What Matters Most by Dianne Maguire – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

There is good love and bad love. Good sex and bad sex. And sometimes it’s hard to know the difference.

Paediatrician and mother Mia Sandhurst is scraping to keep her marriage together after her husband of 25 years breaks her heart. Finally facing reality, Mia embarks on a series of outlandish new behaviours to make startling discoveries about herself, love and life.

But the lies and betrayal Mia endures are nothing compared to those of her 15 year old patient, Rachel Hooper.

Set on the magical coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, What Matters Most is a story of love, family, misplaced loyalty and how our choices shape who we are.

Enjoy an excerpt:

It was well after 4.00pm by the time Mia plodded down the concrete steps into the car park. The flash and beep from her car as she pointed the remote always gave her a discernible burst of joy because it meant she was on her way home. On this particular occasion she also realised she had not had time all day to think about her own family. Tossing her bag onto the passenger seat before sliding behind the wheel and turning the key in the ignition, she resolved to ring Adam after dinner. In the meantime, she thought, there was a more irksome task to be dealt with. She rummaged through her bag, dug out her phone and slipped it into the hands-free carrier. She eventually found the number and dialled, the rings at the other end echoing through the car as she emerged from the car park into the fading light.

‘Leila Anderson,’ a voice answered as Mia accelerated onto the street, still shining with evidence of the day’s persistent early-spring showers.

‘Hello, Leila, it’s Mia Sandhurst,’ she said, pulling up at the traffic lights, the indicator clicking like a metronome as she waited for a young couple with a pram to saunter across the pedestrian crossing before she could turn left.

‘Hello, Mia.’ Leila’s voice registered surprise. And there was something else that was indecipherable in her tone as well.

‘I’m really sorry to intrude on your Sunday, but Eric isn’t responding to my calls. I’m a little worried. Have you heard from him?’

A brief silence was followed by hesitant, deliberate intonations — the type of response one would expect from a witness on the stand in a courtroom, or someone giving evidence to a Royal Commission. ‘Well, no … not really. Only a few emails with attached reports and letters he wanted me to type.’

‘Has he called you?’ Mia asked, her concerns curdling to suspicion, purely due to Leila’s obvious wavering.

‘No … no calls. Look, I’m sure he’s fine, Mia. He has a pretty packed schedule this trip.’

Mia turned into her street, the energetic, almost cheerful clicking of the indictor at odds with the anxiety, edged with anger, that swirled in her gut. Of course, it was Leila’s job to protect her boss, but it was not her place to shield him from his wife. ‘Mm, that’s part of the problem, I think. I didn’t get his schedule for this trip. I wonder if you would email me a copy, please.’

There was another awkward pause before Leila said, ‘Sure. I don’t see why not. And if I do hear from Eric, I’ll have him call you.’

‘Excellent — thanks, Leila. Enjoy the rest of your day. And sorry again for disturbing you, but I feel so much better now we have spoken …

‘… not,’ Mia said through clenched teeth, stabbing the end button and accelerating into her undercroft. Within seconds, she was pounding her way up the stairs and charging through the back door into her kitchen, ignoring the beep from within her bag, which signalled the arrival of a text to pour herself a large glass of chilled white wine.

Soothed by a few velvet sips, Mia slammed her palm onto the gas fire, bringing its flames to life with a deep puff, shoved a section of pre-cooked Peking duck into the oven and made an Asian salad, then took a long hot shower. Rummaging to the back of her wardrobe she dragged out her comfort clothes — elephant-sized track pants and an equally large windcheater. She relished their sense of freedom and warmth and padded in bare feet back to the kitchen where aromas of cooked duck filled the space and teased her appetite.

It was when she was taking the first sip of her second glass of wine that she remembered the text message and lifted her phone to see that there were actually two messages awaiting her.

The first was from Maggie Malloy: Rachel’s cardiac tests clear. Still refusing to engage with psych. Will be discharged tomorrow in the am. Have reported my concerns to Child Welfare.

Mia’s brow furrowed. ‘Oh no, Rachel. What is really happening in your life? Should we be worried or should we simply leave you alone?’ She resolved to visit Rachel one last time tomorrow, before she was discharged from hospital.

The second message was from Eric: Singapore deal successful. Sorry haven’t been able to return calls. Will be home Tuesday, but have another appointment that evening so no plans pls. E. His blisteringly terse tone seemed misplaced and unwarranted, especially after days of silence. ‘How astounding, Eric, that you have chosen to message me less than one hour after I phoned your secretary. What is going on?’ she muttered, her appetite immediately leaving her.

About the Author:

Dianne Maguire is a social worker turned novelist with over 20 years’ experience in child welfare and protection.

She has won the Pauline Walsh Prize in the Eastwood/Hills Regional Annual Literary Awards and in 2010 she co-wrote a collection of non-fiction short stories, It’s About Time, for children’s charity Time for Kids. Her articles have been published in state and national newspapers and magazines.

Although Dianne lives in Adelaide with her husband Jerome, she does most of her writing on the Fleurieu Peninsula. What Matters Most is her debut novel.

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Exposed by Karyn Good – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Karyn Good will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_ExposedKate Logan needs a safe haven, a place to start over after her modeling career disintegrates in scandal. But her hometown of Aspen Lake isn’t the sanctuary she hoped. Her vow of a low-key life is disrupted by a break-in and other strange happenings at her boutique. As the chair of Aspen Lake’s Gothic Revival Festival, she’s also drawn the ire of a religious fanatic. Kate is up to her stilettos in drama and intrigue including one sexy carpenter who’s determined to get in her way.

New to town, Seth Stone is seeking inspiration and solitude to concentrate on his art. Short on funds, he agrees to take on a second job restoring the damage to Kate’s Closet. Trouble erupts along with the desire to get to know Kate better. When he’s used as a pawn in a smear campaign against his gorgeous boss Seth fights back. But now the whole town is watching. Including the man determined to further his own agenda. Time is running out with nowhere to hide.

< Enjoy an excerpt: Against Kate’s will, her lips twitched and she nodded. “Why don’t we see how the door goes first?” “Fair enough. I’ll do my best to amaze.” He grinned. A heart-stopping, slow-spreading, deadly kind of grin. A slight lift of the corners until it gradually widened to reach all the way to his eyes. Eyes that hid a hint of jungle cat in them. The kind of smile that took forever to get where it was going, but when it got there you felt like someone had forgotten to yell “Clear!” before they used the paddles. When she committed to getting sober, booze wasn’t the only thing she’d given up. If you didn’t count the one night of insanity and crushing loneliness she’d succumbed to, it meant she hadn’t had sex in over a year. She battened down her hatches as a lovely rush of hormones washed through her. He wasn’t her type. She didn’t go for younger men, and she put him somewhere in his early twenties. She was twenty-nine going on eighty. No, he was not for her. But that didn’t stop her from squirming in her high heels. “I’ll leave you to it.” She slipped her ice queen persona back into place, stiffened her spine and her resolve as she tried not to ooze pheromones. Or desperation. Then she decided to ignore all of it and him and hoped any potential fantasies died from lack of cultivation. She had enough problems. She didn’t need gorgeous. Or intense. Or broad shouldered. It was time to give older, stable, and established a try. A gentleman by choice. One who owned a suit. Someone respectable. She did a quick scan of Seth’s back view. Not a guy who looked like summertime at the beach. Were those leather bracelets? With beads? And what? She was doing inventory now?

So…he was hot. Her life was a mess. She didn’t need it to become a hot mess.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_ExposedI grew up on a farm in the middle of Canada’s breadbasket. Under the canopy of crisp blue prairie skies I read books. Lots and lots of books. One day the inevitable happened and I knew without question the time was right. What to write was never the issue – romance and the gut wrenching journey towards forever.

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Missing by Randa Flannery – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_MissingHaunted by her best friend’s disappearance, always practical Rowan Quaide lives a life of cold logic. As an intelligence analyst, her world is ruled by who has the best strategy and Ro’s reasoned control makes her Queen.

A Chance encounter with a man from her past stretches the bounds of reason and throws her into a game of dark deception and danger. With the past creeping from her nightmares into her reality, Ro pits herself against the monster determined to destroy the new love she’s found.

As the intel gets more and more disturbing and events begin to spin out of control, she must rely on her instincts and cling to an unreasonable truth, or allow logic to tear her apart.

Enjoy an excerpt:

He turned to her with a considering gaze. “You’re a fascinating woman, Quaide,” he spoke softly. “A strange mix of pragmatic and unwillingly romantic with just a touch of eager rashness.”

Rowan wanted to laugh it off, but was lulled by his voice and those fathomless eyes that always seemed able to hold her gaze so easily. So she simply watched as he slowly moved closer.

“I find myself…” He paused and she saw him swallow, watched the movement of his throat, and noted the unevenness of his breathing. She noted with vague surprise that her own matched it. “Mesmerized,” he finished on a whisper.

She felt the air thicken around them, that quickening of anticipation. Her heart danced in her chest and her limbs quivered. His hand reached up to touch her hair, her neck, her cheek with gentle caresses that made her tingle, made her stomach tighten. She licked her lips nervously and saw his eyes darken, a deep flush answering in her cheeks. It made no sense, she thought dimly, to feel all this before he’d even kissed her.

He lowered his head those final few inches, meeting her trembling lips with his. It was the merest of touches, almost hesitant more than patient. It shouldn’t have made her knees weak or her stomach flutter. It surely shouldn’t have breathed heat through her or caused her to shudder. She’d been kissed before, with the crushing of mouths and dueling of tongues, and those kisses had never made her weak or needy. But this one did. It did all of those things that it shouldn’t have.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_MissingRanda Flannery has an a degree in English and writes a variety of romantic fiction, including suspense, comedy, and urban fantasy. Randa is a member of the Romance Writers of America and lives as an expat with her husband and children in FuYang, China.

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First Season/Bride to Be by Jane Ashford – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcome Jane Ashford, who is here as part of a virtual book tour organized by her publisher for the release of the First Season / Bride To Be. duology. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to win a copy of the book.

10_8 FirstSeasonBrideToBeTwo classic Regency romances by beloved bestselling author Jane Ashford celebrate the adventures of a London Season


Widowed Lady Anabel Wyndham was married right out of the schoolroom and has never before experienced the delights of a London Season. She’s dazzled by the attention of the fascinating Sir Charles Norbury, a man whose touch seems to melt her very soul, but a notorious rake. She’s drawn to handsome friend-of-the-family Christopher Hanford and the comfort and serenity he offers. But how does one choose between two such charming suitors? Anabel is finding that love is so much more dangerous the second time around.


Emily Crane is the toast of the ton—and she couldn’t find it more tedious. Until she encounters the darkly sensual stranger whose life she once saved and the London Season becomes infinitely more exciting. Recently returned from the wilds of South America, Lord Richard Sheldon has only contempt for tiresome London chits, but he finds himself stunningly intrigued by the dauntless Emily Crane. When the two become embroiled in a budding scandal and are forced into an engagement, they discover a passion more dangerous than any killer…

Enjoy an excerpt from First Season:

“There you are,” said someone from the hall below. “They said you had gone upstairs.”

Anabel looked down to find Sir Charles Norbury gazing up at her. A tingling shock ran through her body, and the candle trembled a little, dripping wax.

“You have missed the first waltz,” he added, meeting her at the bottom of the staircase and taking the candlestick from her hand. He snuffed the flame between forefinger and thumb and set it aside. “And I came early especially to engage you for it.”

“I wanted to look in on the children.” As always, his presence overwhelmed her. He seemed to tower over her, yet his pale green eyes felt close and compelling. She found it hard to breathe.

“It is a country dance now, unfortunately. Mayn’t we wait outside here for the next and hope?” He smiled and reached for her hand to lead her across to a small empty anteroom.

Anabel knew she should say no, but her voice seemed to have died, and she went with him silently and allowed him to escort her to a sofa and sit beside her, his arm thrown along its back.

“You look exquisite tonight,” he said softly. “The loveliest woman at the ball.”

This outrageous compliment revived her. “What a plumper. There are dozens of prettier ones.”


“Flatterer.” She smiled, but when she met his eyes, they were very serious.

“No,” he said again. “To me you are the most beautiful.” He held her gaze for a moment, then slowly bent forward and took possession of her lips, his arm tightening around her shoulders.

Anabel’s slight trembling increased, and her mind dissolved in confusion. She should pull away, part of it cried; this was terribly fast, and someone might come in at any moment. But another part urged her on, fascinated by Sir Charles’ attractions and filled with curiosity.

His kiss was very expert, and nothing at all like her deceased husband’s, Anabel’s only standard of comparison. His lips seemed to draw all strength out of her, leaving her limp and pliant, yet she felt disconnected from the expected sensual pleasure. He knew how to draw response from her body, clearly, but her heart and mind remained in turmoil.

Norbury, on the contrary, was in the grip of feelings stronger than any he had ever experienced, and for him the kiss confirmed a decision. This was the woman he wanted. Never had his passions been suffused with such emotion. Beyond thinking, he moved his free hand to Anabel’s knee and slid it upward caressingly, savoring the curve of her waist under the thin satin dress and cupping his fingers around her breast. She drew her breath in sharply.

A scuff of footsteps in the hall, followed by a scrap of conversation and a laugh, jerked Anabel upright. She pulled away from him only just in time to avoid being caught by two couples coming into the room. But it was obvious in the way that the newcomers stopped, smiled, and apologized that their appearance gave them away. Anabel rose and hurried from the room, Norbury behind her. Her cheeks were flaming, and she felt that she could not possibly face the crowd in the ballroom.

About the Author: 10_8 JaneAshfordJane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Her historical and contemporary romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Twenty-six of her new and backlist Regency romances are being published by Sourcebooks. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. She is currently rather nomadic.

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Alice Through Bloodstained Glass by Dan Adams – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

MediaKit_BookCover_AliceThroughBloodstainedGlass Alice is minding her younger sister when the Zombie apocalypse hits. She has to find safety but is thwarted at every turn – by a strange man, by two stoners. The world has gone mad and she doesn’t know who to trust.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Alice registered the confused look on her sister’s face and traced her line of sight along her outstretched arm to her finger that pointed to a man racing along the edge of the park. The sight was peculiar, if nothing else. Unlike the joggers Alice noticed on her way to and from school, who ran the circuit daily, this man was dressed in a fine grey suit. The perspiration had soaked all the way through the jacket, leaving a dark stain that was clearly visible even from this distance.

The man was running toward them and Alice instinctively stood and moved in front of her sister, resting her hands on her hips in an attempt to look as intimidating as possible. Last term she had adopted the same stance in the playground when Susie P had stormed up to her and accused her of snitching. She had held her ground then and Susie was a proper bitch — this guy looked like he had nothing on a pampered schoolgirl.

‘Oh dear, oh dear,’ he muttered as he saw them, huffing between words to catch his breath.

Alice didn’t know what he meant by that but even her little sister had risen, and now stood behind her, clutching her book to her chest like a makeshift shield.

He slowed, glancing over his shoulder, then to his phone, then back over his shoulder again before slowing and changing his direction to come their way. Behind him the street was empty, and the air hung heavy with static, a shimmering haze warped the road in the distance.

‘What are you doing outside?’ he asked in disbelief.

Alice thought it was none of his business and told him as such.

‘Didn’t you see the news?! It’s been all over the television and radio.’

‘Do you see any of either of those around here?’ she retorted, indicating with the wave of her hand the open expanse of the park.

He looked at her like she hadn’t heard a word he had said. ‘The infection … it’s been all over the news. They are telling everyone to remain indoors and people who display symptoms are … dangerous.’

‘What do you mean infection?’

The man was clearly getting frustrated, ‘The fatal kind.’

Alice’s sister let out a whimper behind her. It probably wasn’t as bad as he was making out. People died all the time from diseases.

At the sight of her questioning raised eyebrow, the man elaborated. ‘It’s worse than just death. Once they die, they get back up and start feeding on the closest human. If you don’t believe me check out YouTube. I’m sure someone’s posted something by now.’

Alice skimmed her finger along the screen of her phone, quickly thumbed in her password without taking her eyes from his face. He was looking nervous; his fingers were shaking and he kept looking back in the direction he had come from.

A moment later she had opened a browser and was skimming through videos labeled ‘zombie outbreak’, ‘woman eats child’ and ‘The apocalypse is here’. She clicked on the first and tapped her foot impatiently as the video loaded. The screen opened and was filled with a woman cradling a man in her arms, both covered in blood. At first it looked nothing more like some horrific accident, and the woman was grieving the loss. Until the woman leant down and tore a chunk of flesh from the man’s chest, ripping her head back and Alice could clearly see meat dangling from her mouth, her jaw moving up and down as she devoured it.

Alice put the back of her hand over her mouth to stop herself from vomiting. The video panned down the street behind the meal and a crowd of blood-covered monsters were shuffling toward the filmer’s location. Then someone muttered ‘Oh fuck’ and the video cut off abruptly.

Alice’s face was drained of colour as she slowly put her phone away. The man, who had stood patiently while she discovered the horrid truth for herself, was now jumping from foot to foot, scanning the distance.

‘Ok, I believe you now.’

‘Finally. They are evacuating the city at four different points. We’re closer to the south exit, at the school on Williams street. Do you know where that is?’

‘Yeah, I know.’

The man pulled his phone back out of his waistcoat pocket and looked at the time. ‘We’ve got 20 minutes before they quarantine the city and no one else gets out. The army will probably fire bomb the city if ground troops can’t deal with it.’

Alice wondered if he had formerly been in the military or if he was just repeating what he had heard on the news. It didn’t really matter, but she was curious, if only for a second. She was about to ask him when the sound of smashing glass resonated in the distance followed a split second later by a wailing car alarm. Then there was the high-pitched scream.

‘Fuck it, let’s go! I don’t want to be late,’ the man ordered, before turning and racing off south.

Alice looked at her sister then back at the man. She grabbed Elizabeth by the hand and raced after him, risking a glance back over her shoulder. She immediately knew she shouldn’t have. The first wave of the walking corpses came around the corner where the man had come from and her heart leapt into her throat.

Alice fixated on the man at the front of the pack. Perhaps ‘man’ was a loose description now.

Half his face was missing, exposing the whiteness of the jaw and teeth underneath the skin and muscle. Blood dripped from the remains of his dark goatee and covered the front of his white shirt. His head hung to one side and he seemed to be dragging his left foot along with each labored step of his right.

‘Don’t turn around sis, just keep your eyes focused on the man in front of us, the man in the waistcoat,’ Alice pleaded, making a bigger push to catch up to him.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_AliceThroughBloodstainedGlassDan Adams is a Sydney-based writer. When he’s not penning kick ass war stories, he’s working on his guns – the arm variety, rather than the weapons featured so prominently in his books. He loves slushies and always finds himself climbing too many stairs on Wednesdays.

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Black Diamonds by Vogue – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_BlackDiamondsWithin the last year, acclaimed fashion designer, Carmen Davenport, has witnessed the ups and downs of being romantically linked to one of New York’s most prominent men. On the heel of her engagement to Jay Santiago, a Puerto Rican businessman, she learns her oldest daughter has been kidnapped. A direct result of an ongoing war between her fiancé and a disgruntled drug kingpin, Carmen becomes determined to put an official end to the conflict.

She sets out to track down her daughter only to be met with unforeseen obstacles. A criminal investigation, led by her soon-to-be ex-husband, Michael Kane, leaves her fiancé behind bars. Due to Jay’s incarceration, Carmen is placed in the care of his estranged cousin, Gully. He constantly reminds Carmen of the price of fame, ultimately forcing her to take matters in her own hands. Determined to bring her daughter to safety, she takes a no holds barred approach to ensure her daughter’s return.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Carmen raised her brow before looking at the alarm clock. It was a little past twelve, which meant she had been sleep for only three hours or so. Somehow, in between that time, something had happened to prompt a phone call. Instead of instantly thinking the worst, she told the man she was indeed Carmen.

“Mrs. Davenport, I hate to disturb you at this hour, but I am Detective Morris from the Copperton City Police Department. I’m calling because your vehicle was located at the corner of Middleton Avenue. For some reason, no one was in it. Now, the number I’m calling is a New York number. Did you recently move to Copperton City from New York?”

“No, no,” Carmen repeated as she continued to wipe her face. “I’m not in Georgia. I have two daughters who are. The car is a Lexus, right? You said you located it where?”

“Mrs. Davenport, the car is a Lexus, and it’s in your name. We located it at the corner of Middleton Avenue and Parrish. No one was in it, but the front windshield has been shattered as well as the driver’s side window. The car is badly damaged, but no one took anything. There was even a purse and cell phone located in the car. A wallet was also there with money, debit cards, and credit cards still inside. The driver’s license we found was for a Kristian Kane. Do you know her?”

“That’s my daughter,” Carmen yelped, now fully awake. She pushed the bed sheets away from her just as Jay’s arm latched onto hers.

“Who is it?” Jay asked, sitting up as well.

Carmen shook her head at him, pulling her arm away from his. To put even more space in between them, she stood from the bed, heading towards the balcony.

“Ma’am, most of the time in these situations, we find a victim and their property is gone. Since there wasn’t a victim found, we are ruling this as a kidnapping. We would like for you to come down to the station in the morning. That will give us enough time to piece together the details. Will you be able to make it by let’s say ten o’clock?”

While her face once held an expression of concern, it now became enraged at the detective’s words.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_BlackDiamondsBorn and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Vogue’s journey through the world of creative writing first began in middle school with poetry and songwriting. While the mix of rhythm and words was the initial passage to self-expression, it was the discovery of prose that opened the door to a world of endless possibilities. An avid reader of Urban Fiction, Vogue felt the need to create literary works that had an equal balance of street lit, drama, romance, and faith-based undertones.

A graduate of Winthrop University (Rock Hill, S.C.), possessing a bachelor’s degree in social work, Vogue, first birthed the idea of The Diamond Collection in the halls of her alma mater. In 2003, she put pen to paper and thus was created, Diamonds In The Rough, part one of The Diamond Collection series.

By 2010, Vogue had written drafts of the entire ten book series and in June of 2010, Diamonds In The Rough, was published for her to share with the rest of the world. Soon followed by Diamonds Are Forever in October of 2010 and The Ace of Diamonds in February of 2013, Vogue joined the league of other writers, determined to make her mark in the literary world.

Still writing, Vogue released the fourth book in the series, Black Diamonds, on July 4, 2015. She is currently working on Diamonds N’ Roses, the fifth installment of the series.

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It’s October, Do You Know Where Your Bathing Suit Is? by Judy Teel – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

It’s October, Do You Know Where Your Bathing Suit Is?

It seems like a long time ago that I was at the beach. It was only August in fact, a week before our oldest headed back to college and her sister to high school. My husband’s parents came down and we all headed for Oak Island.

Renting a house on the beach with a fabulous ocean view is one of my favorite kinds of vacations. Don’t get me wrong, I love the mountains or visiting family at Christmas, and I adore the occasional weekend getaway with my husband, but there’s something about sitting around on a covered porch and looking at the ocean that erases my stress and obsessively driven tendencies faster than anything in this world.

10_6 Copyright Judy Teel 1

I love everything about a week at the beach. Especially having only one goal, that of reading a book or two by one of my favorite authors. Nothing earth shattering mind you, just something fun and adventurous and if there’s some romance in it, I’m good with that too. Very good.

In addition to being incredibly lazy, I like to take non-serious strolls on the beach, or better yet take a chair down to the water and sit in it — the chair not the surf, since generally speaking I don’t care for sand where sand is not meant to be. Going out to eat is also a favorite pastime enjoyed by all, but my top choice of activities is taking a nap on the shaded porch with the sound of the ocean, the seagulls calling, and the laughter of other people’s young children soothing me into oblivion.

If, in my superbly relaxed state, wonderful ideas for books or scenes or characters pop up, I respect their presence and jot them down, but I don’t go looking for them. A week at the beach is my time to rest and renew. All those busy people and worlds in my head need to settle down and take a load off for a while.

I don’t think I would ever choose to live at the coast. The cares and To Do lists of everyday life would be bound to put a damper on the ambiance. The wonderful word “vacation” put after the equally beautiful word “beach” makes all the difference.
Yes. Definitely.

10_6 Copyright Judy Teel 2

MediaKit_BookCover_SavageMagicA deadly disease from an unknown origin…

Addison Kittner and ex-FBI agent Cooper Daine arrive at Bone Clan expecting a warm welcome. Instead they’re imprisoned and placed under quarantine, where they discover that the werewolf mountain Clans are being decimated by a deadly plague which can’t be cured.

An old obligation that changes everything…

With only a few days to live, Cooper’s brother, Alpha of Bone Clan, asks Cooper to fulfill his promise, one that’s crucial to their Clan’s survival. But if he does, Cooper risks loosing Addison. Forever.

An ancient creature bred for genocide…

Determined to stop the plague and cure Cooper’s brother, Addison defies Clan law and sneaks away to an ancient ruin which might hold the key. There she discovers an unexpected link to her past and inadvertently calls forth an immortal monster that will destroy the paranormal races protecting humanity if it can’t be stopped.

But as Cooper and Addison battle to stop the annihilation of the Clans and the forces trying to tear their bond apart, something even more powerful and deadly gathers just out of sight…

And prepares to strike.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The scent of blood got stronger, pulling my thoughts back and making my heart pound a little harder against my chest. Slipping a knife from the sheath inside my right boot, I watched the flutter of shadows on the path below where it turned and disappeared behind a thick wall of laurels. Slow breath in…Silent breath out…

Deeper shadows emerged and took shape — a man and a woman, both dressed for living outdoors and blending in. And there was Cooper, complacently allowing them to roughly pull him along between them, his nose and a cut on his cheek seeping blood. Weird. Cooper was built like an early twenty-first century Olympic gymnast and I’d seen him take out opponents in less than ten seconds without a single blow landing on him. How had they managed to subdue him?

I watched them come closer and pass below me. The woman on one side of Cooper was medium height with light skin and dark red hair that she’d pulled back into a short ponytail with a strip of leather. The man on the other side was tall and muscular with tanned skin, his bright red hair in a military cut.

I adjusted the soles of my logger boots against the branch under me to give myself a more solid launch, judged the distance — and jumped.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_SavageMagicJudy Teel was born in Virginia and moved to North Carolina just before middle school. She’s a fiction author and novelist writing in the dystopian urban fantasy genre. Her stories deliver mystery with some thriller elements, a kick-butt heroine with a large dash of snark in her, a bit more than a touch of romance with a guy that makes readers’ hearts beat a little faster, and a wild ride full of action and emotion from start to finish.

Shifty Magic is permanently free on all platforms and Undercover Magic is free as a thank you gift for anyone who signs up on my readers list.

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Flicker by Courtney Houston – Spotlight and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Courtney will be awarding a $5 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

MediaKit_BookCover_FlickerMy name is Catalina Franklin. And I should be dead.

When Death called my number, sending one of her Guides to take my soul, she didn’t count on one thing. The Guide she sent – He was made for me, and I for him. Pulling me back from the arms of Death, Telor changed my fate – and his. Now we’re left with the question of not only how he’s still here, but why. Will we get the answers we need? Or will Death find us first? Only time will tell…but ours is quickly running out.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Every part of me wanted to materialize right in front of her, to take her in my arms and hold her close. That was the type of self-serving bastard that I was. Was, I was that man. I could be different now. She made me want to be different.

“I can’t remember you. I’m trying, but I can’t. I don’t know how to explain it, but I know there is a you, whatever that means. I can feel this abstract idea of a you.” She wiped angry tears from her face and took a deep breath, releasing it in a puff of smoke and wrapping her arms around herself to help ward off the cold.

“Go in the house, crazy girl,” I said aloud. “You’ll catch your death out here.”

Her eyes traveled over me, feeling rather than seeing me.

“Good, God.” She rubbed her eyes roughly with the heel of her hands and let out a cry of frustration. “Look at me, standing in my backyard, talking to the wind. I’m going crazy. I’m really going crazy. Now, I’m talking to myself.”

Despite the seriousness of the situation, my lips tilted upward into a small smile. Wanting to soothe her obvious pain, I made a split-second decision. I stood and walked toward her so we were standing face to face, her hot breath exhaling onto my face. I wanted to embrace her and hold her in my arms.

“You’re not crazy,” I told her, sliding my knuckles down the side of her face, taking pleasure in the way she closed her eyes and leaned into my touch.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_FlickerCourtney lives in Kentucky with her husband (Mr. Houston), her two boys (Emmett and Ellis), her two cats (Polly and Jed) and her 3 chickens. Legal Assistant by day and writer by night, Courtney enjoys pancakes, coffee, wine and the number 26. She’s a Leo, at least that’s what the tattoo on her back says.

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Horizon by Keith Stevenson – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

MediaKit_BookCover_Horizon Thirty-four light years from Earth, the explorer ship Magellan is nearing its objective – the Iota Persei system. But when ship commander Cait Dyson wakes from deepsleep, she finds her co-pilot dead and the ship’s AI unresponsive. Cait works with the rest of her multinational crew to regain control of the ship, until they learn that Earth is facing total environmental collapse and their mission must change if humanity is to survive.

As tensions rise and personal and political agendas play out in the ship’s cramped confines, the crew finally reach the planet Horizon, where everything they know will be challenged.

“Crackling science fiction with gorgeous trans-human and cybernetic trimmings. Keith Stevenson’s debut novel soars.” – Marianne De Pierres, award-winning authors of the Parrish Plessis, Sentients of Orion and Peacemaker series

Enjoy an excerpt:

Cait waited a moment then launched herself into the tube, reaching out as she moved along to acquire some spin. Nadira disappeared from sight, tumbling over the lip at the far end in one graceful move.

It had been obvious from the start that Nadira’s last-minute inclusion on the mission was going to be problematic. The nukes that took out targets in the Middle East and Asia, and prompted the Compact’s formation, had been followed by fifty years of bitter and protracted Pax-led sanctions. Nadira’s presence on board was meant to herald a new era of détente between the Compact and the Pax Americana. But while politicians made and broke alliances almost without thinking, the wounds history inflicted on individuals took longer to heal.

Cait swung herself over the lip of the tube, feeling her internal organs settle as she descended the ladder and stopped halfway. On the floor below it was easy to forget where you were, but from this vantage point the curvature of the drum was more obvious. The layout inside clustered the harnesses, med lab, gym, ship controls and so on against the fore and aft walls, leaving a broad walkway running around the midpoint. Lighting and colouring were muted and shadows minimal, giving an illusion of space, but it was still just the inside of a large can. An odd place to spend the best part of a century.

She took a breath, feeling oddly separated from the others below. She realised that up until now things had been easy, despite the bickering. Lex’s attentions too had been part of a game they’d played on the out-system leg. But now it was very different. Out here they could be sure their bodies would never be found if disaster struck. There would be no one to mourn them, no marker to show how far out they’d come. Sure, this had been the case when they were mere light days from Earth. But it felt more true out here, in the space between the stars. The hard, uncaring void, as Sharpe would say before pulling some stupid terror-stricken face and doubling up with laughter. She just wasn’t sure how far she should go in adapting herself to that difference. She couldn’t quieten the nagging feeling that she was pushing too hard just to keep up the illusion of moving towards a solution — forcing Lex to wake Bren early, ordering the reboot without a more considered study of the situation. Her head hurt too much, and she wanted to sleep. How could that be when she’d only just woken after forty-five years?

People reacted differently to emergency situations — herself included. Under the circumstances, perhaps Nadira’s continued aloofness was understandable. Cait wondered what reaction was the right one for her? She felt dizzy again and clung to the ladder, closing her eyes and breathing deeply. The drum servos hummed through the wall, maintaining the spin. Inside there was light, air, everything was quiet. It was hard to believe they were in the midst of an emergency, hard to keep focusing on that. But the emergency was real. And that was why she had to keep going.

Holding onto that thought, she finished her descent and made her way back to Lex. He looked up from his monitor as she came close and shook his head.

‘No change. The implant’s hooked up but I haven’t been able to influence it. I don’t even know if it’s functioning.’

‘Keep a close eye on her,’ Cait said. ‘We’re going to reboot the main computer.’

‘What difference will that make?’

Cait frowned. ‘I don’t know. Just watch her, okay?’

She glided over to the command port again. Her PAL was settled above the port, already linked to Harris’s.

‘I’m in position, Harris. Ready when you are.’

‘It’ll just take a moment,’ Harris said over the link.

Cait began setting up her screen to monitor the key systems simultaneously.

‘You have to stop her! Don’t let her do it!’

Cait turned at the noise. Bren was trying to get up; Lex was struggling against her. She turned to look at Cait, eyes wild as she forced Lex’s hands away.

‘Don’t reboot Phillips, Cait! You’ll kill us all!’

About the Author:Keith Stevenson is a speculative fiction writer, editor, reviewer, publisher and podcaster. He was editor of Aurealis Magazine – Australian Fantasy and Science Fiction from 2001 to the end of 2004 and formed the multi-award winning independent press coeur de lion publishing in 2005. In 2014 he launched Dimension6 magazine and became a speculative fiction reviewer for the Newtown Review of Books. He blogs about the ideas and issues behind Horizon at http://www.horizonbooks.com.au and you can learn more about his work at www.keithstevenson.com.

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My Day Behind the Scenes by Ellen Byerrum – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

My Day Behind the Scenes

What is my writing day like? It depends on what part of the process I am in. Toward the end of a draft, I might work steadily for eight or ten hours, or more. So let’s go to the start of a new book, where I tend to be out and about a bit more.

My day begins about 7:30 a.m. I pour myself out of bed and get ready for a water aerobics class at 8:30 a.m. at a regional indoor pool about two blocks from my home. After some Greek yogurt and possibly some coffee, I grab my gym bag and I’m off. I need exercise as much for my brain as for my body. A vigorous workout settles my mind, and I often come up with ideas for the book, or another book. I might overhear some memorable dialogue, come up with a connection, solve a story problem. I love to swim, I love the water, and I like it warm.

After the pool, I shower, dress, and put on makeup. I believe makeup is an act of public service. You’re welcome. Also, I am not a person who can write in pajamas, though I understand there are many people who do, so I’m dressed before I start writing. I go home around 10 a.m. and fire up the computer, where I tend to my business, check in with Facebook, maybe Twitter, and deal with email. It’s the usual procrastination, but it’s important to check in with my readers and the writing world. I’ll organize my writing and my thoughts and later probably fix a small lunch.

The rest of the day is spent on writing, with short breaks. I might work at home, but on this day I’ll take my notes and my laptop and head for the library, which is about six blocks away. After being a reporter working in newsrooms for many years, I like working in different environments. I don’t like being cooped up at home. Some writers are reputed to be able to write only while facing a blank wall to eliminate distractions. I’d feel as if I were being punished. I enjoy the library because I can take the occasional 15-minute break and check out the magazines. Mostly I enjoy being out of the house and not worrying about housework, or answering the phone, or being interrupted.

I can write on the keyboard, but I still like to write by hand, especially in the first draft. The brain-hand-pen-paper connection seems stronger to me and the ideas flow in a different way. A purer way. That’s when the writing can surprise me. It’s much more satisfying than complaining that writing is hard, which I tend do a lot.

After a few hours at the library, I’ll walk to a coffee shop and continue writing or editing for another hour or so, until it’s time to go home. Often my husband picks me up.

My husband Bob just said, “Don’t forget napping!” Right. Naps are Heaven’s little rewards for living. My brain is tired, so I often take a half-hour nap in the afternoon or early evening. I deserve a nap.

At night, I’ll think about my work, possibly engage in a lively discussion with Bob over characters or plot or some fine point of the story. We’ll watch some TV or a movie, or if it’s a nice evening, we’ll take a walk. Then I check my email again and write a few emails and blog posts.

Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? Nonstop glamour, that’s the writing life.

MediaKit_BookCover_TheDollhouseInTheCrawlspaceIf you lost your memories, would you lose your soul?

“In my memories, my eyes are always green.”

After a devastating accident, a young woman finds herself recovering in a memory research facility. Her eyes are brown; her memories are broken. Years of her life are blank, yet she remembers being two very different women, one called Tennyson, the other Marissa. If she can’t trust her memories or her own eyes, who can she trust? To save her sanity and her life, she begins a secret journal between the lines of Homer’s Odyssey—and her own harrowing odyssey into madness and murder. Lost among her shattered memories, can she find her true self?

Enjoy an excerpt:

January is an empty page in the calendar. February never happened at all. I started to wake up in March, along with the forsythia bush that grows outside the bedroom of my suite at the Campus. Before that, time is a blur. Not just January and February. My entire life. Aside from the shadows in my dreams and an occasional voice, the bright yellow flowers of late March on stark brown stems are the first things I remember clearly, as if I had just been born. Every day the blossoms grow thicker and the green leaves push through bare stalks. It’s the forsythia that told me to start living again. That and my nightmares. I started to look for the magnolias, the daffodils, the tulips. I remembered tulips. If they could erupt out of the dormant soil, maybe I could as well.

Giles insists it was the constant care of the superior medical staff at the Campus who tended to me after the accident who brought me back to the land of the living.

I was heavily medicated, he says, and I needed to recover from my physical injuries, as well as the injuries to my soul. There were hours and hours of physical and mental therapy. But my mind was still caught by the Fog. Slowly, Dr. Embry says, he’s trying to wean me from the heavier drugs, though there are still the “maintenance” meds, which he insists are necessary. Pills that dull my brain and my senses, the pills I now ditch on a regular basis. Pills whose names I didn’t recall or want to recall.

He holds the threat of more medication over my head. I want to throw something at him that would wipe that smug expression off his face.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_TheDollhouseInTheCrawlspaceEllen Byerrum is a novelist, playwright, reporter, former Washington D.C. journalist, and a graduate of private investigator school in Virginia. The Dollhouse in the Crawlspace is her first suspense thriller, which introduces Tennyson Claxton, a woman with two sets of memories from two very different women.

Ellen also writes the Crime of Fashion mysteries, which star a savvy, stylish female sleuth named Lacey Smithsonian, a reluctant fashion reporter in Washington D.C. (“The City Fashion Forgot”).Two of the COF books, Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover, were filmed for the Lifetime Movie Network and can occasionally be seen on odd dates and odd times in the middle of the night. The latest book in that series is Lethal Black Dress, but there will be more to come.

She has also penned a middle grade mystery, The Children Didn’t See Anything. She occasionally writes a newsletter that contains her latest publishing information.

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