Going Gone by Anita Dickason – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway


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

Code Name Trackers: The elite of the elite. FBI agents, each with a secret, an extraordinary ability that defies reason and logic.

An intricate scheme to kidnap the children of high-ranking politicians on Capitol Hill gets disrupted when private investigator Kerry Branson rescues one of the victims.

Teamed with FBI Tracker Ryan Barr, they discover the plot extends to the Office of the President and—the horrific plan has drug cartels and terrorist cells lined up to cash in.

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The footsteps came closer. A beam of light flashed over the ground. Pulling his knees tight to his chest, he wrapped his arms around his legs, tucked his head under his arms, and squished his eyes shut. Tears clogged his throat. Momma, where are you?

The harsh voice sounded over his head. “I don’t see him over here. I’ll circle the other way. The damn brat can’t get far.”

When the noisy steps faded away, Tristan scrambled from under the tree and ran. Pajama bottoms flapped around his bare ankles. Ahead was a break in the woods, and he raced toward the opening.

A shout echoed not far behind him. “He’s running toward the road.”

It was the man from the bedroom. Terror pushed him. His legs pumped, but he couldn’t go any faster, and it hurt to breathe. He had to find another place to hide, but where? It was getting dark, and the mist made it hard to see. Behind him, footsteps kept getting louder.

Ahead was a fence, a road—then—lights. A car. Could he reach the road before it passed? Dropping, he crawled under the barbed wire and felt a hand scrape the sole of his foot.

About the Author:Award winning author, Anita Dickason, is a retired Dallas Police Officer. Anita served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics officer, advanced accident investigator, and SWAT entry/sniper.

Upon retirement, she became involved in a research project that dealt with the death of a witness to the Kennedy assassination. The research led to her first book, JFK Assassination Eyewitness: Rush to Conspiracy, that details the results of her reconstruction of the 1966 motor vehicle accident that killed Lee Bowers, Jr.

The project jump-started a new career as an author and publisher, and she started a new business: Mystic Circle Books & Designs, LLC.

As an author, her fictional works are suspense/thrillers with a touch of paranormal and romance. Characters with unexpected skills, that extra edge for overcoming danger and adversity, have always intrigued her. Adding an infatuation with ancient myths and legends of Native American Indians, and Scottish and Irish folklore creates the backdrop for her characters.
As a publisher, her diverse background has proven to be an invaluable asset. Assisting other authors to publish their works utilizes the gamut of her experience. Graphics design has become one of her favorite endeavors.

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Top Ten Reasons to Read The One Apart by Justine Avery – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Justine Avery 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 the tour.

Top Ten Reasons to Read The One Apart

Hmmm… the cover is full of mystery, and the description promises a compelling plot and a big, intriguing puzzle to be uncovered, but how do you know if The One Apart is really for you?

10) The One Apart is filled with eeriness, a dark presence leering over your shoulder, and apparitions only one special child can see. And you’ll never guess who or what they are. In fact, you may begin to wonder if they really do exist—all around us…

9) The One Apart will make you laugh, gasp, cry, and glance over your own shoulder to remind yourself you’re safe and sound in your own room.

8) The One Apart introduces you to compelling characters you’ll fall in love with, feel every struggle with, or love to hate. You will not want to say “goodbye” to any of them when the story ends.

7) The One Apart grabs you like a compelling saga and treats you to an epic adventure. It’s a mystery wrapped in a mystery, gripping your attention like a suspense thriller.

6) The One Apart will keep you guessing until the very end. There are twists around every turn, unpredictable events that will leave you gasping and expecting nothing but the unexpected.

5) The One Apart is a roller coaster of emotions—ups and downs that will have you clenching your pillow tight and then throwing it into the air in elated celebration.

4) The One Apart rewards you with a surprise romance tucked into its pages, waiting for the main character when he needs—and deserves it—most. And you’ll wish it was all your own.

3) The One Apart is not like any other book you’ve ever read. It’s a fast-paced ride that will whirl you away, spin you around, send you soaring, and leave you wondering what’s actually real and what may not really be. It’s a story that will stick with you long after you’ve reached the end.

2) The One Apart introduces you to a world like none you’ve ever read before, one seamlessly integrated with the world you know and live in, a world you’ll wish is actually true and out there, waiting for you.

1) The One Apart delivers an ending that will leave you in awe, speechless, and completely satisfied. It will reward you so richly, that you will want to start at the beginning and live the story all over again.

Only one obstacle stands in his way of enjoying a normal life. He remembers—every life he’s lived before.

Tres is about to be born… with the biggest burden any has ever had to bear. He is beginning again—as an ageless adult trapped in an infant body.

He and his teenage mother face life filled with extraordinary challenges as they strive to protect, nurture, and hide how truly different he is. But Tres alone must solve the greatest mystery of all: who is he? The answer is linked to the one question he’s too afraid to ask: why am I?

In his quest, Tres discovers that all is considerably more interconnected and dynamic than he could ever imagine—and fraught with far more danger. He cannot hide from the unseen threat stalking him since his birth.

Life as he knows it—as all know it—is in peril. And Tres is the only one aware.

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Tres felt his body abruptly drop around him with overbearing weight, encapsulating him once again.

The mental images, the overpowering memories, finally faded. Only an ominous stillness remained.

Every cell within him began to twitch, infusing with energy—even as he felt immobile. Every joint, tendon, and bone ached under the pressure of being alive.

A deep sadness engulfed him. He pondered possible rea
sons. And, just as quickly, he was distracted by the presence of his own simple thoughts.
Thoughts. He realized his own thinking.

This mind—certain of its own newness—desired to explore, feel, do, be. Tres opened his eyes—tried to open his eyes. He found his eyelids fused shut.

He opened his mouth. Thick, warm syrup seeped inside his swallow. Intense fear washed over him, even as he knew exactly where—and how—he was.

Oh, no.

Tres was aware, more aware than any had ever been. In this moment, he knew everything—and yet, nothing.

He was beginning again.

About the Author:Justine Avery is an award-winning author of stories large and small for all. Born in the American Midwest and raised all over the world, she is inherently an explorer, duly fascinated by everything around her and excitedly noting the stories that abound all around. As an avid reader of all genres, she weaves her own stories among them all. She has a predilection for writing speculative fiction and story twists and surprises she can’t even predict herself.

Avery has either lived in or explored all 50 states of the union, over 36 countries, and all but one continent; she lost count after moving 30-some times before the age of 20. She’s intentionally jumped out of airplanes and off the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, scuba dived unintentionally with sharks, designed websites, intranets, and technical manuals, bartered with indigenous Panamanians, welded automobile frames, observed at the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo in Noba, Japan, and masterminded prosperous internet businesses—to name a few adventures. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree that life has never required, and at age 28, she sold everything she owned and quit corporate life—and her final “job”—to freelance and travel the world as she always dreamed of. And she’s never looked back.

Aside from her native English, Avery speaks a bit of Japanese and a bit more Spanish, her accent is an ever-evolving mixture of Midwestern American with notes of the Deep South and indiscriminate British vocabulary and rhythm, and she says “eh”—like the Kiwis, not the Canadians. She currently lives near Los Angeles with her husband, British film director Devon Avery, and their three adopted children: Becks, Sam, and Lia. She writes from wherever her curiosity takes her.

Avery loves to connect with fellow readers and creatives, explorers and imaginers, and cordially invites you to say “hello”—or konnichiwa.

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Lovesick Gods by Amanda Meuwissen – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway


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

The elements touch everyone on Earth—Fire, Water, even Light—but every so often someone becomes more attuned to their elemental leaning and develops true power. When an evil Elemental known as Thanatos arrived in Olympus City, it saw the rise of its first hero—Zeus. But the death toll caused by defeating Thanatos changed Zeus, who by day is young detective Danny Grant.

It’s been six months since Thanatos terrorized the city at the start of Lovesick Gods. Danny should be used to his duty behind the mask, but the recent past haunts him. His girlfriend left him, he snaps at the barest provocation, his life feels empty—he needs an outlet, any outlet to pull him out of his depression.

Enter notorious thief Malcolm Cho, the Ice Elemental Prometheus. There was a time when Danny welcomed a fight with Cho, filled with colorful banter and casual flirtations that were a relief compared to Thanatos. Even as a criminal, Cho had recognized the threat Thanatos posed and promised to help Danny stop him, but the day Danny needed Cho, he never showed. Cho was the reason so many people died that day—including Danny’s mother.

Danny decides to teach the man a lesson and fan the fire of their attraction into something more. At worst, he’ll get some no-strings-attached sex out of the deal and finally blow off steam; at best, he’ll get Cho to fall in love with him and then break his heart to spite him. Danny doesn’t expect to fall for Cho in the process, and he certainly can’t predict the much darker threat on the horizon.

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Dropping his hands to the collar of Danny’s jacket, Mal pushed it from his shoulders. Danny wouldn’t release his hold on Mal, so the jacket caught at his elbows and Mal reached for his jeans instead. As soon as his fingers brushed the skin of Danny’s stomach, the hand at Mal’s head and the other dipping low along his backside started to spark with a tingle of electricity.

Mal startled. It should have hurt, should have shocked him like a jolt of static on a cold, dry day—he’d felt Danny’s lightning offensively before, and it was not a pleasant experience—but this was different.

Automatic reactions out of self-defense or eruptions from extreme emotion were one thing, but usually only children who’d just Awakened had trouble controlling their abilities. Though, to be fair, Danny had been an Elemental for only a year. Mal never would have allowed his powers to get out of hand like that, but even as he thought the reprimand, his ice seemed to stir in response, wanting to creep over his skin like frost and seek Danny’s lightning out.

Fighting to hold his ice at bay, he was still intoxicated by the tingling sensation from Danny.

“Sorry!” Danny jerked away once he realized what was happening and reined his sparks back in.

“No,” Mal said, already missing the strange, enthralling buzz. “Do it again.”

Danny’s puzzled expression made him look so young as he stared back at Mal, but when those words caught up to him, he grinned.

About the Author: Amanda Meuwissen has been writing and posting online for many years, including maintaining the website and blog for the software company Outsell. She is an avid writer and consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games, and is the author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga and young adult novel Life as a Teenage Vampire. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their two cats.

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The Science of What If by Archer Miller – Guest Blog and Giveaway


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

The Science of What If?

Even if fantasy is not counted, science fiction is split into a number of fragmented sub-genres. At least one list had 48 separate sub-genres under the heading science fiction. Something I believe they should all have in common is, of course, science.

Holding on to some reasonable contact with actual science creates a feeling of plausibility for the reader that make the suspension of disbelief easier to maintain. Doing this, however, places a burden on the writer to do his (or her) homework. You must start by asking questions such as: Is faster than light travel a possibility? Are their Earth-like planets out there somewhere? What is a black hole? Are there parallel universes? And so on. Then you must find the answers.

Two of my favorite writers were exceptionally good at this. Robert Heinlein asked questions like: Is it possible for man to live forever? What would it be like to settle a new planet? What is the basic nature of man? How can we overcome our limitations? These became central themes to much of his work.

Anne McCaffrey wrote a 22 book series after asking the question: Are dragons possible and how? She also asked how would a human society, under extreme duress, reorganize itself after being cut off form its past and its technology.

Douglas Adams simply asked: What is the answer to life, the universe and everything? Which we now all know is 42. He also postulated that in an infinite universe anything is possible.

These and other “what ifs” are the jumping off points to great fiction. But it isn’t enough simply to ask the question. As writers we must find a possibility where the answers also exits. Like Heinlein I like to ask what is next for mankind. When and where will be take the next evolutionary step and what are the possibilities. The answer MUST be based on actual science in order to get the reader to buy in.

This is the quality that drives my good friend and writing partner, Skip Miller, up the wall. Every time he presents me with an idea for what he calls a simple little story, I start picking it apart and asking those irritating questions. It isn’t that I dislike his ideas. It’s simply my job to ask.

So next time you find yourself stuck for a great idea for a story start asking yourself questions that start with “what if…”

Humanity has spread to the far reaches of space with The Golden Door, a planetary colonization monopoly, selling off every desirable and not so desirable planet to desperate settlers.

Each new world comes with new challenges, and to meet that challenge the children are evolving.

When Pieter, and other gifted children like him, become the target of government research they must fight not only for their lives but the future of their kind.

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Pieter’s eyes opened, but it was an exercise in futility. There was nothing but darkness for him to see. He knew he was awake because of the lancing pain running down his back and across his chest; the cover on his head was stifling and smelled of sweat and blood. He was upright in some sort of chair but he was unable to move. The back of the chair was straight and hard, and he was bound to it with his arms pinned behind his back. He struggled to breathe. His chest was stretched as his shoulders pressed into the chair behind him. A cry of pain rose in his throat, but he clamped his mouth tight to hold it prisoner.

As he gasped for air and strained to ease the pain in his chest and back, a voice from beyond the pain alerted him to another presence.

“Suka is awake.”

“Good. I want this suka blyad to remember this.”

With no way of knowing or seeing its approach a hand struck his face, slamming the back of his head against the hard chair. He could stop the scream, but not the tears that rained from his eyes.

“Little boy want to play,” the voice taunted him.

Something hard crashed into his stomach, forcing the air from his lungs. He tried to breathe, but was unable. What do they want from me?

A second fist slammed into the side of his face, whipping his head to the right.

“Don’t kill him,” the first voice warned.

“I won’t. But he’ll wish I had.”

About the Author:Archer Miller emerged from the East Texas hill country and set his sights on finding the life of which few of his contemporaries dreamed. In 1974, he migrated to Boulder, Colorado to enroll at the Naropa Institute – now known as the Naropa University, a tiny Liberal Arts college founded by the renowned Tibetan Buddhist scholar and lineage holder, the Ven. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1940-1987). Rinpoche was enormously influential in spreading the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to the West.

Archer earned a degree in herbs and creative writing. He was a four-year Letterman on the Varsity Competitive Meditation Team.

After graduating in 1978, he took a year off to hike the Jack Kerouac literary trail. He became a top freelance gun-for-hire with dozens of ad agencies across the south and southwest. As a way to deal with the proliferation of Disco, he took up Zen Archery.

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Always You by Denise Grover Swank – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate the release of Always You by Denise Grover Swank. Enter to win 1 of 10 free copies of Always You at the end of the post.

First love is better the second time around.

Matt Osborn had no idea coaching his five-year-old nephew’s soccer team would get him so much attention from the mothers-attention he doesn’t want now that he’s given up on love and having a family of his own. Yep, Matt’s the last of his bachelor buddies, and plans on staying that way. That is, until he finds himself face-to-face with the woman who broke his heart.

Single mom Anna paused her life in England to help her father recover from an illness. She can’t afford complications, and too-hot-for-his-own-good Matt Osborn-her almost former fiancé-is definitely a complication. He’s a reminder of what might have been-or should have been. That irresistible pull between them isn’t over. Not even close. But if she’s not careful, she’ll break both their hearts . . . again.

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What would make her happy was standing right in front of her, and she was struggling to remember why this was a bad idea. “I have an appointment at one,” she said. “Another assisted living center tour. With the friend you recommended.”

“We can work around it.”

She should turn him down. She knew she should, so why was she saying, “Okay.”

He smiled, looking more like good-natured Coach Matt and not Alpha Male Matt, the man she’d gotten to know well in her bed twelve years ago.

Damned if she didn’t want Alpha Matt.

He was less than two feet from her, watching her with an intensity that suggested he knew he was making her squirm and loving every minute of it.

“Great,” Matt said, as though he hadn’t made the air temperature rise twenty degrees just from the timbre of his voice. “If you want, Toby can stay with us when you go to your appointment, and then we’ll all go after you’re done.”

“Yeah.” It was a great plan, but standing this close to him made her nervous. She didn’t trust herself to walk out the door without doing something foolish, like kiss him, because right now that seemed like a real possibility. “I should go.” She took a step back and lost her footing.

Matt reached for her, snaking an arm around her back and pulling her upright against him.

Anna sucked in a breath at the contact. Her hands rested on his chest, and she realized it was just as solid as she’d remembered. Shivers ran up her arms and she found herself molding her body to his.

His hand stayed in place on her back, pulling her even closer.

She knew she should back away, but she wanted this, wanted him, and that was dangerous. She was a mother now. Her son had to come first.

“I can’t stay, Matt,” she said again, feeling like a broken record, but she had to make sure he didn’t feel deceived by her again. He deserved full honesty. “I have to think about Toby. I can’t hurt him.”

He looked surprised. “Anna, I would never willingly hurt Toby.”

“But this…us…if we do this…” Did she confess her son’s deepest desire for a father to love him and her worry that this would only confuse him? Was it her secret to tell? “I have to think about Toby. And Ethan.”

“We’re not going to hurt them, Anna.”

“We might. If we get too close.” I might get hurt if we get too close.

Too late for that…

He kept his hand on her back, and lifted the other to the side of her neck. He didn’t answer, at least not with words. He lowered his face, his lips gently brushing hers.

Her breath caught. His touch was like a jolt of electricity to her heart, bringing her back to life.

About the Author:New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese, which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty (in her own mind) Facebook comments and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.

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Undercover Attachment by Katee Robert – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate yesterday’s release of Undercover Attachment, part of The O’Malley Series. An exclusive excerpt from Undercover Attraction is available on Hypable. Take a look! Then enter the giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

Scandal. Wealth. Power. Seduction. Welcome to the world of the O’Malleys.

Ex-cop Charlotte Finch used to think there was a clear line between right and wrong. Then her fellow officers betrayed her, and the world is no longer so black and white. Especially when it’s Aiden O’Malley, one of the most dangerous men in Boston, who offers her a chance for justice. The only catch: she’ll have to pretend to be his fiancée for his plan to work.

Aiden can’t afford to let anyone see the man behind the mask. To run the O’Malley empire, he has to be cool and controlled at all times. But the moment he meets Charlie, they’re playing with fire. Her slightest touch is enough to send him over the edge. At first their “engagement” was a way to eliminate his enemies. Now he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe– even if he has to destroy his own family to do it.

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“Come on.” Aidan stepped back and took her hand. “I have something to show you.”

He led the way up the back stairs and through a door she hadn’t explored yet. Charlie’s breath caught in her throat at the sight of candles flickering on a table laid out with a bottle of wine, two glasses, and a whole spread of Chinese takeout.
She let go of his hand and wandered over to peer into the boxes. “How did you know that crispy pork belly was my favorite?” Just like that, the pieces clicked together. She snapped her fingers. “You had your sister feel me out?” She’d thought Kiera had been asking about her favorite food so they could pick a local place next time they ventured out of the house. “Shady. Very shady.”

“I am a mob boss, after all.” He came around the table and poured them both a glass of wine. “I have it on good authority that this cab pairs well with Chinese takeout.”

“How classy of you.” It was like stepping into another realm of existence as she sat down and accepted the glass of wine while he filled two plates. When Aiden had said that he wanted a dinner date with her, she’d assumed that meant dressing to the nines and going out somewhere fancy. She said as much.

He snorted. “Eating out always serves a purpose. Either you’re making a point, or ensuring you’re seen by someone specific, or conducting a business meeting. We’ve been making points and playing parts since we met. I’d like to try something new—having a relaxing conversation. Just me and you, Aiden and Charlie, not the leader of the O’Malley clan and the former-cop-turned-fake-fiancée.”

“Do you think that’s even possible?” Such a short time together, and it was clear they both had a boatload of issues. It was easy enough to ignore when they were banging each other’s brains out or pretending to be something they weren’t, but holding down a conversation without those masks in place? She wasn’t sure it was a good idea.

Because I already like him.

About the Author: Katee Robert is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who learned to tell stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her novel The Marriage Contract was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it “a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension.” When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

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The Bachelor Contract by Rachel Van Dyken – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by the publisher to celebrate today’s release of The Bachelor Contract by Rachel Van Dyken, the third book in her Bachelors of Arizona series. Enter the giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of the book.

A second-chance romance from the #1 New York Times bestseller of The Bet, Matchmaker and Elite series!

She’s everywhere.

Ex-wife.

Love of his life.

The last person in the world he wanted to see…ever.

And now that he’s working beside her every day, he can’t escape her. Her scent, glimpses of her smile, even the tension in the air that makes his body hum with the kind of need he’d only experienced with one person-all of it is driving him over the edge.

Brant Wellington was certain of three things:

Alcohol wasn’t going to solve this.

He really was losing his F-ing mind.

And his gorgeous ex-wife was going to be the death of him.

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It was Brant.

Always Brant.

Maybe that was because they’d never had any real closure. Just fighting, yelling, and then silence.

God, she’d hated the silence so much more than the yelling.

The silence crackled with tension—it was always filled with more meaning than when words were actually spoken.

It wasn’t the yelling that had killed their relationship.

It was the silence that had followed. When he had every opportunity to fix it—and didn’t.

Why was it so hard to move on? Probably because she hadn’t tried.

Instead, she’d worked. Tried to stay positive. And hoped.

Damn hope. Stupid hope.

“He’s not coming back for me,” she whispered, knowing that if she finally admitted he wasn’t coming, she would have to take her part of the blame in why. Because it wasn’t just on him to come running back. A small part of her knew that it was her job to meet him halfway. Instead, she’d ignored the need in his eyes, the desperate plea in his voice, and allowed grief to swallow her whole. Because at the time she’d needed someone to blame, and it was easier blaming him than herself.

About the Author: Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult, Regency, and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her husband, son, and their snoring boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!

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Favorite Genre by Susan Badaracco – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Susan Badaracco will be awarding a $20 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.

Favorite Genre

I’m a new author and I can’t afford to have a favorite genre.

In the past, I had favorite authors and subject matter like everyone else. But one day I was reading a business book on leadership (not my typical weekend read) and the author used this brilliant description for looking over a timeline of past mistakes. Since then I have realized that good writers are everywhere.

If you look at most home decor magazines, you can find descriptions for both interior and exterior. Phrases that are not typically part of my vocabulary…

Narrow, vertically driven architecture
Mood lifting white
The curved lines echo the arch of her favorite stilettos

And it’s not just the written word.

I was watching a movie last night and the scenes jumped back and forth between a man enjoying a celebratory drink with friends and his wife who went into labor prematurely. The boisterous laughter with raised glasses, the woman clutching her abdomen and moaning…dazzling contrasts.

My friend’s sister completed her round of chemotherapy and went in for scans and blood work to see if the treatment had been effective against the cancer. She waited for the results for days. After the doctor’s call, she went to bed… in the middle of the day. It had been good news, wonderful news, but the tension of waiting was exhausting. Had I not heard that, my imaginary character would go out for a drink. And that would not have been wrong but the vision of clicking the phone off, scuffing off the shoes at the bedside, pulling up the quilt and sinking into oblivion seems more fragile, more tender. Less expected.

Lest I focus too hard on the details, in a historical novel by Frank Delaney, I am reminded to “raise our heads and be aware of the horizon”. I have been guilty of concentrating on the intricacies of a scene and letting the plot lag. That line pulls me back and reminds me of what our roles are supposed to be…storytellers.

When her past merges with her present, Maddy is not sure what to think. Was that really an abduction she witnessed? Does she have the courage to find out?

Silenus is a unicorn haunted by his past failure to protect his charge. He trains relentlessly but is he fierce enough to protect this innocent? Will she even trust him?

Can a mortal and immortal pursue the truth together or will Maddy pay the ultimate price?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Silenus shoved emotion down and boldly, systematically, scrutinized the victims strewn throughout the meadow. He saved the copse of trees for last. Coming down the hill, he’d determined that tactically, the trees provided the best defensive position. It would be the only logical place to go if you had a younger, slower unicorn to protect. It was there, under a canopy of graceful tree limbs and flickering sunlight that he found them both. He knew his wife, who was known for her speed, gave up any chance of escape in order to shield their beloved daughter. His wife was bloodied, her chest splayed open, her pearly horn crimson stained. His daughter looked peaceful, undefiled with the exception of a single puncture wound to the chest. Her tiny horn sparkled as it caught rays of sun filtering through the trees.

Silenus nuzzled his wife, but although her body was still warm, she remained motionless. He leaned down to breath in her essence but instead the metallic scent of blood hit his nose. Tears slid down his muzzle and dropped in dark splotches on both his wife and daughter. Tears that would normally heal wounds and cure poisons but were ineffective against death. He pawed at the ground in front of them, sending up dust that cloaked his mouth and burned his eyes.

About the Author: Susan Badaracco is the author and independent publisher of The Oath: Maddy and Silenus.

In her real life, she is a pediatrician at Kids First Pediatrics where she routinely consoles anxious moms, retrieves interesting objects hidden in ears and laughs at made up knock-knock jokes.

She lives with her husband, a dog (ADHD is not limited to humans) and a cat. Her daughter and son both made the unfortunate decision to grow up which means she travels more than she used to.

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Prosecco Christmas by Sylvia Ashby – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a a pair of Prosecco funny socks to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Family is where life begins.
And what better time to spend with your family than Christmas week?

Ashley and Giacomo go to Upper Swainswick, a postcard village ten minutes’ drive from Bath, to stay with Ashley’s mum and stepdad. It’s their last visit before the arrival of their first child.

But babies have a habit of being unpredictable.

So when Ashley goes into labour on Christmas Eve, three weeks ahead of schedule, it takes everyone by surprise.
She’s not ready! Her perfect Birth Plan is packed away in her hospital bag two hundred miles away, she has no going home outfit, and she has a live event planned for New Year’s Eve for her YouTube channel, The Sinking Chef. People have been signing up for it for weeks. She can’t possibly disappoint them on the last day of the year. What is she to do?

The tinsel gets even more tangled when Giacomo’s parents decide to fly from Italy to meet their first grandchild. Hotels are fully booked, so everyone has to stay under the same roof.

Would eleven people in the house, not counting the baby, turn out to be simply too much for Ashley?

Enjoy an Excerpt

It’s dark outside but I’m awake.

It’s normal. Nothing to worry about. Everyone has little things that keep them awake at night with their stomachs knotted, right? I’m no different to anybody else.

For me those things are Eatwell and bad curry.

And the curry last night must’ve been really bad because it’s giving me awful cramps.

At dawn I tiptoe to Mum’s kitchen to make myself a cup of hot chocolate. I drop a few giant marshmallows on top and watch them melt into the dark liquid. It reminds me of snow softening into the ground. I love snow. It’s a pity we hardly ever get it in England.

There’s only frost outside now as far as I can see.

In the fluffy dawn light, Mum’s garden looks stunning in a quaint, English-village sort of way. With it’s perfectly trimmed hedges that are currently covered in curtain light strings and Christmas icicle lights.

Mum’s even bought a mummy and baby penguin for the patio. The baby is looking up and the mummy is doting down on it. They are made out of metal framing and glittery strands and illuminate the darkness around them with cool spark.

I glide a hand over my stomach in which my own baby is growing.

‘A few more weeks to go, little one.’ I whisper in the dark. ‘I can’t wait to meet you!’

My tummy tightens and I feel the baby turn. It’s too big to move now, I’m in my thirty-seventh week, but it manages to roll a bit and slam into my bladder.

I totter towards the toilet. That’s another thing I can’t wait for – to regain control over my own bladder. This baby has been keeping me as fidgety as a popcorn in a frying pan.

Another cramp grips me as I’m washing my hands.

‘Aw, aw, aw, aw!’ I double over the sink. ‘Bloody curry.’

I’m surprised everyone else isn’t up and queuing for the loos, considering we all ate—’

And that’s when it hits me – it’s not the curry.

I’m in labour!

About the Author: Sylvia Ashby is fond of the written word: books, blog posts, recipes, even an explanation to the HM Revenue & Customs as to why she thinks skirts should be exempt from VAT – she’s written it all!

She likes travelling and has lived all over Europe – London, Brussels, Amsterdam and Sofia, Bulgaria. Currently, she lives in Leuven, Belgium with her husband, daughter, son and a sparrow called Jack, who comes occasionally to peck the seeds she leaves for him on top of the garden shed.

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Hinder by Kristin Ping – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kristin will be awarding a $50 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.

Ethan SUTCLIFF is no normal seventeen-year-old, but he tries to be really hard. He is what witches call a Guardian, or a the easier term will be a Bender. Benders are crucial to elemental witches as they have the ability to bend their witches’ gifts. In Alex’s case he is one of the rarest, an Earth Bender, but his witch is either dead or deep in hiding and Ethan needs to find whoever they are otherwise the witching race might be in danger.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Awe filled me as I watched Ethan playing in the garden. Though only ten years old and scrawny, he was… a wonder.

The farm was the safest place for him. A few miles from the city and its prying eyes. Less danger here.

His hands lightly stroked the rosebushes as he walked past them.

It wasn’t time for them to bloom yet, but at Ethan’s tender touch, pink and white rosebuds opened and expanded into the most beautiful roses I’d ever seen.

“Ethan,” I called from the porch, warning in my tone.

His blond head snapped toward me. He pulled his hand to his chest. “Sorry, Dad.”

“Be careful.” I spoke as if he was pulling the cat’s tail—not lending nature a hand.

With one flutter of the newspaper, I pretended to return to reading. After a few seconds scowling at the small black letters, I peeked over the top of the page and stared back at Ethan.

Natalie his mother, never let him explore. She worried about the others. That they would see.

Ethan walked over to the willow sapling Natalie had planted a few weeks ago. It wasn’t tall; the top barely reached Ethan’s waistline. He stumbled and fell with hands first—diving right into the willow.

It started to grow… and grow. In a matter of seconds, it was a full-grown tree. Slender, silver-green leaves swayed in the lazy breeze.

The newspaper fluttered as I set it aside and stood, mouth agape. Not many could do that at his age.

Surprise galloped on the heels of awe, followed by a dash of fear—okay, more than a dash— as Ethan stood and brushed himself off.

So this was what Natalie felt most of the time

My eyes darted this way and that. What if anyone saw?

Everything was exactly as it had been a few moments ago, except for the mature willow in the middle of the yard, its graceful branches lazily stroking the earth. A few cows grazed serenely in the green pasture. The chickens clucked in their pen. The ginger tomcat lay on the opposite chair to mine.

Behind me, the door opened. Natalie gasped. She smacked my shoulder with a dish cloth—hard. I scrambled back from her wrath.

“I told you to watch him!” she hissed. She ran down the steps with huge eyes and long strides. She reached him and crouched down in front of him, almost pulling the boy down with her, scowling.

Rubbing my shoulder, I watched the expression on my son’s face. He hadn’t meant to do it. It was an accident. Ethan never asked to be born into our family of Benders.

Ever since he got a taste of his element, well, he’d just been so damn curious.

He would need to find his match: an earth Wielder.

Earth Wielders rarely reached their fifteenth birthdays. And because of what Ethan would become one day, his life was in mortal danger.

Benders were born to protect Wielders. The payoff was being able to manipulate the Wielder’s element. To use it to their advantage. To, well, bend it into whatever they wanted the element to do. Whether it was to make a tree grow or a fire burn or the wind blow… Wielders could start the process, but the Benders performed the magic. They told the flame how to crackle, or the earth how to quake, or the gale how to waft.

Without a Bender, Wielders would cause chaos.

If a water Wielder or an earth Wielder had no Bender, then a tsunami was inevitable.

Wielders and Benders were a mechanism, an interdependent team that functioned as one. They benefited mutually from one another and kept each other safe.

It had always been this way since Wielders were labeled as Witches. Now they had plenty of names—alchemists, spellbinders, and shifters, to name a few.

About the Author: Kristin resides in South Africa with her husband, two beautiful girls and two bulldogs that tries to eat her house. She has been writing for the past eight years and her first debut novel, Hinder: A Bender’s novel will be published 2018 by Fire Quill Publishing.

When she isn’t writing, she is spending her time with her family, or trying to teach her two bulldogs to not eat her house. You can find more about Kristin at www.authorkristinping.com

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A CHANCE TO WIN

Follow the steps and you can stand a chance to win a Macintosh laptop. It’s easy.
Please note that your entry will not count if you haven’t followed all the steps.

Want to win a Mac? Every two to three months, Kristin Ping is giving away a mac, all you have to do is subscribe to her newsletter, confirm to the confirmation email that will either be in your inbox or spam, and open the letter. Find the secret Facebook group, join and enter the giveaway. It’s as easy as that. We even give you extra entries by inviting your friends to subscribe too. We already gave away the fist laptop.

INTRODUCING THE PING CRATE

The Ping Crate is a crate filled with goodies for readers. It’s built around the theme of the Guardian of Monster Series. The first few boxes will be built around witches. Think journals, cups, books, novelty jewelry, swag and something electronic that will push the worth of the crate up to $700 and more.

All you have to do is stay subscribed to the subscription list and open the monthly newsletter that Kristin will send out to find the rafflecopter for you to enter in this lovely giveaway.

It’s a box full of reader goodies and a surprise. Sometimes it will be a gift card if there isn’t any electronics.

Believe me it will be worth your time.

PRE ORDER HINDER FOR 99c. Yes, you’ve heard right. The pre order special is 99c only. The price will go up to 2.99 in its first month, think of it as a release day blitz, and from the second month it will go up to its normal price of 4.99c. So it’s a major deal of getting the pre-order for just 99c. GRAB YOUR COPY NOW!!!

When you purchase Hinder, you can claim your free gift through the subscriber link. Don’t miss out on this amazing Pre-Order deal ‘Even Witches needs saving now and then.’ Use the link below:

Pre-Order Landing Page
Reminder: “The book is available for pre-order for only $0.99!”

or

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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