The Man from Rome by Dylan James Quarles – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Rome is a city like no other, protected by a man like no other.
He is the unnamed Immortal, the Man from Rome, and he is under attack.

An agent of his secret order has been murdered, her tongue ripped out, her throat coated in molten silver. The killing is meant to be a message, a warning that old enemies have resurfaced to punish the Man for the sins of his past.

Forced to retaliate, the Man sets in motion a sequence of events which pit an American thief, a Roman policewoman, and a fallen Olympian against one another in all-out war. The streets of Rome become a battleground where the supernatural clash with the mortal, and the Eternal City bears witness to yet another chapter in its storied history of violence.

Vengeance reigns supreme in this, the newest Novel from Dylan James Quarles.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Light filtered in through the painters cloth, becoming diffused and shallow. As if in preparation for a slaughter, the floor was covered in newspaper, and the tables were draped with black plastic. Overhead, the light fixtures had been removed so that their wires dangled in stringy noose-like clumps.

Taking all of this in, Cato let the door swing shut behind him. The latch gave an audible click, and was instantly echoed by the snap of a Zippo lighter. Cato started with surprise and turned. In the far corner of the room, a candle had been lit, casting illumination upon a table laden with food. Already seated and waiting for him, a man in a three-piece chestnut suit smiled through the blue haze of his cigarette.

Cato blinked, and a pair of golden-eyes blinked back at him. Like memory made manifest, the Benefactor’s unmistakable face came into view. Cato gaped.

“But—but—you look—”

Tapping his cigarette into an ashtray, the Benefactor held up a hand for silence. Cato faltered and the words died in his throat.

“Before you finish that sentence,” spoke the Benefactor. “May I interject a simple request?”

Physically shaken by the timbre of the Man’s voice, Cato did all that he could just to nod.

“I can see that you are…disturbed by me, Cato—disturbed by what you see. Yet I beg of you, please refrain from uttering that which I have heard more times than I care to remember. Spare history the doom of repetition.”

About the Author:

Arriving on the scene in 2012 with the publication of The Ruins Of Mars, Dylan James Quarles is one of Amazon’s brightest Kindle Authors.

Using a his signature ability to make scenes come alive in your mind, Quarles immerses the reader in the world of his creation, adding layer upon layer until the narrative plays like a film. Further enriched by unique characters and breath-taking action sequences, his fiction is an ideal blend of entertainment and substance.

Quarles travels often, drawing inspiration for his work from Europe and South East Asia. His newest novel, The Man From Rome, is a direct product of his numerous visits to the Eternal City. Full of on-the-street detail, the novel packs an extra helping of Roman flare for the reader to enjoy!


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Where Ideas Come From by Lisa Diane Kastner – Guest Blog and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lisa Diane Kastner will be awarding a $50, a $25 and a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winners (three winners) via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Where do ideas come from?
Now that’s a great question. Every writer I talk to has a different answer. Mine? Sometimes they come from dreams. For a novel I wrote a few years ago, I had this recurring dream of a 12 year old on her father’s shoulder as she pushed up on a ceiling tile to see what was underneath. She was curious and mischievous. She bounced on his shoulders and he told her to stop which made her want to bounce more. I wanted to see what would happen so I wrote 50 pages and discovered her world.

For JERSEY DINER, I was curious about the impetus for someone to have a crush on a celebrity and what that person would do. I had been on a syndicated show, Dance Party USA when I was a teenager and I had a few fans who found out my phone number and address and visited me. At the time I was too naïve to understand that this was odd behavior. And of course I had my own crushes. I wanted to write from a point of view I hadn’t seen before so I decided to write from the perspective of someone (Lauren) who has a pretty significant celebrity crush and have her face-to-face with the object of her desires.

For a novella series I’m currently writing NEWLY MINTED WINGS AND SALTY FRENCH FRIES, I was at Yale Writer’s Conference and was given a prompt. I free-wrote the initial eight pages and decided what I wrote was really interesting. So I kept writing. After about 25 pages, I mapped out the characters and their storylines.

Other times my own life experiences are the prompt. I have a memoir short story about when I was in the hospital as a child. Based on that, I wrote the short story THE GIFT, which was subsequently published.

I have friends who write based on world events or family fables. In the end, we write what inspires us. The prompt could be a flower, a tree, being stuck in traffic, a bad day, a sunset, a toaster, or if you’re Rick Springfield your inspired by your best friend’s girlfriend and the feelings you have for her (Jessie’s Girl).

No matter the inspiration for our ideas, it’s the wonder of the story and where it will go that keeps us pursuing them.

Lauren has a dead end job as a waitress at the Oaklyn Diner. She becomes ecstatic when the diner is chosen to be the focal point of an upcoming movie, *Jersey Diner,* starring Jonathan
Pearce. When filming ends she moves to California to start a new life with him. Lauren quickly discovers that all that she thought was real and true are in question.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Here’s a copy of the script, read through it and then go over the scenes with the girl.”

“I can try. I never acted so I don’t know how much of a help I’ll be.”

He plopped it into my arms. The script weighed more than a stacked tray.

“This isn’t about acting. It’s about realism. That’s why we need your help. You’re a real waitress and this one just doesn’t get it.” He smirked. “If I could get ten cents for every time one of these actresses thought they could feel their way through a part. I’d be a zillionaire. Then give me a dime for every time they were wrong. Oh. I’d be …” He stopped. “Start reading.”

I had opened the cover and started flipping through the pages.

“Good. I knew you’d be the right person for the job. We’ll pay you for your time. You can be our ‘Resident Expert on Serving.’ Ya know, like a martial arts expert.”

“Fun.”

About the Author:

Lisa is a former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, her short stories have appeared in magazines and journals such as StraightJackets Magazine and HESA Inprint. In 2007 Kastner was featured in the Fresh Lines @ Fresh Nine, a public reading hosted by Gross McCleaf Art Gallery.

She founded Running Wild Writers and is the former president of Pennwriters, Inc. (www.pennwriters.com). She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University, her MBA from Pennsylvania State and her BS from Drexel University (She’s definitely full of it). Her novel THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS was shortlisted in the fiction category of the William Faulkner Words and Wisdom Award and her memoir BREATHE was a semi-finalist in the nonfiction category of the same award.

Lisa presented at a TEDx in Seattle on The Power of Connecting. And presented at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) on the “You Sent Us What?” panel.

Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey The Redness migrated to Philadelphia in her twenties and eventually transported to Los Angeles, California with her partner-in-crime and ever-talented husband. They nurture two felonious felines who anxiously encourage and engage in little sparks of anarchy.

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Bottoms Up by Kate Deveaux – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kate Deveaux will be awarding a $10, $25 or $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.

Thank you so much for having me as your guest today. It’s so fun to stop by and chat about my latest release BOTTOMS UP. It’s a Naughty Cock Tale book. In the spirit of the book, which is flirty and playful and downright sinfully sexy, I thought I’d share with you a few things I learned from the sexiest bartender I’ve ever known. Justin of course in Bottoms Up. Pull up a bar stool and stay a while…he’s got some toe curling indulgent bartending skills.

Kate Deveaux stops by Bottoms Up to learn a thing or two from her hunky hero:

I’m not much of a cocktail connoisseur I confess, but I sure found my attention to detail and appreciation of a good cocktail (or cock tale) as Justin might call it with usual devastatingly alluring provocation.

One hot Tuscon night, I sidled up to Bottoms Up, taking my cues from the drop dead sexy bartender hovering behind that slick shiny counter flanked with glistening bottles of temptation. My eyes ran the length of the bar and then of course they rested on Justin.

“What’ll you have?” he asked, reaching to grasp a martini glass.

“You” I murmured under my breath. Apparently loud enough to catch a smile forming in the crook of his lips. “I mean, a dirty martini please,” I said with more confidence than I felt. This guy was seriously hot. I knew exactly how Lexi had felt perched on that same barstool being treated to a view of Justin and his legendary drink making skills. Searching for something to say to break the awkwardness I felt at the thoughts that were racing through my mind that really shouldn’t be, I blurted out, “How about you give me some bartending tips while you mix that drink…”

‘Sure thing.” He agreed and began pouring vodka into a frosty shaker. Suddenly it was very hot in that bar as my cheeks flushed warm.

Five things Justin told me:

1 No point crying over spilled Vodka. Or Amaretto or Gin or Tequila.

2 Never judge a book by it’s cover. Justin handed me his bartending guide and I found the dirtiest drink recipes tucked inside the plain black leather bartender’s guide.

3 There’s more uses for a pool table then playing pool. Just ask Lexi.

4 Sizzling Tucson July nights are perfect for cooling off in Bottoms Up. Or heating up as Lexi found out behind the bar.

5 The best way to shake a martini is to wrap your hand around the barrel of the shaker firmly and gyrate your wrist with a rhythmic shake like you really want to bruise the vodka (or the gin depending on what liquor you’re using). No wimpy grasp, firm and in control. To illustrate Justin wrapped his hand over mine. I don’t remember much of what happened after that….


A bartender with a penchant for naughty drink recipes is well known for crafting the perfect concoction for his clientele. Justin meets his match when down on her luck Lexi walks into his bar and he whips up a cocktail especially for her.

It’s not just the booze talking when Justin and Lexi explore his list of naughty drink recipes in more detail — after hours. Night after night, Lexi is drawn back to Justin’s bar for another deliciously dirty creation and another night of extreme fantasy when he shows her how to let go of her inhibitions — One tantalizing drink recipe at a time— Seems it’s definitely Bottoms Up for these two!

Enjoy an Excerpt

Standing in the doorway streaks of the fiery Tucson sun blazed into her back. Lexi propped the heavy door open with her hip. Something Arizonians did in July. They knew better than to grab a metal door handle in the heat of summer. Squinting, she poked her head inside. The air conditioning was a welcome blast. And way too tempting to refuse.

Stepping inside, the thin scent of sweat and alcohol singed her nose. The door closed behind her. Lexi’s eyes adjusted in the dim light.

The bar slowly came into focus.

Taking a few steps further she was relieved the place was not as seedy as she’d expected. The bar’s décor surprised her. Not that she frequented bars in the middle of the day. Ever.

Lexi surveyed the handful of customers. A few were couples with their heads bowed together. The rest were singles. Drinking and then looking at their phones for entertainment. Loners. The kind of people who went into a darkened bar in the middle of the afternoon. Their loneliness echoed hers. She fought the urge to turn on her heels and bolt. But then what? Back into the baking heat and back to real life?

Several unoccupied tables dotted her pathway when she ventured forth. Her focus narrowing, she took in the deep blue color scheme, from the tufted leather curved booths and club chairs to the intricate Moroccan style light fixtures that hung from the low coved ceiling. Something she’d come accustomed to in her travels overseas but unusual in the southwest.

Passing by the clusters of patrons gathered closer to the bar, Lexi passed a waitress serving drinks to a couple.

Lexis’s attention quickly turned to the good-looking bartender. Soft lighting and sheers engulfed the impressively lit bar area in a wash of amber and midnight blue almost framing him. He stood behind the shiny blue countertop with his hands braced on the bar. Looking at Lexi as if she were the only person in the room.

She eyed the tattoo on his forearm. Letting her gaze linger a little too long before meeting his. Quickly, she glanced back towards the door, as if still debating if she was going to be staying or not.

“Hi, can I get you something?” the bartender called out to her.

Lexi forced a nod of acknowledgment in his direction, then moved closer. With every step she took, the myriad of liquor bottles labels came into view. That and the bartender’s blue eyes, the same stunning shade of deep midnight blue as the décor. She focused on the scar just above his jaw. An imperfection on his otherwise perfect five o’clock shadow.

His lips turned upward when he grinned. Caught red handed staring at him, she blushed self-consciously at his encouraging glance. Damn. Good-looking bartenders, that was the last thing she needed after the day she’d had. After the year she’d had.

“Have a seat…” He patted the counter hard enough that it made her jump. “Whoa. Didn’t mean to startle you,” he apologized, reaching behind the bar and plunking a frosted martini glass on the counter.

Lexi’s cheeks flushed. She was embarrassed by her skittishness, but also sobered by the fact that a simple action like the stranger plunking the glass on the counter made that her jump. A dead end relationship with Deakin had not only proved to her that rebound lovers were a bad idea, but also the bruises he’d given her. Once. And only once. Before she’d told him they were done. And then she was left to head back to her empty apartment. To ache for the love she really longed for. Scott.

Overcome with a sinking feeling, she felt more alone than ever and reached for the bar stool to steady her. Her lip trembled, tears stinging her eyes.

The pain was fresh once again. Shit. Why had Scott had gone and died on her?

“So what’ll it be?” the bartender asked.

Lexi was instantly dragged back to the present.

“Uh…I don’t know,” she offered, wondering how a drink could possibly dull the emptiness inside her.

He gave a smile and a confident shrug. “Well then, you’re in luck.”

“How’s that?” she asked half-heartedly, not really in the mood for banter
but realizing she was in need of a drink but with no clue what drink she wanted. Just something to make her forget the shitty day she’d had. And the even shittier year. 

The bartender with the soul-searching eyes and the cute little smile that even Lexi had to admit was a bit of a mood lifter, leaned on the bar so his eyes were level with hers.

“You’re in luck because it so happens my drink picking skills are legendary.”

“Legendary?” She repeated his claim, aware some would consider her response a flirt, but she felt it was more of a challenge. A challenge to see if he could pick something for her that would make her feel…feel…What the hell did she want to feel anyway?

“Legendary,” he repeated.

Okay, he was definitely flirting. Lexi couldn’t help but crack a smile.

About the Author:Kate Deveaux is a contemporary erotic romance writer and die-hard romantic. A former wedding planner, she has always been “in love” with love! Kate is currently working on several fictional stories – each filled with sexy romance, heroines who are no shrinking violets and heroes who make your heart skip a beat. She currently resides with her husband in the U.S. When Kate is not busy writing, she can be found on the tennis court –yes, there’s even ‘love’ in that game too.

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Broken Spire by Sue Perkins – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

Ash’s silvery purple hair sets her apart from her peers and at the magic college of Spires a few senior maeven consider her magic to be alien and unsuccessfully try to expel her. Ash feels a compulsive attraction tempting her to enter the broken North Spire. She believes this off limits ruin holds the answer to her origins, but is not willing to take the chance of expulsion from Spires.

Orm, Ash’s equally talented classmate, is determined to support the girl he considers his soulmate, and promises to help her find out the secrets of the North Spire when they reach the end of their third year.

At the end of the first year, Ash nervously waits to see if she will be allowed to continue at Spires, or will she be sent home in disgrace.

Enjoy an Excerpt

This opportunity would shape her future, become a Spires maeven or always remain the outsider. Rupe saw the others looking at her and gave everyone a furious glare. The students quickly looked away and the whispering stopped.

Their journey took several days. Few villages lay on this route, and they did not collect any more students. Instead they made straight for Laktu. As they neared the town the roads became smoother. Paved instead of compressed earth, with gullies at the side to drain away surface water from the heavy rains. Their final day took them through a dense forest and out the other side.

“Rupe, look. I can see the spires of the college.”

On the horizon they saw rolling hills and stretching far above them the four spires which gave the college its name.

“See there’s the broken one Tuvor told me about. Nobody’s allowed in there because it’s dangerous.”

The procession followed the Searcher up over the hills. He stopped at the top to allow them their first sight of the town of Laktu.

“As you can see, Spires dominates the town. The East Spire houses the dormitories, the West Spire the rooms of the maeven and the South Spire the classrooms.” The guide carried on before anyone could ask about the broken spire. “The North Spire is broken. You are not permitted to enter there under pain of dismissal. If you disobey you will go home in disgrace.”

About the Author: Sue Perkins grew up in Devon, England and emigrated to New Zealand with her family. Sue and her husband now live at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. Her interests include writing, reading, genealogy and aqua jogging.

Sue’s book genres include romance, fantasy romance, young adult fantasy and middle grade fantasy. Her first romance book was released in May 2007, quickly followed by a fantasy trilogy. She now has many books published in all the genres. Her aim for the future is to write a full-length epic fantasy novel. The outline is complete, and Sue is hoping to find time to finish the first draft by the end of 2017. Meanwhile she carries on with her current fantasy series – Rak Shoma, a blend of magic and fantasy.

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My Take on Critique Groups by Judi Lynn – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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

My Take on Critique Groups

I’ve belonged to a local writers’ group for over twenty years. We don’t have any dues or many rules—only that we have three people volunteer to read for each meeting, each reader gets fifteen minutes to read before we go around the table to comment, and the reader can’t respond until everyone’s finished their feedback. The last rule became a necessity when readers replied to every comment, and we could only manage one reader in two hours with a lot of repetition. Our group critiques, but we also encourage. We state what we consider the work’s strengths, what we liked, and what we think the author could make better. Too many passive verbs? Someone catches it. Word choice? Think of a better one. Plotting. Pacing. All the basics are scrutinized. If we know of any markets for someone’s work, we recommend those. It’s a good base for a critique group, but our real strength is that we’ve known and cared about each other for so long. If someone’s hit a snag, she can use her fifteen minutes to brainstorm instead of read. If marketing is beyond someone, we talk about that. We concentrate on how to make each writer better—including the actual story and the follow-through.

I’ve attended a few other groups. Some have speakers who talk about specific topics. POV, conflict, how to develop characters—all of those are good. I always learn something, even if it’s something I knew once and forgot. Some groups just share what they’ve written with no feedback. One group was so brutal, I’d burn my manuscripts and walk away if I attended it often. Everybody needs different things at different times. But my group works for me. They don’t let me slack off. If I’ve come up with a weak idea to hang a novel on, I hear about it. If there’s not enough emotion, enough angst, it’s brought to my attention. And if I have a case of the Why Am I Doing This?, they tell me to pull up my girl panties and write better. Our group might not work for you, but it keeps us motivated and honest. It makes us try harder.

Tyne Newsome promised to help Daphne Ferris pick up the pieces if her professor boyfriend dumped her. Tyne is a hottie chef with no intentions of committing to anyone. He has big plans for his future. Daphne owns a stained glass shop and spends most evenings eating dinner with her parents. She prefers safety and solitude, but Tyne keeps bumping her out of her usual routines. He’s not someone she can ignore. And soon, they find that they complement each other so well, they’re both pushed to places they’ve never been before.

Enjoy an excerpt

Tyne zipped down the inside staircase and stopped to glance at Daphne’s shop in the dim light. Most people didn’t move at four-thirty in the morning, for good reason. When he returned later this afternoon, would the shop be decorated with dangling crepe paper and balloons? The professor she’d been seeing was supposed to be a free man today. All he had to do was sign his divorce papers. Patrick could finally ask Daphne to marry him. Nothing Tyne would celebrate. The man was as exciting as porridge, but Daphne thought she’d be happy with him.

On his way out the door to his Jeep, he inhaled the crisp, clean Fall air. It perked him up, cleared his head. Driving down Main Street with its brick buildings, striped awnings, and old-fashioned street lamps, he saw Maxwell step out of his bakery to snag the morning paper by his door. Another early riser. When Maxwell saw Tyne’s orange Jeep, he raised a middle finger and grinned. Tyne laughed and returned the gesture.

About the Author: Judi Lynn lives in Indiana with her husband, a bossy gray cat, a noisy Chihuahua, and a parakeet. She loves to cook and owns more cookbooks than any mortal woman would ever need. That’s why so much food sneaks into her stories. She also loves her flower beds, but is a haphazard gardener, at best.

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Spotlight and Giveaway for Debra Holt’s Books


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

Fighting for his life after an ambush, Sheriff Josh Wellman awakes to find himself looking into the eyes of a real-life angel of mercy. Despite his groggy condition, he knows his life has changed the instant their hands touch. Devastating heartbreak has left Mercy Smith’s faith in tatters, her heart guarded against more loss. Her dedication to the air evac trauma team she leads has insulated her from the realities of the earth below, so now Josh faces the biggest challenge of his life. Can he find a way around the walls that fortify her heart and convince this angel to stay on the ground with him? Can Mercy open herself to life again and find a way to restore her faith in God … as well as love?

*****
J.D. Sterling shook the dirt of the small Texas town from his boot heels a dozen years before. Now, he’s returned… not as the poor country boy who left to follow his dream, but as country music’s sexy superstar. He has everything he always wanted except for the girl who holds his heart. Mandy.

Years come and go and people change. Amanda Lawson has grown up. From heartbreak and struggling to survive to becoming a successful businesswoman, she has taught herself to never look back. Once before, she had survived the wild, green-eyed cowboy with only a guitar to his name and a pocketful of dreams. Then he left her behind with nothing but his hollow vows and a shattered heart.

Mandy was his muse. J.D. was her dream. But tragedy and broken vows can be insurmountable obstacles. Can they find their way home to each other again… or is it too late?

*****
“Sheriff’s Department! Raise your hands above your head and don’t move.”

She’s a runaway bride who left her two-timing fiance at the altar. He’s a county sheriff determined to keep the peace in his country and leave city girls alone after his own fiance left him for the bright lights of the city. Neither of them planned on running straight into each other…over a burning wedding dress.

Ellie and Lucas planned on never trusting their hearts to love again. When danger follows her from the city, the sheriff must do his duty to protect her. However, it isn’t long before he discovers the real danger may be to his heart. Ellie just might teach him that even a city girl can be a country girl at heart.

Enjoy an Excerpt from Mercy’s Rescue

She ventured a quick look but didn’t see a wedding ring. That meant nothing—many men didn’t wear rings. Her David would not have worn one either. He’d often said a ring would only get lost when he removed it to do surgery. The dark cloud of remembrance jolted her back to reality. Her job was done; she passed her patient over to the trauma team. There was no need for her to stay. With a last look at the man currently the focus of everyone’s attention, Mercy stepped outside the room. Her steps faltered as she realized that she’d automatically send a brief request on his behalf to whatever power the man might believe in; a request that the trauma specialists behind her would be able to use their combined expertise to keep him in this world for those who loved and needed him.

“Three minutes out. Descent begins in one.” The pilot’s voice crackled through the headset as he tossed a look over his shoulder to Mercy, strapped into the jump sear. She responded with a quick thumbs-up. “They’ve secured the scene,” he added. “We’re in and out fast. There’s only one to transport.” A dull, leaden weight sank to the pit of her stomach. Mercy Smith knew his words meant the other injured person had died before their arrival. “We can’t save them all, Mercy.” Paul Robards, the second medic onboard and seated across from her, responded to the shadowed look that crossed her face. “Some things are out of our control.”

About the Author: Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and planning high-end weddings (ah, romance!).

When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs…to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.

Debra invites you to visit her website. She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at debraholtbooks@gmail.com.

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The Scariest Part About Being an Author by Scarlett Scott – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Scarlett Scott will be awarding a Kindle or paperback copy of Books 1 & 2 in this series to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the rest of the stops.

The scariest part of being an author
After months researching, plotting, writing, re-writing, editing, revising, reading, re-reading, and performing every other (seemingly endless) task related to publishing a book, the scariest moment for me is a book’s release. Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a control freak and this is the stage of being an author where I finally have to step back and let go. Releasing a book is a little bit like putting your child on the bus for her first day of kindergarten in that way. So much possibility, so much trepidation.

Maybe it’s because of all the unknowns. When an author releases a book, she has no way of knowing for certain that readers will connect to the story and characters enough to pick it off the shelf or sync it onto their e-reader. After all, each book is one among an ever-expanding pool of options. We have no way of knowing if readers will like our books, if they’ll read them or only skim them, if our books will make them happy sigh or shake their fists, if we’ll get emails from readers telling us they can’t wait for the next book or if readers will email us to tell us we’ve let them down this time around.

Waiting and wondering is scary, my friends, especially for me.

Of course, releasing a book isn’t just scary. It’s also exciting. Toiling away on a computer, tucked off in a corner of my house, gets lonely. The moment where I get to share a book with readers fills me with as much happiness as nervousness. It’s the payoff for the long, arduous months of hard work, determination, and staying up way too late.

For me, releasing a book is a rollercoaster—scary as all get out, but worth the ride!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave me comments or questions, or visit my blog.

A staid duke

Heath, the Duke of Devonshire, has been living a passionless life of penance after losing the woman he loved. Determined to do his duty, he’s in search of an innocent bride with a sterling reputation. A bride who’s nothing at all like Tia, Lady Stokey.

A bold lady

The Duke of Devonshire may be handsome, but he’s as boring as a bowl of porridge. Or so Tia thinks until he carries her to her chamber and undoes half her buttons while kissing her senseless.

A decadent desire

The moment he scoops the delectable Tia into his arms, Heath wants her in his bed, and he’ll stop at nothing to have her there. When they unleash the scandal of the century, they must face consequences that are deeper and far more dangerous to their hearts than either of them imagined. Will they find love, or was the reckless need between them doomed from the start?

Enjoy an Excerpt

If there was one thing in the world that Tia, Lady Stokey, adored, it was parties. Give her a good fête, an army of new dresses, an entertaining assortment of guests and she was a happy woman.

Under ordinary circumstances, that was.

Grumbling to herself, she trekked through the maze at the Marquis of Thornton’s hunting estate, Penworth, in search of her wayward charge. A mere hour after their arrival for a country house party, Tia had discovered Miss Whitney missing from her bedchamber.

“In need of a nap, my bottom,” Tia grumbled, stalking around a corner. If only the hedges weren’t so frightfully high and she so irritatingly diminutive in height. But of course, that would have rather nullified the purpose of a maze, she supposed.

The young Miss Whitney had declared the need for a respite after their travel through the countryside, and Tia had acquiesced. But suspicion had brought her round to collect the girl early, where she’d discovered only a note telling her that her charge had decided to take a restoring turn about the gardens instead.

“Restoring indeed,” Tia scoffed, her ire growing with each step. She had a dreadful feeling that her charge was going to prove much more than a handful. After all, she recognized herself in the girl, and it was one of the reasons why she’d agreed to help introduce her to society.

The sound of gravel shifting interrupted her cantankerous musings. She stopped, holding her breath to listen. It sounded as if Miss Whitney was perhaps just around the next bend, behind the thick hedges obscuring Tia’s vision. Smiling in triumph, she grabbed her skirts and hurried around the turn in the maze.

“Ah ha,” she called out in delight. “I’ve found you now, you little minx.”

But her moment of triumph was terribly abridged, for the noise-making culprit, seated on a bench before her, was not Miss Whitney. Nor, in fact, was it even a female. Quite the opposite.

Dear heavens. Eyes the same wistful color as a summer sky met hers, stealing her breath. She stopped, her heart thumping as madly as a runaway stallion’s hooves. The man staring back at her, an open book in his large hands, a golden brow raised, was decidedly as far as one could get from the petite, Virginia-born Miss Whitney.

“I daresay I’ve been called a great number of things in my life, but never yet a little minx,” drawled the Duke of Devonshire as he stood and bowed to her.

“I must apologize,” she hastened to say, embarrassment making her cheeks go hot. “I mistook you for someone else.”

A small smile curved his lips, drawing her attention to just how finely formed his mouth was. He had changed since she’d seen him last. He’d grown a beard. She swallowed, her heart continuing its mad pace. The duke had always been a handsome man, possessed of a rare masculine beauty that almost made him seem too perfect to be real. But the neatly trimmed beard took the purity of his features and rendered them somehow sinful. Seductive. Her cheeks burned as she realized she was staring and, to her greatest dismay, he’d said something to her.

She had no earthly idea what.

About the Author: Award-winning author Scarlett Scott writes historical and contemporary romance with heat, heart, and happily ever afters. Since publishing her first book in 2010, she has become a wife, mother to adorable identical twins and one TV-loving dog, and a killer karaoke singer. Well, maybe not the last part, but that’s what she’d like to think.

A self-professed literary junkie and nerd, she loves reading anything but especially romance novels, poetry, and Middle English verse. When she’s not reading, writing, wrangling toddlers, or camping, you can catch up with her on her website www.scarsco.com. Hearing from readers never fails to make her day.

Scarlett’s complete book list and information about upcoming releases can be found on her website.

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Foolish Bride by A.S. Fenichel and Knight Secrets by C.C. Wiley – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a digital copy of both of the books on tour to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sadly ever after . . . unless some dreams really do come true?

Elinor Burkenstock never believed in fairy tales. Sure, she’s always been a fool for love—what woman isn’t? But Elinor knows the difference between fiction and truth. Daydreams and reality. True love and false promises. . . . Until the unthinkable happens, and Elinor’s engagement is suddenly terminated and no one, least of all her fiancé, will tell her why.

Sir Michael Rollins’s war-hero days seem far behind him when, after one last hurrah before his wedding, he gets shot and his injuries leave him in dire shape. He wants nothing more than to marry Elinor, the woman of his wildest dreams. But Elinor’s father forbids it . . . and soon Michael is faced with a desperate choice: Spare Elinor a life with a broken man or risk everything to win her heart—until death do they part?


*****

Sworn to protect the crown, a Knight of the Swan must never surrender—not even to love . . .

England, 1415. Ordered never to leave the lonely tower on her family estate, Lady Clarice Margrave is suddenly set free when her home is plundered. Now she is determined to discover the truth behind her father’s alleged treason. But an act of daring only propels her into a new prison, with the very knight who destroyed her home as her keeper. Sir Ranulf, Lord of Sedgewic, is ruthless in his inquisition, though there is a searing tenderness in his touch. Is it possible her bold jailor is the Red Wolf of whom her father spoke—and the one man she might be able to trust?

As a knight, Ranulf never questions his troth, but his beautiful prisoner stirs his heart and mind like no other. Clarice is achingly vulnerable—and extremely closed-mouth about her possible ties to the plot against the king. Duty demands he keep his distance, though he yearns to take her to his bed and adore her until he discovers what lies within her heart. And he would—if he weren’t in danger of losing his own . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt from Foolish Bride

Her heart beat wildly. “But is that not why you pursued me?”

He kissed the tip of her nose. “I will not deny I came to London this season because I needed to marry to restore the money that my father squandered.” He kissed her cheek. “I had every intention of finding a rich bride to enable that plan.” He kissed her other cheek. “Then I met you, and you were the perfect solution to my problems.”

She tried to pull away, but he held her close and kissed her lips. It was only a peck, but the thrill of it traveled to her toes and hit everywhere in between.

His body filled all her curves as he hugged her and spread kisses along her cheek and neck. “I knew you were the one, Elinor. So beautiful, charming, and sweet, I could not resist you. I want to be worthy of your love, and in the weeks we courted, I found a way to get enough money to repair my country home and still have enough to make a good start of the marriage. I made the deal on some grain. It will take a bit of time for my plans to pan out, but in a couple of months, I should be able to show your father that I am worthy of you.”

About the Authors:

A.S. Fenichel adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey. She now lives in the southwest with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When she is not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history and puttering in her garden.


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*****

C.C. Wiley is a longstanding member of the Romance Writers of America, and a published author with Samhain Publishing. She lives in Salt Lake City with her high school sweetheart of over 35 years and their four wacky dogs. When given a choice, she prefers a yummy, well-written, historical or contemporary romance that is chock-full of hope, love and a Happy Ever After. She believes there are wonderful courageous characters waiting for someone to tell their story. It’s her hope that each adventurous romance she writes will touch the reader and carry them away to another place and time, where hopes and dreams abound.


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The Devil Orders Takeout by Bill A. Brier – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

A tax attorney with integrity…a powerful mobster determined to bend his will…

Grayson Bolt isn’t about to compromise his integrity to help a notorious crime boss escape the cross-hairs of the IRS. But there’s a steep price to pay for defying The Man–Grayson’s beloved wife and older son.

There’s only one way for Grayson to prevent his younger son, Jim, an innocent golf prodigy, from also being taken out: play a dangerous game of cat and mouse. And what will Jim be forced to do when the woman he loves gets ensnarled in a web of betrayal and deceit?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“I’m afraid you’re going to get it hard, Mr. Bolt.” Costanzo had that fatherly tone of this will hurt me more than you. “Did you ever stop to think that there’s only one way of being dead, but many ways of dying?”

Grayson felt something cold touch his spine, all the way down. “I don’t follow.”

“Take your man Stockard. He killed two of your beloved family members, wife and eldest son. Isn’t that right?”

A strangling tightness gripped Grayson’s throat. “That— that’s right.”

“Wouldn’t you say a part of you died too?”

“What’s your point?” Grayson’s voice erupted in suppressed panic.

“You don’t have to die to feel dead. I’m going to kill your other son. That’ll be your punishment.”

The blood drained from Grayson’s face. Just like that. Most people held the basic principle that no man should be punished for the deed of another. Costanzo was not one of them. Grayson would be cut right to the bone, and his son would be the sharpest knife Costanzo could use. Costanzo had spelled out the thought in invisible brushstrokes. It was there and Grayson had tried not to see it.

About the Author:Bill grew up in California and went to Hollywood High School, then served in the Air Force as a combat cameraman.

After hiring on at Disney Studios as a film loader, he soon advanced and moved on to other film studios.

He earned a master’s degree in psychology. A big help when working with Trumpish Hollywood producers. You’re fired!

During his more than twenty-five years in the movie business as a cameraman, film editor, and general manager, Bill worked on everything from the hilarious, The Love Bug, to the creepy, The Exorcist, to the far out, Star Trek and Battle Star Galactica.

Eight years ago, Bill switched from reading scripts to writing thriller/mysteries and driving racecars. After completing three award-winning novels, he signed with Black Opal Books. His first novel, The Devil Orders Takeout, is about a devoted father and husband who makes a deal with a real-life devil to protect his golf-prodigy son after his wife and older son are killed in a mysterious accident — and pays hell for it.

Bill’s second mystery, The Killer Who Hated Soup, is Book One in the 1950s The Killer Who series, and it launches this Summer. The Internet? Never heard of it. Smart phones? Who you kiddin’?

Energetic and eager to make his mark on what Time magazine called the next great boom town, Bucky Ontario leaves his daddy and little sister in Louisiana and rides a bus to Defiance, Oklahoma, a town not particularly adverse to murders, just the embarrassment of them when committed by high officials.

Book Two, The Killer who Wasn’t There, will be on bookshelves this fall.

Bill writes every day and golfs infrequently (that damn right knee!). His five children and eight grandchildren keep him busy going to birthday parties, and he never misses a one!

The Brier Patch is Bill’s wildly entertaining blog about his shameless early days in Hollywood. It’s on his website along with a contest linked to The Devil Orders Takeout, which will award the grand prizewinner $1,000.

Bill is a member of Mystery Writers of America.

Bill’s USA Today revealing interview

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What Kind of Writer Am I? by Joshua Hedges – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding three individual prizes, a $10, a $25 and a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to three randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What Kind of Writer Am I?

I’m a writer who loves tough drama. Characters and plots have an expiration date. For me a happy-ever-after might be a good death for a character, especially if it pushes another character in a more interesting direction. Flawed characters have more room to grow and their triumphs are more deserving of celebration. When creating a character, I put them on a scale of good to evil based on the decisions I envision them making. A believable, evil character won’t always make an evil decision. What drives a character has to be deeply rooted, ideally something the reader can relate to. I look at my scale and where a character fits, and I try to think of a situation that would push an evil character in a good direction and a good character evil. If I can then I feel I’ve built the core of a character.

Focusing your character’s personal drives doesn’t stop at what they say and do. It also requires the writing to be focused on the details. I stick to the point. We’re all busy and the vast majority of readers don’t have much free time. Describing a one-of-a-kind ballroom isn’t as important as what a character is thinking and feeling in that ballroom. Maybe the character is poor. Maybe they would do anything to not have to go back and live in their one bedroom, dirt-floor apartment. Between reading sessions, readers aren’t going to remember what the room’s crown-molding looked like, but they’ll recall how it changed the way the poor character views themselves and their circumstances. During revisions, I review each paragraph and ask myself two questions: Does this give me insight into a character? Will this paragraph advance the plot? If I can’t answer “yes” to one of those questions then I cut it. I can’t ever recall not liking a story because the author focused on advancing characters and plot.

The characters are the story. As a writer, it’s my job to convey what that character is in a way that makes the reader know them and want to learn more about them.

Joshua Hedges is a debut Science Fiction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Computer Science. When he’s not writing stories or code, he ventures outdoors with his wife and three-year-old son to hunt dragons in the forest. He is the author of “The Dealer.”

This gripping collection of stories – fiction, nonfiction, and narrative poem – will make your imagination run wild! Featuring stories by Sarah Smith Ducksworth, Elaine Crauder, Luanne Smith, Keith R. Fentonmiller, Lisa Montagne, Ann Stolinsky, A.J. O’Connell, Aimee LaBrie, Kristan Campbell, Jack Hillman, Bill Scruggs, Joshua Hedges, Gary Zenker. You will travel alternative planets, run away away like teens in search of adventure, solve a murderous mystery, come to grips with your fears, and much more.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The jumpsuit was a thing of beauty. Made of dark-blue, shiny denim, it had an orange zipper that spanned from the crotch to the cleavage. It even sparkled ever so slightly in the sun, like it had been dipped in a vat of finely grained fairy dust. It sported capped sleeves, a wide collar, and bellbottoms. It was worthy of Cher or Liza Minnelli— certainly a back-up singer for Diana Ross. Nonetheless, it made me queasy. But, the jumpsuit also made me feel sexy and daring, which incited an occasional wave of sweaty armpits. In it, I was anxious to flaunt my new body and my new image. Seventh grade, here I come! There was no stopping me. I would no longer be the nerdy, fat kid. I would be a star.

~From Lisa Montagne’s “The Jumpsuit”

About the Authors:

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Elaine Crauder’s fiction is also in Cooweescoowee, The Boston Literary Magazine, The Eastern Iowa Review , and Penumbra. Another story received the Westmoreland Short Story Award. Eleven of her short stories have been finalists or semi-finalists in contests, including finalists in the Tobias Wolff and Mark Twain House contests. ”The Price Of A Pony,” under the title”Christmas the Hard Way,” was a semi-finalist for both Ruminate Magazine’s short story prize and for the Salem College Center for Women Writers Reynolds Price short fiction award.

Richard D. “Ky” Owen is a lawyer with Goodwin & Goodwin, LLP, in Charleston, West Virginia. He earned a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University in 1981 and a J.D. from Hamline University in 1984. Coming from a family of writers, he considers himself a “writer by birth.” He is the author of
None Call Me Dad and he blogs about parenting and Michigan State sports on his website.

Keith R. Fentonmiller is a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. Before graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, he toured with a professional comedy troupe, writing and performing sketch comedy at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic States. His Pushcart-nominated short story was recently published in the Stonecoast Review. His debut novel, Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat, will be published March 20, 2017 by Curiosity Quills Press.

Based in Southern California, Dr. Lisa Montagne currently divides her time between writing poetry and prose, teaching writing to (mostly) willing college students, and overseeing educational technology projects and support at Fullerton College. She is also a Swing, Blues, and Argentine Tango dancer, host, DJ, and instructor. She likes to drink Champagne in as many places as she can, including Europe; to read poetry aloud to anybody who will listen; to cook for anybody who is willing to sit down long enough to enjoy her food; to dabble in drawing, painting, and photography; and to read anything plopped in front of her, ranging from D.H. Lawrence to Vogue magazine. She also likes to watch television and movies, and to imagine how much better she would have produced them herself. She lived in Las Vegas at one time, so she likes to tell people that she was a stripper there. She was really just a graduate student and high school teacher, but it’s more fun to let people wonder. Although rumored to be a direct descendent of Oompa Loompas, Lisa is actually the offspring of a college professor and a circus dwarf. You can find some more of her writing at archive405.com and her website and see evidence of her adventures on Instagram.

Ann Stolinsky is a Pennsylvania-based word and game expert. She is the founder and owner of Gontza Games, an independent board and card game company, and three of her games are currently in the marketplace: “MINDFIELD, The Game of United States Military Trivia”; “Pass the Grogger!”; and “Christmas Cards.” Check out her website. She is also a partner in Gemini Wordsmiths, a full-service copyediting and content creating company. Visit the site for more information and testimonials. Ann reviews books for Amazing Stories Magazine, an online sci-fi magazine, and is an Assistant Editor for Red Sun Magazine. Her most recent publishing credit is a poem in the Fall 2015 issue of Space and Time Magazine. She is a graduate of the Bram Stoker award-winning author Jonathan Maberry’s short story writing class.

Lisa Diane Kastner is a former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, her short stories have appeared in magazines and journals such as StraightJackets Magazine and HESA Inprint. In 2007 Kastner was featured in the Fresh Lines @ Fresh Nine, a public reading hosted by Gross McCleaf Art Gallery. She founded Running Wild Writers and is the former president of Pennwriters, Inc. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University, her MBA from Pennsylvania State and her BS from Drexel University (She’s definitely full of it). Her novel THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS was shortlisted in the fiction category of the William Faulkner Words and Wisdom Award and her memoir BREATHE was a semi-finalist in the nonfiction category of the same award. Born and raised in Camden, New Jersey she migrated to Philadelphia in her twenties and eventually transported to Los Angeles, California with her partner-in-crime and ever-talented husband. They nurture two felonious felines who anxiously engage in little sparks of anarchy.

Aimee LaBrie works as a communications director at Rutgers University. She earned her MFA in fiction from Penn State, and her MLA from University of Pennsylvania. Her short story collection, Wonderful Girl, was awarded the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction and published by the University of North Texas Press in 2007. Her second collection of stories, A Good Thing, placed as a finalist in the BOA Short Fiction Contest. Her short stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Pleiades, Minnesota Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Permafrost, and other literary journals. In 2012, she won first place in Zoetrope’s All-Story Fiction contest. You can read her blog.

Kristan Campbell is a short story writer born in Washington, D.C. but has only visited her grandmother there during some of the summers of her childhood. She’s more familiar with Philadelphia, New York City, and Paris than her native city and aims to weave her experiences in those places into tales based on places and people that are out of the ordinary. She studied Journalism at Temple University (what seemed like a practical approach to writing at the time) and Comparative Literature at Hunter College (which seemed like a fun idea at the time) before accepting that she should have been an English major all along. Kristan completed her B.A. in English at Temple University in 2010 and an MFA in Fiction at Fairfield
University in 2016. She’s currently attempting to eke out a living doing freelance editing with the help of her cat, Fishy, who manages her desktop printer with enthusiasm.

Bill Ed Scruggs spent his younger years meeting the Southern mountain countryside and exploring the people, taking time out as needed for work in various occupations. He lives (temporarily) in Connecticut and has one child, a psychiatrist. Presently he is reconstructing his memories and imaginings in a series of novels and short stories (Facebook page Foothills Fiction – Bill Ed Scruggs) Warrensburg is a fictional photo of a country village in the illumination of fireflies.

Joshua Hedges is a debut Science Fiction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated from The University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Computer Science. When he’s not writing stories or code, he ventures outdoors with his wife and three-year-old son to hunt dragons in the forest.

Gary Zenker is a marketing professional whose days are filled with creating business and marketing plans, and writing ad copy and media content. By night, he applies his imagination to flash fiction tales that cross genre and focus on revealing various facets of human nature. He is the author of Meetup Leader, a book on running successful groups; is editor and publisher of 19 books in the rock & roll Archives series; and co-author of Says Seth, a humorous collection written with his then six-year-old son. His work has earned a dozen marketing awards and placed in four writers’ contests, including a first place recognition from Oxford University Press. He founded and continues to lead two writers groups in southeastern PA, assisting others to develop their skills and achieve their writing goals. Zenker Marketing

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