Saturday Seven: Covers I love!

I’m a cover whore. It’s true. I’ve actually bought books JUST for the cover, regardless of the blurb, and have (conversely) not bought books even when the sound interesting because I couldn’t stand the look of the cover. I know that’s not entirely fair, but … it’s who I am.  I saw all these covers on our site somewhere, and I’ve never read the books. But I would absolutely pick the book up off the shelf to read the back, and would quite likely buy it for the cover alone. It’s true.

I love everything about this. The colors, the lightning and the blasé way this demon hunter is sucking on a lollipop. It tells me so much about the story, I can’t WAIT to read the actual book!

I actually really like all the covers in this series. The blue color scheme and the ethereal quality just attract me so much. I’d absolutely pick this one up.

You know what I really like about this? All the characters have their clothes on. It’s a small thing, but I swear I’m SO tired of what my teenaged daughter calls “naked man chest” covers. Even better? That look in the hero’s eyes, that little smile on his lips … yeah, I’m half in love with him already.

I’m honestly not entirely certain what attracted me to this book. The colors aren’t ones I normally like, but they work here. It’s a quiet, mysterious cover and it makes me want to know what the book is about.

It’s that misty blue again … apparently I have a type. I do think the woman on the front is a bit generic, but the the “feel” of the cover makes me want to give it a try.

Can I just say that Young Adult covers are KILLING IT lately? I could spend all day in the YA aisle at Barnes and Noble just admiring the art. I really, REALLY love the fantasy covers they’ve been coming out with lately, and this is one series that epitomizes everything I love in a fantasy cover look.

This one? I’m intrigued by what should be a torn picture of the same girl actually being two different ones. It’s really piqued my interest and I would absolutely pick this one up.

What about you? Cover whore or don’t care? What are some covers you love?

Don’t Let Him Go by Kay Harris – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Candace Gleason passed the bar, landed a great job, and is making a killer salary–basically, all of her dreams are coming true. Until she’s assigned to keep the boss’s petulant son out of trouble.

Jack Morrison is the rebellious black sheep of a mighty real estate family. He runs a nonprofit whose mission is to save poor people from evil corporations, like the one his own family owns. He is obnoxious, ridiculously charming, and insanely hot. He is the bane of Candace’s very existence.

Sparks fly from the moment they meet. Candace suddenly has more to worry about than keeping Jack out of jail. She has to keep him out of her heart.

 

Enjoy an Excerpt

I folded my arms across my chest and glared at Jack as he moseyed into the room. “You ambushed me.”

Jack came to a stop a few feet away and nodded. “I did.”

“That’s it?” I spread my arms out and leaned forward. My voice rose despite my effort to control it. “That’s all you have to say?”

“What do you want me to say? You’re smart. You can see what I did back there. I used you for my own gain.”

“You’re a prick!”

“I’m not surprised you feel that way. But I am sorry you had to get caught in the crossfire.” He moved to the couch and took a seat in the middle of it, purposefully giving me the high ground.

He slung his arms over the back of the couch casually, making him look like an arrogant ass. And that is exactly what I thought of him at that moment. So I called him on his supposed apology. “Are you?”

“Yes, I am. But you’re not innocent, Candie. You put yourself in this position by going to work for Morrison.”

“It’s Candace!” I shouted, on the edge of insanity.

He didn’t respond. He just looked at me with that infuriatingly handsome face and waited, an amused grin dancing on his face.

About the Author:

Kay Harris has had a diverse career with jobs ranging from college professor to park ranger. Now she adds author to her repertoire. Kay writes romance novels that contain a little bit of sweet, a dash of sexy, a touch of heartbreak, and a whole lot of fun!

Kay grew up in the Midwest and has since lived all over the western United States including Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California. She loves to hike, is obsessed with museums, and enjoys taking her extremely tall and very handsome husband on adventures.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Faceboo | Goodeads | BookBub Author Page
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Top Ten Favorite Books by BA Tortuga – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes BA Tortuga to celebrate tomorrow’s release of Road Trip, Vol. 2.

*****

Hey y’all, it’s BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of the characters that are cracked.

*grins*

So, I’m here talking about my top ten books of all time.

Before I start, let me remind you that I’m old. My favorites might surprise you a wee bit.

My top ten, in no particular order:

The Last Herald Mage series by Mercedes Lackey – I read the first book in this series when my child was a baby and fell madly in love with the universe, with Vanyel, with the fact that this was a fantasy Western. 😉

The Women’s Room by Marilyn French – Talk about defining my feminist agenda early, right? I stole this book from my mother and devoured it. All the intertwined stories, all the fury, all the politics. *sparkles*

The Dark Half by Dean Koontz – Voodoo, police procedural, demons in the school lockers: What’s not to love?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – This has been my favorite book since I was tiny. Jo remains my hero.

Comes the Blind Fury by John Saul – I named my kid after the vengeful blind ghost in this one. Enough said.

Beloved by Toni Morrison – I came to Toni Morrison in college and was utterly blown away. I live to read her books. From the very first line of this book, I was hooked.

The Collected Works of TS Eliot – I was a poet long before I was a novelist. (Poetry and a dollar won’t get you a coffee at the diner.) TS Eliot soothes my soul.

The Stand by Stephen King – I maintain that this is still the best book Mr. King ever wrote. I have read everything he’s ever written and I’m a bit of an uberfan. There is something about Randall Flagg and Stu and Fran and Mother Abigail and… OMG. Read the long version.

The Shining by Stephen King – I have read this one over and over and my opinions on the characters have changed in so many ways as I’ve aged, as I’ve gone through the different stages of my life. The last time I read it, I had just escaped an abusive marriage and I was so angry, so hurt. Grins. I’ll have to read it again, now that I’m married to my soulmate.

IT by Stephen King – This is my all-time favorite. Full stop. No, I haven’t seen the movie. No, I don’t think I will. This is a perfect telling of a certain set of times and I don’t need it updated. I just need the Losers Club to defeat Pennywise over and over and I need the good guys to win a little of their own back.

Much love, y’all.

BA

The course of love is a rough ride, but for ecoterrorist MJ, ridge runner Sonny, physicist Paddy, psychic Neil, genetically enhanced English professor Duncan, and the assassin known as Cowboy, the road to romance is a heart-stopping trip—one full of kidnappings, explosions, secret programs, and supersoldiers. They’re an awful ragged bunch to be considered heroes.

Under Pressure

Sonny and MJ’s retirement may be in jeopardy, but at least they’re together on a new boat—with no annoying hostages. Then Cowboy, MJ’s old friend, gets in touch, bringing with him a host of complications, including Professor Duncan, who has ties to the Program. A call for help from Paddy sets them all on a collision course with a deadly specter from the past. As MJ makes his plans, Sonny is shaken by the possibility of losing everything.

Walking on the Sun

Sonny is determined to raise hell to hunt for MJ—problem is, will MJ know anyone, or himself, once they catch up to him? Neil and Paddy are healing but reluctantly join the effort, as Cowboy and Duncan help Sonny prepare for a showdown. Sonny might be ragged, but he’s MJ’s hero, and he is not about to give up on the most important thing in his life, even if it kills him. Will everyone survive the last epic battle, or will they go out in a blaze of glory?

About the Author:Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

Website

First Edition of Under Pressure published by Torquere Press Publishers, March 2009.
First Edition of Walking on the Sun published by Torquere Press Publishers, September 2010.

Available Feb 16 by Dreamspinner Press.

If I’d Never Heard of Me, Would I Read my Book? by Erin A. Jensen


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

If I’d Never Heard of Me, Would I Read my Book?

If I’d never heard of me, would I read my book? The question brings to mind Toni Morrison’s quote, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” In my humble opinion, any book an author writes should fit that quote. I wrote the series I longed to read. When I started writing Dream Waters (Book One in The Dream Waters Series), I’d just finished a fantastic series. Funny thing is, I can’t remember what series it was. I like to say that my brain is so full of my own characters, back stories and plot lines that I sometimes forget other facts—like real people’s names, pin numbers and passwords. If you ask me, it’s a fair trade off. Besides, the series I’d just finished at the time isn’t the point. I love getting hooked on a series because you get to revisit the characters you’ve fallen in love with and find out what happens to them next. It’s almost like going to visit old friends. When I finish a series filled with characters I’ve come to love, it’s always a little bittersweet. All the questions that drew me back, book after book, have been answered. And usually a series I felt invested in leaves me feeling something—whether it’s a satisfying sense of closure because of a happily-ever-after or heartbreak because of a poignant conclusion that included the death of a beloved character. The series of books that stick with me and leave me feeling some sort of sappy emotion are the ones I find hard to walk away from.

I started Dream Waters because I was feeling the loss of dear book friends whose stories had come to an end. The characters in my book were the new friends I created to fill that void. My story still holds my interest and fills my waking thoughts as I write this, midway through writing the fourth book in my series. My hope is that my readers will feel the same way.

Above all else, I think the most important quality of a book or series in any genre is an original concept or an original twist on an old idea. Stories that make me feel as though I’ve read them ten times already tend to make me lose interest. I want the books I read to feel like nothing I’ve ever read in the past. The stories that grip me the most are unique. I’ve never come across another storyline quite like mine, and many of my readers have made comments about the originality of my concept—a parallel world where every individual leads an alternate life each night while their body slumbers.

Contemporary fantasy has always been my favorite genre. I love to immerse myself in a world full of magic, paranormal happenings and fantastical creatures that secretly exist in our world. I, and many of the women I know, read middle grade and YA fantasy because there are so many wonderful books in that category. My goal was to create a book with all the wonder and excitement of Fablehaven or Harry Potter, but intended for grownups because that was what I wanted to read.

The first book in my series is almost entirely set within the walls of a psychiatric facility. Aside from the monsters and dragons that exist in the Dream World, the story explores the complexities of adult relationships, deals with some very real mental issues and poses serious questions—questions like, “What makes a life worth living?” As my main character, Charlie, ventures deeper into the Dream World throughout the series, other characters are dealing with relationship issues in the waking world while battling demonic foes in the Dream World. The books continually toe the line between fantasy and reality as the characters interact in both worlds. The series is the story I was longing to read, and I’ve loved every minute of writing it. Now, I invite my readers to lose themselves in my Dream World with the hope that they’ll fall in love with my characters and enjoy the journey as much as I have.

All his life, Charlie Oliver has watched the people around him morph into creatures that no one else sees. Unlike the rest of the world, Charlie remembers the Waters that transport him to the Dream World each night. And he sees glimpses of people’s Dream forms in the waking world. Condemned to spend his waking hours in a psychiatric facility because of his Dream Sight, Charlie doesn’t expect anything to change. But everything starts changing the day Emma Talbot walks through the door in the middle of a group therapy session.

Haunted by memories of the events that led to her admission, Emma plans to end her life the first chance she gets. But something about Charlie stops her. From the moment they shake hands, his friendship feels safe and familiar. As Emma begins to let down her guard, Charlie catches a glimpse of the fiery-eyed dragon that lurks behind her Dream form. Each night, as Emma dreams of the man who’s been banned from visiting, Charlie searches the Dream World for the monster that shadows her. But when Emma’s suppressed memories begin to surface, Charlie finds more monsters than he bargained for.

Enjoy an Excerpt from Dream Waters

“Where were you afraid I’d land when I fell in and why did you say finding the dragon wouldn’t be easy?”

She started drawing waves in the sand with her finger and I got the distinct impression she was doing it to avoid looking at me. “Honestly Charlie, I wasn’t sure where you’d land. It’s unpredictable when you don’t jump on purpose. You could end up anywhere the people you’ve met have been. You’re a mental patient. Can you imagine the sections of Dream some patients might inhabit?” Her finger stopped drawing mid-wave. “Trust me boy. There are Dark places in the Dream World, places you should never go. Venture too far into them and you risk losing a part of yourself to the Darkness.”

I was really getting tired of the cryptic shit. “Great. Thanks for the vague ominous warning. I was afraid you might give me an actual answer for a second there.”

“I’ve already said too much.” Even at a whisper there was a waver to her voice. “Just thank me for keeping you safe and jump back into the Water.”

“I don’t know which world I find you more annoying in.” It wasn’t the nicest thing to say to the one person who understood me but I said it out of frustration and maybe a little out of fear.

Nellie was about to snarl something back, but the leaves of some bushes just off the beach started rustling and I hopped to my feet to get a better look. “Something’s over there.”

Nellie stood up with a weary sigh and as she turned toward the bushes I saw the scars. Large deep identical scars marring the flesh on both of her shoulder blades.

I took a step closer to her. “What happened to your back?”

She turned and gave me a hard shove toward the Water’s edge. “It’s time for you to go now Charlie.” It caught me by surprise and knocked me off balance, back into the surf and the icy Water pulled me back in.”

About the Author: Erin Jensen is a part-time pharmacist and a fulltime creator of imaginary worlds. She lives in upstate NY with her incredibly supportive husband, two sons (who are both taller than her) and a Yorkshire terrier who thinks he’s the family bodyguard. In the early days of her writing career, Erin vowed to get a dragon tattoo—once her books received a milestone number of reviews—but she won’t disclose that number any longer, for fear of actually reaching her goal and having to go through with it.

Website | Blog | Facebook

Buy Dream Waters, Book One of The Dream Waters Series for only $0.99 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBook, or Kobo.

Buy Dream World, Book Two of The Dream Waters SeriesM/b> at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBook, or Kobo.

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First Impressions by Jay Hogan – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Michael:

Two years ago I made a mistake, a big one, and then I threw in another couple just for good measure. I screwed up my life big time but I made it through. I was lucky.

Then I was given the opportunity for a fresh start. Two years in Auckland, NZ, ‘The City of Sails’. Away from the LA gossip, a chance to breathe, to get my life back together.
I grabbed it and packed my new set of golden rules with me.

I don’t do relationships.
I don’t do commitment.
I don’t do white picket fences.

And I especially don’t do arrogant, holier-than-thou, smoking hot K9 officers who walk into my ER and rock my world.

Josh:

The only thing I know for certain about Dr. Michael Oliver is the guy is an arrogant, untrustworthy player, and I’d barely survived the last one of those in my life. Once was more than enough.

The man might be gorgeous but my eleven-year-old daughter takes number one priority and I won’t risk her being hurt, again. I’m a solo dad, a K9 cop and a son to pain in the ass, bigoted parents.

I don’t have time for games.
I don’t have time for taking chances.
I don’t have time for more complications in my life.

And I sure as hell don’t have time for the infuriating Dr. Michael Oliver, however damn sexy he is.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Michael fought the hold, his face slick with tears. “Let go.” But the arms pulled tight.

“Shh, it’s okay,” a soothing voice hummed in his ear. “I’ve got you. Shh.”

His eyes flew open. The voice was familiar, safe. Josh. And with that his body began to relax. The man pressed a long kiss against his neck, his hair and his shoulder, each notching down Michael’s panic a step or two. And with the last kiss, the arms around him loosened just a little. Enough to finally breathe.

“You’re okay, babe. I’ve got you,” the handler whispered.

Michael leaned back into the man and let his heart settle from its sickening gallop. The memories returned. He was in Josh’s house, his bed, his arms and he was okay. He needed to get a grip. Don’t lose it completely in front of the nice man, idiot. It was just a short dip in the crazy pool. Just a reminder but…Damn. Why tonight?

The handler’s fingers trailed across Michael’s belly and hips, releasing the knots of panic. He sucked in some deep breaths and found himself held and rocked, comforted like a child, swaddled as light kisses were pressed on the nape of his neck. God almighty, it felt good. So, he let himself drift, happy in the moment to never leave that cocoon of flesh where everything felt right.

After a time, Josh slowed the rocking and the two men lay quiet. Michael twisted in the man’s arms to face him, kissing him lightly on the lips. Memories drifted of the evening before.

“Thanks,” he whispered against Josh’s mouth, the word failing to convey anywhere near the gratitude he felt for Josh’s silent acceptance of Michael’s crazy.

“Nightmare?” The handler raised a brow.

“Yeah.”

“You get them often?”

“Now and then.” Michael felt the sting of embarrassment flush his cheeks. This wasn’t a conversation he wanted, not now, maybe not ever. And especially not with this man who seemed to slip so easily under and around every wall he’d worked so damned hard to hammer in place. The guy already knew too much.

About the Author:

Jay is a New Zealand author writing in the LGBTQIA genre in MM Romance and Fantasy.
She has travelled extensively and lived in many places including the US, Canada, France, Australia and South Korea, and loves to add experiences from these adventures into her writing.

She is a cat aficionado especially of Maine Coons, and an avid dog lover (but don’t tell the cat). She loves to cook- pretty damn good, loves to sing – pretty damn average, and as for parenting a gorgeous daughter-well that depends on the day.

She has lovely complex boys telling sweet sexy stories in her head that demand attention and a considerable number of words to go with them. Their journeys are never straightforward and can even surprise Jay, but the end is always satisfying.

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Racing the Tide by January Bain – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. January Bain will be awarding a $15 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.

Racing the Tide, Book one in the TETRAD Group series.

Cole and Gabby, undercover in Vancouver’s Chinatown, have no time for the attraction developing between them. Not when the race is on to rescue a kidnap victim before time runs out.

My name is Cole McClintock. My new job with the TETRAD Group has me working with a woman that’s gotten me so tied up in unfuckingbelievable knots that I’m a certifiable nut job. I mean, just look at her. The woman is beyond hot with those big doe eyes and luscious curves that makes me want to possess every single inch of her.

One look at Cole McClintock and knew I should stay right the fuck away from him. My name is Gabriella Banks and I’d be the first to admit I’m complicated, but at least my job as a new operative with The TETRAD Group keeps me too busy to dwell on my lack of a sex life. I never thought I’d be admitting this, but my strong-woman exterior hides a craving for something more—something only Cole can provide…

 

Enjoy an Excerpt

The bed trembled, its legs jerking and thudding about in a kind of macabre dance. Cole woke instantly. Is this the big one? The king-size bed shimmied and rattled a few more times, then settled back down, coming to rest slightly askew on the hardwood floor of his bedroom, the earth having released its rage. Another fucking tremor. He ran his hands through his sweat-damp hair, glancing over at the bedside table.

Five-fourteen a.m. He slid his gaze from the clock to the picture, as he did every morning, ready to administer his daily punishment. During the long night of sleeping intermittently, he had made up his mind, but now, looking at her face, he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t dishonor her memory in that way. Especially not in that way. The coward’s way.

His mind zeroed in on the single event defining his life, the day haunting him every second the clock ticked. The day almost a year ago when he’d pulled into his driveway after a voice message he could make no sense of. Finding the front door ajar. Walking down a hallway so silent he could hear the pounding in his skull echoing his slamming pulse. Finding the bathroom door shut against him. One more obstacle. Turning the handle as slow as a swimmer in deep water, finding it unlocked, his throat tight and aching. The creak of the hinges. The door swung open. His vision darkening around the edges as he took in the horror of the scene. The heaviness in his chest that made him sink to the floor, gathering her into his arms. No. Oh, God no. Not like this.

About the Author:

January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create a series that features strong women who don’t take life too seriously, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope the stories of her beloved Brass Ringers will capture your imagination as you follow their exploits as much as they did when she wrote them.

If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with two furry babies trying to prove who does a better job of guarding the doorway. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.

If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook, twitter and writes a weekly blog about her journey on Blogger. Oh, and she loves to talk books…

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Havana Blues by David Pereda – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

The year is 1952 and Ramon Rodriguez’s life as a teenager in fun-loving Havana is filled with typical activities and concerns: girls, education, religion, baseball, parties, and hanging out with friends. The country is enjoying a period of prosperity and happiness–until General Batista stages a coup that topples the government and Ramon’s life is flung into chaos.

In a few short years, the carefree fifties morph into a vicious and repressive dictatorship highlighted by corruption, organized gambling, school closures, student demonstrations, police brutality, and assassinations.

As Ramon experiences the thrills of his first romantic relationship, graduates from school, and struggles to plan for an uncertain future, he is forced to make important decisions that may be dangerous to him, his family, his friends, and his girlfriend – the beautiful Sonia — and could turn deadly.

Enjoy an Excerpt

My room was on fire. Orange tongues licked the crumbling walls and snaked across the burning floor toward my bed. Thick gray smoke choked me. My ears throbbed with an insistent and reverberating sound.

I couldn’t breathe.

I gasped for air. My palms felt sweaty, and my heart thrashed against my rib cage, as if trying to escape my chest. I opened my eyes. For a moment, I was in a bright and silent void – then I heard my parents arguing in the kitchen.

It was a hot and sunny morning. I had been dreaming of hell again, and the alarm clock was ringing.

I shut it off.

Ever since Brother Santiago had given in Religion class a week ago a vivid and realistic description of hell as punishment for masturbation and having sex with prostitutes, I’d had the same dream over and over. Amid much commotion and speculation, Pacheco, the frail student with a perennially runny nose who sat behind me in class, fainted and had to be carted off to the school infirmary, pale and limp like a noodle in won ton soup. Everyone in class knew Pacheco was an assiduous masturbator – he bragged about it to other students often enough – but his blackout generated great speculation
in the school about his frequent visits to brothels. I wondered what kind of nightmares Pacheco was having.

On second thought, I really didn’t want to know. I had enough with my own nightmares of hell.

I stretched lazily in bed. Today was a special day. It was my birthday. I was fifteen years old.

A door slammed somewhere, and once more I was aware of my parents’ angry voices in the kitchen. I likened their arguments to a sort of word symphony, the sound of their voices harmonized so well. My mother’s shrill, piercing sting was a nearly perfect complement to my father’s placating hum.

Though I couldn’t hear them clearly, I guessed what they were arguing about – money. Ever since Papa’s broom-making business started going bad, it seemed money was all they ever talked about.

About the Author:

David Pereda was born in Havana, Cuba. The award-winning author of seven previous novels, he enjoys crafting political thrillers and edgy mainstream novels with unique characters placed in exotic settings. He has traveled to more than thirty countries and speaks four languages. Before devoting his time solely to writing and teaching, David had a successful international consulting career with global giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked with the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Qatar, among others.

A member of MENSA, David earned his MBA from Pepperdine University in California. He earned bachelor degrees in English literature and mathematics at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

He lives in artistic Asheville, North Carolina, with his youngest daughter Sophia, where he teaches mathematics and English at the Asheville-Buncombe Community College. He loves sports and is an accomplished competitor in track and show-jumping equestrian events.

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Grinders Corner by Ferris Craig and Charlene Keel


Grinders Corner by Ferris Craig and Charlene Keel
Publisher: Red Sky Presents
Genre: Historical (Vintage)
Length: Full (368 pgs)
Heat level: Sensual
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Grinders Corner explores the world of taxi dance halls in the 1960s in all its raw hilarity. Saucy, sassy and sexy, but not the least bit erotic, it follows the adventures of three young women trying to survive in the glitter palaces of Los Angeles.

Like lambs led to the slaughter, Uptown, a newly divorced English major with panic anxiety disorder and no job skills, Voluptua, an out of work actress, and Mouse, a former child star trying to make a comeback all struggle to make enough tickets to pay the bills. Things get complicated when Uptown falls in love with a customer who happens to be a priest.

In Grinders Corner it was a simpler time, long before gentlemen’s clubs and pole dancers, and it happened in a place where shy, lonely men could talk to women, even dance with them, with no fear of rejection—for about fifteen cents a minute.

This book is a hoot! This is not the standard rom/com… it’s a book where misfits come together and make for themselves a new reality!

I had no idea that “taxi dancers” still existed into the 60s. I thought it was exclusive to the 20s and 30s. It was interesting to get a glimpse of a different time and a different way of living.

The story is told from the point of view of Uptown; however, it is based on true events in the life of author Ferris H. Craig (Mouse, in the book).

The characters are wonderfully drawn and some of the experiences described in the book were truly “laugh out loud”-able. Uptown starts the job as a naïve woman but under the tutelage of her new friends, Mouse and Voluptua, soon gets an education like she never experienced before.

Kudos to the authors for such a fun, entertaining work!

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Smoldering Flame by Andrew Grey


Long and Short Reviews welcomes Andrew Grey who is celebrating today’s release of Smoldering Flame, the third book in his Rekindled Flame series.

Smoldering Flame is a special story for me. At its heart, this story is about how one kind deed can lead to happiness in a way that Marco never expected. When Dean and Sammy show up at his studio, he’s about to turn them away. But when he sees Sammy, he changes his mind and does what he can to make the sick little boy happy. Sammy completely stole my heart as I was writing the story. He’s a young boy who has been through a lot. Sammy’s father is a fireman and Sammy is all about fire dogs and his fire daddy. He was just too cute for words. Of course, Marco and Dean both have issues and commitments that could pull them apart, but the fact remains that one kind deed from Marco has the power to change everything for all of them.

Here are my Top 5 Book Writing Songs. As you can tell I love show tunes mostly. They just get me going like nothing else does. I listen to the Broadway channel on Sirius all the dang time. Smile

Make Your Own Kind of Music – Mama Cass. I love this song and it really inspires me because we all need to make our own music.

Hello – From Book of Mormon because this song always makes me laugh and sometimes you just need that.

Love Changes Everything – This is an amazing song which is so true, especially for me.

Movie in My Mind – From Miss Saigon. This song is so haunting and longing, it always moved my soul.

Only Make Believe – From Showboat This is an old show, but the song has such an interesting way of conveying two people falling in love at first sight. And then it’s used when they come back together after hard times.

Sometimes the strongest flames take the longest to ignite.

Firefighter Dean’s life revolves around his very ill son, Sammy. Caring for Sammy and working to make ends meet leave Dean time for little else, and romance isn’t something he can even consider—no matter how much he longs for someone special to join their family. Because money is tight, Dean couldn’t be more grateful to the photographer who does Sammy’s session free of charge.

After growing up in the foster care system, Marco knows how to rely on himself, and his hard work is about to pay off—he’s poised on the cusp of fame and success he could only have imagined as a lonely child. When Dean brings Sammy into Marco’s studio, Marco can see they’re struggling, and both the boy and his father stir Marco’s heart. The slow burn between the two men isn’t something either expected, but neither wants to lose the possibility of a loving future. With Dean’s dangerous and possibly life-threatening career and Marco’s demanding one, can romance and forever find a place to fit?

Enjoy an Excerpt

With the squeaky toy echoing in his ears for the millionth time, Marco tried to get the dog to look at him. He needed one last picture with Snickers looking straight at him.

Marco had to be careful—he wanted Snickers to only turn his head. The dog’s body was perfect. If he squeaked the toy too loud, the dog would move and everything would go to hell. And it would be another half an hour before he’d be able to get the damned shot.

Marco was tired. Snickers was tired. His owner, Baily, was slumped in a nearby chair, already having given up the ghost on this one.

“That’s it, boy. You’re almost perfect.” Marco pressed the shutter button, taking one picture and then another. As Snickers moved his head toward him, Marco held the button, rattling off multiple shots in quick succession. Then Snickers huffed and lay down, closing his eyes as if to say he’d had more than enough and was done for the day. Marco took a few more pictures because Snickers looked adorable and he never knew what was going to click with the client. Then he backed away from the camera, smiling.

“Is that it?” Baily asked hopefully.

“Yes. I think we’re all done for the day. Snickers did really good, and I appreciate your patience.” For the owner, this kind of session was hard. These pictures weren’t for her, but for an advertising agency in New York, and if they liked what they saw, there would be a decent payday for Marco, as well as Baily.

“Do you want to take a look?” Marco asked, turning the nearby computer screen to face them, then moving through the pictures one by one.

“Wow! Those look great.”

“Let me know which one you want and I’ll have it printed for you.” She had been so patient, and Marco wanted her to have a really good picture of Snickers.

“I love that one,” Baily said, smiling as Snickers doggy-laughed at the camera. It was a great image of the sand-colored corgi and one Marco was sure the agency would flip for.

“Me too.” He made note of the image. “He did a great job,” Marco reiterated, then stifled a yawn. This session was only supposed to have taken an hour, and almost three hours later, he was wiped out and had zero energy.

Baily scooped Snickers into her arms, and he settled right against her. Clearly he was just as wiped out.

“I’ll call you as soon as I hear. I’m hoping, if they like what they see, they’ll contact us for more pictures, and then, who knows?”

“Thank you, Marco.” Baily grinned. She was in her midtwenties and was a really sweet person. She’d first brought Snickers in for a personal portrait session, but when one of Marco’s clients came looking for dog images, Marco had shown them Snickers and they’d requested more for an ad campaign.

“No problem. I’ll be in touch.” Marco loosely hugged her and then led her to the front door. He let her out and locked up before returning to his studio. He cleaned up the toys, dusted down the backgrounds, and vacuumed the carpet he’d used as a base for the shoot. Then he turned out the lights and settled in for a few hours’ work with his camera and computer.

A knock on the door ten minutes later pulled him out of his task. Marco groaned. His calendar was booked for months and he never took walk-ins. His website even suggested potential clients try to schedule appointments at least three months in advance. So who was knocking at his door?

Marco got up, walked to the door, and pulled it open. “Can I help you?” he asked professionally.

The man there stood taller than Marco by a good six inches. He had to be nearly six four and was as broad as they came. He wore a sweatshirt, unzipped, over a tight navy-blue T-shirt that strained to cover the muscle underneath.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” he said gently but with a hint of agitation, or maybe it was nerves. Marco wasn’t sure, but he was definitely worried about something, judging by how his lower lip had been scraped, probably by the man’s own teeth. “Do you—”

A soft, weak-sounding voice cut through what the man was saying like a knife through butter. “Daddy.”

About the Author: Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world, visiting every continent except Africa and Antarctica. Andrew adores meeting people from cowboys, to executives, artists, police officers and everyone in between. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing). He also hates laundry, cooking, and cleaning. Luckily he has a husband who does that for him so he can keep writing. He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

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Buy the book at Dreamspinner Press.

Five Great Excuses Not to Write by J. Scott Coatsworth – Guest Blog and Giveaway


Long and Short Reviews welcomes J. Scott Coatsworth who is celebrating today’s release of Lander, the second book in his Oberon Cycle series. Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate and three copies of his queer sci-fi eBook The Stark Divide.

Five Great Excuses Not to Write
by J. Scott Coatsworth

Authors gotta procrastinate. It’s in our DNA. We love to write. We need to write.

And yet we gotta not write, too.

Our writer brains are strange and wonderful things, They need time to recharge, time to work out the various odds and ends from our stories and plots.

So we’ve come up with a number of ways to put off the inevitable, and I thought I’d share a few with you.

1) Laundry. There’s always laundry, and laundry’s gotta be done. And there’s no better time to do it then when you’re on a deadline and gotta finish 20,000 words in the next three hours. Separate those colors. Bleach those whites, and if you need to waste a little more time, run to the grocery store for some more dryer sheets. You can do this!

2) Cleaning your keyboard. This is a master class in procrastination. Get yourself some q-tips and a little 409 or hand soap, and go for it. Make sure you get around all the keys, and extra points if you manage to short out your keyboard and have to drive to the Apple store to get a new one.

3) Personal hygiene. This is a goldmine for the professional procrastinator. The possibilities re nearly endless. There are eyebrows to be trimmed, nose hairs to be plucked, nails to be cut, and various body parts to be shaved, depending on gender and personal preference. If you run out of options, offer to trim something on your significant other.

4) Social media. This is only for master-level procrastinators, because once you go in, you may never come out. Writers procrastinate, but they also need to write, or they’re just people with computers who don’t write. So approach it with caution. Even seasoned writers have been known to lose entire days at a time in the twisty halls of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Take a flashlight and have a friend check on you after a few hours to be sure you make it home.

5) Drawing maps. The great thing about this one (and the related “doing research” and “outlining the story”) are that they actually feel like writing work I mean, you have to know what the world (or city or piece of toast) that you are writing about looks like. You can while away hours and hours sketching rivers and mountains, coming up with compelling names like Skaithin Castle and the Whifforwillow River.

So that’s it. Master these skills (and figure out how to write a good scene or two) and you too could be a great writer.

Sometimes the world needs saving twice.

In the sequel to the Rainbow-Award-winning Skythane, Xander and Jameson thought they’d fulfilled their destiny when they brought the worlds of Oberon and Titania back together, but their short-lived moment of triumph is over.

Reunification has thrown the world into chaos. A great storm ravaged Xander’s kingdom of Gaelan, leaving the winged skythane people struggling to survive. Their old enemy, Obercorp, is biding its time, waiting to strike. And to the north, a dangerous new adversary gathers strength, while an unexpected ally awaits them.

In the midst of it all, Xander’s ex Alix returns, and Xander and Jameson discover that their love for each other may have been drug-induced.

Are they truly destined for each other, or is what they feel concocted? And can they face an even greater challenge when their world needs them most?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Jameson savored the kiss, his arms around Xander, the way they fit together just right. They were finally together, and Titania and Oberon were one again.

Erro, Quince had called this new world. Like the skythane god of the sun, the one Errian and the Erriani were named for.
For the moment, everything was right in his life, and he never wanted it to end.

A cold drop of water on his cheek brought him out of his reverie. He glanced up. Storm clouds were piled high, swiftly overtaking them. Rain began to pour out of the sky like a waterfall, and thunder echoed in the clouds as the valley went dark, sunlight smothered by the onrushing clouds. Nearby trees thrashed about in the wind, their purple leaves fluttering in distress.

“What the hell?” Xander said as the winds picked up and ruffled the feathers of his wings. He stared up at the black tempest.
“The Split!” Jameson shouted over the howling of the wind. He mimed the two halves of the world, each with their own atmosphere, suddenly being forced together in the middle. “When the Oberon half shifted, all the atmosphere it brought with it along the Split was forced up here!”

A bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree, crisping it to ashes and standing Jameson’s hair on end.

“Run!” Xander shouted.

Jameson’s vision swam, and a memory slipped into his conscious mind from that other part of him—a high-ceilinged cavern that was more like a faery palace than a cave—where he’d stolen away with a lover. More than once.

His stomach heaved at the displacement, and he clenched his hands. That wasn’t me. They were someone else’s memories.
“Follow me!” he shouted at his four companions—Xander, Quince, Kadin, and Venin—and ran toward the cliffs that were rapidly fading to invisibility behind the rain. He pushed down the memory-nausea, tasting bile in the back of his mouth.

Alia was missing. He’d last seen her as they had fled the Mountain, when it had begun to collapse. Jameson looked around wildly, but she was nowhere to be seen. “Where’s Alia?” he shouted at Kadin as they ran. Thunder shook the valley.

Kadin shook his head, mouthing, “I don’t know.”

Rain swirled all around them, coming down so fast that it pooled on the ground and ran in rivulets downhill toward the lake that was now half filled with the broken remains of the Mountain.

The mud made the footing treacherous. Jameson clambered up the hill, using roots and rocks that offered a firmer surface than the naked ground. The wind tugged at his wings, threatening to flip him over. He pulled them in tightly and glanced back to be sure the others were following him through the tempest.

Jameson reached the cover of the forest, plunging under the protection of the canopy. The trees here were tall and thin with white bark trunks and broad purple leaves that were being shredded by the storm.

About the Author: Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own reality.

Website | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Goodeads | QueeRomance Ink Author Page | Amazon Author Page

Buy the book at Dreamspinner, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, or Queer Romance Ink.

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