What Fueled my Enthusiasm for Sci-Fi and How I Designed my Cyborg Operation by Cara Bristol – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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

What Fueled my Enthusiasm for Sci-Fi and How I Designed my Cyborg Operation
By Cara Bristol

Science fiction (as well as paranormal and fantasy) gives an author freedom to express new and/or unique ideas and to write “out of the box.” When you’re writing about the known world in contemporary or historical fiction, for example, you’re bound by hard facts and you can’t change them—not without reader protest. Sci-fi allows you to create a world in which you can present unusual ideas that are believable and acceptable to readers.

A cyborg is a human being who has been “enhanced” with computer and/or mechanical parts. In sci-fi romance, cyborgs are the ultimate sexy-as-hell alpha males. Most of the cyborgs sci-fi romances I’ve read involve conspiracies in which the cyborgs are created against their will to serve the government. I wanted to offer something unique, so my cyborgs are spies. They’re covert Cyber Operatives whose mission is to defeat terrorism in the galaxy, which was inspired by present day threats. Think of them as a cross between James Bond and the Terminator (the good one from Terminator 2, not the bad one from Terminator 1).
The men were recruited by the secret paramilitary organization, Cyber Operations, to fight for truth, justice, and the Terran way. They’re true heroes. They’re tough as nails, but when they meet their heroines, they fall hard.

There’s a lot of action in Mated with the Cyborg and Stranded with the Cyborg, but the novellas are romances that focus on the love relationship between the hero and heroine. My goal is entertain my readers with a surprising romance that leaves them feeling warm and fuzzy at the end.

Kai Andros’s orders were simple. Get in. Gather the intel on the terrorist organization. Get out.

Then he met her. Mariska. Beautiful. Innocent. Ignorant of her father’s atrocities. And marked for death.

His orders said nothing about saving her. But he did. He went off-mission.

Can a rogue cyborg outrun both Cyber Operations and the terrorists to save the woman he loves?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Some might have cheered Mariska’s impending demise. The organization’s brutality had incited a backlash of negative sentiment against all its members. Many espoused the notion that the only good Lamis-Odg was a dead Lamis-Odg.

Kai couldn’t buy into that. Mariska had been no party to the actions of her father or Lamani. She was vulnerable. Innocent. But not stupid or cowardly. In the month spent observing her, her quiet fortitude and inner strength had impressed him. Even before he’d caught the shocking glimpse of her face, he’d been struck by her beautiful eyes. A rich shade of melted caramel, fringed by dark lashes. Expressive in their attempt not to be. She didn’t trust him.

Her wariness pierced him in a way it shouldn’t. She was a person of interest and her emotions shouldn’t impact his decision-making. And in fact, she was wise to be suspicious. Obido had bugged her quarters and employed spybots to keep tabs on her. While Kai wouldn’t intentionally harm her, he would manipulate her to obtain whatever information he could on Lamis-Odg.

The reign of terror had to be stopped. Direct intervention in Mariska fate jeopardized that goal. Doing nothing was the right thing to do. Sacrifices had to be made for the greater good.

Why did he feel like he was no better than Obido?

When they rounded the corner to the gangway entrance two guards—Lamis-Odg, not androids—snapped to attention, weapons drawn. “Halt!” one of them cried.

“It’s okay; he’s with me,” Mariska said.

While one guard leveled his weapon, the other scanned him. “The android is not authorized to board,” the guard said.

“He’s not boarding; he’s loading my luggage. He’ll disembark after he carries it to my stateroom.”

“Negative. He shall remain here.” The guard motioned. “Leave the cases.”

Kai set the bags down, and the sentry scanned them. “Clear,” he announced. He jerked his head at Mariska. “You may take them now.”

She dragged one toward the craft.

“My duty is to serve the daughter of Obido. Allow me to set the bags inside the door. I shall not enter,” Kai said.

The two guards glanced at each other and shrugged. “All right.”

Under armed watch, he deposited both bags inside the portal. There was nothing else he could do. He sought Mariska’s gaze. Don’t go. “Have a safe flight.”

“Thank you.”

She boarded. Kai stomped down the gangway.

About the Author:Multi-published, Cara Bristol is the author of more than 23 erotic romance titles. She writes science fiction, contemporary, and paranormal erotic romance. No matter what the subgenre, one thing remains constant: her emphasis on character-driven seriously hot erotic stories with sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine. Cara has lived many places in the United States, but currently lives in Missouri with her husband. She has two grown stepkids. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading and traveling.

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Buy the book at Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon AU, Amazon CA, Barnes and Noble, or All Romance eBooks.

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Royal Pain by Danielle Doolittle – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Danielle Doolittle will be awarding a $10 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.

Prince Henry Fitzgerald, once high flying playboy, finds himself grounded and forced into rehab. Changing isn’t in the cards but facing off with feisty horse trainer, Carleigh Philips, makes him see he’s not as far gone as everyone-including himself-thought. When a series of accidents add up to foul play Henry must set aside his fear of failure and act quickly to save the woman who woke his heart.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“You asked why I was spending so much time with her. I’m teaching her how to trust — to love — for the first time. It’s slow, hard work, but it’ll be worth it in the end. The first time is always the hardest, especially for those who don’t know where to begin.”

Carleigh met Henry’s searching gaze over the fence. She wasn’t sure if she was talking about the horse anymore. Somehow, she got the feeling Henry had never allowed himself to be vulnerable enough to accept love, even from his family, and that was the saddest thing of all. How long had he been shutting himself off from the people around him? Some of her compassion must have showed on her face, because right before her eyes, the harsh lines that had relaxed during her story appeared again. He was shutting down, and a part of Carleigh cried out at the loss.

He shrugged, as if her explanation was of no concern to him. “I didn’t really come out here to talk about the horse.”

“I figured.” Carleigh tilted her head, studying him. “Why did you come here?”

“Do you mean that question in the universal ‘why are we all here?’ way?”

“I’m serious, Henry.”

“I gathered, Carleigh. That’s the trouble with you, you know. I’ve noticed you’re always very, very serious.” Carleigh tried not to fidget as his gaze swept her body. “Except for the other night, that is. The other night, the only thing that was serious was the heat between us.”

About the Author:

Danielle Doolittle has always had a knack for storytelling. When she completed her first work of fiction at age six about a bunny and particularly juicy carrot she was hooked. Years later, she’s spinning tales of first loves, awkward moments, and the occasional creature that goes bump in the night.

She lives in the wilds of a Northwest Ohio college town with her husband and three small children where she consumes above average amounts of coffee and dark chocolate and spends way too much time on Twitter.

She loves to hear from readers so don’t be shy!

Email Danielle Doolittle | Website | Twitter | Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or All Romance eBooks.

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My Life Outside of Words by Kathrin Hutson – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

My Life Outside of Words

I chose this topic because one of the editors I supervise (yes, I’m an editor as well…) told me she couldn’t think of a single besides writing and words she could connect to me. She followed that with, “No one believes you have a life outside of words.”

I am here to prove her wrong (though, admittedly, I found the statement oddly complimentary).

So, I’ve got a list of the top five things outside words (writing and editing) that make up Kathrin Hutson.

1. Music —I’ve been playing piano since I was five years old. Definitely longer than I’ve been writing. I was classically trained for twelve years by the most amazing piano instructor, who became a huge role model for me and a pillar of my young life. I learned music by an uncountable number of ‘the great’s’: Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Czerny, Rachmaninoff, Khachaturian, Beethoven… Won some pretty high marks in piano adjudication and competitions, and even starred as a ‘guest pianist’ in a two-piano duet with my teacher’s teacher (who was from Poland, escaped to America during WWII, and performed internationally). I was seven at the time, and only vaguely remember it (with help from the concert program). When I was seventeen, I had the natural teenager disdain for order and structure, and I stopped taking lessons. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t, but I moved my focus to composing my own pieces, most with lyrics, and singing and performing. I definitely enjoy that other creative outlet, and I go back periodically to some pretty fun open mic nights.

2. Yoga —No writer can sustain their creativity without also taking care of their body. I rather enjoy yoga, and I practice in my living room just about every morning first thing. It keeps me flexible, my muscles strong, and works better (and quicker) than a cup of coffee for waking up (though I also drink coffee). Lately, though, I’ve been unable to keep to my yoga schedule. I recently had surgery on my foot to remove a pretty nastily painful bunion, and I’ve been taken out of the game (mostly physically, at least). I got the stitches out last week, and so far we’re healing well, my foot and I—just no physical activity for a while yet. I very much look forward to future months, when I can return hiking in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains in which we live, playing in the woods, and rock climbing back into my daily life, along with yoga. Good thing my recovery coincides with Spring coming.

3. Meditation —This comes in so many different forms for me, but it rounds out my self-care. I studied Tibetan Buddhism under the Venerable Geshe Dakpa Topgyal at the Charleston Tibetan Society Dharma Center in downtown Charleston for about six months before we moved to California. I wish I had found the Dharma Center way sooner. I never took Refuge—the ceremony of declaring one’s dedication to Buddhist teachings and way of life—but I learned so many valuable things. I still try to meditate for at least twenty minutes every day, and though that’s not much, it helps keep me centered. I also consider dream interpretation (which I’ve been doing since middle school) and reading Tarot (which I started in high school) forms of meditation as well. I do read for others, if they ask me to, and I definitely enjoy helping them see in front of them what they already know.

4. Food —Boy, am I ever a foodie! My husband Henry is one of the most talented maestros of the kitchen I’ve ever met, and I’m incredibly lucky that he loves cooking so much. Our dinners consist of gourmet meals (and I’m a terrible cook). He also has a keen eye (and some special access) to fantastic restaurants, and he treats me to them every once in a while. But our mutual favorite? Sushi! Holy moley, I could eat sushi all day every day (literally raw fish and nothing else) for the rest of my life if it wasn’t so horrifyingly expensive.

5. Sadie and Brucewillis —What is this, you might ask? No, Brucewillis is not spelled incorrectly—it is, in fact, one word. Henry and I have two silly, dopey, super loving pit bull mixes. Our dogs are our babies. Sadie just turned three and embodies the brooding teenager mentality. We get our love from her when she smooshes in between us first thing in the morning for a wakeup cuddle. Brucewillis isn’t quite a year and a half yet and is completely indiscriminate with both his kisses and the things he carries around in his mouth (he’s a quarter lab). And the monster’s already 85 pounds. They’re best buds and have managed not to get into too much trouble, and they’re the perfect companions for hiking, swimming, and of course, the dog park.

See? I do things besides words! And thank goodness I’m fortunate enough to have the freedom and the time to enjoy this ‘other world’ to my heart’s content (and more completely once I heal this dang foot).

Thank you so much, Long and Short Reviews, for hosting me on your site today. Thank you, fantastic readers, for having followed along, commented, and supporting Daughter of the Drackan and me through the last three weeks. You’ve made this so much fun, and I can’t wait to hear what you think about it all. I do so hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves. –Kathrin

MediaKit_BookCover_DaughterOfTheDrackenKeelin is the only human fledgling, weaned by the drackans of the High Hills and given their instincts, ferocious strength, and fierce hatred for humankind. But even the drackans closest to her cannot explain why she has violent blackouts from which she wakens covered in blood.

A desperate, reckless search for the source of this secret brings her face to face with the human world and memories from a locked-away past, long forgotten. Keelin becomes a terrifying legend among human assassins while she hunts for answers, and the human realm’s High King is murdered.

While a sickly steward hides within crumbling walls, commanding her every move with a magic he should not possess, Keelin’s journey to track him down threatens her loyalty to the drackans who raised her. The rogue who crosses her path hides familiar secrets, echoing her own terrifying bloodlust and forcing her to consider that there may be something human about her, after all.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Igetheyr stood unmoving, and E’Kahlyn gently unfurled her red-brown wings. The child sat atop the drackan’s scaly back, legs huddled up to her chest. She too stared at Igetheyr, eyes glowing from beneath the shock of tangled hair.

The others snorted and growled at the human, their hatred and bloodlust already thick in the air. The drackans’ centuries-old feud with the scale-less race ran deep within their blood. Seeing one now in their home stirred timeless memories of the war, so long ago, that had started their hatred in the first place, and memories of the last human fledgling who had turned astray.

Igetheyr shifted his eyes toward the child, expressionless until he chose to speak. E’Kahlyn shot her mind-voice in a direct, shielded stream to the child, hoping to reach it before Igetheyr did. ‘Have you heard our discussion?’

A light, purple-gray blotch found its way slowly to her mind with the feeble words, ‘I did.’

‘Then go to him, young one.’

The child slid to the ground, gazing at the drackan with pleading eyes. E’Kahlyn nudged her forward with her snout. The child stumbled toward Igetheyr’s great figure and placed her hands behind her back. Her narrow chest stuck out vulnerably, head held high, and she met eyes with the black drackan. Fear did not exist in the child, as if it never had. She was part of the new world around her now and still so disconnected.

Igetheyr snorted, seemingly entrapped by her boldness. E’Kahlyn opened her mind to just the two of them, eagerly awaiting the important exchange, the final word.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_DaughteroftheDrackenKathrin Hutson has been writing fiction for fifteen years, editing for five, and plunging in and out of reality since she first became aware of the concept. Kathrin specializes in Dark Fantasy and Sci-fi, and the second novel in this series, Mother of the Drackan, will be released this February.

Kathrin runs her own independent editing company, KLH CreateWorks, for Indie Authors of all genres. She also serves as Story Coordinator and Chief Editor for Collaborative Writing Challenge, and Editing Director for Rambunctious Rambling Publications, Inc. Needless to say, she doesn’t have time to do anything she doesn’t enjoy.

You can grab your copy of Daughter of the Drackan, in print or as an ebook, on Amazon.

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Five Things Every Steamy Supernatural Romance Needs by Christine Rains – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

FIVE THINGS EVERY STEAMY SUPERNATURAL ROMANCE NEEDS
By Christine Rains
Mixing the right elements for an erotic paranormal romance is like creating an exotic drink. A little bit of the spicy and something mysterious to entice you take a second sip. A dollop of sweetness and a heaping spoonful of fierce heart. All of it balanced just right. On the rocks, if you want extra chills.

Here are five important elements needed to brew a story in this genre to perfection:

1. Believability on every level. Give us characters that are real. No flawless heroes and heroines. Readers want to see their strengths and weaknesses. And we don’t want them to jump into bed with each other just for the sake of having sex in the story. Give us honest reasons why they can’t resist one another. The characters need to live in a believable world too. Oh yes, something supernatural is happening, but the heroine still has her coffee in the morning and is addicted to late night talk radio.

2. Less physical description, more emotions. It is tempting to write every sensual move by the lovers and every creepy sound, but some of an intimate act and the whereabouts of the ghost can be left to the reader’s imagination. We don’t need every pleasurable twitch and heavy breath described. But what’s going through the protagonist’s mind? How does it make them feel? Internal dialogue and emotional surges reveal a lot about the characters.

3. Use all five senses. This just isn’t for the heated moments. A sweet romantic gesture or the paranormal twist benefit from these descriptions too. Scent and sound are sometimes more powerful triggers than what one sees. Be sure to use the sixth sense if any of your characters have it!

4. Intrigue. Characters with mysterious pasts or unusual sexual quirks. A mystery around the spirit trapped in a gazebo. Hook readers with the extraordinary and draw them through with their curiosity. Play with the what if questions and sprinkle in tantalizing possibilities. Yet be sure the ending is a surprise even more satisfying than the phenomenal sex.

5. Tight tension. Holding all the reins taut in this genre is a difficult task. We have the romance in which the characters need emotional conflict. Whether it be something within or without causing it, their relationship must be a bumpy ride. The sexual tension is a separate entity than the romance itself. Keep up that desire with subtle peeks and dirty fantasies. Each intimate moment must be more passionate than the last. And then we have the supernatural tension. The mystery and fear, the unknown looming over their heads. The stakes get higher with each chapter until everything explodes in one grand climax.

Shake, stir, and wiggle. You’ve got a delicious read.

MediaKig_BookCover_GhostDancer_Bk1Ghost Dancer (The Paramours #1)
When Nina Azure’s talent as a ghost dancer doesn’t persuade a handsome phantom to talk, she entices him with sizzling sexual energy. Ben Moore’s spirit is tied to this world with guilt, but he breaks his self-imposed silence for the beautiful Nina. Lust makes him fully physical and she loses herself to desire. She must help him carry on to the afterlife, but her attraction to him is immensely powerful. She must push aside her own feelings and let him go—and perhaps find romance among the living.

 

 

MediaKit_BookCover_PoltergeistsPLeasure_Bk2Poltergeist’s Pleasure (The Paramours #2):
Claire McKinney has a theory that poltergeists aren’t evil spirits or negative energy. When she locates a powerful vortex at the center of a haunting, she discovers a gorgeous man trapped inside. Zendal cannot escape on his own, but if Claire can create enough sexual energy with him, he will be able to break free. Intense as their passion is, it does not release him from the vortex. Claire finds herself caught not only by the ominous portal, but by Zendal’s carnal zeal as well. Can she extricate them from the trap or will they forever be its prisoners?

 

 

 

MediaKit_BookCover_LovelornSpirits_Bk3Lovelorn Spirits (The Paramours #3):
Vivian Ray does not like working with the suave Miles Walker, but he’s the best medium in the paranormal business. When they are possessed by a pair of passionate ghosts, Vivian and Miles realize they might have feelings for one another. But it’s difficult to separate their own emotions apart from the spirits’, and Vivian doesn’t want to believe she’s in anything more than lust with Miles. There’s something much more dangerous after them, though, and if they can’t help the ghosts work through their past, the investigators could lose their own lives

 

 

 

 

Enjoy an excerpt from The Poltergeist’s Pleasure:

There was one thing that always got a poltergeist’s attention: sex. Not the boring old vanilla kind either. It had to be down and dirty, raunchy and passionate. Like the way newlyweds behaved. And the sort Claire was about to provide.

The Paramours had set up their ghost hunting equipment earlier in the day. A video camera stood at either end of the conservatively decorated house. Its open concept allowed for a complete view of all the activity.

Vivian fiddled with the thermal imaging camera, setting it on the kitchen counter and bending over to slide the cords out of the way. Her cute ass pointed upward and wiggled as she wedged the cords in between the shelves to where they could not be moved.

Claire patted her friend’s behind and let her hand linger. “Those new jeans look good on you. Are we ready to go yet?”

With the electronics in place, Vivian batted at Claire’s hand. She straightened and raised her brows with a silent question.

Yes, they were starting the test already. While Vivian could be cool and methodical about their investigations, Claire preferred to wing it. She loved surprising the spooks to get a reaction—and her friends, too.

About the Author: 

Christine Rains is a writer, blogger, and geek mom. She’s married to her best friend and fellow geek, and they have one brilliant son. Christine has four degrees which help nothing with motherhood, but make her a great Jeopardy player. She’s a member of Untethered Realms and S.C.I.F.I. (South Central Indiana Fiction Interface). She has one novel and several short stories and novellas published. The Paramours is her second erotic series with Ellora’s Cave. Be on the lookout for more in the near future.

Please visit her website and blog.

You can also find Christine on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

 

BUY LINKS:

Ghost Dancer:  Ellora’s Cave * Amazon * Kobo * Goodreads

Poltergeist’s Pleasure:  Ellora’s Cave * Amazon * Kobo * Goodreads

Lovelorn Spirits:

Ellora’s Cave * Amazon * Kobo * Goodreads

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Making Headlines by Jennifer Hansen

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jennifer will be awarding an eCopy of Making Headlines to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

HOW I HANDLED THE RESEARCH FOR MY BOOK, MAKING HEADLINES

As my fictional novel, MAKING HEADLINES, is based on the life of a television reporter and newsreader, and I actually worked in those roles in real life for twenty years myself, I didn’t need to do much research about the television industry.

There was however, an aspect of the book that did require a little investigation. And that’s because the main character, Rachel Bentley, is haunted by a stalker. Now, I don’t want to give away any spoilers here, but suffice to say, I didn’t want the reader to have any idea about the stalker’s physical appearance before he is finally revealed towards the end of the book. So how do you make someone a threatening menace when you don’t actually see them?

Of course, emails and phone calls can be traced. But letters can’t. Some of the first people to read the book in my Writers Group questioned why the police weren’t doing more to help track down Rachel’s stalker when he was writing such threatening letters? Well, I DID interview a number of police to clarify this and it’s true – hand written letters are one of the hardest pieces of evidence to track back to the original writer. If the writer uses gloves and there are no fingerprints – which is also unlikely after several people will probably have handled the letters – and no genuine postal return address, there’s actually nothing the police can do. A stalker could quite realistically post dozens of letters from any one of forty post boxes in the city (in Melbourne) – as it would be impossible to monitor all of them with surveillance cameras.

I visited the St Kilda Police Station on Chapel Street, and also talked to the Victoria Police Media Officers to confirm this and both gave me the same feedback. It’s only when a physical act of violence occurs that they would dedicate resources to an investigation.

So there you have it. When you read my book and if it does cross your mind that the police should be doing more – take heart – I’ve looked into it thoroughly, and they couldn’t. Well, not until the situation becomes a little more serious. Which it does… But hey, no spoilers. You’ll have to read the book to find out what I’m talking about!

Cover_MakingHeadlinesWorking as a TV reporter has its challenges, but when Rachael Bentley decides to aim high and become a newsreader, she faces a whole new minefield of explosive scenarios.

Rachel’s path sees her pitched against egos in the newsroom, office politics and corrupt politicians, not to mention rampant sexism, and a mystery stalker. Juggling a messy personal life doesn’t help, nor does the emotional impact of reporting on life’s tragedies and when it all takes a toll and Rachel starts partying too hard, she finds herself making the headlines instead of reading them.

Will she survive a world where dreams are shattered daily and will she find the man who can help her keep her soul?

Enjoy an excerpt:

‘Then whack! He slams that cricket bat smack down on your desk, missing your hand by a whisker!’ Julia slapped her hands under Rachel’s chin.

Rachel jumped, vibrations ringing in her ears. ‘And this is the man you think could be our new boss?’ she said, spinning her chair around to switch on her computer. As she reached for a notebook a growing unease began to fester. Her fellow reporter had an uncanny knack of being spot-on with rumours.

‘Yep,’ grinned Julia, leaning back in her chair. ‘That’s Helmut Becker for you. Bit of a nut job, but they say he gets results. And it is all about the ratings after all.’

Beyond their desks the usual pandemonium reigned. Early-morning rush hour — TV monitors blaring, phones ringing and people shouting, and Rachel didn’t want the glue that held it together leaving. She stared towards the news director’s office. ‘I wish I could change Tony’s mind.’ It was like the plates beneath her feet were shifting. Too much change, too soon.

‘Fat chance. The media release is already out. And stop looking like that. Anyone’d think you had a boss-crush.’

Rachel turned back to Julia. ‘Don’t be ridiculous. I’m just sad he’s leaving. I mean, he gave me my big break and has always been so supportive. Are you sure this Helmut character is taking over?’

‘That’s the word on the office grapevine. It’s a hundred per cent gossip guaranteed.’

‘Damn. Just when I thought I had a career plan mapped out, a bat-wielding crazy guy comes along …’ She paused as a striking man with shoulder-length dirty-blond hair strode past their desks towards the edit suites at the back of the newsroom.

‘And don’t get hooked on him either.’ Julia rolled her eyes. ‘That’s the new head editor, Mitch. Really rates himself, and hates working with juniors, so steer clear.’

‘You crack me up,’ said Rachel, shaking her head. ‘You know I’m taken.’ She turned back to her computer, inhaling deeply. The editor had left a scent in his wake and it wasn’t aftershave. It was like he’d just shaken the surf from his hair after riding a wave into work. An absurd thought. Who’d go surfing in the middle of autumn? She snuck another look as he walked away, taking in his strong physique. As if feeling her eyes graze the back of his neck, he turned, giving a lopsided grin as he caught her out.

Embarrassed, she smiled back stupidly and sucked in her breath. Damn, he was good looking. She wondered what he was doing at work so early. Surely as head editor he could take his pick of the shifts and leave the early stints for the juniors? She shook her head. She had to stop this. No flirting. That’s what had landed her in enough trouble already.

About the Author:JENNIFER HANSEN is best known to TV audiences as the former co-host of Channel Ten’s 5pm news. These days Jennifer works in radio as part of Smooth FM’s breakfast show where she reads the news and chats with Mike Perso about all things Melbourne. In between media gigs, Jennifer went back to ‘school’ – taking up the ‘Professional Writing and Editing’ course at RMIT. That has helped her complete her first novel and two screenplays. Occasionally she remembers to look after her family – including husband Neighbours actor Alan Fletcher (aka Dr Karl Kennedy) and their two children, Veronica and Tom.

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The Background of Simmer and Smoke by Peggy Lampman – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Peggy Lampman will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Since earliest memory, I imagined that I would write a novel. No person or event inspired me; I started writing in my diary when I was nine years old. Writing was as cathartic to me then as it is to me now, a way to dig into the pain and root it out.

I grew up in Alabama, but went to school at the University of Michigan. There, I majored in communications/journalism; I wanted a way to earn a living yet continue to write. My first job out of school was writing copy for Hill and Knowlton, a public relations firm in Manhattan. New York beat me up, and I eventually moved back to my college town, Ann Arbor. There, I opened a specialty food store, had children, and my aspirations to write a novel were derailed. After selling my store, I got a food by-line in the local paper and then with a Michigan dot com. I also began a food blog that I update regularly.

After the transition from paper to digital, my salary was reduced, so I quit my job and wrote “Simmer and Smoke”.

I researched the book living my life. My husband and I have relatives that live in “colorful” communities. I have drawn tremendous inspiration from these folks that I’ve come to love, and appreciate their giving me license to draw intimately from their landscape. I’ve worn dozens of hats in my life, have lived in big cities and small towns, and have studied and befriended various types of people. To know, first-hand, the people and community of your book, is the best research, in my opinion, for writing.

An inspiring scene is what triggered my first novel. One December afternoon in 2010, I was visiting my ancestral graveyard in Stewartville, a back-woods, Confederate flag-waving town in Alabama. As I watched a young woman and child wander down the road, I wondered how a young mother could escape a town of racism, poverty and crack houses. I had my story; that evening I wrote the first few pages of “Simmer and Smoke”.

I enjoy reading literary fiction, particularly fiction set in the American South, and this has inspired my writing. Think authors like Sue Monk Kidd, Pat Conroy and Rebecca Wells. I also love Ann Patchett and Donna Tart. My favorite memoir is Patti Smith’s, “Just Kids” and I’m currently reading her book “Woolgathers”. I just finished Jonathan Franzen’s, “Purity”. It’s filled with psychotic twists and turns and I was intrigued with the quirky mother-daughter relationship. Daniel Woodrell’s work, particularly “Winter’s Bone” that was turned into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence, is quite inspiring. Ree’s character reminds me of Shelby in “Simmer and Smoke”.

Recently my agent, Wendy Sherman, approached me with a deal to buy this first novel that I will most likely accept. It is with Lake Union Publishing Company. I also plan to accept an advance for my second novel from them that is to be completed within the year.

Thank you very much for taking your valuable time to visit with me! If you enjoy stories with quirky characters embarking on a rollicking ride, I think you will enjoy my book. If you enjoy stories set in the American South, cooking and food-related talk, I’m fairly certain this read will be a slam dunk.

A single mother who dreams of becoming a chef.

A food writer who just lost the love of her life.

Two women discover what’s worth fighting for in this deliciously rendered novel that illuminates the power of food, love, friendship and family on the human heart

1. ASSEMBLE INGREDIENTS:

Shelby Preston–a young, single mother trapped in a hardscrabble life in rural Georgia–escapes her reality as she fantasizes herself a respected chef in a kitchen of gleaming stainless steel and pans shimmering with heat. Mallory Lakes–an Atlanta newspaper food writer–may lose her job, and searches for her muse in a shot glass of illusion.

2. SIMMER:

Mallory secures her job by crafting a zealous doppelgänger to satisfy the expectations of an illusive cyber audience. This also mollifies the memories of her lover who recently bolted; no warning. Shelby persuades her mother to take care of her daughter so she can pursue her dream of going to chef school in Atlanta. She cooks them a special dinner said to bring good luck; Lord knows her family could use a pot of something good.

3. SMOKE:

Chasing desires and ambitions, the women’s lives unravel down a path beyond the kitchen, then weave together in an unsettling culinary landscape of organic farms and shadowy borders–some borders not meant to be crossed. As Mallory combats her demons with booze and pills, and Shelby battles the odds stacked against her for becoming a chef, the women discover what’s really worth fighting for.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Memos from the edge, self-help hieroglyphics, throwaway lines galloping off paper, most of them unfinished. These are the words I should have said to Cooper the day he left, bade farewell, adios, arrivederci—however you say goodbye. Itchy, my dearest friend, is returning a platter and will ignore them, assuming they are recipe scribbles. But if these tourniquets had a voice, their banshee wail would rant, rage and scream, shaking the foundations of Atlanta.

Dearest Cooper. What a splendid feast you made of me. A sprinkle of salt, a grind of pepper, you chewed me up then spit me out. Was I that abhorrent?

Visceral, grisly, teeth-gnashing words; much better script. I write, post, then return to my cutting board. Chopping furiously, I collect, examine, and discard words much too ordinary to assuage my grief. Words…words…I need more words; what words can I write that will ease the pain of what you’ve done?

About the Author:

Peggy Lampman was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter and photographer for Hill and Knowlton, a public relations firm. She moved back to Ann Arbor, her college town, and opened up a specialty foods store, The Back Alley Gourmet. After selling the business, she wrote under a weekly food byline in The Ann Arbor News and MLive. This is her first novel.

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Divine Touch by Kristy Denice Bock – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kristy Denice Bock will be awarding $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_DivineTouchFinding a naked man where Werewolf bones once were should have let Kate know she was in for an unusual day! Nothing could have prepared her for the discovery that her mother is a Goddess, and that nothing in her life would ever be the same. Zane DeSeville spent five centuries trapped in a prison of his own body only to be awakened by the image of the woman who caused his entrapment. After Kate discovers that she’s the daughter of a Goddess, another bombshell is dropped in her lap. She has to pass three Trials of Humanity, or she’ll be imprisoned as Zane had been, and Zane would be her judge and jury!

Enjoy an excerpt:

Kate found her way to the Kitchen. She found Holland walking around the room with a cell phone in her hand, extended as she moved about trying to find signal.

“Can you hear me now?” Kate asked.

“Kate! I was ready to call in the military.” Holland launched herself at Kate, hugging her tight.

“Holls, you are choking me,” Kate said, her ribs still sore from their earlier abuse.

“Don’t care. Save it. What the fuck is going on?” Kate hid a smile, Holland’s language always left something to be desired.

“I missed you. I was promised chocolate ice cream, a sappy movie and you. Never let it be said the Goddess doesn’t answer prayers.” Kate took a step away from Holland and picked up the Ice cream she spied on the table next to them.

“Who is the walking magnet?” Holland asked.

“His name is Cole,” Kate answered.

“What’s his deal?”

“I don’t know, why?”

“He’s got a nice ass.”

“He’s like twelve years old!”

“He’s 28.”

“No way, how do you know?”

“Because I asked him right after I told him he had a nice ass.”

“You told him that?”

“What good is thinking something if it’s not shared?”

“Does he really have a nice behind?”

“How did I get here?”

“The Goddess brought you for me. I have so much to tell you. Ice cream first, find bowls.”

Kate walked around the kitchen and opened one at a time until she found decorative wooden bowls which would do quite nicely for their frozen treat. She placed them on the counter and searched again for a scoop and two spoons. After the dessert found its way into the bowls Kate hopped up on the countertop and motioned for Holland to do the same. The two ate in silence for a few moments before Kate spoke. Kate relayed the story starting with how she picked up the shipment meant for her ex-husband.

“He called me by the way,” Holland said.

“Kevin?” asked Kate.

“What a vile toad. The sex must have been phenomenal because his personality leaves so much to be desired.”

“He is, it wasn’t, it does… And what did he say?”

“Blah blah blah, random threat, blah blah blah, knows what you really are, mayhem, devastation, destruction.”

“I doubt he knows what I just found out today. At best he’d seem like a lunatic raving how his ex-wife is a witch.”

“Want me to run him over? I have full coverage.”

“I have enough to deal with at the moment. Kevin is the least of my concerns. I have a vengeful witch who tried to blow me up, three trials that could end in possible annihilation if I fail, and a werewolf that I can’t quite figure out what to do with. Not to mention, my mother’s a Goddess. A Goddess. Talk about a readymade complex.”

“So many things to be shocked over, so little time.” Holland stated.

“I guess it would be hard to take in. In one sitting I’ve told you of werewolves, Goddesses, and witches.” Kate replied.

“No, I meant why you would not call me the minute you found a naked man on the table. At the very least you could have sent me a few picture texts,” Holland said.

“I’m sorry for not thinking clearly at that moment.”

“I forgive you, but only if you forgive me for the confession I’m about to make.” Holland said.

“What confession?” Kate asked.

“I plan on seducing the walking magnet, pissing off the blond bombshell, and finding out the intentions of one really old werewolf.”

“He’s too young for you.”

“I’m one year older than you.”

“He’s too young for me too.”

“You take all the fun out of my life, what’s five years?”

“The difference between diapers and big boy pants.”

“You are a sick, sick woman, Kate.”

“I know”

About the Author: Kristy Denice Bock is an avid reader who fell in love with creating characters at a young age. She lives in Coastal Carolina and is quite the fan of the Crystal Coast. She is the mother of four unique humans who constantly keep her on her toes. She’s the proud grandmother of two, and the world’s greatest Aunt to ten pretty spectacular humans. Her parents bought her a typewriter at 14, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Read Kristy Denice Bock’s Smashwords Interview.

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The Divine Ones

Divine Touch (Book 1) Out now!

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Divine Intervention (Book 2) Out now!

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Divine Purpose (Book 3) Out Now

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Heaven and Hell

The Light (Book 1) Out now!

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Stand Alone Books

With This Ring I Thee Trust, Anthology Comfort and Joy Out Now!

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Intimate Betrayal by Houston Havens – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Houston Havens will be awarding two winners a choice of one of the first three books in the Psychic Menage series 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_IntimateBetrayalKindise Wyatt escapes her Star Rider captor and returns to Earth. With the help of a sexy Old World Mole and his mysterious friend, she’s determined to uncover the whereabouts of her lover. Instead, she finds nothing but betrayal and her captor in pursuit.

On the lam after betraying his evil ruler, ex-Dirt Dweller and drifter Jaden Valenti confirms his name is on a hit list. Finding what he believes will be safety amongst the Airbornes, he recreates himself and hides his past until trouble walks back into his life in
the name of Kindise Wyatt, the woman he was ordered to assassinate and didn’t.

Due to the obsessions of a Fae woman Sori gave up his hardearned royal title and left his homeland of Elfame. Love is the furthest thing from his mind until he is sent in Jaden’s place to pick-up some cargo…human cargo in the form Kindise Wyatt. He feels the Fae magnetism of his soulmate in her. Problem is; she’s in love with someone else.

Will Jaden fulfill his orders to kill Kindise and get his name removed from the list, or will his secret be exposed and betray the friendship he has with Sori? Does Sori help Kindise find her lover, or will a love between them have a chance to flourish before a fatal attraction and a determined captor rip their love asunder? Will Kindise find true love or will betrayals at every turn crush the fight out of her? Can she find her inner strengths to keep fighting and lead The Freedom Fighters to defeat the Dirt Dweller elites, once and for all?

Enjoy an excerpt:

She snapped her head in his direction. “I beg your pardon.”

Amusement raised Jaden’s brow along with his coffee cup. His eyes sparkled over the rim, forcing her breath to catch in her chest.

What in the hell did he mean by that?

Sori covered the smile he was fighting by pretending to scratch his eye, but his amusement was still evident in his tone when he spoke. “What Jaden’s asking is…what’s your hurry?”

“I’ve already imposed quite a bit on your kindness.”

“It’s been one night.”

Choosing to ignore Jaden’s remark, she continued. “I don’t want to take advantage of your hospitality. I’d like to find Lytell soon, it’s been awhile and I missed him very much.”

“Yeah?” The clank of Jaden’s cup crashing down on its saucer once again caused her shoulders to jump. He leaned forward, pushing the bowl of sugar-covered strawberries toward her. “Care for some fruit, while you tell us what you miss most about him?”

She kept her focus on Sori. “Will Jaden be joining us as well?”

His brows pressed together as his glance slid in confusion over to Jaden then jumped back to her. “Ah–”

A sharp snapping of Jaden’s fingers grabbed her attention. When she looked, he smirked. “No, I won’t. But thanks for asking. Nice to know you’ll miss me.”

Kindise tried but failed to stop her mouth from falling open. Incensed by his insinuations in front of Sori.

“Ah, someone want to fill me in?” His glance ricocheted between them.

“There’s nothing to tell.” She got up, spun on her heels and marched from the kitchen muttering. “I’ll be in my room. Let me know when you’re ready to go.”

Jaden held up the bowl of strawberries. “Sure you wouldn’t like some sweetness before you go?”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_IntimateBetrayalErotic romance author Houston Havens, a former successful model enjoying an adventurous jet-set lifestyle, intrigues her readers with a mix of the past, present, and future, and sexy blends of futuristic science fiction, paranormal fantasy, and western romance, always with love everlasting. A tenacious Irish lass filled with passion and mystery hopes her sultry stories will entertain and fascinate those who dare to take the journey. She’s also a social media junkie with an award winning blog. http://houstonhavens.wordpress.com

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Loves of our Lives by A.C. Chenier – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_LovesOfOurLivesFor Katie Benjamin, finding the perfect soul mate was just a fairy tale until a chance encounter on a train changes everything. What she discovers takes her on a journey that spans lifetimes.

Enjoy an excerpt:

It felt so peaceful to just sit quietly beside John after the bustle of the rest of the party. The silence felt…well, she wasn’t sure how it felt. The best way to describe it was that it felt just right. The music and chatter from the other rooms drifted on the edge of their ears, but otherwise it was peaceful and restful. She realized John was still holding her hand in his. And that felt right, too. She turned to look at him and found his eyes on her. Their eyes met and the world faded around them. It was just the two of them.

About the Author: I am a CPA, CGA and live in Southern Ontario. After working for many years in the high pressure worlds of banking and IT, I decided that it was time to have a change in pace. Leaving Toronto behind I embarked on a new career in retail sales. The change was wonderful, but I felt something was missing.

Then, the unthinkable happened, and I was widowed at 46. That was a truly life altering experience. In time, I was introduced to the books and work of Dr. Brian Weiss. I discovered in his research a new purpose in life, and was driven to start writing, something I had always enjoyed, but never thought of as a career choice.

And now here we are in 2015, and my first novel is ready to be published. My second, also in the Past Lives series, will follow shortly. I continue to write and dream of a future that I had never even considered in my wildest dreams.

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Desert Heat by P.H. Turner – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_DesertHeatSocial worker Jordan Bia finds a child who escaped her captors and a life in the sex trade, but four other girls from her small Mexican village were not so lucky. Smugglers hide their human cargo in the hoodoos of a remote canyon on the reservation—a place the Navajo shun, fearful of the witches who practice their black rituals and feast on the dark energy of evil. Mysterious rites, omens of death, and bodies litter the canyon.

When she meets Navajo police officer Sam Tohee, sparks fly fueled by the danger of hunting men who buy and sell little girls. Techno savvy Jordan plots to trap the smugglers and free the rest of the children, but unless she and Sam can find the power to defeat the witches she may not live long enough to save the girls.

 

 

Enjoy an excerpt:

I walked down the center of the shadowy street, far away from men who might slither out of alleys and doorways and grab me, a lone female. The woman whose child I had come to check on lived over a bar when she functioned well enough to remember where she lived. She and the child were nowhere to be found. I had tarried too long, and the night hovered under the thin crescent of moonlight that marked the time between the dark moon and the new moon. Clouds scuttled across the moon, darkening the sky.

The puny glow from the single streetlight outlined two men slouched between boarded-up buildings, smoking and swigging from bottles sheathed in tattered brown bags. They catcalled and hooted, “We got whatcha want, girlie.” I scurried faster to my old Honda Civic, parked a block away. My heart pounded and my calves burned from the effort to put distance between me and their drunken lewdness.

Soft crying, a sound more like a wounded kitten than a person, stopped me in the middle of the street. I cocked my head toward the dim alley but only saw shadows. The pitiful sound drifted out, forlorn and frightened. I scanned the street for movement. No one was there. I walked on my toes to the mouth of the alley. Nothing stirred. Tiny fingers of light trickled into the alley from the streetlight. “Who’s there?”

The crying became snuffling, and then silence.

Footsteps rustled. I called into the darkness, asking if anyone needed help.

“Si,” the voice whimpered.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_DesertHeatI call Austin, Texas home now after working on the East and West coasts, the Rocky Mountains, and an island in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve come full circle to live and work close to the farm my family settled in the 1850’s.

Truth is stranger than fiction, and years in the news business provided lots of peculiar characters and stories to write about. My books are set in my favorite places, the desert canyons and high mountains of the American West.

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