Broken Spire by Sue Perkins – Spotlight and Giveaway


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

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

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

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

Enjoy an Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

My Take on Critique Groups

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

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

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

Enjoy an excerpt

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

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

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

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Favorite Summer Recipes by Heidi McLaughlin – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release tomorrow of Heidi McLaughlin’s Grand Slam, the third book in her The Boys of Summer series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to win a digital copy of the book.

Favorite Summer Recipes
Oh boy. I don’t have any recipes. When I cook, it’s all from memory with what my great grandmother or mother taught me.

I love making a pistachio pie – from my great grandma’s recipe

My husband makes balsamic chicken and garlic salted green beans
*Marinate chicken breasts in maple balsamic dressing for the day
*Marinate fresh green beans in garlic salt for the day.
Cook on barbeque!

Another fave is fried chicken. Very bad for you because it’s fried, but nonetheless the best, especially after you’ve let it sit and cool down for a bit.

Win the game. Lose your heart.

Everyone knows who I am and that I could have any female fan I want. That’s supposed to be the “perk” of playing left field for the Boston Renegades. But I don’t want just any woman; I want her.

She should be just another face in the crowd, but I can’t stop thinking about the one night we spent together-and her look of regret the morning after.

Because Saylor Blackwell is the kind of woman who haunts a man. Smart, sexy as hell, and one of the best managers in the business. She’s every ballplayer’s dream woman. And I’d do anything to make things right with her.

I’m done sitting on the bench when it comes to Saylor Blackwell. Time to swing for the fences.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Whenever I wake up with a hangover, I often ask myself why I drank so much and promise that I’ll never do it again. That promise is something I’ve been breaking for the past few days, and up until now, I didn’t care.

I had hoped the booze would muddy my memory of last night, but it hasn’t. Every word she said, every expression she had, every punch to my chest to get me out of her apartment is crystal clear. I fucked up, and I don’t even know how. All I know is that the sobs I heard on the other side of Saylor’s door last night were enough to sober my stupid ass up.

For hours, I sat against her door, until a resident suggested I leave or they were going to call the police. If I hadn’t been arrested ear- lier, I probably would have encouraged them to dial Boston’s Finest. Another man might understand my plight. The woman that I want to be with kicked me out of her house, and while I probably deserved it, I didn’t want to leave until she stopped crying. I didn’t want to be the one to walk away in her time of need.

But as egos go—and believe me, mine is huge—I couldn’t let it get in the way any longer, so I walked my drunk ass back home with my tail between my legs, only to stay up all night while the booze wore off, knowing that I had to live with whatever I’d done to Saylor.

She’s the last person in the world who I want to hurt, and she’s the one person who can save me. Not only from a life behind bars, but from myself. When I’m with her, I’m a different person. The cocky son of a bitch whom everyone is used to doesn’t exist when she’s near me, and frankly, that is the man I like, or at least I used to. It’s easier being a fucking douche. It’s second nature to me and comes with the territory of being named one of the city’s most eligible bachelors.

Except when I’m with Saylor, I can be the man who hides in the shadow of that Travis Kidd. I can be the kind of man who doesn’t have to have a one-liner available or wink in order to get a phone number. When I’m with her, life outside of baseball starts to have a meaning, a fucking purpose.

About the Author: Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell, Buttercup and a Highland West/Mini Schnauzer, Jill.

When she isn’t writing one of the many stories planned for release, you’ll find her sitting courtside during either daughter’s basketball games.

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Spotlight and Giveaway for Debra Holt’s Books


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy an Excerpt from Mercy’s Rescue

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A staid duke

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

A bold lady

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

A decadent desire

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

Enjoy an Excerpt

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

Under ordinary circumstances, that was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She had no earthly idea what.

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

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

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

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Of Frustration and Temptation by Lisabet Sarai – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Lisabet Sarai as she celebrates the release of her newest book Damned If You Do. Lisabet will be giving away three $10 bookstore gift certificates during her release blitz, and three free ebook copies of her BDSM erotic romance The Gazillionaire and the Virgin. The blitz ends June 1st.

To enter, readers must:

Sign up for her VIP email list AND/OR leave a comment with their email address on her release day announcement page.

Of Frustration and Temptation

Being an author is not for sissies. You pour your heart and soul into your stories. You spend hours of your scarce time and more money than you can afford on marketing. With each new release, you hope you’ll finally grab the attention of the book-buying crowd, that you’ll get the readership and the remuneration you deserve.

If that doesn’t happen (and given the number of people publishing books these days, odds are that it won’t), you’re stuck with the bitter knowledge that all your passion and effort were for nothing. This can be deeply demoralizing, even if you’re not trying to make your living as an author. If you depend on your writing to pay your bills, you’ve got financial anxiety added to your frustration.

I know this frustration only too well. My books receive consistent five star reviews, but somehow I’ve never been a commercial success. Thus, Damned If You Do is a rather personal story.

What would I do if I could magically turn my books into best sellers? How much would that be worth to me? That’s the question my romance author heroine faces when a mysterious stranger shows up waving a contract and promising her fame and fortune, sensual pleasure and the fulfillment of her most secret desires.

All he asks in return is her soul.

Crazy. Dangerous, maybe. But so, so tempting!

Wendy Dennison is tired of being a starving author. The royalties from her critically acclaimed romance novels barely pay her bills. Her devoted agent Daniel Rochester may be smart and sexy, but he can’t get her the sales she needs. Then a charismatic stranger appears at her coffee shop table, promising her fame and commercial success, as well as the chance to live out her dreams of erotic submission. But at what cost?

Nothing you can’t afford to lose, my dear.

Seduced by the enigmatic Mister B, she signs his infernal contract. He becomes both her Master and her coach, managing her suddenly flourishing career as well as encouraging her lusts. Under her mentor’s nefarious influence, she surrenders to temptation and has sex with Daniel. The casual encounter turns serious when she discovers her mild mannered agent has a dominant side. As the clock ticks down to her blockbuster release and Mister B prepares to claim her soul, Wendy must choose either celebrity and wealth, or obscurity and true love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The limo deposited her in front of her little house and floated away. A bit weary from the lengthy ordeal at the salon, Wendy almost tripped over the figure sitting on her front steps.

“Dan! What are you doing here?”

Her agent looked rumpled and haggard. He didn’t even bother to stand, though his eyes were hungry as he surveyed her.

“You don’t answer my calls. You ignore my emails. I figured the only way I could get through to you was to show up at your door.”

“Emails? I haven’t heard from you in months! I figured you were mad at me…”

“Every day, Wendy. I’ve sent you a message every single day. I’ve called again and again. That damned personal assistant of yours answers every time.” He rose to his feet finally, looking around with a scowl. “Where is the bastard, anyway?”

“I—um—I’m not sure. I think he’s doing some errands.” She rummaged in her bag for her key. “Come inside. We’ll talk.”

“No. You come with me.” He grabbed her sleeve, pulling her down the walkway toward a gray Taurus with a Steelers Rent-a-Car decal parked across the street. “You’ve got to get away from that guy. He’s dangerous.”

“Dangerous? What are you talking about? He’s been great for my career.”

Dan grabbed her shoulders and shook her, hard. “Wake up, Wendy! He’s got you under some kind of spell. You’ve become a totally different person.”

She tore herself free. “Yeah, I have. Instead of being a loser, I’m finally a successful author.”

“You’ve cut yourself off from everyone. I got an email from Jenna the other day. You do remember Jenna, right? Your old friend Jenna Martin? She was worried. Said she hadn’t been able to get in touch for weeks.”

Jenna. How odd. Wendy hadn’t even thought about her, not since that afternoon in the coffee shop when her crit partner sent the link about Sapphire Sands. The afternoon Mister B had come into her life. In the old days, they communicated nearly every day.

“I’ve been busy. Busy writing.”

“Is that all you’ve been doing? That slimy character Bent loves to suggest you two have been involved in other activities…”

She tried to take his arm. He shook her off. “Please, Dan, calm down. I’m fine. I’ve finally found my writing groove. Everything is going great.” She flashed him what she hoped was a charming smile. “I’m going to be on the Breakfast in America show later this week.”

“I wondered why you were all gussied up.” His bitter tone made her wince.

“You should be happy for me. After all, I’m making plenty of money for you, too!”

“Forget about money for once. What about feelings?” He grabbed her with both hands, pulled her close and held her tight against his body.

About the Author:LISABET SARAI occasionally tackles other genres, but BDSM will always be her first love. Every one of her nine novels includes some element of power exchange, while her D/s short stories range from mildly kinky to intensely perverse.

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website, along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance, she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads and finally, on Twitter.

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

 

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

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

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

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


*****

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

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

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

Enjoy an Excerpt from Foolish Bride

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

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

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

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

About the Authors:

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


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*****

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


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How to Make a Spanish Omelet by Laura Bailo – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Laura Bailo whose debut novel The Sun Still Rises releases today.

How to make a Spanish omelet

If there’s one thing I love about writing books set in Spain, it’s introducing people to our food and making them curious to try it. In The Sun Still Rises, David and Erik cook a Spanish omelet, so here’s the recipe for that one.

But first, the ingredients. You’ll need:
• Potatoes – let’s say four mid-sized ones.
• Eggs – let’s say four.
• Onion – one. Also, there’s a whole fight between Spanish people that prefer their omelets with onion, and those who prefer them without.
• Olive oil – enough to cook the potatoes in.
• Salt – a pinch.

As for the cooking, it’s quite easy:
• Cut the potatoes into pieces and cook them in olive oil. When they’re half done, add the onion.
• Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a big bowl.
• One the potatoes and onion are done put them in the bowl with the eggs and mix well, adding a pinch of salt.
• Save most of the olive oil in a jar for another time, leaving only enough in the pan to cook the omelet in.
• Heat that oil in the pan (shouldn’t be too hot or the omelet will burn) and drop the eggs and potatoes mixture into it.
• When you see that the side that’s in contact with the pan is done, you’ll have to turn the omelet. I recommend turning it with the help of a plate.
• Finish cooking – the time is up to you. Some people like them a bit runny, while others will only eat it dry.
• Now eat!

You can also get creative with it once it’s done: cut it in half and add some ham and cheese in the middle, or some salad, or whatever you can think of. In some places here you can now find omelets covered in tomato sauce, basil, oregano and cheese, kind of an omelet-pizza.

Give the recipe a try and tell me how it goes! Erik certainly likes it, as you can see in the next excerpt.

David nodded and got up, looking back at Erik. “Have you ever tried a Spanish omelet?”

Erik shook his head.

“Come with me, then. We’re going to make one.” He offered his hand to Erik, who took it and followed him into the kitchen. This should be fun.

He’d been right—it was the most fun Erik had had in the kitchen in ages. He liked cooking, but cooking just for one got tedious after a while and he’d lost the passion for experimenting. But there was David, showing him how to do something completely new. It was an easy dish to prepare, not very challenging, but peeling potatoes and frying them while David whisked the eggs, along with heated looks and stolen touches, had been exhilarating for Erik. He admired David’s easiness and skill in the kitchen, and couldn’t contain a gasp when he flipped the full omelet with just one hand. That must have taken some practice. He clapped, prompting David to give him a bow in return, that had them both laughing for a few minutes.

While the omelet finished cooking, David prepared a quick salad to go on the side and Erik set the table. He was amazed by how natural all of it felt, how they’d gotten used to each other so fast. Going back home without David was going to be difficult, but he couldn’t stay in his house forever, and there were things he needed to do.

They sat down to eat, David serving Erik the first slice, and he couldn’t contain a moan after trying it. “Oh my God! This is so good! How is it so good?”

David was grinning smugly. “I know, right? I’m sure you were thinking it was really easy to make and wondering what all the fuss was about. But you can’t say the same now, can you?”

Erik forced himself to eat slowly and not put it all inside his mouth as he wanted to do. “Certainly not. I may need you to prepare a few of these for me to take home.”

“You know the recipe now. You can make them yourself.”

Erik swallowed. “Yes, but it won’t taste the same.”

David’s expression went soft, and he put his fork down to take Erik’s hand. “I’ll make this for you whenever you want. But we have to finish this one first.” He took his hand back and pointed at Erik’s plate. “Go on, eat.”

After another slice, Erik couldn’t eat another bite, and he said so to David, who laughed while looking at the half of omelet still left. “Well, I guess we won’t have to cook dinner tonight. Why don’t you head over to the living room and I’ll make coffee?”

: Erik’s father lived for Pamplona’s yearly festival and the running of the bulls. Now he’s gone, and Erik flies to Pamplona on a whim to see the festival his father loved—without booking a room first. He’s looking at sleeping on the ground until friendly David from the tourism office offers to share his home.

When Erik realizes he trusts David, that he might even be willing to face his anxiety to get to know David better, he begins to understand what this trip could mean. Pamplona is even more beautiful when seen through David’s eyes, and Erik might have traveled around the world just to find himself. But can he hold on to his newfound confidence—and to David—when it’s time to go home?

About the Author:Laura Bailo is a veterinarian and a teacher in training who can do surgical sutures but can’t sew on a button to save her life.

She lives in Spain with far too many books and boxes full of notebooks. She loves exploring the narrow streets of Pamplona and she’s known to have gotten lost in her own city. She loves reading, singing and trying out new cooking recipes, and if she’s feeling adventurous she may try to do all of these at the same time.

She loves hearing from people and you can find her at the following social media links.

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World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

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


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

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

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

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

Enjoy an Excerpt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill is a member of Mystery Writers of America.

Bill’s USA Today revealing interview

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


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

What Kind of Writer Am I?

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy an Excerpt

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

~From Lisa Montagne’s “The Jumpsuit”

About the Authors:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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