Background of The Ambivalent Memoirist by Sandra Hurtes – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sandra will be awarding a copy of her book in the winner’s choice of either print (US only) or digital to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Background of The Ambivalent Memoirist

I looked out the window of my studio apartment which faced north on East 42nd Street in Manhattan. I breathed deep. It was June 2004, and I had recently moved to a wondrous building in the center of the world, after a lifetime of living in Brooklyn. I was 53, had walked over the Brooklyn Bridge two thousand times (a modest calculation), but moving, crossing and not looking back, that was momentous, surreal.

Out the window, the Queensboro Bridge loomed; its midnight lights flickered in the early morning dawn. To the left was Second Avenue and close behind, Grand Central Terminal. My mother’s face, so warm and glowing, seemed to peer down at me, nod approval that I went off—finally—in search of a life. A life of my choosing would have freed my mother from a burden —her inability to forgive herself for raising me inside the circle of her pain, a pain which had kept me close, like a shadow.

When I was a young girl, my mother, an Auschwitz survivor, told me the stories of her life. She held me on her lap in our Brooklyn apartment and wove a tapestry of memories. She told me of her impoverished childhood in Czechoslovakia, her enormous grief for her mother who died when my mother was fifteen, and of the traumas of the camps.

I had only von dress. I vore it every day and vashed it at night. My mother vent hungry, so her children could eat. In Auschwitz, the SS trew us in the showers. The vater vas like needles on my head. But I vas strong! They put me to verk; that’s how I survived.

Then my mother put her head in my lap, and I tapped her shoulder. Tiny touches. Rat-a-tat-tat. When she wrapped me close and said, my little Goldilocks’, don’t ever leave me, I vowed that I never would.

For most of my adult life, I had wanted to live in Manhattan. Two years after my mother died of heart disease, I left Brooklyn for the possibilities that littered Manhattan’s streets. I was single, had no children, and was still trying to figure out where my place in life was.

While newcomers to the city escaped for the hipness of Brooklyn—while the borough became the hottest place in the country—I pointed my compass in the opposite direction. But one thing I would never, could never, leave behind was my Brooklyn childhood; it had shaped me into a woman afraid to move freely about the world. My mother’s stories had weighed me down. But they became my means for lifting me up, for I became a storyteller. The place that had given my parents—survivors both—shelter and safety after the war, held a treasure chest of material, each word a priceless gem.

In The Ambivalent Memoirist I circle around and ponder the contents of that chest. Gems, yes, certainly for a writer. But did they all glitter? That depended on which corner of the chest I dug my hand into. My past was a kaleidoscope. There was my mother, fussing over me, her young daughter born from war. There was my father, praying each morning before the windows, his shoulders hunched with fatigue and sorrow.

Through the lenses of teaching, writing, yoga and my family history, I search for clues as to where and how to live my life.

Enjoy an excerpt:

DAYBREAK

I have no classes today; still, I’m out at 6:00 a.m., emptying my palate of the lingering taste of dreams. Outdoors, half a block from my apartment building, I walk up a long concrete staircase leading to the Tudor City parks. I run into a neighbor who is also an early riser. She tells me she’s moving home to Sri Lanka, where she has a house, large enough to contain ten Tudor City studios. But it is not the comfort of that largesse that lures her; she can’t find work, here, in Manhattan.

She puts her hands out on either side of her body, like scales. “Move to Queens?” she says, lowering her left. “Sri Lanka?” Her right hand rises. “I lived in Jackson Heights for three years,” she says, “and was lonely and depressed. But I can’t afford to live in Manhattan.”

I nod, thinking, I can’t either. But Manhattan is good to single people.

Last night at dinner with my friend Stephanie, I listened with a mixture of envy and pleasure as she described her Sunday mornings. By 6:00 I’m on my deck, with a mug of Earl Grey. I pictured her in her Secaucus condo, surrounded by trees, leaves dotted with morning dew, her palm warm and steamy.

Today I want to live in the country. Inhale the scent of grass and late night rain. I want to walk barefoot in the damp grass. I want to hang my laundry outside on a line to dry, have wooden clothespins in a basket.

Then the city announces itself. Buses, taxis, people on their way to work. I plan my day: shop for cute tops for yoga, hit Starbucks afterwards with a heap of student papers and a café au lait, extra hot and foamy.

I take out the Windex and paper towels, remove the three potted coleus from the sills, clean my windows.

SHcoverV6“. . .[an] honest memoir full of compassion and wit that infuses ordinary events with intimacy and intensity. . .Teaching college English courses and preparing her first essay collection, she must address her own pain. . .as well as her parents’ experiences during the Holocaust. . . Writing as art and psychological salvation is at the heart of this book, taking “readers deep below the surface” of words toward personal vindication.”

~~Publishers Weekly

11_21 Author Pic The Ambivalent MemoiristAbout the Author: 11_21 Author Pic The Ambivalent Memoirist
Sandra Hurtes is the author of The Ambivalent Memoirist and the essay collection On My Way to Someplace Else. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors and this legacy is examined in her work. She is an adjunct assistant professor in the English Department at John Jay College and teaches creative nonfiction in private workshops.

http://www.Sandrahurtes.com ~ http://www.sandrahurtes.blogspot.com

Buy the book at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ambivalent-Memoirist-Obsessions-Digressions-Epiphanies/dp/1492359726/ref=la_B005MGRLEA_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413890507&sr=1-1

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2014 Autumn Collection by various authors – 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 a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Six complete sweet to sensual romances from six multi-talented authors in settings that are sure to keep you spellbound with tales about young magic, charming reunions, and new beginnings. Enjoy the darker side where witches cast spells, vampires exist, and zombies walk the earth. There’s a story for everyone.

Man of Her Dreams by Gerald Costlow

Anise and Charlene are living the busy lives of young Goth women trying to juggle college and jobs and – in their case – training as apprentice Sherritt witches under the tutelage of Anise’s mother, Annabel.

Then over Thanksgiving break, the girls encounter a young man named Donnie who claims to be running from a demon – a demon sent by the Devil himself. They might have dismissed the man as deluded, but Anise recognizes him from her dreams. He is the perfect lover she’s been dreaming of night after night.

Now the witches are involved in a deadly game of hide-and-seek, discovering they have only days to figure out how to help Donnie. Are even the famous Sherritt witches up to the challenge? Third in the Modern Day Sherritt series.

Under the Harvest Moon by Markee Anderson

Victoria Sommerfield is the maid of honor at her neighbor’s wedding, the day after the Harvest Festival. She’s also very fond of Kirby, her best friend from high school, who’s also in the bridal party. Victoria’s forced to make a few decisions thanks to a crime in town. At least Kirby can save the day, for now. But can she take the next step with him?

Day of the Dead ~ (Dia de los Muertos) by Cecilia Corona

The Day of the Dead takes on a new meaning, when the dead don’t stay dead. Dr. Valentina Bellmonte, a cancer survivor, is the new coroner at Hope Memorial. Her faith is put to the test when a body arrives at the morgue drained of blood and the man responsible for the crime is sporting fangs. Could vampires be real?

Her good friend, Dr. Xander Carlisle seems to know the truth, but he’s unwilling to confide in her. He has a secret of his own and it’s not just how he feels about her, but something else entirely, something he’s forbidden to reveal.

Apple of His Eye by Nan O’Berry

Callie Dalton’s truck runs out of gas on the road to her family’s fruit stand. When a forestry agent Marshall Albright comes to her rescue, little does she know that he is the grandson of her grandfather’s worst enemy, Brice Huntington. It seems the Dalton’s and Huntington’s have been waging a feud for the past twenty-nine years, ever since Laura Huntington left Stephen Dalton at the altar.

Falling in love was the easy part; the hard part is going to be keeping their grandparents from confronting one another. Can their love bring these two warring factions together?

Alive by Vincent Nutt

A mutated form of Cholera infects the world, creating zeeks, zombielike creatures in every respect. The group I’m with has traveled far. We’ve all lost those we’ve held dear along the way, but when life is unpredictable, anything can happen… This Thanksgiving brings new friends into our lives, and a fresh look at what tomorrow may bring.

Young Witchcraft by Stephanie Burkhart

Rachel’s secret would have Cotton Mather rolling over in his grave. She’s been raised from an early age to use magic for good, despite her temptation to cast a spell against Phil the bully who can’t stop teasing her.

Joe thinks Rachel is cool, especially when she weaves her healing magic spells on him, but he’s got his own problems. It’s not easy keeping Rachel safe from Phil’s constant threats.

When Phil poisons Rachel, can love and a little young witchcraft bring Rachel and Joe together or has years of Phil’s bullying ruined their relationship for good?

Enjoy an excerpt from “Man of Her Dreams”

“Oh, good grief,” said a woman’s voice from nowhere. “The old ‘naked in public’ dream. You sure this is him? This is the man in my dreams? Where’s the wild mare he rides across the moor, and the kilt, and the windswept hair, and the—all right, so he’s got the washboard abs, and the…the rest of the package. But still…”

“The spell doesn’t lie, Sis,” responded another woman’s voice from nowhere. “This is the man of your dreams. Anyway, a kilt? I think it’s time you got rid of that Braveheart poster. The symbolism of his dream is obvious, according to your Psych 101 textbook I doubt you ever read—about as obvious as your man riding a wild mare. Does your kilted dream lover whip the mare into a lathered frenzy?”

“He d-doesn’t…you’ve got a dirty mind. So what’s this guy’s problem? A fear of being locked out of motel rooms?”

The second voice sighed. “He’s unhappy with his life and searching for something better. Being naked means he’s broke, so don’t count on lavish gifts or expensive honeymoons from this guy. How many of the good catches had insomnia, for the spell to settle on this loser?”

About the Authors: Markee Anderson makes her home in northeast Wisconsin, surrounded by Packer fans, snow, and cheese. Along with her husband, they have three adult children and two Boston terrier babies. She writes under different pen names, all at: www.sweettalebooks.com

Come visit her at: http://markeeanderson.com

Stephanie Burkhart was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Central High, she joined the U.S. Army. She spent eleven years in the military, seven stationed in Germany. She left the Army in 1997 and settled in California. Stephanie has been married for over twenty years and has two boys, Andrew and Joseph. She now works for LAPD as a 9-1-1 Dispatcher.

Come visit her at: http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

Gerald Costlow lives in Michigan and has published several novels and numerous short stories and novellas over the years. He’s currently publishing a romantic-supernatural series with Publishing by Rebecca Vickery.

Cecilia Corona is a massage therapist by day and enjoys the adventures of writing by night. When she’s not sitting at her computer plotting her next tale, she’s enjoying the Southern California weather. She loves movies, animals of all kinds, especially her three dogs, and she’s a big fan of mermaids. When she was young and saw the movie Splash for the first time, she believed sprinkling salt in the bathtub would magically allow her to grow a tail. She was sadly disappointed when the experiment didn’t work. If she can’t be a mermaid, then maybe she’ll just have to write about them.

Please visit Cecilia’s website at: http://authorceciliacorona.blogspot.com

Nan O’Berry lives on a small farm in western tidewater with her family and pets including a Black Angus cow named Esmeralda. A graduate of Old Dominion University with a degree in education, she taught elementary school for several years before turning her attention to writing romance. She loves hearing from readers.

Please feel free to contact her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-OBerry-Romance- Author/161753103856411

When Vincent Nutt isn’t fighting off zeeks, he’s going to school and working toward his BA in Video Game Design.

You can find Vincent online at: http://vincentnutt.blogspot.com/

Buy the book at Amazon or Smashwords.

Smashwords Publisher Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/victorytalespress

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What Casts the Shadow? by Seth Mullins – Spotlight and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter to win a $50 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour (and more chances to win).

A troubled young rock musician, a mystic mentor, and a generation of lost souls longing for a new voice to emerge from thewilderness…

When an altercation outside of a performance venue nearly proves fatal, Brandon Chane begins to realize how far his life is spinning out of control. His efforts to channel his pain, frustration and thwarted loves into his music may not suffice to save him. Then he meets Saul, a crisis counselor with the soul of an ancient medicine man, and a far-reaching journey of healing – one that may teach him how to steer away from the very edge of the abyss – begins.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Saul’s office was arranged much like others I’d seen: A dark cherry desk, glossy clean; plaques, proclaiming his education and other achievements, hanging on the wall behind. All the prominent names in the field of psychology cluttered his bookcase. Most of the titles that Tommy had found for me at the library made an appearance there. Saul invited me to sit in a brown leather recliner. I didn’t want to tilt it back; but I kept feeling like I was about to fall out of that chair when it was in the upright position.

Saul leaned forward and smiled like he harbored a secret. “I’d like to start, Brandon, by assuring you that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. You have no ‘problems’ per se. You aren’t evil, because there is no such thing. And if you’re ignorant, then you are no more so than every other human to ever walk the Earth. Now, is any of that reassuring?”

It almost sounded like he was trying to provoke an argument. Yet his manner and tone implied that he meant every word he said in the most literal sense.

“Of course,” he went on, “that’s all true only from a perspective that you may have to work hard to arrive at. When you’re suffering, it definitely feels like something is wrong with you; and the seeming causes of that suffering are problems. They are the embodiment of evil. And every smiling person you see must be privy to answers that have totally eluded you.”

About the Author:

Seth Mullins draws upon the great sweep of human soul-journeying to weave his tales. He’s inspired by music, shamanism, dreams and the mysteries and miracles of our inner life. His greatest love as a writer is for fiction that depicts a journey towards self-awareness in the deepest sense.

“Probably the most valuable thing that I learned throughout my spiritual journey in this life is the importance of trusting in one’s self. Many of our cultural lessons encourage us to ignore or even fear our inner reality. And yet it is this realm that really does hold the answers to all of our questions, and can point the way towards the most fulfilling life experiences possible for us.”

Mr. Mullins has lived in Maine, Connecticut, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont.

http://www.humanityswayforward.com (Humanity’s Way Forward – website)

http://frontiersofconsciousness.blogspot.com (The Edge of the Known by Seth Mullins – blog)

Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/sethmullins

https://www.facebook.com/seth.thomas.37454

http://twitter.com/SethMullins1

https://www.facebook.com/WhatCaststheShadow

Buy “What Casts the Shadow?” (The Edge of the Known) on Amazon

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Mystery Writer Recommendations by Russ Hall – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher. Enter the Rafflecopter below to win a Red Adept Publishing T-Shirt, tote bag, can koozie, or magnet. Click on the link to see the other stops on the tour.

11_20 Russ HallIf you like mysteries, check out these authors recommended by Russ Hall, author of TO HELL AND GONE IN TEXAS.

Ten mystery writers worth rereading
 

James Burdett
Robert Campbell
Raymond Chandler
Colin Cotterill
Dashiell Hammett
Stuart Kaminsky
Elmore Leonard
Ed McBain
Ross Thomas
Rex Stout

Five Innovative mystery writers worth checking out

Colin Cotterill – introduced 72-year-old Dr. Siri, the reluctant coroner of 1975 Laos. This is a master series in the category of “geezer fiction,” which is sure to delight baby boomers and anyone who is cool with the detective not being cut and under thirty.

Janet Evanovich – who dares open her High Five book in the Stephanie Plum series with: “When I was a little girl I used to dress Barbie up without underpants . . .and being a bail enforcement agent is sort of like being bare-bottom Barbie. It’s all about having a secret.” Page-turning fun.

Carl Hiaasen – who took mystery writing all the way out to the edge of wackadooble, but entertains and delights all the same.

Alexander McCall Smith – who is often shelved under M since his last name is “McCall Smith” and not just Smith. He sweeps the reader off to Botswana to meet Mma “Precious” Ramotswe, who founded the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. Delightful and relaxing reading in a faraway place.

Spencer Quinn (actually Peter Abrahams writing under a penname) – brought us a mystery series told entirely from the point of view of a dog, Chet the Jet, who works with his P.I. sidekick Bernie Little. It is a daring task, and the author pulls it off and entertains!

 

11_20 To-Hell-and-Gone-in-Texas-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalTrouble big as all hell.
Retired sheriff’s detective Al Quinn hasn’t spoken to his brother, Maury, in twenty years. When Maury lands in the hospital under suspicious circumstances, though, Al reluctantly abandons his quiet country seclusion to look into the matter. A second attempt to take Maury out drives the brothers back to Al’s lakeside home, where Al knows the territory, but they’re not alone for long. ICE agents demand that Maury rat on his silent partner, city cop Fergie Jergens comes investigating the murders of Maury’s lady friends, and someone takes a match to Al’s house.

Al soon learns his problems are only getting started—his brother’s in trouble on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Caught in a ruthless power struggle between the ICE and Los Zetas, a vicious Mexican mafia bent on ascendancy, Al learns the hard way who he can trust—and who’s willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

With everything he loves on the line, Al will learn just how far he’ll go to protect his own.

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or Google.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22538055

Author page on RAP: http://redadeptpublishing.com/russ-hall/

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Red and her Big Bad Dom by Sydney St. Claire – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a Once Upon a Dom Tote Bag: Tote Bag, Mug, Cap and Misc. goodies (US Only – Int’l winners will have a GC substitute) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

perf5.000x8.000.inddWealthy computer genius Graham Winters is in love with a woman who won’t join him for a stingy cup of coffee. How can he prove he’s nothing like her jerk of an ex if she won’t give him a chance? Then he spots her at a BDSM club and devises a plan. During the day, he’s “that damn geek.” At night, he’s the masked Dom known as The Wolf.

When it comes to her love life, Lucy Sanchez has one rule—no geeks. Not even rich, good looking geeks. She’s attracted to Graham but rules are rules. Besides, she has her wolf, the mysterious Dom who makes her blood sing. Then she’s invited to a fairytale event at Pleasure Manor and this Little Red Riding Hood plans to enjoy every delicious moment with her big, bad Dom.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Lucy stared at him. “I’ve never had a partner as good as you.”

He lowered his head and kissed her. “We fit.” Sex. Dance. And even their work, though she didn’t know that. So many things in common, like hiking in the woods, searching for and finding birds and other wildlife, not to mention some spontaneous sex. Hug a tree took on a new meaning. His heart ached for him to tell her the truth and claim her openly.

The music faded, and he leaned back. “Lucy—”

The sound of loud clapping broke the spell. He swung them around and saw the Queen Domme standing at the open doorway. “You two are magnificent.” She glided into the room.

He bowed. “Thank you, Glorie.”

Lucy leaned into her wolf, unconsciously seeking his comforting embrace. She smiled awkwardly and fully admitted she was still embarrassed that the woman had joined them for a threesome. Every time she saw the woman, she’d remember how good the Domme was at giving pleasure and how her Wolf had known her well enough, cared enough, to make her fantasies come true.

“Tomorrow night, you’ll dance for us?”

Lucy inclined her head. “We’d love that.”

Minutes later, tired but satisfied, Lucy’s wolf her back through the garden and down one of several paths that led into the woods. Each couple had specific routes and play areas so as not to disturb anyone else with their weekend.

About the Author: 11_20 susan picSydney St. Claire is the pseudonym of Susan Edwards, author of 14 Historical Native American/Western/Paranormal romances and the author of the popular “White” Series.

Sydney loves writing and sharing stories of love, happiness and dreams come true with her readers. She credits her mother for her writing success. Encouraged to read as a child, she always preferred happy endings which meant romances were her favorite genre. Sydney takes her readers into the world of erotica romance where her characters come together in explosive passion as they solve life’s problems and find true love along with the best sex our hero and heroine have ever experienced.

Sydney’s office is quite crowded with three dogs at her feet and five cats to keep her company while she writes. Three cats always insist on beds on her desk, barely leaving enough room for her monitor and keyboard. Life gets fun when all five insist on supervising…

When not writing, she enjoys crafts of all sorts including quilting, sewing, cross-stitch and knitting. She and her husband of 30 + years are avid gardeners. He takes care of the veggies, and Susan is in charge of the ‘pretties’. Her medicine wheel garden is in a contact state of war: flowers vs. weeds. Sadly, right now the weeds are wining…

While writing, she listens to a wide variety of music. Her current favorites are Blackmore’s Night and David Lanz.

Email: Sydney@sydneystclaire.com

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Blog ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest ~ Wilder Rose Press

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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A Spy Unmasked by Tina Gabrielle – Spotlight and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win $15 Amazon giftcard and ebook of A SPY UNMASKED. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The mission did not go quite as Robert Ware–known in society as the new Earl of Kirkland–planned. A spy in the service of His Majesty, Robert is a “guest” at a masquerade party as he retrieves vital information for a murder investigation. Until he’s quite unexpectedly interrupted by an exquisite, masked woman with glittering green eyes. And a pistol she has cocked and aimed right at him…

Lady Sophia Merrill has defiantly taken up justice’s shining sword, determined to expose the brigand who murdered her eccentric but brilliant father, and stole his latest invention. Now she must masquerade as Robert’s betrothed in order to infiltrate the Inventor’s Society and find the killer. But the undeniable potent attraction between them not only imperils the investigation, but Sophia’s reputation… and both of their lives.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Frustration roiled inside Sophia. “If it’s any consolation, I don’t like the idea of working together any more than you do.”

“I highly doubt it,” Robert said.

“It’s true,” she insisted.

“You appear quite eager to go along with Wendover’s plans.”

“I’m eager only to seek justice for my father’s murder.”

He hesitated, and his gaze roved and lazily appraised her. “You do realize we’ll attend the house party next week as an engaged couple.”

She felt her face grow warm, and she looked up at him with an effort. “In name only.”

“It makes no difference. We’ll have to socialize. Act as a loving couple. Sit beside each other during the evening meal and stare longingly into each other’s eyes. It’s not too late to change your mind.”

“I won’t.”

He flashed a smile, his teeth white against the bronzed perfection of his face. “Perhaps we should practice to be certain we can pull it off.”

He took a step closer and cupped her face with his hand. His palm was calloused, not as smooth as she would have expected of a lord’s hands. But then again, he wasn’t solely an earl.

He leaned close until she could see the specks of blue in his brilliant eyes. A strange fluttering began in the pit of her stomach as he lowered his head inch by inch until his breath fanned her lips.

About the Author:

Award-winning author Tina Gabrielle is an attorney and former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. She often picked up a romance and let her fantasies of knights in shining armor and lords and ladies carry her away. After multi-publishing for a prestigious law journal, she fulfilled her dream of writing fiction. A Spy Unmasked is the first book In The Crown’s Secret Service series. The second book in the series, At The Spy’s Pleasure, is coming in April 2015 from Entangled Publishing. She is also the author of adventurous Regency historical romances, In The Barrister’s Bed, In The Barrister’s Chambers, Lady Of Scandal, and A Perfect Scandal from Kensington Books.

Publisher’s Weekly calls her Regency Barrister’s series, “Well-matched lovers…witty comradely repartee.” Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and her first book, Lady Of Scandal, was nominated as best first historical by Romantic Times Book Reviews.

Website: www.tinagabrielle.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/tinagabrielle
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TinaGabrielle
Blog: http://thevioletfemmes.wordpress.com/

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Ash’s Advice for Writers by Ash Krafton – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ash will be awarding a $25 gift card to Amazon or BN as well as a unique handmade book-inspired keychain to a randomly drawn commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ash’s Advice for Writers

When I first began my journey toward publication, I read piles of articles directed toward the working writer—on craft, on submissions, on handling rejection. I read blogs, amassed a writer’s library, and took online workshops and classes. But it wasn’t just knowledge or technique I was looking for.

It was encouragement.

I wanted to write. I didn’t lack inspiration—I saw a story in nearly everything. What I lacked was any sense of ownership of the name “author”.

After all, I had been a lifelong reader. I ate, slept, breathed books and my favorite authors were my heroes. I wanted to write…but I had a hard time envisioning myself within their ranks. I wasn’t sure how I’d make that big step from hobby writer to published author because it seemed like a really huge step. And I worried that, while taking that step, I’d stumble.

So, instead of obsessing about a failure that hadn’t yet happened, I did what made me happy. I wrote. And I wrote a lot. While I worked on my first novel, I wrote shorter things, too—poems and short stories, all sorts of things, which I submitted to editors of magazine and journals. I dreamed of being a novelist, but in the meantime, I was becoming a working writer, improving my craft and familiarizing myself with the business side of it all.

My husband worried I was distracting myself by spending so much time on what he called “the small stuff”. While it was smaller, in a sense, it was no less important than my novel project, and the experience I gained was priceless.

I learned how to submit and query. I improved my professional demeanor. I learned how to handle rejection. I got to put into practice so much of what I’d read about way back in the beginning. Most importantly, I learned the biggest lesson of all, the one thing I’d been seeking when digging through web pages and ordering stacks of writing books. I found the encouragement I’d needed all along—and I found it within myself.

Perseverance.

Writing a novel is a huge thing. It’s one thing to sit in the comfort of my home, tapping away to capture the images and the stories in my head. Sending it out into the world, however, is a totally different game. The whole time I wrote and revised and edited, I worried about the moment I would send that book out—and the rejections that would come. I worried I wouldn’t be able to handle it, and that I would retreat at the first sign of adversity.

But, see…writing and submitting and publishing the small stuff kept me writing, kept me working. Yes, there were rejections with those things, but there were a lot of acceptances, too. I began building a tidy little bio, even earning a Pushcart Prize nomination—and with the YESs and the NOs and the HOORAYs came a sense of endurance, of experience, of accomplishment…and perseverance kept me moving forward.

So, if there are any writers out there listening—if I can tell you the single most empowering word, the one thing that will serve you well throughout your writing career, it’s this:

Persevere. Just keep going. A rejection is a stepping stone that gets you closer to what you want. And remember, no piece of writing is insignificant. Even if a novel is your primary goal, don’t discard the opportunity to write other things, like poetry and blog posts and writing articles. It all counts.

But the bottom line is keep writing, and persevere. It’s the only way to get there.

MEDIA KIT WordsThatBind_w9084_750Social worker Tam Kerish can’t keep her cool professionalism when steamy client Mr. Burns kindles a desire for more than a client-therapist relationship—so she drops him. However, they discover she’s the talisman to which Burns, an immortal djinn, has been bound since the days of King Solomon…and that makes it difficult.

Ethical guidelines are unequivocal when it comes to personal relationships with clients. However, the djinn has a thawing effect on the usually non-emotive Tam, who begins to feel true emotion whenever he is near. Tam has to make a difficult choice: to stay on the outside, forever looking in…or to turn her back on her entire world, just for the chance to finally experience what it means to fall in love.

Read an excerpt:

“So. You’ve destroyed a stereotype for me. A genie who lives in a library. Different.”

“When in Rome, no?” He stirred his cup before setting down the spoon with a light clink against the saucer. “Or, I suppose it is more accurate to say when in human form. When I am Burns, I prefer here.”

“Human form.” It didn’t sound right. Who said things like that, and meant it? “Can you change into anything you want? Any shape at all?”

He stretched out his legs and cocked his head, sliding his gaze up and away. “I suppose I could. I’m getting old and set in my ways. There’s this…” He swept his hands down the line of his body.

Her eyes were unable to keep from following, not even when he lingered over his midsection. Even lounging, his shirt was tightly tucked into his beltline. No belly fat there.

He tilted his head and gave her an upper-teeth smile, nibbling gently at his lower lip. “And apparently this form is pleasing to the eye, so I wear it often. But there are others. Tiger, a favorite. Savage and regal and the colors of flames in the night. Fearsome to behold, but very useful when dealing with physical conditions in which a human form may be outmatched. Plus, I can lash my tail.”

His voice took a teasing, conspirator’s tone. “I love my tail. You’d love it too, if you saw it.”

She trained her eyes firmly upon his. No way would she give him the pleasure of checking out his tail.

About the Author: MEDIA KIT Author Photo retro smallerAsh Krafton is a speculative fiction author from northeastern Pennsylvania. Krafton’s first novel, Bleeding Hearts was published in 2012 as part of an urban fantasy trilogy The Books of the Demimonde (Pink Narcissus Press). An urban fantasy novella, Strangers at the Hell Gate, was published by Wild Rose Press in 2013. Her newest release, Words That Bind, won first place in the HeRA RWA “Show Me the Spark” 2013 competition as well as a Zebulon award in 2014.

Krafton also writes New Adult speculative fiction novels under the pen name AJ Krafton. Upcoming titles include The Heartbeat Thief, Face of the Enemy, and the award-winning Takin’ It Back. She is part of a YA/NA collective known as the Infinite Ink Authors.

In addition to novel-length fiction, Krafton enjoys writing poetry and short prose, some of which earned distinctions in various writing competitions. One of her poems was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She’s a proud member of Pennwriters, Romance Writers of America, and Pikes Peak Writers. Krafton also writes for the Query Tracker Blog and the Prose and Cons blog.

She resides with her family in northeast Pennsylvania.

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No Light by Devi Mara – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

This post is part of a book blast organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter will be awarded a $20 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Dems have been held captive since before the world was made. They are the darkness only spoken of in whispers. As much as they are hated and feared, those who guard them are even more so. The pariahs of society, they live apart from the rest of the world in a settlement called Ameritat. That is where The Dems Trilogy begins. An unlikely and dangerous love between a human guard and the most feared of all the Dems. It will be the beginning or the ending of everything.

Sarah Mackenzie was never meant to be a guard, never meant to descend into the bowels of the earth, but The Corridor is where she is sent. With little information and even less training, she is thrust into her position as a Dem handler. She walks a thin line between life and death, as she tries to uphold her family honor and unlock the mystery of the Dem’s captivity. The pursuit of truth will drag her deep into a world of corruption, hatred, and greed and she will have to decide where her loyalties lie. With the humans who have mistreated her or the Dem who could destroy them all.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The staircase twisted down into what felt like the very bowels of the Earth. Wrought iron and spindly, it creaked with each movement. Every irregular step nearly pulsed with hesitation. Some held back by fear, others pressing forward toward something new and terrifying. The bodies swayed in and out of the sparse light, like spirits jumping at the stone walls.

Her gaze dropped momentarily, away from her thoughts, to look toward their destination. The diamond weave of the steps allowed a caged view of what lie beneath. Sarah’s hand gripped the railing tightly, jerking her eyes to the back in front of her. Not allowing them to stray to the lonely darkness beneath her feet.

The steady creak and pound of the footsteps seemed to go on forever, as the class followed the trainer. After ten minutes, the hollow sound of the stairwell seemed to swell in volume. Shuffling coats, heavy breathing, and something else. Sarah tipped her head, peering over the railing into the darkness. There was a wailing just under the creaking of the iron and the thuds of the heavy work boots.

“What is that?” she heard one of her classmates whisper.

She narrowed her eyes at the blackness beneath her feet. So far down, the cold of the stone stairwell made her hands nearly freeze to the railing. She did not dare let go.

“Do you hear that?” Another voice whispered.

The noise increased in volume. It sounded like glass ground between two stones. It set her teeth on edge. It was only the settling of the stairs. Nothing to be afraid of, but that did not stop her hand from shaking in her pocket. She stared at the back in front of her, stepping down over and over.

About the Author:

Writer of cross genre romance, Devi Mara, grew up in rural Missouri. An avid reader and writer, she found inspiration in the people and places around her. The result, a fluid concept of the romance subgenres.

Her debut novel, No Light, was released in January of 2014 and is the first book in the Dems Trilogy. It was followed by her first stand-alone novel, Kingdom Come, in May. The second novel of the Dems Trilogy, Darkness Blooming, was released in August of 2014.

Devi is a lover of coffee and chocolate and partakes in both daily. She lives in Missouri with her family. Including two dogs too human for their own good.

She loves hearing from readers and encourages them to message her on Facebook or contact her on Twitter. She is always open to questions and comments.

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Heart of Steel by Elizabeth Einspanier – Spotlight and Giveaway


Welcome to the cover reveal of HEART OF STEEL by Elizabeth Einspanier, a Science Fiction Romance available February 17, 2015. Elizabeth is giving away a $20 gift certificate to Steampunk Emporium. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

When reclusive cyborg Alistair Mechanus meets his captive, ER doctor Julia Parker, it is love at first sight–for him. While he eagerly drops his plans for World Conquest to woo her, ten years of solitude have left his social skills badly rusted. When his misguided act of kindness spirals out of control, however, Julia is forced to trust the mad genius with her life, and she discovers the vulnerable side under his armored plating. She has the skills he needs to unlock his forgotten past, but learning who he used to be may come at the cost of his remaining sanity.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I need you to keep talking,” he said quietly, and was surprised by the tremor he heard in his own voice. He cleared his throat. “I’m not used to being alone in my own head. It’s…” he shook his head. “It’s too quiet, without Arthur.”

She touched his shoulder, just below the ragged fabric where his sleeve had once been. Her fingers were warm and soothing against his bare skin.

“How’s your arm feeling?” she asked.

“I don’t expect it will fall off,” he said. “It still hurts, but I can manage.”

She was quiet for another interval, though two or three times he heard her inhale as if to speak.

“I… look,” she said, sounding uncertain. “You’ve… done a lot for me. You saved my life… you led me to safety… you even put your life on the line for me—and this is just today. I don’t… I don’t think I really thanked you for all that. I was hung up on the parts you didn’t do, or did wrong, and that isn’t right.”

“You tended to my injuries,” he pointed out. “Was that not gratitude?”

“That was me being a doctor,” she said. “That’s different.”

He wasn’t sure where she was going with this, and had no idea how to request that she get to the point already without sounding peevish. That absolutely wouldn’t do.

However, the silence between them stretched, a yawning void that he could not bear to leave empty. He turned his head to look at her again, and that was when she kissed him on the mouth.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Einspanier is the self-published author of the Weird Western novella Sheep’s Clothing and the upcoming sci-fi romance novel Heart of Steel. Her short stories have been published in Down in the Dirt and Dark Fire Fiction. She is a member of the St. Louis Writer’s Guild and an associate member of the Horror Writers of America. She lives in St. Louis, but frequently spends extended periods in worlds of her own creation.

Website: http://elizabetheinspanier.com
Blog: http://calliopeskiss.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GeekGirlWriter
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ElizabethEinspanier/
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/elizabetheinspanier

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Lessons I Learned from my Hero and Heroine by Dean C. Moore

 

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

Lessons I learned from my hero and heroine

I’ve read Love on the Run many times, as you might imagine, and I’m still learning things from Zinio and Delaney. I think that’s because when we write it’s from an altered state of consciousness, one in which we’re much smarter and wiser, and more in touch with our higher self, that higher power that guides our hands. Scientists would offer an explanation that is just as valid; they’d say the brain is “entrained.” Meaning that our right and left hemispheres are in sync, and our superconscious, conscious, and unconscious minds come into alignment. That’s a whole lot of mind power to throw at a task, and much more than we usually leverage. This is why when you want to change the world, you don’t posit a rational argument, your write fiction. As authors we’re all spell casters by nature because we know it is only through the altered state of consciousness of both writing and reading the book that we have this power to transform the world. So when I’ve been out of the state too long, I re-enter it, either by writing a new book, editing an existing one, or revisiting old friends, as with Zinio and Delaney.

There’s a reason we keep going back to our favorite books, we absorb what we can on the first pass, we employ those new behaviors in our lives, and when we wall short of the mark, we go back in for another tune up. From Zinio and Delaney, more specifically, some of the things I picked up on this pass include the fact that sometimes people can be perfect for one another and not realize it. They can be overly attuned to what sets them apart. In Zinio’s case, he’s pragmatic, down to earth, sees just the problem in front of him and despises people who come at the world with rose tinted glasses. Delaney, a romantic at heart, is also a bleeding heart for every social cause you could imagine. On her viewfinder of late are the plights of the elderly and of those suffering with terminal illnesses. The two drive each other positively batty with what separates them, bridging the divide often with scathing humor.

But there is so much that make these two characters peas in a pod. They’re both amazingly quick witted and dazzling under pressure, such as the pressure of robbing banks, casinos… And they have a talent for raising life to the level of art, and to do the seemingly impossible job of walking on water time and again. Do they have lessons to learn themselves, you bet, but you’re secretly hoping the whole time it will not change the fundamental nature of who they are, which is just too precious.

If Zinio plots twenty moves ahead, Delaney is sheer improvisational genius. If he consults his mind in all matters, she consults her heart. There’s something about living inside their heads that allows me to come at the world from both perspectives better. Their entire relationship seems to be predicated on the enhanced integration of heart and mind that they both need. I suppose you could read some Buddhist scrolls on the matter and meditate on the issue, but there’s something about living through their trials and tribulations to find wholeness in themselves and in their relationship that does the trick for me. And it’s just way more fun. Besides more people are looking to be entertained than enlightened. The trick is to offer the former while doing the latter.

Husband and wife thieves are on a mission. Just not the same one. He’s out to pay for her cancer therapy–at any costs. She’s out to humanize him, and make him less of a self-absorbed jerk.

The fast-talking, fast-acting, adrenaline seeking duo pick up a few on-again off-again sidekicks along their way, despite staunch protests from Zinio. But with all they’re up against–not the least of which being one smart, hound-dog of a lady detective–the question is: Can love conquer all?

“The story is smart and funny.” R. D. Hale, Sky City: The Rise of an Orphan

“For the booklover that doesn’t like having his or her time wasted.” Jack Heath, Remote Control

“This would make a brilliant movie or TV series.” Demelza Carlton, Ocean’s Gift

“Reminded me of The Thomas Crown Affair, down to the whip-cracking humor, the snazzy plot turns, and the character dynamics between the leads and the hotshot female detective on their tales.” Rhys Jones, The Whispering Void

“Only if you want an action packed read with fully developed and interesting characters.” Victor Longshanks, One Big Problem

About the Author:

I write sci-fi, fantasy, action-adventures and thrillers, or some combination thereof—usually with a strong vein of dark humor. Though, my works are dramas first; the humor is there to take the edge off as with the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Transformers, and Jurassic Park franchises.

I wrote screenplays for a while, and while enjoying them, I found them a bit confining. After a while you just need the extra page count to flesh out characters better and do additional world building, especially when considering doing anything epic in scope. I also took a run at future forecasting and trend tracking, being as I always had my head in the future, things like Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock. I also relished this, and can certainly see myself releasing a few titles accordingly in the nonfiction area. But since delving into novels, short and long, I’ve definitely found my home and my voice. For the first time I feel the restraints have been taken off of my imagination. I suppose all mediums have their limits, so I may end up doing a mix of things, but I suspect I will continue to spend most of my time with novels. Series add an additional dimension, allowing for even more depth and development both in the character and world building departments. But I remain at heart a divergent thinker, so, no surprise, I seem to have more series going than follow up installments at this point. That too may change over time; we’ll see. Until then, it may be best to just think of these books as one-offs if you’re fond of my writing style and some of the themes I work with.

My current catalog of twelve books represents a little over five years’ worth of work. I’m currently averaging a couple books annually. Of my existing franchises with multiple installments, The Hundred Year Clone books can be read in any order, while the 5 books of Renaissance 2.0 must be read in sequence as they form part of a singular story arc (much as with A Game of Thrones.)

I live in the country where I breed bluebirds, which are endangered in these parts, as my small contribution to restoring nature’s balance. When I’m not writing, or researching my next book, I may also be found socializing with friends, or working in my organic garden.


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