Love Tools by Isobel Reed – Q&A and Giveaway

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.

What are four things you can’t live without?

Books. I think it would seriously affect my wellbeing if I couldn’t read. They are not only a much-needed escape sometimes, but they are my main form of relaxation. Travelling. At least once a year I try and go somewhere I’ve never been before. Home. My home is my safe space. It’s where I write, read, and spend time with the man I love. Chocolate. I feel like this one is self-explanatory.

What is your favorite television show?

Hart of Dixie. It’s everything I look for in a TV show. It’s got the romance, humor, and it’s against my favorite back drop – a small town!

If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be? Why?

Probably Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia series. Like me she’s the youngest sibling and she’s the first one through the wardrobe. Having spent most of my childhood making up imaginary worlds, I definitely dreamed of finding one. Also, who wouldn’t want a talking lion as a bestie and to get crowned Queen of Narnia?

What have you got coming soon for us to look out for?

Love Tools is book one of the Bluestone series. It’s the first series I’ve ever written, and I must admit I got really attached to the place and the characters. If Bluestone County existed in real life, I would pack my bags and be over there in a heartbeat. My favorite characters (and hopefully the reader’s) of course got treated to their own love stories. In total there are four books in the series, and you don’t have to wait long for book two. Expiry Dating will be released in February 2023. Book three will be published May 2023 and book four in August 2023. I’m also in the midst of writing a brand-new series which will be published later on in 2023.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

It makes sense that I write contemporary romance because it’s my favorite genre and what I spend most of my free time reading. Maisey Yates’s small-town romances are a strong influence as is anything by Tessa Bailey and Sarina Bowen. Even though I don’t write romantic suspense, authors like Susan Stoker and Riley Edwards are also an amazing source of inspiration. All of these authors, like myself, enjoy writing strong female character leads and pairing them with often overbearing alpha male leads.

What happens when the king of casual meets the queen of picking the wrong men?

Lily is running. From a dead-end job, a neurotic mother and all the losers she dared to date. Moving halfway across the world to Bluestone County seemed like a good idea at the time. So did reopening her estranged father’s hardware store. But now she isn’t so sure.

Small town living has its perks though. Wide-open space, clean air, and sexy cowboys. Well, one sexy cowboy. Jake. Who also just so happens to be the new bane of her existence. At least when he’s not talking, she can admire the view.

Jake is the king of casual. The love of his life has always been his ranch, and that was fine with him. He never really saw the point in long-term. But all that changes when a mouthy, blonde sasses him into oblivion. He should have known she’d be trouble as soon as he laid eyes on her. Now it’s too late. She’s all he can think about. All he has to do is convince her that he’s finally the right man.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Lily stared at the boarded-up windows and took a deep breath. There was no turning back now. Pulling the keys from her handbag, she unlocked the door and followed the creaking sound of the floorboards into the dimly lit store.

To her surprise the shelves were still stocked and brimming with power tools, each item covered in a layer of dust that had already started to make its way up her nostrils.

“What the hell are you doing here Lily?” she muttered to herself as she ran her fingers across the counter.

To get this place up and running, it was going to be more work than she ever imagined. She just hoped the apartment upstairs was in better condition.

After exploring the shop floor, she went to find out. She followed the beige hallway into the living room, taking a seat on the squeaky leather sofa and looking around. The space was depressing. Habitable but depressing nonetheless.

How could he have lived here for so long, and it still feel so empty?

Furniture was sparse, and other than the chair she sat in, the only other items that remained were a flatscreen TV, a scratched wooden coffee table and a small shelving unit scattered with a few books and a couple of picture frames.

She looked over at the kitchen adjoining the living room and noticed some basic appliances. It felt strange to be in his space. His home. Surrounded by his things. Was there a right way to feel?

About the Author: Isobel was born and raised in London. She still lives along the River Thames with her husband and her substantial book collection. Ever the hopeless romantic, she fell in love with the genre from a young age and was inspired to write her own stories. When she’s not feasting on romantic comedies or binge reading her hoard of contemporary romance novels, Isobel is writing.

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Vanessa Jared’s Got a Man by LaQuette – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. LaQuette will be awarding a $30 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.

Vanessa Jared, a 40-something divorcée, decided that the best way to pull herself out of their post-divorce slump was to form The Savvy, Sexy, Singles Club and start the “Do Me” portion of her and her friends’ lives.

But on the two-year anniversary, a sexy sheriff shows up on Vanessa’s doorstep wanting her to help him keep his little sister from marrying her no-good ex. Vanessa is not down for this at all. She wants nothing to do with her ex…until she spots a photo of her ex’s new fiancée wearing her grandmother’s ring—which he clearly stole from her. So now it is on. Vanessa is ready to take this trifling (fill-in-the-blank) down. What she does not expect is to fall in love along the way.

Enjoy an Excerpt

She turned around to face him, and he damn near missed the bottom step by focusing on her instead of his feet. She was wearing a tuxedo that fit every curve she had and made him ball his hands into tight fists for fear he wouldn’t be able to keep them to himself.

Her sleek bob had been curled into beach waves with one side pinned back, exposing the elegant curve of her neck. Her jacket was open, and the sight of her plump breasts essentially standing at attention for his viewing pleasure made his tuxedo pants more uncomfortable than the stiff material usually would.

“That bad,” she said with a playful grin. She knew damn well there was nothing remotely bad about her look or her outfit. Every- thing about it said Sexiest Boss of the Year.

“Yeah,” he choked out. “Perhaps we should stay in and discuss my thoughts on what you’re wearing.”

She walked closer to where he stood, pushing both hands in her pockets, which gave him a better view of the beautiful brown skin of her chest and bosom. She was definitely not playing fair.

“Really?” she questioned, lifting her brow in mock confusion. “What exactly are your thoughts?”

He somehow found the strength and focus to make his legs and feet work to step down off that bottom step that led into the living room. “I’m afraid what I have to say might offend your delicate nature. Getting slapped right before an event may depreciate the value of the goods I have to put on display to get people to part with their coins.”

“And if I promise to keep my hands to myself?”

He stepped closer until they were almost touching. “That’s the problem.” He looked her up and down before bringing his gaze back to hers. “I don’t want you to keep your hands to yourself.”

He waited to see if she would back away. If she showed even the slightest bit of hesitancy, he’d pause this game they were playing. Yes, he wanted her again. But only if the desire was mutual. His ego couldn’t take it if he didn’t see the exact same need in her eyes. “You see that as a problem?” She shrugged her shoulders and folded her arms, pushing her tits impossibly high, making the de- licious vee of her cleavage more pronounced and tempting. “I see it as a goal.”

“I keep telling you you’re playing with fire.”

“And I keep telling you, I like the heat. What’s the problem, Sheriff?”

About the Author:2021 Vivian Award finalist and DEIA activist in the romance industry, LaQuette writes bold stories featuring multicultural characters. She crafts dramatic, emotionally epic tales that are deeply pigmented by reality’s paintbrush.

This Brooklyn native’s novels are a unique mix of unapologetically sexy, stylish, & sensational characters who are confident in their right to appear on the page.

She is the 2016 Author of the Year Golden Apple Award winner & the 2016 Write Touch Readers Award winner. Writing—her escape from everyday madness— has always been a friend and source of comfort. At the age of sixteen, she read her first romance novel and realized the genre was missing something: people that looked and lived like her. As a result, her characters and settings are always designed to provide positive representations of people of color and various marginalized communities.

She loves hearing from readers and discussing the crazy characters that are running around in her head causing so much trouble

Latoya Smith at Arthouse Literary Agency
Please send all publishing and film industry
inquiries to Latoya@arthouselit.com .

Keisha Mennefee at Honey Magnolia Co Publicity
Please send all press and or publicity inquiries to keisha@honeymagnolia.co

Please send all conference speaker and teaching inquiries to LaQuette@LaQuette.com.
LaQuette at
Brooklyn Girl Ink, LLC
412 N Main St Ste 100
Buffalo, Wy 82834 USA

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Character Creation by Robyn Singer – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Robyn Singer will be awarding a $10 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.

Character Creation

Characters are the most important part of any story. In my eyes, this is not up for debate. Two years after finishing your book, readers won’t remember the details of the plot or the intricacies of your world building, but they will remember a character they truly fell in love with, or even hated with a fiery passion. It’s because of this that I put more effort into my characters than anything else, and it’s where I feel my writing truly shines. How do I create my characters?

Well, let’s take a look at my process.

Generally, I come up with a premise first and then create the characters around it. I’ll come up with personalities and backstories which allow them to fill the roles I need them to, which fit the themes of the story, and which make them unique. From there, I write out a description of what they look like, how they dress, what their hobbies are, what their favorite food is, what their goal is, and what their lie vs truth, or, what they learn about themselves during the story, is. As minor as some of these aspects may seem, all of them serve to help understand and flesh out a character.

Of course, sometimes the characters come first. Often, I’ll recycle characters from a previous work of mine which didn’t work, and insert them into a new story. When I do this, there’s much fun to be had tinkering with them in all the ways I listed above to keep the core of who they are, while also making them fit properly. More than once, I’ve specifically come up with a pitch just because I thought of how certain characters I’d created in the past could fit into a specific setting.

Like any writer, there are certain tropes I love above all others and while I try not to repeat myself to a gross extent, there are certain types of characters I like to have appear in all my stories, just because I have fun writing them.

I’m not one to base characters off of real people, though that is a totally valid strategy.
What I will often do, however, is steal the names of real people and give them to my character.
Names for my characters either come from that, a list online, or my brain thinking of something that fits on its own based on the vibes of the character.

What I keep in mind when I’m going through this process are the key elements a
character needs to possess. They need to be interesting, they need to be empathetic, they need to be lovable or hateable, depending on what you’re going for, and they need to say something in relation to what the story is about. Keep these things in mind when you’re breaking down your characters, and you’ll have a winner every time.

After years of adventures, professional thief and amateur noodle critic Yael is invited to join The Order of the Banshee, a collection of the greatest female thieves in the universe, despite being decades younger than any of them.

Yael’s childhood best friend, Molina, has lived the opposite life: a stern and serious member of The Sunrisers, the universe’s premiere peacekeeping organization, she’s just been promoted to Captain, serving under her father. Her first assignment of her new command: Bring down The Order of the Banshee.

Yael and Molina now find themselves on opposite sides of a conflict neither of them will escape unscathed. The love they have for each other is the same as when they were young, but either their personal values or their love will break.

In this game of cat and mouse, both women must use all their wits and tricks to stay ahead of their new enemy. Will order triumph, or will chaos? No matter what, Yael and Molina will both lose.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Outside the cave, ground troops were being deployed, the sound of their combat boots stomping on the moon’s surface echoing. And inside the cave, eleven of the smartest and most dangerous women in the universe were staring daggers straight into my eyes.

“I knew we couldn’t trust a whippersnapper,” Athena York said.

“How very disappointing,” Beatriz Nunez snarled.

“I have a granddaughter in the Sunrisers,” Lilith hummed. “If you tipped her off, I’ll at least respect you for going for the heart.”

I shook my head and swung my arms around, sweating from every pore. “I swear I didn’t call them. This is all just a big misunderstanding. You have my complete loyalty.”

Madame N’gwa cocked her head to the side and grinned. “You wanted to be a Sunriser when you were even more of a baby than you are now. Perhaps you made a deal to make your dream finally come true.”

A shocking pain surrounded my heart. Those Sunriser bastards had stolen all the trust I’d earned from my idols through years of deceit. Whichever captain was in charge of this operation was going to pay.

Lioness stepped forward, crushing her glass in her hand and sending small shards flying all over the place. “Thank you for sharing your story with me. But I don’t think we’ll be hearing anymore of them. Rather, I don’t think you’ll be living any more of them.”

About the Author: Robyn Singer is a lifelong New Yorker, and since she was a kid playing with her action figures, all she’s wanted to do is tell stories. She went to SUNY Purchase to get a degree in Playwriting & Screenwriting with a minor in Film and has produced several comic books, but she’s always had her eye on becoming a published novelist.

As an Autistic, bisexual trans woman, diversity and inclusion in stories are vitally important to her, and she seeks to represent as many groups as possible in her work. While she wants to show characters of marginalized groups experiencing joy, she also draws inspiration from real-world problems which bother her.

The Sunrisers (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, November 2022) is her debut novel. She writes novels and short stories of all genres and for all ages, and she continues to produce comic books. Her ongoing series, Final Gamble, will begin publication by Band of Bards in 2022.

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What I Would Tell A New Author by Rachel Brimble – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

What I Would Tell a New Author

Ooh, where to start?? Haha!

I started my writing journey in 2005 with my first book being published in 2007. Since then, I have had a total of 28 books published (Victoria & Violet is number 28) and during that time I have learned a LOT about the process of writing, the toil of writing, the emotional high and lows of writing and what is REALLY involved in being an author. All of these things, of course, were beyond my grasp or imagination when my very first book was accepted by a publisher.

All that mattered to me then was that I had signed a publishing contract. And why wouldn’t that be the only thing that mattered? It was a huge achievement!

But by book three, reality had well and truly kicked in and I realized if I wanted to actually sell any books, I couldn’t recline on my chaise longue with a feather boa trailed around my neck a la Barbara Cartland style (look her up if you don’t know who she is!) and expect to make my fortune. I soon understood that publishers do not do as much as I assumed with regards to marketing and that promotion (for the most part) comes down to the author.

This is lesson number 1 for any aspiring author – be prepared for the time you will need to spend on promotion as well as writing. That is most definitely the biggest eye-opener.

Number 2 – The best advice I have ever received is ‘Give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft’. I have lived by this for the last ten novels, and it has quadrupled my output and made it so I enjoy the process so much more.

Number 3 – Try to find a good critique partner or two – I have had several critique partners over the years and loved working with all of them. I only have one right now, but we have been working together on our books for almost ten years now and I’d be lost without her.

These are most definitely my Top 3 Tips! I would also love for any aspiring romance writers out there to also check out my First Chapter Critique service – I have been running this service since 2019 and so proud of its continuing popularity. I work with aspiring authors on the first chapter of their novel, critiquing up to 3,500 words, and well as providing a report on dialogue, setting, characterization etc that they can use to tweak and revise their entire manuscript!

When Violet Parker is told she will be Queen Victoria’s personal housemaid, she cannot believe her good fortune. She finally has the chance to escape her overbearing mother, a servant to the Duchess of Kent. Violet hopes to explore who she is and what the world has to offer without her mother’s schemes overshadowing her every thought and action.

Then she meets James Greene, assistant to the queen’s chief political adviser, Lord Melbourne. From entirely different backgrounds and social class, Violet and James should have neither need nor desire to speak to one another, yet through their service, their paths cross and their lives merge—as do their feelings.

Only Victoria’s court is not always the place for romance, but rather secrets, scandals, and conspiracies…

Enjoy an Excerpt

“She…” Violet hesitated, feeling foolish carrying out the queen’s instructions when James was quite clearly busy and not at all happy. “She suggested we take a picnic.”

“A pic…” His eyes widened before his cheeks mottled. “It’s December!”

“I can pack some hot soup and bread. It will be…fun.”

“Fun? I can’t take myself off for a picnic when there is so much to do. What on earth will the workers think of me?”

His mood made her decidedly uneasy, but she could not defer on the queen’s request. She lifted her chin. “I’m sorry, James, but if the queen commands it, we cannot refuse. Besides, it will be last time you will see me for a while.”

He dropped his hand from his hair, his dark eyes boring into hers. “What are you talking about?”

“I have to go home. My mother claims my father is ill. Not that I believe a word of it, of course. But still, I must go.”

“Your mother is exerting her power again?”

“I have little doubt.”

He exhaled heavily, his gaze softening. “Give me an hour and I will come. Where shall we meet?”

“In the folly.”

“Very well.” His gaze dropped to her lips before he reached around her toward the door and opened it. “You should go.”

He stood so close, Violet could see flecks of blue in his eyes, smell the subtle maleness of him. Her treacherous heart swelled with silly, dangerous love. She forced a smile and ducked under his arm and through the open doorway.

About the Author: Rachel lives in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of 29 novels including the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy, the Shop Girl series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin). Her latest novel, Victoria & Violet is the first book in her new Royal Maids series with the Wild Rose Press and releases 17th October 2022.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association as well as the Historical Novel Society and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.

To sign up for her newsletter (a guaranteed giveaway every month!), click here.

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The Guardian by Jen Colly – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jen Colly will be awarding a $30 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.

Prepared to die…fighting to live.

Savard was in a mood to die, but when a human insists on saving his life, death is no longer an immediate option. He knew of no species – human, vampire, or demon – that could see him while in his invisible Spirit form. Unique to this world, this woman’s singularity was a danger to the entire vampire race.

Waking behind bars in an underground vampire city was not how Sera envisioned her night drive ending. She has come to expect nothing from those who pass through her life, but this man, dying on the side of the road, proves to be different. Savard fights to free her from tyrannical vampire laws and to hide her unique abilities. What Sera doesn’t understand, is why he would fight his growing love for her.

Savard’s haunted past threatens to tear them apart. Soon, Sera discovers just how far her guardian is willing to go, and what he’s willing to do, to keep her safe.

Enjoy an Excerpt

A total of twelve Justice had been slaughtered in less than two nights by a single Forbidden. None of them had been prepared for the violent force of unholy power and honed skill that was Devlin Savard.

When it was done, the Forbidden didn’t bother to look around, to make certain none had enough life left in them to make a second attempt. Savard knew he’d finished them.

Stepping over the bodies and twisted limbs, the Forbidden strode to the trees, toward Gideon. In a flashing moment of panic, Gideon looked down at his body, made certain he remained concealed in his invisible Spirit form. He was, but the confirmation only gave him a marginal sense of security. Savard still advanced up the hill in his direction.

The slippery layer of snow on the grass didn’t slow the Forbidden, his injuries didn’t affect him, and Gideon couldn’t help but wonder if there was anyone in this world who could take down Savard.

Savard walked into the forest, never slowing, weaving around the bare trees at the top of the hill until he faced the spot where Gideon stood, still invisible and undetectable, or so he’d thought. How the hell had Savard known where to find him?

“Afraid to face me?” Savard asked, but not at all in a taunting manner, as Gideon had expected. Then, seeming somehow disappointed, Savard turned his back on Gideon, casually surveying the carnage he’d left in the clearing. “I can understand why.”

Gideon didn’t care for confrontation. Never had. It was a ridiculous trait for a man in his position of both Guardian and Justice to possess. Some would say he’d chosen the wrong profession, but few were aware he’d had no choice in the matter. Releasing his Spirit, Gideon appeared not eight feet behind the infamous Forbidden.

“Ah,” Savard said in a satisfied manner at the sound of Gideon’s boots sinking into the snow. Turning slowly to face him, Savard looked him over as if he’d already known what he would find. “The man who commanded the Valenna Justice.”

Not caring for Savard’s usage of the word command in the past tense, Gideon assured him, “My captain will send more men.”

“He always does,” Savard said, his gaze drifting off to some distant point. As his body turned slightly, it was clear the Forbidden’s shirt glistened wetly in the moonlight, sticking to his side.

“You’re bleeding.” Gideon smiled, tight-lipped. Behnam had made a damn good strike.

“Am I?” Savard said easily, as if he hadn’t noticed, and then his gaze caught Gideon’s sword still secured in its scabbard. “Yet I see you’ve no interest in rekindling the fight.”

Gideon shrugged. It was true. He’d tracked him down and set the Justice loose as instructed. Nothing more. He refused to risk his life when Captain Basteen’s betrayal of the very laws Gideon himself struggled to uphold lingered fresh in his mind. “I don’t see the point. This round has been won.”

“So the generals live to fight the next battle. Is that the idea?”

“Something of the sort.”

“Be honest. That was hardly a fair fight. You brought them here to die.” Savard turned his back on Gideon again, boldly walking away. Then, just before he went down the other side of the ridge, Savard called out, his voice echoing in the night, “Want me dead? Bring an army.”

About the Author: Jen Colly is the rare case of an author who rebelled against reading assignments throughout her school years. Now she prefers reading books in a series, which has led her to writing her first paranormal romance series: The Cities Below. She will write about anything that catches her fancy, though truth be told, her weaknesses are pirates and vampires. She lives in Ohio with her supportive husband, two kids, one fluffy dog, and four rescued cats.

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My Dreaded Writing Fears Exposed by Carey PW – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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.

My Dreaded Writing Fears Exposed

I have a confession. I’m scared shitless.

Perhaps some writers fear failure. Some may fear that no one will read their work. While that may be an awful experience, I can’t say that failure occupies my mind too much. It’s there, but not too vocal. In so many ways, success in terms of lots of people reading my book terrifies me.

Maybe it’s my high functioning social anxiety. I have this tendency to make myself small. One reason that I love winter and living in Montana is that I adore the dark. I want to be hidden and covered. But that doesn’t work well in the writing world.

I’m not suggesting that I don’t want people to read my books. And achieving a nice fan base is definitely a goal. But it also scares me.

I like writing about queer characters, and Grayality focuses a lot on transgender and bisexual experiences. However, the queer community faces a great deal of misunderstanding and worse, prejudice. While I do my best to emphasize that my stories in no way represent all queer people’s experiences, beliefs, or feelings, I worry that readers may misinterpret it. Honestly, I would say that my biggest concern is whether my fellow transgender or bisexual readers will love my book or hate it.

Scrutiny is hard. While receiving criticism can be unpleasant, I have always tried to utilize it to improve myself. And I can handle criticism that is honest, specific, and constructive. For example, if my characters were underdeveloped, then great! I want to know so that I can improve in character development. But if someone just writes, “this book sucks” or “I hate it” with no other feedback, I can only feel a little hurt. I’m a little scared of harsh reviews with no specifics or way to make use of that criticism. Worse, I fear getting a lot of them!

Lastly, I fear people reading it overall. While Grayality is fictional, it still conveys my own thoughts, feelings, and struggles in certain ways. Pate’s mental health issues reflect some of my own. Thus, I feel exposed putting it out there for people to see, especially people who know me. Strangers are fine. But putting this out there to people I work with, students I teach, and family is intimidating. Furthermore, Pate shares his feelings about having female genitalia. Therefore, I worry that now everyone will look at me and think about my genitals, something that most transgender people want to avoid.

So, my main fear is sharing myself. It’s always a fear. Yet I do it in my life constantly. I’m publishing this book. I share my innermost personal thoughts and feelings weekly in encounter groups. I share myself as a person with my students in the classroom. I share my OCD and social anxiety in efforts to reduce stigma. But no matter how much I do it, I’m scared. Then again, there is no courage without fear. So far, sharing myself has only created connections with others mostly. Consequently, it’s a risk that I’m willing to take.

Love knows no gender.

Pate Boone, a twenty-six-year-old transgender man, embarks on a new adventure when his childhood best friend, and yes, ex-lover, Oakley Ogden, convinces him to escape their hometown in hopes for something new.

They land in Cloverleaf, a tiny rural town in Montana, so that Oakley can care for his granny who is battling breast cancer. She pressures the two young men to enroll in a nearby college. Pate immediately becomes enthralled with Maybelle, a young, vivacious freshman to whom he fears revealing his transgender identity. Still, he finds it impossible to resist Maybelle, even after he meets her ex, Bullet, a large, violent man determined to keep Pate away from “his girl.”

But there are others who accept Pate immediately, like Stormy. An outdoorsy, rugged freshman, Stormy warns Pate away from Maybelle and Bullet, but Pate’s too infatuated to heed these warnings.

Oakley tries to support his friend’s new love but finds himself entangled in his own emotional calamity when he unintentionally falls for Jody, a gay and ostentatiously confident drag queen. This new relationship awakens deep internal conflicts in Oakley as he struggles to accept his bisexuality, lashing out at Pate and causing friction between him and Jody.

Oakley must decide if he can overcome his insecurities so he doesn’t lose the love of his life. And Pate must discover if the love between him and Maybelle is strong enough for her to accept him as a transgender man, or if she will break his heart.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Pate held up his hand to stop me. “You didn’t pull away when he held your hand. Even he noticed that. You didn’t pull away from his kiss. You think he’s never hit on straight guys before? I think he’d know by now that straight guys pull away—”

“And gay guys don’t?” I asked.

“They don’t if they are interested. Oakley, sexuality is not either/or. Maybe you have some attraction to him. Maybe not toward just any man, but toward him.”

I had been so busy trying to analyze my repulsion toward guys that it had never dawned on me to consider what made Jody attractive to me. His emerald-green eyes alone were enough to mesmerize anyone. His skin was silky and soft like a woman. His frame was small and delicate. But thinking on it, it wasn’t so much those physical traits as it was his confidence and free spirit. I had never seen a girl perform and light up a room as if she owned it the way Jody had dominated the club in Billings. When he realized that I thought he was a girl when I made the date, his response was calm. He didn’t get offended or even embarrassed. Jody was going to keep being Jody. I hadn’t found that certainty for myself yet.

“It wouldn’t mean anything different than me preferring to stay a feminine guy,” Pate replied, shrugging his shoulder. “It’s not about girl or boy. It’s about the feminine and the masculine that’s in all of us.”

About the Author:Carey PW (he/they) is a debut author, college instructor, and mental health counselor. Carey is currently completing his next manuscript, Acing the Game.

Carey lives in Montana, and identifies as nonbinary, transmasculine (AFAB) and panromantic asexual. Due to the lack of resources in rural communities, Carey has discovered that writing about his lived experiences is a therapeutic outlet for him and hopes that his readers relate to his own personal struggles and triumphs shared through his characters’ narratives. Carey is particularly interested in exploring relationship conflicts around sexuality and gender differences. He has also worked as a high school writing instructor and college writing instructor, earning a B.A. in English Literature, a M.Ed. in English Education, and Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education all from the University of Georgia. In 2020, Carey earned his second M.Ed. in Counselor Education and works as a licensed clinical professional counselor, LCPC. He has a strong passion for working with the unique mental health issues of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Readers can learn more about Carey from his blog, www.careypw.com. When he is not writing, Carey is busy training for marathons, parenting his six cats, sharing his culinary talents on social media, serving on the board for the nonprofit Center for Studies of the Person (CSP) and learning photography.

Carey PW loves to hear from readers. You can find his contact information, website and author biography at Pride Publishing.

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Black Magic Murder by Polly Holmes – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Careful what you wish for!

Graduating to a fully-fledged witch on my upcoming birthday should be a momentous occasion, but when a local hairdresser turns up dead, I know it’s going to be one hell of a week.

Saltwater Cove’s resident infuriating fae looks like a good suspect for the murder, but insists she’s innocent and reveals a huge secret too amazing to be a lie. But if she didn’t do it… then who did?

The murder triggers the return of a dark force… dark enough to send even the most experienced witches into panic mode. Harriet, Jordi and Tyler join me as I try to find the culprit, putting my magical abilities to the ultimate test.

When the killer strikes even closer to home, I need to up my game if I’m going to keep evil at bay.…or have I finally met my supernatural match?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“I cannot believe you’re not going to have a birthday party!” Harriet said, dropping on the edge of my bed, disgruntled. “It’s not every day you turn twenty-five and become a full-fledged witch. Why would you not want to have a party? It’s a milestone to celebrate.”

“Parties are over-rated,” I blurted, holding a pink and black blouse against my chest and checking out the vintage look in the full-length mirror in the corner.

Not bad, if I say so myself. Lookout, Tyler, here I come.

“Harriet’s right.” Jordi joined her on the bed. Both my best friends stared blankly at me. These two women meant the world to me, and that was precisely why I was not having a party.

“I’m sure lover boy has a great night planned this evening, but what about the rest of us?” Harriet giggled. “How are we going to celebrate your birthday?”

I bit the inside of my cheek, choosing my words carefully. “Do you remember what happened when we hosted our last party at The Melting Pot?”

They glanced sideways at each other, and then Harriet piped up, “Please don’t tell me it was New Year’s Eve?”

My forehead tightened. “It certainly was.”

A grimace turned Jordi’s expression upside down. “I remember. Prudence McAvoy turned up dead in your pond. But when you think about it, that’s no great loss.”

“Jordi!” I said, three octaves higher. “That is a terrible thing to say.”

She shrugged. “Sorry, but we all know she was not at the top of my Christmas Card list. She made my life hell at school and after. She made my life hell…period.”

About the Author:

Polly Holmes is the cheeky, sassy alter ego of Amazon best-selling author, P.L. Harris. When she’s not writing her next romantic suspense novel as P.L. Harris, she is planning the next murder in one of Polly’s cozy mysteries. She pens food-themed and paranormal cozy mysteries and publishes her books solely with Gumnut Press.

As Polly Holmes, Cupcakes and Corpses was a finalist in the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America’s 2019 IDA International Digital Awards, short suspense category. Cupcakes and Curses claimed second place and Cupcakes and Cyanide gained third place making it a clean sweep in the category.

She won silver in the 2020 ROAR! National Business Awards in the Writer/Blogger/Author category and for the second year in a row, she was a finalist in the 2021 ROAR! National Business Awards winning bronze in the Writer/Blogger/Author category with Gumnut Press taking out the gold in the Hustle and Heart category.

2022 saw Polly Holmes’ books Muffins & Magic and Mistletoe, Murder & Mayhem long-listed in the Davitt Awards, a prestigious award run by the Sisters of Crime, Australia. Muffins & Magic also placed in the finals of the cozy mystery category in the Nashville Silver Falchion Awards.
She lives in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, with her Bichon Frise, Bella.

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The Not-So-Dominant Male by Barbara Casey – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara Casey 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 NOT-SO-DOMINANT MALE

 Gordon Sebastian Cooney – Even his name doesn’t quite exude masculinity. But it is Gordon who I pair with Hallie Marsh in the end following a disastrous affair with her egotistical, testosterone-laden boss/lover Jeff Darnell.

Gordon is a talented artist who works at the same real estate company as Hallie before she gets replaced by a younger woman her lover/boss has hired. It is Gordon and Hallie’s other friend Carol who manage to help her through a series of crises that include Hallie’s mother revealing to her that she is leaving Hallie’s father for someone else.

Hallie’s immediate response to Jeff’s treatment of her is to write a letter to all of the board members of the real estate company letting them know about the unethical and probably illegal practices her former lover/boss has performed. She wants revenge.

Her first order of business, however, is to find a place to live. As it happens, a house next door to Gordon has just been put on the market, and it is there that Hallie meets the four peculiar elderly neighbors who are making plans to move out of their rental apartments nearby and purchase a big, dilapidated mansion just down the street. They plan to fix it up and live in it “just like family.”

Gordon quietly and confidently gives Hallie the support she needs as she works through her problems, never expecting anything in return, and hiding the fact that he is totally in love with her. The challenges come – Jeff decides he wants Hallie back, it was all a mistake, and Hallie meets someone else she starts going out with. All the while, however, it is Gordon she continues to turn to as she starts writing a book about the four elderly people. Naturally it takes one more problematic episode before Hallie realizes that love is more than strong hormones, and that a gentle, caring nature in a man is more attractive than any chest thumps or Tarzan yells. It is the feeling of security and happiness that comes just to be together; it is trust and support for each other—it is what she and Gordon share. It is with this new understanding of herself and the affection she feels for the four people she is writing about that she and Gordon also become part of their lives, because they, too, are “just like family.”

All in one day, thirty-five-year-old Hallie Marsh learns that the man she loves, works for, and is living with has found someone else and that she no longer has a job or a place to live. She is also involved in a car accident. She retreats to her parents’ home in the northern part of Florida to be consoled and to decide what to do with the rest of her life only to find out that her mother is planning to leave her father for another man. Embittered, filled with anger, and wanting revenge, Hallie decides to take a year’s sabbatical and write a novel that would reveal the unethical, if not illegal, real estate business practices of her former boss and lover.

Determined and focused, Hallie buys a house in the neighborhood where her two best friends and former co-workers live: Carol Mathews and Gordon Sebastian Cooney. It is through Gordon and Carol that Hallie comes to know four neighbors, one of whom is Carol’s Vietnamese mother who carries a doll and talks into reflective surfaces. These four neighbors–Cora, Suong, Charlie, and Vince–are all elderly, peculiar, and alone at this stage in their lives until Vince comes up with a plan: The four of them will form an alliance, buy the old Braswell estate which is located just down the road, fix it up, and live in it almost like family. Hallie is fascinated by these four people, and rather than write a tell-all book she begins writing about their alliance. With this new focus and the friendship of Carol and Gordon, Hallie overcomes her feelings of rage, she is able to cope with her mother’s sudden death, and she finds true love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Hallie’s heart raced as she walked briskly past the other offices to the executive suite at the end of the corridor. Since Jeff had sent word asking to see her, it must mean that he was finally finished with that project he had been working on day and night for the past several weeks and that he needed her as much as she needed him. She knew his divorce had just been finalized, although he hadn’t told her yet. She had called the courthouse downtown and found out on her own. He was probably just waiting for the right time to tell her. Over a romantic dinner at one of their favorite places. Or maybe he would take her somewhere for the weekend. He enjoyed surprising her. And there was the awards banquet tonight. He hadn’t mentioned that to her either, but naturally he would want her to go with him. In real estate circles, it was the event of the year. Even though it was supposed to be a secret, everyone knew that Jeff was getting the Salesman of the Year Award again. So much to celebrate and what better way than to make love in his office now.

“Mr. Darnell is expecting you, Ms. Marsh.”

Hallie smiled at the secretary, hoping that her demeanor was that of a public relations director going into a meeting with the president of the company and not of a woman who was going to make love to her boss in his office at four o’clock in the afternoon. “Thanks, Mary,” she said shifting her notebook in an exaggerated movement from one hand to the other, feeling slightly self-conscious. She suppressed the urge to giggle, something she frequently did whenever she felt self-conscious, and walked past the secretary’s desk. On the other side of the ornate double doors was Jeff’s office, a large multi-functional room that had both a southern and eastern exposure.

Jeff was standing with his back to her, looking out one of two mullioned, floor-to-ceiling windows, the one facing the intracoastal waterway. Hallie quietly closed the door and locked it. The desire she felt for him was tremendous and had somehow managed to gravitate to an area the size of a baseball between her naval and vulva. Without saying anything she unbuttoned her navy blue coatdress, silently applauding the fact that she had decided to wear it today since it was so easy to take off. Then she walked up behind him, slipped her arms around his waist, and pressed her body into his back. “You can’t imagine how much I have missed you,” she whispered when he turned around. She eagerly sought his lips as she loosened his tie and began unfastening the buttons on his shirt, completely forgetting the self-consciousness she had experienced moments earlier. He did that to her. Things she wouldn’t normally do under any other circumstances, she felt no inhibitions in doing with Jeff.

“Hallie, I need to tell you something.” Jeff held her trembling hands in his but she continued with the buttons, stopping only when she reached the buckle on his belt. She pulled his shirt loose from his trousers and opened it, exposing his bare chest. Then she tenderly kissed his neck, working her way down his chest and stomach with her mouth and tongue.

“Hallie, please. Stop. We have to talk.”

Hallie looked up into Jeff’s face, breathless and flushed with desire. Curiously at that moment she remembered seeing somewhere in a magazine two similar photographs side by side, the caption under one of them reading, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

About the Author:Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels and book-length works of nonfiction for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Several of her books have been optioned for major films and television series.

In addition to her own writing, Barbara is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency. Established in 1995, she represents authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan.

In 2018 Barbara received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas.

Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with three cats who adopted her: Homer, a Southern coon cat; Reese, a black cat; and Earl Gray, a gray cat and Reese’s best friend.

Website | Barbara Casey Agency | Goodreads

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Defiant by Bobbi Smith – Spotlight and Giveaway

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Clint Williams
Born February 16, 1852
Died March 23, 1877

Those were the words that marked his grave, and Clint knew that although he stood reading his own epitaph, they were true. Ever since the attack that had killed his entire family, he’d been dead inside. Only one thing kept him going—the burning need to bring in the outlaws who’d done it.

The Last Chance Saloon

Posing undercover to infiltrate the gang, Clint could let no one know his true identity or the fact that he’d once been a Texas Ranger. Not even the pretty daughter of a preacher man who burst into the saloon calling upon the gamblers to repent. As far as she knew, he was a gunslinger with a bad reputation who had no right to touch a good woman. But sometimes a man’s got to break all the rules, ignore common send to follow his heart and get downright… Defiant.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Clint was tense as he stood ready to shoot. In an instant, he drew his gun and fired. He hit the target dead on. His long hours of practice these past two weeks had paid off.

Clint turned to face Captain Meyers. He’d arranged to meet with the Ranger captain at the ruins of his family’s ranch so he could tell him what he planned to do.

“You were a fast draw before, but I think you’re even quicker now.”

“Good, I need to be.”

“What’s your plan?”

Clint was grim as he explained. “Except for a few people here in the area, everyone believes I was killed during the attack on the ranch. I want it to stay that way. Clint Williams is dead. From now on I’m Kane McCullough.”

“You want a new identity?” Meyers was surprised.

“Yes, and this is where I need your help—because Kane McCullough is a gunfighter, and he needs a reputation. I want you to get the word out.”

Captain Meyers realized Clint was right. No one would suspect who he really was, since everyone believed he was dead. As a deadly gunman he could move in the same circles as the killers and bring them down.

“I can do that.”

“Thanks. Have you heard of any new leads?”

“They’ve been lying low, but I just got word they were holding up in Black Canyon.”

“I’m riding to Black Canyon.” Clint’s mood was black.

“Good luck.”

The two men shook hands.

About the Author:After working as a department manager for Famous-Barr, and briefly as a clerk at a bookstore, Bobbi Smith gave up on career security and began writing. She sold her first book to Zebra in 1982. Since then, Bobbi has written over 40 books and several short stories. To date, there are more than five million of her novels in print. She has been awarded the prestigious Romantic Times Storyteller of the Year Award and two Career Achievement Awards. Her books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists. When she’s not working on her novels, she is frequently a guest speaker for writer’s groups. Bobbi is mother of two sons and resides in St. Charles, Missouri with her husband and three dogs.

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What Kind of Writer Am I? by Katie Groom – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Katie Groom will be awarding a $10 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.

What kind of writer am I?

I’m a time traveling writer.

I never write in order. My characters probably feel as if they are in one of those reverse bungee slingshot rides at the carnival, bouncing all around every which way, in the abyss that is my brain.

I do not start with a scene that’s at the beginning or the end — in the off chance that it does end up that way, it’s because I’ve discovered that I need to stop there and move on to another book in the series after writing all of the other scenes. I pick one that is somewhere in the middle that calls to me, and I write in a random pattern around that. Sometimes the scene that I start with never even makes it into the book. The very first thing that I wrote for Fixed Moon took place in London and was based on a real-life date that I had there — this never made it into the book.

As I write more, I also go back and edit what I’ve already written, so my characters have to revisit what they just went through yesterday or the day before, and sometimes it changes — just like memories sometimes gain a new light as one ages and experiences new things. Sometimes they become more vivid. More gruesome. And, rarely, they become happier.

There have been times where I’ve written something in Hugh’s point of view and had to re-write it in Zoie’s — and that throws them for a loop even more because it’s as if they’ve invaded each other’s memories. They get a taste of what the other is going through — even though they aren’t supposed to know.

What’s even worse is when I write something for the story I’m working on at the time, but it doesn’t work, so I pull it out and save it in my “bits and pieces” folder only to have a story completely unrelated utilize it. Imagine those characters as they find themselves placed into a stranger’s memory. It’s like dropping the little figure into Google maps and just walking around, trying to find the nearest airport, as if it was the latest social media challenge.

But the characters do fight back a little. I’ve written a scene about Hugh, and I didn’t like the decision he was making. I deleted it and started over, changing things but still getting us to that crossroad. He made the same choice again. And a third time. And a fourth. So, on the fifth time, I let that be the way that the chips fell.

Somehow the stories all fall together, and I swear that it’s some sort of witchcraft. It somehow starts as a group of scenes all tied together by the worked ELEPHANT (font sized 60; note: I use “elephant” so that I can quickly search and find all of the spots with missing pieces — unless, of course, I’m writing about elephants), but it finds its way to a cohesive story. When all is said and done, the characters will get to live their stories in order every time the book is opened by a new reader, without getting jostled around on a slingshot carnival ride.

After breaking her engagement and traveling 800 miles to start her life over, literature student Zoie is ready to live her life within the books she reads and the worlds she creates on the page. She will live her life solo — only her stuffed animal Judy by her side.

Werewolf and literature professor Hugh has long been wary of letting people into his life, even for someone who’s almost 200. His life in Birmingham, Alabama, and his only two friends in the world are enough to keep him content. Not happy, but as near as he figures is possible.

Neither is ready for the literal sparks that fly when they meet. But Hugh knows those sparks mean his heart belongs to Zoie, whether she wants it or not. Desperate to prove he’s worthy of her, Hugh takes Zoie to places mortals are forbidden, drawing dangerous attention to them both.

Now, together with their closest friends, Hugh and Zoie fight against ancient foes and even more ancient laws for their lives and their love.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Stevie placed her hands in front of her as if she was holding a big beach ball and closed her eyes. The boat shook ever so slightly and then the water started to rise above the sides of the boat.

Terrified that they were going to take on water, Zoie latched onto Hugh’s arm. She watched as either the water continued to rise above the boat or, maybe, the boat was sinking below the water.

As the water arched over their heads and created a ceiling, a fish fell at their feet. “Do I release it back or will that be an issue?” Zoie picked it up and waited for the signal — a nod from Stevie. Then she tossed it back towards the wall of water before it wiggled out of her hands.

The boat travelled further down into the depths of the ocean, slowly at first — as Stevie gauged Zoie’s potential reaction to increased pressure around the boat. The water grew a darker and darker blue until the only light was what was held in their own bubble.

Zoie was standing at the edge of the boat, holding the railing, when she saw a small light. She leaned forward to get a better look. Squinting her eyes, she tried to make out what was holding the light. She leaned further forward only to be inches from the wall of water — and inches from many rows of giant, pointy teeth.

Jumping back, she gasped and placed her hand over her mouth.

About the Author:Katie Groom grew up in rural Pennsylvania, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Business Management from PITT and her master’s in Employment and Labor Relations from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. In 2016, she decided to move to Alabama in order to avoid as much snow as possible (and to advance her career in Human Resources).
When she isn’t working, Katie enjoys reading, writing, jokingly critiquing movies and TV, and campaigning that the plural of moose should be meese. She also loves to take in live music (especially Hanson) and traveling, with the goal of reaching each of the continents. Katie’s favorite pastime, however, is spending time with her beloved Shih tzu, Delta.

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