Rachel Thompson

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dear Adam by Ava Zavora @avazavora


"You're the more real to me than any man I've ever known ... "

To book blogger Eden, Adam is the embodiment of every literary fantasy she's ever had. Intelligent, wickedly funny, sexy, and attentive - he and his fascinating life seem right out of a novel. Their whirlwind relationship is so intense and all consuming that soon she can't imagine being with anyone else.

But there's one little thing that's keeping Adam and Eden from their happily ever after.

They've never met. She doesn't even know what he looks like.

Despite how hard she's fallen for him and how he makes her feel, Eden's doubts begin to threaten their passionate love affair. Why is he so mysterious? Why does he seem reluctant to meet her? What is Adam hiding?

Afraid that she's being made a fool of, Eden is forced to choose between her heart and her head. Is Adam too good to be true, as her common sense is telling her, or is the truth more startling than fiction?

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Genre - Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG-13

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

#AmReading – Sisters in Love by Melissa Foster @Melissa_Foster

Sisters in Love by Melissa Foster


Danica Snow has always been the smart, practical, and appropriate sister. As a therapist, she prides herself on making reasonable, conservative choices, even if a bit boring, and as part of the Big Sister Program, she has little time for anything more in her life.
Blake Carter is a player. He never gets bored of conquering women, and with his sexy good looks and successful lifestyle, he has no trouble finding willing participants. When his friend and business partner dies in a tragic accident, he suddenly, desperately, wants to change his ways. The problem is, he doesn't know how to stop doing what he does best.
When Blake walks into Danica's office, the attraction between them is white hot, but Danica isn't the type to give into the heat and risk her career. Danica's desire sets her on a path of self-discovery, where she begins to question every decision she's ever made. Just this once, Danica wants to indulge in the pleasures of life she's been so willingly ignoring, but with her Little Sister in turmoil and her biological sister's promiscuousness weighing heavily on her heart, she isn't sure it's the right time to set her desires free.

Nobody Has to Know by Frank Nappi @FrankNappi


Nobody Has To Know, Frank Nappi’s dark and daring new thriller, tells the story of Cameron Baldridge, a popular high school teacher whose relationship with one of his students leads him down an unfortunate and self-destructive path. Stalked through text-messages, Baldridge fights for his life against a terrifying extortion plot and the forces that threaten to expose him. NHTK is a sobering look into a world of secrets, lies, and shocking revelations, and will leave the reader wondering many things, including whether or not you can ever really know the person you love.

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Genre - Thriller

Rating – PG-13

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Website http://www.franknappi.com

Constantinopolis by James Shipman @jshipman_author

His father! Mehmet stewed when he thought of him. His father had never shown him any real affection or spent significant time with him. He was not, after all, originally the heir to the Sultanate. He was a second son and only became heir when his older brother died. Mehmet had been forced from then on to endure a frantic and often harsh tutoring process. He was just beginning to grasp his responsibilities when at the age of 12 his father had retired and named him Sultan. He had done the best he could to govern, but in short order Grand Vizier Halil had called his father back to take over the throne. The Sultan felt Halil should have helped him, should have supported him. Instead he had watched and reported Mehmet’s shortcomings to his father, betraying him and leading to his humiliation.

From then on Mehmet had bided his time. He had learned to keep his thoughts and emotions to himself, to trust no one. He had studied everything: military art, languages, administration, and the arts. He had worked tirelessly so that when he next ruled he would not only equal his father but also exceed him. He would be the greatest Sultan in the history of his people, Allah willing.

His chance came when Murad finally died only two years before, as Mehmet turned 19. Mehmet quickly took power, ordering his baby half brother strangled to assure there would be no succession disputes, and set to organizing his empire. He had learned to be cautious and measured, leaving his father’s counselors and even Halil in power to assist him. From there he had slowly built up a group of supporters. They were young and exclusively Christian converts to Islam. These followers, many of whom now held council positions, were not nearly as powerful as the old guard, but they were gaining ground. They were the future, if Halil did not interfere.

Halil. His father’s Grand Vizier and now his own. He had always treated Mehmet with condescending politeness. He was powerful, so powerful that Mehmet could not easily remove him. So powerful it was possible he could remove Mehmet in favor of a cousin or other relative. Mehmet hated him above all people in the world, but he could not simply replace him. He needed Halil, at least for now, and Halil knew it.

This dilemma was the primary reason for Mehmet’s nighttime wanderings. He needed time away from the palace. Time to think and work out a solution to the problem. How could he free himself from Halil without losing power in the process? He could simply order Halil executed, but would the order be followed or would it be his own head sitting on a pole? The elders and religious leaders all respected and listened to Halil. Only the young renegades, the Christian converts who owed their positions to Mehmet were loyal to him. If Halil was able to rally the old guard to him, Mehmet had no doubt that the result would be a life or death dispute.

Mehmet needed to find a cause that could rally the people to him. The conversations he had heard night after night told him this same thing. The people felt that his father was a great leader, and that he was not. If he could gain the people’s confidence, then he would not need Halil, and the other elders would follow his lead.

Mehmet knew the solution. He knew exactly what would bring the people to his side, and what would indeed make him the greatest Sultan in the history of the Ottoman people.

The solution however was a great gamble. His father and father’s fathers had conquered huge tracts of territory in Anatolia and then in Europe, primarily at the expense of the Greeks. Mehmet intended to propose something even more audacious, to conquer the one place that his ancestors had failed to take. If he succeeded he would win the adoration of his people and would be able to deal with Halil and any others who might oppose him. If he failed . . .

The Sultan eventually made his way back near the palace, to the home of his closest friend, Zaganos Pasha. Zaganos, the youngest brother of Mehmet’s father in law, had converted to Islam at age 13, and was Mehmet’s trusted general and friend. He was the most prominent member of the upstart Christian converts that made up the Sultan’s support base.

Zaganos was up, even at this late hour, and embraced his friend, showing him in and ordering apple tea from his servants. Zaganos was shorter and stockier than Mehmet, a powerful middle-aged man in the prime of his life. He had receding dark brown hair. A long scar cut across his forehead and down over his left eye. He looked on Mehmet with smiling eyes extending in to crow’s feet. He smiled like a proud uncle or father.


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Genre – Historical Fiction

Rating – PG

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Website http://james-shipman.com

Monday, October 28, 2013

Author Interview – Jim Musgrave @OMalley_Mystery

What writing are you most proud of?

I wrote a short story a little while ago that I rather enjoy:  “Zeru.”  It’s a mixture of the horror and the romance genres.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

Giving a few thousand students a respect for the written word.

What books did you love growing up?

I loved Mark Twain’s work (he wrote funny mysteries about humanity).  I also got hooked on Defoe (Robinson Crusoe) and Stevenson (Treasure Island) when I was a kid.

Who is your favorite author?

Just one?  Okay, you got me.  It’s a tie between Elmore Leonard and Lawrence Block.

What book genre of books do you adore?


What book should everybody read at least once?

Dirty Wars:  The World is a Battlefield, by Jeremy Scahill.  The content is self-explanatory.

Jim Musgrave

Here are all three suspenseful mysteries in one book!

Forevermore, the first mystery, was a #2 bestseller in Amazon’s Historical Mystery category. It has received outstanding reviews from readers, and it establishes Pat O’Malley as a detective sleuth par excellence. The second mystery, Disappearance at Mount Sinai, continues the development of the characters amidst an excellent caper. The third mystery, Jane the Grabber, plunges O’Malley into the middle of the Steampunk world, and it marks a turning point in the novels to come.

Forevermore Synopsis:

“Musgrave mixes accurate history with a spell-binding plot to create an amazing who-done-it! Watch for more Pat O’Malley Mysteries.”

In post Civil War New York City, Detective Pat O’Malley is living inside Poe’s Cottage in the Bronx. O’Malley is haunted by Poe one night, and the detective finds a strange note. As a result, O’Malley decides to prove that Edgar Allan Poe did not die in Baltimore from an alcoholic binge but was, instead, murdered. O’Malley quickly becomes embroiled in a “cold case” that thrusts him into the lair of one of the most sinister and ruthless killers in 1865 New York City.

Jim Musgrave’s “Forevermore” is a quick read in four acts that will keep your mind razor sharp trying to solve the mystery of Poe’s murder. Pat O’Malley must first find out how to become intimate with females before he can discover the final clue in this puzzle of wits, murder and romance.

Disappearance at Mount Sinai Synopsis:

What if the anti-Semites, racists, and terrorists wanted the final revenge following the Civil War? How do you stop them from committing the worst atrocity?

It’s 1866 in New York City. Civil War Vet and Detective Pat O’Malley’s biggest case returns him to the deep, dark South to search for the kidnapped wealthiest inventor and entrepreneur in America. But the widening gyre of anti-Semitism and racism pulls him down into the pit of hell itself. Disguised as an Oxford England Professor, O’Malley infiltrates the anti-Semites’ group and travels with his partners, Becky Charming and his father, Robert, down to a Collierville, Tennessee mansion.

At the crux of this case are a Jewish father and his five-year-old son, Seth. They have developed a unique bond that relies on Jewish folklore and a belief that they are Mazikeen, half-angel and half-human, born from the loins of Adam’s strange female cohorts during the 130 years he was banished from the Garden. Will O’Malley find Dr. Mergenthaler before it’s too late? What does this world-wide eugenics group have planned for the mongrel races? Read Jim Musgrave’s Disappearance at Mount Sinai, the second mystery in the series of Pat O’Malley Mini-Mysteries.

Jane the Grabber Synopsis:

What was it like before women were given rights to determine their own destinies? How was abortion and birth control used in the 1860s? What happens to a society when the last sexual taboo is permitted? Find out in the third mystery in the Pat O’Malley Historical Steampunk Mystery Series, Jane the Grabber.

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Genre – Historical Steampunk Mystery

Rating – PG13

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Website http://contempinstruct.com/Forevermore/

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In Love With My Best Friend by Sheena Binkley



How did my life get so complicated? One minute, I, Camille Anderson, was living a pretty normal life in which nothing ever happened to me, and the next I'm practically being hauled away from the premier wedding venue in Houston, The Corinthian, by security because of my sudden outburst to the groom.

I should have known I was setting myself up for disaster, but I had to do it. I had to tell my best friend that I'd been in love with him since I was thirteen.

I really didn't expect the scene to unfold the way it did, especially while Trevor was getting married, but I couldn't hold my feelings in much longer. I felt he was making a terrible mistake, because he was marrying the wrong woman. He should have been marrying me.

I guess I should backtrack to when Trevor and I first met. It was seventeen years ago, when the Williams family first moved into the house next to ours. I was outside waiting for my friend Tia Simmons to come by when I first noticed Trevor. He was absolutely gorgeous as he stepped out of his family's SUV. He had that "boy next door" look, with wavy black hair and smooth ivory skin. He looked over at me and gave me a huge grin, which I greatly returned.

After that day, not only did we become friends, but our parents became great friends as well. We always went by each other's homes for dinner or for game night (until we were too old to appreciate hanging out with our parents on a Friday night).

We were practically inseparable during our high school years, and many of our friends thought we would eventually get married and have lots of kids. When anyone mentioned that to Trevor, he would shrug it off and say, "We're just friends, and it will stay that way until the day we die." Usually those words would tug at my heartstrings, but being the shy person I am, I never let my feelings show.

As we went to college, Trevor and I went into the same major, public relations. That was when he met Chelsea Parker, who was also my roommate. At first I liked Chelsea because she was basically a sweet person, but when she set her sights on Trevor, I quickly disliked her. Not because she took Trevor away from me, but because she became a different person.

If only I could go back to four weeks ago, or even seventeen years ago, I would be with the man I loved...


Four weeks ago....

"I don't know why you dragged me to this," I said as I looked at my friend Tia. The two of us were inside the Aventine Ballroom of Hotel Icon waiting for our friend Trevor and his fiancée, Chelsea, to arrive for their engagement and welcome home party. The two had announced their engagement to everyone a while back when Trevor was visiting his parents before going back to Dallas. Not only did he announce his engagement, but he also said that he had accepted a new position at a prestigious PR firm and was moving back to Houston. Although I was happy that my best friend was moving back, I was not thrilled that he was getting married.

"For once, why can't you be happy for Tre? He and Chelsea are finally getting married."

I gave Tia an evil stare as I looked toward the revolving door to the ballroom.

"You know how I feel about Trevor and Chelsea getting married."

"Oh please, Cam, when are you going to get past the fact that Trevor found someone? I told you to admit your feelings to him, but being the person you are, you decided not to."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You felt you would have been rejected if you told Trevor your true feelings."

"If I remember correctly, in high school when Charles asked him why we never hooked up, he said, and I quote, 'We're just friends.'"

Tia rolled her eyes at me and started to stare at the door as well. This was not the first time we'd had this conversation about my feelings for Trevor, so I'm pretty sure Tia was tired of hearing it.

Tia was my other best friend and the complete opposite of me. While I was quiet and reserved, Tia was wild and carefree. She always did what she wanted and didn't care about the consequences. People always thought we were sisters, with our caramel-colored complexion and long, dark-brown hair. But that was where the similarities ended. I looked down at my black sequin dress that went above my knees, wondering if I was dressed appropriately for the occasion; but as I looked at the hot-pink dress Tia was sporting, I figured my outfit was perfect.

"So how are things between you and Eric?"

"Finished; I broke up with him a couple of days ago."

"I'm assuming because he's not Trevor? Cam, you have got to move on."

I sighed as I noticed two figures coming through the door. I started to breathe slowly as I watched my friend walk in with his fiancée. Trevor always was attractive, but tonight he looked really handsome in a dark blue suit, white shirt, and blue and white striped tie. His black, wavy hair was cut short, bringing out his beautiful brown eyes. He walked hand in hand with Chelsea, the woman I wish I'd never met, who was positively glowing in an ivory-colored empire dress. Her reddish brown hair was pulled into a tight ponytail and her makeup was flaw- less. Although I was completely jealous of Chelsea, I had to admit the two made a stunning couple.

Tia gave me a frown.

"You OK?"

"I'm cool. Let's just get this over with."

While the crowd of family and friends were clapping and whistling for the happy couple, all I could do was just stand in my place, looking at Trevor as if he was the only person in the room. He gave me a smile that showed the deep dimples on each of his cheeks. As he went to greet a couple of his family members, I took a deep breath to control any tears from flowing.

I shouldn't have come tonight.



"Why did we plan a huge engagement party? Everyone knows we're engaged," I asked my fiancée, Chelsea, as we were walking hand in hand down the corridor inside Hotel Icon.

"Sweetie, I just wanted everyone to celebrate in our happiness and what better way than a huge party?"

I sighed as I continued to walk, not realizing how frustrated I was becoming.

Chelsea was the love of my life. I instantly knew I wanted to marry her when I first laid eyes on her in Camille's dorm room. The two were roommates their junior year at University of Houston, which was great for me, considering I was able to see my best friend and my girlfriend at the same time. Although Camille and I were really good friends, I got the sense that something had been bothering her since I'd been dating Chelsea. Call me crazy, but it seemed as if Camille was jealous of our relationship. I hope not, because Chelsea loves Camille and considers her a good friend.

As we walked into the ballroom, everyone from our family and our friends were clapping and cheering for our arrival. We started to wave at everyone as we entered. Once I turned my head toward the center of the room, I had to stop and admire the person staring straight at me. My heart jolted several beats at the beauty who was giving me a dazzling smile. Camille Anderson had always been a beautiful woman, from her caramel-colored skin to her deep chocolate eyes; she definitely stood out in a crowd.

Just looking at her long hair flowing around her face and the black dress that hugged her curves in all the right places made me feel sort of embarrassed, because I shouldn't have been looking at her in that way. I always considered her my best friend and nothing more, so why was I looking at her differently now?

Chelsea turned her attention to me, wondering what was wrong.

"Is everything OK?"

I suddenly realized I was staring a little too long as I turned to Chelsea.

"I'm fine," I said as I squeezed her hand.

I gave Camille a huge grin as I walked over to talk to a nearby guest. I snuck another peek at her; she was talking to our friend Tia near the bar. I don't know what was going on with me, but hopefully this feeling I was having about my best friend would go away soon.

That's if I want it to.

In Love With My Best Friend

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Genre - Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Connect with Sheena Binkley on Twitter

Website http://sheenabinkley.wordpress.com/

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

Otto’s mind takes him back to finding his mother at the Serbsky Institute.

Inmates had jittered and made signs at him as he made his way through the corridors. “Please help me,” he heard from some and, “They have me here because of my political beliefs,” from others. They’d reached out to him as he passed, and his insides had quaked. With the stench of piss and shit everywhere, revulsion filled him. But he’d felt no compassion for these people. He hadn’t given a fuck about them. Only his mother mattered.

“This way,” the nurse had said. “She’s through here.”

He found her in a large open room. She sat on the only piece of furniture in it. The chair was pushed back against the wall and she rocked slightly, staring blankly into nothingness. Spittle leaked from her mouth and she was barely recognizable as the woman he loved. Her long, luxurious, oily-black hair had been shaven to the skin. Her teeth had somehow been removed and her formerly full face had caved in because of it. Like a corpse, she was yellowed and sunken. Only 47 years old and she looked twice that. He’d wished he hadn’t found her and cried bitterly – in front of those sadistic bastards that called themselves nurses.

More like prison guards. And in reality, that’s what they were. Soviet dissidents ended up in places like Serbsky, out of harm’s way. In mental hospitals where they could be abused and broken. Somewhere to extinguish credibility. He’d seen those inmates beaten, teeth punched or kicked from their faces. And if they still didn’t bow to the might of the people, enforced lobotomy wasn’t unheard of as a final step.

With desperation, he’d hoped his mother hadn’t suffered such cruelty.


And now, somehow, she’d made it through to 60. Why, oh why had she lasted this long? All those years, and still she rocked on that old wooden chair and stared at nothing. How could life be this cruel?

He remembered the first time he’d visited the asylum in full Spetsnaz uniform. After calling several of the nurses together, he said, “I know you all have military connections. On that basis, I won’t explain this uniform. Each of you has some sort of responsibility to my mother. The good news is you’re about to receive an extra income. The bad news: if you don’t look after my mother properly and see she gets the kind of care and nourishment she needs, I may have to call on my KGB colleagues. I hope we all understand what that could mean.”

Memories dissolved as he entered the large open room. On his instructions, her hair had been left to grow. But now it was too long and no one had shown it a comb. Still she rocked, gazing into nothingness with the expression of a lunatic on her face.

The burly warder turned to leave but Otto grabbed his arm. “We have an agreement. Next time I come here, I expect my mother to be presentable. Look at her, her hair hasn’t had attention for who knows how long. She needs a bath and a change of clothes. She looks like she’s just puked down them.”

“I err…,” the nurse spluttered with a voice too high for his size.

“Fuck you and your errs. Why do I pay you people so much? I’ll say this once. If I’m not satisfied with the way she looks next time I come, I’ll personally see to it that you have teeth to match hers. And each time after that, I’ll take you a step further down that road. Clear enough?”

“Yes, Captain. I’ll see to it myself.”

The nurse left and Otto looked at his mother. His heart brimmed. The only woman he’d ever loved – could ever love. He got down on his honkers, and took her hand. No sign of recognition, but at least she didn’t pull away.

“Hello, Mother, how are you today?”

Birth of an Assassin

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Genre – Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

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Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

The Color Pink by Parker Paige


Can wearing the color pink attract true love?

That is the question Summer Jones intends to answer.

In her early thirties, Summer Jones thought that she had found the perfect man, the man she planned to marry until she learned that he still had feelings for his first love. Now, at age thirty-five, Summer is ready to fall in love again. After she hears that wearing the color pink can attract true love, she sets out to do just that–and finds more than just true love.

Follow Summer as she journeys into the world of color magic and find out how she uses that magic to help her choose between one man from her past and another man who is destined to become her future.

This romantic drama serves up something fun and sexy, proving that the road to love can be paved with many painful lessons and memorable moments. It’s a story about paying attention to your past so that you don’t always have to repeat it.

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Genre - Romance

Rating – PG-13

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Connect with Parker Paige on Twitter

Website parkerpaige.wordpress.com

Birth of an Assassin by Rik Stone @stone_rik

Birth of an Assassin

Set against the backdrop of Soviet, post-war Russia, Birth of an Assassin follows the transformation of Jez Kornfeld from wide-eyed recruit to avenging outlaw. Amidst a murky underworld of flesh-trafficking, prostitution and institutionalized corruption, the elite Jewish soldier is thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems, nobody can be trusted, and everything can be violently torn from him.

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Genre - Thriller, Crime, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author

Connect with Rik Stone on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://rik-stone.simdif.com

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Photo Traveler (The Photo Traveler Series) by Arthur J. Gonzalez


I can’t ask for a better day to be out shooting. Man, what a view. Something about how the sun’s rays press against the faint distant outline of the mountains. Sick! If it can seem so dominating from all the way over here, I can only imagine what it must feel like up close. I don’t know. It just always kind of does something to me.

I know, I know. Lame, right? But trust me, if you lived in the hellhole I live in, anytime alone is sacred. You start to appreciate all these little not-so-particular things. Yeah—even the outline of the mountains.

Carefully, I focus the lens on my Canon 7D to capture the effect of the clouds drifting across the peaks of Mt. Rose and get my shot. A few seconds later, the sunlight dims. I hadn’t realized it was so late. I glance at my watch, wondering what’s taking Melinda so long. She promised to pick me up by five, even though I knew that would mean five-thirty. It’s five-forty-five.

I call her on my cell. It rings four times, then goes to voicemail. “Come on, Mel!” I mutter. “It’s getting late!”

I’ve had a good day so far, probably because I’ve been alone for most of it, and I really don’t want another confrontation with Jet. I can still taste the faint copper tinge of blood at the corner of my mouth where he split my lip the last time around. Two days ago.

I hit redial. Straight to voicemail. “Dammit, Mel!”

I tell myself to breathe, but my anxiety is really starting to kick in. Sweat is beading on my forehead and my heart is jolting in my chest. Why does she always have to be so impossible? I don’t get it.

The moment I hear the loud thrum of an engine roaring up the dirt road, I jump up from the boulder I’ve been perched on. It’s about damn time!

She screeches up to me in her new, cherry-red Mini Cooper and slams on the brakes. I dodge around to the passenger side. Grab the door handle. It’s locked.

“Mel!” I shout. “Open up!”

But she’s sitting behind the wheel pretending not to hear me. Eyes glued to her phone, purple nails tapping out a text message. With a tiny smirk on her glossed-up lips.

I hit the window with my fist. “Stop messing around! Jet’s gonna be pissed!”

She finishes her text, sends it … and adjusts the rearview mirror so she can check out the jet-black curls at her temples. She still hasn’t given me one look. Is she really serious right now?

I pound at the window again, as hard as I can. “Open up, dammit!” My anxiety is turning into rage. And rage is something Jet’s modeled for me only too well over the years, ever since he and his first wife, Leyla, took me in as a foster kid. Mel was just six at the time, but “my sister,” which she became after they finally adopted me, was a full-fledged brat from Day One, and she’s only gotten worse.

My fist hurts. I’m afraid of what Jet will do when we get back, since he ordered me to be home by six so I can start dinner.

But as far as Mel’s concerned, I might as well not be there. I can’t control it any longer. I take a step back, lift my knee, and kick the passenger door with all my strength. The hollow metal frame vibrates against the sole of my shoe. Mel’s prized car now has a six-inch dent right in the middle of the passenger door.

I guess that got her attention. Her mouth is hanging open. For a moment, she’s so astonished that she can’t speak. She swings her door open and charges around to the passenger side.

“MY CAR!” she screams, staring at the dent. “Are you crazy?!”

“Why couldn’t you just open up?” I yell back.

“Gavin, you’re an asshole! I was just messing with you! You’re never gonna learn to use your head, are you?”

“Go to hell!”

She goes still, then raises her eyebrows with an “Oh, really?” expression. Then she hauls off and slams her fist into the right side of my face. All I can feel is the large stone of her ring jabbing into my cheek. She stalks back to the driver’s side with a wicked smirk creasing her lips and snaps, “You can walk home!”

She slides behind the wheel, slams the door, and peels off so hard and fast that the car kicks up a stinging cloud of gravel and asphalt dust all over me.

She can’t be serious. But as the Mini disappears around the first bend in the road, I realize that she is.

* * *

Photo Traveler

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Genre - Young Adult Science Fiction

Rating – PG

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Arthur J. Gonzalez on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.arthurjgonzalez.com/

Robin Mahle – How to Avoid the Rejection Blues

How to Avoid the Rejection Blues

by Robin Mahle

“Dear Author, Thank you for your query, but…”  I’m sure you can figure out the rest.  This is how most of the rejection letters I’ve received so far begin.  Some are slightly more personal in that they reference my name; others don’t bother with a salutation.  Or worse yet, no reply at all; even from the ones to whom I’ve sent queries via snail mail, with a self-addressed stamped envelope, as specified.  It gets to me sometimes; rejection after rejection.  An author begins to question her sanity for choosing this sort of career.

It’s no easy road, that’s for sure.  But to me, it means everything.  And…well, the rejections are just a part of that.  I had hoped, when I started sending out the flurry of queries to agents, that I would get some feedback.  You know, “keep up the good work,” “maybe the next project will be a better fit,” “You just need to work on…” Blah, blah, blah.  You know, things like that; something to take away the sting.  But with today’s publishing landscape, I understand that agents simply don’t have the time to respond and encourage us poor writers.

I’m sure it is a combination of a couple of things.  Email; which makes it super easy to send off a query, summary, etc; and electronic files, which make it even easier to send off samples of one’s work.  Can you imagine the amount of emails they must get in a day? Is it any wonder they don’t respond to all of them? If I got several hundred emails every day, I think I would go crazy.

I had a theory once that if I sent more snail mail queries and sample chapters that I stood a better chance of getting picked up by an agent.  I thought that maybe agents viewed the author who took the time to print everything out, sign a letter and go to the post office as somehow being more dedicated than the ones who just did email blasts of their query letters and the first 3 chapters of their work.  I don’t think that anymore.  I see absolutely no difference in either approach.  In fact, some agents actually prefer email.  You know, save the trees, etc..

So how do I get past all the rejection letters or just listening to the crickets out there in cyberspace because no one else is making any noise; ie no response? I just try and remember some of the greats.  JK Rowling, Stephen King, Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help.  I thought I heard somewhere; maybe it was on Oprah; that she received something like 66 rejection letters for her bestselling book. They’ve all received rejection letters at one time in their budding careers as authors. So why would I be any different?

I am learning that just because an agent doesn’t think your work is right for him/her, doesn’t mean your work isn’t right for some other agent.  Keep that in mind, and you’ll be just fine.

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Genre – Mystery  / Thriller / Suspense

Rating – PG

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Author Interview – J.L. Lawson

Tell us about these new books? What’re they about and why did you write them?

First off, all my books began from An Honest Man—the first book of the trilogy: the Donkey and the Wall. That series led to Weigh Anchor—the first of The Curious Voyages of the Anna Virginia Saga. That led to a series of short stories that branched off the established timelines of the previous work. I compiled them, massaged them and gave them a unifying plot and cast of characters; so Just A Curtain was born. Out of that came a character, Tera Elphinstone, who whispered to me and cajoled me into constructing her own expanded place among the rest of the Future Histories. That’s the timeline of their production. The why’s?

This is a topic near and dear to my heart and one for which I think I can offer quite a bit of information. Over the last couple decades I have been part of an on-going experiment: Can an Objective Path to awakening produce in an individual the properties and functions of higher centers (those which are responsible for Objective Self-Knowledge and Objective Reason)?

The path I speak of involves the removing of all non-verifiable data and emotions cluttering one’s being. In other words, scrapping everything acquired through blind belief, old wives’ tales, the plethora of “they say”, snippets to volumes of information un-vetted and unsubstantiated which through laziness or convenience has populated one’s mind and heart. At the same time carefully building up a verifiable structure of mentation, an inner construction which allows for the assimilation of verified data and verifiable information about oneself and the real world in which one finds oneself.

This two-fold endeavor has yielded, for me personally, a far more impartial perspective both of my far less cluttered inner world, as well as clearer perceptions of what is transpiring in our outer world—that place where we all must have our daily existence.

So, with our terminology clarified, how to weave such an understanding into a narrative form accessible to others? I chose the medium of metaphor and allegory—those forms which throughout the history of our species have stood the test of time for conveying the deeper meanings of our existence. I began with a simple premise:

“What if there were lineages of highly conscious individuals from the most ancient of times and emergent into the present day?”

That question, for me, would allow for a presentation both: of what would be the properties and functions of a person with higher consciousness, and also how a regular person could come to such a condition for themselves. It is the latter which, through my protagonists’ interactions with others, could become an accessible path for everyone wishing to gain what they may think they already possess, but clearly do not.

It was the follow-up questions, “What would their world be like?” even more importantly, “What would our world be like—the one which we think we know?” that forced me to begin where I did—in the past—and bring the story through the subtly changed present and into a transformed future. Hence the term coined by J. W. Campbell regarding Mr. Heinlein’s epic works: “Future Histories.”

Future History, then, according the sense in which I am compelled to use it, means the results of the aforementioned premise to have been realized in practice, extrapolated into real-time for a new view of man’s relationship to, and place within the greater world—even up to the Type III Civilization as envisioned by Kardashev. That lofty arena of such an accomplishment is one which we as residents of the present Earth are no where near even the farthest horizons. Understandably.

While our societies, to some extent, and most definitely our technologies have evolved exponentially over the last few millennia, the individual, and resultant collective, evolution of our inner worlds haven’t moved forward even the barest distance by comparison. It is the individual who must perforce begin the personal change. Only then will our collective inner revolution gain the necessary traction to propel us in the directions of the ideals set forth in the allegorical Future Histories as presented in the Donkey and the Wall trilogy and The Curious Voyages of the Anna Virginia Saga.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?

Simple: Tesla, Houdini, Tolkien, Lewis (to keep Tolkien company), Lord Byron—Seriously? a party without him? Really?—Oscar Wilde (to keep Byron company), Teddy Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Anne Hathaway-Shakespeare (the patient wife?), Elizabeth I, Da Vinci, Fu Xi, Lao Tsu, Joseph Campbell, Katherine Hepburn, Will Rodgers, Samuel Clemens, Dorothy Parker, Ambrose Bierce, Ghengis Kahn (to keep Bierce company), Yogi Berra, George Bernard Shaw, Benjamin Disraeli, Gypsie Rose Lee, and whoever came up with: “…And that’s not all!”

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?

Travel, Fly-fish, Sail. Mostly camping allows us to do all that at the same time… almost.

Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule?

I thought I’d tackle these two at the same time; they are similar. Every day, from around seven-thirtyuntil around four. I sit down at my laptop, cover the previous evening’s email, find where I left off the day before and relax. The characters then take over for the next eight hours or so and I chuckle, shed a tear, hold my breath and sigh at everything they attempt to do—and sometimes accomplish. Then I get up go down to the smoking porch, open a beer have a smoke, and start “pre-writing” for the next day. Have dinner, check the weather forecast, go to sleep, get and do it all over again.

The only interruptions to my routine over weeks and months at a time are, holidays, grandchildren’s birthdays, urgent household matters and annual vacation travel. (Wonder when that last is going to resume?)

Sometimes it’s so hard to keep at it – What keeps you going?

I don’t understand the question. Are you suggesting that writing for a living isn’t the best gig in town? I feel like the luckiest man in the world when I sit at my laptop and tell stories. Seriously? What’s not to love?

How often do you write? And when do you write? Do you have an organized process or tips for writing well? Do you have a writing schedule?

I thought I’d tackle these two at the same time; they are similar. Every day, from around seven-thirty until around four. I sit down at my laptop, cover the previous evening’s email, find where I left off the day before and relax. The characters then take over for the next eight hours or so and I chuckle, shed a tear, hold my breath and sigh at everything they attempt to do—and sometimes accomplish. Then I get up go down to the smoking porch, open a beer have a smoke, and start “pre-writing” for the next day. Have dinner, check the weather forecast, go to sleep, get and do it all over again.

The only interruptions to my routine over weeks and months at a time are, holidays, grandchildren’s birthdays, urgent household matters and annual vacation travel. (Wonder when that last is going to resume?)

An Honest Man

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Genre - Metaphysical/Fantasy/Action Adventure

Rating – G

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Connect with J.L. Lawson on Facebook

Website http://voyagerpress.org/

Weigh Anchor

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Genre - Science Fiction/Metaphysical/Adventure

Rating – G

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Connect with J.L. Lawson on Facebook

Website http://voyagerpress.org/

The Elf & Huntress

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Genre - Science Fiction/Metaphysical/Adventure

Rating – G

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Website http://voyagerpress.org/

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#Free - Night of the Purple Moon by Scott Cramer @cramer_scott


Abby, 13, is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple, unaware that deadly bacteria from a passing comet will soon kill off older teens and adults. She must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her--adolescence.

"Cramer creates a picture of our world that's both frightening and inspiring in this heartfelt story that both young adults and adults can enjoy.A heartwarming but not overly sentimental story of survival." KIRKUS REVIEWS

"Outrageous and completely 'out of the box'."
"Three words: Gripping. Palpable. Well-developed." WORD SPELUNKING review blog

Buy Now @ Amazon & B&N & iBooks & Kobo

Genre - Science fiction

Rating – PG-13

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Colony East (The Toucan Trilogy #2) by Scott Cramer @cramer_scott

Colony East
When the bacteria that killed most of world’s adults undergo a deadly mutation, 15-year-old Abby must make the dangerous journey to Colony East, an enclave of scientists and Navy personnel who are caring for a small group of children. Abby fears that time is running short for the victims, but she’s soon to learn that time is running out for everyone outside Colony East. (Parental discretion advised for readers 13 and under)
Colony East will be specially priced at $2.99, 60 percent off the regular price.
Night of the Purple Moon (Book 1 of the Toucan Trilogy) is free.
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Genre - Science fiction
Rating – PG-13
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True Love’s First Kiss, The Queen of the Realm of Faerie Books 1-3 by Heidi Garrett

Book 1:  Nandana's Mark

Chapter 1: Ylandria


“Melia, wake up.”

Her mother squeezed her shoulder, pinching her skin.

Melia twisted free of her grip. She was on the ground. Flat on her back. Everything throbbed. She must have fallen out of the tree.

“It’s the middle of the night. What are you doing out here?” her mother asked.

Melia felt more than saw her lean over. The ylandria had tasted sharp, not unpleasant. Could her mother smell its thick, spicy fumes in her hair? Or on her nightgown? She couldn’t tell; the burning maelstrom of her vision still lingered. She wiped her nose with the back of her hand, hoping to clear the smell of charred wood.

“Do I smell ylandria?”

Melia rolled away and pushed herself up. A twig poked through the back of her nightgown. She wiped it, and what felt like leaves and grass, from her back. Her side felt tender, but nothing was broken. She’d probably have some nice bruises in the morning.

“Answer me.”

Before she could stop her, her mother’s hand thrust into the pocket of Melia’s nightgown and retrieved the two butts. How could she see anything? Even when her eyes adjusted, all Melia could distinguish was her mother’s shape, the slightest shade darker than the night around her.

Pressina grabbed her daughter’s arm and pulled her towards the spiral steps circling the oak.

In the front room, Melusine and Plantine huddled together on their mother’s favorite lime-striped chaise. They each held a candle; otherwise the room was dark. Malachi—Mother’s botched spell of a cat—hissed from the shadows as her mother dragged Melia into the kitchen.

“Melusine, Plantine, bring the candles,” their mother commanded.

Her sisters set their melting sticks in the holders on the table. Melia made a barrier over her chest with her arms. The flickering light drove home her failure; the ylandria had increased the power of her visions, not her control. While she’d dreamed of wings and flight, her timid inner flame—the one that kept blowing out—had ignited an inner inferno in some back corridor of her mind. She reached out to one of the kitchen chairs to steady herself.

Melusine’s blue eyes burned with suspicion. Plantine’s pained gaze was the same one she wore whenever Melia got in trouble.

“You were laughing hysterically,” Mother said. “You woke us all up.”

Melia looked from Pressina to her sisters. “So sorry I interrupted your beauty sleep.”

“It was an evil laugh,” Melusine said.

“All right, off to bed,” their mother dismissed them.

Neither sister challenged her, a testament to her angry state. Pressina pulled out one of the kitchen chairs and eased into it. Melia didn’t move. She looked down at her white knuckles.

“What were you doing smoking ylandria?”

Melia focused on the wax dripping down the sides of the candles. If she stonewalled long enough, her mother would give up and go back to bed.

images (3)

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Genre – Fantasy

Rating – PG

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Blog http://www.heidigwrites.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 21, 2013

Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend by Cheryl Carpinello

Chapter 1

The Hunt

Guinevere stared into the shadows along the edge of the forest. She could hear Cedwyn shifting from foot to foot beside her, unable to stand still. She sighed, the bow made of sturdy pine in her hand growing heavier like her heart. Her thirteenth Birth Day was in a few days, but she wasn’t excited. Birth Days were supposed to be fun, but not this year. Not for her, not for a princess.

She frowned as Cedwyn adjusted the leather quiver of arrows on his back again. Sometimes, like today, her patience with the seven-year-old was short.



“But ...”


She stamped her boot on the ground, her displeasure clearly showing.

“Cedwyn,” she snapped. “What is so important that you can’t be quiet?”

“I’m hungry, and the bottoms of my trousers are wet. Can’t we go back to the castle?” His face showed his confusion at her tone.

Guinevere realized that she shouldn’t have directed her anger at Cedwyn. It wasn’t his fault. Glancing down at her own clothes, she saw the bottom of her green ankle-length tunic wet with the morning dew. Her stomach chose that moment to begin grumbling. It started as a low vibration but grew louder as if it hadn’t been fed in days. Cedwyn heard it and started giggling. He tried to smother the sound by covering his mouth with his small hand, but he was too late.

Trying to keep from laughing also, Guinevere shook her head. “How are we ever going to shoot a rabbit with all this noise?” She reached down and tousled his blond hair to let him know that she was not serious and to apologize for her crossness. “Let’s try for just ten minutes longer. Then if we find nothing, we’ll go back. Is that all right?”

Cedwyn shook his head, not wanting to make any further noise. She let her eyes move across the blue sky. The English summer sun had barely reached above the far hills when they had first arrived at the forest. Now, it was well on its way in its climb toward the dinner hour, and they hadn’t even had a proper breakfast yet. Cedwyn’s mum was sure to be upset that they had been gone so long.

“Come on,” he whispered. “The only creatures we’ve seen moving have been badgers and Cornish hens. We could of had five bloody hens by now.”

“I told you, it’s good luck to bag a rabbit on the eve of your thirteenth Birth Day,” Guinevere informed him.

Cedwyn studied her face, unsure if she was telling the truth or not. Then his blue eyes widened, and he grabbed her arm as she turned to continue hunting. “Wait a minute! You promised to help me bag a rabbit on the eve of my tenth Birth Day. You said that was lucky!”

She turned to him, her balled fists on her slim hips. “You need to listen closer when I talk to you. I explained the difference be- tween boys and girls. Boys have to seek luck on the eve of their tenth and fifteenth Birth Days. Since girls are naturally luckier than boys, they only have to seek luck once, on the eve of their thirteenth Birth Day.”

Cedwyn eyed her suspiciously, and then his eyes lit up.

“But I thought that the eve was the night before. Your Birth Day isn’t until the day after tomorrow.”

“That’s true, but the eve of something can also be anytime close to the day.”

“Are you sure?”


Buy Now @ Amazon @ Smashwords

Genre - Arthurian Legend

Rating – G

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Connect with Cheryl Carpinello on Facebook & Twitter & Goodreads

Website http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com/

Friday, October 18, 2013

Making Wishes by Marilyn Holdsworth @m_holdsworth


The morning’s call from Sally Wagoner about the committee meeting had brought the memories flooding back. Sally was Elloree’s best friend in Oak View, but the two young women had little in common. Sally was perfectly happy to be where she was and who she was. Her husband, a partner in the law firm Wagoner, Lewis, and Broad, was the youngest member of the town council. Sally openly enjoyed the prestige his position in the community afforded her, and her life revolved comfortably around the Art League and other civic organizations. This morning she was counting on Elloree’s support for her proposal of a new club fundraiser.

Elloree picked up the phone to call Mrs. Clive and then gathered up her notes for the meeting. She took only a few minutes to review them before calling in the boys to tell them of the change in the day’s plans. Long faces met her words.

“Aw, Mom, we were going to the park after lunch. You promised,” Paul protested. He had a new boat he wanted to try out on the lake.

“Never mind. I’ll be home right after lunch. I give you my word on that. Then we’ll go. Okay? Mrs. Clive will be here any minute. Now I have to dress.”

On the way up the stairs, she heard Mrs. Clive coming through the back door into the kitchen and calling to the boys. Once upstairs in the privacy of her room, Elloree breathed a sigh of relief. She always hated to disappoint the children and especially on a Saturday. She sank down in one of the comfortable chairs by the fireplace for a moment before hurrying into her clothes.

Decorated in soft blue tones, the master bedroom suite with its plush carpet and splendid, antique furniture had a calming effect on her. She spent many of her most peaceful evenings curled in front of the marble hearth reading or sketching while Tom attended one of his many business dinners. Some of Tom and Elloree’s happiest moments, times of intimacy and hope, had been shared together in this room, but this morning, she found herself remembering those times with slight bitterness. She moved quickly to her dressing room and surveyed the contents of the long wardrobe closet that stretched the length of the wall. Although the closet was filled with fashionable clothes and racks of shoes, Elloree took only a moment to select a pair of smartly tailored, navy blue slacks and a cream-colored, silk blouse.

Tom always provided her with the latest fashions for his own sake as well as hers. An elegant dresser himself, he admired good-looking clothes. One of the first things that had attracted him to Elloree had been her style. She was a woman who always looked impeccably dressed with her own special flair. She wore simply tailored, sophisticated clothes and seldom indulged in garish prints. Although as an artist she loved bright dominant colors, on herself, she much preferred subtle shades of blue and green or, occasionally, stark black or warm navy blue. Like most women, her state of mind influenced her dress, and today was definitely a navy blue or black day.

She slipped into the blouse, chose a colorful scarf for accent, and selected some jewelry from the carved mahogany box on top of her dressing table. She stepped into a pair of matching navy shoes and reached for her suede coat. She whirled about quickly in front of the full-length mirror to check her appearance, glanced at her make-up and hair, and then hurriedly went downstairs.

Mrs. Clive’s ample matronly shape was already wrapped in an apron when Elloree hurried through the kitchen on her way to the garage. The smell of freshly baking cookies filled the air.

“Not until after lunch,” Elloree called to the boys as she headed for the back door.

“Just one, Mom, please. Right from the oven is best,” Paul protested.

“Okay, but only one,” she admonished, looking sternly at Mrs. Clive, who nodded in agreement.

“Only one?” wailed Timmy. “I like ’em best hot so the chocolate’s all melty.”

“I don’t have time to argue, boys. We’ll take some to the park with us when I get back.” The door closed behind her, and with a twinge of guilt over leaving them, she slid behind the wheel of the sleek, black Mercedes. I’ll only stay long enough to vote with Sally, she promised herself.

Always a fast driver, Elloree felt a sense of pleasure when the powerful car accelerated as she pulled out of the driveway. The light rain of the early hours had turned to a heavy mist, leaving the streets wet and slippery. As on most Saturday mornings in Oak View, the roads were mostly deserted, with only a few cars heading in the direction of the golf course. It only took Elloree a few minutes to reach the Marsh’s house on Oak Avenue. The wide street was lined with large, well-kept homes and many old, gigantic, sprawling oak trees. Many of Oak View’s wealthiest families lived in this charming, long-established section of town. Elloree pulled to the curb and stopped in front of a stately, colonial-style house surrounded by perfectly manicured, rolling, green lawns dotted with elm trees.

Several cars already lined the street, and a red Jaguar convertible pulled neatly in behind her. Glancing in the rear view mirror, Elloree smiled as she watched Jan Alexander squirm from behind the wheel and step from the car. Jan waved and called out, “I’m not the only late one this morning I see.”

The two women exchanged greetings before starting up toward the house together.

“I almost forgot completely. Without Sally’s call, I wouldn’t be here at all,” Elloree said, wishing for the second time that morning that she had not answered the telephone. Jan waited as Elloree carefully set the alarm on her car. “Can’t be too careful these days—just last week, a car was stolen right out of a driveway on Pilgrim Road,” Elloree commented before joining Jan on the wide, brick walkway lined with colorful flowers.

Jan patted her short-cropped, dark brown hair. “Cut it because of the car.” She waved toward the convertible. “It was always a stringy mess,” she said, eyeing Elloree’s honey blond, shoulder-length hair with envy.

Vivacious and plump, Jan struggled constantly to maintain her weight. As they walked, she tugged impatiently at her skirt, smoothing the fabric that bunched around her slightly bulging waistline. Even in high-heeled shoes, Jan was short, and the snug, straight line of her dress only accentuated the roundness of her figure.

“I don’t suppose you ever have to watch your diet,” she said petulantly to Elloree, tall and slender, walking beside her. “I just have to look at a pastry, and I blow up like a balloon. It wouldn’t make a difference if I dieted all year, I’d never have your long legs,” she said wistfully. Then, not waiting for a response, she continued, “I missed you at the Patterson’s last Saturday night.” Her tone was casual, but there was a question in her voice.

“Tom couldn’t make it home from his business trip in time.”

“Too bad. Aggie was in her element. You missed quite a show.” She looked over at Elloree for a reaction to her words. Then, seeing none, she said, “You know how Aggie is; she’s never forgiven Gerald or the rest of the Marshes either for that matter. As if he could help it that his family all turned out to be such poor business managers,” she scoffed.

“Yes, I suppose Aggie does resent it a bit that Gerald actually has to work for a living,” Elloree said with a laugh.

“Resent him?” Jan stopped, staring at Elloree as if she had hurled an obscenity at her. “Resent him,” she repeated. “I think she loathes him. But then Aggie would hate anyone who cut down her money tree. She’s never gotten over marrying wealthy, well-connected Gerald Marsh only to find her checkbook restricted and her social position precarious.”

Elloree felt suddenly very tired, and she wished she had gone to the park with the boys. She didn’t want to hear more about the Patterson’s party, but Jan was determined to share her newly acquired information. Hesitating on the Marsh’s front porch, she lowered her voice and leaned closer to Elloree, “Phillip Roth and Barbara are getting a divorce. It’s because of his twenty-five-year-old assistant, and Barbara is devastated. Aggie saw them together last week—the assistant and Phil, I mean. Of course, Barbara and Phil weren’t at the Patterson’s,” she confided.

“Naturally. And Aggie would be the one to spread their news. She does savor gossip like a fine wine, doesn’t she?”

Jan Alexander ignored Elloree’s touch of sarcasm. “You and Tom should have been there. Absolutely everyone asked about you, especially Aggie.”

“I can just imagine,” Elloree grimaced.

“It was a perfect dinner, catered by Juliette, of course—she always does the Patterson parties—and such a delicious dessert, strawberry cheesecake,” Jan patted her hips. “But too, too much food.”

“Sorry I missed it,” Elloree said without enthusiasm.

“I think Barbara is going to be at the meeting today. At least that’s what I heard. So I thought I should warn you—you know, about Phil and everything.”

But I hardly know Barbara, Elloree wanted to say but decided it was pointless.

Finally they were at the front door, and eager to end the conversation, Elloree rang the bell. The melodious sound of the chimes interrupted Jan’s news report.

The door immediately swung open. “Well, there you are at last,” Aggie scolded. “Do come in. The meeting had to start without you.” She took Jan Alexander’s arm. “So glad to see you, Jan. Wasn’t Saturday night a beautiful party? Simply elegant. Everyone was there,” she purred. Then to Elloree, “Too bad you missed it.”

Trim and stylish, Aggie Marsh did make a handsome appearance. She moved with a studied grace as she glided across her grand entry hall to usher in her tardy guests.

“You can put your coat in there,” she said to Elloree, gesturing toward one of the paneled doors. “I’ll just take Jan on into the garden room to the meeting.” Her perfectly made-up face hardened with dislike, and her eyes shrank into tiny glittering dots as she looked at Elloree. Then she turned abruptly away, again took Jan’s arm, and ushered her through the wide French doors into what Aggie casually called the garden room.

Elloree hesitated for a moment before following them. She stood in the middle of the stately hall’s polished marble floor beneath the ornate crystal chandelier that hung suspended from the high, molded ceiling. Elloree looked up and smiled to herself, remembering Aggie’s detailed description of the fixture’s authentic royal heritage. Although she’d actually purchased it from a Jewish antique dealer of dubious reputation, Aggie boasted it had once graced the stately chateau of a European nobleman. This morning, standing beneath the dozens of sparkling crystals, Elloree shook her head and almost laughed out loud. “Not the only phony thing in this house,” she muttered to herself as she opened the French doors at the far end of the hall and followed the other two women into the meeting.

A cascading fountain, its base decorated with alabaster cherubs and surrounded by lush potted ferns, occupied one end of Aggie’s garden room. Decorated with designer, white wicker and glass furniture arranged tastefully on an ivory paver-tile floor, the room had the cool, uninviting elegance of its owner. An aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingling with a faint scent of perfume greeted Elloree as she glanced around for Sally. Seated at the far end, Sally was already presenting her motion to the group. Relieved that she wasn’t too late to support her friend, Elloree slid into a vacant chair in time to cast her vote for Sally’s proposed new fundraiser.

Making Wishes

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Women’s fiction

Rating – PG-13

More details about the author

Connect with Marilyn Holdsworth on Facebook & Twitter

Blog http://MarilynHoldsworth.wordpress.com/


The author is giving away 1 soft cover books and 3 kindle books in this tour.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

#Free–Vengeance by Vanessa Kier @vanessakier

Vengeance by Vanessa Kier


Left for dead after assassins killed her parents, Jenna Paterson believes she survived for one reason only. Vengeance. She vows revenge on the men behind the attack, including her once beloved older brother, Kai. But Kai has disappeared with a microchip containing data on a top-secret government research program.
Ten years ago, undercover agent Niko Andros sent a vicious Mexican crime lord to prison. Now the man has been released and he's kidnapped Niko's aunt. The price for his aunt's freedom is Kai and the microchip. Niko will do anything to save his aunt―including using Jenna as bait.
As Niko dives back into the deadly criminal underground he'd barely escaped, Jenna discovers she's not as tough as she thinks. Teamed up to find her brother, Niko and Jenna fight to survive in a dangerous world of lies, betrayal, and hidden agendas. Only love can save them...if they'll let it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dylan Madrid – Stick to Your Romantic Guns @4DylanMadrid

Stick to Your Romantic Guns

A Guest Blog by Dylan Madrid

I recently had a conversation with fellow romance author Kait Ballenger, during which we discussed what it means to do just that: to write love stories for a living. More importantly, we shared the second-class citizen status we’re often relegated to by some literary scribes who consider what we do and create to be of lesser value and certainly not as challenging. We both agreed we wear our romance monikers with pride. We are in love with love and we’re not ashamed to admit it.

Growing up I devoured every Jane Austen novel I could get my hands on. I memorized every line of dialogue spoken between Romeo and Juliet. I rooted for Cathy and Heathcliff and I envied Jane Eyre and Scarlett O’Hara. It’s no wonder that as a writer I feel compelled to create to-die-for love on the pages of my novels. It is the driving force behind my every written word. The discovery of attraction between two people and the possibilities of what that ignited spark might set off is what motivates me to sit down daily on convince my readers what I firmly believe: true love really does exist.

Unlike Kait Ballenger, though, the love stories I’m telling are for and about men. Without a doubt, mine is a tougher audience to please – and to find. While fans of gay romance novels exist and are very faithful readers, the concept of selling romance to a male reader is complex. Erotica tends to not only grab the shelf-browsing reader (thanks in part to aggressive and sexually suggestive cover art) but also gets the lion’s share of marketing and reviews.

So what’s an author to do who wants to stay on the sensual side of erotica and is more inspired by the courtship and ignited spark of love between characters rather than the hard core details of the sex between them? Stick to your romantic guns, I say. Yes, yes, yes. We’re told over and over again write what you know. But I also firmly believe an author should write from the center of curiosity, whether it’s about places unexplored, cultures that have piqued your interest, or beautiful strangers you meet in your life who leave such a lasting impression that you just have to write about them.

M/M Romance is now a genre of its own. And it’s a popular one, too. Up until the last few years, the majority of romance novels about gay men were written by female authors, as many female readers (yes, it’s true) read these novels just as soon as they are published. While that trend is still alive and kicking, more and more male authors, such as me, are stepping into the arena with romance novels of their own. The correspondence I get from readers always confirms my theory that gay readers are looking for love, too. For some readers, the erotica is not what they are seeking in a story. Instead, they crave the happily-ever-after; they want a modern day version of a Prince Charming; like I once did for Cathy and Heathcliff and Romeo and Juliet, they also want to root for star-crossed lovers. They want the reassurance that love has not become a casualty of an ever-growing desensitized society. They want the promise of forever.

Is it any wonder why both gay authors and male readers have only recently embraced this genre? From the beginning of our young lives, men are led to believe that romance is sentimental, it is a sign of weakness, it’s feminized and is strictly reserved (and is wholly marketed to) women. For the young man who is discovering love for another man for the first time in his life, finding an echo of his feelings in contemporary literature is no longer as arduous task as it once was. Authors such Michael Thomas Ford, Neil Placky, Dan Stone, Greg Herren, and Ken O’Neill all incorporate romance into their bestselling novels.

I have three romance novels that will be published within the next year. The first is a romantic thriller set in Chicago called Mind Fields, just released from Bold Strokes Books. The novel is about a college student named Adam Parsh who is heavily pursued by a wealthy married man who becomes his employer when Adam accepts a position to tutor the man’s young daughter. Sounds like a great set up for a secret affair, right? Well, I took Adam on a different journey, one in which he discovers he’s really in love with his best friend, the sweet and intellectual Victor Maldonado. Although I loved the characters and the plot kept surprising me each step of the writing process, I often found myself struggling with the erotica vs. romance factor in Mind Fields. As the author I finally had to ask myself: is it my job to titillate, or to tell the best story possible? In the end, and as I do in my novels and in my life, I chose love.

Mind Fields

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Genre - Gay Romance, Suspense

Rating – R

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Dylan Madrid on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://dylanmadrid.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

#Free–My Babylon by James L. Wilber @jameslwilber

My Babylon by James L. Wilber


My Story
An obsessed magician will do anything it takes to satisfy his perverse needs.
My Myth
He turns to forbidden arts to manifest his will.
My Revelation
In doing so, he will bring about the end of everything.
My Babylon
A serial novel about the paranormal and dark desires. The story of a cursed young man who has an intimate view of the Apocalypse. My Babylon weaves elements of urban fantasy, erotic horror, and real-world occult practices to form a unique personal tale that thrills, terrifies, and even enlightens.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Author Interview – Yvonne Jones @yvijones

Why this ambiguous title? Why not “Closing The Gap: Understanding Your SOLDIER,” for example?

Well, I have to admit that substituting the word “Serviceman” with “Soldier” would have made for a catchier title. But if I’d used the term “Soldier,” some Military Families might have been discouraged from reading this book, simply because they would have thought it only covered the Army and wouldn’t apply to THEIR branch, since the term “Soldier” is technically used to describe a service member within the Army only. But I wanted this book to appeal and apply to all families and friends of our service members out there, no matter what branch within our military. So that’s why I chose the more generic term “Serviceman.”

Was there a specific event, or series of events, in your life as a military spouse that made you realize this book was needed?

Most definitely. Many, really. And they pop up everywhere you go, if you pay attention to them.

Most of my civilian friends, for instance, are always amazed when they hear that our address has changed yet again. And then they usually ask, if we aren’t tired yet of all the moving around, and why we don’t just stay longer. Most believe that the frequency of our moves is dictated by the military family itself, rather than by the service member’s command.

Another very important reason that caused me to write this book was the fact that our civilian families and friends seemed to grow a bit resentful toward our chosen assignment locations over the past couple of years, simply because they don’t know what all plays into the decision-making process of the service member’s new duty station. Most assume that we get to choose where and whenever we want to move, which then causes them to believe that we voluntarily chose a place far away from them.

And then you always here questions like “So, when are you going to move again?” or “Where are you going to move to next?” Questions no one really knows the answers to, including ourselves. And that always seems so incomprehensible to people outside the military. The unpredictability of our lifestyle is simply beyond any of their own experiences that most civilians have a hard time imagining what our life really is like.

Was it difficult to get “outside” your military life to see the things that you needed to address, that civilians don’t understand?

Not really. I knew what needed to be addressed in order to help our civilian families and friends understand our way of life a bit better. I mean, civilians more or less ask the same questions all the time, like “When are you going to move again?” and “Where are you going to move next?” So I knew I had to include something about the moving process and the assignment process, to help them see how things really work.

What WAS difficult, however, was to think of some issues that NEEDED to be addressed, but are never asked about by outsiders, simply because they don’t know about those differences. You can’t ask questions about something if you’re not even aware of its existence.

For example, in my book I write that it’s not very often that we’re asked to explain the DIFFERENCES between the military and the civilian lifestyles; and that this, in turn, might imply that civilians are simply not aware that there are distinctions between these two worlds.

Most people outside the military, for example, don’t realize that over the years we have created something that is referred to as a Military Culture, in which we share common beliefs and behaviors.

Another example of an issue that needed to be addressed, but is almost never asked about is the wellbeing of a military family AFTER the service member returns home from a deployment. Most assume that once the family is reunited, the hardest part of the deployment process is over; whereas in reality, those that actually HAVE experienced a deployment know that that’s the time where most problems for a military family begin.

These are all important issues, yet, they never get asked about simply because outsiders don’t know about their existence. And that’s where my book comes in. To draw attention to those problems and concerns, so that they can be discussed and talked about.

What part of military life is the hardest for civilians to grasp? How do you think your book helps?

The hardest part of military life for civilians to grasp is probably all the issues associated with our constant moving; you know, issues of constantly having to say goodbye to your friends, of having to find new friends, of having to get accustomed to a new home, of having to find and get used to new schools as a military child, of having to find a new job as a spouse. For most civilians, moving is exciting, simply because they don’t do it as often as we do. Therefore, they tend to project this excitement onto OUR moves, not realizing that it gets really, really exhausting after a while of having to start a new life every 2 years or so.

To help civilians understand us better regarding the constant moving, I dedicated an entire chapter to it in my book. It breaks the moving process into 4 parts: Assignment, PCS Orders (or Permanent Change of Station Orders), Outprocessing, and the Actual Physical Move. This chapter also talks about our more personal challenges, such as how we try to reconnect socially, and how doing so is easier for some than for others.

Another very important issue that is very hard for civilians to understand is that military families actually feel like they are missing out on their non-military family members sometimes. You know, the regular contact with our immediate families. Many civilians are very lucky in that they have their families around them, and with them, which enables them to be able to count on their immediate and extended families’ support at ANY given point in time. Military families want the same. We, too, want to be close and connected to our parents and siblings.

And that is why I wrote this book. I am hoping that by laying out what I have been feeling over the course of all those years, I was able to bring our way of life a bit closer to all our loved one.

What responses have you had from readers whose eyes were opened to the realities of military life?

I’ve had such wonderful responses so far. The book was published right after our last move here to Tampa, so I didn’t really know anybody here outside of the military. So, I met this wonderful civilian woman, who had just moved to Tampa herself. After she heard that I wrote a book about military life, she was very eager to read it and later stated that she was so glad she did, mainly because it addressed so many issues that she would have never thought to ask about. Through the reading she became aware of our differences as well as our similarities. I am really good friends with her now, and I truly believe it’s because of this book. It laid out our way of life in such a way, that she could better relate to me and my family.

Another example is this very beautiful email I received from an aunt of someone in the military. And she basically thanked me for opening her eyes to all the issues a military family goes through during a deployment. Most Americans DO realize to some extent how hard it is to be separated from your loved ones, but can’t truly comprehend the DAILY challenges a service member and his or her family has to go through for such prolonged periods of time.

Of course, I’ve also received some emails from readers that are either military spouses or in the military themselves. I’ve actually gotten a lot of responses from foreign-born military spouses and also military widows, thanking me for having included them in the book and drawing some attention to their specific issues they have to face in the military.

This book has been very well received so far. And I’m hoping I’m able to reach many more, because I truly believe that it can help in closing this gap that currently exists between our military and civilian worlds.

Closing The Gap

For the first time, facts and common misconceptions about the Military Lifestyle have been accessibly presented and composed in a manner that specifically appeals to non-military friends and family members. This book is meant to apply to all families and friends of our service(wo)men of every branch within the military. It was written in order to make a positive difference by giving people within the civilian world the information they need to understand the experiences of and reconnect with those that protect their freedoms and rights. Stay close to your service members, for they truly need you.

Reviewed by “Circle of Moms” Top Military Bloggers:

“This resource is perfect for EVERYONE with ANY connection to the military community, and should be on everyone’s shelf!” – Judy Davis – TheDirectionDiva.com

“[This] book is absolutely brilliant!” – Cat Lang – NutsInANutshell.blogspot.com

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Military Family

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with  Yvonne Jones on Facebook

Website http://www.understandingyourserviceman.com/