Forbidden Things: Dissident by Nikki McCormack – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions for Nikki McCormack’s newest book Forbidden Things: Dissident. The author will award a $50 Amazon/BN GC to one randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ascard power can strengthen, heal and create. It also has great potential to destroy, enough to topple entire governments. Indigo’s country places strict limitations on the use of ascard so she must channel her talents into the healing arts or risk severe punishment. An orphan from a disgraced family, trapped by her father’s treason, Indigo struggles reclaim her place in a society that has driven her into an abusive engagement.

Then a mysterious stranger from a neighboring country contacts her using ascard. He needs help escaping his prison so he can bring an end to his emperor’s oppressive rule or die trying. His unshakable devotion to his cause and the passion hidden behind his cool arrogance move her to help him at the risk of being branded a traitor herself.

When the politics of society bring them together a second time, Indigo decides to use her growing powers to help him fight his war. If only she dared fight for her own future with such passion. Perhaps she can find the courage to do so by helping the man she has fallen for win his revolution. She might have exactly the power he needs to succeed.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Her attention wandered to the fountain sprouting up in the center of a nearby courtyard, simple and elegant like a great stonework lily. A man stood by the fountain, watching water droplets falling with the shimmer of multicolored gems in the bright sunlight. Long silver hair hung to the middle of his back like a frozen waterfall. His smooth pale skin and unusual hair marked him as Lyran, but his regal bearing and rich attire didn’t befit a slave or merchant.

Curious. “Have you seen him before?”

Andrea turned, following her gaze. “Who?”

“The man beside the fountain.”

“There’s no one by the fountain.”

Andrea’s reply tugged at her awareness, but the silver-haired Lyran was turning toward them now. His pale eyes met hers and the air pressed from her lungs as if a corset were being pulled too tight. The buildings lurched and spun in her vision.

“Indigo?”

She sank to her knees. Andrea crouched down with her, her eyes wide and frightened. She held Indigo’s shoulders tight, her lips moving. Indigo heard only the pounding of blood in her ears.

About the Author:

Nikki started writing her first novel at the age of 12 (which is still tucked away in a briefcase in her office). Despite a successful short story publication with Cricket Magazine in 2007, she treated her writing addiction as a hobby until a drop in the economy left her with an abundance of free time to focus on making it her career.

Nikki lives in the magnificent Pacific Northwest tending to her awesome husband, two sweet horses, three manipulative cats, and a crazy dog. She’s a wine and tea fanatic who loves sitting on the ocean in her kayak surrounded by open water or hanging from a rope in a cave, embraced by darkness and the sound of dripping water. She also enjoys horseback riding, archery, PC gaming, dancing, good anime, etc. She studies Japanese and practices Iaido because she believes we should never stop learning.

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Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Triangulating Bliss by Janelle Jalbert

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This cover reveal is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Janelle will be awarding a $20 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. Go to the publisher’s book page for some special freebies and bonuses.

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A struggling veteran reads about the mysterious death of a local athlete and wants to learn more. He meets the owner of the business linked to the crime and discovers others have “disappeared”.

All stories include a man with dark hair, blue eyes, and a strong jaw.

Then, it’s his turn.

The mysterious forces at Bliss change everything. What brought them all to Bliss is not as it appears and their lives are powerfully interconnected across space and time.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Greg opened the backdoor to Bliss. He forced himself to stop thinking about how the name of the place made him think of a day spa rather than a barbeque joint. The tell-tale wood smoke greeted him, causing his stomach to growl and suspending his thoughts about the name of the place. Musical chimes sounded above the door as Greg’s eyes adjusted from the glare of the fall sun to the darkened interior.

Figures, he thought. Why wouldn’t there be chimes at a place called Bliss?

Once his eyes adjusted, the bar area didn’t seem to be out of the ordinary. Greg stopped at the partition just inside the door. It was covered with a list of sayings:

Follow Your Bliss
Happiness Is an Inside Job
Be Careful What You Wish For
There’s No Better Time to Claim the Future You Want Than Now

A half-laugh escaped him. He thought it was a menu board at first and the philosophizing caught him off guard. Still, the final statement hit close to home, and he took a deep breath.

Greg headed to the long black bar. A smaller party room was to the right with about a dozen tables to the left. It had the feel of a contemporary jazz club or maybe a speakeasy. Beyond the tables, bright daylight streamed into the lounge from a passage between the front diner area and the bar. No creepy Twilight Zone feeling here, he thought.

Two muted, flat screen TVs hung on either side of the wood shelves stocked with bottles of all sizes. He eyed the taps and sports coverage while surveying the place. Though there were no windows in the back area, yet it didn’t feel claustrophobic. Between the lighting, mirrors and glass, there was elegance to the place that radiated a different type of light. Poster-sized black and white pictures hung on the walls, showing the history of the place. Greg guessed they were from the 1940’s. Smaller pictures of patrons and notable artifacts related to “Our Place” dotted the walls. Greg knew from his early research that Our Place was the name of the restaurant until a few years earlier.

Greg settled in, still getting a sense of the place, when a woman with graying dark hair approached him. Though he talked with Lois on the phone, this was the first time he saw her. She was not remarkably tall, but definitely commanded the bar and carried herself in a way that betrayed her real age. She had a look of knowing, or maybe it was just cheer that she had a customer on a dead afternoon.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TriangulatingBlissJanelle Jalbert has ghostwritten 15 nonfiction books on topics ranging from productivity, money management, marketing, cooking, and relationships. She also worked as a copywriter for some of the biggest online names and worked as a motorsports reporter covering NASCAR. Jalbert enjoys bringing stories to life that celebrate the magic in everyday living. To learn more about her current and upcoming releases and promotions visit www.janellejalbert.com. Jalbert currently lives in Southern California, though she regularly returns to her second home in North Carolina when her pack of pups grants her a vacation.

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Five of Becky Wick’s Strangest Experiences – Guest Blog and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Becky will be awarding a $50 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.

Hi there! Thanks so much for having me on the blog and for supporting my historical romance, The Day Of The Wave! So, you want to know my strangest experiences? Haha! As a travel writer I’ve had a few, but here we go. I’ll give you a list of five…

1) I recently teamed up with paranormal investigators. It was here in Vancouver, where I’m currently living. I’ve always been kind of obsessed with all things paranormal so I couldn’t pass up the chance to join a crew of professional ghost hunters in a cemetery. After dark their equipment caught an EVP – the voice of a little girl saying “hi!” We heard it clear-as-day. It was so freaky, but amazing. I totally believe in all that stuff, and now I’m more obsessed than ever! Maybe I’ll write a ghost story next…

2) I’ve cycled The Death Road in Bolivia. This was pretty strange, as it’s the world’s most dangerous road and you start up high in the snow, cycle down winding trails through clouds and jungle, till you wind up in the sweaty, tropical forest. Hundreds of people have died on this road – there are 800 metre drops on one side at some points and there are markers for graves all the way down it. Needless to say it was terrifying but I did it for a travel book I was writing on South America. I didn’t tell my mom till afterwards.

3) I once spent a week on a ‘shaking ashram’ in Bali. For another book I was writing on a year in Indonesia, I spent a week on an ashram at the foot of Mount Agung. It was a special place, in which you have to ‘shake’ for three hours a day in a temple. The idea is that you send a sacred, healing energy through your body by doing this, but I saw some seriously weird things happen. There was talk of an alien dog, and one man fixed his eyesight. Very strange, but true! You can read it in Balilicious – The Bali Diaries if you like!

4) I hunted aliens in Argentina. I spent a week in a tiny town in Argentina called Capilla del Monte, where the mountain Uritorco is said to be the gateway to another dimension (yes really!) I met all kinds of people who’ve seen ovnis (UFOs) in the area and some of them even showed me photos of strange lights in the sky. The whole town has a very hippy vibe, imagine the waft of incense and shops selling alien stickers and stuff. It was so weird, but very fun! It made for a great chapter in my book, Latinalicious anyway!

5) I witnessed a mass exorcism in a sacred temple. This was also when I lived in Bali. The Balinese are very superstitious – they believe that both good and bad spirits should be thanked and blessed, as each balances out the other and keeps things in alignment spiritually, but their demons sometimes get stuck inside them. I went to a ‘healing night’ in a temple, whereby an old woman became possessed and started speaking in another language. Everyone started shaking and allegedly getting their ‘demons’ out in a public space. It was probably one of the weirdest nights of my life! I almost drowned in the holy water being sloshed all over the floor!

Torn apart by the tragedy. Thrown back together ten years later by destiny… Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day tsunami ripped through their beach resort in Thailand. Just days after forming a life-changing bond, both were missing and presumed dead.

Based on real life events, The Day of the Wave is a story of healing, learning to let go, and figuring out when to hold on with everything you have left.

Enjoy an excerpt:

‘Isabella,’ I said to the girl in braids behind the computer. She was frantic, tapping away a million miles an hour. A line of people were behind me. All of them were bedraggled and beside themselves, like the cast of a war movie. ‘Isabella from England. Izzy. I left her on the beach. Can you look again?’

‘We don’t have any Isabella’s yet, I’m sorry,’ she said. I asked a hundred times about Toby, too, and Charlie and Van and Tee, but I always got the same answer.

They’d brought in experts from everywhere – Austria, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, and all of them I realized quickly were carrying out the gruesome tasks it took to identify the dead. Most of it wasn’t even happening behind closed doors. There weren’t enough doors.

After a while, no one was bringing the injured in anymore. It was just more bodies and still none of them were Toby. Still none of them were Charlie or Izzy… at least, I didn’t think they were. There were panels of photos of the bodies as they were brought in, on the walls. But they were all so horribly deformed. You can’t even imagine what water does. People go black, their eyes bulge out of their sockets. The only way to recognize somebody at first is by their jewelry.

They were fingerprinting the corpses, I discovered. They gave them full dental examinations and took X-rays, then they sent the DNA samples away for analysis. It was when I learned they were matching them to a missing-person’s list in Phuket that I begged to be taken there, to the International Hospital. I knew more bodies were there. Maybe I’d find Toby there.

I found my mom instead. She’d just flown in and been allowed a transfer. ‘My baby,’ she cried when she found me, pulling me against her and sobbing. I was sixteen but her words hit hard. I felt like a baby; a useless, helpless, broken baby. Glenn stood solid like a tree behind her. He hugged me too. It was the first and last time he ever did.

We moved to a hotel, where we stayed for two weeks and I made it my job to look out for Sonthi. He was going through the same thing, only he was still searching for twenty people he loved. We played guitar at night. We knew the same Beatles song so we sang together outside, taught ourselves the harmonies to take our minds off all the tragedies. Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, Now it looks as though they’re here to stay, Oh I believe in yesterday.

Even though Sonthi didn’t know the meaning of the words, I think they helped us both somehow. The yesterdays we missed were haunting everyone but at least we escaped with our lives.

I went with mom to the councilor, too, but she cried all the way through, and she cried so much at the hotel that I didn’t sleep for days. I was a shell. I had no tears left. ‘They’re gone, they’re never coming back,’ mom yowled.

‘We don’t know that!’ I yelled at her, but she yowled even more into the walls and the floor and the pillow, while a thousand other people doing the same made even the hotel feel like a funeral parlor.

We got told that DNA breaks down once bodies decompose. The longer we had to wait, the less chance we had of identifying anyone. Eventually I had to say goodbye to Sonthi and everyone at the hospital I’d gotten to know. Our flight was booked; my brother and uncle and Izzy were officially missing, assumed dead. My mom was a pale-faced Martian I didn’t know anymore and she hadn’t really spoken to me in days. ‘Toby, my baby, Toby!,’ she wailed into Glenn’s expensive shirt as he helped her outside and into the taxi.

I was just about to leave for the airport when the girl in braids came to grab me. ‘Ben,’ she said, leaning down, putting a hand to my shoulder. I could tell by her face she had bad news. ‘We found Isabella, from the UK,’ she said as the tears careened down her face. ‘There’s only one on the list. I’m so sorry.’

It was raining when I got outside. It was a real tropical downfall; the kind of rain that lashes and hurts. I turned my face up to it and let it hit me as the wind howled. I wanted to feel the physical crash of everything that had been breaking my heart. The only thing I felt was how it wasn’t rain at all. It felt like my brother and Izzy and Charlie and two hundred thousand other souls were crying.

About the Author:

Becky Wicks is mostly powered by coffee. She had three travel memoirs published by HarperCollins before going the indie route. Her first book in the Starstruck Series, ‘Before He Was Famous’ recently reached #1 in Amazon’s Coming of Age and New Adult & College categories. The second in the series, ‘Before He Was Gone’, and the third, ‘Before He Was A Secret’ are both out now along with ‘The Day Of The Wave’ – a romance based around the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

Becky blogs most days at beckywicks.com and always welcomes distractions on Twitter: @bex_wicks (especially if you have cat photos)

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Lead Me Home by Candi Wall – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Candi will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, as well as an autographed paperback copy of Primitive Nights to two randomly drawn winners, and an autographed paperback copy of Stay to two other winners. All books are US ONLY. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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Home Is Where the Heat Is, Book 2

As far as Chloe Garrison is concerned, Nick Westing was carved by the gods. Her one and only plan while visiting her best friend in Texas: get that sexy cowboy into her bed as often as possible until it’s time to return to New York.

After a whirlwind week she slips away, thinking it best to make a clean break. Except she can’t get Nick out of her head. And when he unexpectedly walks into her office, her first instinct is to find her defenses before she loses her panties.

Nick jumped at the chance to accompany his brother to New York for a photo shoot, but now that he’s here, he’s pissed. Seems Chloe is doing everything in her power to ignore him. The tender part of him understands her need for space.

The wilder side of him teases and torments her until she finally admits she’s missed him. Even though she walks away, in his book it’s a win. Because one way or another, he’s going to convince her they belong together.

Enjoy an excerpt:

His lopsided smile made Chloe’s stomach tighten with anticipation. “Well it’s too late now. You chose to throw down the gauntlet, and now it’s just you and me, cowboy. If you wanted to know how far I’d go, you should have just asked.”

The intensity of his gaze, ripe with undisguised promise, told her they’d both be winners tonight. Win or lose, Nick Westing would be a connoisseur in bed. Losing might not be the worst thing that could happen. Being at his beck and call—his servant—for the next twenty-four hours could prove ultra interesting.

“What’s next?” Miya’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “Whiskey?”

Chloe groaned. The swap in drinks had been Shawn’s idea. Miya’s boyfriend was one of Chloe’s favorite people in the world, but after his suggestion that they switch to each other’s choice of drink every five minutes, she wasn’t sure she liked him at all. The only concession to choking down Nick’s choice of whiskey was watching him pucker up on her sweeter, mixed shots.

“Whiskey it is,” she conceded.

The muscles in her arms were beginning to tingle with exhaustion. She had to find a way to throw Nick off balance—figuratively of course. If she gave him a shove, she’d be disqualified. But there was one thing she’d learned about men. Cock ruled. If she played her cards right, he’d be hers for a full day.

“Hey, Nick?” She kept her voice at a whisper.

He looked her way. “Yeah?”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_LeadMeHomeCandi Wall is probably the only person whose real name is more epic than any pseudonym she could have come up with – even as an author! She writes because the voices in her head have to come out somehow. Animal rescue-ess, mother of four, and soccer mom by day, she spends her free time writing – often on napkins at kids’ games because she never knows when a juicy story will reveal its delicious self. She once wrote a sex scene at a wrestling meet. Shhhhhh!

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Balancing Life and Writing by Clarence Barbee – Guest Post and Giveaway

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

Balancing Life and Writing

If there were an easy answer to how to balance life and writing, every writer would be happy on the high wire, tight rope, without balance stick, smiling below to all the viewers. There is no magic mathematical formula to plug into life; God kind of left us alone on that one. If there were such a thing as a inspiration indicator, it would be nice, and I promise you, I have scientist working on it, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 1000 feet below the surface—no not really, but it sounds nice doesn’t it?

Life is complicated, as long as you’re not 6. There are things that have to be done such as deadlines, spending time with loved ones and children, and the occasional class on creativity. Life is wonderful and it can be very filled, the trick to balancing life and writing, truly is time. When do we find the time in life to write? The short answer is easy, we make it. How this is done is up to you, whether you are a master scheduler who can create some time in your day, your week, you month, or if you are a white knuckler who just bangs it out and makes that hole in time so you can actually write. I prefer a bit of both. I am blessed to have a job that I work 3-4 times a week, and pays me enough to pay my bills. Granted I have no significant other, nor children, so I am able to keep my expenses low enough. However, on the days I don’t work, I make sure to take that time to write.

The next trick in writing is inspiration. Sometimes we just don’t feel like writing, or what we write, we know is trash—we weren’t inspired enough. In many aspects, if we don’t write when we get inspired, then we lose it, we forget our train of thought, we get caught up in that distraction. What I’ve done is keep a notebook always handy, and I always have my phone on me. What my phone does is act as a recording device to document my moments of inspiration on whatever comes to mind. I like recording my voice, as I can hear the excitement, and later when I listen to it, I can get excited and inspired all over again.

So how do we balance life and writing? We do it the best way we can. Some things may fall to the way-side, and sometimes it is our writing. However, if we are diligent, and committed, we can and will find that balance…at some points.

MediaKit_BookCover_ChickenSoupAndAShotOfJackChicken Soup, and a Shot of Jack is a strikingly impressive work of literary fiction from new author Clarence Barbee. The writer weaves his form of prose, delighting readers with thought provoking lessons on how to balance the good and bad in life. The book offers common sense values filled with humorous stories and tales.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She was amazing! A fire was burning on the stove, her son, who she had spent fourteen hours birthin’, was in danger of losing his left nipple by way of a hot dog grease fire. And all she could do was rock in that damn chair, and talk about the pork chop; which at this point was nothing more than a gnarled up bone.

–From the short story “Just Had to Be Grown”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ChickenSoupAndAShotOfBlackClarence Barbee has been writing and performing poetry for over a decade. He has produced 9 spoken word albums, under the pseudonyms Nabraska and Poet402. Clarence is now working on self-publishing books of essays and short stories.

In his professional life he has worked with, educated, and supported many children. Clarence believes in keeping an eye on political planes and social occurrences such as changes in world leadership, and social inequalities. These actions of men are a huge curiosity to the author; he believes in writing about them, and discussing them, so solutions can be made.

Clarence has taken these experiences and written about them extensively. He asks, “Who doesn’t want to be happy,” then goes about the business of finding the answer. Please take some time to join him on this journey as they are set through words, sometimes with music, and always taken with a grain of salt.

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Interview and Giveaway: Michelle Roth

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes Michelle Roth, whose latest book, The Darkness Calls, was recently released. Leave a comment or ask the author a question for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Michelle is a huge romance fan and has been since she was a teenager. She said she considered herself a writer the first time she wrote nonstop all night, getting to bed at eight in the morning.

“Was I a good writer? Probably not. When you give up something you love, like sleep.. or you forgo a normal creature comfort to get words on the page – that makes you a writer in my opinion,” she told me.

Michelle uses a pen name, keeping her first name and adding her mother’s maiden name.

“She was my biggest fan, I think,” she told me. “When she passed, that was part of what spurred me to write. I stopped asking myself ‘Why?’ and started asking myself ‘Why Not?’. It’s an homage to her, really,” she told me.

Most of Michelle’s work, until this release, has been contemporary erotic. The Darkness Calls is her first attempt at a paranormal romance.

“I decided that it would be interesting to a universe where vampires and humans knowingly coexisted. I enjoyed the plotting for this immensely,” she explained. “The questions stopped being … How will they fall in love and how will I tear them apart only to reunite them and started being.. How do I do all that when one of them needs to drink human blood to survive? That adds a brand new layer of tension, I think.”

“How do you judge what makes a good erotic story when writing your own fiction?” I asked.

“I try to make sure my characters never stretch plausibility with their reactions. Scenes where someone finds out this guy they’ve been with is a werewolf (when they never knew such a thing existed before that moment) and then they immediately go to bed together? That’s outside the bounds of plausibility. When woman lets a random billionaire dom she just met that night tie her up and make her his sex slave? That’s outside the bounds of plausibility. It’s gotta be honest and real in order to connect with others, I think.”

Sometimes ideas just happen for Michelle. She’ll be at the store and see someone, or she’ll hear a song on the radio and a glimmer of an idea will spark. She might read a book and think but what if the characters had done this instead. Suddenly she’ll be typing away madly on her phone or scribbling ideas in her notebook, with one small thing creating a torrent of brainstorming.

She did have a period of time, however, where she had writer’s block for a few days.

“For me, it was torture. I’m always writing,” she said. “If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing. How did I fix it? I went back to the characters. I find that if something isn’t flowing, it’s because I’m forcing the plot and characters to do something that just isn’t right.”

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give an author who wants to write erotica?”

“Think about positioning. He can’t balance on his elbows and have one hand on her breast and another on her clit. Just can’t happen, cookie. Think about that kind of stuff. And for god’s sake… Make it honest, whatever you write. Be sure that your characters are doing things that make sense based on who they are.”

7_28 roth thedarknesscalls1mWhen Lilly Ferguson narrowly avoids being mugged after work, she’s shocked to find that she’s gotten the attention of Talan McKenna. He’s the sinfully handsome owner of the Foxwood Casino and Spa where she works. There’s only one problem, though…

Talan is one of the Transfigured. Like half a million others across the globe, he possesses a very specific genetic mutation. It leaves him with the inability to age, an aversion to sunlight, and a thirst for human blood. When he learns of Lilly’s tragic past, he worries that it’s an obstacle he’ll never be able to overcome.

Despite her heartbreaking history with the Transfigured, Lilly immediately senses that Talan is different. Where her fears once lay, there’s only a sense of peace and comfort. Just as they begin to build a love made to last several lifetimes, a shadowy figure from her past emerges and threatens to destroy everything.

About the Author:7_28 roth me2 Michelle Roth is a novelist from the Great White North (Toronto, ON). When she’s not disappearing into foreign lands, or making two perfect strangers that she invented fall in love, she’s probably curled up somewhere with a glass of wine and a good book.

In her spare time she is typically hanging out with her awesome boyfriend and their two equally awesome cats. She likes taking road trips to nowhere in particular, cooking elaborate meals then making other people do the dishes, and being nerdy on the internet. Her books are currently available on http://www.michelleroth.net.

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Things I Like to Do When I’m Not Writing by Katie MacAlister – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win a copy of Dragon Fall.

Things I like doing when I’m not writing

1. Take classes. I’m a lifelong learner, and there’s nothing I love more than learning something new. Even though my university days are long behind me, I still take online classes in everything from archaeology to
history, calculus, and criminology. In fact, I’ve recently enrolled in a university to obtain a degree in history, all because it gives me an excuse to take a bunch more classes.

2. Play online video games. Yup, I’m a gamer girl (albeit an old one) who regularly plays World of Warcraft, although with periodic forays into Guild Wars 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars The Old Republic, Secret World, EVE Online, and oodles other games that keep my muse happy.

3. Spin yarn. The real kind, not tales (although I do that as well). When my hands let me, I spin various wools into yarns of varying results. There’s something peaceful and meditative in the process of spinning yarn, and it satisfies my need to take something raw and make a pretty (useable) material out of it.

4. Knit things. Not always with the yarn I spin (because arthritis doesn’t let me spin as much as I’d like), but I do go tend to go through a spate of knitting periodically through the year. Last year I knitted a ton of items for family members as Christmas presents; this year I am (very slowly) working my way through my first shawl. And in between, I knit socks.

5. Read old magazines and newspapers. I’m talking really old, Victorian-era stuff. I have a subscription to the British Newspaper Archive which I use simply to peruse old newspapers. Why? I have no idea, but I love the old illustrated papers. Likewise, I purchase bound copies of old English magazines like The Strand, Lady’s Realm, and
Windsor Magazine. I find them endlessly fascinating, and I have a secret love of the serialized novels contained therein.

7_29 katie MacAlister_Dragon Fall_MMFor Aoife Dakar, seeing is believing-and she’s seen some extraordinary things. It’s too bad no one else believes that she witnessed a supernatural murder at an outdoor fair. Returning to the scene for proof, Aoife encounters a wise-cracking demon dog-and a gloriously naked man who can shift into a dragon and kiss like a god. Now thrust into a fantastical world that’s both exhilarating and terrifying, Aoife is about to learn just how hot a dragon’s fire burns.

Kostya has no time for a human woman with endless questions, no matter how gorgeous or tempting she is. He must break the curse that has splintered the dragon clans before more of his kind die. But his powerful attraction to Aoife runs much deeper than the physical-and there may be more to her than even his sharp dragon eyes can see. To survive the coming battle for the fate of his race, he needs a mate of true heart and soul.

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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Inside the Writer’s Brain by Megan Morgan – Guest Blog and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcome Megan Morgan. The first book of her Siren Song series, The Wicked City, is on sale for $0.99. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Inside The Writer’s Brain

I’ve had “writer’s brain” most of my life. I think in terms of writing when it comes to real life situations, times when others just think like normal people. One of my favorite quotes comes from Australian author Shirley Hazzard: It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums to get rid of.

This condition—let’s keep calling it “writer’s brain” because that sounds neat and clinical—manifests in different ways. When observing things, I will concoct in my head how I would describe those things if I were writing about them. I consider this an exercise in keeping sharp, cataloging colors and textures and the general atmosphere of wherever I am. I’m sure most people wonder why I’m looking at everything with a glassy-eyed stare. I just tell them it’s for art.

Sometimes in the act of writing itself, I have to stop and make physical gestures so I can describe them, or look at a picture so I can describe an object better. I tend to be a visceral writer, so I like sense details. This is why Google Earth has been an invaluable writing tool for me. If I need to describe a street in some far off place, Google Earth can take me right to it and immerse me in the surroundings.

I dream about writing, especially if I’m deeply involved in a story. I’ll dream up plot twists and ways to continue when I’ve hit a wall. I’m not sure if my brain is trained well or a slave to my insanity, though. This could explain why every once in a while, it gives me a random nightmare about freezing to death on Mt. Everest. (Silly brain, you know how out of shape I am! But while we’re there, can you tell me how the sunlight looks when it hits the snow?)

I suppose this is all a product of repetition. When you’ve done something for a long time, you get into the habit of doing it. The same goes for thought patterns. I’ve had “writer’s brain” for so long I’m not sure how people who aren’t writers think. Everything is an experience to be put into words. Does your brain want to describe every puddle you see as a “rippled mirror reflecting the bleak wintry sky?” I’m not the only one…right?

7_29 megan morganShe’s got a voice to die for…

Whatever June Coffin says, goes—literally. And it’s not just because she’s a chain smoking rebel. As a Siren, June has the ability to force people to obey any command she voices. But in a world where those with supernatural powers quickly become lab rats for science, she’d rather look out for herself than fight on the front lines…until her similarly gifted twin brother, Jason, is captured by Chicago’s Institute of Supernatural Research.

To save Jason, June has no choice but to enter a hidden world of conspiracy, murder—and strange bedfellows—including a widowed paranormal advocate whose memory June accidentally erased, and a fiery paranormal separatist leader. Soon the lines between attraction and strategic alliance become blurred. But in a city exploding with paranormal crossfire, and her brother’s life at stake, June will have to face her inner demons and finally take a stand.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The first time June Coffin saw Micha Bellevue, he was giving a lecture at the Chicago Institute for Supernatural Research. June and her brother Jason weren’t yet prisoners of the unholy place and June had sneaked into a conference room. Though the subject of the lecture—something insipid about paranormal rights in the workplace—didn’t interest her, the lecturer certainly did. Micha was tall and rugged yet boyishly handsome, all her weaknesses. Meesha, not Mi-ca, much easier to yell in bed. He had sandy brown hair with gold highlights, cut shaggy with a swoopy fringe. He also had sky blue eyes and a crooked smile.

June, in contrast, was five-four, lean, and petite. Her father once called her “diminutive,” and she’d hated the word ever since. She had a flowing mane of jet-black hair, though at the moment it lacked volume or luster and she’d been keeping it in a ponytail. Her eyes were vivid green, nearly iridescent, but their color was real, unlike her hair. She was also over-fond of tattoos and piercings.

She was Micha’s exact opposite, which was fine, because she believed people needed to explore sexual pursuits outside their peer groups.

In the fifteen minutes she spoke to Micha after the lecture at the Institute, the lovely man revealed himself to be full of ostentatious ideas and painfully corny jokes. A bit later, June stood in an atrium, smoking a cigarette while he led a string of eager young supernatural neophytes across the courtyard below. She narrowed her eyes against the smoke curling around her face. I’m so gonna hit that. She hadn’t, not yet, for huge moral reasons.

Namely, because Micha had a wife.

Except, his wife currently lay trussed up in her casket, awaiting her funeral service in the morning, and June had kind of helped put her in it.

But right now they also had this issue with the gun.

Hanging out with dead people on a Sunday night didn’t rank high on June’s to-do list, despite her last name. But as she stood in a darkened funeral parlor staring at the tall, buxom, red-haired woman with said gun, she realized how much her priorities had changed.

“What the hell is that?” June’s question was rhetorical, but she still wanted an answer.

“It’s a Glock.” The redhead—whose name was Cindy—said this coolly, as if she were describing a pair of shoes. Cindy had dressed all in black for the occasion, like a cat burglar.

The three of them—June, Micha, and Ms. Congeniality herself—weren’t in the funeral home to steal anything. Even after the events of the preceding week, June wasn’t cracked enough to snatch a body.

“Why do you have it?” June asked. “We don’t need a gun.”

The whimpering aged gentleman on his knees next to Cindy probably welcomed this news but clearly was no less frightened, as Cindy had the muzzle pressed against his temple. The man wore a handsome silk robe with wide lapels, the kind rich guys sported in movies. Were all funeral directors so dashing in their choice of nightclothes?

“I brought it just in case,” Cindy said.

“Why would we need to shoot someone in a funeral home?” June raised her voice, no longer worried about being quiet. The director had probably heard them clamoring through the window at the rear of the house. June possessed some nifty skills: she was an excellent self-taught artist, she could shoot whiskey with the boys like she was one of them, and she could make wicked smoke rings. However, grace and athletics eluded her.

“I don’t think he’s armed,” June said. “I doubt you need to defend a funeral home.”

“You never know,” Micha said behind her. “Necrophiliacs probably like to break into funeral homes.”

June closed her eyes; she counted to five, and then ten, but when she opened her eyes again, she wasn’t any calmer.

“I won’t hurt you,” the man on the floor said in a small, pitiful voice. “Just take what you want and go.”

June stepped forward and waved a hand at Cindy, shooing away the gun. June had never touched a gun in her life. She had never needed to.

Cindy lowered the gun and stepped back. “I was just trying to help.” She spoke with the petulance of an admonished child. A child who didn’t get to play with her deadly weapon.

June knelt. The paunchy balding man was shaking, his eyes wide.

“It’s all right.” A heavy energy, curled in June’s stomach like a sleeping cat, rose to her sternum and surged upward again to warmly coat her throat. “Just sit there and relax and think about your favorite things until we’re gone.”

The man’s body sagged. His face slackened. He pivoted to the side and sat down on his bottom with a shuddering thump, his gaze gone distant and dreamy. A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

June stood.

“There. Isn’t that awesome? Supernatural powers and stuff?” She didn’t enjoy throwing around her “hypnotic voice phenomenon,” as the scientists liked to call it, but invasive persuasion seemed far less cruel than criminal menacing.

About the Author:7_29 megan morgan author photoMegan Morgan is an urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and erotica author from Cleveland, Ohio. Bartender by day and purveyor of things that go bump at night, she’s trying to turn writing into her day job so she can be on the other side of the bar for a change. She’s a member of the RWA and author of the Siren Song urban fantasy series from Kensington Books, as well as numerous other shorter, sexy works.

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Shoshanna’s Short Shorts by Shoshanna Evers – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_ShortShorts1-HRIf you’re in the mood for a quickie (ahem), you’ll love this collection of eleven sexy short stories from New York Times and USA Today bestselling erotic romance author, Shoshanna Evers —“Queen of the erotic novellas.” (Fandom Fanatic). This collection pulls Evers’ published stories together from nine different anthologies into one volume. Includes a never-before-published story, plus the bestselling Overheated!

Enjoy an excerpt from Forced Orgasms
Copyright 2015 Shoshanna Evers. All Rights Reserved.

Tonight, he was paying to make his dream a reality, a reality that would last for exactly one hour once his doorbell rang. The escort service called the woman “Genevieve,” although as far as Ivan could tell she seemed more like a Jenny trying to look worth her sticker price.

She seemed very friendly, and calm, although Ivan was looking forward to seeing the desperation on her face he knew the evening would bring. Was that sick? Probably. But she’d love it. At least the first fifteen minutes of it, anyway. His cock hardened, straining against his slacks.

“Jenny,” he said cordially, kissing her cheek.

She didn’t correct him on the name. Maybe he’d been right about her, or maybe she was smart enough not to start off an evening with a client by correcting him. Maybe she’d let him call her whatever he wished.

“Take off your clothes, please,” he said.

Jenny gave him a saucy smile and pulled her expensive dress over her head, leaving a matching black-and-red lace brassiere and thong.

“Beautiful,” he said appreciatively. “But those need to go too.”

“Wow, get right down to business,” she said, laughing. “I’m surprised.”

She sat down on the couch, but he shook his head.

“I have a special chair for you. Why are you surprised?” He nodded over to the corner, to the bondage chair he’d pulled out of the garage and shined with leather cleaner and stainless steel polish. The chair had cost more than she had.

“I was told you weren’t interested in sleeping with your escorts,” Jenny said, eyeing the leather straps attached to the chair and sitting in it anyway.

“No, I’m not,” he replied. It was the truth, after all. “I just want to watch you be pleasured with my vibrator, over and over. Does that sound good to you?”

She laughed. “Sure! I never get to come during these—” Jenny stopped speaking suddenly, as if someone had put the mute switch on her. More likely, she’d remembered a rule the escort service had given her. Ivan imagined it went something like: Don’t complain about other clients. It makes the man you’re with now feel like he’s not the only one, and it makes him wonder if you’re complaining about him to the other men.

“Good. Spread your legs.”

Jenny complied, spreading her thighs wide so that her ankles touched the straps on the bottom of the chair. Ivan made quick work out of restraining her.

“Hands behind your back, gorgeous,” he said, and she obeyed, silent now. He used fuzzy red cuffs to handcuff her wrists. The cuffs looked cute and playful, but their bondage was real.

“I’m going to make you come until you pass out. Does that sound like a good idea?”

She laughed again, and Ivan recognized it for what it was—nerves. “Yes. I’m yours for the next…” she looked up at the large metal clock ticking above the fireplace, “forty-three minutes.”

Ivan stifled a groan of desire. Forty-three minutes. Forty-three minutes to watch her come, and come again, and squirm, and scream. Then beg…and beg. And come again.

The memory of this evening would fulfill all of his masturbatory fantasies for the rest of his life. Which was good, because after this he’d probably be cut off from this particular escort service.

Ivan plugged in the long white vibrator, pressing the thick round head against her. Frowning, he dipped his fingers down and spread her nether lips until the vibrator nestled directly against a tender spot. His fingers came back shiny.

“This turns you on?” he asked, surprised.

“Yes,” she admitted shyly.

He flipped the switch to Low and watched her face, her reaction as the vibrator buzzed to life.

“How’s that feel?”

“Amazing.” She tilted her head back, a look of ecstasy on her face.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ShortShortsNew York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Shoshanna Evers has written dozens of sexy stories, including The Man Who Holds the Whip (part of the NYT bestselling MAKE ME anthology), I Am Not Your Melody (from the NYT bestselling Cowboy 12-Pack), Beauty & the Beast: an erotic reimagining (from the USA Today bestselling Wicked Hot Reads), The Enslaved Trilogy and The Pulse Trilogy from Simon & Schuster Pocket Star, and the national bestseller, The Tycoon’s Convenient Bride…and Baby.

Her work has been featured in Best Bondage Erotica 2012 and Best Bondage Erotica 2013, the Penguin/Berkley Heat anthology Agony/Ecstasy, and numerous erotic BDSM novellas including Chastity Belt and Punishing the Art Thief, originally from Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

The non-fiction anthology Shoshanna Evers edited and contributed to, How To Write Hot Sex, is a #1 Bestseller in the Authorship, Erotica Writing Reference, and Romance Writing categories.

Shoshanna is also the cofounder of SelfPubBookCovers.com, the largest selection of one-of-a-kind, premade book covers in the world.

Shoshanna is a New York native who now lives with her family and three big dogs in Northern Idaho. She welcomes emails from readers and writers, and loves to interact on Twitter and Facebook.

Sexily *Evers* After… ShoshannaEvers.com

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Most Embarrassing Situation by Kim Amos – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

Most Embarrassing Situation

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

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

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

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

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

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