Sunday, August 28, 2016

Book Review: "Valley of the Moon," by Melanie Gideon


About the book:
San Francisco, 1975. A single mother, Lux Lysander is overwhelmed, underpaid, and living on the edge of an emotional precipice. When her adored five-year-old son goes away to visit his grandparents, Lux takes a solo trip to Sonoma Valley -- a chance to both lose herself and find herself again.

Awakened at midnight, Lux steps outside to see a fog settled over the Sonoma landscape. Wandering toward a point of light in the distance, she emerges into a meadow on a sunny day. There she meets a group of people whose sweetly simple clothing, speech, and manners almost make them seem as if they are from another time.

And then she realizes they are.

Lux has stumbled upon an idyllic community cut off not only from the rest of the world but from time itself. The residents of Greengage tell a stunned and disoriented Lux that they’ve somehow been marooned in the early twentieth century. Now that she has inexplicably stepped into the past, it is not long before Lux is drawn in by its peace and beauty.

Unlike the people of Greengage, Lux discovers that she is able to come and go. And over the years, Lux finds herself increasingly torn between her two lives. Her beloved son is very much a child of the modern world, but she feels continually pulled back to the only place she has ever truly felt at home.

A gorgeous, original, and deeply moving novel about love and longing and the power that time holds over all of us, Valley of the Moon is unforgettable.

My thoughts:
Lux felt like she'd screwed up big-time in her life by becoming estranged from her father, quitting college, becoming a single mother at age 19 and having to support them on a waitress's salary. Finding Greengage, a place stuck in the early 20th century, gave her the opportunity to start over. Nobody judged her there. Life was simple. Everyone could choose what jobs they would do, which bettered the community. She felt valued and accepted. Returning to the modern world was difficult, but she had a son to raise. This story was easy for me to relate to. Who hasn't yearned to erase the sins of the past and start over, with the wisdom of hindsight? Modern life can feel overwhelming, with so many choices and technologies. Too many things pulling us in all directions. This beautifully written novel explores how family relationships shape our destiny, and how our choices affect those we love. It is for anyone who feels the call toward a simpler life or wishes for the opportunity to redirect the course of their future.

About the author:
Melanie Gideon is the bestselling author of the novel Wife 22 and the memoir The Slippery Year: A Meditation on Happily Ever After. She is also the author of three young adult novels. Her books have been published in more than thirty languages. She was born and raised in Rhode Island, and now lives in the Bay Area with her husband and son.

Website | Facebook | Twitter



Disclosure: I borrowed this book from the library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Book Review: "Skip Rock Shallows," by Jan Watson


About the book:
Lilly Gray Corbett has just graduated from medical school and decided to accept an internship in the coal camp of Skip Rock, Kentucky. Her beau, Paul, is doing his residency in Boston and can’t understand why Lilly would choose to work in a backwater town. But having grown up in the mountains, Lilly is drawn to the stubborn, superstitious people she encounters in Skip Rock -- a town where people live hard and die harder and where women know their place. Lilly soon learns she has a lot to overcome, but after saving the life of a young miner, she begins to earn the residents’ trust.

Torn between joining Paul in Boston and her love for the people of Skip Rock, Lilly crosses paths with a handsome miner -- one who seems oddly familiar. Her attraction for him grows even as she wrestles with her feelings and wonders what he’s hiding.

My thoughts:
Lilly is definitely a pioneer as a female doctor in 1908. But she bravely takes on the criticism and disdain, determined to prove herself worthy of respect. But though she may be confident in her medical skills, she's less than confident in her choices when it comes to romance. Her fiance is a worthy and safe choice, but for some reason she feels drawn to a miner, even though rumors are swirling that he's a company spy. This is a story about a young woman who's trying to figure out life and what's important to her. Women of any era will relate to the eternal question: Is it better to follow your head or your heart?

About the author:
Jan Watson's first novel, Troublesome Creek, was the 2004 winner of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest. Skip Rock Shallows is Jan's sixth novel. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and has three grown sons and a daughter-in-law.



Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Tyndale Rewards program. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission if a purchase is made through this link.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: In the Beginning (Charity Anthology) ~ 3 Winners


Today, Month9Books is revealing the cover and some excerpts for their Charity Anthology IN THE BEGINNING, which releases October 25, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to be one of the first readers to receive an eGalley!



Title: IN THE BEGINNING: Dark Retellings of Biblical Tales
Editors: Laureen P. Cantwell and Georgia McBride
Author: Stephen Clements, Nicole Crucial, Mike Hays, Sharon
Hughson, Marti Johnson, Elle O'Neill, Laura Palmer, & Christina Raus
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books
Format: Paperback & eBook
Find it: Amazon | B&N |Goodreads

Eight authors come together to build a powerful collection of dark young adult short stories inspired by the mysteries, faith, and darkness found within the Bible. Old Testament and New Testament, iconic and obscure figures alike are illuminated, explored, and re-envisioned throughout this charity anthology from Month9Books.

IN THE BEGINNING, edited by Laureen Cantwell and Georgia McBride

Daniel and the Dragon by Stephen Clements
A troubled orphan named Habakkuk dutifully follows his master, the prophet Daniel, into temples of blood-thirsty demon-gods, battles with unspeakable horrors, and bears witnesses to mind-breaking evil until his master's zealous defiance of the king's law seals their fate.

Babylon by Nicole Crucial
Far above the earth, in Second Eden, where moments and eternities all blur together, young Babylon befriends Sefer, the Book of Life. As Babylon awaits the moment she'll fulfill her destiny, she and Sefer try to understand the world in which they live.

Last Will and Testament by Mike Hays
A homeless young boy, Baz, bears the weight of humanity on his shoulders and upon his body. When dark forces test a new-found friendship, Baz’s willingness to bear the ugliness of their world will be shaken. 

The Demon Was Me by Sharon Hughson
Based on the story of the demon-possessed boy healed by Jesus, this tale provides a glimpse into a post-apocalyptic world where a teenage boy seeks to journey to a better land and yearns to discover the kind of man he's meant to be, only to be hijacked by an evil spirit intent upon chipping away at the hope, faith, and resilience of its host.

The Deluge by Marti Johnson
A non-believer shares the story of Noah’s ark-building and the deadly downpour that follows. Fear, faithlessness, and the fallibility of mankind collide in a community where second chances aren’t unlimited and a better-late-than-never attitude just might be your doom.

Condemned by Elle O'Neill
Just sixteen-years-old, Barabbas finds himself pulled out of Routlege Academy and into a reality show competition—against Jesus himself—where the reward for the winner is life.

First Wife by Lora Palmer
In a first-person retelling of the saga of Jacob, Rachel and Leah, themes of family, deception, guilt, and heartache emerge amidst the first days of Leah’s marriage to Jacob—a marriage mired in trickery a mere week before Jacob was to marry Leah's sister Rachel.

Emmaculate by Christina Raus
Based on the story of Mary's Immaculate Conception, we enter the troubled mind of Emma, who finds herself torn between her religious upbringing and the purity ring that binds her to her boyfriend and the pregnancy that results from her relationship with another boy.

Anthology Excerpts:

From THE DEMON WAS ME, by Sharon Hughson:

The ghastly black fog overtook me.

Icicles pierced my back. Every muscle in my body spasmed. I plunged face-first against the ground. Something sharp gouged my cheek. Shivery tingles pervaded my insides. A vile presence pressed against my mind.
            
“Get out!” I rolled to my back, arms outstretched. I wanted to fight, throw the intruder off me. But how can you resist something as ethereal as air?
            
Laughter rang in my ears. Sinister.

It shuddered against my soul. Terror and hopelessness collided in my chest. A foreign power clutched at my mind.
            
I screamed. I rolled to my side and squeezed my eyes shut. If only I could disappear.
            
Another dark wave of laughter echoed through my skull. Convulsions gripped me.

Against my will, my limbs flailed in every direction. A spike pressed into my mind. I cradled my throbbing head. My body, a tumbleweed in the wind, spun on the ground.

From BABYLON, by Nicole Crucial:

Only those will enter Heaven whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

These were the first words I heard, in the beginning of time.

But Sefer, the protest comes, Revelation wasn’t written until the first century.

My answer is that time is a funny little plaything to God, or so I imagine. That first sentence was the wind that breathed life into my chest, the binding of my pages, the ink in my soul. It knitted together my stardust-atoms from across centuries and millennia and planes of existence.

And when the first dregs of consciousness swirled at the pit-bottom of my spine, I yawned and opened my eyes to paradise.

From CONDEMNED, by Elle O’Neill:

To his surprise, as he heard the metal door grind to a stop, there was a popping sound, like the flash-lamp did when they experimented in Classic Photography at Routlege. Except no camera appeared—not that he could see anyway—but rather a digital time clock, bold red numbers, already beginning their descent, in striking relief against the black paint covering the walls.

29:48:12.

29:48:11.

Of course they would include the fractions of a second, he thought. He was now fighting a tiger against a racing clock. For all that they were merely numbers, he saw their dwindling trickle as if he were watching grains of sand pour through the hourglass of his fingers, helpless.

29:47:03.

The tiger looked at him. It didn't glance his way. It directed its massive head at him, its eyes trained on Barabbas ... and they didn't turn away.

Another man, in another arena, stood calmly while the tiger advanced. His breathing was even, he did not watch the clock, and he looked with love upon the prowling beast. When it snarled, he slowly exhaled; when its whiskers glanced his weaponless fingers, he blinked gently as the hot breath of the tiger dampened his skin.

From LAST WILL & TESTAMENT, by Mike Hays:

I’ve found money, I’ve found food, and I’ve found myself in plenty of trouble on plenty of occasions, but I’ve never found another human being just lying around. That’s what happened when I found a person-shaped ball of olive drab and camouflage clothing—which would have been more at home in the reject pile down at the army surplus store—under our decrepit, worn sign for the, “Extraordinary League of Witch Assass_ _ _.”

It’s true. I found a boy about my age sleeping at the end of the Extraordinary League of Witch Assassins driveway.

From UNWANTED, by Lora Palmer:

“Let me see you,” he whispers. “Let me truly see you.”

I swallow down the fear this moment brings, the anxiety that once he does see me, he will no longer accept me. No, I must stop thinking this way. My husband is not like Jacob, dazzled by the superficial beauty of my sister. My husband, my love, will see me.

Taking courage from this, I let out a shaky laugh as he helps me stand. I long to see him, too.

“All right,” I say.

He lifts my veil, his deft fingers moving slow, relishing the anticipation of this moment. At last, he lifts the linen over my face and lets it slip to the floor behind me. We stare at each other, stock still, in stunned silence.

It was Jacob.

From EMMACULATE, by Christina Raus:

The Ten Commandments are pretty straightforward. Killing? Bad. Lying? Nope. Adultery? Don’t even think about it. But is real life really that straightforward? If you tell your boyfriend that you’re going golfing, when really you’re going out to cheat on him, is the lying or the adultery worse? What if you stab the guy you’re having an affair with? Isn’t being a murderer worse than being a cheater? I think the stabbing is worse than the lying and the cheating combined. So, it was kind of unfair for God to group killing, lying, and cheating all together under one umbrella. They all seemed really different.

I was an adulterer. I couldn’t deny that. I was also a liar. A very, very good liar. But I wasn’t a murderer.

From THE DELUGE, by Marti Johnson:

The stench of mildew and mold is heavy in our nostrils, and my lungs feel as though they are on fire. My breathing is audible in the lulls between the thunderclaps. My mother huddles, shivering, propped between two rocks. She is coughing painfully, and I can hear her teeth chattering.

It is hard to breathe because the air itself is full of water.

A deeper shadow has fallen across the side of the mountain on which we are sheltering. I pull aside the brambles, and gasp in amazement when I realize what it is. “Look!” I call to the others, and point at the sight. The ark has risen with the water, and now bobs up and down. It sits high in the water. We hear nothing from it but the creaking of the wood timbers and the sound of the branches and rocks on the hillside scraping against its hull.

From DANIEL AND THE DRAGON, by Stephen Clements:

"Your god is a liar!” roared the wizened man in thin black robes, as he pounded his breast with his fist.

Habakkuk stood by the gates of the temple as his master picked a fight with a sanctuary full of the slavish followers of Bel, a bloodthirsty demon god. A fire raged in the fanged maw of a giant, stone head sunken into the back of the temple, there to receive the offerings rendered unto Bel. He had seen this before in other temple raids with his master, though not on such a massive scale, and not at the heart of the demon cult in Babylon itself. The fire raged as the greatest offering that the Babylonians—who adored Bel above all other gods—could sacrifice to their deity was their own newborn children, rolled their screaming, helpless bodies down a stone, hand-shaped altar into the fire. They offered the fruit of their wombs to their dark god, who devoured the innocent souls sacrificed to him in eldritch rituals.



Giveaway Details:


3 winners will receive an eGalley of IN THE BEGINNING. Open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuning In Book Blast: On Sale for Only 99 Cents!


How would you like to be twelve and be able to hear the unadulterated thoughts of every confused adult around you? Not every memory, but a person’s active thoughts. It makes for an interesting childhood.

Now trained as a con artist by his family, Michael is all grown up and spreading his wings out in the real world, but there is a problem. Whether pulling small scams, impersonating a rich brat or playing poker with the mob, Michael is utterly unsatisfied with life. He questions his purpose and talents.

Chance smiles upon Michael, and he gets a job helping to steal a jewel collection with a sorted past. Jewels rumored to be the property of royalty, used to fund wars and even stolen once by the Nazis. Stealing that which has already been stolen is too tempting an opportunity to pass up.

He must infiltrate the high-powered New York law firm of Bishop, Adams, and Davenport. The smart and ruthless senior partners know where the bodies and the jewels are hidden. Michael must walk among them undiscovered as he and his team search for the jewels.

As a con artist, this is a dream job, but who is conning who, and what is that darkness he senses?

Buy for $.99 on Amazon (free Kindle Unlimited) / Smashwords

Follow on Goodreads


About Chris Neal
Chris Neal is the author of the Tuning In series. He is a fan of all things urban fantasy, including The Dresden Files and shows like The Originals and Constantine. His love of reading and his children are his inspiration to write his stories and share his humor. The Tuning In series is his first foray into writing about the paranormal con artist Michael Cheffied.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Fall of Lord Drayson Book Tour: Giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

The Fall of Lord Drayson

The Fall of Lord Drayson by Rachael Anderson

Who is he really? A high and mighty lord or a lowly servant?

When Colin Cavendish, the new earl of Drayson, informs Lucy Beresford that she and her mother need to vacate the house they've called home for the past two years, Lucy is fit to be tied. They have no money, no relations they can turn to for help, and nowhere to go. How dare the earl break the promise his father had made to the Beresfords without so much as a twinge of conscience?

Fate plays her hand when Lucy discovers the earl unconscious and injured in the middle of the road. When he awakens with no recollection of who he is, Lucy seizes the opportunity to teach the earl a much-needed lesson in humility and tells him that he is nothing more than a mere servant. Her servant, in fact.

And thus begins the charming tale of a pompous lord and an impetuous young woman, caught together in a web so tangled that it begs the question: Will they ever get out?

Publication Date: Monday, August 29th
pre order on amazon

Excerpt

He stared at her incredulously, as though she had escaped Bedlam. “Are you in your right mind, woman?”

Lucy leaned forward and planted her palms on his bed so that her eyes were level with his. “My name is Lucy Beresford. I have lived in Askern all my life. I’m the sole daughter of a vicar and a seamstress who lived most happily despite their differences in station. When my father passed away, I came here, to this dower house. So yes, I am in my right mind. It is you who are not.”

The earl’s jaw clenched, and Lucy took some pleasure at the sight. Perhaps he would come down off his high horse and show at least a small amount of kindness or respect.

“I may not know who I am or where I came from,” he finally said, “but at least I do not feel the need to tell tales.”

“Tell tales?” Lucy gaped at him. Was he accusing her of telling untruths? Her, of all people? What untruths? How dare he!

Lord Drayson glanced down at his fingers, frowning when he spotted grime under his nails. He began to scrape it out as he spoke. “Claiming to be the daughter of a vicar and seamstress is all very romantic, but it cannot possibly be the truth.”

“And why not?” she asked.

His gaze returned to hers. “In my experience, the daughter of a vicar would behave with more decorum, would know how to make a palatable broth, and would never allow herself to be alone in a room with a man who is not her relative. If there is one thing I know with absolute certainty, it is that you are no relation of mine.”

Lucy’s jaw clenched as she fought to control the rage building inside her. Ever so slowly, she pushed herself up to standing and glared down at the earl. “You are correct in thinking I am no ordinary vicar’s daughter. I do not love unconditionally. I show decorum only when I wish to. And I despise those who care for no one but themselves. But I do not tell tales.”

He actually chuckled, but it was more of a scoff than a show of humor. “Did you learn those traits from your father?”

“Do not speak of my father.”

“I would prefer to speak of myself, but you do not seem to share that preference, so perhaps we should speak of your father instead. Where is he, by the by? I would very much like to meet him.”

Lucy’s fingers became fists while her conscience became a battleground between all that was good and evil inside her. It was a short battle, with evil making a quick triumph.

Ever so slowly, her body still trembling with anger, she lifted her chin. If he was going to accuse her of telling tales, then tell them she would. “Very well, Collins. If you must know, I am your employer. And though you may not remember me, or this house, or your position in it, or the fact that you are perfectly susceptible to coming off a horse, just like any other human, I still expect some kindness and respect from you.”

“What on earth are you talking about? What position?”

There was not a hint of hesitation in her voice when she answered. “You are a servant in this house.”

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Rachael
Author Rachael Anderson

A USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.


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GIVEAWAY
Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash
Ends 9/18/16

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Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal cash. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Murder on Moonshine Hill Book Tour: Read an Excerpt and Enter to Win a Signed Book!

Joanbooktour

MURDERMOONSHINE_LARGE
When Jenna decides to go to this wedding, she expects to dredge up old secrets and old hurts, and she expects to see people from her past -- but she doesn’t expect to stumble on a dead body.

Jenna’s friend is arrested. The wedding is cancelled. And Jenna’s tendency to stick her nose where it shouldn’t be leads her into the path of the killer.

Set in the serene mountains of North Carolina, Murder on Moonshine Hill is filled with suspense, humor, and a quirky cast of supporting characters.

Releases August 23 Pre-order - Amazon / Nook


Read an Excerpt: 

Just before eleven, with two cats nestled at my feet and too exhausted to even think about Marcy and her shenanigans, I drifted off to sleep.

My eyes popped open at 3:12 a.m. with visions of Marcy’s handwriting dancing before me. The handwriting, of course! Something had been niggling at the back of my mind about that letter but nothing came into focus until now. I don’t doubt Marcy wrote the letter that accompanied the invitation, but her longhand was closer together, more cramped and heavier, almost as though she couldn’t quite hold onto the pen. The words and sentences sounded clipped, choppy.

Marcy always wrote with a scratchy penmanship, but the words flowed like one long, roving stream, lines connecting and running into each other. Her handwriting was as familiar to me as mine, having seen it a million times in a diary where she’d recorded even the tiniest event, from the weather to a new dress, as if she were planning to write her memoirs someday.

Churchill uttered a frustrated growl when I turned on the light, got up, found the letter next to my backpack and re-studied the ragged, short sentences, as if by rote. The note, on the other hand, was written with Marcy’s old style, flat lettering and barely a pause between the words. Placing both in the envelope and putting them in my desk drawer—out of sight, out of mind—I returned to bed.

Clearly, more was happening in my friend’s life than a wedding.

Pick up Book 1

e-Murderer copy
On this anything but typical Monday morning, Jenna Scali, who works part-time for a shrink, opens an email that depicts the brutal death of a young girl. On that same day, the police uncover a dead coed two blocks from Jenna’s house. The e-murderer’s description creepily echoes the death described in the newspapers.

When Jenna receives other emails, she takes what she knows to the police, and thus begins her journey in the path of the e-murderer. Her curious nature impels her from e-messages to dead coeds to a ring of prostitutes. With the help of her quirky friends, Jenna learns that she’s more than a conduit for the killer. She’s his target. New secrets unfold, and finally her love life takes a tumble when the true killer emerges.

E-MURDERER is a race to find a psychotic killer before he kills again.

This new mystery series with a young female sleuth promises to keep you glued to your seat until the last page.
Buy on Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Kobo Books / MuseItUp Publishing
Watch the Book Trailer for e-Murderer


joancCurtis
Joan is an award-winning writer who has published six books and numerous stories. Readers compare her to the great Southern writer, Fannie Flagg. “She writes characters and a story that will stay with you.”

Her debut mystery/suspense novel, The Clock Strikes Midnight, won the gold medal for fiction/suspense in the Global eBook Awards for 2015 and is a finalist for the Royal Palm Literary Award. e-Murderer won first place in the Malice Domestic Grants competition for new writers.

Joan has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember. She reads all kinds of books, including women’s fiction, mysteries, biography, and nonfiction. Mystery/suspense with a psychological twist is exactly the kind of book Joan loves to read.

"I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman's point of view with a destiny. Characters drive my writing and my reading."

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the Southern traditions with the eye of a Northerner. She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Athens, Georgia.

CURTISDEAL
Buy any one of Joan’s books this week and get a second book of your choice free. For the deal, be sure to purchase through this link: MuseIt Publishing

GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a copy of The Clock Strikes Midnight (award-winning book)


Follow the Book Tour

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Promo Blitz: "Love to Win," by Lisa Ricard Claro



Fireflies Series, Book Three
Contemporary Romance
Date Published: July 30, 2016
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

She hates to lose…
Competitive barista Brenna Kinkaid loves a challenge, and she’ll do whatever it takes to win, especially when it comes to her nemesis, Dante Caravicci. But when forced to team up to save their best friends’ wedding, Brenna recognizes that Dante might just be her ultimate win.

He plays to win…
Restaurateur Dante Caravicci won’t quit anything until he can claim success. He’s bided his time, but he’s used to taking big risks and surviving, so he figures he’s got nothing to lose by playing for Brenna.

Hearts at risk…
These two fall fast, and it looks like a win-win—until a competition pits them head-to-head, and one of them goes way too far. A nudge from an improbable source may be the only way these two competitors will ever admit that the only way to win is to lose their hearts.


Other Books in the Fireflies Series:

 photo Love to Win Set_zps7dkesgse.jpg


Publisher: Black Opal Books
Published: June 2015

She can’t let go of her dead husband…
Maddie Kinkaid believes her late husband, Jack, gives her advice on everything from ordering a pizza to hiring a carpenter, so when she finds Caleb Walker’s business card on Jack’s desk, she’s convinced that he’s the guy to remodel her kitchen.

He can’t decide if she’s worth the risk…
Caleb is a single father, and protecting his young son means avoiding romantic entanglements. But there’s heat in every kitchen, and sparks ignite between Caleb and Maddie—until disaster strikes.
When Jack goes silent, Maddie’s guilt consumes her, and it looks as if she and Caleb will never find their happily-ever-after—at least, not without a little help from Jack…

LOVE BUILT TO LAST began as the award-winning short story, Fireflies, and is now the first novel in the Fireflies series.


Excerpt

“Well, I like that,” Brenna said. “My own mother likes your cake better.”

Dante regarded her with amusement. “Not everything has to be a competition between us, does it? What difference does it make which of us bakes the better cake?”

“Or sautés the better shrimp?” Brenna said, remembering Dante’s shrimp dish from Thanksgiving that she, Rebecca, and Maddie had all deemed to be almost better than sex. Not that she’d tell Dante that. She blew out a tired sigh. “I’m sick of losing to you in the food department. I try to so hard to be creative, and you whip something up at the last minute that takes home the gold.”

“Is it really that big a deal?” He raised his brows.

Brenna stared at him a moment and made him laugh when she said, “Bet your ass! I hate coming in second on anything, especially to you. And say what you will—” She poked his chest with her finger for emphasis. “—but you’re just as competitive as I am.” He moved back a step and she poked him again. “You don’t like to lose at anything either.” One more poke. “You always do whatever you have to do to win.”

Dante’s eyes narrowed, but his lips curved. He stepped forward against the press of her finger, forcing her to step back—once, twice, thrice—and she sucked in a breath when her hips bumped against the counter. She reached behind her to grab the edge of the countertop, and her eyes widened when Dante rested his hands on either side of hers, hemming her in as he had done in the storeroom.

Brenna’s heart sped to triple speed. Dante leaned down and she parted her lips, in spite of herself, when his mouth stopped a mere breath away from hers, so close she swore she felt the radiating heat. A second passed, and another. His gaze dipped to her mouth. Brenna licked her lips and her eyes fluttered shut in anticipation, and then the stubble darkening his jaw tickled the skin of her cheek with the barest touch, and his warm breath against her ear made her shiver when he whispered, “You’re right. I’ll do whatever I have to do to win. You’d do well to remember that, sweetheart.”

He pressed his lips against the tender skin just below her earlobe and made her shiver again, then stepped back. Brenna stared at him, her mind whirling.

“It’s late. I’ll follow you home when you’re ready to go, make sure you get there safe,” he said. “And relax, I don’t expect to be invited in. I know you just want to be friends.”

Brenna still gripped the edges of the counter, her eyes wide and lips parted in surprise when he disappeared out to the porch.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Ricard Claro is a professional editor, award-winning author, and Pushcart Prize nominee with published articles and stories spanning multiple media. She resides in Georgia with her husband of more than three decades and counting, is mother to three (a ruggedly handsome son and two stunningly beautiful daughters—Lisa might be a little biased), and dreams of one day living at the beach. Seriously dreams of it. As in, she’s already decorating her dream beach house. In addition to an array of sand dollars and seashells, she keeps a framed sign hanging in her office: Sandy Toes and Salty Kisses Welcome Here.

Lisa is also a lover of dogs and cats, and has a heart for rescues. This is why you will find a rescued pet companion in every one of her books. Sometimes they are part of the story line (Pirate the dog, in Love Built to Last), and sometimes they’re already ensconced in their forever home with one of Lisa’s characters (Pavarotti the cat, in Love to Win). As you read Lisa’s books, watch for the rescues!

While Lisa is a fan of storytelling in all genres, romance is her favorite because she believes everyone deserves love and a happily-ever-after. But she adores a little mystery now and then, too, so keep an eye out for Lisa’s authorship of a whodunit one of these days soon.

Contact Links

Purchase Links



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Monday, August 22, 2016

Unchained Melody: Book Tour and Giveaway

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unchainedmelody
Pamela Landers had it all: a senior partnership with a top law firm, an expensive car, and a luxurious condo. What she desired most was a loving husband, children and a life filled with precious memories that would comfort her through her golden years.

Funny how fate has a way of steering you down that path where dreams really can come true. When Pamela encounters Gavin Templeton along her journey, she has some life-altering decisions to make that eventually lead to the happily ever after she always dreamed of.

Buy on Amazon / iBooks / Barnes and Noble

Get it on Smashwords for only $.99!!!!

If the ebook isn't already 99 cents, use Coupon Code: AN23P

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About Cynthia Roberts

My love of reading romance fiction goes back to those early years when I was raising a young family. It wasn't until much later in life that I actually took up the pen to write my first historical romance, Wind Warrior. I really don't fit into one specific niche. Once a story starts to flow, it's only then I know what genre/sub­genre it will fit under.

I have only one regret, and that is not getting to this point in my career much sooner, rather than later. Life has a way of setting up road blocks, which for me was supposed to work out that way. Because of those detours, I have become a more passionate and expressive writer, allowing me to create the kind of raw human emotion I want my readership to feel. It is my hope you walk away with not just an entertaining read, but the importance in knowing,

"Without imagination & dreams, we lose the excitement of wonderful possibilities."

Follow the author
Website / Facebook / Google+ / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

GIVEAWAY

Cynthia Roberts is giving away an ebook set of her Love Song Standards series. To enter, you must be 18+. Open internationally. Ends 8/25/16 at 11:59pm EST. Fill out the form below to enter.

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Spotlight on "Seer: The Ghosts of Gray Fable," by Eli Bloom

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Seer
Fifteen-year-old Grace “Gray” Fable can speak to the dead. When her dad moves from Los Angeles to be with his mysterious girlfriend, Gray must attend notorious Willowbrook High School, the scene of a mass shooting five years earlier. When she meets the ghosts of those who died that tragic day -- including the school shooter himself -- she must uncover a dark secret to lay the victims to rest, and find peace for their families before it’s too late to stop another tragedy. A YA supernatural novel.

Buy on Amazon


About the Author:
Eli Bloom is a young adult author living in Los Angeles with his wife and three cats -- one named Grace, of all things. He believes in ghosts.

Follow the author's Website / Goodreads / Amazon

Cover Reveal: "Storm Wolf," by Stephen Morris




About the Author:
Stephen has degrees in medieval history and theology from Yale and St. Vladmir’s Orthodox Theological Academy. A former priest, he served as the Eastern Orthodox chaplain at Columbia University. His previous academic writing has dealt primarily with Late Antiquity and Byzantine church life.

He is also the Chair of the CORE Executive of Inter-disciplinary.net and organizes annual conferences on aspects of the supernatural, evil and wickedness, and related subjects. The magical and fantastic elements in his books are all based on authentic medieval and Renaissance occult beliefs and practices, as well as local folklore, legends, and history.

Stephen, a Seattle native, is now a long-time New York resident and currently lives in Manhattan with his partner, Elliot.


...And now for the cover of Storm Wolf!


Title: Storm Wolf
Author: Stephen Morris
To Be Published: September 1, 2016
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis:
He was given the wolf-magic to save his neighbors; now it drives him to kill them.

“LIBAHUNT!” Alexei breaks the terms of the wolf-magic he inherited from his grandfather and loses the ability to control the shapeshifting. His grandfather’s magical wolf-pelt was meant to protect their rural village in 1880s Estonia by fighting the terrible storms in the sky, but instead it drives Alexei to kill, slaughtering his neighbors, his friends—even his family.

Heartbroken, Alexei flees his home in search of an enchanter to free him from this hideous curse. Wandering through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Bohemia, he encounters the Master of Wolves, who forces Alexei to terrorize and murder the local farmers, and the infamous Frau Bertha who traps all those who anger her by turning them into wolves. Will Alexei find a sorceror who can free him?


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cover Reveal: "The Crimson Tree," by Valerie Puri

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The Crimson Tree

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Disembodied voices.

Apparitions.

Waking nightmares.

Strange occurrences are happening with increased intensity, and Carly cannot escape what is tormenting her. With little proof and little support, she is losing everything in her life: her fiancé, her friendships, and her sanity.

Can Carly uncover what caused the supernatural derailing of her life? Can she ever get rid of her ghostly tormentor, or is she doomed to be haunted indefinitely? Determined to stop these frightening events, she has to do whatever she can to regain control of her life before things take a deadly turn.

Release date: September 1st

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Valerie

Valerie Puri – Author Bio


Valerie Puri has always had a lifelong interest in all forms of artistic expression. She has tried her hand at many things, yet she always finds her way back to reading and writing. With inspiration everywhere, Valerie finally put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard) with the intent of publishing her stories.

Writing has always come naturally to Valerie, and for a time she even worked as a technical writer. This experience and her current day job of project manager help Valerie continue to hone her writing skills. Her true passion lies in the freedom that comes with writing the stories that pour from her imagination and real life inspiration.

Valerie believes that the experiences we have in life are just stories waiting to be written.

Follow Valerie

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Thirty-Four Going on Bride Book Blast: Giveaway for a $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

Thirty four Going on Bride
Thirty-Four Going on Bride by Becky Monson

Julia Dorning is about to lose it. Between her over-the-top wedding that her sister, Anna, took upon herself to create, and the understaffed popular bakery that she runs, she can barely find time to breathe.

All Julia ever wanted was a quaint wedding on the beach with family and friends. But now Julia has to contend with not only her sister's plans, but those of her future mother-in-law, as well. Not wanting to step on anyone's toes, especially her mother-in-law's, Julia just goes along with it.

She can only take so much, though, and when her newest employee, Kate, makes things harder at the bakery, Julia has to find a way to simplify her life.

Can she do it or will she end up a basket case? Find out how she does it in this hilarious conclusion to the Spinster series!

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Becky Monson
Author Becky Monson
By day, Becky Monson is a wife and mother to three young children. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. In her debut novel, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and wishes she had a British accent. She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last ... but it probably won't.

Praise for the Book

"My favorite of the series!" - Author Jennifer Peel

"Becky Monson did it again!" - Amazon Reviewer

"It’s rare that I want to give a book six stars, but this is certainly one of them." -Blogger Connie Fischer, Bookworm2bookworm

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Excerpt

“Pick it up, Julia! You can do this!”

I’m in the seventh circle of hell.

“Come on! Let’s move faster!” My sister Anna yells over the construction that we’re currently passing. As expected, we get a few whoops and whistles tossed at us from the workers. Pity flattery, I’m sure. Well, maybe not for Anna, but certainly for me. There’s absolutely nothing attractive about me right now.

To start, I don’t know if I’ve ever sweated this hard in my life. I look like I’ve taken a shower fully clothed. I’m sticky and perspiring, and it’s not even that hot outside. It’s a typical day near the end of May in Denver, Colorado. How did I let Anna convince me to do this? Oh, that’s right, there was no convincing. She forced me. “It’ll be good for you,” she had said, lying through her devil teeth.

At this point, I don’t know if my lungs will ever be the same. They actually ache with pain. And then there’s the ache in my calves, and really every other part of my body. Whoever thought of running as an extracurricular activity should be shot. A form of torture, yes. Exercise? I’d rather get a tooth pulled without Novocain.

GIVEAWAY

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Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 9/1/16

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or PayPal cash. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sting Book Blitz: Giveaway for a Coach Tote, Signed Book and $50 Visa Gift Card!


Sting
by Sandra Brown
Published by: Grand Central
Publication date: August 16, 2016
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
When Shaw Kinnard encounters the incongruously elegant Jordie Bennet in a seen-better-days bayou bar, it’s not love at first sight. He’s there to kill her. Instead, he abducts her, eager to get ahold of the $30 million her brother has pocketed from his badly bent boss. Now they are on the run from said boss—and the FBI.



STING – DREAM CAST

Shaw – Tom Hardy
Jordie – Jaimie Alexander

STING ANECDOTES

Even though it’s almost thirty years old, the movie “Top Gun” and its characters are referred to several times. If the soundtrack followed the relationship between Shaw and Jordie, it would start out with “Danger Zone” and end with “Take My Breath Away.”

If you’re on Spotify, you can find the TOP GUN soundtrack here: https://open.spotify.com/album/6K8iDZW8jPaoiqSzFFebJA

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Author Bio:
Sandra Brown is the author of more than sixty New York Times bestsellers, including DEADLINE (2013), LOW PRESSURE (2012), LETHAL (2011), TOUGH CUSTOMER (2010), SMASH CUT (2009), SMOKE SCREEN (2008), PLAY DIRTY (2007), RICOCHET (2006), CHILL FACTOR (2005), WHITE HOT (2004), and HELLO, DARKNESS (2003). 
Brown began her writing career in 1981 and since then has published over seventy novels, bringing the number of copies of her books in print worldwide to upwards of eighty million. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages. 
A lifelong Texan, Sandra Brown was born in Waco, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Texas Christian University, majoring in English. Before embarking on her writing career, she worked as a model at the Dallas Apparel Mart, and in television, including weathercasting for WFAA-TV in Dallas, and feature reporting on the nationally syndicated program “PM Magazine.” 
In 2009, Brown detoured from her thrillers to write, Rainwater, a much acclaimed, powerfully moving story about honor and sacrifice during the Great Depression. 
Brown recently was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Texas Christian University. She was named Thriller Master for 2008, the top award given by the International Thriller Writer’s Association. Other awards and commendations include the 2007 Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


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Disclaimer: Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment.