guy. You probably don’t want to buy from him anymore.” Turning, he jogged out of the room and down the hallway to the front of the store. “Time to leave. Moron hit the alarm.”

Jayna was heading his way in a flash, the two Albanians right behind her.

“What about the safe?” the driver asked.

Becker shook his head. “It’s a no-go. Our guy smashed the keypad.”

The Albanians muttered something in their native language and shook their heads, as if they’d seen this coming. They stepped over the omega who was still rolling around in a daze on the floor in the hallway and raced out the back door. In the distance, sirens echoed in the air. About damn time. Becker motioned Jayna out.

“What about him?” she asked, jerking her head at the werewolf still trying to get to his knees.

Becker nudged the omega with his boot, pushing him back down. The guy looked like he really didn’t want to bother getting up this time.

“What about him?” Becker said, holding the door open for her.

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