Avoiding Swindlers by Al Rosen – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

The book deals with actual situations that resulted in investors losing multi-millions of dollars to financial tricksters. Emphasis is placed upon learning how to detect early warning signs. Financial exposure can be minimized prior to situations deteriorating into bankruptcies. However, individual investors have to take specific actions after doing some homework. Otherwise, the alternative is to lose money by listening to “hot tips,” often involving publicly traded securities.

Some types of commonly seen but inappropriate financial reporting are permitted in certain countries (including parts of North America), even though they deeply aid the financial tricksters. Governments are seriously neglecting investors by not prohibiting certain reporting trickery. Overall, in some regions, investor protection is simply archaic (including allowing false advertising). Currently, investors face serious risks.

The book attempts to minimize technical language. Stress is placed upon encouraging investors to look for specific warning signs before opening their purses and wallets to the growing group of tricksters.

“Avoiding Swindlers” will change the way you look at Canadian investments.

This book was featured on Publisher Newswire’s 2022, “10 Books to Bookmark” list.

The book also received a glowing review from ReaderViews.

Read an Excerpt

CANADIAN IFRS FINANCIAL FIGURES ARE NOT CREDIBLE

Overview

The main objective of this book is to help investors/ savers to shift their reading and learning emphasis to better choose where to invest their money. Swindlers have recently developed several new scams, which are unfortunately being successful against investors. False and misleading advertising is still growing, to support troublesome claims that investor protection has improved. Nonsense. Such protection claims are contrary to the well-documented reality of increased failed businesses. All a person needs to do is look at the recent collapsing batch of marijuana companies. Bankrupt companies are reality. Sufficient learning about these types of deceptions is simply not adequately occurring. Investor deception issues keep piling up. More cluing-in is certainly quickly needed. Early detection of dangers has simply become a necessity, or compulsory for all savers. 1 Considerable attention has to be given herein to the dangers that have appeared in countries that are using IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards; really is not “international” when largely not widely utilized by the U.S.A. and other important countries). IFRS is wide-open to a variety of nasty or investor-scary issues that are examined in the book. How to detect these dangers at their early stage is a priority. As well, other trickery is explained, including several early-detection processes for likely-to-occur con games.

About the Author L.S. (Al) Rosen has combined being a university professor (holding a PhD) with several qualifications in the fields of investigative accounting and reporting (such as acting as a fraud examiner) for over 35 years. He has authored many reports for court cases, and has testified in courts in various countries in many large-dollar cases. Often the allegations are that investors have been deceived by materially misleading financial reports. He has co-authored two previous books, and articles, with his son Mark. They address how and why multi-million dollars of investor money essentially, and often quickly, vanished. Real situations are the subject of these writings. Money was stolen and hardships resulted.

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Five Must-Haves for Children’s Books by Monique Roy – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Monique Roy will be awarding a free hard copy of Laurel’s Marvelous Kingdom to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five Must-Haves for Children’s Books

To write a successful children’s book, follow these five must-have features for your story.

1. Books Run Between 22-35 pages.
Illustrated children’s books should not ever be 40 pages long unless it is a compilation of stories in one volume or a novel-like book for young readers, like a chapter book. If a story needs more pages than the norm, it’s time to consider serious editing. You want to be rich without the fluff, compelling without becoming excessive. Most illustrated storybooks are 32 pages.

2. The artwork is designed for the book specifically.
Storybooks need well-designed covers, sometimes even using unoriginal work. If you want your story to have longevity and not end up out of print within a year (or slammed in Customer Comments and Reviews), present the story professionally.

All of the artwork (and perhaps the cover art) should convey the same thought that went into the writing of the project. The images should be a serious aspect of the story, not simply the throw-in artsy stuff that goes above or below the words.

3. We know the protagonist early in the story.
Your time and space in an illustrated story are brief. Get to the meat of the story, as in this kind of story, every page – or better, every moment – needs to be intentional. Beginning a story is one of the most daunting things to do as a writer because you set up everything within a concise space.

4. The purpose of the story is established on page 3.
Make sure your story is clearly outlined and plotted like any other story, meaning it should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, as well as a meaningful message. If the story’s point isn’t established by the third page, then the book lacks focus. It might even need a sense of progression, which means it isn’t a well-developed story.

5. Plot needs to be well-thought-out and exciting.
Every story should have action, things that the protagonist does, and that have some influence on their world. Make sure that it is not a series of events that happen to your protagonist. but a series of events that the protagonist causes, either intentionally or unintentionally. This is how you create a plot, but it’s also how you establish a strong character who will come alive in the reader’s mind. A mishap may well be something that happens or fails to happen for the protagonist, but that is not the same thing as the plot. The plot is what your character chooses to do next due to a mishap.

One stormy night, a wicked witch kidnaps the kingdom’s two princesses in an attempt to turn them against each other. Now, Prince Falcon must save the princesses before one of them turns evil.

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One night, when the wicked witch of the land snatches up Princess Astrid, her sister, Princess Laurel realizes it will take more than her superpowers to make trees, plants, and flowers grow to rescue her sister. With the help of childhood friend, Prince Falcon, Laurel rides deep into the dark forest in search of her sister, and where it’s believed the witch lives. Then, on a stormy night, the witch kidnaps Laurel and flies her on her broom to her creepy den. It’s there that Laurel discovers her sister’s jealousy of her powers. Astrid receives some sisterly love and learns that everyone is unique and to embrace her natural gifts. Meanwhile, Prince Falcon meets a wise pink rabbit to help him on his journey to find the princesses.

This fairy tale story will enliven the imagination of children with a little witchy fun in between. The story teaches children about what makes us unique, appreciating your special characteristics, and doing what you love.

About the Author:Monique’s passion for writing began as a young girl while penning stories in a journal. Now she looks forward to deepening her passion by creating many unique stories that do nothing less than intrigue her readers.

Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is the author of a middle-grade book Once Upon a Time in Venice, historical fiction novel Across Great Divides, and historical fiction novel A Savage Kultur.

Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides, her first historical novel.

She resides in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and son. She also works as a freelance writer.

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How We Handled the Research for the Book by Lauren Sevier and A. Smith – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lauren Sevier and A. Smith 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.

How We Handled the Research for the Book

Leather & Lace is set in New Orleans, so one thing we did was travel to New Orleans on a particularly hot summer day and toured the French Quarter. The majority of this novel takes place in the quarter and in one building in particular: the Cabildo, which is a state museum of history now. After we ate po-boys and and drank a daquiri, we toured the Cabildo to get a better grasp of the building for authenticity purposes. Getting to spend a steamy day in the city was just what we needed to capture the feel of it in Leather & Lace.

We also spent a lot of time researching the United States geography. In The Fool’s Adventure series, bombs dropped all over and literally reshaped what the country looks like. Partnered with climate change and rising seas, we really needed to understand how what happened in the Culling changed the fabric of the world so we could present the information as accurately as possible while taking some artistic liberties.

For the character of Will Ellis, extensive research was done regarding mental health issues in men. Specifically regarding PTSD in veterans and first responders and correlating depressive episodes and issues regarding suicide attempts.

Finally, there was research done to make sure all injuries and medical conditions explored in the novel were medically accurate and that treatment options (that were non-fictional) were given using the equipment and knowledge they would have available. Think more ‘field medicine’ than ‘pioneer medicine’ though at times it could be either or both of them depending on resources. The research and outcomes of all the medical injuries/ailments in the novels are discussed with board certified physicians for the most accurate depictions possible.

Overall, we take a very hands-on approach to research and try to make most of the details as accurate as possible while still leaving room for creative license since this is a fictional world. We want the book to feel immersive and realistic while still engaging the readers in escapism through the fantastical elements of the story. At the end of the day, every effort we make is for our readers’ enjoyment and so far we’ve found that when you keep your readers at the forefront of your mind while developing your stories, they notice and appreciate it. We have the best readers in the world and all we want to do is make them proud. <3

Three years wandering the desert is enough to drive anyone insane, and the limits of Bonnie and Jesse’s minds and hearts will be put to the ultimate test.

A deadly showdown with a murderous outlaw ripped Bonnie away from the relative peace and ragtag family she’d built at the end of Guns & Smoke. In the thrilling next chapter in The Fool’s Adventure series, we finally get the answer to the biggest question: What happened to Bonnie?

After three years of fighting to get her back, literally, Jesse James finds her in the most unlikely of places– New Orleans high society. With the help of his rival-turned-friend Will Ellis, and a sassy staff member, Jesse’s tasked with infiltrating the house of the man he believes was responsible for killing his parents in order to get her back. Jesse’s biggest challenge yet will be learning to fight for Bonnie in a way he never expected before: by fitting in.

Mired in high society politics and scheming, Bonnie is at the epicenter of one of the most ruthless gangs in the world. Years trapped in a gilded cage of wealth and lies has irrevocably changed her from a crass outlaw into a southern debutante. Gone is the dangerous glint in her eyes, replaced with suspicion when the devilishly handsome street fighter named Montana suddenly joins her father’s staff.

Can Jesse remind Bonnie of who she really is in time to keep her from giving her heart and hand away or will he discover that the wild, beautiful outlaw he fell in love with is truly gone?

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Staring at her now, knowing that I’d desperately fallen for her all over again sent a stark jolt through me. This feeling between us wasn’t some average infatuation. Most people could live a lifetime and never experience the raging, all-consuming need to be close to another person, no matter whether you knew why.

My soul called out, and hers answered.

Everything that I’d lost three years ago was suddenly before me. In the span of a breath, I closed the distance. I clutched her hips, a smile curling over my lips at the little gasp she let out as her back met the steel door and my mouth covered hers. I reached behind her, flicking the lock. Too many times we’d been interrupted. I’d be damned if I let it happen now. Not when she loved me again.

About the Authors Lauren Sevier and A. Smith are longtime friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns and Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night. Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series. The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia. Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on Tiktok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!

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My Ideal Writing Space by C.L. Colyer – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. C.L. Colyer 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.

To see our 5 star review of the book, please click here.

My Ideal Writing Space

I don’t need much when I’m writing. As long as I have my laptop, a power outlet, Wi-Fi for all the times I need to look something up, a comfy place to sit, and a place for a drink and snack, I’m happy. If I’m in the zone, noise doesn’t bother me. Sometimes, it’s even welcome.

Now, if you were to ask me what my dream space would be, that’s another story. My dream space is a home library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on three of the four walls. There’d be rolling ladders that glide along a track, making it easy to reach the top shelves. The shelves would be stocked with everything from the classics to reference books. There would be books in all genres. Some bound in leather, others worn and well-loved, and still others new, many waiting patiently to be read. There’d be three comfy sofa chairs. One of the chairs would be wide enough for me to sit sideways for all the times I’m dreaming up new ways to get my characters into trouble. The other chairs are so my writing buds have a place to sit when they’re over. There’d be matching ottomans to kick our feet up on and end tables with lamps, cup warmers, and space for hair clips, pens, and notepads. A desk would be pushed up against one of the walls. Since this is my dream space, there would be a small fridge stocked with beverages and healthy snacks. Across from the chairs would be a large picture window that overlooks a lake. Of course, there’s Wi-Fi. I may never have to leave! One day. 

Thanks so much for stopping by. And thanks to Long and Short Reviews for having me on their blog!

Nothing frightens Atticus Everheart more than monsters, thanks to his older brothers, who often threaten to feed him to the beastly creatures.
Fearing that’s what they will do if he doesn’t replace the book he accidentally ruined, he takes a job tutoring a boy in his neighborhood.

Although nervous about the job, Atticus soon discovers there’s a lot more in store for him than teaching. Never in a trillion years would he have imagined he’d be hiding from monsters, working with ghosts, or searching for werewolves and witches. He’s not brave, and he has no plans to change.

Until he’s forced to.

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“These came for you,” said Abigail, the oldest of his younger sisters. At eight, she was already smarter than him in many ways. She turned the envelope upside down over his bed. A pair of prescription, steampunk- inspired goggles tumbled out. Still ignoring Atticus’s prior demand, she settled on the window seat.

“I thought they’d never get here!” His previous statement forgotten, Atticus sat up and took off his glasses. He then slipped the leather strap of the goggles over his head and pulled to tighten them to a perfect fit. He raised his chin, wise and prepared, able to spot danger in a single glance.

“How do I look?”

“Like a weirdo.” Abigail pulled her honey-brown hair into a high ponytail. “Or a praying mantis.”

He should have known she wouldn’t recognize functional accessories if they stared her in the face.

“Did you have to get green frames?” she asked.

“I like green.”

“I think you look smart,” said Evie, the youngest of the Everheart children. She was a miniature version of Atticus, from her curly brown hair, round cheeks, and scrawny arms, right down to her bulbous big toes and curious nature. “Why are there round thingies sticking out from the side?”

“Those are monocles.” Abigail opened the newspaper to the comic section. “They magnify things.”

“These aren’t ordinary monocles,” said Atticus. “I can’t believe you think I’d want goggles if they didn’t do something spectacular. I’ll have you know these are the most advanced pair of monster-seeing goggles available, able to cut through the mundane to reveal beasts and demons, ghosts, and goblins.” At least, that’s what the ad had said. Atticus flipped down the crimson lens. “This one’s for flesh-eating monsters.”

“Oh, they’re way cool!” Evie inched closer and asked, “Do you see any?”

“Yes!” Atticus lunged forward and grabbed her, tickling her waist.

About the Author: C.L. Colyer found her love for writing in first grade when her class was sent to the library and asked to find a book for their first book report. While she doesn’t still have this book report, she’s very proud to say she got an A on it. Her favorite thing about the book was that it had no words. That’s right, not one! That gave her the freedom to interpret the pictures in any way she wanted and write her own story.

This sparked her love for writing essays. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she sat down and penned her first novel. This story has a special place in her heart because it’s the story that helped her discover her passion for writing. She has since written several books, many of which may never see the light of day, but all of which helped her learn to combine her passion for writing with her fascination with all things mythical. You’ll find examples of this in her novels.

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A Reservoir Man by L.J. Ambrosio – Q&A and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. L.J. Ambrosio will be awarding a signed copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on a tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. See our review here.

What would I tell a new author?

Listen to yourself and get advice creatively, learn formatting, and understand the industry you are entering.

The hardest part about writing is

Spelling, run on sentences, the physical appearance, clothes, and haircuts of my characters. I don’t want them to look like someone I know unless I want them to…

Important Elements

Get a great cover design; don’t get too heady getting a title or silly; stay away from sexual implications in title design. Don’t let people read your book until you are finished, but you should have one person that you can trust that you can share with. You must get an editor – don’t be cheap; spend money here. If you are self-publishing know the field and know how to advertise. Release the book to critics before the public by three months. Reviews are important; get them. They are very important as is their posting on Goodreads and Amazon. Be a gentleperson; don’t be pushy and be humble. Do tours, blitzes, and interviews – anything to get your novel out there. Believe in yourself; you are the artist. Sex is important, but it doesn’t make it your novel. Your story is, and the relationship of your characters with life and themselves.

A Reservoir Man, critics have hailed this explosive and timely work as “a must-read coming-of-age story of 2022.” Twists and turns further pull the reader in to Michael’s action-packed tale, with powerful themes, from betrayal and family to secrets and identity. “Be sure not to blink because you just might miss a pivotal moment in Michael’s rousing, larger-than-life story.” — R.C. Gibson, Indiestoday.com. “This book is a dream, a gamble, a utopia, even.” — Kalyan Panja, Bookmarkks.

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Michael had now become, after these last six months, a little more world weary and worse for the wear. Sitting on his bench, entering his last year at college. Michael still had not found his soul or his truth. His emphasis on sex was unfulfilling and empty. He wandered in the shadowy corners, the lightless streets, leading to a dead end and the darkness of an empty truck. Loneliness had become a fixture of Michael’s being. He longed for a few hours to be with Carol, Claire, or Raphael.

One day, while sitting on the bench, Michael heard in the distance Otis Reading’s “The Dock of The Bay” playing on a portable radio. The music came closer and closer and then quickly turned to the Four Tops’ “Reach Out (I’ll be There).”

Picking up his head, Michael saw this extremely attractive ethnic guy standing right above him. Michael said ‘hello,’ and the young man answered.

“My name is Nick. Do you dance?”

Michael said, “Sort of, but I do not have much of a chance to go dancing.”

“You want to go tonight?” Nick asked with a smile, and he started to sing “Baby I Need Your Loving” by the Four Tops.

Michael became a little concerned about the message of the song, so he suggested that they might talk over coffee before they venture out dancing. Michael decided to cut his next two classes and have coffee.

They spent hours talking about their lives. Nick was older than Michael by nine years. Nick said he had to prepare for graduation as did Michael. He was in the school for Education and would be graduating that year.

He was first generation Greek from Cyprus and spoke fluent Greek. His family lived in Harlem on 137th Street off Broadway. He had siblings, a brother and sister. Michael was taken by him. He made him laugh and feel amazingly comfortable. Nick invited Michael to dinner Saturday night. His mother would make Doimadakia, Humus, Tzataki and Moussaka. Michael agreed to go.

Nick’s parents were great. His mother was shy, his father a little less. They spoke with a broken accent, which Michael loved. They had a great dinner and talked a lot. Michael learned a lot about Cyprus.

Nick said after dinner, “Dancing, right?”

About the Author: Louis J. Ambrosio ran one of the most nurturing bi-coastal talent agencies in Los Angeles and New York. He started his career as a theatrical producer, running two major regional theaters for eight seasons. Ambrosio also distinguished himself as an award-winning film producer and novelist over the course of his impressive career. He taught at 7 universities in the United States.

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My Take on Critique Groups by Sally Basmajian – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

My Take on Critique Groups

I belong to two critique groups. One is made up of five female writers—some wise and some witty, but all darn good writers. We call ourselves LAKS, which stands for the Literary Ass Kicking Society, and that’s metaphorically what we do whenever one of us becomes sluggish and stops producing. The other is a much larger collective made up of writers at varying stages of their journey. It’s a local, inclusive group. I like to support it because the members were very encouraging when I started writing, and actually awarded me the first prize I ever won.

When I meet with my LAKS friends, I take seriously every piece of criticism they give me. We push each other to be better writers, and we’re all at similar stages in our literary journeys, so we aren’t afraid to be direct. While we don’t bludgeon each other with overly harsh, personal observations, we also don’t sugarcoat our comments or pull any punches. We hash through issues over coffee and heaping helpings of complex carbs. Later, when I’ve re-read their written critiques at home, I choose how many of their suggestions to incorporate in my next draft. More often than not, it’s the majority.

One of my LAKS colleagues, Lena, doesn’t even have to write her ideas out in full anymore. She just pens a bold “OTT” on any particularly florid passage I’ve written, to tell me that once more I’ve gone too far in trying to push a joke or describe a zany character. Is she right? In my opinion, yes—at least 80% of the time. I have her to thank for helping me realize that not everything I think is hilarious will amuse someone else.

In my larger community group, I apply a different filter. I do appreciate the general impressions of everyone in attendance, and I find many of their comments instructive. I also love the fact that the larger group organizes workshops and sometimes brings in knowledgeable professional speakers. Often, though, I disagree with the feedback from one or two participants.

As an example, a person in the group recently voiced a strong opinion that a novel’s character shouldn’t be called a nickname by her lover, because having two names made it confusing to keep track of who she was. In this case, the critic happened to be new to the group and had no grasp of the book’s flow. For instances like this, the rule I follow is to nod and pin on my brightest smile—and later not revise a single word.

It’s like hand-selecting the reddest apples at the grocery store, or buying a cheap, jumbo bagful and hoping for the best. Either option can be nutritious and tasty, and I do recommend both types of critique groups. Just remember to choose your companions wisely, and don’t be afraid to walk away if you end up frustrated instead of inspired after you’ve tried out a couple of sessions. In the long run, it’s more important to feel uplifted than to be critiqued in a manner that’s inapt or inept.

Suze Foster has always been devoted to her daughter. As a child, Jannie required extra support in school, but now-at age 29-she’s a rising executive. Suze, thrilled with Jannie’s success, is finally free to follow her own dreams.
Without Suze’s dedicated attention, though, Jannie flounders. In a careless moment, she floods her apartment. Enter our hero, Aram-her hot but significantly older neighbor. He saves the day, and for Jannie, it’s love at first sight.
Not so much for Aram, though, who falls head over heels for Suze when they accidentally meet. Unaware of Jannie’s feelings, Suze is equally smitten.
In this twisted triangle, can a happily-ever-after be achieved? Or will someone’s heart break and the mother-daughter bond be severed forever?

Enjoy an Excerpt

He was the most good-looking man she’d ever seen. Luxuriant locks. She bet that’s how a Harlequin Romance would describe his hair. And under the full beard, maybe even a cleft chin. And most definitely, a sensuous lower lip. Ooh la la.

As she mused in an X-rated way about his mouth, Jannie remembered something from a book she’d read where the heroine had a habit of biting her lower lip. It drove men mad.

So she tried it. Nibble, nibble.

Aram just looked at her. His breathing didn’t accelerate. His chest didn’t heave.
She tried again. Nibble, nibble. The prolonged silence was beginning to be uncomfortable.

“Are you all right, Jannie?” Aram finally asked. He studied her.

Well, that hadn’t gone so well. But she’d never tried to flirt with an older man before. Maybe they needed something more obvious.

She attempted to look coyly up at Aram through her eyelashes. This wasn’t as easy as all those romance authors made it sound. She felt her forehead contract, her nose wrinkle and her upper lip pull away from her teeth in her effort to do the impossible.

“Jannie, are you having an allergic reaction? Shellfish, maybe? Isn’t that crab I smell coming from your condo? Do you carry an EpiPen?”

She stamped her foot in frustration. It was supposed to look fierce and cute, but she could tell from Aram’s face that he was way more startled than turned on.

About the Author After leaving the corporate world, Sally Basmajian discovered the joy of writing. Her fiction and nonfiction stories have appeared in newspapers such as The Globe & Mail and in several anthologies. In 2022 she won prizes for memoir pieces (Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop, Gulf Coast Writers Association), and was thrilled to have a poem selected by the journal Antithesis. She expects to be busy in 2023, when her first two novels appear: in January, a light-hearted romance, So Hard to Do (published by Creative James Media) and in October, a much darker one, Fountain of Evil (Moonshine Cove Publishing, LLC).

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Love All by Liza Malloy – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

College students Nate and Olivia are a perfect match on the courts—and in the sheets. Everywhere else, they’re polar opposites and sworn enemies. But as the chemistry builds, a figure from Olivia’s past unexpectedly pops back into her life and the couple realizes they have more in common than they thought. Are these star-crossed lovers doomed to repeat their parents’ mistakes, or can they build a life together once the final set is played?

This book is a standalone, steamy, new adult/college, sports romance, 77k words. Tropes include enemies to lovers, he falls first, and billionaire.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“You know, some people like to give others the benefit of the doubt and get to know them before assuming the worst.”

Olivia snatched the cherry from the shake that I’d set on the edge of my plate. “Some of us prefer to avoid disappointment. I’ll keep my assumptions until people prove me wrong.”

At least she was honest, I thought, oddly envious of the cherry stem as she pressed her tongue against it. “Challenge accepted.”

We left the diner, but the drive home was far too short.

“Thank you for the ride,” she said, already clutching her racket and duffel bag before I even slowed to a complete stop in front of her apartment.

“And for the excellent meal, right?” I added.

She stared dryly. “I’ll thank you for the food when you thank me for not pressing charges on the whole kidnapping front.”

I bit back a smile. Even pissed off, Olivia was captivating. “This was fun. Why haven’t we hung out before?”

“Because we have nothing in common.”

“Not true. There’s tennis, lame business majors, and douchebag fathers.”

Olivia gazed back at me and for the briefest of moments, I thought she would say something meaningful, but instead she just shook her head, dismissing whatever idea had crossed her intriguing mind.

“You can’t possibly want to spend more time with me. I’ve been a total bitch to you all afternoon.”

I wasn’t about to deny that last part, so instead I pushed my luck with a bad joke. “We could move into the back seat and you could make it up to me,” I said, wiggling my eyebrows seductively.

I’d hoped for a snarky comeback, but instead she just rolled her eyes and chuckled. “I’ll see you at practice,” she mumbled, climbing out of the car.

About the Author:

Liza Malloy writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She’s a sucker for alpha males, bad boys, dimples, and muscles, and she can’t resist a man in uniform. Liza loves creating worlds where her heroine discovers her own strength and finds her Happily Ever After. When Liza isn’t reading or writing torrid love stories, she’s a practicing attorney. Her other passions include gummy bears, jelly beans, and the occasional marathon. She lives in the Midwest with her four daughters and her own Prince Charming.

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Titanian Warrior by Victoria Saccenti – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

One woman holds the key to his destiny—and his people’s salvation. Hagen drags himself to the gates of Hell, body and soul shredded by the bloodlust that consumes all the unmated of his kind. Awaiting the painful atonement that will buy him ten more years to find his eternal mate—or face oblivion. But Hades himself kicks him out with the bloodlust still prowling, unsatisfied, in his veins.

Bargained away by her parents to Master O, a mysterious, cruel wizard, Faiza serves in his household, keeping her small magic a secret, plagued by wild, confusing visions of a strange, suffering man. Then the master brings home a wounded Titanian warrior whose touch sends ice, fire, and desire racing through her body.

When she learns Master O plans to use Hagen as a weapon to conquer all races, she devises a desperate plan to free him—a plan that opens a portal to a world she’s never known. And a destiny entwined with danger that could destroy them all.

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The towering pair of boulders stood as gatekeepers and markers of the way. A steep path snaked between them until farther down the hill, the road disappeared in thick fog. Leaning on the closest rock, Hagen steadied himself to catch his breath, then pushed on.

Bloodlust crippled his Titanian vision. Still, he stumbled, rolled, and crawled over jagged rocks and gnarled roots with single-minded determination to reach his appointed meeting place, the cavern at the base of the Shivaliks, and the sole entrance to Hades’s domain on the earthly plane. A perverse satisfaction filled him each time he scraped and sliced his exposed skin, as this was only a precursor to the punishment he deserved. If he could shred his flesh to strips in anticipation as he had done with his clothes, so much the better.

Hagen advanced through the haze, seeking the deity’s promised signal. Images of his frenzy during the last skirmish prodded him. He strained past gore-filled images, and the effort paid off. There, deep within the haze, a faint red light marked the spot. Alecto had not forgotten. A hitched breath escaped his lungs as he stood and trod on a more secure step.

As the haze dissipated, the cavern’s hungry mouth gaped before him. Healing and deliverance acquired through pain would soon be his. As he inched closer to the wavering light, he removed the last remaining strips of clothing. The offering had to be bare and unadulterated. Nothing but skin would satisfy the Fury, purify his spirit, and postpone the horror of termination for another ten years—a mere blip in the lifespan of a Titanian.

About the Author:

Award-winning, multi-genre author Victoria Saccenti writes romantic women’s fiction, contemporary romance, and paranormal romance. Not one for heart and flower stories, she explores the edgy twists and turns of human interaction, the many facets of love, and all possible happy endings. After thirty years of traveling the world, she’s settled in Central Florida. She splits her busy schedule between family and her active muse at Essence Publishing. However, if she could convince her husband to sell their home, she would pack up her computer and move to Scotland, a land she adores. On a side note, in one form or another, Scotland appears in most of her stories.

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Roxy Constantine: Jam Queen by Meg Benjamin – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part o a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Meg Benjamin 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.

Roxy Constantine: Jam Queen

At the beginning of The Pepper Peach Murder, my heroine, Roxy Constantine, has a laser focus on jam. She spends most of her time making jam, selling jam, and thinking about jam. After all, the local paper has called her “The Jam Queen of Shavano County.” She’s got a lot to live up to.

Roxy has come back to her hometown of Shavano, Colorado, after a bad experience as a line cook in Denver. It’s soured her on doing much besides concentrating on her jam company, Luscious Delights. Her business is just beginning to take off after a lot of hard work. And getting Luscious Delights off the ground has occupied most of her time. Roxy hasn’t done much in the way of socializing for the past couple of years. But thanks to her booth at the farmers market where she meets local chef, Nate Robicheaux, things may be looking up in the romance department.

Unfortunately, another Shavano chef, Brett Holmes, is trying to rain on Roxy’s parade. The two of them worked together in Denver, and even then he was someone who wouldn’t take no for an answer. Roxy doesn’t want to go out with him since he’s a definite sleaze, but he just keeps asking. And, in fact, it isn’t really asking . Brett’s demands move closer to threats, and Roxy has had enough. She tells Brett off in front of most of the vendors at the Shavano Farmers Market, which means half of Shavano gets the idea that Brett and Roxy are definitely not soulmates.

When someone kills Brett in his own kitchen a few days later, Roxy finds she’s got some major problems. A lot of people in town think she’s the killer, including the new chief of police, Ethan Fowler. Even though Roxy has an alibi, she decides she needs to investigate—Luscious Delights is in jeopardy since nobody wants to buy jam from a murderess.

Roxy’s investigation is the central focus of The Pepper Peach Murder. Well, that and her developing relationship with Nate. She’s got a lot to figure out and a lot to overcome if she’s going to maintain all she’s accomplished so far and all she wants to do in the future.

The Jam Queen of Shavano County is on the case, and she’s definitely got a lot of reasons to find the killer. Whether she can do that, particularly when she discovers some people she cares about may be involved, is another question. That’s one question she’ll have to answer if she wants to keep her title.

Roxy Constantine is the jam queen of Shavano, Colorado, and she’s fine with it. Not that things couldn’t be better. Her social life is a bust, and she’s still recovering from a bad experience as a line cook in Denver. But things are looking up when she meets local chef Nate Robicheaux. Roxy would like to get closer to Nate, but she’s fending off the unwanted attentions of another local, Brett Holmes, who won’t take no for an answer. When Brett threatens to derail Roxy’s appearance on a national cooking show, the two have a very public fight. A few days later, Brett is found murdered in his restaurant kitchen, and suddenly Roxy’s a prime suspect. Now Roxy, Nate, and her other friends must find out the truth about Brett’s background and his murderer before the town of Shavano decides Roxy’s reign as jam queen is over for good.

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It would be better for him to hear it from you than to discover it on his own.

Nate’s voice still echoed in my ears. For a moment, I wished I’d asked him to come with me. But I had to face this on my own. It was my disaster, after all.

I climbed up the stairs to the front door, pausing for a moment to check the directory on the wall inside. The chief’s office was on the first floor, right down the hall. Once I turned in that direction, there’d be no going back. I’d be committed to confessing.

I walked down the corridor, feeling like I was going to the executioner’s block.

There was a receptionist for the chief’s office along with the county attorney and the sheriff. I didn’t recognize her, which was just as well. This visit wasn’t something I wanted shared on social media.

She looked up expectantly. “Yes?”

“I need to see Chief Fowler.” I was amazed that my voice was steady.

“Do you have an appointment?”

I shook my head. “He’ll want to talk to me. Tell him it’s Roxy Constantine.”

The receptionist picked up her phone and dialed a number, turning away from me as she spoke.

Of course, I wasn’t absolutely sure Fowler would want to see me. Maybe he’d be too busy. Maybe he wasn’t interested. Maybe…

The receptionist glanced up at me. “Go on in. He’ll see you now.”

So much for hope. I opened the office door and stepped inside.

Fowler was sitting at his utilitarian, city-issued desk. He gazed up at me with that same unsmiling, inscrutable look he always seemed to wear. I wondered if he ever smiled. Probably not at people like me, people he suspected of murder.

I cleared my throat. “I have some things to tell you.”

He gestured to the chair in front of his desk. “Sit down, Ms. Constantine. I’ve been expecting you.”

About the Author:Meg Benjamin is an award-winning author of romance. Meg’s Konigsburg series is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Salt Box and Brewing Love trilogies are set in the Colorado Rockies (all are available from Entangled Publishing). Her new cozy mystery series, Luscious Delights from Wild Rose Press, concerns a jam-making sleuth based in the mythical small town of Shavano, Colorado. Along with contemporary romance, Meg is also the author of the paranormal Ramos Family trilogy from Berkley InterMix and the Folk trilogy from Soul Mate. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers, and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers.

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Sanctuary for a Surgeon by Jason Wrench – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Jason Wrench, who is celebrating today’s release of Sanctuary for a Surgeon, the third book in the Up on the Farm series. Enter the rafflecopter at the end of the post for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Finding love in the sanctuary of nature and another man’s arms.

Darrin Betancourt is a trauma surgeon in his early thirties living in New York City. His world gets thrown upside down after his husband dies in a car accident. Can Darrin get his act together and learn to love again before his life spirals out of control? His friends convince him to attend an all-gay retreat outside Woodstock. Begrudgingly, Darrin agrees to spend a weekend in nature, out of the city.

Jordan Floyd is a twenty-four-year-old farmhand who works for Devereux Farms Upstate just outside Woodstock. Jordan gets permission from his bosses to attend Camp Namast-Gay at the Woodstock Esoteric Sanctuary.

Darrin and Jordan end up in adjacent cabins. Can the two men take their friendship to a whole new level before the weekend is over? Or will disaster strike, derailing both of their lives and their burgeoning love?

Reader advisory: This book contains public sex and voyeurism.

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The last six-and-a-half months had been a living nightmare. There had been funeral arrangements and memorial services to organize and attend. Then there had been the months of pitying stares. I had become a recluse. I hadn’t wanted to deal with friends and coworkers. I had gone to work then gone home. When I ran out of excuses to avoid their offers, I had occasional meals with them. My life had shattered. Richard had recommended therapy on more than one occasion because I was clearly depressed. Of course I was depressed. The man I loved had died.

Chance had been one of three people who had been directly in the vehicle’s path when it had run through the crowd. After the NYPD investigation, it was ruled an accident. The car’s tire had blown after hitting a metal object in the street, which had caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle. She had tried to regain it but couldn’t. I heard through the grapevine that she was now being treated at an inpatient psychiatric facility upstate after she had attempted suicide. The woman hadn’t been ready for the media scrutiny and the accident’s fallout in her life. Part of me was glad she’d had a mental breakdown, but that was the evil, vindictive side. Another part was sorry for her. As horrible as it was, accidents happened. I saw accidents every day. Some were preventable. Some were not.

I had agreed to another Sunday brunch with Bryce and Richard. I hadn’t wanted to go, but I found myself at their door with a bottle of wine. I plastered on my best fake smile and knocked.

“Just a second,” Richard’s voice rang from the other side. A few seconds later, the door opened. “Darrin, we’re so glad you could make it. Brunch is almost ready.” He ushered me inside the townhouse as he kept talking. “We’re having a quiche I whipped up from scratch. It has a smattering of vegetables with sausage and bacon. I also threw together a mixed green salad and a raspberry tart for dessert.” I handed him the bottle of wine. Richard inspected it and nodded before saying, “Good choice.”

Bryce came from the backroom. “How are you doing?” he asked me.

“I’m doing…” I left the phrase hanging in the air.

“Well,” Bryce said without acknowledging the ambiguity of my statement, “at least you’re up and moving around.”

I forced a smile and followed Bryce and Richard into the small dining room. The table was set for three. As usual, Richard had set an immaculate table that would make Emily Post jealous. Bryce motioned to a chair, and I took a seat as Richard left.

“So, how are things in your world?” I asked, breaking the silence.

“Richard and I are doing well. We’ve been looking into surrogacy again. I think Richard’s biological clock is ticking. He wants a baby.”

“I heard that,” Richard’s voice echoed from the kitchen next to the dining room. Richard walked in with the salad and placed it in the middle of the table. “And don’t let this one fool you,” he said, sticking his thumb in Bryce’s direction. “He wants to be a doting father as much as I do. We have a lot of love to give a little one.”

“Why not adopt?” I asked.

“We talked about that,” Bryce acknowledged, “but ultimately we want to have a little baby. We have thought about having one through surrogacy, then adopting her or him a little brother or sister.”

“Two kids?” I asked.

“Don’t be so shocked,” Richard said, returning to the dining room with the quiche. “I’m doing more and more of my work from home. After the pandemic, the firm has embraced remote work, so the timing couldn’t be more perfect.”

Richard set about serving up the quiche. We spent the next hour talking about a range of topics deemed ‘safe’ by the group.

After an appropriate amount of time once we’d all eaten, I looked at Bryce and Richard and said, “Well, I need to get to the gym before taking a nap. I’m working the ten-to-ten shift tonight.”

“Let me put together a to-go box for you,” Richard said. “I worry that you’re not getting enough home-cooked food.”

Sadly, he was right. Most nights I grabbed takeout or heated something from a box in the microwave. “Thanks,” I said. “It would be much appreciated. You can only eat takeout Chinese so many days in a row.”

When Richard left the dining room, Bryce turned and stared at me. For the first time that day, he put on his serious face.

“I’m worried about you,” Bryce said. “I know it’s only been six months, but you’ve almost completely shut down.”

“I’m still grieving. Is there an appropriate amount of time one should grieve?”

“No, there’s not,” Bryce said hesitantly. “But I worry that you’re not making progress toward getting healthy. Have you reconsidered Richard’s suggestion about therapy?”

“I don’t need a shrink… I need time.” I blinked back tears that had started to swell in my eyes. “I need him back.” I was amazed when the words came out of my mouth.

“I know. We all miss him,” Bryce said. He looked at me for a second, and I could tell he was trying to plan what to say next. “I don’t know how I would react if Richard died, so I won’t presume to tell you how you’re supposed to behave. I won’t. But I will say I’m worried.”

“Thanks…” He meant well. Part of me wanted to come back with a snarky comment, but I held my tongue. “Each day is a little better,” I lied.

“Here’s your to-go box,” Richard said, breezing back into the dining room. He took one look at the serious faces in the room. “Did I miss something?”

“Not at all,” I said, using the break in the conversation to my advantage. “Thank you for an amazing meal and lovely company, but I must get to the gym.”

Bryce looked like he wanted to say something, but he kept his words to himself, which suited me just fine. I said goodbyes and hugged both men before going home to change and head off to the gym.

About the Author Jason Wrench is a professor in the Department of Communication at SUNY New Paltz and has authored/edited 15+ books and over 35 academic research articles. He is also an avid reader and regularly reviews books for publishers in a wide number of genres. This book marks his first full-length work of fiction.

Website | First for Romance

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