Thursday, February 25, 2016

Win a $20 GC - A Wicked Desire by Kiersten Fay


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

Having survived her terrible captivity by a sadistic doctor deep within an ancient mine, Cora returns home ready to move on with her life, but when Mason’s mysterious condition quickly deteriorates, Cora must embark on a quest for the one thing that could save his life.

When she is told Knox will accompany her, she fears she will not return alive. If Knox cannot control her, he might prefer her dead. Trusting him is a gamble she may never win…unless she can find other ways to tame the wild vampire.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She killed the ignition, slipped the satchel’s strap over her head, and shouldered the door open. Outside, the cool morning breeze played in her hair.

The airship was a great hulking beast of a thing. The body reminded her of a bowhead whale. In the back, twin vertical steering fins were probably six stories tall at least. The gondola boasted three, four, maybe even five levels—she couldn’t quite tell from this distance—and was snuggly attached to the belly of the plump, stretching bladder filled with helium gas. Four massive propellers stabbed out from the gondola’s front and rear and could be swiveled horizontally or vertically for additional lift or propulsion. They were angled toward the earth at the moment, already spinning in preparation for takeoff.

His motorcycle still revving, Knox’s muttered thickly. “I supposed you think you’re clever leaving me behind like that.”

“Clearly not clever enough,” she replied airily. “You’re here, aren’t you?”

“You owe that poor attendant back there an apology. I had to steal his only transport.” He patted the handlebars.

“Then it sounds like you owe him an apology.” She’d expected to see people lined up on the platform, or crew readying the ship. There were none. She supposed the passengers were all aboard. The loading doors were closed…the propellers spinning? Wait, was it already off the ground? “Oh, no! Are they taking off without us?!”

About the Author:
Kiersten Fay is the award-winning author of the steamy Shadow Quest series. She writes epic paranormal and sci-fi romance novels which incorporate elements of mythology and Lore. In 2012, Demon Retribution won Favorite Story of the Month via Gravetells, and received a nomination for favorite author in that same year. In 2013, her short story, Racing Hearts, was published in the anthology The Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance. Her latest series, Creatures of Darkness, is a dark, yet steamy romance set in a future where vampires openly mingle with humans. Before becoming an author, Kiersten worked as graphic designer and now enjoys creating her own book covers.

In addition to the tour giveaway, please check for a special giveaway on the author's website.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ Tumblr ~ Goodreads


Buy the book at Amazon, Kobo, or Smashwords.

Check out Kiersten's other books:

• Demon Possession (Shadow Quest 1)
• Demon Slave (Shadow Quest 2)
• Demon Retribution (Shadow Quest 3)
• Demon Untamed (Shadow Quest 4)
• Racing Hearts (Shadow Quest 4.5)
• A Wicked Hunger (Creatures of Darkness 1)
• A Wicked Night (Creatures of Darkness 2)
• A Wicked Desire (Creatures of Darkness 3)

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Win a $50 GC: I'd Rather Wear Pajamas by Chelsea Walker Flagg


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card to one randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Own Your Own Strong


My newly released funny memoir, I’d Rather Wear Pajamas, is a story about finding my way into feeling comfortable in my own skin. It’s dedicated to my three daughters specifically, but it’s really intended for girls in general.

You see, we live in a time where girls and women are really putting up a solid fight to be recognized for who they are, and not what they are. We want to be viewed as smart, and strong, and powerful, right? We don’t want to be attached to those “gender-specific” words like frilly or pink or princess. I’m all for this movement, really I am.

BUT, what about those girls out there who do like pink and princesses and frills? Are we teaching those girls that they’re not smart, strong, and powerful? I grew up with a career-oriented mom, and believed that the way to be strong was to follow in her footsteps. Only guess what? I had my first daughter and melted into a mush of emotion, wanting nothing to do with any career outside of being the full-time caretaker to my baby. And, not to brag, but I’m pretty damn good at being a mom. In fact, I’m smarter, stronger, AND more powerful in the role of mother than I ever was in any of my other career positions.

Again, I’m all for this movement of encouraging our girls to be strong, but I would love to see more talk defining the word “strong” as more. Strong means true. Be true to yourself, whatever that may look like. Maybe you can do 20 pull-ups without stopping. Maybe you ride a skateboard like a shooting star. Or, maybe nothing makes you more confident than twirling around on stage in a tutu. Maybe your favorite thing is writing stories about unicorns riding down rainbows. People have made a lot of money with those types of stories, you know? My point is, it doesn’t matter what you do; no matter how feminine or masculine your actions are. What matters is that you’re doing it for you. The way to find your own strong is to learn what works for you and to go for it.

Everybody has the awesome opportunity to find their own strength and path through life. Some come about their self-discoveries through studying and working hard. Others (Chelsea) spend their time nearly burning down kitchens and driving around the country with a car full of hangers.

Chelsea grew up wanting to be “strong.” She thought arguing her way through childhood and becoming a world-class attorney would get her there. But, through a series of humorous, and only slightly embarrassing events, Chelsea comes to realize that maybe her strength is meant to shine in different ways.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I think the real reason I’ve always longed to be viewed as strong is because I’ve never been able to do a single pushup in my entire life. Not a single one. As if gym class isn’t painful enough for every student ever; throw in that little nuance and you’ve got yourself a recipe for ridicule and embarrassment. I’d walk into those dreaded gym periods like I was walking the green mile to my death. The absolute worst was when that splintery rope would be hanging down from the ceiling, taunting me with the realization that it was rope climbing day. You know what I’m talking about, right? Those days couldn’t have been painful for just me. You stand in the lineup of students all waiting their turn while watching the poor sucker on the rope trying to scramble his way at least two inches off the floor. You contemplate ways to make yourself sick in order to get a free pass to the nurse’s office, but then it’s too late and it’s your turn. You pray that you don’t have a hole in your pants as you mount the rope. And then you get nervous. You get really nervous. Which means that you start spontaneously passing insane amounts of gas—while trying to climb the rope—with all your classmates down wind. I’m getting gassy just thinking about it.

About the Author:
Chelsea was once obsessed with cats, longed to live in a big city, didn't think she would ever have children, and aspired to be an attorney. She now lives in Boulder, Colorado as a stay-at-home mom and comedic writer with her husband and three daughters. She has no current plans to own a cat.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads


Buy the book at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Win a $50 GC: Nobody's Princess by Sara Hegger


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be giving away several copies of the book as well as six gift cards via the Rafflecopter at the end of the post. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Tiffany Desjardins has a plan. Well, she had a plan, until her past and all its complications came back to haunt her. Her not-quite-ex-husband, Luke, is missing, and suddenly everyone needs to find him--including Tiffany, if she wants to marry the true man of her dreams. Then there's Thomas Hunter, Luke's brawny friend, who won't take "no road trip" for an answer--and who won't stop showing up in her daydreams…

Thomas couldn't care less about Luke's personal life, but he needs to find him if he's going to make his fledgling minerals and metals company a reality. And if that means following Tiffany, who's taken off in Luke's rare Lamborghini Miura, he's more than willing--especially if there might be a chance to negotiate some of Tiffany's lovely curves. As Tiffany and Thomas speed along without a map, the only destination that seems certain is being together…


Enjoy an excerpt:

Blondie stood there giving the other models a thorough eye scan. Gay. What a shame.

She shook her head at herself. What did it matter? She was practically an engaged woman.

Blondie hovered at her side.

Clich√©s sucked, but some of these boys had no brain beneath all that brawn. Hooking her hands beneath the hem of his T-shirt, she tugged. “You have to take this off for makeup.”

“Are you taking my clothes off?” Blondie folded his huge paws around hers and stopped her. He had a great voice, like hot chocolate laced with rum. The sort of voice that would do great bedtime stories.

She hauled back on her thought path. “You have to strip.”

He looked right at her. Not past her or around her, but right at her as if he wanted to see straight into the center of her.

“Strip?” Up went one eyebrow.

Something she didn’t want to name crackled through the space between them. Sweat prickled her palms. Her hands were still fisted around his shirt, exposing about two inches of stomach. He had a garden path trail of hair disappearing below the low-slung waist of his jeans. That would have to go. Pity. Tiffany dragged her stare off his navel and focused on the writing on the front of his T-shirt: Never trust an atom—they make up everything.

Cool shirt. She and Blondie were probably the only two people in the world who thought it was funny. “Yes, strip.”

She pulled at the shirt and his hands tightened over hers. Tiffany glared up at him. Following up on late with an attack of modesty? Unbelievable. Did he think he would be modeling undershirts and long johns? “You have to take it all off.”

“Normally I get dinner first.” Those bad-boy eyes danced at her, inviting her to share the joke. For a second, she badly wanted to.

“Tiffany, sweetie.” Tyrone appeared beside her. “That’s not your model.”

“What?” Tiffany stared at Blondie. Of course he was her model, because otherwise she was stripping . . . A whimper caught in her throat.

He looked back at her.

Tyrone took her by the shoulders and spun her around. “That’s your model.”

He pointed to a beautiful Rocky (as in the Picture Show, not Sly) look-alike talking earnestly to Piers. Piers lapped it up, waving one hand through the air and patting the pretty blond boy on the arm.

“I . . .” Tiffany peered over her shoulder. Please let the last two minutes be a figment of her imagination. Her figment grinned at her and tucked his hands into his back pockets.

About the Author: Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.

Mimicking her globe trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother.

She currently lives in Littleton, Colorado, with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books. She loves to hear from readers and you can find her at any of the places below.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Amazon Author Page ~ Twitter ~ Tumblr ~ Instagram


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Monday, February 15, 2016

Win a $20 GC - Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick by N.R. Leigh

NBTM_PeaceLove&ADeadHippieChick_Banner copy

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

The Writer's View


Since beginning my journey as a writer, the view outside my window, from inside my writing space has been of nature. I’ve lived in three separate homes since 2009 when I originally wrote the screenplay (then titled ZuZu’s), which I adapted into my debut novel Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick in 2013. Interestingly, I wrote while looking out the rear sliding glass door of all three homes, each overlooking a wooded area or field. I believe the serene expanse of nature calmed my mind and allowed me to enter the characters’ world without distraction.

Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick is largely set outdoors, as the three Hippie Chicks journey across the country in the mid 1990s in search of themselves and a better future. Their paths ultimately cross as their adventures take them from the East Coast, Michigan, and Florida into the wilderness of New Mexico, Arizona, Costa Rica, California and into many U.S. cities like San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York while searching for love, fortune, and escaping the weight of their past. I believe, subconsciously I needed to overlook a natural setting in order to visualize the environment where the Hippie Chicks adventures took place.

Each Hippie Chick shares her stories through a series of journal entries, that one of their daughters discovers hidden inside an abandoned Volkswagen van on her family’s property. Before writing PL&DHC, I revisited boxes of journals that I, myself, had kept from my teens and early twenties as I traveled across the U.S alone. As an avid journaler, I imagined what would someday happen if those very boxes were someday discovered. This in part was my inspiration to write the story in an epistolary format. People I met on my travels inspire some of the colorful cast of characters, others are completely fictional. I’ve left it to the reader to decide for themselves which are real and which are not…

The photos I’ve included are outside the home I rented where I wrote the entire first draft of the novel. Thank you for having me here today, and I hope you enjoy the book!

MediaKit_BookCover_PeaceLoveAndADeadHippieChickPeace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick follows the intertwining journeys of three young women in the mid-1990s who go on the road and off the grid, and leave their worlds behind. Each woman falls into a dangerous subculture of sex, drugs, and rock and roll in an attempt to attain her own sense of peace, love, and freedom.

KARA, a middle-class Midwestern girl, flees her painful past after a tragic accident claims a loved one, only to learn—after a violent attack—that there’s no safety among friends or strangers. Survival rests in her hands alone as she escapes into the wilderness of New Mexico.

NATASHA, born into privilege, rebels against her family’s expectations as she follows the Grateful Dead concert tour circuit, selling contraband and exploring her sexual freedom.

AMY, an impoverished Southern belle, becomes love-struck when an exotic drifter passes through town, deciding to leave home and follow him.

This intricately interwoven coming-of-age tale delves into the connection between strangers and the premise that the grand orchestration of life goes well beyond chance.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Grae
Friday, April 13, 2012
Eighteen Years Later


I’ve heard it said that Volkswagen buses choose their owners and not the other way around. Some believe they’re engineered and built with a secret mojo that allows this to be true. Ask anyone who’s ever owned one, and they’ll tell you it’s so. I wonder whom this one chose. During my entire life, it’s been sitting like a convict on death row, imprisoned in the rear corner of our jungle property next to our dog Parker’s grave—over eighteen years now, grass growing over its wheel wells and tropical foliage climbing onto the windshield, awaiting execution by vegetation. I hadn’t paid much attention to it until this morning. My parents had never spoken of it.

*****


Daylight broke through the fronds of the areca palms as I stepped onto the sod—the lawn was wet with morning dew—and began to dribble my soccer ball along the length of it. I drilled the ball, sending it sailing across the yard and directly onto the van’s back door, popping it open. Cursing my crooked instep kick, I pushed through the tangled waist--‐‑deep flora in an attempt to close the hatch but climbed inside out of curiosity. The license plate reads New Mexico, Land of Enchantment. Although born in Arizona, I’ve never technically set foot in the United States. We moved here when I was an infant.

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_PeaceLoveAndADeadHippieChickAbout the Author: N.R. Leigh began her writing career in 2007 as a featured columnist for the guerrilla newspaper The Uncommon Sense. She since has written books as an expert on personal health and wellness under the pseudonym Nicci Leigh.

She was inspired to write her debut novel, Peace, Love, and a Dead Hippie Chick, by a conversation with a friend, who described a newspaper article regarding the events that surrounded a group of hippies' visit to her small town and the havoc they caused. This crazy, fascinating account, coupled with N.R.’s experiences traveling the United States in her early 20s, gave birth to her story.

N.R. has a background in education and teaches aesthetics, yoga, Reiki, and related holistic modalities. Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, she currently lives in a rural coastal community in southwest Florida with her family and their Australian Kelpie, Sydney, who believes she’s a Tasmainian Devil.

N.R is inspired by funny people and those who create positive change and peace. Her friends and family describe her as driven, strong, silly, and independent. Something most people don’t know about her is that, at age eighteen, she aided police in the capture of a team of bank robbers.

N.R. is working on her first fiction series, Imagine Yasmin.

Please visit her website to connect.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest ~ YouTube ~ Goodreads


Buy the book at Amazon.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Win a $25 GC: Still Counting by Phil Fragasso


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

Adam Donatello and Nina Morales share an immediate and powerful attraction, and their future together seems assured. But love is difficult enough without adding complications – real or imagined – to the mix. Nina sees life as a thousand shades of gray, while Adam tends towards black-and-white. He wants to move fast; she needs time. Nina sees her past liaisons with women as immaterial to their relationship, while her disclosure drives Adam to a state of irrational jealousy. He doesn't know how he could compete with a woman; and his suspicions – which Nina views as hypocritical – lead them both to make decisions they may live to regret.

Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:

“Look I’ve been with both guys and girls,” said Nina. “But I can pretty much guarantee that my total number is way less than yours. So if you want to compare bedpost notches, we can do it. But it’s not something I’m interested in. It’s all ancient history.”

“I just find it confusing that someone could be attracted to both sexes. I don’t have a problem with it, I just don’t understand it.”

“What don’t you understand? And please don’t tell me you think homosexuality is a choice.”

“No, of course not. I totally believe people are born straight or gay. I guess I’ve never actually known anyone who was bisexual.”

“Well now you have,” said Nina.

Her response was curt and her voice was measured but without a trace of annoyance. I sensed she’d had similar conversations in the past.

“It’s the way I was born,” she said. “The luck of the draw. And I do consider myself lucky.”

We sipped our beers but kept our eyes locked onto each other.

“Can I just ask one more question?” I said.

“Please do. Let’s put it all on the table so we never have to talk about it again.”

“Okay, here goes,” I said. “It’s got to be two completely different experiences being with a man or another woman. Which makes me think you have to prefer one over the other. Right?”

“Nope. Not at all. It’s certainly different for the obvious reasons, but different doesn’t have to imply better or worse. Being with a man can be wonderful”—She reached her hand across the table and placed it on mine—“as it is with you. And being with a woman can be just as wonderful. At the same time, if it’s not the right man or woman, it can be awful. Pitifully awful.”

“But how do you choose?”

“Choose what?”

“I mean how do you decide whether you’re going to date a man or a woman?”

“The same way you decide whether to date a blonde or a brunette. It just happens. Nothing in love is planned. It all just happens.”

About the Author:
Phil Fragasso sold his first article at the age of 16. Since then he has written and published a wide variety of books, articles and essays. After many years as a corporate marketer, he left to pursue endeavors that were more fulfilling personally and more contributory on a societal level. Today he focuses his time on writing and teaching.

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Buy the book at Amazon, TWRP, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.

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Win a $25 GC - FREE BOOK - Baked by Colleen Charles

MBB_Baked_Banner copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Colleen 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. NOTE: THIS BOOK IS FREE!

perf5.000x8.000.inddAlly

The first time I saw Gabe in my sensual cupcake bakery, I had no idea who he was. All I knew was chiseled perfection like him could never really want a girl like me. That didn't stop me from craving and lusting after everything I could never have.

Success.

Gabe.

And I was trapped in a twisted frenemy relationship with my douche bag ex fiancee. I never would have dreamed who Gabe really was, what he wanted and why he wanted it.

Gabe

My f*cked up family taught me a lot. Take rather than give. Anything. Everything.

Ally made me feel clean. Whole. I'd do anything to have her and even more to keep her. In spite of my past but more importantly ... because of it.

I took her tenuous control and worshiped her killer curves. I never suspected she'd steal my heart.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Blackness and strange noises rang through the gloom. What was this? I floated through it, as though I didn’t have a body, couldn’t feel any sensations. I was pretty sure I’d died, but heaven was black and smoky. Or had I gone to hell?

Then, there were voices, strange tones which skipped and repeated.

“Miss?” A gravelly voice, deep and comforting pierced the despotic darkness. “Can you hear me?”

Strong arms enveloped me, lifting me from the floor. I cracked an eyelid and slammed it shut again immediately. The smoke remained thick and the burning was so bad I couldn’t see through the moisture pooling in my eyes, the flood of tears protecting them. The crackle of fire returned in a rush and my body turned rigid in response.

“It’s okay. I’ve got you,” he murmured, and folded me closer to his hard chest. Safe. I felt safe in his arms. He took measured steps. “Is there anyone else in here? Anyone who needs help.”

I shook my head as a bout of coughing took over any ability to speak. Shouts rang out, men rushed by, disturbing the smoke, creating a whirlwind of warm air which brushed the sweaty strands of hair clinging to my forehead. It felt like a film of smoke and perspiration had encased my entire body.

“Codsworth,” I choked.

“What?” he asked. He had to be a fireman. Fresh air now. Or, was it him? He had the most amazing smell. I couldn’t open my eyes, could hardly breathe, but the scent of some woodsy cologne — Gucci? — permeated my nostrils through the haze of soot that lingered there.

“Codsworth,” I repeated. “My cat. He’s upstairs.” I clutched his arm with all my remaining strength. “Please …”

“Don’t worry,” he replied. “I’ll get him for you.” He quickened his pace and I clung to him with arms like noodles, resting my head against the fire retardant suit. He was as hard as a rock and for some reason, I felt like everything would be okay as he took charge.

The air grew clearer; there was a rush of wind and sound. Sirens blared, people chattered.

“Oh my God, can you believe it,” a woman said nearby.

“It doesn’t look too bad.” That was a man’s voice. Spectators probably, but my eyes were too scratchy to open yet and I didn’t even want to try.

“Here, take her,” the firefighter carrying me said, his deep voice raspier with the smoke. Then he placed me on a bed, a stretcher. Fingers brushed my ear, and the heat of his breath penetrated. “I’ll come back after I’ve found Codsworth. You’re safe now,” he promised, all calm confidence.

My skin erupted in tingles as gooseflesh spread across my skin. I forced my eyes open, staring through the blur of tears, but he was already gone.

“Who—?”

“You’re fine now, just relax.” A woman in a paramedic outfit appeared beside me and placed an oxygen mask on my face.

I frowned at her, my eyes had cleared pretty fast, though my chest still felt croaky. My limbs were floppy too. None of it mattered compared to losing the bakery. Or Codsworth.

I tried to pull the mask off, but she stopped me.

“No, you rest now. There’ll be enough time for talking later.” The medic lifted a flashlight and checked one eye then the other. “Looks okay there.”

I let her carry on with her protocol, but I felt stronger by the minute. I’d inhaled a bit of smoke. I’d not been burned to a crisp. The blessed oxygen flooded my lungs, clearing my mind and body. But still, I was exhausted. To the bone.

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_BakedAbout the Author:Colleen Charles is the pen name of Tami Stark, #1 Bestselling Author on Amazon.

Colleen Charles held a leadership position for a fortune 500 company for 26 years while writing suspenseful romance by night. Thrilled that she's now able to write full time, she can't wait to spend more time connecting with her readers. She’s also a certified life coach and a Reiki Master. She loves reading and writing stories that entertain and sweep women away from their everyday life. Colleen has shown and bred Arabian horses for over 30 years and lives in the Midwest with her human and furry families. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering for underprivileged girls and homeless pets.

Baked is FREE on Kindle or Nook during the tour.

FOUR FREE BOOKS: check out Colleen's website.

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The book is FREE at Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.

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Win a $25 GC: Sky Garden by Jenny Scwartz


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

Thanks for visiting with us today, Jenny. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?

Hi, Judy. I’m so happy to be here. I’m popping in from Perth, Western Australia, where summer is being its usual scorching self. Would anyone like some sunshine? We’ve tons to spare *melts*

Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?

I sure do! Sometimes it’s the so-called little things that really touch our hearts. Here is Nick, the hero of Sky Garden, wooing Lanie.

Nick knelt in front of it.

The scent of newly cut—or drilled—wood drifted to her. “What are you doing?”

“Can’t you guess?” He smiled up at her, eyes faintly narrowed as he looked into the evening sun. He fitted two nuts and bolts to a short plank of wood. Chain pooled near him, in his shadow.

“Not the foggiest.” She sat on the narrow bench inside the “gazebo”.

“I had a last minute inspiration for the garden. It won’t make it into the television program. I’m making it detachable.” Chain jangled as he swapped tools and continued working.

She watched his hands, tanned and strong, moving competently. It took a minute before she added up the clues: a wooden board, chain attached either end, and a last minute inspiration. “Nick, it’s a swing!”

His head tilted as he grinned at her. “You said a romantic garden would have a swing in it.”


Where did you come up with the idea for your latest release?

The idea for Sky Garden coalesced from so many things. I was fascinated by how stage psychics structure their performances, and so emerged the heroine, Lanie, an ex-medium. Then, I wondered about ghosts and what actually haunts us. All the time I knew I wanted to set the story in London and that there had to be a roof garden. Roof gardens are sexy! and so, I discovered via the hero, are the men who create them.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently focused on establishing a paranormal romance series, The Collegium. Demon Hunter and Djinn Justice are out now, Dragon Knight will be out February 27, and Doctor Wolf in late April. After that, I’m free to write another thriller like Sky Garden. The tentative title for that project is “I Stole an Island” and it has such a cool plot. I mean, why and how would you steal an island?

Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?

Does religiously checking Twitter count as a routine?

I try to write in 1,000 word blocks and aim for 3,000 words a day. That’s on a good day when the stars align. I’ve come to understand what people mean when they say that being an author is a marathon, not a sprint. I have to manage my energy—and the other commitments that I take on. So I have a routine, but it’s flexible.

The other part of my writing routine that I should mention is that it always starts with coffee!

Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?

I love research! In fact, I love it so much that I try to restrict it. Otherwise it’s a rabbit hole and I mightn’t emerge for days.

Researching Sky Garden meant polishing up my knowledge of the Edwardian era, London and British stately homes. What’s not to love about that? If you like dreaming about houses, the UK National Trust has an amazing website. You can even look at all sorts of places you can rent as holiday homes. Yes, please!

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Some of my favourite authors might be a little bit obscure. There’s my critique partner, Eliza Redgold, who writes emotional historical romances that are so real you’re transported. I also like Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals. If you haven’t found Emma Lathen’s old mysteries you’re really missing out on some gems. I think they’re only available secondhand, but they’re fabulous.

Is there a genre you haven't written that you would like to try?

I’d like to write a full-length space opera novel. The Witches of Karres by James H Schmitz is one of my favourite books. I’ve written in a few romantic subgenres — contemporary romance, paranormal romance, steampunk, and speculative science fiction. But I have so many other books to write first, that the space opera is, like space itself, a distant dream.

Thank you so much for this great interview.

On the rooftops of London, you can be anyone.

A year ago, Lanie Briers escaped a serial killer. She grew up in a theatre family and her act was mediumship, but not anymore. Life, now, is a hidden retreat above a quirky Bloomsbury museum, where she waits and watches.

Nick Tawes is an unexpected intrusion. He's a landscape architect filming a television series on roof gardens, and he intends to build one in Lanie's aerial territory. He has his own demons, old family troubles, that lure Lanie out of her refuge and into living again.

But as summer progresses and the sky garden grows, Lanie's enemy is closing in--because some secrets must go to the grave.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She hadn’t cared for vintage clothes before, but living in the time capsule of her flat, the temptation to go all-out was irresistible. So she’d started prowling the street markets for clothes, and especially accessories, from the 1950s, and snapped up sewing patterns from the era. Then she could make her own costumes. And they were costumes. A tiny part of her knew that she was employing a classic distraction ploy: dazzle people with a costume or some outrageous trick of appearance, and they tended not to notice anything else. Not the shape of your nose, the line of your jaw, the way you walked. There was nothing quite so anonymous as an eye-catching costume.

About the Author:
Bio: Jenny Schwartz is a hopeful romantic with a degree in Sociology and History — people watching and digging into the past. She lives in Western Australia and is working towards her dream of living by the sea. Jenny writes romantic suspense, as well as contemporary and paranormal romance.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter


Buy the book at Amazon. Sky Garden will be $0.99 during this tour.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Win a $50 GC: Once in a Lifetime by Jayne Nichols


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jayne Nichols will be awarding a $50 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.

Is it possible for a poor hash-house waitress to find love with a wealthy Irish horse breeder? Not as long as he thinks she conned his father into leaving her his cottage on the island of Inish Mor in the Aran Islands. To prove his assumption false, Samantha St. John sells her new inheritance to Kieran McDade for one Euro, receives his thank-you kiss on her cheek, and bids him farewell.

Never expecting to see him again, she is surprised to receive his invitation and a plane ticket to Ireland. He’s had second thoughts and offers Samantha a holiday at his home on FastTrack Farm where she charms not only his race horse, but Kieran himself. For Samantha, it is like a fairy tale, complete with a wicked witch, an elegant ball, and a horse race that could decide whether her Cinderella story will have a happy ending.

Enjoy an excerpt:

She wandered into the barn, taking care not to make any noise. The barn was eerily quiet. Maybe Lifetime was asleep. Niall had said something about the horse not eating and sleeping too much. She tiptoed toward his stall and glanced over the gate. Lifetime was lying flat out in the straw.

“You’re never going to win the Derby if you don’t practice.” She rested her hands on the gate. “I used to run cross country. I know.”

The horse lifted his head, whinnied low in his throat. He stood, shook the straw from his body head to tail, and pawed at the floor.

“Don’t give me that nonsense,” Samantha admonished. “Come here.” The horse eyed her from across the stall. “You heard me. Come here.” She reached into the grain bucket sitting outside the stall and offered him a handful. “Got something for you.”

Lifetime took several steps toward her, stretched his head to sniff at her hand. He moved closer to nudge at her jacket pocket. She stepped back, held her cupped hand beneath his lips. “Dinner, first. Then dessert.” He sniffed at the grain, scooped it up with his tongue, and licked her hand clean. “Good boy.” She gave him a butter mint and patted his neck.

“Don’t be feeding him too many sweets. Fat horses don’t win races.”

Samantha’s heart jumped into her throat. Eyes wide, Lifetime backed away immediately from the gate. He retreated to the far end of the stall, shaking his head.

“I’m sorry, Niall. I wanted to see if he’d eat some grain.”

“And did he?”

“Yes, a small handful.” She cupped her hand to show him how much. “Did I do something wrong?”

Niall turned his dumbfounded stare from her to the horse and back to her. “No, lass, you’ve done nothing wrong.” He shook his head, his smile turning slowly into a perceptive grin. “Well now, Miss Samantha, I think you have the gift.”

About the Author:Growing up, I wrote a few things for school—reports and a few creative writing projects for English class—but never really thought about writing novels until after I married my David. Even then, what little writing I did leaned toward Mystery. I didn’t discover Romance until my husband and I traveled to Greece. It was hot—I mean really hot—and we ducked inside the Athens Hilton to bask in their air conditioned gift shop. I was looking at a rack of paperback books and picked up one entitled Born in Fire by someone named Sarah Hardesty. I stayed in our air-conditioned hotel room for two days reading that novel nearly non-stop and decided then and there what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to write Romance. It wasn’t until I was back home and hunting through a Barnes and Noble for more books by Sarah Hardesty that I learned the author was actually Nora Roberts. Truthfully, I had never heard of her. I know who she is now. And who knows, maybe someday, she will have heard of me.

As Jayne Nichols, I write contemporary romance (Wish Fulfilled Series) and romantic suspense (Madrona Point Series), and I love every minute of it.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ Pinterest


Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, All Romance eBooks, or CreateSpace.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Win a $20 GC - Kiss of a Stranger by Lily Danes and Eve Kincaid


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors 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.

Maddie Palmer lost everything when her ex-husband betrayed her. Years later, she’s rebuilt her life. It’s safe and stable—everything she thought she wanted. Until a dangerously sexy ex-con appears in Lost Coast Harbor...

Gabriel Reyes just did six years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s returned, determined to expose the men who set him up. His best chance at redemption is seducing the straight-laced woman working for the enemy…until he realizes he’s the one being seduced.

As passion ignites, Gabe and Maddie find themselves drawn deeper into the corruption behind the town’s richest family… even while facing the greatest danger of all—losing their hearts.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“I had a lovely night, not that it’s any of your business.” The lie rolled off her tongue.

Gabe didn’t move. “I’m sure he was everything a date could be. Polite. Clever. Though it’s hard to take a man seriously when he orders the butternut squash ravioli at a restaurant that serves steak.”

“He’s a vegetarian,” she said absently, before the full meaning of his words settled on her. “Wait a second. You watched me? You spied on my date?” Her voice rose with every word, and only her desire not to wake the neighbors kept her from shouting.

Gabe shook his head. It was a rueful motion, directed more at himself than her. “I started to. Then I remembered that was creepy as hell and went to the diner. Where I ordered steak and eggs, by the way.”

“Still, the fact that you thought that was okay, even for a second…”

He stood, the movement fluid and hypnotic, and she couldn’t take her eyes off him as he prowled toward her. “Don’t fool yourself, Maddie. I’m not okay. I forgot how to be okay long ago. That’s what you’ll get with me, but I’ll do my best to make it worth your time, if you feel like taking a risk.”

About the Author:

Like so many good ideas, Lost Coast Harbor was inspired by a few rounds of margaritas. One sunny afternoon, Lily Danes and Eve Kincaid went to a Mexican restaurant for snacks and tequila and left with the idea for a new series. Inspired by their love of noir movies and 1940s crime novels, they imagined a gritty small town full of crime and corruption, where intrigue and mystery can lead to love and passion.

Series Website ~ Author Website - Lily Danes ~ Author Website - Eve Kincaid ~ Goodreads


Buy the book at Amazon.

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Win a $20 GC: Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting


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

Hat designer Missy DuBois opened her shop, Crowning Glory, along Louisiana's Great River Road to cater to the sophisticated Southern bride. But bless her heart, who knew creating stylish wedding veils would lead to murder?

Enjoy an excerpt:

Time rewound with each footfall as I began to climb the grand outer staircase at Morningside Plantation. The limestone steps, burdened with the history of five generations, heaved their way toward heaven.

At the top lay a wide-plank verandah supported by columns painted pure white, like the clouds. By the time I took a third step, the digital camera in my right hand began to dissolve into the sterling silver handle of a ladies parasol. The visitors’ guide in my left hand magically transformed into a ballroom dance card bound by a satin cord.

Another step and the Mississippi River came into view as it flowed to the Gulf, languid as a waltz and the color of sweet tea. Could that be a whistle from a steamboat ferrying passengers past the plantation? If so, a turn and a wave wouldn’t be out of the question once I reached the top of the stairs, and good manners would dictate it.

I was about to do that when I realized the whistle was only my friend’s cell and not a Mississippi riverboat. “Ambrose! Turn that thing off. Honestly.”

“Sorry.” He shrugged. “I always forget you were Scarlett O’Hara in a past life.”

The mood was broken, though, and the sterling silver in my hand returned to plastic while the linen dance card hardened to a glossy brochure.

About the Author:
Sandra Bretting works as a freelance feature writer under contract to the Houston Chronicle. She received a journalism degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and wrote for other publications (including the Los Angeles Times and Orange Coast Magazine) before moving to Texas.

Her Missy DuBois Mysteries series debuts from Kensington/Lyrical Underground in May 2016. Bretting’s previous mysteries include Unholy Lies (2012) and Bless the Dying (2014). Readers can reach her online at www.sandrabretting.com and through Facebook at www.facebook.com/sandra.bretting.

Pre-order the book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

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Monday, February 08, 2016

Win a book: Making Headlines by Jennifer Hansen

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jennifer will be awarding an eCopy of Making Headlines to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Cover_MakingHeadlinesWorking as a TV reporter has its challenges, but when Rachael Bentley decides to aim high and become a newsreader, she faces a whole new minefield of explosive scenarios.

Rachel's path sees her pitched against egos in the newsroom, office politics and corrupt politicians, not to mention rampant sexism, and a mystery stalker. Juggling a messy personal life doesn't help, nor does the emotional impact of reporting on life's tragedies and when it all takes a toll and Rachel starts partying too hard, she finds herself making the headlines instead of reading them.

Will she survive a world where dreams are shattered daily and will she find the man who can help her keep her soul?

Enjoy an excerpt:

‘Then whack! He slams that cricket bat smack down on your desk, missing your hand by a whisker!’ Julia slapped her hands under Rachel’s chin.

Rachel jumped, vibrations ringing in her ears. ‘And this is the man you think could be our new boss?’ she said, spinning her chair around to switch on her computer. As she reached for a notebook a growing unease began to fester. Her fellow reporter had an uncanny knack of being spot-on with rumours.

‘Yep,’ grinned Julia, leaning back in her chair. ‘That’s Helmut Becker for you. Bit of a nut job, but they say he gets results. And it is all about the ratings after all.’

Beyond their desks the usual pandemonium reigned. Early-morning rush hour — TV monitors blaring, phones ringing and people shouting, and Rachel didn’t want the glue that held it together leaving. She stared towards the news director’s office. ‘I wish I could change Tony’s mind.’ It was like the plates beneath her feet were shifting. Too much change, too soon.

‘Fat chance. The media release is already out. And stop looking like that. Anyone’d think you had a boss-crush.’

Rachel turned back to Julia. ‘Don’t be ridiculous. I’m just sad he’s leaving. I mean, he gave me my big break and has always been so supportive. Are you sure this Helmut character is taking over?’

‘That’s the word on the office grapevine. It’s a hundred per cent gossip guaranteed.’

‘Damn. Just when I thought I had a career plan mapped out, a bat-wielding crazy guy comes along …’ She paused as a striking man with shoulder-length dirty-blond hair strode past their desks towards the edit suites at the back of the newsroom.

‘And don’t get hooked on him either.’ Julia rolled her eyes. ‘That’s the new head editor, Mitch. Really rates himself, and hates working with juniors, so steer clear.’

‘You crack me up,’ said Rachel, shaking her head. ‘You know I’m taken.’ She turned back to her computer, inhaling deeply. The editor had left a scent in his wake and it wasn’t aftershave. It was like he’d just shaken the surf from his hair after riding a wave into work. An absurd thought. Who’d go surfing in the middle of autumn? She snuck another look as he walked away, taking in his strong physique. As if feeling her eyes graze the back of his neck, he turned, giving a lopsided grin as he caught her out.

Embarrassed, she smiled back stupidly and sucked in her breath. Damn, he was good looking. She wondered what he was doing at work so early. Surely as head editor he could take his pick of the shifts and leave the early stints for the juniors? She shook her head. She had to stop this. No flirting. That’s what had landed her in enough trouble already.

About the Author:JENNIFER HANSEN is best known to TV audiences as the former co-host of Channel Ten’s 5pm news. These days Jennifer works in radio as part of Smooth FM’s breakfast show where she reads the news and chats with Mike Perso about all things Melbourne. In between media gigs, Jennifer went back to ‘school’ - taking up the ‘Professional Writing and Editing’ course at RMIT. That has helped her complete her first novel and two screenplays. Occasionally she remembers to look after her family - including husband Neighbours actor Alan Fletcher (aka Dr Karl Kennedy) and their two children, Veronica and Tom.

Website ~ Twitter


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Friday, February 05, 2016

Win a $25 GC - A Separate Heaven by Alex Disanti

VBT_TourBanner_ASeparateHeaven

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


Step into a world of riveting drama. Enter A Separate Heaven, a story comprised of power, wealth, and romance, multifaceted characters, and complex relationships. A novel by Alex Disanti. From Long Island to the shores of the Mediterranean, this exciting series spanning twenty five years in the lives of the Gianelli and Hamilton families will hold you spellbound.


Enjoy an excerpt:

Around 1:00 A.M. Paige found she couldn’t sleep. As quietly as possible she eased herself from the bed and walked out onto the balcony. The weather was still nice. The breeze from the water was cool and she could see the waves crashing against the sandy beaches. Below her, the pool looked inviting. His soft snoring assured her Dominic was sleeping soundly. Hesitating only a moment, she tiptoed into the bathroom, wrapped herself in a big towel, and made her way down the stairs and outside to the pool.

She dropped the towel and slipped into the warm water that felt like silk on her naked body. Leisurely, she swam back and forth, again and again. This was heaven. It was all heaven. She lay on her back, floating, her eyes closed, replaying in her mind the wedding and all that had happened since.

Finally, she began to tire and, feeling she could sleep again, made one last lap underwater, crawling along the bottom of the pool. As she entered the shallow end, her hands reached for the tiled rim as she emerged, breaking the surface of the water.

Suddenly, something like a steel vise gripped her wrists, jerking her upward, and she was momentarily airborne. Her feet slammed against the concrete, jarring her from head to toe. Now Dominic had her by her shoulders and was shaking her. She knew he was saying something, but she could hear only the roaring in her head. Not six feet from them stood two men with guns. Behind them on the massive walls that surrounded the villa were several more.

About the Author:Alex Disanti lives in the Texas Hill Country. While writing has been a lifelong love for her, A Separate Heaven is her first novel. Early works were mainly poetry and short stories. As A Separate Heaven progressed from thought to paper, friends and family began reading the manuscript. Then, in an effort to test the marketability of the material, she enlisted the aid of what she calls her “test readers.” These readers vary in age, occupation and background. It simply grew from there. Alex’s rich detail brought the characters to life, and the ensuing chapters could not come quickly enough for her readers.

Facebook ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Website


Buy the books at Amazon: Book One, Book Two, Book Three.

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Win a $50 GC - Cubeball by Leon Michaels

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC by entering the Rafflecopter below. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What would we find under your bed?

I’d like to say I have a stack of snooker cues under there, but I haven’t played the game for a while. I have a lift up bed, so there is an actual cupboard space under my bed. I have two suit cases, large and small for the overseas and local trips I regularly take. Not much else...boring I know!

What was the scariest moment of your life?

I was on one of the many skiing trips I made as a younger man. I had been skiing intermittently for many years and was about to make the transition from skiing the intermediate (blue) runs to the advanced (black) runs. My most terrifying moment was summoning the courage to ski my first black run. I was reluctantly pushed to do this by an Austrian man I had befriended that week. He was twice my age, but a vastly better and fitter skier than I. I remember his words well. “Okay Michael, I go, you follow,” as he suddenly leapt over the precipice of what appeared to be a vertical cliff to me. I dared to look over the edge, to see my friend a hundred metres below waving me to follow. Somehow, I managed to summon the courage to do just that. One of the scenes in Cubeball was based loosely on that experience.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

I often listen to music to inspire me. Surprisingly, I don’t mind noise around me as I write. A lot of my first drafts are penned in public places, such as cafes, beaches and parks. However, music that is special to me, summons some of my best creativity. I often say to myself and other writers, if what you write draws out strong emotions in you, it is usually good writing. All art can have that effect on me, writing, music, film and theatre. But what music? Armand Amar at the moment. Also Jamie xx, Laura Marling. I of course listened to a lot of Beethoven as I wrote Cubeball.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing next year?

I am writing another new novel in 2016. I have organised accommodation in Bordeaux for a few months to write the first draft. Anne, my partner, will join me after that and we’ll tour France and Italy together for another few months. I have never driven on European roads, so I have set a goal to finally drive on European roads. I’ll return to Melbourne in August and edit the new novel for the remainder of 2016. Feel free to contact me and I’ll tell you more about my new novel.

How long did it take you to write this book?

I wrote the first draft of Cubeball in three months, whilst I was staying in a small town in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. It was the sparsest accommodation I had ever experienced. There was no television or radio or wifi! It was very hard adjustment, but I have never felt more creative. I remember regularly waking up in the early hours, excited by a lucid dream I had experienced and spending an hour or so describing it in my notebook.

MediaKit_BookCover_CubeballA naturally gifted ex-national champion and a savant with a computer-like mind compete against the world's best in the 22nd century's most popular sport - CUBEBALL - the chess-like, technology-enhanced, snooker of the future where the world stage is dominated by gambling, drugs and massive audiences.


Enjoy an excerpt:

Jules’ gaze emboldened Mickey to reveal his special gift to her. He strode confidently to the cue-ball and lined up one of the most difficult shots in cubeball. Then with little thought, he cracked the cue-ball with a force that matched the passion he was feeling. The curve on the first line was more pronounced than the programmed line set by the computer.

Mickey had struck the perfect shot. Sam and Riley sat staring at the console, mesmerised by what they had just seen and eager to re-capture its perfection on replay. Only champions could play this way and it was clear to all that Mickey was developing into one.

“Fucking incredible,” said Johnnie. His eyes were wide. Filled with awe for Mickey’s skills and expectation with how much he could earn from it.

Mickey didn’t hear his appreciative manager. He didn’t see the small tear that had formed in his kid sister’s admiring eye. His gaze remained on Jules. She brushed her hair back on to her shoulders before resting her slender hands on her hips. Her mouth was wide open, breathing in her excitement for what she had just seen. Then her eyes revealed that there was more to her feelings than that of an adoring fan. Her gaze began to fill with a stirring hunger. Fate was beginning to move into Mickey’s life like an evening moon tide.

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_CubeballAbout the Author:I worked with national and international organisations as a business analyst in Australia and overseas. I authored many business books analysing the foodservice and food retail industry in Australia, Europe and Asia, as well as agribusiness global trends. I also ran a consultancy business that assisted Australian enterprises to develop new markets in Australia and overseas.

I commenced writing science fiction novels full time in 2009. It was a life-long interest of mine. I have written five novels - all exploring contemporary social issues in future speculative worlds. They are: Shadow Dance; Extinction; Cubeball; Titan Sages and Alive. My novels blend speculative science, new age and poetry. Readers of novels such as Carl Sagan’s Contact would enjoy my novels.

Blog ~ Goodreads ~ Website


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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Win a $50 GC - 2 Broads Abroad by Deborah Serra and Nancy Serra Greene


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Deborah Serra and Nancy Serra Greene will be awarding a $50 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.

When sisters, Deborah & Nancy, discovered that motherhood was a temp job they decided to run away from home. After packing up that last kid for college, and facing the sad stillness of their suddenly quiet homes, they decided to leave the country. 2 BROADS ABROAD: MOMS FLY THE COOP is a funny, irreverent, occasionally poignant travel tale of their impulsive road trip around Ireland.

In this witty warm-hearted adventure, they experienced some of Ireland’s quirkier history while sharing universally relatable stories of maniacal school coaches, neurotic neighbors, and tiger moms. Having kicked that empty nest into their rearview mirror, the sisters took off careening down the wrong side of the road, making questionable choices, getting trapped in a medieval tower, sneaking Chinese take-out into a famous cooking school, drinking way too much, and gaining a changed perspective on their lives ahead.

Enjoy an excerpt:

“Your youngest is leaving for college? Aw, empty nest?” Then, sappy eyes followed by a plaintive grin and, “What will you do?”

Before my sister and I decided to run away from home we were bothered by that question. There was something minimizing about it, minimizing and not completely untrue. Motherhood had been so deceptive, the greatest paradox in life: every single bleary-eyed day felt a month long, and the years went by in an instant. They flashed by like lightning and left a desiccated scorch mark wearing my clothes. It was disagreeable to imagine what life would be like childless: there would be the family tree, and there would be the mom who’s the center of the family tree, standing leafless, bare (and it has been a while since I looked good bare). There was some solace as I glanced around me to see my younger sister, Nancy, would be standing there bare as well. We were embarking on this progeny-shedding calamity simultaneously as both of our youngest daughters, Nicole and Olivia, were leaving for college the same week.

I knew that Nancy hadn’t really focused on it yet. And then, we met at Fashion Island in Newport Beach near her home to get a birthday gift for our mom. We ran into two of Nancy’s neighbors, Vicki and Susan.

“Nancy,” Vicki asked, “doesn’t Nicole graduate from Corona Del Mar High School this June?”

“Yes,” Nancy said. “She’s going to the University of Washington.”

“Oh,” Susan lifted her eyebrows, “you must be devastated.”

“What?” Nancy looked confused. “No, actually I was happy for her. She worked really hard. It was her first choice school.”

“But so far away!” Susan added in that annoying singsong tone.

Nancy shifted her feet, a move I knew well as her sister. It was something she always did when she was being told something she did not like to hear.

“It’s not that far.” Nancy said.

“It’s a plane ride. You need an airplane to see your daughter.” Susan said loudly.

“Yeah.” Nancy turned to me in an effort to change the subject. “You remember my sister, Deborah?”

“Of course.” Vicki smiled. And we exchanged hellos. Vicki seemed normal, but I had an inkling that I might have to slap Susan.

Susan continued on with her one thought. “With your son gone already, and soon Nicole, well, Nancy, I guess you’re all alone now.”

Nancy shifted her feet again. “I’m still married, Susan.”

“Sure. Sure. Right. So that’s better than nothing, huh?”

Nancy and I both froze. Did she just say that?

“You know,” Vicki tried to cut off Susan, “when Terrie’s youngest left she bought a Chihuahua puppy. Cutest thing you’ve ever seen. And the Walkers gave a room to an exchange student from Sweden,” she explained happily.

Nancy nodded. “That sounds like a good plan.”

Susan opened her mouth to speak again and I wasn’t sure whether I should just smack her now and be done with it, or let her continue. I made the wrong choice.

“Remember Pam Winthrop?” Susan leaned in. “When her son left she started eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s every day until she put on 60 pounds. Sad, really, tragic. Even her kneecaps were fat.” Then Susan turned to me, “So, Deborah, isn’t your youngest graduating, too?”

“I’m leaving the country,” I said.

Susan cocked her head. “What?”

“I’m leaving the country,” I repeated matter-of-factly.

“So am I,” Nancy said. I looked at her. I saw the decision in her eyes. “I’m going with Deborah. We’re taking a long trip together – a sisters trip.”

“You are?” Susan sounded a little thwarted, which Nancy found gratifying.

“Yup, in the planning stages.” Nancy smiled at Susan who was clearly disappointed that we were not miserable as anticipated. “Nice to see you though, Susan, Vicki. Got to go. In the middle of booking flights and stuff. So much to do!”

We turned away and strode with purpose toward the door.

I whispered, “Susan’s a real gem.”

“She did me a favor.”

“Yeah?”

“I’ve been so busy I just wasn’t thinking about it.”

“And I haven’t been able to think about anything else,” I said. “When I’m awake in the middle of the night it runs over and over in my mind.”

Nancy said, “When I heard that crap Susan was dealing, all of a sudden I realized, there’s no way am I plodding into that sunset with fat kneecaps carrying a Chihuahua.”


About the Authors:
Deborah Serra has been a sought-after screenwriter for twenty-five years having written for NBC, CBS, Sony, Lifetime, Fox, and others. She was a recipient of the 2012 Hawthornden Literary Fellowship. Her first novel was a semi-finalist for the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Award given by the Faulkner Society in New Orleans, LA.

Nancy is a graduate of San Diego State University. She worked in medical sales before stepping away to raise her two children, at which point she became: Team Mom, Snack Mom, PTA member, Assistance League Volunteer, and the list is never-ending. Nancy was the editor and publisher of the Buffalo Hills Echo newsletter with a circulation of 1400. She also designed and managed her community website.

Website ~ Facebook


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