26 Hours in Paris by Demi Alex – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a viruatl book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Demi will be awarding a digital copy of 26 Hours in Paris to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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One day to see the sights.

One night to change your life.

Magazine writer Kathryn Taylor is traveling from New York to Paris for work. But the flirtatious Frenchman she left long ago is waiting at the airport–and he wants to play. . .

No one can guide Kat through the sensual city’s delights like Marko Renard. He let her get away once, and now he’s determined to make her stay–even if he has to tie her down. He will wrap her in cashmere, tease her tongue with chocolate, and take her to the peak of the Eiffel Tower . . . But can he convince the bohemian beauty she belongs with him, in his luxuriously decadent world? In business, he’s the master–but it’s Kat’s body and soul he truly longs to rule. He has just enough time to show her the pleasures of the boulevards, the boulangeries–and the bedroom. To finally get her to just say oui, he’ll have to seize the day–and the night. . .

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“Why do I need to go to Paris?” Kathryn asked, rubbing her temple with more force. “I’ll be looking over my shoulder for him at every turn. What if I bump into him? What happens then?”

“You mean, how do you research the perfect place to find love when love finds you?” Paul folded his muscled arms over his chest and leaned back in his seat. “You could even have a true Parisian show you around all the hot spots. Why is that so bad, Kittykat?”

“Because Marko is not an option. He’s loaded, cultured, and out of my league.” Even worse, he’d insist on introducing her to his family like he had that Christmas years ago. “I’ve worked real hard to establish myself as a competent professional. It would kill me to have the mighty Renards look down on me.”

“Why would they look down on you?” Paul asked. “You’re being ridiculous.”

“You could never understand, Paul. You’re rich and entitled, cut from the same cloth as Marko. I’m a girl from Long Island that had to take online classes for eighteen months to finish my last semester and get my degree, all while keeping my dad’s aluminum-siding business afloat to save my childhood home. Could you picture a woman in Marko’s family with chipped nail polish and callouses on her palms?”

“Marko stayed by your side. You were the one that ran away from him.” Paul’s jaw was set, but his gaze was full of compassion. He’d seen what her father’s passing had done to her and her mother, and he’d also been there for her in that difficult time. She hadn’t turned away from him. The difference was that Paul was her friend. Marko was her soul mate.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_26HoursInParisDemi Alex writes steamy romances, blending emotional fulfillments of the heart and carnal desires in her work. Born in Athens, Greece, and raised in her own version of a big fat Greek life in New York, Demi was infected with book and travel bugs early, and currently admits the only therapy for this condition is to combine the two in fictional stories that allow her characters to let loose and experience all they crave. She attended SUNY at Stony Brook, and after changing her major numerous times, graduated with a degree in Public Policy and International Studies. Her characters are loosely based on people she encounters while she travels or during the time she spends matching homes to owners as a Realtor. She simply has a passion for matchmaking that can’t be put to rest.

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Her Unexpected Affair by Shea McMaster – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding digital copies of all books on the tour 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_HerUnexpectedAffairThis was a detour worth taking . . .

For as long as she can remember, Meilin Wu has had her life mapped out, and she’s well down her chosen path–which had no warning signs about a tall, golden Brit who would bowl her over the night before her arranged marriage . . .

Drew Robinson has nearly finished his formal education and is ready to face the world when he meets Meilin, an exquisite beauty with Chinese ancestry. He doesn’t mind she’s ten years older, and the fact she knows Mandarin only makes her that much more a perfect fit for his upcoming adventures in China. He just has to get her to dump her fiancé and convince her that a trip in
China will only enhance her established design business.

Easy for a guy who’s known for seeing sunshine wherever he goes. Right?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

A stab of jealousy knifed Meilin in the heart. Other people found grand passion, and here she was about to commit the rest of her days to a union with a man who failed to inspire the rush of heat she’d experienced by just shaking Drew’s hand. Insane. She didn’t know these people well enough to envy them so fiercely. And yet, that emotion was a thousand times stronger than any emotion she’d ever felt for Shan.

It confused her.

And when confused, she turned to small talk. “I detect more than a little pluminess in your accent, sir, but none in your sister’s. I’m guessing you were raised in England? Father and mother both British?”

“Good ear, not that it’s hard to decipher. I did the whole boarding school with proper elocution thing while Courtney was raised here in California as wild and free as a bird.”

“How very interesting. Are you to the manor born?” She did her best to say it in a British accent. Not that she’d had much practice, but who didn’t love a good BBC program from time to time?

Drew laughed. “No fancy titles in our branch, but we do have the biggest house in the district. My father likes to pretend he’s a lord of some sort at Christmas.”

The notion wasn’t foreign to Meilin.

Junlei arrived with the second round of drinks for her table and turned to Jack’s party to take their orders.

Her own father, directly descended from minor nobility turned laborer in California, liked to do the same. The reminders of how the family had started high born, fell to the lowest depths of society, then rose to the upper ranks were drummed into them all, chapter and verse at each large gathering. Come to think of it, at almost any gathering, large or small. The ancestors were well revered.

“Tell me about yourself,” Drew said. “Jack has told us nothing about you.”

Before she could open her mouth to politely turn the conversation again, Jack leaned across the table in order to be heard. “She’s an interior designer. One of the best in the city. Possibly in all California if not the west coast. Big time bigwig woman.”

Frowning at Jack did no good. She always let her work do her bragging for her, never did she need to toot her own horn. The wave of girls, fluttering like butterflies, returned to their table, relieving her from answering.

“Jack, what a surprise.”

“Hey, cousin.”

“Jack, you mangy dog, what are you doing here? Spying on Meilin’s last night out? We should kick you out of here.”

“Not while he has friends here.” Sunchu, one of her few remaining single friends, leaned over from the far side of the table to extend her hand to Drew. “And who might you be, tall, golden, and handsome?” Drew stood and exchanged handshakes all around as the entire group of five women settled at the table. Sure, they included Courtney, but Drew had ninety-nine percent of their attention. And why not? Exactly as Sunchu had said, he was tall, golden, and very handsome. Not only did he have a perfect tan, but he smelled good too. Not one whiff of heavily scented aftershave teased Meilin’s nose. He was as fresh as a forest. Clean water and towering pines came to mind. Maybe a hint of citrus, possibly lime, but his scent was light and refreshing. She’d have to find out what he used.

What in the hell was she doing sniffing him up like that? No, she would not ask him what scent he wore. Especially because his proximity made her pulse thrum wildly in her veins. His thigh brushed against hers and she swallowed a gasp, as the contact acted like a raindrop landing on a smooth lake, sending ripples of goosebumps down her leg and up her body.

It took only a second to drain her first drink, set it down, and reach for the second. This was all she needed. A short, intense attraction to a foreigner on the eve of her engagement. Sort of like a very short-term foreign exchange. Surprised at her comparison to a semester abroad, she laughed to herself.

Not happening. Not now, not ever.

And then he had to ask, “Would you like to dance?”

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HerUnexpectedAffair

Shea McMaster lives for traditional romance. Born in New Orleans, raised in California, Shea got moved to Alaska in 1977, where she attended high school before running back to California to get her English degree from Mills College. Alas, once back home she met and fell in love with her own forever true hero, a born and raised Alaska man. Since then she’s had a love-hate relationship with America’s largest state.

With her one and only son half way through college, and mostly out of the house, Shea is fortunate to spend her days engaged in daydreaming and turning those dreams into romantic novels and novellas featuring damsels in distress rescued by their own brains and hunky heroes. She also writes under the steamy romances under the name Morgan O’Reilly.

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All In by Simona Ahrnstedt – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Simona will be awarding a print copy of ALL IN (US/Canada only) 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_AllInIn the cutthroat world of Sweden’s financial elite, no one knows that better than corporate raider David Hammar. Ruthless. Notorious. Unstoppable. He’s out to hijack the ultimate prize, Investum. After years of planning, all the players are in place; he needs just one member of the aristocratic owning family on his side—Natalia De la Grip.

Elegant, brilliant, driven to succeed in a man’s world, Natalia is curious about David’s unexpected invitation to lunch. Everyone knows that he is rich, dangerous, unethical; she soon discovers he is also deeply scarred.

The attraction between these two is impossible, but the long Swedish nights unfold an affair that will bring to light shocking secrets, forever alter a family, and force both Natalia and David to confront their innermost fears and desires.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Michel nodded. After all, this was what Hammar Capital did. Their team of analysts searched for companies that weren’t doing as well as they should be. David and Michel identified the problems—often incompetent leadership—and then vacuumed up shares in order to put together a majority holding

Then they went in, brutally, took over, broke the company into pieces and restructured, sold, and profited. They were better at this than almost anyone else—owning and improving. Sometimes it went smoothly. People cooperated, and Hammar Capital was able to drive its agenda. Sometimes there was a fight.

“I’d still like to get someone from the owning family on our side,” David said as southern Stockholm spread out beneath them. Having one or more of the big shareholders, some of the giant retirement fund managers, for example, on your side was critical for success in a hostile takeover this big. David and Michel had spent a lot of time convincing the managers, attended endless meetings, and run the numbers countless times. But winning over someone from the actual owning family had several advantages. In part, it would be an enormously prestigious symbolic win, especially with this firm, Investum, one of Sweden’s biggest and oldest companies. It would also automatically win over a number of other shareholders who would vote in favor of Hammar Capital if David and Michel could show that they had someone from the inner circle on their side. “It would make the process a lot easier,” he continued.

“But who?”

“There is one person who actually has gone her own way in that family,” said David as Bromma Airport came into view on the horizon.

Michel was quiet for a bit. “You mean the daughter, right?”

“Yes,” David said. “She’s an unknown but considered to be quite the talent. It’s possible that she’s dissatisfied with how the men are treating her.” Investum wasn’t just an old and traditional company. It was patriarchal in a way that would make the 1950s seem modern and enlightened.

“Do you really believe you can win over anyone from that family?” Michel asked hesitantly. “You’re not exactly popular with them.”

David almost laughed at the understatement.

Investum was controlled by the De la Grip family, and the company did billions of kronor worth of business a day. Indirectly Investum, and thus the De la Grip family, controlled close to a tenth of Sweden’s GNP and owned the biggest bank in the country. Family members sat on the board of directors of close to every major Swedish company. The De la Grip family was upper-class, traditional, and wealthy. As close to royalty as you could get without actually being royal. And with significantly bluer blood than any member of the House of Bernadotte, Sweden’s royal family. It would be unlikely for David Hammar, the upstart, to get anyone from the innermost circle— known for their loyalty—to change sides and join him, an infamous venture capitalist and corporate raider.

But he’d done it before, convinced a few family members to join forces with him. That often meant leaving a trail of broken family ties behind him, which he usually regretted, but in this case it would be a welcome bonus.

“I’m going to try,” he said.

“That’s damn near insane,” said Michel. It wasn’t the first time in the last year he’d uttered those words.

David nodded briefly. “I already called to set up a lunch meeting with her.”

“Of course you did,” said Michel as the helicopter started its descent for landing. The flight had taken less than thirty minutes. “And what did she say?”

David thought about the cool voice he’d gotten on the line, not an assistant’s but that of Natalia De la Grip herself. She had sounded surprised but hadn’t said very much, just thanked him for the invitation, and then had her assistant confirm the lunch appointment by e-mail.

“She said she was looking forward to our meeting.”

“She did?”

David laughed, tersely and joylessly. Her voice had been distinctive in that patrician way that almost inevitably triggered his disdain for the upper classes. Natalia De la Grip was one of about a hundred women in Sweden who had been born with the title of countess, the elite of the elite. He hardly had the words to express how little he thought of that kind of person.

“No,” he said. “She didn’t say that.” But then he hadn’t expected her to, either.

About the Author:

Simona Ahrnstedt © 2014 Fotograf Anna-Lena Ahlstršm +46-709-797817

Simona Ahrnstedt © 2014 Fotograf Anna-Lena Ahlstršm +46-709-797817

Simona Ahrnstedt was born in Prague and is a licensed psychologist, a cognitive behavioral therapist, and most importantly, a bestselling author. As her novels have swept bestseller lists in her native Sweden, she has become a spokesperson for books by women, for women, and about women. Her provocative women’s fiction has been sold in multiple languages as well as audio format. She lives outside of Stockholm, Sweden, with her two teenagers.

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My Inspiration Behind Finished by Anne Holster – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

My Inspiration behind Finished

Anyone who writes a novel is inevitably asked what their inspiration was. Of the many questions I have been asked as a fairly new writer, the most common are concerned with how the story came to me, how I created the characters, and how I chose my setting. Like most writers, I was inspired in large part by the books I love – you know, the ones you can’t wait to get home and read? The ones that make you ignore a ringing phone or stay up hours past your bedtime, even if it means you’ll be tired for work the next day?

That is the effect I wanted my own books to have on readers. I tend to be mostly drawn to stories that revolve around relatively ‘normal’ people and not the likes of professional athletes, billionaires or werewolves. I like the reader to think, hey, this could really happen; this could be me. That’s how Jess and Finn from my new novel Finished were born. Finn is just a regular college student, cramming for finals and working a part-time job. On the other hand, though, he’s also that dreamy guy who’s got the bad-boy edge to him that could drive any red-blooded American girl crazy.

It’s the same with Jess. She’s a regular girl who’s about to start her first year of college and works a part-time summer job just like so many of us have done at her age. Of course she’s also hoping to catch the eye of the bad-boy like I’m sure so many others have tried to do at her age.

As for the setting, I eventually chose the Jersey Shore simply because it was easy for me to relate to. The Jersey Shore is where I spent much of my youth, experiencing many of the same things that the array of characters in Finished are going through. When I began writing the book I wasn’t sure what the setting would be after the first few chapters which take place on a college campus. It just popped into my head one day and I decided to go with it. I’m glad I did because I loved the way it turned out!

MediaKit_BookCover_FinishedIt began with a drunken kiss, a furtive but passionate grope atop a pile of discarded winter coats. Downstairs, the party raged on, but all Jess hears is the pounding of her heart as Finn Evans – the guy she had fantasized about for God-knows-how-long – ran his hands along her body. It isn’t until Finn staggers from the dark room that Jess realizes she has not only lost her virginity, but her underwear as well. Things only get worse when she sees Finn again and realizes he doesn’t even know it was her in the bedroom that night! She heads to the Jersey Shore with her best friend, hoping a summer of fun will heal her broken heart.

Finn awakes with a colossal hangover and a pair of girl’s underwear jammed in his pocket. It’s not the first time he’s had sex at a party, but it is the first time he doesn’t know the girl’s identity. Thinking he’ll never see her again, he heads to the Jersey Shore for a summer of sun, sand and sex.

While down at the shore, Jess and Finn find themselves thrown together time and time again, eventually forging an unlikely friendship. By the time Finn realizes he’s fallen for her, Jess is with someone else. Will Finn be able to convince Jess that he is the one for her, or will his bad boy reputation haunt him forever?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“Finn, you gotta see this,” Jess said over her shoulder, “Jill’s standing on the porch railing with a kazoo in her mouth. I think she’s using it to ref beer pong.”

“No shit!” I said, walking up behind her. “She’s gonna end up on her ass in the sand the way she’s teetering back and forth like that.” I couldn’t help but laugh at the vision of Jill sprawled across the sand in front of the house.

Suddenly I got a weird feeling of déjà vu, a vague impression of me and Jess in a room. It was the smell of her shampoo or soap or something… I chased the memory, but came up with nothing. I figured it was probably all the time we’d spent together over the summer.

We were both startled when someone yelled Jess’ name from the other room. She whipped around to see who it was and found herself staring right into my eyes. I could have stepped back, but I didn’t. Then again, neither did she. We just stood there for a minute, our faces nearly touching, and I knew if I’d had a few more beers in me I might’ve done something stupid like, I dunno, leaned in and kissed her or something. Instead, I just slowly pulled back.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FinishedAnne Holster resides in Northern New Jersey with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis and reading angsty romance novels. She is currently working on her third novel.

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Sword of Shadows by Karin Rita Gastreich – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Karin 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_SwordOfShadowsSisters in magic, Eolyn and Adiana seek to revive a millennial tradition once forbidden to women. When war strikes, their fledgling community of magas is destroyed; its members killed, captured or scattered.

Determined to defend her people, Eolyn seeks to escape the occupied province and deliver to King Akmael a weapon that might secure their victory. Trapped by the invading army, Adiana is taken prisoner and placed at the mercy of the ruthless Prince Mechnes.

Even as their world is torn asunder, Eolyn and Adiana cling to a common dream. Courage and perseverance guide them toward a future where the Daughters of Aithne will flourish in a world set free from the violence of men.

“War propels the story forward, and the characters are at their best when circumstances are at their worst.” -Publishers Weekly

This is the second book in THE SILVER WEB trilogy. It can be read as a stand-alone novel, or as the sequel to the first book, EOLYN.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

A hush of wings on the windowsill interrupted Eolyn’s thoughts. She looked up to see a Great River Owl, its proud silhouette outlined by moonlight.

Eolyn rose to her feet in surprise, keenly aware of its penetrating gaze, though she could not see its round eyes in the dark. A breeze ruffled its feathers. Its aura was impossibly familiar: intense shades of gold, burgundy, and forest green, shot through with streaks of deepest indigo.

She held her breath and let it go in a whisper. “Akmael?”

More than a question, it was a hope, a fear, an invocation.

A shimmer passed through the owl, followed by a flash of white light. Suddenly Akmael was with her, the heat of his hand upon her throat, the strength of his fingers intertwining in her hair, the demand of his lips upon hers, warm and full of passion. The magic of the South Woods blew through the window in a humid gust, swirling about them, begging Eolyn to remember who she was and what she once meant to him.

Akmael kissed Eolyn until she had no more breath to give. Then he paused and held her close, their foreheads touching as her fingers traced the familiar prominence of his cheekbone, the line of his jaw, the curve of his full lips.

All she could hear was his desire, carried on the rhythm of his heart. She dared not speak, for if she did, she might stumble upon words of caution or prudence or common sense, and none of that had any place here. Not when he was so near, nearer than he had been in such a painfully long time, closer than he might ever be again.

This is a gift from the Gods, Akmael had once said. To deny it would be an insult to them.

“Eolyn, I—”

She hushed him with a kiss.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_SwordOfShadowsKarin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands for over twenty years. Her past times include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to THE SILVER WEB trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

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How Do You Handle Negative Criticism? by Merry Freer – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

How do you handle negative criticism?

Assuming the critic is well-intentioned, it is my opinion there is no such thing as negative criticism. If all of the feedback an author receives sounds like it came from their mom, it does them a disservice as a writer. It is difficult to be objective about one’s own work. That’s why writers use content editors and beta readers….to get honest evaluations of their work. I always smile when a reader prefaces his/her opinions of my work by asking, “Will it bother you if I’m perfectly honest with you?” Bother me? Telling me what you think I want to hear will not be helpful to me at all. I need to hear about inconsistencies and missing information. I need to know if there are errors in grammar or typos.

It’s sort of like when you have a piece of broccoli stuck between your teeth or a rip in your pants. A good friend will tell you. Wouldn’t you want to know?

How do I handle negative criticism?

I say, “Thank you.”

Negative reviews are a different story. That’s where the thick skin you grew while writing has to get thicker after publishing. One of the most important and most difficult lessons a writer needs to learn is to take reviews with a grain of salt and NEVER respond to them. Many will contradict one another and some you will wonder whether the reviewer read the same book you wrote. It is never a good idea to engage with a reader regardless of the review the reader gave. Many or most readers appreciate a feeling of anonymity when writing a review. The only time a review should really be taken to heart (without comment) is when the reviewer finds technical problems with your work. Consider it to be free proofing. Otherwise, my advice is both simple and hard as hell. IGNORE! IGNORE! IGNORE!

MediaKit_BookCover_SpecialLevelsOfEarthlyHellDrew Collins experiences the world in black and white. As an educated man of science, he rejects belief in the paranormal and the existence of demons. Until an evil energy he calls “The Beast” repeatedly enters his bedroom at night and takes possession of his wife’s body.

What he witnesses at night in his own bedroom cannot be reconciled with science. And yet he sees it with his own eyes, feels its presence, ominous and evil, with his entire being.

Against every instinct, Drew reaches out for help. It is not just his marriage that’s at stake. The evil force has invaded his wife’s family, tearing them apart and culminating in bloodshed and murder. Drew must face a stark choice: sacrifice his belief that the world is a rational place and fight an entity he doesn’t understand and is reluctant to label, or abandon his wife and her family.

Author’s Note to the Reader: Sadly, the most frightening and brutal events in this book are factual. The story is loosely based on one family’s experience with multiple tragedies, some of them “ripped from the headlines.” It is also an excruciatingly factual account of one man’s experience with a loved one who is possessed by a demonic presence. However, it transcends genre and is as much a tale of romance, of cultural barriers, of abuse, and of family drama, as it is of demonic possession. The link between the introduction of an evil spirit and the heartbreaking misfortunes that are visited on the family is left for the reader to decide.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Drew didn’t remember falling asleep. He did remember waking up. Something was wrong. A chill traveled up his spine and enveloped him. With a sickening feeling of familiarity, sweat began to form on his forehead and trickle down his temples as fear overcame him. He quickly glanced at the digital clock on the table beside the bed. The blood-red numbers announced the time eerily – 3:00am – a haunting reminder of the first time.

Someone was watching him. He was certain of it. His eyes were immediately drawn to the window. A dark fear formed in his gut and sent out tentacles of terror that invaded his thoughts and squeezed his lungs, threatening his very breath.

The sensation of movement brought him to his feet but his trembling legs couldn’t support him and he allowed himself to fall back onto the bed next to his sleeping wife, Adriana. Turning his head toward the window, he looked closer at what appeared to be vapor, distorted lines of energy waving like the air in the distance over a desert highway in August. A terrifying feeling of knowledge washed over him. It was alive.

Drew’s mind flashed to the first time he had encountered the demon in the bedroom at his mother’s house, the night it hijacked Adriana’s body – at 3:00am. It was always at 3:00am.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_SpecialLevelsOfEarthlyHell

Merry Freer is an author of memoir and fact-based fiction. “Special Levels of Earthly Hell: The Story of One Family’s Chilling Struggle with Demonic Possession” was inspired by actual events that were experienced by her nuclear and extended families, tearing relationships apart and making national news headlines. This book comes on the heels of her first book, a memoir named “Doctor, Doctor.” While “Doctor, Doctor” is her debut novel, she has been a writer and editor for many years, including work with the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego Hall of Champions. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from San Diego State University and has been a featured speaker for classes dealing with medical ethics.

Her controversial memoir, “Doctor, Doctor,” topped the Best Seller List in True Crime/White Collar Crime for 10 months and received a “Best Books of 2014” award from “Suspense Magazine.”

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The Hardest Part About Writing by AC Chenier – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. AC Chenier will be awarding a $25 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.

<centerThe hardest part about writing is…..

Rewriting, editing and the time it takes to get from point A, that day you write the last words in your manuscript, to point Z the book published. This has been the most challenging and eye opening component of writing a book for me. I was unprepared for the effort and sheer willpower it takes to reread your manuscript umpteen times in the process of tightening the words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters into a novel.

I had been an editor in my old life in Corporate “America”. I was part of the team that produced Proposal Response documents in the IT field. Most of the document was written by our technical experts, and then those of us charged with editing took the sections and “massaged” them as necessary to make the words flow. While the entire document was quite large, the sections themselves were generally no more than a few thousand words.

What a difference editing your own work, and a book of over 70,000 words. I always found myself fresh and eager in the first few chapters. My critical eye could roam over a sentence or paragraph and find the typos and grammatical errors. But by the end of the day that focus was lost. The later chapters were much harder to work on.

And then there is the whole fun of “Track Changes” in Word. The joy of going through every single edited note or comment from your 3rd party editor and either accepting or rejecting each and every one. While the majority are true and valid, it was impossible to simply “Accept All” as some were truly not an error.

What I’ve found is that actually writing the novel is relative easy, but it is only the first step in the long and grueling process. Be prepared to rewrite, reread and rehash every single chapter, scene, paragraph and even every single word in the long and (sometimes) tedious process of taking that wonderful masterpiece you created to the final product.

MediaKit_BookCover_LveByKnightMediaKit_BookCover_LovesOfOurLivesThe Past Lives series of books introduces two strong women who undergo dramatic changes in their lives when they learn about their soul’s past. Through past life regression they learn of their own history and investigate the concept of soul mates reuniting through time. Read Loves of our Lives and Love by Knight to learn about Katie Benjamin and Kelly Taylor.

Enjoy an Excerpt from Loves of Our Lives (Bk.1):

“I want you to think about some things over the next few days and weeks. I want you to clearly look inside yourself and ask what it is you want, not what anyone else wants or expects from you. Meditate on it. Pray on it, if that works for you. But make sure that any action you do or do not take is based on what is right and good for you. Not Katie. But the real and true you. You’re starting to see her in your life on a daily basis. Talk to her. Find out what she wants you to do. Then follow through on your heart and soul decision. Only then can you know that what you are doing is right for you, the true you. Not Catherine, not Elinor, not Katie, or any other human body you have inhabited. Do what is right for the authentic and real you.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_LovesOfOurLivesAC Chenier is the author of the Past Lives series of books, including Loves of our Lives and the forthcoming Love by Knight. The novels explore the fascinating spiritual world and the concept that we are all souls who have lived before, and that we reunite with our loved ones through time. The novels allow her to couple her long standing interest in the romance and fantasy genres with a passion for writing. When she’s not busy typing away at her computer, you can find her with her horses or golf clubs.

Her books are available in paperback and ebook.

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Why I Write Gothic Mysteries by Blair Yeatts – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Blair Yeatts will be awarding a $25 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.

Why I Write Gothic Mysteries

Answering 1000’s of blog-tour interview questions about This Madness of the Heart, along with composing a few blog posts, had the curious result of making me think more about what I write—instead of just creating a massive sense of blog-overdose. So at the moment, anyway, this seems like an intriguing question.

I didn’t know I was writing “gothic” mysteries when I wrote them. New York Times Bestselling author Gail Godwin pointed out my new genre to me after taking a look at Madness. What came to my mind when she used the word was a hazy recollection of formulaic mid-20th C books by Victoria Holt, and I knew (or at least hoped) that Madness had little in common with these. I was so profoundly puzzled that I went to the Internet to look up “gothic” novels. Here I give you the elements of a gothic novel, according to Robert Harris (http://www.virtualsalt.com/gothic.htm):

1. Setting in a castle, mansion, or other mysterious/haunted structure: Madness focuses on a haunted plantation and a likely-to-be-haunted old chapel and Victorian mansion.
2. An air of mystery and suspense: yep.
3. An ancient prophecy or curse: The whole Durham family in Madness is under an old Vodun curse.
4. Dreams, visions, portents of evil: Miranda is a true dreamer and has more than one prophetic dream.
5. Supernatural events: definitely, especially on All Hallows Eve.
6. High emotion: Madness has its fair share of this, but not, I hope, to the point of being overwrought.
7. Women in distress: Well, yes, but not in the helpless, screaming, soon-to-be-ravished sense; Madness has a more feminist take on female distress.
8. Women threatened by tyrannical male: Ditto
9. Metaphors of gloom and horror: Not so much, but some
10. Gothic vocabulary chosen to enhance mood: Yep.

So much for gothic: apparently Godwin chose her word well. But why would I have written a gothic novel, when I intended to write a mystery? To the best of my knowledge, the last gothic novel I read was Anya Seton’s Green Darkness somewhere around 1980—and I’m not even certain it was gothic! Sure, I’d read and loved Mary Stewart as a teenager, and they were definitely gothic, but I can hardly remember them now.

Maybe asking why I wrote mysteries would be easier. I’ve always loved mysteries. I owned the whole Nancy Drew corpus as a young teenager. That morphed into a taste for Agatha Christie, and eventually for people like Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Elizabeth George, Martha Grimes, Elizabeth Peters, P. D. James, Nevada Barr, and Charles Todd. But why did I read mysteries, and these writers in particular? I know I wasn’t like JFK, who liked mysteries as puzzles. I cared very little about figuring out whodunit: I enjoyed the ongoing characters and watching how their minds worked. Maybe even more than that, I liked the reassuring structure of the sleuth who would always return in the next book: horrible things happened, and they couldn’t be undone, but sense could be made of them, evil vanquished (more or less), and life would go on. That’s probably a good summary of my idea of a good fiction read: complex, clever, likeable characters who survive serious violence and evil (perhaps from book to book), and bring resolution and meaning in the end, even if there’s not exactly a happy ending. In fact, that’s not a bad description of the three Miranda Lamden mysteries I’ve completed.

I often call my books mystery/thrillers because the definition of “mystery” seems too constrictive—apparently real mysteries emphasize whodunit plotting, deceptively likely villains, alibis, and timing. I prefer to go my own way. My personal definition of a mystery would be a story involving a murder/murders/violent crime and the adventures and difficulties had by the main characters in figuring out how and why it happened. This doesn’t mean that the readers—or the characters—are ignorant of the guilty one’s identity, although they may be. The book’s action consists of solving the puzzle behind the crime, but the puzzle is always more complex than the simple identity of the villain.

So now we return to the original question: why gothic mysteries? I suspect the answer lies in why I included “gothic” elements in my books (and they all have them) without knowing they were gothic—or even being a reader of gothic fiction. It’s a question of definitions, points of view, and simply how people make sense of the world. As a retired professor of religion with a mystical bent, spirit is part of my world. It’s woven into every piece of reality, every human being, and into non-human nature as well. I could no more write a book about life and death, danger and insight, without including “spiritual” elements than I could write the same book in Mandarin. But what to me is normal and universally present in reality . . . is “gothic,” “supernatural,” “unrealistic,” and “overwrought” to many of the people who spend their time sorting ideas into literary categories.

I think I may create a new genre: “Spiritual Mysteries,” maybe. Or “Murder and Spiritworld.” Even “Dimensional Mysteries.” You get the idea. Labels may be necessary, but they sure can suck the life out.

MediaKit_BookCover_ThisMadnessOfTheHeartBad religion can be deadly. So Miranda Lamden, small-town religion professor, discovers in This Madness of the Heart. The dark hollers of Eastern Kentucky offer fertile soil for shady evangelist Jasper Jarboe, new president of Grace and Glory Bible College, as he beguiles the small mining town of Canaan Wells with his snake-oil charm.

When Miranda isn’t teaching at Obadiah Durham College, she’s investigating paranormal phenomena—or enjoying a turbulent romantic relationship with backwoods artist Jack Crispen. JJ’s inquisition-style gospel has alienated her long since, but when he announces his plan to transform her forest home into an evangelical Mecca, complete with neon cross and 40-foot Jesus, Miranda girds her loins for war. But JJ isn’t finished: he goes on to launch an attack on her friend and fellow professor Djinn Baude with an avalanche of vicious rumors. Not only does he accuse Djinn of demonic communion with the old Voudon witch whose curse killed the college’s founding family, but he also smears her with insinuations of lechery and vice.

With JJ’s urging, hate boils over into violence and tragedy, sweeping Miranda up in its flood. One death follows another as a miasma of evil overwhelms the tiny community, and only Miranda can see clearly enough to halt its spread.

This Madness of the Heart is the first in a new series of Gothic mystery-thrillers featuring Professor Miranda Lamden, whose spiritual gifts have drawn her beyond university walls to explore the mysteries of other world beliefs. Her unique vision brings her into repeated confrontations with evil, where too often she finds herself standing alone between oblivious onlookers and impending disaster.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

I had to stop him! Now, before the damage was done!

I never even got to try.

Like a sullen current of arctic air pouring through a cracked door, cold snaked down over us, coiling around my senses, freezing my anger, congealing my blood: an implacable sister to the malevolence in the garden. I ground my teeth to stifle the scream begging to be born. Even so, a small voice spoke from outside my fear, detached and curious.

“This cold is not the same,” the voice observed. “There’s a difference. It’s not threatening so much as warning, ‘Keep off! Stand clear! Don’t interfere!’”

Immobilized by fear, I was incapable of interfering.

At first I thought my teeth were chattering. A split second later I realized the wind had dropped without warning, the riot of sound had ceased, and a clicking sound had filled the darkness. “Tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch-tch,” the sound ran on and on—no more than a field of insects, of snakes, singing in the night.

The light from JJ’s lantern brightened, bloomed, and died, shooting soft rainbows into the night. Cold weighed even more cruelly upon my breast, pressing me against the rough wall at my back, blotting all light from my eyes. Then the clicking stopped, and in the utterly empty dark, I heard the sound of stone rasping on stone, of crumbling brickwork tearing loose from rotten mortar, and the hollow thunk of heavy masonry falling ponderously onto yielding clay.

A soft sigh whispered through the grove. Then there was silence.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ThisMadnessOfTheHeartBlair Yeatts grew up in the midst of a large, old southern Virginia family, much like the family of her main character. She followed her parents into a career in academia and taught religion at the college level in Kentucky for many years. Her special areas of expertise are psychology and Earth-based religions, in which she has done considerable research.

From childhood, Ms. Yeatts has been a fan of mystery fiction, starting with Nancy Drew and moving through Agatha Christie to twentieth century giants like Dorothy L. Sayers, P.D. James, and Nevada Barr. She is fulfilling a life’s dream in writing her own mysteries.

Ms. Yeatts shares her home with her photographer husband, two cats, and a dog. She has a lifelong love of wild nature, and prefers to set her stories in rural areas, where threads of old spiritual realities still make themselves felt. Her first three books take place in different parts of Kentucky and Tennessee.

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Research for the Hathor Legacy Series by Deborah A. Bailey – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

Research for the Hathor Legacy Series

When I wrote the first book in the series, Hathor Legacy: Outcast, I started out with one idea. What would happen if a disease could change someone’s DNA and cause them to have heightened senses beyond our “standard” five senses? Since I was writing science fiction, and not fantasy, I needed to create a plausible explanation for it. So, I decided to put the setting on the planet, Hathor in the 23rd century. Shortly after settlers from Earth arrived on the planet, they contracted a disease caused by the terraforming. This disease led to their descendants developing psychic abilities.

I researched things like telepathy and telekinesis to get a feel for what could be possible, then I expanded on it for the story. The thing is, who knows what future research will determine about psychic powers? They might turn out to be less paranormal and more reality-based as researchers learn more about the brain.

When it came to picking planets for my story, it was actually quite easy! There’s a lot of research about “goldilocks” planets that have been discovered beyond our solar system. These planets are Earth-like and might be able to sustain human life. Or, they could be terraformed to prepare them for human inhabitants. The NASA website has a lot of good information, and links to other sites.

As far as technology, it’s constantly changing and advancing. My first book didn’t include replicators (which I remember from Star Trek) but in that case science fiction has already become science fact with 3D printers. I also found a prototype of an aircar with retractable wings that can also be used as a regular car on the highway.

For the most part, I used the internet for my research. So, if I had a question, I simply typed it into Google! It’s easier than ever for an author to create a science fictional story world with all the research at our fingertips. The toughest part is keeping up with all the advances. As I continue to add books to the series, it will be interesting to see how many of the things I’ve added actually come to pass in the present.

MediaKit_BookCover_HathorLegacyRevelationsHathor Legacy: Revelations – Book Three of the Hathor Legacy Series

An enemy returns to spark new tensions between the Guardians and Novacorp. In the midst of the crisis, Nadira is given information about her parents that threatens to destroy her relationship to the Guardians and to Jonathan.

While Nadira searches for answers, Jonathan is enticed into the hedonistic world of the Novacorp executive class. His entertainment club attracts the elite of Hathor, but his notoriety comes with a price.

The worlds of the Guardians and Novacorp are put on a collision course where only one side may come out on top. Nadira is called on to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the legacy of the First Families, the original settlers of Hathor, while Guardians, Kasema and Deshtu groups are faced with the choice to unite or be brought completely under Novacorp control.

Old scores are settled and long-hidden truths are revealed, and at the end Nadira and Jonathan’s relationship and their world will never be the same.

Enjoy an Excerpt:

“I just got word from security.” The words tumbled out so quickly that Azure had to stop to take a breath. “It’s Mikal. He’s escaped the penal colony on a ship. Novacorp security lost track of it. They don’t know where he is right now.”

“He what?” It took her a moment to get her thoughts in order to reply. “But how could he? They did the Burn Order. It was supposed to destroy his mental functions, right?”

“Not all, obviously. The injection was only meant to destroy his PSI abilities. But he was still able to break out of the colony, steal a ship and get past all the security checks.”

How had Mikal been able to escape a penal colony? He was supposedly neutralized by the chemical injection he was given after he’d been taken off Hathor. How had he even had the awareness to escape? Yet again, they’d underestimated him.

“He might have had help from someone at the colony,” Nadira suggested. “Otherwise, how could he escape? Isn’t it maximum security?”

“My child, I have no idea. We’re still waiting for an update from the colony,” Azure replied, “But we must be on our guard. I’ll stay in Nova City until we receive word of his capture.”

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_HathorLegacyRevelationsDeborah A Bailey’s Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance novels include suspense, a bit of mystery and a lot of romantic heat. Her books include the Hathor Legacy science fiction romance series and the Family Pride shapeshifter paranormal romance series.

Her short stories have won awards from the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and have been published in US1 Magazine and the Sun and are included in, Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales. In her “other” life, she’s a freelance technical writer and author of non-fiction books and articles for various online publications. http://www.BrightStreetBooks.com

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Conquered by Paula Quinene – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Paula will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_ConqueredConquered is a passionate love story, as much about its main characters, Guam native Jesi Taimanglo and American GI Johan Landers, as it is about author Paula Quinene’s passion for Guam itself. As her characters try to find a place for themselves amid the war, Jesi’s relatives, and the Chamorro traditions, Quinene charts a path through a seldom told story: Guam’s place in WWII. An original idea written with an original voice that invites readers in to the exotic world of the Pacific, complete with coconut trees, banana doughnuts, dolphins swimming in the ocean, and moonlight on Pago Bay, Conquered also recounts the brutal horrors of the Japanese occupation on Guam, a US territory largely forgotten back in the States. In addition to learning about a singular and little-known culture that has played a part in the world wars of the Pacific, readers will undoubtedly crave the recipe for banana doughnuts.

—Stacey Donovan, Writer, Editor, and Author of Dive

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Staff Sergeant Johan Landers left his tent and walked toward the railing on the port side of the ship. With his back against the rail, he looked left. The bow was blocked by a chimney and the quarterdeck. He looked right. The gun turrets didn’t completely obstruct his view of the stern. It never failed to amaze Johan that these ships were much longer than a football field. Some ships were built twice as long. Soldiers and equipment were packed so close together on the deck Johan felt as if he were training in the deserts of Arizona. He turned to look out at the ocean.

Johan pressed his hips into the metal. Mount Sasalaguan is at the center of southern Guam. Johan checked the time; it was 0140. The glass and frame of the Bunn Special sparkled when it caught one of the lights on the ship. The silver-cased watch was the only keepsake he had from his old life. It was a gift from his grandfather who had worked the railroads that ran through the Catskill Mountains. It was a pocket watch, Pops had said. Johan cleaned the glass with his thumb, and a smile touched one corner of his mouth….

He crossed his arms on his chest and filled his lungs with air. Soon, even sleep would be tinged with thoughts of battle, a welcomed retreat from the nightmares he’d had since losing Lily. Johan shouldn’t have bothered with his mother and father that day. If I had left on time. The ache in his heart threatened to consume him. They should’ve just let me die.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ConqueredPaula Quinene was born and raised on Guam. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1997 with a bachelor’s of science in Exercise & Movement Science, hoping to return to the island as an anatomy teacher. A resident of North Carolina since 2000, Paula’s homesickness – or “mahalangness” – has motivated Paula to write A Taste of Guam, Remember Guam, both cookbooks, and her first novel, Conquered.

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