Friday, April 24, 2015

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC - Red Tide Rising by Allie Gail

SBB_TourBanner_RedTideRising copy

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

MediaKit_BookCover_RedTideRisingAges 18+. Contains strong language, explicit sex and elements of horror. This book is the final installment in the Immortal Touch trilogy.


What good is immortality when every moment is agony?

The vampire Ash has returned from his watery grave, proving that death is merely a minor inconvenience. Picking up where he left off? That might not be as easy. Because someone else is vying for Sami's attention - the last person he ever would have expected. Fulfilling her desire for immortality seems the surest route to winning her favor. But for Sami, this gift will come at a terrible price. One simple lie of omission is all it takes to send her spiraling into a terminal state of madness. And as the last remnants of her sanity slip away, Ash can no longer deny that her maniacal behavior is putting them all at risk. His perfect angel has become a perfect liability.

But can he find it in his heart to destroy her?

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Trust me?” he whispered.

“I trust you.” Her eyes fluttered shut as she waited for the sharp prick of the needle, the one that would send her into her last slumber as a human.

Instead she felt herself being lifted into the air, and even before the back of her head slammed against the hard packed sand, even before the warm water of the tidepool surrounded her, she knew she’d been deceived yet again.

Ash was straddling her body, both hands wrapped around her neck in a grip of steel as he held her head just beneath the water’s surface. The briny sting of saltwater in her nostrils sent panic rushing through her, and she began to struggle like a wild animal, kicking while beating at his arms and tearing at his flesh with her fingernails. It did no good other than to exhaust all her strength. The hands around her throat were immovable. He would not be budged.

A primitive scream escaped her in a short trail of bubbles, accomplishing nothing at all but to deprive her of what little breath she had left. The sapphire eyes that were coldly fixed on her seemed to blur and waver as the rippling water obstructed her vision. She felt dizzy. Her pulse banged out a violent tempo of terror.

Air! Oh God, I need air…I can’t breathe…please, for God’s sake, let go…let go…

In a final desperate bid for oxygen she inhaled reflexively, and her starving lungs ached and burned as they sucked in the stagnant seawater that mercilessly suffocated her.

The frenzied thrashing grew weaker. Her fingers slowly released their clench on his wrists as her body became limp and still. The pale light from the full moon above her dimmed and faded away, and a sleepy blanket of darkness began to cover her with its peaceful comfort.

So this was what it was like to die.

It wasn’t so bad, really.

Blinking once, she relaxed and succumbed to the darkness.

The last sight her mortal eyes took in before the twilight of death clouded them was his broad Cheshire grin, hovering just above the water’s surface.

About the Author:MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_RedTideRisingAllie fell in love with books from the moment she was issued her very first Sally, Dick and Jane reader. Born and raised in Alabama, she now resides in the sunny panhandle of Florida with her own blue-eyed Prince Charming and two fat, obnoxious cats. When she’s not busy obsessing over the lexicon of her latest project, she can usually be found watching B-movie horror (the cheesier, the better!), reading or playing online computer games while indulging her unhealthy Pepsi addiction.

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Buy the book at Amazon US or Amazon UK.
RTR - Playlist

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Win a $20 Amazon/BN GC - Wind Catcher by Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef

4_20 SBB_TourBanner_WindCatcher copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be giving away a $20 Amazon/BN GC, autographed print copy of Wind Catcher, or a digital copy of Wind Catcher (3 winners)

4_20 MediaKit_BookCover_WindCatcherJuliet Wildfire Stone hears voices and sees visions, but she can’t make out what they mean. Her eccentric grandfather tells her stories about the Great Wind Spirit and Coyote, but he might as well be speaking another language. None of it makes any sense.

When she stumbles upon a series of murders, she can’t help but worry her grandfather might be involved. To discover the truth, Juliet must choose between her new life at an elite private school and her Native American heritage.

Once she uncovers an ancient secret society formed over two hundred years ago to keep her safe, she starts to wonder whether there’s some truth to those old stories her grandfather has been telling her.

All she wants is to be an average sixteen-year-old girl, but she has never been average—could never be average.

Betrayed by those she loves, she must decide whether to run or risk everything by fulfilling her destiny as the Chosen.
Enjoy an excerpt:

A square mirror hangs over the sink, but it’s an enemy. I don’t want to see who I’ve become, so my gaze stays fixed down toward the sink. Unfortunately, the blood-smeared faucet is shiny, stainless, and reflects back an image of myself anyway. I glare deep into my eyes, leaning close to the faucet to study them. They look familiar, but as I pierce them more deeply, a hollowness appears that has never been there before. It scares me.

People change. Sometimes they change over the course of a lifetime, and other times change happens swiftly because of a single momentous event. I’m not the same person I was just a few days ago. Too much has happened, too many lies revealed. Truths, solid and real, have crumbled away before me and left behind falsehoods, shadows, and a future as uncertain as a prisoner on death row waiting for a pardon.

The pendant Sicheii gave me flops out from underneath my shirt. It was supposed to protect me. I grip it until my knuckles turn white.

Knock! Knock! Knock!

“Juliet, we’ve got to talk, Love. We need to come up with a story for the police.”

Just a few days ago, I was an average teenaged girl who looked forward to her sixteenth birthday, hoping for a little freedom and a chance to get a driver’s license.

Being average is a joke. I will never be average. I was never average....

4_20 MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_WindCatcherAbout the Authors:Wind Catcher: A Chosen Novel is a joint project between the father/daughter team of Jeff Altabef and Erynn Altabef. Jeff Altabef is an award winning author who has two published thrillers. He has a column on The Examiner focused on writing, and a blog designed to encourage writing by those that like telling stories. He spends time volunteering at the writing center in the local community college. Erynn Altabef is an avid reader, dancer, and community activist who has just earned her Girl Scout Gold Award. When she’s not in High School, she loves reading, performing in school musicals, baking, and watching movies with her friends.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Win a signed copy of Maia and the Secrets of Zagran by S.G. Basu

4_13 BBT_TourBanner_MaiaAndTheSecretsOfZagran

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. S. G. Basu will be awarding a signed copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

4_13 BookCover_MaiaAndTheSecretsOfZagran Thirteen year old Maia thinks she has seen it all.

She has survived an assassination attempt, she has been threatened by the chancellor, and she has faced off with saboteurs trying to bring down a nation. She lets nothing get to her anymore-not the ominous nightmares she has been having lately, not the fear of being targeted for another soul extraction, not even the memories of her dead mother's terrifying communique.

More than ever, Maia wants the Initiative to resume. She longs to visit Zagran-the undersea capital of the Jjord. She wants to ride the underwater transport lines, learn about the Jjordic energy farms and most of all-she wants to goof off with her friends.

But, around the charming city of Zagran, evil is gathering. Maia and her friends do not know it yet, the countdown to their planned extinction has already begun.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Through the darkness and the fog, Maia fell. Faster and faster, lower and lower, she plummeted into the bottomless pit until her heart went numb, until she had stopped feeling the rush. It was a murky blur of senses when she hit the surface. The water, surprisingly warm and soft as it engulfed her, spilled over the top of her head, swirling around her face and her neck, suffocating her.

Maia screamed.

She bolted upright in her bed like an uncoiled spring. The heaviness dropped away from her head forming a dappled white, black, and amber shape of Dusty the cat. Struggling with the lingering feeling of weight that crept along the fringes of her heart, Maia realized it had been a nightmare. There had been too many of them lately.

Over a week had passed since thirteen-year-old Maia had returned home to Appian after a successful run at the Alliance Initiative on Xif. Her team, Core 21, had topped the first phase. They were one of the twenty teams selected for the second phase in the undersea Jjordic capital of Zagran. Maia had intended to enjoy every moment of this brief break between the phases, and she mostly did. Except for the nights. Every night was a battle against the inevitable, and every day started in a haze of outlandish dreams from the night before. There were scores of them, but one nightmare kept coming back—the one with the fires. Time after time, Maia woke up screaming inside as the raging inferno engulfed her.

About the Author: 4_13 AuthorPhoto_MaiaAndTheSecretsOfZagranS. G. Basu is a telecommunications engineer by profession, but she likes to call herself a dreamer. Imagination, fueled by a voracious appetite for books, has been her steady friend since childhood. She discovered her passion for writing quite by chance and there has been no stopping her since then.

Find out more about the futuristic worlds she creates, the characters that are real with their emotions and ambitions, successes and failures, at

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Win a $15 Amazon/BN GC - Earths in Space by Daniel Sherrier

This is a post hosted by Goddess Fish Promotions. Daniel Sherrier will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Life can evolve. Amena saw the evidence on an ancient Earth. It wasn’t pleasant evidence, and it wasn’t evolution into sentient life, but she saw evidence.

So okay, she accepts that no little green men exist on alien worlds, but maybe one of these other Earths holds evolved humanity.

Evolution faces a powerful obstacle, however — humanity itself.

Volume 2: We Must Evolve begins with the discovery of a mysterious ark full of refugees caught in orbit over Pluto...

Wait, an ark full of refugees...?

Well, that’s one Earth that’s not evolving. But another could be doing better. It’s possible, Amena keeps telling herself...

Continuing the action-packed Earths in Space series, We Must Evolve features a novel-length journey told in four novellas — “The Pluto Factor,” “Worlds to Save,” “The New World,” and “On Hold.”

Enjoy an excerpt:

Evolution was a real thing. Amena Wharry knew this for a fact. She had witnessed it in action on an Earth that no longer existed. That giant swimming eyeball was forever etched in her memory.

She saw it, felt its slimy tentacles as they ensnared her, and she had regrettably killed the poor thing, though she never learned what species it had descended from. Did a race of giant eyeballs already exist deep within her Earth’s oceans? But those snakes were clearly evolved, the way they stretched their mouths unnaturally wide. Then again, that could’ve been a species of snake that had remained hidden in rainforests or was driven to extinction long ago, and those little dinosaurs might never have gone extinct over there in the first place...

The slender redhead swiped her paintbrush across a side wall in The Patrick Henry’s control room. The dull metal got old on day one, and she finally found time to rectify the horrid situation—rectify it as much as her limited artistic talents allowed. Intricate murals were beyond her abilities, and she didn’t have that much time anyway, but she could slap assorted streaks of color up and down the walls. She preferred detailed images that merited close inspection— the sort of work she’d find in art museums’ historical wings—but she settled on abstract expressionism. It was color. It broke the monotony, stimulated the brain even.

Surely people were capable of evolution. If those animals could evolve on that ancient Earth, then humanity likely had the same potential. They just never got the chance there. That civilization died young, lasted for a teensy fraction of the planet’s ten billion years. But maybe on some other Earth...

About the Author: Daniel Sherrier is a writer based in central Virginia. This is the guy who writes the Earths in Space and RIP series, which you’ve doubtless heard much about. Occasionally, a play he’s written gets performed somewhere. He graduated from the College of William & Mary in 2005, where he earned a degree in the ever-lucrative fields of English and Theatre. Recently, he achieved his black belt in Thai kickboxing. And there was that one time he jumped out of an airplane, which was memorable.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Writer's View by R.J. Merle

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $50 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 in the tour.

The Author’s View: Inside/Outside

The dual monitor photo is my Inside Author’s View. With the laptop propped on a stand to transform it into a monitor, with a larger monitor by its side, and a detached keyboard at my fingertips, I am ready to write.

On the right, I hopped over to visit Judy Thomas’ Welcome to My World of Dreams blog. Thanks for hosting my visit, Judy!

On the left, the cover for my next book, the first in a series of standalone episodes based on teens on a paranormal investigative Haunting Reality TV show and their haunting adventures. (Overton Manor Poltergeist is scheduled for Spring 2015 release.)

Having both monitors available brings the story up close and personal for me. I might feature a book cover mockup on one screen for inspiration while drafting on the other. Or, I review my list of potential scenes and jot down goals, motivation, conflicts, and disasters (GMCDs) on one monitor, with a bulleted list of potential happenings in the scene, and write until my author’s heart is content on the other.

Savage Winds, along with the rest of the Children of the Elements Series—five full novels, one huge story—was written on this setup. For some reason, the size of the monitors and the intimacy of the closeness of the screens help to immerse me in the story.

The photo from my window, my Outside Author’s View, was taken last spring. (Note the raccoon in the tree, upper middle of the photo.) This most awesome view gives me a break between writing sessions. A glimpse out the window, and for a few moments, my mind takes a relaxing mini-vaca.

Welcome to the Inside and Outside Author’s View of my world!

Savage Winds (Children of the Elements, A Secret City Science Fiction Adventure Series, Book 1)

A dangerous conspiracy unfolds...

In Author R.J. Merle’s whirlwind start of the Children of the Elements series, a clumsy teenage techno-geek struggles to protect kidnapped children from a covert government organization responsible for creating their abilities to control the five elements. A mighty wind…

Eighteen-year-old Stedford Thackett’s conspiracy theorist brother ensnares him in a real life children-as-weapons plot, while a determined scientist grooms happy-go-lucky five-year-old Darcie Lynn Carpenter to use the wind as a deadly weapon.

Out of control...

Despite the firm hand of Scientist Nora Hicks, Stedford struggles to rescue the kids and escape, even as Darcie Lynn fights to gain control of the surging power of the savage winds.

A Word-o-Gram for the series would include descriptions to include Psychic Powers, Telekinesis, Apocalypse, Electro-Magnetic Pulse, Zombies, and Mutants.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Dead men don’t tell tales, yet the late project head’s records held revelations kept from Scientist Nora Hicks for far too long.

In an office deep inside an East Tennessee mountain, Nora snapped a black leather-bound book closed.

Except for the carved stone ceiling, the office mimicked a non-descript working office in Anywhere, USA. Bulky military-issue metal and wood furniture stood as a harsh legacy to the covert Secret City project and to the starkness of her life.

Sitting at the borrowed hulk of a desk in a dank underground office, she asked, “Why was this kept from me?”

Across the desk in a guest chair, General Gardner, with thin hair sprouts sprayed into place, said, “Ever since Oak Ridge existed but did not even appear on a map, the city continues to hold and foster more than its share of secrets. As a trusted senior scientist and manager of the project, Dickenson claimed you and your son were the only ones involved.”

“How long have you known there were more of us?” Her grip on the desk’s metal edge forced her gloved hands to stop shaking. The usual underground chill pressed into the heat of her temples and an off-putting tartness oozed over her tongue.

Were Scientist Daniel Dickenson not already dead, she would kill him with her bare hands.


About the Author:
Author R.J. Merle stepped out of the realm of Top-Secret documents (shh, don’t tell…) to write sci-fi and paranormal fiction.

R.J. survived and escaped both the entertainment field and the government-contracting environment, craves the Walking Dead, and entertains what-if tidbits about “supposed” technological and biological advances.

No stranger to the goings on in the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, R.J. Merle blends a down-home flavor with a former in-the-know—hypothetically, of course—technical background to craft the twists and intrigue of Secret City Adventures.

Amazon Author Page ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Blog

NOTE: Savage Winds is on sale for $0.99!

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Smashwords.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC - Triple Play Curse series by Lori Ryan

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lori will be awarding a $25 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.

A Day with Lori Ryan

Oh dear. Right now, my day includes dirty diapers, a lot of nursing, desperate attempts to take a shower, and a lot more laundry than I’d like. I’m home with my two month old daughter, so writing is getting tougher by the minute.

With any luck, I’ll get her on a regular napping routine soon and get myself back into writing regularly. In the meantime, I’m having fun with my smiling girl! We play dress up every day with all the cute little outfits people have given us and her brother and sister dote on her whenever they can.

Back when I was writing more regularly, I tended to spend the morning on social media and answering emails. I would then sit down to write, often using competitions with my author friends as a way of increasing my word count per day. I outline my books very heavily. After I’ve written out the shell of the book, I spend a few days daydreaming about my characters and just kind of ‘living’ in the scenes with them. That’s when things really start to gel and the book comes to life. It’s probably my favorite part of the process.

But, for now, it’s back to ribbons and bows and smiles and burps and . . . well, you get the idea!

The Triple Play Curse

Every member of the Strikers, San Francisco’s professional baseball team, knows about the Triple Play Curse. When one Striker falls in love and gets either married or engaged during the season, two more will fall for a total of three. And, whenever the curse is in play, the team suffers for it. More errors and injuries, lost pennant runs, you name it. No one wants to trigger the curse.

Game Changer (Book One):

Shortstop Rafe Wilson has his routines down to a science. How he ties his shoes, what shirt to wear under his jersey, which foot touches the field first, and how to enter the batter’s box. It works for him. The proof is in his stats. No question; the routine works. Until it doesn’t. When Rafe is left scrambling to figure out what went wrong, he quickly finds the newest addition to his pregame routine. A kiss. And, not just any kiss. Ashlyn Daniels’ kiss to be exact. But, can he convince Ashlyn to be part of his arsenal of “superstitions” that keep his game going? Or will the pregame kiss trigger an even worse superstition? The Triple Play Curse.

Game Maker (Book Two):

Pitcher Aiden Kyle knows the Triple Play Curse has the ability to mess with his life and with his team’s performance. And, now that the curse has been triggered, Aiden also knows he has to do all he can to avoid being its next victim. And that means strippers and hand lotion in the shower for the rest of the season for him. Until Lily Dupree whirls into his world with a crash that puts a kink in his plan. If Aiden can find a way to help Lily and get her out of his life, he just might avoid being the next victim of the curse.

Game Clincher (Book Three):

After two of his teammates fall prey to the curse, Gage Collier realizes he’s got worse things to worry about than the power of the curse alone. He’s got his mother to fear, and the woman is on a mission. When a columnist spills the beans that the curse is in play and there’s only one victim left to be had, Gage’s mother spins a web designed to trap him into being its third victim and give her the grandbabies she’s been wanting. Though the bait she sets is tempting, Gage has no interest in falling in love. With his mother strategizing against him, Gage probably doesn’t stand a chance, but he’ll go down fighting before he takes this hit.

Enjoy an excerpt from Game Changer, Book One

Ashlyn couldn’t believe how nervous she felt, standing in one of the tunnels beneath the baseball field, waiting where the security guard had told her to wait for Rafe. The guard stood at the end of the tunnel, his gaze averted, though she knew he was watching her from the corner of his eye. She wondered how often he’d had to escort a player’s—well this was awkward, wasn’t it? What was she? Not a girlfriend. But, that’s probably what the guard would assume. The guard would probably assume Rafe wanted to kiss his girlfriend before the game. He certainly wasn’t likely to guess Rafe wanted to kiss his good luck charm before the game. A good luck charm he’d cut a deal with to be here.

She’d been relieved to see she wasn’t seated with the wives and girlfriends behind home plate. That would be weird. What would she have said to them? How would she introduce herself? Rafe must have anticipated that she’d feel uncomfortable there and had gotten her a ticket that was every bit as good as the wives and girlfriends’ section, but was just behind the team dugout.

A door opened and Rafe jogged down the deserted tunnel toward her, nodding to the guard as he passed him. Ashlyn couldn’t help but notice the raw power he displayed in his uniform—arms pushing at the edges of his sleeves, thighs filling out the tight pants with muscles that made her mouth water. His hair fell onto his forehead in a way that should have said boyish charm, but on him, it said something more along the lines of lick me.

The ease with which he jogged toward her, completely comfortable and in charge, was sexy as sin. That was her single thought as he approached. Just sexy as sin. He pulled up short in front of her.

“Hi.” His voice was low and quiet, as he leaned into her.

Ashlyn realized she had no idea what they would do. In Anna’s kitchen, the kiss had just kind of happened. There hadn’t been time for her to be nervous or edgy, which was the way she felt now. But, here, in the ballpark tunnels, it was awkward for a split second. And, then, suddenly it wasn’t. Suddenly, Rafe was grinning at her as he cupped the back of her head with one hand, pulling her hip toward him with the other. Her whole body pressed to his and his mouth lowered, capturing hers in a kiss that curled her toes. And, nothing was awkward or uncomfortable about it. It was incredible. And, all too short.

He pulled back and looked her in the eyes. “I’ll see you after the game, Ashlyn.”

And, that was it. He was jogging away and her legs were jelly. Before she knew it, the guard was clearing his throat. She followed him up to the stands where she took her seat and proceeded to watch one of Rafe’s best games ever. Only, her mind was still stuck on the way her lips tingled after that kiss, and she squirmed in her seat every time she looked at him out on the field.

About the Author: Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary romance with a twist of suspense. Her books range from sweetheart to steamy in heat level (for sweeter, read the Evers, TX series.)

She lives with an extremely understanding husband, three wonderful children, two mostly well-behaved dogs, and a lone little cat in Austin, Texas. It's a bit of a zoo, but she wouldn't change a thing.

Lori published her first novel in April of 2013 and has fallen in love with writing. She is the author of the Sutton Capital Series, the Evers, Texas Series, and will be putting out several novellas with baseball player heroes in Bella Andre's Kindle World, Game For Love, in late 2014. She loves to connect with her readers. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to her blog.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter
Buy Game Changer at Amazon; Game Maker at Amazon, and Game Clincher at Amazon.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Dogwood Blues by Brenda Rose Sutton - Book Review

Do you like books that are full of fun and awesome characters? Did you love Steel Magnolias and/or Fried Green Tomatoes? Check out this debut novel from Brenda Sutton Rose, Dogwood Blues.

It is the town of a small town in south Georgia who is confronted with the 21st century, not only in the guise of a gay couple that moves to town (one half of the couple a local football hero), but also in the remarriage of Boone, a blues musician. There are secrets that are uncovered and a collection of characters you will love, especially if you are from the south or from a small town!

Ms. Sutton's characterizations are spot on-- I know these people!! My favorite is Nell-- a cantankerous soul who reminds me of Ouiser from Steel Magnolias. She is a character who is hurting and who hides that pain with a hedge that keeps everyone out.

The novel is told with some flashbacks and in short vignettes that gives the reader a glimpse of life in this small imaginary time.

Kudos, Brenda! I am looking forward to your next book!

Told through the voices of its eccentric characters, Dogwood Blues is a story of a small southern town struggling with change. Carrying the odor of scandal, award-winning New York author Kevin Kilmer moves back to Dogwood to write his memoir, and Boone Marshall, blues pianist and farmer, returns from a trip to New Orleans with a wife, nightclub singer Jasmine Boudreaux. When gossipmonger Nell Sauls, a member of the fabulous Honeysuckle Bridge Club, gets wind of the recent events, she starts dropping gossip like bird poop over the historic district. And not far from Dogwood, the Alapaha River, the color of tobacco spit, flows in liquid harmony, carrying the scent of something more ancient than the human soul. Dogwood Blues, a story of heartbreak and forgiveness, moans with the blues.

Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC Perfect Fit by Lynda Simmons

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

Enjoy today's chapter of "Good Works" a serialized novella from Lynda Simmons:

Chapter Five

“A driver was supposed to meet me in the alley,” Aisha said. “Give me a new phone and take me to the first stop.”

What I wouldn’t give to have my own phone right now. And my purse, or even just my wallet. Something with I.D. and money. And perhaps a sledgehammer to get us through this gate.

“The first stop of what?” I asked, taking another stab at the latch.

“My escape. I’m flying to England tomorrow. I have a cousin in London who’ll take me in and the authorities there won’t send me back for a forced wedding. But the driver was in a car accident and I only had a little window of time with just Hassan and Zara in the house. Finn needed a way for me to get to the first stop quickly.”

“He could have sent a cab.”

“Finn says no cabs or subways because of the video cameras. We can’t give anyone a way to track my movements.”

“So he grabbed my bike instead.”

She shrugged. “It was handy.”

Only an arm’s length away. And unlocked. A mistake I would never make again.

“I don’t think he expected you to follow him,” Aisha said. “I know I nearly fainted when you showed up.”

I had to smile. “I like to be a surprise.” I pushed the flappy thing up and the bolt down and suddenly the latch made sense. “So Hassan is your brother and Zara is his wife,” I said, swinging the gate back and motioning Aisha to follow me into the narrow walkway between the houses. “She seems like a barrel of fun.”

“She was until they got married. Now she’s this uber-Muslim. Even changed her name.” She sighed as we crept under the neighbour’s window. “It’s like I don’t even know her anymore.”

“Understandable.” When we reached the end of the walkway, I motioned her to stand back and peeked out at the street, making sure no one would see us making our exit. The last thing we needed was to be stopped for trespassing.

Fortunately, things were hopping out there. Kids playing ball hockey a few doors down, people walking dogs and pushing strollers. No one giving our dark and narrow hidey-hole a first, let alone a second glance. Yet I still pulled back into the shadows when a silver sedan came down the street.

“What kind of car does your brother drive?”

“A silver Corolla.”

Perfect. All we had to do was avoid a silver car in a city overrun with silver cars. But I’d worry about that later. Right now, all that mattered was getting us out to the street and on our way. “Okay what’s the address of the first stop?”

“Some banquet hall nearby.” She withdrew a slip of paper from her pocket and handed it to me. “Finn knows a guy who works there. He has a new burner phone waiting for me. Once I have it, I’ll let Finn know and he’ll tell me where we go next.”

“How very cloak and dagger.”

“Not really. Finn just likes to be cautious.”

“He’s an interesting guy,” I said, opening the note, scanning the page.

“Finn’s the best,” she said matter-of-factly. “Helps a lot of girls like me.”

“You mean girls being forced in marriages they don’t want?”

“And other stuff. I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing right now if I hadn’t met him. Probably thinking about jumping in front of a train.”

“Hopefully you’d have been more inventive.” I handed her back the note, certain I knew roughly where we were heading. “How did you meet him?”

She smiled. “It’s not like he has a website or a Facebook page or anything. You can’t just Google Help Me Escape and up he comes. It’s all word of mouth. A friend of a friend of a friend, that kind of thing. But once he agrees to help, you find out he has this underground railroad for girls.”

Simply talking about Finn and the escape plan had relaxed her. Made her shoulders less hunched, her eyes less wary. She clearly believed in the man and his underground railroad for girls, and as much as I wanted to hold judgement in reserve, the concept was undeniably appealing.

“But why not just go to the police?” I said, moving her back deeper into the shadows as another silver car went slowly past. “Or a guidance counsellor. There are plenty of agencies to help you.”

She looked down at her hands. “If I call the police, they’ll start investigating my family. Then Social Services might take away my little brother and sisters and I don’t want that. My parents aren’t bad people. They just have old ways of thinking.” She lifted her eyes to mine. “Moving in with my cousin will hurt them enough. A police investigation will destroy any chance I have of mending fences later.”

“And Finn. Why do you trust him?”

“Because he’s done everything he said he would. What more do I need?”

I studied her a moment longer, searching for doubt or lies and finding none. She believed what she was saying, and the longer we stood there, the more likely we were to have someone spot us.

“We should go,” I said, checking the street once more. The ball hockey game was attracting a crowd, keeping the focus away from us. “I don’t know banquet halls,” I said to her over my shoulder. “But I do know the street we’re looking for. So lose the hijab and we’ll get going. I just need to make a quick stop along the way. Grab my purse and my phone. Shouldn’t take more than five minutes –”

“You’re joking right?”

I glanced back at her. “No, I’m serious. I need to make a stop, but I promise it won’t –”

“I don’t care about the stop.” She motioned to her head. “But I cannot take this off.”

MediaKit_BookCover_PerfectFitFast-paced, funny and incurably romantic

Rachel Banks has never believed in magic or moonlight, but if she’d thought that putting a piece of wedding cake under her pillow would conjure up a nightmare in the form of blue-eyed charmer Mark Robison, she’d have stuffed that cake into her mouth instead! Mark is only in Madeira Beach for some much needed R&R and his new neighbour is not the kind of woman made for vacation memories. But there’s something about the incurable romantic that just keeps drawing him back.

Jennifer Crusie. Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Lynda Simmons? Oh, yeah!

About the Author:
Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.

With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat – a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman.

When she’s not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she’s found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her - like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!

Amazon Author Page ~ Website ~ Goodreads ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Writer's View: Barbara Becker Holstein

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

The view inside my writing space by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

When I was nine and started to keep a diary my view, at least what I was able to put into words, was of my daily schedule and routines that made up my life. A page could be filled with what I eat, what I wore, what I watched on TV that day and how much homework I had to do. My revealed landscape never included my feelings on anxiety over my parents fighting or the loss I felt when my grandfather died or my feelings of falling in love at nine with the new boy in class.

Later on in my diary took on the flavor of boyfriends and dates, but still not the intimate thoughts of a teenager. Those thoughts only came out in the poetry I began to write. For some reason, if I was talking through metaphors I could be more honest and share the very deep pain, and true feelings of passion that go with growing up.

Now, as I have aged, I am blessed with a very varied internal landscape in my writing space. It includes not often, but occasionally still the ability to jot down a poem, usually from a well of pain. It also includes the psychologist's mind and the ability to write about psychological issues, cases, informational about positive psychology, and even the ability to write inspirational stories and essays.

Also, in this landscape lurk other parts that the older I get the more I am not afraid to let them out.

I love a good mystery and romance is always fun. I never expected to write a romantic mystery, set in a foreign land, but I guess it expected to be written and so for many late nights my internal mental landscape turned into Jerusalem as I wrote Around Every Corner, Romance & Mystery....

And finally, returning to the child that still resides within in, my writing space inside of me opened all the doors that had been locked and I was able to write The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween , and Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen, with all the feelings and issues and concerns that had been forbidden material when I was young. These books reflect the feelings of hundreds of girls I have treated, and many of the stories of my women friends and family and participants in my Enchanted Self Workshops. They also reflect an inner self that is universal in growing up and a landscape that now freed from secrecy can be helpful to many, many people, including myself!

Following in the footsteps of The Truth, Secrets: Diary of a Gutsy Teen begins as the thirteen-year-old protagonist makes a move with her family to a new town. She has grown up a lot over the past year—and has made a list of everything that’s important to her now that she doesn’t want to forget when she gets older. But now, as she enters her early teen years, she begins to write down the secrets she wants to keep—and the ones she has no one to tell about. From new school experiences to a new baby in the family to a new crush, this new teen finally feels empowered on making her own decisions with confidence and keeping those secrets she holds dearest for herself.

In a positive and supportive diary-entry format, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein encourages tween and early teen girls to carry the most precious parts of themselves into adulthood. A great book for mothers and daughters to read together, Secrets is aimed to improve communication, understanding, and self-esteem for young girls as they enter the rocky road of teenager-dom.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Date: December 2
Dear Diary,

I have a secret and it’s been eating me up inside, so I have to tell you. I lied to Angela. I told her I had a terrible sore throat and couldn’t come for the weekend. She said she was sorry and that she would invite me again.

I felt terrible, and then my throat really began to hurt. But I just couldn’t go to Springport for a whole weekend_even though I miss being around Angela.

Now that I have best friends here, I don’t feel the same way I used to about going back to visit. And I didn’t know how to tell Angela that. I could tell when we talked on the phone that she really wanted me to come. And she sent me a new selfie, holding a sign that reads I Miss You! She even told me that she doesn’t have a new best friend since I left. She really misses me. She also told me that Paul is in lots of her classes and he asks if she’s talked to me. How could I tell her I’m in love with Rob and don’t care about Paul anymore? How could I tell her that I have new best friends and want to stay here with them?

I did go to Sally’s instead, and we had the best time. Her mother ordered pizza for us and we drank Coke. We watched television and made popcorn and did each other’s hair with all of Sally’s older sister’s hair products we found in the bathroom. I look silly with curly hair. We kept laughing and falling on the floor and giggling, and we played this fun game that Jackie learned in camp last summer. We all lay down on the floor and we each put our head on someone else’s belly. Someone says, “Ha-ha,” and then the next person says, “Haha-ha,” until everyone is laughing. Then you can’t stop laughing because the belly you are on is bouncing all around under your head.

Sally’s mom got really angry at all the noise we were making, and we had to turn off the lights and pretend to go to sleep. I hardly slept a wink, though. I was so excited and having so much fun with my new friends. I was tired the next morning and really did have a sore throat when I went home, but I didn’t care. It was worth it to have so much fun.

 About the Author:
I have been a positive psychologist in private practice for the past thirty years. In the course of working with my clients, I originated the idea of THE ENCHANTED SELF(R), a positive psychology therapy where I teach people how to recognize and utilize their strengths, talents, skills and even lost potential. I have developed a number of methods, including using our memories to rediscover what is right about ourselves and our lives, rather than what went wrong, helping people to overcome adversity, experience positive emotions and live the good life!

Since developing this concept, I've been able to use many tools to bring the Enchanted Self to everyone, particularly women and girls. I've written many books, starting with THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy, and then Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU! My books for girls are very popular, as they are great fictional reads and also help deal with many of the questions that trouble kids as they move into the tween and teen years. The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween and Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen are the first two books in this series.

I really love to teach and educate about happiness and how to benefit from positive psychology in ways that let us lead lives of meaning and happiness. You can find me all over the place on the web.

Enchanted Self ~ The Truth for Girls ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest

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Thursday, April 02, 2015

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC - Fallenwood by Leslie Soule

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Leslie will be awarding $25 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.

A Morning with Leslie D. Soule

So I don’t usually get many full days off nowadays, but you’re welcome to accompany me on one.

At some point, I’ll be waking up, and let me tell you, I am NOT a morning person. So I’ll need some coffee or tea. I’ll spend a couple seconds pondering – coffee, or tea?

The rest is easy – the additions are either sugar and creamer for my coffee, or honey for my tea. I’ll take the steaming hot beverage and set it aside, because I feel something brushing up against my leg. Why, it’s Ginger! Hi there, Ginger!

I have to give Ginger some attention before I can do much else. So I pet Ginger and put some food and water in her bowls, and maybe give her a doggie treat. That should keep her busy for a little while. I use these precious minutes to take my beverage into the computer room and surf the internet for a while. I have to at least check my e-mail and Facebook. Something might have happened overnight. You never know. But soon enough, Facebook sucks me in and I see all these posts about how productive the other authors out there are being and so I decide to log off. After all, I should be productive too. So I sit down with paper and a pen, and try to will the words to come…

…but they don’t.

“Oh well,” I say to myself. “I need a shower.” I set down the pen and paper, get up and make my way to the bathroom, where I turn on the water and bid good riddance to my clothes. Then, as soon as I step into the shower, the instant that the water hits my naked flesh, inspiration strikes.

“GAAAAH!” I cry. “WHY? WHYYYY?!!!”

And then my morning can truly begin.

Fallenwood – where your dreams and nightmares are only a portal away…

Fallenwood—a land where magic is the life force, dragons are sages, and wizards good and evil battle for supremacy. When 23-year-old Ash is thrust into the middle of Fallenwood’s power struggles, she is also forced to face her own inner battles. Life on Earth was hard enough on Ash, who is locked in grief for her stepfather. Now, the fate of Fallenwood rests on her shoulders. She must destroy the Great Crystal—the catalyst for all the land’s magic. As the kingdoms prepare for war, Ash must look inside to find the power to save the world, and herself.

Enjoy an excerpt:

The monk held up a hand. “That’s quite enough. She’s coming with me.”

“You can’t do that,” the fire-haired royal servant sputtered. “As stated in Section 6 point 8, Subsection B of Article 1 dash 9, no one who is not a servant to the royal throne of any kingdom is permitted to…”

“She’s still coming with me. You can argue about it ‘til the realms reconnect if you want, but that’s how it’s going to be.” His voice was powerful, yet soft and reassuring.

A bright flash seared the woodland clearing, lighting up the night, revealing the towering forms of pines. To Ashley’s amazement, floating inches above the cloaked man's hand was an orb of fire. The flaming orb swirled beautifully, shades of red, orange, yellow, and white as though it were a living thing. The heat of the flame warmed the night air, and the sphere levitated as though dangled from a string.

Ashley was mesmerized.

“I said she’s coming with me,” the monk repeated, the fireball suspended menacingly and persuasively in ether.

The man in black gritted his teeth, spat at the ground, and stared at the monk. “So that’s how you want to play it, eh, Will?”

Will shrugged. “Nothing personal, Rupert,” he answered casually. “It’s just that I prefer to greet our guests and show them around myself.

That’s all.”

Rupert grumbled under his breath. He turned and walked toward his horse, a large black Andalusian.

About the Author: My name is Leslie Soule (pronounced "soul" like that part of you that is innate). I am an author who loves to try new genres and Sacramento, California is my hometown. I have an M.A. in English from National University and am a member of the English Chapter of the Sac State Almuni Association, and the Sacramento branch of the California Writers Club (as of June 2014).


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