Wild Salvation by Alfred Stifsim – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Johnson is accused of assaulting a white woman, a deadly charge for a black man in 1876. Knowing he’ll be lynched if he stays in St. Andrews, Indiana, Johnson flees to the grassy plains of Kansas looking for the freedom unavailable to him back East. What Johnson doesn’t know is that the woman’s father is a powerful businessman determined to track him down. For a man on the run, the West seems like the perfect place for someone withdrawn like Johnson to become a new person, until a top Pinkerton agent named Cole Charles comes into town hunting outlaws.

When Cole Charles discovers Johnson is a wanted man, Johnson has no choice but to flee again. This time he escapes to Fort Worth, Texas, where he meets a rowdy woman named Eddie who is quick with a joke and even quicker with her pistol. Despite his lack of experience, Eddie hires Johnson to be a wrangler on a cattle drive made up of other black cowboys headed to Wyoming. With Cole Charles on his trail, the cattle drive will take Johnson further than he ever imagined and force him to confront his greatest fear when he comes face to face with Cole Charles himself.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The front of the jail building was covered with wanted posters, some of them so faded it was hard to discern who was wanted and why. As Johnson pulled up with Rex sitting beside him in the driver’s seat, the picture of Jester Wells glared at them. There was a deep scar on his cheek and his arrogant smirk dared them to chase after the $250 reward. The grey clouds still hung low in the sky, threatening the return of rain at any moment. The wind picked up, blowing cool air through the town. The front door of the jail opened as Cole Charles and the marshal exited the building, rifles in hand.

“We better make this quick!” Burt yelled out the window of the coach, “I’m sure Bradley is in a hurry to get back to his cards.” To his surprise the marshal didn’t respond, opening the door to the coach and taking the furthest window seat at the back. He stared out as if he were riding off to his doom.

“What’s got into him?” Burt asked, gesturing to the marshal as Cole Charles walked past.

“I couldn’t tell you. Marshal Bradley has been real quiet ever since we got back,” he replied. He turned and walked to the driver’s seat to address Johnson, “The plan is simple. Drive east along the road, hopefully we pose an easy enough target, drawing Wells’ attention. Not too fast, the idea is to make them think you’re surrendering. We’ll be in the back lying in wait.” He turned to Rex. “Mr. Bowen you’re with us,” Cole Charles said, signaling for him to join the other men in the coach. “Remember Mr. Johnson, if things go badly, you’re on your own.” His cold eyes burned into Johnson as he said it, almost as if he wished it to happen. Then he turned and climbed into the coach.

About the Author: Alfred Stifsim is a member of Western Writers of America and has published several short stories about the American West. “The Bastard of the Black Hills,” won second prize in ropeandwire.com’s 2019 short story contest, and “Max and Sherri” was included in Cowboy Jamboree Magazine’s Fall 2020 issue. His short story about Eddie, “A Night Out with the Cowboys,” was published by Close to the Bone (UK) in August 2021.
Alfred Stifsim graduated from IUPUI with a bachelor’s in American History (2014, Indianapolis). From there he worked as an interpretive naturalist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources before transitioning to park maintenance. He is currently an electrician with IBEW 481 in Indianapolis.

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Following Your Heart by Toby Negus – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

Following Your Heart

It has been said that the greatest regret of the dying is that they wished they’d been truer to themselves. As if there is a life’s purpose in being who we are. As if who we are is a purpose. But where within ourselves do we go to find this truth, this thing of who we are that makes life worth living? Where is the source of our authenticity and what would truly make us happy, for they are intricately linked? We can never be happy without living the truth of ourselves. It is the heart that holds the answer because it knows us intimately; our dreams, our hopes and our loves. It is where we will always go to know what is truly important to us, what it is that we would not want to live without. But the heart is no place of shallow emotions or vain morality. It is the source of a passion and power that has created all the lights of the world. All great art and all the acts of humanity have been born from the heart because all beauty is created from the idea of love. Love is the heart’s purpose and our unique loves of life are its signature. Without its love, hope has no home, courage no direction, and fortitude no purpose. The heart is the home to the deeper dream of who we love to be and is the companion that is loyal to our purpose of life. When we follow our heart we have no regret because the heart’s wish is for our happiness.

This is a thought-provoking and enlightening exploration of spirituality and perception. The text functions as a guide to self-improvement, with a mixture of autobiographical elements and snippets of universal wisdom. The speaker provides accessible solutions to life’s difficulties, and an outlook of optimism applicable to any circumstance. The illustrations and graphics are thoughtfully chosen, and the interactive textual elements give this work an originality that sets it apart. The speaker’s own experiences and conclusions are at the heart of this fiction, and the first person narrative voice creates a sense of proximity between author and reader. The text describes itself as ‘a journey to the heart’, and this truthful discovery of the self is reflected in the speaker’s revelation of his whole self through the text. The narrative often presents a dichotomy between positive and negative outlooks or voices.

For example, the speaker includes sections in which his self-doubt speaks, ‘you’ve got no proper education, you can’t spell properly, you’re dyslexic and your grammar is crap. You’re not really a writer’. This negative voice directly opposes the sense of self-belief the speaker builds within the narrative. He uses examples such as this to remind readers that the journey to happiness is complex and that flaws or setbacks are natural. The negative separation or fragmentation of the self is prevalent in the lines, ‘I do not love the grumpy me, the sad me, the hostile me, the parts of me that act as if I do not care’. The act of writing represents a unification of the self and an attempt to reframe the speaker’s life into coherence. The frequent use of direct address and rhetorical questions promotes an active reading experience, in which the author opens up a dialogue with the reader. The text includes prompts and activities for the reader to engage with and learn from. Encouraging readers to take part in the text is emblematic of their journey to self-fulfilment and love, in which they must take responsibility for actively creating their own happiness.

The speaker depicts his process of enlightenment as a framework for others to emulate, and the format of the text demonstrates the transfer of agency to those who take part in the speaker’s challenges at the end of each chapter. This work ultimately teaches us that ‘we are the cause of what is’ and thus sheds light on the crucial idea that every individual has the power to create themselves and their world positively.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Real learning is not what we expect.
If we could expect it, it wouldn’t be learning.

I looked in the mirror today and saw more than who I thought I was; within the eyes was a million years of purpose. I saw the depth of the universe and felt its unfaltering love. It was as if I had seen the divine within myself, the truth of who we are. The us that never dies, the custodian of our purpose, the love of our life.

This wasn’t what I expected and was somewhat sobering. There was no blinding light, no sound of trumpets, and no big handshake with an almighty. But it was as profound as if there had been. For it seemed I was touching an eternal part of myself, an authority within that could create my heaven on earth, that was already in heaven on earth! It was a glimpse of something other than the me I thought I was. Its light questioned the lack of self-care and love I held for myself. And its presence would eventually crack and then dissolve my view of what I thought it meant to be human.

Doing a spiritual journey and tackling self-development issues can give many profound perceptions, and I have had my fair share of them. But this was different, this was personal. It was my eyes that were looking at me, something that I could not escape from. It could not be brushed off as a ‘perhaps’ or a nice perception that subsided over time. Its truth seemed to embed itself into my very soul.

About the Author:Toby Negus has studied and taught spiritual and personal development in the UK and around the world for over two decades. He is qualified in advanced counselling, as a life coach and as a Cognitive Behaviour therapist. He is an Amazon best-selling author of a collaborative Conscious Creators book and has illustrated and self published two books on the subject of self-awareness and the spiritual journey. He is also a published author of a children’s book The Boy Who Dreamed in Colour. He has given talks and run workshops in support of his published work within the UK.

In the last few years, he has created many pieces of artwork that are a reflection of his spiritual journey. These have appeared in magazines and have been exhibited in the UK.

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Full Tilt Boogie by Leslie Scott – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Breanna Casey has only ever wanted two things in life: to race and to get the hell out of Arkadia, Texas. Stifled beneath her family’s turbo-charged reputation, she’s got her thumb firmly on the self-destruct button. A night of hyper-driven racing and rebellion leads to a one night stand with the one guy who knows how to press all her buttons: Noah McKay.

Torn apart by the toll of his high-intensity enlistment in the Marines and guilt-ridden by what he’s seen, Noah McKay left the military to find peace. A chance encounter sends him working for the parents of a raven-haired Amazon goddess with a tongue that cuts sharper than any knife. Quiet is the last thing he’ll get.

Finally, she gets her chance. Calloway Racing wants her to drive for them. But that’s not all they want. A good friend of her father’s, Calloway insists she take Noah along for the ride. Suddenly, her dreams are feeling more like a nightmare. Will they be able to help each other, maybe even find love, when living life full tilt boogie?

Read an Excerpt

“We had a job. We did it. It’s done,” he said with a gravelly undercurrent in his voice.

It wasn’t done. Whatever had been there had left a visible, emotional mark on Noah. How had I missed it before?

“That doesn’t change who you are, what makes you a good person. In fact, I’m betting some of the reasons you signed up was what makes you that guy.”

“You sound like my mom. When I couldn’t stand being at home, she understood. I left, quit taking all the pills, and drove until I couldn’t anymore. I stopped at a gas station and saw a delivery girl dropping off parts to the exhaust shop in the back.”

“Jessup’s?” There was only one exhaust shop that Dad did custom welding for.

“Yeah.”

And only one delivery girl. “Me?”

“Yup.”

He was full of surprises.

About the Author:

Award nominated author of Two Hearts, One Stone and the Arkadia Fast Series, Leslie Scott has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. The happier the ending, the better. Currently, she lives and writes amidst her own happily ever after with her soul mate, son, and domestic zoo.

Author Links:

Website: http://lesliescottromance.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/df0G45
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/leslie-scott
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lesliescottwrites/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/leslieSwrites

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Amazon: https://amzn.to/316cgpZ
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All You Need is a Duke by Biance Blythe – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

When Margaret Carberry’s mother drags her upstairs at a ball, Margaret does not expect her mother to tie her to the bed and lock the door. Unfortunately, Margaret’s mother has taken it upon herself to declare Margaret compromised—whether or not Margaret wants to resort to such tactics to snare a husband.

Jasper Tierney, the Duke of Jevington, is surprised to encounter a half-clothed woman sprawled upon his bed. He is even more shocked to discover her identity. Margaret Carberry is renowned as an incorrigible wallflower, not a seductress, no matter how appealing her bare flesh is against his bedding. When Margaret declares she won’t go along with her mother’s scheme and will find a husband on her own, Jasper vows to assist her, lest Margaret’s mother concoct another method to arrange a compromising situation. Jasper is certain of one thing: he has no desire to marry.

As Jasper works to match Margaret to one of his fellow dukes, the prospect of a forced marriage with her lacks its earlier loathsomeness. Perhaps he missed his chance for true bliss.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Help!” the voice repeated.

Jasper might be confused, but he could still act like a gentleman. He approached her with speed.

Normally if a woman called him to his bed, it was so he might touch her there and there and at once. Despite the woman’s urgent tone, and its resemblance to past bedside escapades, Jasper doubted this woman desired that.

After all, he didn’t recognize her voice.

He grabbed a candle and lit a match, casting light toward the bed.

There was indeed a woman on his bed. She lay in a half-clothed state. Dark locks spilled over her shoulders.

The sight was not entirely uncommon, even if he’d reduced such instances since his friend Hugh had married.

But this woman’s hands were tied to his bedposts.

Strange.

He blinked.

The woman resembled Miss Margaret Carberry.

Very strange.

Of all the women he might find on his bed, he would not have expected Miss Carberry. He’d met her at a house party, and he remembered her as a rigid wallflower, one who found even the prospect of making conversation daunting, who had yet to master the not-so-very-difficult rules of small talk.

But then she’d been dressed primly. Unlike her companions she hadn’t shown any eagerness to make conversation with him. She’d never fluttered her lashes. Indeed, if anything she’d seemed eager to drift into the background.

But Miss Carberry was certainly noticeable now.

A distinct smell of champagne wafted toward him, and long curly hair framed her face in an appealing manner. She was clothed in a yellow dress, though his attention was on a deep tear in her gown that revealed delicious skin.

About the Author:

Born in Texas, Wellesley graduate Bianca Blythe spent four years in England. She worked in a fifteenth-century castle, though sadly that didn’t actually involve spotting dukes and earls strutting about in Hessians.

She credits British weather for forcing her into a library, where she discovered her first Julia Quinn novel. She remains deeply grateful for blustery downpours.

Bianca lives in California with her husband.

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What Would I Tell a New Author? by Jerome Mark Antil – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jerome Mark Antil 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 would I tell a new author?

There are a few things I would tell a new author. The first I learned hearing what a famous artist said to his pupils on their first day of class. He would ask them who had to be inspired to paint. Every hand went up. The artist then walked to the center of his studio – he reached up and pulled on the ceiling lamp cord. The light goes out. “The electric company won’t wait for you to be inspired to get paid.”

Writing is a discipline – think of the newspaper reporter who has to turn in 8 inches of ‘story’ every day by 3PM.

To me, writing is a job. I get up at 6AM, I am in my studio after I’ve made a thermos of coffee. I write until noon or one o’clock. I count every word and every page. I typically write 1,700 to 2,000 words a day. My afternoons are for relaxation or marketing. I’m very flexible with my afternoons – but my mornings are set in stone.

Typically, towards the end of the week, I edit and patch together what I’ve written.

I never start a work without first completing six months of research on the topic, places, times or ‘voices’ I will use for my story or characters.

A bond that can only happen on a dance floor happened in a cafe off Frenchman Street among four unlikely characters: a man who was about to die; his friend, an illiterate Cajun French yardman; and two of the most successful women in New Orleans.

Aging Captain Gabriel Jordan, retired, was given two months to live, three months before he met “Peck”–Boudreau Clemont Finch–a groundskeeper on the back lawn of his hospice on Bayou Carencro, Louisiana. It was at the hospice that Gabe told Peck his dream of seeing the Newport Jazz Festival before he died. They became friends, and Peck offered to help grant his wish by taking him there.

And they began their journey.

It quickly became a journey with complications and setbacks. They saved each other many times, but they were in turn saved by two extraordinary women: Sasha (Michelle Lissette), a real estate agent in New Orleans’s posh Garden District, and her best friend, Lily Cup (Lily Cup Lorelei Tarleton), a criminal attorney.

Less than a year before the events in Mamma’s Moon, Gabe and Peck wandered into Charlie’s Blue Note, a small jazz bar in a side alley just off Frenchman Street, where the music was live and mellow and the dancing warm and sensual.

Here they encountered Sasha and Lily Cup, and amid the music, the dancing, the food, the flirting, and the cigar smoke, the four formed an unusual and lasting friendship that would see them each through a series of crises, disappointments, life-threatening situations, and moments of great joy and satisfaction.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Did you murder the kid, Gabe?” Lily Cup asked. The aging army captain, veteran of Korea and Vietnam, lowered his newspaper just enough to see over the entertainment page.

“Close the door, honey, AC’s on,” Gabe said.

In a tight, black skirt with a tailored matching waistcoat and white Nike walking shoes, she leaned and propped a black leather briefcase against the wall by the door. She stood like an exasperated tomboy, adjusting and refastening the diamond brooch on her lapel.

“I heard you’ve been walking with a cane, dancing man. What’s that all about? You’ve never carried a cane. You jazz dance for hours a couple of nights a week and Sasha tells me you started carrying one everywhere you go when you don’t need one. It’s smelling pretty premeditated to me, Gabe. What’s up with the cane thing?”

“Does Sasha know about this morning?”

“I haven’t told her anything. She’d have a canary.”

Gabe lifted the paper again to read.

“I need to know if it was murder,” Lily Cup said.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Gabe said.

He closed the paper, folded it in half, and in half again. Dropping it on the arm of the chair, he stood and left the room.

“Define murder,” he said from the kitchen.

She tossed a handbag and white driving gloves onto the other chair, lifted Chanel sunglasses to the top of her head.

“Gee, I’ll have to think on this one. Hmmm…Oh, I know. How about the police have a cane with blood on it and there’s a dead man.”

“It’s a walking stick. My cane is over by the door.”

“Well now it’s a goddamned murder weapon. They checked for prints, and yours are the only prints on it, and their guess is the lab will say the blood has his DNA.”

Gabe came out with a coffee urn in one hand and his finger and thumb through two empty cup handles. He held the cups out for her to take one.

“No more,” Gabe said.

“You’re rather nonchalant for the spot you’re in. Why’d you clam up on me like that at the precinct? It didn’t set well with any of them. The DA entered a charge of second-degree murder. The police chief put out a warrant for you from lunch at Brennan’s.”

He held the empty cups closer to her.

“Just made it. Chicory and cinnamon.”

“If you had television you’d have seen it—‘Daylight killing on St. Charles Avenue.’ It’s all over the news, freaking out the DA and the Visitors Bureau. No telling how many videos from streetcars going by will wind up on You Tube.”

“That’s enough,” Gabe said.

“People can live with violence after dark. That’s expected in any city, but when it’s in broad daylight, forget it. The DA pushed for an early docket with a magistrate and it’s Tulane and Broad for you at nine a.m. tomorrow.”

“What’s Tulane and Broad?”

“Magistrate Court. Congratulations, Gabe, you made the big time. You have to appear before a magistrate to hear the second-degree murder charge against you.”

She took an empty cup in one hand, pinched his arm with the other.

“Look me in the eye and swear it wasn’t murder,” Lily Cup said.

“This some kind of technique they teach at Harvard Law, Miss Tarleton?”

About the Author: JEROME MARK ANTIL writes in several genres. He has been called a “greatest generation’s Mark Twain,” a “write what you know Ernest Hemingway,” and “a sensitive Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.” It’s been said his work reads like a Norman Rockwell painting. Among his writing accomplishments, several titles in his The Pompey Hollow Book Club historical fiction series about growing up in the shadows of WWII have been honored. An ‘Authors and Writers’ Book of the Year Award and ‘Writer of the Year’ at Syracuse University for The Pompey Hollow Book Club novel; Hemingway, Three Angels, and Me, won SILVER in the UK as second-best novel.

Foreword’s Book of the Year Finalist for The Book of Charlie – historical fiction and The Long Stem is in the Lobby – nonfiction humor. Library Journal selected Hemingway, Three Angels and Me for best reads during Black History Month.

Before picking up the pen, Antil spent his professional career writing and marketing for the business world. In this role, he lectured at universities – Cornell, St. Edward’s, and Southern Methodist. His inspirations have been John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, and Ernest Hemingway.

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Too Many Commas by Amanda J. McGee – Guest Post and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Amanda J. McGee will be awarding a copy of both published volumes of The Creation Saga: MOTHER OF CREATION and DAUGHTER OF MADNESS, (after the June 2, 2018 publishing date, US participants only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Note: Daughter of Madness is currently $0.99 at Amazon.

There are far too many commas here

At a bar with a friend recently, we discussed our grammatical foibles. Hers was overuse of semicolons. Apparently in law school she once sat through an entire group project session listening to a peer make snide comments about semicolon usage. She got the highest grade. We both agree that semicolons are excellent. No doubt we are in the minority.

I have a slightly more common issue. I have never been able to master the use of the comma.

Consider me, in eighth grade grammar class, failing miserably to see the extraneous commas. I never got them all. Other forms of punctuation come to me intuitively, the aforementioned semicolon included. But the comma, that remains confusing. I blame my same eighth grade English teacher, who would exasperatedly repeat, “Just listen for the pauses!” My apologies, but I cannot hear them.

That is not to say that I don’t hear the rhythm of a sentence, of course. I do. It’s just that where the rhythm breaks for me is sometimes not where the rhythm breaks according to the grammatical preferences of English. This is especially difficult in editing, when I find myself reading through a sentence multiple times asking myself if I really do need that comma. I’ve gotten in the habit of reading manuscripts backwards during proofing in part for this very reason. It breaks the word flow up enough that I can forget the natural pauses I would take in the sentence and instead focus on what I hope the grammatically correct punctuation should be. Hope, because commas remain slippery beasts. I’m never quite sure.

Luckily, writers get to take advantage of the artistic nature of our work to slide past some of these technicalities in the pursuit of art. Not that art should be an excuse for ineptitude. In any case, there are always editors and copyeditors to smeer your page in red ink. Heavens knows what we’d do without them. If you see an errant comma in my work, however, please be kind. No doubt it’s one of ten that were ruthlessly cut down in the name of a clean manuscript.


Liana has lost much to Herka’s manipulations, though nothing so precious as her sanity. Emerging from her madness, she finds the world changed – her body wasted, her son gone, and her kingdom still beyond her reach. Only the fires of vengeance remain, and she will build the flames high.

DAUGHTER OF MADNESS tells the story of a princess and her twin, a soldier and his king, and an oracle who is more than she seems.

Enjoy an Excerpt

They came to the edge of the village. The houses hung in the darkness, smoke from cooking fires painted the air. There was no returning. The priest of the Quet’le-Ma appeared beside her, androgynous face unreadable in the shadows. The contraption of flame was pressed into her palm, and something else. A clay pot, its top filled with fine rushes, not the slower burning woven wick. Liana stared at it for a moment, feeling the fire closer than it had been since she had put the pieces of herself back together.

“Liana,” her brother said, “we don’t have to do this.” She started, looked back at him. It surprised her to see the look of anguish on his face. Her own lips were twisted up at the ends, smiling with sudden euphoria. This, at least, the song of the fire, this she could have back if only the children of Herka would die.

She turned, and lit the little clay pot. It flared in her palm. Her arm pulled back, and she threw.

About the AuthorAmanda J. McGee is fantasy author living in Southwest Virginia with the love of her life and two cats. She likes baking, gardening, and flights of fancy.

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Ten Things Most People Don’t Know About Victoria Grant – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Victoria Grant will be awarding 3 signed paperback copies of the book to randomly drawn winners (North America Only) via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

10 things most people don’t know about me

1. There are special pieces of music and certain scenes in movies that always make me cry. I particularly love Handel’s Water Music, as it was the first piece of music I heard after saying my wedding vows. Whenever I hear it, I’m always reminded of that beautiful day. And I always cry during the final scene of The Way We Were. That iconic scene when Katie brushes Hubbell’s hair off his forehead – so poignant, it gets me every time!

2. I hate spiders! I usually have a ‘live and let live’ cleaning policy (dust bunnies just love me), but when it comes to spiders, ugh! I’ve always found them to be creepy, they have too many legs, they gotta go! My apologies to all the spider lovers out there.

3. I need my alone time to recharge my batteries. I enjoy spending time alone, reading or listening to music or working on my next novel. I find it helps me to regenerate and gives me time and space to take stock of my day, and think about where I want to go from here.

4. I have calendars in almost every room of my house. I owned a wedding and event coordination company, so organization is my middle name, hence all the calendars. Plus, I am getting older and just can’t remember everything anymore, so I have to write everything on those calendars.

5. I love cats and have cared for them all my life but am now allergic to them (drat!) I’ve had cats as pets for as long as I can remember, but now, due to a strange twist of fate, my nose starts running, I sneeze, and feel headachy anytime I’m around them, which makes me very sad, because their purrs are so comforting and stroking them is a great way to relieve stress.

6. I’ve always wanted to learn how to ballroom dance. I love watching the couples float around the dance floor, I have seen every Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie at least a dozen times, I would love to learn how they do it. And those gowns! Wow! I want to try it, just once, to see how it feels and be completely in the music and the moment. But as I’m hindered by two left feet, that’s just not going to happen.

7. I love classic movies and Big Band music. Yep, I’m a big fan of Casablanca, Pride & Prejudice, as well as hundreds of black & white movies and everything with the dapper and amazing Cary Grant in it. And Glenn Miller is always on my playlist, in fact Larry & I chose ‘Moonlight Serenade’ as our first dance…he even dipped me at the end! Such a wonderful memory!

8. I love the ocean and wish I could live on a beach somewhere. This would be a dream come true for me. I’ve always found the feel of the sand and the water inviting, I love the sounds of the waves, I love the scent of the salty air, and I find I’m my most relaxed and creative when I’m near the water.

9. I’m ultra girly, I love satin and lace and sparkly things. I’m a very tactile person and I like to wear soft, pretty things that make me feel feminine. And I love to sparkle so there’s lots of shiny items in my jewelry box. And I enjoy it when a gentleman holds a door open for me, holds my chair out for me, and treats me like a lady.

10. Before I started my writing career, I worked as an administrative assistant for many companies including the head office of a car rental company, an ice cream company, a bank, and a pharmaceutical company. Unfortunately, none of them gave out free samples. Ah well…

If a gold medal was awarded for Worst Day Ever, Laney Calderone would win it today, hands down. She’s just discovered she’s pregnant, her fiancé abruptly dumps her when she tells him, and her new car refuses to start as a brutal snowstorm hits Toronto.

Good Samaritan Tyler Hammond offers to take her home; however, with the heavy snow falling and his patience dwindling, Laney’s gold medal day isn’t over yet.

Storms intensify both outside and in as Laney finds herself inexplicably attracted to this tall, dark and very handsome but infuriating stranger.

Can Laney fight her unwanted yet increasing desire for this man long enough to get through the relentless storm? And will Tyler let her walk out of his life as easily as she came into it?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Laney slammed the door shut then lifted the hood. Now, she thought, what exactly is it I’m supposed to be looking for? Her eyes roamed the assorted engine circuitry wishing she could see a flashing neon sign with the words Push this Button to Restart Engine.

No such luck. The heavy, wet snow covered the engine and she shivered again trying to brace herself against the powerful squalls.

“Need any help?” a deep voice penetrated the howling wind.

Laney heaved another sigh as she looked up and saw someone approaching. “No, of course not!” she snapped, in no mood for stupid questions. “I often come out here late at night during raging blizzards to study the complexities of my car engine! Would you like to join me? Perhaps later we could pop into the coffee shop down the street for a latté and scone, just to finish the evening off right.”

A low chuckle escaped the stranger’s lips. “All right, as you seem to have the situation under control, I’ll leave you to it. Goodnight.”

“Wait —” Through the swirls of snow Laney was now very much aware of the man approaching. Her eyes took in his massive shoulders hidden beneath a black leather jacket, and as he got closer, her gaze wandered higher taking in the full lips creased in a smile, a finely chiselled nose and steel grey eyes that seemed to be twinkling, then thick, dark curls which refused to be flattened by the huge, wet flakes.

About the Author: Born in England to a Monty Python-loving dad and a Lawrence Welk-loving mum – tea drinkers all – we moved to Canada when I was seven. “Say book, say look” my new classmates would hound me just so they could have a good chuckle at my accent. But being incredibly shy, this was a great way for me to make friends.

My love of words and a creative imagination prompted English teachers to urge me to write for a living, especially after I got a letter from the Prime Minister who thanked me for writing to him! So cool for a twelve-year-old!

Through the years, I wrote while I earned a living as an Administrative Assistant in various companies; then I owned a Wedding Coordination business for six years (talk about romance!), all the while being happily married to the love of my life.
These interesting jobs plus wedded bliss gave me oodles of ideas for romantic plot lines, tall, dark and handsome heroes and feisty, beautiful heroines, and, of course, the happily ever afters.

I currently live in Mississauga and spend time with family and friends, and struggle daily with the wine and chocolate that somehow magically appear in my house…

And, amidst the endless cups of strong tea, while the dead parrot sketch and Cole Porter songs whirl around in my brain, I write. I will always write romances because I love creating fascinating characters whose lives I can make completely miserable before I give them their happily ever after.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram | Amazon Author Page

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LASR Anniversary: Ann Herrick – Guest Post and Giveaway

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Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $100 Amazon/BN GC and more!
Leave a comment on THIS POST for a chance to win an additional prize –A PDF copy of my ebook How to Survive a Summer Romance (Or Two)

 Summer Then, Summer Now

             When I was a kid, I just loved summer. It was a time of freedom. Freedom from school, freedom from heavy winter clothes, freedom to read just for fun, with no book report looming. On the last day of school summer stretched ahead like an endless horizon.Ann&Cats

I would wake up and think, “What should I do today? Who should I play with?” I lived in a neighborhood with plenty of kids. One was and still is my Best Friend Forever, though back then we would simply say, “best friend.” Others kids met certain interests. I would play “horses” with one friend. Hunt for rocks and arrowheads with another. Play softball with a group. Sometimes we would just flop on the ground and watch the clouds, imagining them to be everything from horses to giants. Or we’d curl up on a front porch and read. Reading for pleasure was always part of summer.

While I had some chores (clean my room, help my mother hang laundry, iron my father’s handkerchiefs), most of the summer days were for pure fun. I would ride my bike, roller skate, climb trees, make crafts, put on a “show,” for neighbors (and charge a nickel!), build a fort. I could walk down to the end of the street and watch boats in the harbor, or catch a few small crabs to sell to the fisherman and take my money to the little bait store that also sold candy and soda and get myself a treat.

When I was bit older I could walk to the town beach every day to swim, sunbathe, play cards and listen to the radio with my friends. I would stop at the library and pick out books to read. One year a friend and I got into a competition to see who could read the most Black Stallion books (in order of publication!).

My older brother might take me for a ride in the convertible he was working on or the new motorcycle he just bought.

But once I grew up, summer lost a bit of its glow for me. For one thing, I had to work through the summer. There were days when I would look out at a clear blue sky and just ache to be outdoors. But, of course, I had to stay inside and stick to my tasks.

The heat of summer began to bother me. I couldn’t just run through a sprinkler or go to the beach on a hot day. I had to go to and from a job, or do yard work, or raise my daughter—or write books. Now I grumble when the temperature gets to be over 75! And lying in the sun to get a tan lost its appeal once the news was out about the kinds of harm it could do to one’s skin. But reading for pleasure is still a summer delight. Although I read all year, there’s still something special about sitting in the shade with a book and reading just for the pure enjoyment of it.

So even though summer is no longer the carefree season it once was for me, a warm day with a soft breeze, the sound of birds chirping in the back yard, memories of the cherished days of my childhood, and reading a special book still make summer a wonderful season.

Herrick-MyFakeSummerBoyfriend200x300
Sun, surf, sand and Alex–Katie was swept away!

Katie eagerly agrees to pretend she is Alex’s girlfriend for the summer in order to protect his job. Amid sundrenched waves, they develop a friendship that is on the verge of turning romantic, when who should arrive but Nicole, Alex’s old girlfriend. In three days, Nicole ruins Katie’s relationship with Alex. So Katie gets involved with Logan, Nicole’s handsome older brother, though Alex is the one for her.

Soon enough Katie learns that fake romances can get out of hand and lead to complications she never imagined.

Ann Herrick is the award-winning author of several books and short stories for kids and teens. Included in the awards her books have won are the ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Readers, IRA/CBC Children’s Choice and EPIC Best YA Novel Finalist.
Ann grew up in Connecticut, where she graduated from The Morgan School and Quinnipiac University. She now lives in Oregon with her husband, who was her high-school sweetheart. Their wonderful daughter is grown, married and gainfully employed, and has given Ann her only grand-dog, Puff, a bloodhound-rottweiller-beagle mix and six grand-kitties. While she misses the East Coast, especially houses built before 1900, she enjoys the green valleys, fresh air and low humidity in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Ann loves cats, walking, the Oregon Ducks and working in her back yard. In addition to stories and books for children and young adults, Ann also writes copy for humorous and conventional greeting cards.

http://annherrickauthor.com

http://annherrick.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/ann.herrick

https://twitter.com/ann_herrick

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Ten Things You Might Not Know About Us by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anne and Kenneth will be awarding a $40 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. click on the tour banner to see the rest of the stops on the tour.

Ten Things You Might Not Know about Us
1. We love to travel. Recently, we have visited ancient sites in Turkey (Ephesus and Troy) and Egypt (the pyramids at Giza and the Valley of the Kings at Luxor). We are planning a trip to Rome and Venice in the fall, then a cruise to more ancient places along the Adriatic and the North Coast of Africa. You may be seeing a pattern here.

2. Our family is very important to us. We have three children whom we adore and of whom we are very proud. Our eldest son is an actor who also conducts tours in Manhattan and Brooklyn. His younger brother is a teacher of high school English and drama in the New York City public schools, and also writes and directs plays. Their even younger sister is a tutor for many high-end tutoring companies and is an actress and singer. Did we mention how proud we are of them?

3. Ken has been a lawyer for almost forty years in New York City. Anne was an editor and since then a full-time mom. Both Anne and Ken never stopped writing. Ken would do his in fits and snatches on weekend mornings, and Anne found time here and there and anywhere during the week. The experiences both have gained from being parents, as well as while working in publishing (she), and in law (he), have found their way into the novels.

4. We have lived in New York City for over forty years. We have enjoyed the museums, theatre, opera, orchestras, movies and restaurants, and all the rest that New York has to offer. It is a fascinating place where we can walk around the same neighborhood again and again and always count on seeing something different. Kate and the Kid is set in New York City, and much of the action occurs in Central Park and the various playgrounds nearby in which we spent a lot of time with our own children. New York plays a big part in three of our other books, including Mind Me, Milady (a mystery/suspense novel), Things Are Not What They Seem (a ‘tween suspense/fantasy story), and Praise Her, Praise Diana (a suspense novel). An intimate knowledge of this complex place helps us to ground the plot incidents.

5. Cape Cod is a favorite spot of ours. For several years we went to Wellfleet, which is one of the prettiest towns anywhere. During the last few years we have moved north on the Cape to Truro and rented a house in the dunes that is wonderfully peaceful and beautiful and that allows us to hear the surf every night before we drift off to sleep. We have read our books for children at the Truro and Eastham libraries and also displayed photographs of local picture stones there.

6. Even though there are loads of restaurants of all kinds in New York, we enjoy cooking and have tried with varying degrees of success to imitate the variety of styles that we enjoy – Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, North African and Middle Eastern.

7. We go to the gym three mornings a week together, usually arriving at 6:00 a.m.. Anne supplements the gym time with yoga and aerobics classes. Ken likes to play tennis whenever he can. We also enjoy many long walks through the City’s various neighborhoods and take in all the arts that we can. Never a dull moment!

8. Photography is a major interest of ours. While on the beaches of Cape Cod we looked closely at stones and saw that many had beautiful miniature pictures on them, which we photographed and put together in a book that is available on the iBookstore. We also have published a book containing images of hearts that we have photographed on the streets and sidewalks of New York City and which is similarly available on the iBook store. Examples of these and other photographs can be seen on our Pinterest page.

9. We have used photography and the wonders of Photoshop to illustrate a book for children called Stone Faces, which is about a young girl, Alice, whose parents are getting a divorce. Alice is feeling lonely and depressed until she finds a stone on the beach at Cape Cod that begins to talk to her and becomes her friend. Through a series of adventures she starts to come to terms with the divorce.

We have also planned a picture book called Country Mouse, which has images from the sidewalks of New York City and another book called Splotch!, which will rely more on text with some pictures appearing as necessary throughout.

10. We are also interested in the history of New York City, and in our novel Mind Me, Milady, one of the main characters, Susan, seems to be remembering an earlier life when she was an indentured servant at the time of the Battle of Manhattan during the Revolutionary War. McGown’s Pass, in the northern section of Central Park, is the site of a culminating scene in this book.

MEDIA KIT Cover Kid 6 x 9KATE AND THE KID is about a young woman (Kate) who has just lost her job and had a major fight with her boyfriend (also arising from the trauma of being fired). At this very low point in her life, Kate is tricked into taking care of a sweet but emotionally damaged six-year-old girl (Jenny) who only communicates with adults through a doll she calls “Miranda.” As a result of an eventful night of babysitting, Kate begins to bond with Jenny, which causes a whole new set of complications with the people in Kate’s and Jenny’s lives. This book tells the story of how Kate and Jenny help each other to heal, grow, and navigate the difficult and sometimes dangerous world of New York City.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Like any kid sleeping in an unfamiliar place, Jenny was up at first light. She crept into the living room and sat cross-legged within a few inches of Kate’s sleeping form. When Kate stirred, Miranda’s plastic face was pressed gently against her cheek.

Smack.

“Hi, Katy!” Miranda said in her high-pitched voice.

“Hi, Miranda!” Kate replied in the deepest basso tones she could manage without harming her vocal chords.

Jenny giggled. Miranda danced with delight on the mattress.

“Say it again!”

Kate sat up, swinging her legs over the side of the bed.

“Hi, Miranda! Wasamatta?”

Jenny giggled harder than before, but Kate noticed that Jenny had changed her clothes again. Her pink shirt had a bright yellow flower on it, which matched smaller yellow flowers on her pink shorts. Miranda wore a new matching outfit also, yellow with a touch of pink.

“Girls,” Kate said very seriously now. “You didn’t go out on the fire escape again, did you?” The answer was obvious, both from the downcast look on Jenny’s face and from the fact that Miranda also turned away in apparent shame. “Please, no more walking on the fire escape? Okay? Please? Will you promise me that?”

“Yes, Katy,” Miranda said sweetly. “And Jenny promises too.”

About the Author: MEDIA KIT Melange pic 2Anne Rothman-Hicks was born in New York City and, except for a brief exile to the suburbs imposed by her parents, she has lived there all of her life, the latter part of which she has shared with her co-author, Kenneth Hicks, and their three children.

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